Some Last Words (on the BZF and Leaving NYC)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spread of watch parts and descriptions of watchmaker industry.

I'm moving out of NYC, my home of the past six years, today. I'll be setting off for a wild and woolly adventure around the country and the globe (in case you weren't aware of my travel plans, take a look!). I'm going to be taking some time to seriously commit to my work as a writer and healer by first giving myself some well-deserved space and self-nourishment.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been feeling mixed about leaving! I feel like there's a lot that I could still do in NYC, the most recent example being with the Brooklyn Zine Fest response and aftermath. As an update: we donated a good chunk of money to the Audre Lorde Project by soliciting donations during the reinstated Black Lives Matter panel (which I heard went well, based on the Tweets!) and selling Black Women Matter zines via Underground Sketchbook. Several zinesters also donated their proceeds to the cause, which was fabulous. And there were plenty of folks who were interested in continuing the conversation about keeping DIY spaces accountable to POC voices - names/emails were collected and a brainstorming meeting is forthcoming (if you're interested in joining in, email nyczinegroup [at] gmail [dot] com for more info!).

Basically, a lot of energy went into responding. And I'm both grateful for and tired out by it.

Organizing people is not only a logistical challenge, but also emotionally taxing. No matter whether the motivation is a healthy rage or a deep care for someone, it takes a lot of energy. We only have to look to recent news, with unimaginable tragedies from the Nepal earthquake to the protests for Freddie Gray to see that people are putting in tons of emotional labor. And it shouldn't be made invisible. Though only a small drop in comparison, there were moments during this process of putting out a response to BZF, planning my other workshops, while packing where I just wanted to say 'I am a human being with feelings, and I need rest.'

I won't give you another Dispatch from Burnout Land, but I will say how excited I am that I get to choose this upcoming path and spend time to recalibrate. I articulated it best to a friend this week: the work is important, but in many ways I am the work. In the end, I can only change me. As with the nights (and afternoons) when I've crashed after a baby's been born, I must remind myself that sometimes nothing is more important than rest. Taking care of me and knowing my needs/wants help me provide better care to others.

My bags are packed or shipped, I've said many a heartfelt goodbye, and I fly out tonight. Grateful to the many people who have made my experience in NYC both wondrous and survivable, a place of possibility and grand design. Here's to leaving our comforts to see where we can land.

Other things that I've been super proud of recently are: 1) getting my article on the capitalism of jealousy published on BlackGirlDangerous and 2) hosting a really lovely zine workshop at the Brooklyn Museum this past weekend. Take a gander at the article and don't hesitate to Tweet me with your thoughts!