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Pleasure Based Activism

activism pleasure Nov 02, 2020

I wanted to pop in today to share some thoughts about how trauma-informed pleasure-based activism can help you show up and serve and help you sustain yourself at this time. 

I have been grappling over the last few weeks with how I can best be of service at this moment in light of everything that's going on, and one way is by making sure I'm always posting a lot of pictures of dizzy, but another is thinking about how the work that I do around pleasure around intimacy around joy and beauty can really be of service right now. 

Anti-Racism and Pleasure

 The truth is like some of you, probably many of the people in my life have been actively engaged in the anti-racism sites for a long time. Some of whom it's been their whole life because they have no choice. They were born into bodies that we code as racialized. And so they had not had the option to just learn about anti-racism like this week. Then for many others, they are allies and accomplices who have been on the journey bit by bit learning more and more of the ways that they can use their voice and platform and education to disrupt and dismantle patterns of oppression and white supremacy. 

So for many people in my world, they have been doing this work and there is this heavy exhaustion in it, but they are grappling with the trauma of being in this society and in these structures and systems, and have had to deeply root into pleasure and self-care as a form of just saying in the fight like otherwise, they would dissolve or, you know, dissipate and not be able to show up anymore. 

So pleasure is this tool of resilience, really, even more so than resistance becomes such an important foundational thing to explore. For the rest of us, maybe for those of you watching who are a little newer to conversations around how to be an anti-racist or what that might look like in your life, in your work, you're exploring it. Now it may be feeling jarring or like, you're not sure what I think, you know, what pleasure or intimacy would have to do with any of that, because that is serious work. 

Sometimes we understand pleasure to be frivolous extra stuff. And what I want us to think about is that wherever you are on that spectrum, whether you've been in the fight marching on the front lines, or you've been dealing with the daily battles of racism and injustice your entire life, or whether you really just kind of came online and you're looking for ways to get involved, but you're not sure what to do. 

You're really feeling the guilt and shame of maybe that being new to you wherever we are in that spectrum, pleasure can be a tool that we can use, whether you are using a kind of what you love and what inspires you like books and flowers, I guess, and things you've already seen of mine, pleasure and beauty and comfort toolkit, or whether you're exploring and trying to find what are those things for me bringing more of that into your life right now might feel counterintuitive. 

It might feel like there is no time for that. And may feel like, you know, you need to be spending every minute working, working for justice, working for change or just fighting. And what I want you to feel is the permission to have both and to have it feel, not like there's your work and then there's your rest or there's your output. And then there's like everything you indulge in over here, but actually that those could go together. That even when you're resting, even when you're indulging, even when you're hovering or experiencing something that might feel like kind of a guilty pleasure to you, or just a regular pleasure, you know, that that's actually part of your work, it's sustaining the activist. Um, it's helping replenish you. And it's not to say that we should just like, explore what feels good and then stay there as if that's it, there is work to do.

Fighting Injustice

There is an injustice to fight. There are things that our bodies are needed and our minds are needed and our voices are needed maybe now more than ever before. And this work over here, that pleasure practice coming back into your body, exploring what you need from your partner, letting your own past and trauma heal, reaching out for support, buying the flowers, having the glass of wine, whatever it is that makes you feel good is part of what fills you back up so that you can pour out for that. It's not to say that that's where your work ends, but it is to say that that is part of it. Pleasure is part of your resistance. It's part of your power. And it's part of how you show up as who we need.


Intimacy is the missing ingredient in your leadership.

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