rachel ▽ koelzer
// flashback to 2008, at the height of my activism, in terms of time, knowledge of current events, and passion for politics and social issues.
I spent years after leaving MSU eschewing politics — slightly ironic considering I had belonged to the Public Policy college. I was burnt out, fatigued from my own strife-filled personal life and feeling powerless. Those years after were filled with some of the toughest times. Frequent partying, depression, anxiety, apathy. I found other ways to be active in my community, but I shrank the world around me. Then, life changed again. I found yoga, a great therapist, I worked on myself intensely. I spent a few years, more interested in the world around me, filled with more hope and light, but I still avoided large-scale issues and activism. It was too painful.
Looking back, I see a circle. The first bit, a focus too external. I was always worried about others, their thoughts and opinions and feelings. I didn't place any value upon myself, and I grew resentful and angry and afraid, spawning selfishness, when the world didn't move as I wanted it to. In the second shift, I turned inward. I learned more about self-care, self-love. I focused on myself — now less as a reaction to hurt, more with a need to forgive and love. I really tried to learn myself inside and out.
Things have begun to shift in the past few months, largely sparked by my shift in racial identity and this year's abhorrent election. I'm still figuring out the balance between focusing on others and taking care of myself, and I suspect it's a road I'll be on for most of my life. And I'm ok with that. Right now, I feel the pull to act again. To use my growing sense of self, of roots grounded deep within me, to now branch outward again.
Here's to the first march/rally I participated in at 19. Now, nearly 10 years later, with yet another president on the horizon, I will march again. This time, a little less euphoric, with a little more weight on my shoulders and heaviness in my heart, but with a heart still expanding and hoping and believing that together, we can.