gal-dem, Why Laziness is a Radical Act
My September Stack Magazine was waiting for me when I arrived back to my student house at uni after the summer break. gal-dem is a magazine that I haven’t previously heard of, but I am so glad that it arrived through my door. It is created by women and non-binary people of colour which I think is extraordinary and avant-garde.
When looking through the magazine, I not only saw that the creators were great writers, but artists equally. The artwork and illustrations give the pieces of text a sense of energy and really help to set the scene and aid the reader to visualise the world surrounding the story writer.
They appear to use the publication as a form of expression in order to try and shake up the industry that they are part of. They present voices throughout the edition and dig deep into the many experiences of women and non-binary people of colour.
The section I founded most fascinating was, ‘Why laziness is a radical act’ by Lola Olufemi. The article explores why it is okay to strive towards nothing at all, attempting to tackle the intricacies and contradictions of UN/REST. “Laziness means more time to care for each other in collective ways, more good food shared, new modes of loving, improved ways of being and comforting.’ I have never viewed laziness in this way before, however I love how Olufemi presents the term as a refusal of adhering to a linear understanding of time, of success, and to refuse a goal-oriented life. Her brand of laziness comes in the form of daily acts of refusal: a refusal to be the “right” women, a refusal to actively bolster rustic, sexist, ablest capitalism, etc.
I have also believed that to do nothing leads to being nothing... with the embedded idea that the more you put in, the more you get out. As a result, I constantly aim to be the most complete version of myself; reaching for something, achieving something, being recognised for something - these are all of the things that society has taught me that hard work achieves. This promise more often than not ends up in disappointment or feeling not good enough.
Life always seems to be a balancing act for me, one that involves a lot of doing and a lot of feeling guilty. Unrest has slowly encouraged me to see that I am not the infallible individual that I strive to be. I am aware that I am not getting enough rest and as a result my work and mental health can suffer and it was almost reassuring to read that I am not alone in the attempt to break free from the ‘no break allowance’ mindset I find myself having.
The extract really drilled into me that laziness is not the failure of a human being; it is simply embracing a world where we are not punished for not doing. In other words, ‘...in a world without capitalism, “work” as we know it would be completely transformed.’ Having this mindset, I really feel that I would have more time and energy to put into other projects that I am compelled to do, not because I feel I need to. It has shown me that there is everything to gain from doing nothing.
What I also enjoyed about all the pieces was the fact that they were not overly opinionated; overtly political sections were balanced with beautifully intimate moments and memories of childhood, as well as the writers exploring their own unique cultural heritage. There was such a variety and depth in its diverse collection of voices that I would have not possibly ever have heard if I hadn’t received a copy. The magazine had a lot of stories and experiences to digest, but it really stretched my awareness of culture and struggles that certain individuals have and still do face.
The biggest take away point for me from this edition was that we are all on a journey to find a happy medium; one that is productive but similarly kind to our wellbeing.
I loved the quote in the magazine from the editor, “...rest hard and work hard, when and where you can. Do whatever you need to do and don’t feel guilty about either.”