What Can Accountability Look Like In Practice?
I have a very tumultuous relationship with accountability. I find that accountability outside oneself is full of expectations and unknowns. Corinne and I had a convo with some really amazing individuals the other day and one of them mentioned that accountability starts with the self first—and ultimately you can only be sure of it within yourself. I completely agree. I think that if you aren’t accountable with your own self and can’t be raw, vulnerable, and honest about how you hold yourself to boundaries you have set, how can you possibly be accountable to your partners, friends, or communities?
With all of this in mind, this is a list that I make for myself to stay on my path. It leaves room for error which I appreciate, because there are some times that we may not be 100% present.
What are you feeling?
How are your feelings influencing your actions? Vice versa?
What have you eaten today?
Did you create time for solitude today?
Drink more water.
Don’t forget to make tea before bed!
Were you completely honest today?
If not, in what ways and how? Did your dishonesty create a downward or upward spiral?
If yes, in what ways and how? Did your honesty create a downward or upward spiral?
What energies did you welcome in your space today?
Did you practice meditation today—even for just a moment?
How did you cleanse today?
What sounds surrounded you throughout the day?
In conversations, what stood out to you?
What moved you today?
What colors did you see?
These are the ways I hold myself accountable. I don’t do this everyday. I also don’t write the answers down everyday. Sometimes I have a conversation with myself. There are days I focus only on one question. Other days I may add more. I think that holding myself accountable first allows me to be present with my all who I may interact with and also allows me to practice actively listening to everything around me. I get distracted easily. I also disassociate sometimes especially if I’ve had a busy week. So I like to make sure that I am rested, well fed, and looking and feeling the best that I can.
Community accountability is hard to visualize. There are so many people in our world and we all interact differently and on various frequencies. I try to keep myself open in so many ways because I realize that no matter what frequency someone is on there is always something for me to learn and varying ways for me to connect with others. Lately, I have been practicing not absorbing what doesn’t actively serve me—and I’m not saying all my interactions have to give something to me. I’m saying that in being an active listener, and being someone who can share wisdom and power, I also have to be accountable and really hold the individuals that come to me. Holding someone and helping them move up shouldn’t involve me absorbing and experiencing their struggles. I have the power to see what is happening with folks, use my vision to help others move higher. It’s a hard thing to remember and very challenging for me to practice, but it helps me become a better friend and I see that my friendships have bloomed beautiful flowers as I move forward in this way. Doing this has also helped me envision where I can take the work that I do and want to do and manifest it.
Corinne and I have been talking about so many things with each other. Places we want to go, business moves we want to make. We’re making these things happen and I know it’s because we believe we can do it. She believes in me and I in her. We also have shared with each other our strengths and weaknesses and in that way we can help to hold each other accountable and see that possibilities are endless for us. We start inward and move outward. When thinking of community accountability I always think about these things first. Here are some questions that come to mind when I think of community accountability—they are questions that I can ask myself and pose to my communities (for me community can be as small as one on one interactions with friends/lovers/family as well as larger communities like folks I live with/work with/create with/identify with):
What is your vision? — yes this is an open ended question.
What do I seek?
What do I need in my relationships?
What do I bring to relationships?
How do I see myself?
How do I want others to address me?
What responses can I give when I feel ostracized?
What are my triggers?
Who/what can I look to when I feel triggered?
What do I need to come out of triggering moments?
What can I do to not feel triggered?
In what ways can I share myself?
How can I communicate what I would like to know about others?
What/where are my strong points?
What/where are my weak points?
What do I need to be vulnerable?
How can I create space for others to be vulnerable?
Who am I?
What am I?
How am I?
Where? This is very open because I like to think about ‘where’ when thinking of maintaining connections.
Accountability can be a very murky thing to navigate. But I think asking LOTS of questions can make it very tangible. It can also help create boundaries that you can stick with.
Do you ask questions a lot? If so, what are they? Share with us!
I spend a lot of time thinking about intimacy, desire, relationships & accountability within all of the above. I was at Queer Soup Night with a friend a few weeks back when we really delved into these topics. We talked about how so often femmes are having these conversations on our dates, in our bedrooms, on the kitchen floor after a night out — but yet they aren't seen as valuable in our society. These conversations, when we examine the ways in which we support and love one another, are literally vital to our survival. They are activism. They are transforming our communities into stronger and more supportive entities. We are doing the work without even realizing that we are doing the work.
How do these conversations come up for y'all? What do you want to really examine about the ways in which we love and hold ourselves accountable as queer femmes? And yes, I mean romantic and platonic and communal and familial. Every form of love.
For me, a huge aspect of this is reifying our boundaries. Giving verbal power to our vulnerable needs and desires from people. I recently sent Rahel a text saying, "I'm having an awful mental health day and I really need a friend to talk to. Do you have space for me to come over tonight?" And by space, I meant emotional and physical. When I sent that text I was nervous about it, even though I know that Rahel loves me and is there for me. Putting out that I was in a moment of need felt scary. But when we speak to those intimate and scary truths with our people, that's when we have a chance to grow. That's when we have a chance to feel seen and loved and build upon our connections.
On the other side of that is also having the ability to say "no" when we have to. And doing so in a loving and caring way. Speaking to our boundaries and saying, "I can't take that on right now, I love you and let's check in with each other this weekend."
Because individual healing, interpersonal care, and collective liberation are all intrinsically bound. The work is not easy. It's a commitment for probably our entire lives. It takes constant and intentional work to be accountable to those we love. And to set the needed boundaries to recieve the same.
I think it's also important to not treat our friends as placeholders until we find romantic love. That is so often the narrative I see and it hurts. Not only do we become isolated in our romantic loves (and thus expect them to fulfill all of our needs) but we're also shutting out the possibility for having deeper relationships with our friends. Platonic intimacy is so valuable to me. It's a new experience for me, I think because we're told from society to seek finding our "soulmate" instead of simply living life with love in mind with all of our connections. Love on your friends, send them sweet messages, leave them tender gifts, hug them, snuggle with them, take them on platonic dates.
Rahel and I delve more into this in our episode next week (with our fabulous guests). Until then, leave us comments, message us or email us with your thoughts! We want to hear from you.