Last week I attended the BAMEOTUK Symposium, and I loved every minute! Although I am a white person I did relate to a lot of what the speakers were saying about activism. This made me think about my activism and activism as a meaningful occupation.
I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while and I spoke about this when I did an account takeover for DisruptOT at the end of March. But I’ve been reluctant to write a blog about it.
Who am I to talk about an occupation that rarely gets discussed as a newly qualified occupational therapist? Who do I think I am? Yet, it’s something that I do want to address and explore in more detail, so this is me exploring! It might be a rubbish blog, I have no idea where this will go but let’s try something different…
I love being an activist. Activism started off being something that I thought I might quite like to now being an integral part of my life making me the person I am today. Activism requires multiple occupations and skills. No matter what the main focus of your activism is. Side note: as a disabled activist I can not truly be a disabled activist without acknowledging intersectionality. Skills, such as campaigning, and social media skills (although I’m still yet to master the art of reel making) and you have to have a lot of knowledge. I think this knowledge gets overlooked.
Of course, I’ve learnt along the way. My activism is a whole lot more political now than what it was but you have to know your stuff. I’ve learnt so much this year when writing my book. Helping me to have more of an understanding when unpicking systemic ableism. I think this is why I like blogging so much. When I blog, I just tap away at my keyboard reflecting, thinking out loud without it having to be this almost journalistic-style piece. But when I write a guest blog or I’m on guest a panel I feel the pressure and question my views on conversations that I so openly talk about on NSTP. Why? I honestly don’t know I am always so excited when I get asked to do such events but when I’m in the moment I have such imposters syndrome.
Yet, I love that I question myself and am so open to learning. I mean it’s quite annoying when you freeze on a panel. Yet, listening and learning from others is to me, more exciting than producing pieces of work through my activism as that’s how I grow as an activist. I am aware I’m only a year into practice not even in a traditional role and I do have privileges which I have to acknowledge to better my activism. We need to learn from others and be critically diverse and thanks to the BAMEOTUK Symposium I have accepted this.
Being an activist is tiring and as an activist with an energy-limiting condition some days I am drained and don’t have the energy to fight every battle. That’s okay, we all pick our battles.
I couldn’t wait to announce on social media that I had a publishing contract. I was so proud of myself and so thankful to everyone who’s supported me that it was such a privilege to finally be able to share my news with you all. Yet, I felt a lot of imposter syndrome upon announcing this. Strangely more than I’d experienced in the 7-months prior that I’d known this potentially may be happening. This is because I suddenly started to question if my book was going to meet people’s expectations (I’m not going to tell you in what way because I’m not ruining anything). I emailed Margret in such a panic.
The truth is, it probably won’t. For some people, it will meet their expectations and the style of how the book is set won’t shock them. For others, they might think I would have taken a different approach. I struggled with this for a while and still do.
I still have a long list of things I want to talk about to try and meet what I think everyone wants and the high bar I’ve set. Yet, I will miss things and when that realisation comes I’ll be gutted. But I’m halfway through writing now and I can’t include everything. What I must focus on is the fact that my book proposal got accepted and is wanted by a publisher. Yes, it can’t include everything. I know things will have altered as my activism develops in the years ahead. But as long as we do something about it that doesn’t matter. We all learn and grow and it takes this time and growth to make a change.
So, what does disabled activism as an occupation look like? Well, there is no one definition and this blog hasn’t even touched the surface. But to me being an activist is about being brave to challenge the status quo and not falling at the first hurdle (sorry for going deep). I told you I had no idea where this was heading!
We all have to think critically!
What does your activism look like?
Thank you for reading,