Lockout Self Care

I just got back from my four mile run, the first four miles in a 38 mile week. We’re just nine weeks out from the New York City Marathon. I have been training for fifteen weeks so far. My dad drove out from Boise to watch me run this race in 2015. Six weeks later, he was killed in a Los Angeles crosswalk by a driver turning left in a Ford F150. We had started plotting a strategy to get me down under five hours for a marathon about ten minutes after last year’s race ended. So since December: dropping weight, speedwork during base building, a fuckton of mileage. I want fewer people to lose people they love to traffic violence and so I have been raising money for Transportation Alternatives as I go, $5744 from 142 people so far. Before LIU Brooklyn management locked out me and the rest of the Brooklyn faculty on Friday, this was where I was putting a bunch of my energy. Counting miles, thinking about my dad.

So I went out for my run.

You could also call going out for my run self care. As one of our amazing American Federation of Teachers organizers put it, “this is a hair-on-fire situation.” I haven’t had a whole lot of me time, you know? I was talking to my sister this morning (self care!). She’s an academic too, but as much as she cares about the lockout of LIU Brooklyn faculty as the logical if horrifying endgame of corporatized higher education, I think she cares even more about whether I’m getting enough sleep (nope), enough to eat (nope), or drinking enough water (wow nope not at all). She’s worried about me and hopes I’m doing okay.

You know what? I am doing great. I’m doing more crying than usual and I’m really thirsty, but my self feels very well cared for and, more than that, it feels like a self worth caring for. I am singularly focused on organizing myself and my colleagues to stand against an outrageous aggression against us by the LIU Brooklyn administration. We are becoming more united by the moment, and we are, to quote a colleague in nursing I hadn’t spoken to until yesterday, “filled with resolve.” Nothing feels better than being organized into collective action for a good that is greater than oneself. My heart is full. I am fine.

I wondered on my run about some of those administrators who will be teaching our classes on Wednesday. Some of them make five, ten times what I make, maybe twenty times what an adjunct faculty member makes, and they’ll be teaching our classes while we don’t get paid, and while the university loudly makes the case that the life of the place relies on those of us on the bottom taking a pay cut. I don’t buy it. I don’t see how they buy it. And I wonder what it would take for even one of them to climb up on their own mountain of accumulated wealth and take a stand and say, no, you know what? The most important part of self care is having a self worth caring about it.

This Labor Day, no job, no paycheck, no health insurance, there is no doubt in my mind that I have one of those.

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