Feeling the Okay-est with Myself
by Chrisant Raisha
This is Raisha from Indonesia. I was a participant of Io’s Feminist Activist School on Facilitation as Feminist Leadership Praxis. I spent half of my annual working leave to attend this training. and this is one of the best decisions I made in 2019. LOL
I was very happy and comfortable with the overall training. I never experienced this teaching style before. The trainings I usually attended were classroom types where everyone would just sit and pay attention to the facilitator with one or two exercises. Both Susana George and Luz Martinez facilitated in different styles but it worked for all of us (or at least for me). The lecturers, exercises and group discussions were all exciting. Everything Susanna and Luz taught was new to me and it was eye-opening.
There are two highlights I would like to remember. First, is about safe space. As a feminist, we always talk about creating a safe space where everyone is welcome and since we are collective movement, discussion is our breath. But I have never experienced HOW this safe space is being set. How to make sure that a safe space is indeed a safe space? So, if you welcome everyone, is everyone actually being included throughout the discussion? Or are we going through the same phase like in non-feminist discussion where just one person talks and dominates the whole conversation while the rest ends up listening and then insist it’s a safe space?
Susanna and Luz taught different styles of facilitation where the facilitator minds, takes into account that everyone is different, and how then to facilitate that diversity. For example, some people like to talk, and some people don’t but they might have an interesting opinion that maybe everyone would like to hear. How to extract that thought from such a person and everyone else?
Second is about the little reflection time we did at the end of each training day. We formed a closing circle where everyone could share their feelings, emotions or whatever and if someone didn’t want to share, that’s okay too.
The notion of this reflection is for everyone to be aware and understand ourselves. Susanna underlined the importance of knowing ourselves before facilitating others.
This is what I’ve been applying everyday. I have been keeping a journal on my emotions and feelings that I experience throughout the day. I question them. For example, I usually have this bad prejudice against some people and how they behave in certain situations that involve me. But since I now understand that it’s just my prejudice, I see the possibility it would actually happen is small or maybe it will never happen. Yet since it’s in my head, it still gives me a headache. So, I write that down and ask myself, “Why would you think that way?”- like any other negative thought, it just happens in my head. Of course I thought this way because I had bad experiences with them in the past but why subject myself to a constant headache imagining something bad that might never happen in the future?
Can you imagine if I become a facilitator with this bad attitude? I won’t be able to provide a safe space, of course.
Thank you for asking how I am feeling and doing these days. I am feeling the okay-est stage that I remember last. By reckoning my emotions and feelings, I give respect to my own boundaries and challenge some of those that need to be challenged. I recognize that I feel low, sad, happy, calm, and the most important thing is that I am more patient with myself.
Well, I actually would love to write a very long writing about the awesomeness of this training, but I don’t want to bore you.
I would like to recommend fellow Asian feminist activists to sign up for the next batch of this training.
Best of luck to all!
About the Author
Chrisant Raisha has been actively involved in the feminist movement of Jakarta, Indonesia for the past three years while working as a junior consultant for a Jakarta-based human resource consulting company.