It is a new year. And yet it feels very old. Or maybe it’s that I feel very old.
The value of rest is such a hard lesson to learn. It is completely antithetical to the message of capitalism. Capitalism is all about new! And more! And innovate! Especially in this new world of branded people and thought leaders and girlbosses. It’s not enough to be good at one thing; you have to be good at many things. You have to create an empire.
Social media doesn’t help. It encourages us to build brands and ultimately empires. Have a side hustle or three. Turn your hobbies into money! Hustle and grind!
I have had sickle cell since i was born, and for the most part I had my body figured out. Dress warm, hydrate, balance conference going and outings with twice the amount of rest. But I am still getting used to the addition of chronic kidney disease and dialysis. It’s like learning to be disabled, when I’m already disabled.
I deferred my phd for a year to do that learning. And I took the year off to hopefully get a new kidney before starting one of the most challenging adventure yet.
It is really hard for me to slow down. Even now, I find myself ramping up on the amount of workshops and consulting I’m taking on (email if interested!). Perhaps some may find it ironic, given my scholarship, but I truly love what I do. I love speaking to other library workers about vocational awe and advocating for themselves. I love facilitating workshops on microagressions and white supremacy. I love doing EDI audits for organizations— the research and the interviews and writing the reports—I love it all. It makes me happy that in my small way I am changing the world for the better.
It sounds borderline doesn’t it? Fobazi are you seeing your work as a vocation??? Well no. But I do love libraries and librarianship. And I want to do my part to decrease the gap between the espoused ideals and the disappointing, white supremacist reality.
-takes a breath-
I’m attending a friend and professional colleague’s memorial this weekend. She is one of four Black women and library workers who died in the year 2021. Librarianship is continuing to grind us into dust. It utterly breaks my heart when I hear another library worker of color I know has died. There are already so few of us, we can’t afford to lose anymore. When I end my presentations quoting Audré Lorde on how radical and political rest is, it is truly life or death for me. Covid-19 and all of its variants have shown all of loud and clear that our lives mean nothing as long as the institution can keep moving forward. Work cannot love you back.
Life was meant to have a time of rest and rejuvenation. Bears hibernate, leaves fall off the trees, and the earth takes a breath so it can bloom again. The ministry of rest and rejuvenation is so important (see Nap Ministry). Rest is the hardest, but most important lesson to learn. Human life, as it is now, especially with covid is antithetical to the concept of rest. It will never make it easy on you. But I beg of you—seize all the rest you can. Claw time out of your day and week and life to rest. Use whatever method or whatever metaphor you need to separate yourself from the grind of work. Please.
This post is a reminder to myself to take my own advice. I don’t want to be another memorial service that has to be organized amongst my friends and library community. I don’t want to go any more zoom memorials. I want us all to take a deep breath, rest, and live.