Building the life we want.

A friend asked me the other day how I kept this drive. How I felt passionate about what I was doing. How I kept being inspired by what I was doing. 
Like I’m a great example of that.
I wonder to myself often just how much I can sustain, and what it means to sustain the work we do. How things are often asked of me and how, maybe, truly, I don’t want to be doing those things. How, in the things I do want to do, I don’t have the firm stance or will or grace to hold myself and others accountable for making things happen. To make things happen that are inclusive and bring people in. That we’re not building in the way we should. 
Is this what I want, I ask myself every day now. Is this what I want?
I find I do best when my experience and emotion grounds the work I do. Yet I don’t center my anger in the fights I want to fight (and win).
Am I spending more time reflecting than doing? Is there something inherently wrong in “not doing?”
I’m trying these days to make a choice and stick to it. To be decisive and make my life the way I want it. And part of that means I need to write again. 
Writing has always been a form of a status check for me, a means in which I determine if I’m in the place where I want to be in life. But I’m increasingly seeing that writing is not just a means to an end- it can be movement-building to tell your story, because, unlike alternative facts, personal life experiences cannot be challenged. It’s been easier to organize through telling stories than by giving facts or figures or statistics, because people, at the end of the day, want that human connection.
Movement building, whether in labor organizing or Asian Pacific American feminist organizing, or in educators of color organizing, in self-care and wellness, in affirming the lives of your students of color, necessitates a giving of yourself. Opening yourself to why you’re here and what you’re here for. Why are you doing this? What space and capacity do you have? What responsibilities do you have in your own life?
I’m trying my best to open up again. I often feel like, in my new school or home city I returned to less than a year ago, that people don’t know me deeply and fully. That my intent and work are questioned because I’m not known. That I haven’t proven myself yet. The people who knew me before, of course, know me, and know my vision, my passions.
Relationship-building is hard work. And it’s a lot of the work.
But I have to trust that there are others who share (part of or all of) my vision. I want to help build an education system where teachers have voice AND stand for students. Where teachers have true power in making the education system a place that’s welcoming, affirming, and sustainable for communities. Where folk of color and other marginalized communities get to share their experiences and make this a fuller world. Where I support my own community in getting there, and teach my students to think and act critically as they walk this earth. And, to do this work with love and solidarity. 
I want to write a book in ten to twenty years about how I got “here” and how we get “there.” I’m tired of folk telling me what’s good for me, and telling me the way I’m doing things is wrong. The only way to counter the gaslighting is to tell our own stories and to continue doing what we do (and do it damn well).
I’m scared, constantly, of investing in something for no payoff. That nothing I’ve built or attempted to build came to fruition. That the people I’m trying to build with are not wanting to build with me, and will just take everything we’ve done and toss it aside. Perhaps destroy it.
That’s the thing with love and building, though- there’s always the threat of loss. And I’ve lost plenty. Doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from those losses, but those losses have been felt fully and deeply. I’m trying not to let the fear of loss stop me from this dreaming.
This work will take many lifetimes to do, if climate change and capitalism do not destroy the world first. But, it is what keeps me waking up in the morning with vitality. I thought to myself on the train this morning, “Ooh, I do love my life.” I want to love this life we build together, too.


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