I’ll let you know right now that I won’t be ending this post with any tips or advice. I write this because I believe that it is important to stay woke, but I also place a high importance on self-care and I’m struggling to find a balance between the two.
A state of perceived intellectual superiority one gains by reading The Huffington Post – Urban Dictionary
Getting woke is like being in the Matrix and taking the red pill. You get a sudden understanding of what’s really going on and find out you were wrong about much of what you understood to be the truth – Urban Dictionary
Having a high level of spiritual enlightenment. Seeing the truth with your mind’s eye, allowing you to reach higher consciousness – Urban Dictionary
Being socially aware – lil ol’ me 🙂
Read the most woke definition of woke there is here
You could say I was woke before being woke was a thing; I have always been intrigued by social injustice. My history class got me interested long before #StayWoke became a popular saying in the Twitter community. But learning about the social injustices of the past and waking up to them on a daily basis will have totally different impacts on your well-being. I want to know what’s going on in the world. I want to be educated enough to formulate my own opinions on situations. And I want to be able to understand why certain things happen to certain people and who is responsible. But I also want to be able to sleep peacefully without feeling so hopeless and useless. And it would also be great if I wasn’t constantly reminded of how cruel this world is.
So how do I do both?
At one point I thought I had found the balance. Summer 2016 felt like a war on black people. These things happen every day; I’m not oblivious to that, but this period, in particular, took its toll on me. During this period I decided to prioritise my self-care over my ability to stay woke. I stopped reading the news, I filtered my timeline and I watched my favourite Disney movies. This kept me in my happy place, at least temporarily, but it also made me ignorant.
Back in April of 2017 I tried again. I was watching Shots Fired, Underground and The Kalief Browder Story every Thursday Night and I had almost desensitised myself. Watching these shows didn’t make me woke; neither did they highlight issues I wasn’t already aware of. But developing a routine where Thursday evenings would be dedicated to increasing my emotional instability made it easier for my heart to bear. So when another unarmed black person was shot outside of a TV-drama, I didn’t feel a thing. This time I wasn’t ignorant, and my wokeness wasn’t heightened, I was simply disconnected.
But of course, social injustice doesn’t begin and end with black people. My mental state with regards to the affairs of the world still needed help. So I did a very selfish thing and stopped watching/reading the news completely. But I’m a person that likes to know everything and so that didn’t last long.
So here we are in October…
I’m still reading, watching documentaries, filtering out ridiculous conspiracy theory claims and paying too much attention to every little detail. Over time I guess my heart has learnt how to cope with the pain but it’s still there and I haven’t yet found a life-changing solution to all of the world’s problems. I’m still woke. But has there been any benefit?
I spoke about wanting to find a balance but fundamentally my intentions are selfish. Maybe there is no balance… Simple logic tells us that it’s impossible to be woke and asleep simultaneously. Ultimately, if I know what’s going on and still have a good night’s sleep, I won’t feel compelled to action. But I’m not a superhero, (yes this is me being selfish again), and I don’t want to be! Yet I can’t shake this constant battle in my mind where I feel somewhat responsible for doing my part.
Sometimes we just need to be or simply exist. But we can’t ignore what is going on around us…can we? I’m privileged to know some very interesting people: some who have dreams of changing the world and some who just want to change their own lives. I have the utmost respect and love for both of them. But I feel like I’m the only one stuck in the middle and quite frankly, staying woke is overwhelming!
As a final note, I will say this: staying woke and being happy are not mutually exclusive. A combination of time, meditation and isolation have taught me that the world will be what it will be. We as humans have the power to make an impact but we cannot change people’s hearts. Only God can do this. So although staying woke is extremely overwhelming, it is just another thing I have to hand over to the Father if I want to remain at peace with myself.
Stay Woke/Schleep/Happy (delete as you find appropriate),
Would you describe yourself as woke? If so, how do you maintain good mental health? Let me know in the comments!