Gratitude haiku III (with a serious catch)

Dear President Biden,

There’s space in my head
for quiet. I can hear ducks
quack as they fly North.

Thank you for this.

There’s still plenty to do, including some missteps to call out and some strongly preferred directions to encourage, but I’m grateful for the longish stretches of quiet in my head. I hadn’t realized how much I was missing of what was happening around me when I was almost constantly preoccupied with the latest 20 horrid things your predecessor had just done or was threatening to do. In some ways I miss the fiery edge that being so revved up gave me, but I know living it 24/7 it wasn’t healthy or sustainable.

All that said, I just went looking for whoever it was that coined the phrase “activism is a marathon, not a sprint” and instead came across a brilliant blog piece by a White woman named Jemma Balmer critiquing this idea and calling out (or really, calling in) White people who might be tempted to indulge in this sort of thinking.

I do believe that being keyed up and in “fight” (or flight or freeze) mode all the time isn’t healthy or sustainable for anyone and personally, I don’t want to live that way. In fact, I know that I can’t live that way for long. The thing is, though, that as a White person, I get to step back from the antiracism fight pretty much whenever I want to (or perceive that I need to), but BIPOC people don’t get to do this. And this work of existing while Black or brown in America isn’t something they signed up for even though they pay the race entry fees over and over and over again and stay out on the course their whole lives.

So really, until this fundamental disparity is ancient history, I’m going to treasure the quiet head stretches and do my best to use them as fuel to get my butt back out there and into the fray.

May we all be truly safe.
May we all be willing to at least try some basic perspective taking.
May we all be strong and ego-healthy enough to take risks out in the fray.
May we accept that if there’s no justice, there’s no real peace for anyone.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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