I would like to address my activist sisters, human rights activists from my region. They are reliable, honest, dedicated and dedicated women, girls who live by leaving their interests far behind, risking their health and even lives. We often discuss values, ideas, events during our meetings, but then, after a month or two, we may find out that one of us was thinking about suicide or was in somatic pain. They talk about it as if it were a seasonal cold or about flowers growing in summer. I am amazed at this neglect of myself, even though I myself was one of those who lived in this mode. We were like warriors, ascetics, who could stay awake on a soft bed for months and not eating delicious food, where every day we get up as if we were fighters at war. And ambushes, bullets, wounds are waiting for us everywhere – at home, on the street, in a minibus, at work, on the way home, in our social networks, in communication with strangers and even with relatives. Hardened by our pain, we do not know at all what it means to live a peaceful life. We look like war veterans which try to get adapted to live peacefully. Such a regime undoubtedly bears fruit – good and bad. The good is that our ideas are spreading, we have like-minded people, our «benefactors» wake up, get stronger, get support. The bad is that persecution begins, «witch hunting».
Now I am abroad, dedicating my time to working on my inner world, I have moved to a safe distance from triggers, although post-traumatic syndrome, earned over the years, still makes itself felt. And what do I see? I see my sisters living on the edge of a precipice. How they’re surrounded by triggers and people that hurt them. They can be filled up with positive communication for a while, a share of humor and laughter in the conversation, and then they have to go back into battle. It hurts me to watch these girls burning themselves trying to light the way for others. For the most part, their work is ungrateful, invaluable to their contemporaries. And what do I want to tell them?
Stop for a while. Dedicate time to yourself. Before taking care of others, listen to yourself – what do you want? You want to create a safe space for others while you risk yourself are on the battlefield. There is a proverb: «Save yourself and you will save thousands.» Girls, you can’t go out on such a difficult path, armed only with enthusiasm. You need flak jackets, transport, good regime and shelter. We simply do not even have our own space, every time we are looking for a cozy place to meet and not always successful by finding it. You have already done a lot, in my memory it is a few years in the non-stop mode: projects, actions, social networks, articles, programs, the field work with the younger generation. If this continues, you will just turn into ashes. You can’t go on like this!
I ask you now to pay attention to yourself. Restore yourself. Rise from the ashes. Think about safety strategies. Find your place of peace, a place of strength, to make contact with other participants, to do what gives you strength: singing, dancing, yoga, massage, etc. To live a life that is as if there isn’t all this war going on. Try a taste of peaceful life. Then – to decide on the goals, objectives, strategy and most importantly with resources – do not take on everything. Take as much as you can take and you will stay in good shape. Cut off the toxic contacts. Create a safe space.
Life is a series of cycles. Perhaps now is a high time for the cycle of rest and recovery. Girls, it’s time to create space, opportunity, a place of strength for yourself. Save yourselves. And you will save tens of thousands.