Photos by Sharon H. Chang
by Sharon H. Chang
The other night at a Mixie Mixer (monthly meeting for radicalized multiracial-ID folk) two fierce sisters shared with and affirmed for me 4 keys to resiliency: animals, nature, spirituality, creativity. It was such a relief to hear this blossom from their lips. Over the last years I’ve been passionately prolific in scholarly activist work. But recently I’ve started to get overcome by exhaustion, racial fatigue, others pushback ranging from moderate to aggressive, people’s bullshit in general, continual bad news in the news, etc. All of which then began to twist itself into knots of depression, hopelessness, resignation, cynicism, isolation and an overall feeling of being just ragged-edge jaded.
I felt like I was on a fast-sinking ship called Sharon H. Chang. And — to use an overused adage — it was pretty blatantly obvious I was at a “sink or swim” passage. So. I talked to people. I got help. I asked for advice. I thought. And I thought some more. I really wasn’t sure where I was going to find mental peace but decided to just follow my gut. I knew going on walks in nature brought me some sort of calm (as long as I didn’t use my smartphone). I knew spending time with my family, my son and my animals brought me maybe not calm but a feeling of fullness (as long as I didn’t use my smartphone). And after thinking long and hard about probably needing a so-called hobby, I got out my camera again after almost ten years (can’t use smartphone at same time).
Little did I know it but I had steered myself toward some kind of humanity, hope and survival once more. And then hearing my sisters encapsulate and affirm that survival in four succinct, beautiful words — animals, nature, spirituality, creativity — I felt as if I might be coming full circle. So this Thursday? I’m in a good place and I’m hanging on to it for now. Here’s to never giving up and finding our spirit and energy again even when we thought it might be gone forever.