#Chillafathon and Knowing When to Step Back

June 15, 2016

I hosted my first ever #chillafathon this past weekend. I use the term "hosted" very loosely, since I basically stopped checking in on the hashtag by Saturday. I don't feel guilty, because this event was about making a concerted effort to take a load off. I'm not good at that by nature, and after a particularly trying couple of weeks and a brain buzzing with anxiety, I knew something had to give.

And it was wonderful. I read. I slept. I tidied my apartment. I took myself out for a wonderful dinner. I made spontaneous plans with friends. I drank a good deal of beer and wine. I honestly can't remember the last time that I relaxed so thoroughly. Even now, by mid-week, I am calm.

It's a good time to be calm. If you've stuck around Shaina Reads for a while, you know that I believe in knowing what's going on in the world and bearing witness to all of it, good and bad. A lot of bookish people feel the same way, and I love this about them. They are so engaged with raising up the voices of those who would otherwise go unheard and exposing the atrocities in the world for what they are.

Naturally, on Sunday, everyone in my Twitter feed was reeling from the news of the massacre in Orlando in my home state of Florida.

That day, I remembered my commitment to taking care of myself (to the spirit of #chillafathon, which suddenly seemed like such a glib moniker) and made a deliberate decision to log off. The news of the shooting was devastating, but I knew that scrolling through social media all day would not change that. I went to the park with friends, and then we met others at a concert. The performers asked for a moment of silence for Orlando, and I closed my eyes and thought about how grateful I was that people I knew from high school were safe and how sorry I was that so many more were not. And then I enjoyed the music.

It's so easy to feel guilty for taking a step back, but an acquaintance from college, one committed to making the world safe for anyone who does not identify as straight and cisgender, put why we shouldn't so well:

There's so much more to say, but I'll leave it at that. Take care, each and every one of you.

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