“Trust life a little bit.”
My favorite movie when I was a little girl was Firestarter, the movie with Drew Barrymore as this pyrokinetic little girl. When I began to really delve into my black girl geekdom (#blerd), I was drawn to Marvel Comics, especially the X-Men, especially, Jean Grey, the Phoenix herself. I was drawn to these unassuming people, characters that harness all this power, and used to protect all they cared for. I was drawn to the fire, despite being a water sign. How convenient?
My first brush with activism was actually when I was much younger, around 8 or 9. This was with the treatment of Ryan White (Google him, it will bless you), and the treatment of people with AIDS. Again, being born in 1981, I am old enough to remember this, and even the AIDS quilt. Every year, even now, I try to participate in some AIDS related activism.
I remember talking to my mother about these things, these events I saw in the news, even now. I never could sit with that feeling of being helpless and immobile. When I saw something that disquieted me, I wanted to do something. No matter what it was. Was I born an activist? I don’t believe people are born activists, but your grow into being an activist. I have grown into being an activist.
There is an ability given to man that we have a desire to do better, to want to improve the condition of the world: leave it better than where you found it. For the most part, we home have a moral anchor want to make it better, not rip the heart out of the life ahead, spoiling anything good for anyone else.
I, personally, want to add to the beauty of this life, I do that by pointing out all the things that are ugly and evil in it. The things that cannot stand, cannot progress, cannot be allowed to return and regrow and be morphed into something else because people think we aren’t paying attention.
I show up because life demands it. Life demands that I say something, because I have no luxury to lay in quiet. I am not afforded the peace of being ignorant and oblivious.
I am not afforded to not to recognize my own intersectionality or the intersectionality of others, and how it can be erased or minimized depending on audience and its attention.
Why I do what I do?
The better question: why don’t more people?
That starts when you cease to be silent, and are willing to see more to the world around you than what is easily accessible to you. It starts when you can empathize and sympathize, and put hands to what it is you wish to change, no longer is speech sufficient.
You must be willing to see what is ugly, hurtful, unfair and hidden in acts of treason, murderous intent, malice and avarice, as well as apathy and lust for power, hidden under in exposed teeth that are not always smiles. You must see it and not look away because it ‘it someone else’s to clean up.’ From this, can all change come.
Yes, it’s important to be the change in the world you wish to see, but you must be willing to see what is in the world you wish to change.