Today with Creole plate lunches we were talking about strategies for getting things done. We already know that in summer, to assign oneself four hours of work each day and take the rest of the time off is a wonderful, relaxing, renewing strategy. First a week’s absolute vacation, then this. So we are not talking at a basic level about discipline, “time management,” or how to work otherwise. We were talking about how to be the people who work, how to retain self respect, how to maintain lucid focus in an environment that undermines and derails.
Elements in the discussion are all topics we have explored before, but we are concentrating our ideas and making them concise. In no particular order:
- Women, under constant assault. Identities (particularly professional identities) under constant assault. Having to recover, put one’s shards back together, in order to do real work. This has to be honored and space has to be made for it, and the reconstruction has to be done consciously.
- One must fight on one’s own side.
- One must remember that other people can sometimes be wrong.
- I tend to put my work last because I put myself last.
- You have to revive yourself to revive your work.
- Dissociation and withdrawal are my reactions to trauma. I have to heal these to work. Every day.
Conversing in person on these matters I was more sophisticated and subtle than is this post, but these notes may be an aide-mémoire. The key insight is that I have to power to be supportive of myself and I do not use it — I was taught that only through self-destruction or at least passivity could one earn survival, but I can in fact use my powers on my own behalf.