I had this revelation yesterday that solidified my belief that I’m different from many other activists; and that revelation is this: I’m happy. Okay, okay, I’m not happy all the time, but mostly I’m just happy. Stressed, but happy. (However, having 5 kids will do that to a woman.) Now, this is not to say that other activists aren’t happy, however, many are angry, frustrated, and jaded after working for years on a single cause. I hope to never become this. The word activists is associated with the word ‘militant’. That just doesn’t suit me. That’s why I’m “The Happy Activist”. However, it is with the utmost certainty that I am, indeed, an Activist.
It hit me like a bolt of lightening the other day as I was conversing with a woman who has spent many, many years advocating for women’s rights. Although I do admire her greatly, I become easily turned off by her constant state of frustration about our social and political status. However, I must say her obvious frustration drives her passion and she has been a leader in my community for many years for a very good reason.
I have come across many jaded activists during my time with National Organization for Women, and I am positive it is the nature of pushing for social change on a constant, and seemingly never- ending basis that makes any activist, for any issue, jaded. It’s like these activists are so enmeshed with a cause that they live and breath every issue that comes before them. Therefore, it prevents them from being able to take a step back and see the bigger picture, because if they did they might be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, if even just a moment.
So, I wonder: is there an expiration date for happiness for activists? If so, is there any way to get around it, because I don’t want to stop being HAPPY!
-The Happy Activist