We Can’t All Be Ginsburgs (And That’s OK)

We Can’t All Be Ginsburgs (And That’s OK) September 20, 2020

Image credit: Katie Gerrard @ Manic Pagan Dream Grrl for Patheos

On hearing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, the first thing I felt was fear. Fear for the American people (quite literally my American cousins), but also for the world. The barrier which had so often stood between common decency and the self-serving pushes of the Trump administration was gone.

That feeling was swiftly replaced by awe.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew how key her role was, and she kept on giving of her energy and self. She never gave up fighting for America and for justice. History will never forget her.

I also wondered who could replace her? Who will step into her shoes and hold the burning torch to light the way for freedom and social justice going forward?

There may never be another Ginsburg.

She fought tirelessly whilst at the same time fighting her own personal health battles. And by that we don’t mean a health blip here and there, we’re talking years and years of various resurgences of cancer.

Through radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and good old-fashioned age tiredness she just kept going.

I did a bit of background reading and realised when Clinton put her into post in the 90s, she was also a single parent.

Then I felt really inadequate.

If RBG can do all of what she did whilst dying of cancer, whilst being a single mother, why is it some days I can’t even put a blog post together?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fall into the “having it all” trap. Not at all. I’m a bit of a slattern. I don’t play house, I haven’t dusted in months, and I barely worked at all during the covid-stopped-childcare summer holidays.

It’s not like I’m trying to be a super woman, but I do feel I should be doing more.

When I see what others achieve, particularly for social justice and civil rights movements, I feel guilt that I personally can’t and don’t do more.

And the thought I should do more to help the world actively stops me doing the things I can do to help it.

Those old friends, executive dysfunction and self-criticism conspiring to make me think “what’s the point?” every time I try and start anything.

I have ‘excuses’ sure, and as excuses go, they aren’t bad. My bipolar means I can either do the work of three people before breakfast or I can’t brush my teeth before 5pm. I’ve learnt to live for the energised days and accept the tired ones as just part of my reality.

I’ve had to learn to be proud of whatever achievements I’ve made that week and I also recognise sometimes the smallest of my actions can have the widest consequences.

The truth is we can’t all be RBG’s and that’s ok, because individually we can all give our own effort and be part of the change.

Maybe I’ll never have a legacy as great as Ginsburg, but the positive actions I put into the world will all live on. (And I say ‘maybe’ like I’m not a 41 year old bipolar bitch who forgets to press send on emails.)

The world doesn’t need a million RBG’s. It needs a million sparks of humanity, drops of inspiration on the finger, and a butterfly flapping it’s wings to the tune of “All you fascists are bound to lose” over by the white cliffs of the Kent coast.

It needs people to sign petitions and share Facebook posts; litter pickers and tin cans donated to food banks.

I’m the butterfly not the barrier between good and evil.

And I’m ok with that.

You don’t have to be holding back the tides single handed like an activist Canute. Sometimes the dam needs a single finger, sometimes it needs a chain of bodies arm in arm.

Small actions build up.

Everything you do to make the world a better place drips into the ocean of positive action.

As witches we spend a lot of time directing energy into world peace or earth healing, knowing it’s but a slither in the ether but that every drop counts.

Our actions are the same.

We need to take every opportunity to speak out against injustice.

I hear people say what good does a petition signature or a black fist on your profile picture really do?

It creates solidarity.

Those who have the resources and energy to make a change know there’s a wave of support for the steps they take. A silent army walks behind them offering drinks and putting plasters on blisters. If you can’t make big changes yourself, you can cheer on those who do. They’re no longer solitary voices shouting into the crackle of white noise. Your solidarity turns up their volume. Like a siren song calling to others to join the fight. Reminding dyed in the wool republicans it’s ok to not vote for Trump because he damages Republicanism as much as he damages America as a whole.

Every day when I wake up, I feel despair that I can’t change the world. But life often gives me the tools to change the world for one person at a time.

I hold onto that thought each morning and every day I look for one small thing I can do, one tiny action which can make someone else’s day or spread positivity.

I can’t change the world.

But I can become part of the tidal wave which does.

Don’t let your despair of what you can’t do stop you from achieving the things you can, however small. Each action is significant.

About Katie Gerrard
Wiccan by lineage, heathen by heart. I’m an author, workshop facilitator, and photographer. I can follow rules, but I don’t follow expectations Stereotype me at your peril! You can read more about the author here.

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