Public Self vs. Private Self: The Organizer’s Dilemma

Post by: Margaret

It’s 4 am and I am up writing a blog. Why? Every time I lie down to go to sleep, I can’t. I remember the 5 e-mails I need to send as I toss and turn. But when I get up and go to my computer I find myself doing anything but the work I got out of bed to do.

Recently we learned about the issue of private self and public self, one of our many lessons this summer. This is about the conundrum of how we act depending on the situation we are in; is it a public experience or a private one, work or pleasure? The reason we were taught this was because of a fear that over the summer, within our teams, we would lose any differentiation between our public and private selves. This is a very delicate balance and one we had not even thought to make prior to the recent training.

Important as this lesson is, where I struggle to differentiate between public and private self is not within my team, but when I go to bed. I am caught in a battle between my work and sleep. I am tired but I hear the music that plays at the end of “Wake Up, Freak Out” which is on repeat in my head and as I feel the gentle breeze of a fan, no doubt powered by fossil fuels, I cannot sleep. Sure, having two separate lives is important, but how does one separate themselves from being an activist? We can’t just hang up our bike helmets and forget that when we turn on a light we are perpetuating the issue we just spent the day fighting against.

The answer: I haven’t figured it out yet, but let me know (we’re biking 41 miles on Sunday, I’d like to sleep before then).

Taking a snoozer in Winthrop

(written on Sat. 7/24)

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2 Responses to Public Self vs. Private Self: The Organizer’s Dilemma

  1. Margaret says:

    I found that by keeping a notebook next to my sleeping bag at night I can write down all the things I think of at night. Then, without the fear of forgetting all that must be done tomorrow, I can go back to sleep. Hopefully it keeps working.

    I do love the picture! This is a great video, bike lanes in action:
    … I’d settle for that.

  2. Kalman Gacs says:

    That is a tough one. I always felt like I can talk political advocacy passionately and in an opinionated way without feeling this tension, but lifestyle questions had to be addressed in a purely informational way or even in the form of questions.
    I think you will enjoy this picture:

    …if only MA was how this picture shows it, right?

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