If You Need a Moment, Take a Moment

Nov 01, 2023

I want to start with a short story. When I worked at The Lark Theatre, I wrote a piece for our blog that was entitled “It’s okay NOT to write about it” as a response to all of the #MeToo stories that came out. As a survivor (a word I still haven’t decided if I like or not), I felt pressured to share my story on the internet as I watched others doing. I felt that, as everyone else told their stories, that I almost owed my story to the world to prove that I too had suffered. It almost felt as though, if I didn’t tell my story online, was I even part of the movement? It was as though I felt the only way to be validated in my experience was to have it liked and shared and commented on online. 

I grappled with the idea of writing my story for weeks until I realized, if I were struggling with this, I bet thousands of other people were too. So, I focused my article on not owing anyone my story. That the validity of my experience and part in the  movement didn’t come from what I put on social media but the fact that I knew it for myself. 

I’m telling this story because, what I’d like to do is offer this blog as an opportunity for it and me to hold space for you. My hope is that, for just the length of this blog, that you do your best to let go of the need to “learn” anything and rather spend the time breathing, being present with yourself, and reflecting on the places you have the power to share that sense of ease with others. I’m writing this blog both as a form of care for myself and, hopefully, as a way to take a step back and breathe for those reading it. 

I know we all have different forms of healing and working through things. For some people maybe the internet and social media is the place to do that, a sort of void of catharsis, and for others (myself included) the internet is an incredibly overwhelming, emotionally draining, and triggering place. I had sat down to write this blog a multitude of times. Each time I’ve gotten a sentence or two in before thinking I was going about it all wrong. I was overwhelmed by the urgency of tech-week and the horrors of current events in the world. Social media has become a way we prove to ourselves and others how much we care. In many ways, it can be an incredible tool for good and evoking social change. Simultaneously, it’s been proven to take a monstrous toll on our mental health. Whether we are posting images of our self-care spa day or our thoughts and healing wishes regarding the atrocities happening across the world, we use it to try to prove to others that we care — both for ourselves and the world around us. If it isn’t seen by everyone on Instagram that I care, how will they know that I do? We’ve taken the sentiment of caring and capitalized on it – companies sell self care for profit and individuals post for likes and comments. Care has an exchange rate in capitalism.

I write this because again, like at The Lark, I know that there are likely many of you out there who are grappling with balancing their mental health alongside what’s happening in the world. Perhaps even some of you are like me and handling that at the same time as tech-week. I want to remind you that even if you don’t repost or share your thoughts and experiences with the internet, that does not diminish how much and how deeply you care for others. If anything, you are showing yourself how much you care for yourself. And while that may sometimes be seen as selfish, then be selfish because we cannot care for others effectively unless we are caring for ourselves fully first. 

In decolonization studies, one of the fundamental aspects of the practice is the re-centering of caretakers. In our capitalistic society, our focus is on increasing revenue and the center of our world is product based. In indigenous culture, the central focus is on caretakers – of the land and each other. We saw a slight bit of decolonizing practices happening during COVID with caretakers when essential workers, nurses, and therapists were being applauded daily. The people we focused on most and who helped us get through it were the ones who took care of us. Now, as society has started to forget the importance and impact that caring for ourselves held a few years ago, I want to remind you of it. We are at our most full, our most communal, and our most human when we spend the time to truly care for ourselves and each other. 

Maybe this little article doesn’t help. That’s absolutely okay. Maybe it does. Either way, I hope that it reminds you to truly hold space for yourself and others. Not in a virtual manner, but in a kinesthetic and fully present one. To put down the phone when you need to, to step outside and breathe fresh air for a minute, to connect with someone close to you and physically be present with them, to set your boundaries unapologetically and stand by them. The difference that 10 minutes may make in your life is profound and, I promise you, nothing bad will happen if you let yourself log out of all things for just 10 minutes.

I offer one of my favorite community guidelines that I like to bring into spaces which is “If you need a moment, take a moment.” I offer that to you now with the knowledge that a moment is as long as you need it to be. Without caring for ourselves, we cannot effectively care for those around us.


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