Illustration by Alyssa Maziarz
Today’s world is facing many challenges; one of the most obvious would be the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the lives of everyone on Earth. As the world had to fall dormant in its typical functionality, people all over the world woke up to many other illnesses found within society: murders and brutal arrests of Black people have brought awareness to more people about police brutality, fires blazing across the west coast have directed attention to our current climate crisis, and young people have been fighting to make their voices heard by encouraging others to vote. Maybe it’s just a result of my age — finally being old enough to view the world uncensored — but I have never seen or heard of events occuring like this before.
There are so many things to learn about and to advocate for. Honestly, each of these topics is so large and significant that they deserve their own blog posts. Today, though, I am going to do my best to discuss the one thing that brings all of these issues together: you, the readers and myself. I have only just entered the world of adulthood; I opened the door and hit the ground running into genuine chaos. Entering college as the world literally caught fire raises burning questions for my livelihood: How in the world am I supposed to make sense of it all so suddenly? Where in the world do I start to look? What in the world am I going to fight for first? I’m sure a lot of readers have these same questions.
Everywhere I look, people are screaming their opinions at me. People are begging for their voices to be heard. At first, I thought that the best course of action was to scream back. It was deafening. What I learned was to not scream back; Nothing good ever results from it. In order to put the fires out, pour water, not gas. Our job is to take the bad things in the world and do the best we can to make them good. Education is the most powerful force; read as much as you can, watch videos or listen to podcasts. Living in the digital age is an advantage! Patience, compassion and understanding are the most important and valuable virtues right now.
So, when the fires inside of you burn out, where do you go?
What happens when you look up from it all and realize you forgot to advocate for the most important thing: yourself?
Take this week’s post as a mental check-in:
Where are your thoughts right now?
When was the last time you unclenched your jaw, relaxed your shoulders, or even stretched within the last week?
Have you eaten?
Look around. Is it time to clean up your physical space (it’s helpful for cleaning the mental space, too)?
Do you need someone to talk to?
It’s okay — I know that the internet does a phenomenal job of turning self-care into a guilt trip, but when people are constantly faced with defeat, it puts some wear and tear on the soul. Understand that you are not alone, and that it is okay to advocate for yourself amidst the thousands of other issues that we must keep fighting for. Remember, though: you cannot save the world if you are barely keeping yourself afloat.
Forgive yourself for taking a step back from the world in order to survive. Understand that as much as you’re fighting to keep the planet safely inhabitable, you also need yourself healthy enough to inhabit it. It’s okay. If you need permission, I’ll grant it: Give yourself time. Give yourself care. The fight will continue tomorrow. You can always come back to it when you’re ready.
Take care of yourself, friends.
Deweese Health Center (Kent, Ohio): (330) 672-2322
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (888) 273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741-741
Portage Path Support Hotline: (330) 434-9144
POrtage Path Psychiatric Emergency Services: (330) 762-6110
Sara Borkman is a first-semester blogger for The Burr. She is a freshman integrated language arts major and hopes to become a teacher one day. Sara has a passion for music and has learned four instruments (and counting!) in the duration of her lifetime, as well as singing and dancing. In her free time, she can usually be found at her favorite coffee shop or hanging out with her pet goldendoodle. She is a cum laude graduate of Twinsburg High School. You can follow her on instagram @saraborkman.