#MeFirst Is Radical
At Turtle Tank, a product launch is a ritual. A launch emerges out of deep personal excavation.
Launches serve to peel off old skin to reveal something more true, more clear. They are intricate rituals that realign us with our truest selves, and that refine our work into greater focus. More potent, more powerful, more magnetic.
The truth is magnetic. Whether we state it outright or simply embody it.
With every launch, we set out to know more of our truth. We set that intention and let the rest follow. This particular launch is a milestone, a test of true commitment and courage. Why? Because we just turned two years old.
Through my years of experience as a strategist starting and growing Radical Enterprises, I know that the two-year mark is an important crossroads. Enterprises either break down due to a lack of foundation or they break through into a more integrated iteration. What makes us break through? Our ability to integrate what we have learned into a whole greater and truer than its parts.
This particular launch has been much more challenging than we expected.
We started off our launch ritual by taking inventory of our lives and some of the personal challenges that were recurring—through the work and outside of it.
We re-realized that the very challenge we supported our community with is the one we also struggle with, of course: We were still erasing ourselves and stuffing down our personal desires in the name of collective freedom.
As queer people of color, we took on more responsibility for people’s feelings than we needed to. We tried to resolve issues that weren’t ours to address in the name of being wholistic and radical. We were in a constant struggle of drawing and redrawing boundaries around the scope of our work and what we owed others. And amidst all of that, we had forgotten ourselves, our desire, and the love work that brought us alive. We were starting to feel depleted and ready to let it all go despite the amazing transformations we witnessed in our community.
At Turtle Tank, we teach that desire is Radical. It is at the heart of creating a love-centered and free world. And here we were, at yet another juncture, being asked to take another leap closer into our own truest desire.
One day, after a long shower, Ije screamed over to me: “I have an idea!” I, in the other room, yelled back, “What?” She said, “I realize that the source of my problems is that I’m not putting myself first. I’m still trying to meet everyone’s needs from a depleted place. I need to put myself first. Me First and the rest will follow.” My heart exploded.
Ije, a queer black woman standing in the face of a world that puts her last, had said the most simple yet revolutionary thing: that she needs to put herself first. To me, she had just charted the path to Freedom. And that profound truth would change the course of our work forever.
As queer people of color that are in positions of radical leadership, we are expected to serve. Even and especially in our radical movements—sometimes at the cost of our own lives. We are expected to meet everyone’s needs, to appease, to erase ourselves in the name of the whole, of the collective. To put ourselves last in the pursuit of Freedom. Our erasure and the erasure or our desires is expected. Our self-sacrifice is consciously and subconsciously framed as Radical.
To that, we say: ENOUGH.
We will not sacrifice our lives for anyone or anything. Our lives are key to our continued thriving. They are the foundation of Freedom.
To that we give you: #MeFirst—our newest campaign: a series of stories from our community about how putting themselves first has revolutionized their lives and work, creating more impact than ever before.
The stories will highlight how we sacrifice the versions of ourselves that think that love and freedom are achieved through the erasure of our personal desires, our pleasure, our well-being, our very existence.
Because Freedom cannot be achieved at our expense. Our erasure is antithetical to Freedom.
We are launching the #MeFirst campaign.
#MeFirst is a revolutionary act.
Where Freedom is born out of the expression of our fullest, deepest desires.
Where we work from Freedom, not for Freedom. Where the realization of our unique purpose, rooted in personal desire, is not only valued but central to our embodiment of Freedom itself.
#MeFirst creates a free and love-centered world.
Over the last two years, we’ve urged our Turtles (our members) to put themselves first, in everything we teach. Because of that, their work became increasingly more powerful and meaningful. It was the act of putting themselves first, centering the way that they work and their desires, that grew their impact exponentially.
We invite you to join and share our campaign as we (Samia and Ije) and our community members tell our #MeFirst stories. And yes, we will be opening our doors to an offering soon after—the very first step to living an impactful #MeFirst life as Radical Dreamers and Doers. Are you ready to revolutionize the way you live and work?