I have been able to lead a life where I can cultivate the type of people I spend time with and build with. My chosen community consist of queer, radical and open-minded folks. My time in St. Lucia earlier this year had me around more cis-hetero people than I am used to. They were all older and many subscribed to very different politics than me. I can only imagine how they read my queer self throughout our week together. I believe they would say I was idealistic and perhaps naive. This tends to be the reactions folks give you when you believe you can create the world you want to live in and question things they have been taught are facts.
I spent the night of my birthday writing a mission statement for my year and my life. I wanted something that could serve as a guide of who I strive to be and a document for my community and loved one’s to hold me accountable when I fall short or forget.
Tab’s Mission Statement
It is Tab’s mission and desire to undergo transformative, radical and sustainable growth.
Transformative in the way that it transforms not only Tab but those around Tab, particularly the communities that Tab is accountable to. This means practicing listening as well as vocalizing the things that Tab has previously been uncomfortable and afraid of saying. This means understanding and recognizing how interconnected we all are. Remembering and cherishing the values we all bring into our communities. Reminding oneself of how much we must learn from others.
Radical in the sense that Tab was not been given the tools to love Tab’s Black, queer, female-bodied, GNC self fully. Remembering that it is a political act to love ourselves and others fully. It is Tab’s goal to practice intimacy, vulnerability and accountability in platonic, romantic, personal and professional relationships. To engage in a practice of showing up for people, how they need Tab to show up. This means not presuming to know what is best for others. Practicing forgiveness and reconciliation whenever possible. Remembering it is ok to step back and breathe.
Radical in the sense that Tab must fight capitalist ideas such as “production” and “consumption.” This means Tab must practice not measuring their worth in what they can produce in a given day, month, or year. Tab must also be mindful of the products and ideas Tab consume. This means eating organic and local products whenever possible. Purchasing fair trade products, preparing meals for Tab and those Tab loves. Divesting from companies that support apartheid Israel, profit from prison labor and engage in other exploitative business practices.
Tab recognizes change can be a slow and arduous process. Tab must give themselves and others grace as we implement the changes in ourselves and work for greater liberation in our world. Rather than commit to huge life-altering steps, it is important for Tab to engage in changes and relationships that are sustainable. Is it feasible in Tab current life to never eat out or stop purchasing processed food? Or rather is a more sustainable for Tab to be conscious of the choices Tab makes with food and try to make better choices as much as possible?
Is it sustainable for Tab to continue one-side relationships where Tab’s needs rarely if ever get met? Is it sustainable and a best practice to wait until the night before to create lesson plans and/or grade? Is it sustainable to commit to meditation for an hour each day? What are ways that Tab can shift their relationship with things Tab “hates”? An example could be grading. Shifting this negative relationship could include spreading out grading, creating more exciting assignments or utilizing non-traditional assessments. grading prompts.
Is the way Tab receives money (employment) sustainable to Tab’s mental, emotional, spiritual and financial health? If not, how might I create sustainable and life-affirming financial stream. How might Tab engage in a practice that is patient and gentle with themselves as they create this stream?
Who does Tab give money to? Do their vision for the future aligns with Tab’s? Do their policies and business practices have a negative effect on the world? For Tab this means divesting from the “fast-fashion industry” (see “The True Cost”). This looks like rather than paying for a blazer from J. Crew, that might have been made in unsafe working conditions in SE Asia, hiring those in the community to make and/or rehab a blazer for Tab.
The mission statement serves as Tab’s intentions and check points for accountability. The statements reminds Tab of their values and serves as a check point for decisions Tab makes. These values may shift and change organically, and new ones may emerge.
While I wrote this statement for myself, I want to reiterate this statement is for everyone I am in community with. I desire and encourage you to hold me lovingly accountable as we create a more just world. I plan to share with you my progress on this journey.