Like almost everyone I live with these days, American Tricia Hersey, 49, was exhausted. But that was ten years ago. Nowadays, Tricia doesn’t accept the idea of exchanging a few hours of sleep for anything in this life. What’s more: she made rest her life’s mission.
In 2013, she was pursuing a postgraduate degree in Theology at Emory University, in Atlanta, capital of the American state of Georgia, in the southeastern United States, working on campus to support herself and taking care of her young son alone.
To help pay for her studies, she sold her car and was forced to take three buses and a train to and from university every day. Any spare time was dedicated to studying, but she was so tired that she often found herself having to reread what she had already read because she couldn’t understand or remember accurately what she had read.
Her grades began to drop, her body began to show signs that something was wrong and she frequently caught the flu, viruses and had digestion problems. Who never?
When she leaned on the sofa in the living room to read the texts that the teachers asked her to read, it was common for her to drop the book on the floor while her eyes simply closed without her being able to do anything about it. When she woke up, she felt renewed.
So he decided, without reading anything or doing any research, to create, by force, moments to do nothing for a few moments in the middle of his heavy routine. Tricia napped every day wherever she could find it: in bed, on the sofa, on benches in parks or at the university. She didn’t care if everyone saw, if they laughed at her, if they felt sorry.
Over time, he discovered other ways to take all the worry out of his mind for a moment, with other activities as relaxing as a nap. It could be a hot bath with very low lighting, meditating on the train or simply daydreaming.
And isn’t it that, by dedicating less time to work and studies, your grades have improved? As well as your health, your mood and the patience that living with young children requires.
Tricia realized that doing the opposite of what many people in American society tend to believe, that a woman, especially a black woman like herself, needs to make triple the effort of a white man to be recognized, would be the flag she would carry from there. forward.
His personal transformation became his life mission. Tricia Hersey created a movement, named “Nap Ministry” in 2016, in free translation. And she gave herself the title “Nap Bishop”, the bishop of the nap. She started to promote meetings in which she invited people to take a collective nap of 30 to 40 minutes, accompanied by reassuring speeches that she wrote to defend her theory that rest is the best form of resistance.
There are two enemies it intends to face: one, capitalism, the engine behind the culture of productivity, which seems to attribute greater value to those who are exhausted from working so much instead of people who choose to take life more calmly, more hours of sleep and less money in the bank.
The second is structural and residual racism, since, according to her, enslaved black people were very often sleep deprived. This ended up being incorporated by modern-day society and transformed into this biased idea, but difficult to counter, that, to achieve the same as a white man, a black man, and, even more so, a black woman, you need to work harder, study more, and give up more free time.
Tricia saw her movement explode during the pandemic, when her digital platform gained up to 10,000 followers per day. Now, with more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, the nap bishop makes frequent use of the social network to expand her message, while at the same time blaming this media for bringing more anxiety and stealing all of people’s free time. Time that would be much better spent looking at the ceiling without thinking about anything.
The tone of the messages on Instagram, which she writes and illustrates herself, varies between extreme kindness and provocative jabbing. It is, as she puts it, an “angry and affectionate” way of getting people to wake up and… go back to bed.
Last year, Tricia released her first book, “Rest is Resistance”, which does not yet have a Brazilian edition, despite already having a literary agent in the country, Lúcia Riff from Rio. It became an instant bestseller in the United States.
In the first half of this year, his second work, “The Nap Ministry’s Rest Deck: 50 Practices to Resist Grind Culture”, was released in the USA. In an illustrated box, the reader receives 50 cards with phrases written to inspire them to believe in Tricia’s message and a practical idea of how to promote a moment of rest anywhere.
Going to a luxury spa or paying for a massage is not in the nap bishop’s plans. On the contrary, she suggests solutions that are within everyone’s reach, and fights against the idea of rest as a consumer good.
Tricia was not interviewed for this article, despite my persistent requests that she answer my questions. It took three months of attempts, in every imaginable way.
In the end, I got the message: all that time and energy I spent trying to hear from Tricia what she wrote in a book I had already read and posted on the network where I follow her would have been much more useful if I had used it to not do anything.
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