I’ve been reflecting a lot on care work. I’ve talked about the labor that comes from having to invest emotionally in your tasks and in others. And as a Black woman, I think a lot about the expectation of care work that comes from my gendered and racialized existence in this world. Those of us who are not white and cis-male are often looked upon to provide care to those around us, regardless of their relation to us. We are often the ones looked to to be “kind” and “nice” and “accommodating” to complete strangers or mere acquaintances, even when the circumstances don’t call for it. We’re expected to engage in the emotional labor of doing this work, without compensation or recognition, with a willing smile and heart.
We are expected to care and to work at that care for the benefit of others. We are expected to enjoy this and not burn out or get tired. And when we fail in any respect—through frustration or crankiness or not providing the care a person thought they deserved from us—we are quickly labeled as “angry” and “divisive” and “unprofessional.”
I enjoy the activist work and awareness-raising that I do, here on my blog, on Twitter, and elsewhere. I do it in part because I benefit from being able to walk through my journey and process my experiences in those spaces. Even when those spaces aren’t always safe for me or when it involves risk. And I love that so many others feel they can learn from me and grow. It gladdens me to see my work bearing fruit for others’ journeys.
And yet, sometimes value needs to be expressed as more than good feelings and an encouraging word. Sometimes care work just needs to be paid for.
So, I’ve started a Paypal.me for anyone interested in contributing to my work. I’m not putting any of my content behind a paywall, but I am asking that if you benefit from my work and are able, please drop in a contribution.
Let’s keep learning and growing together.