A love note

Posted on November 9, 2012


To my progressives, liberals, radicals, and people seeking change, a love note:

Why must we continue to look to other people/groups to make the changes we want to see happen? We look to our political party, or campaigns with people to “champion” issues we find important, or Nonprofits dedicated to social justice.  All of these are rad, do not get me wrong.  But in general we are used to locating power outside of ourselves when it comes to changing the way things work, we rely on others. YOU ARE A BEACON OF POWER. And possibly of love. As usual, I implore those dissatisfied souls, those who work toward liberation, to take power back into your own hands (if you haven’t already), and a good first step is to realize that everyday actions comprise the way society functions. We might not be able to control politics, policies, or campaigns, but we have power over ourselves and our lives.

The feminists always say “the personal is political” in an effort to highlight the fact that the marginalization and oppression women face in their daily (personal) lives is a reflection of the larger dominant structures at work (very paraphrased). I am on a mission to flip-flop that statement’s meaning a little bit. The personal IS political, in that the choices we make EVERY DAY either negate or perpetuate power structures and normalized ways of being. So all of that was an attempt to say that the way we interact and what media we consume and every purchasing choice IS political, whether you are mindful of it or not. And denying that fact doesn’t make it go away, it just enables individuals to deny responsibility for the world around us, thus allowing nonaction without altering our sense of Selves as good people. Cognitive dissonance. How we treat people and where we shop and the little things we do each day are important.

Because YOU are important. And YOU are POWERFUL. We’d do well not to forget that or believe that no individual can make a difference.

We need a personal revolution, not just one on the streets.  We need to honor ourselves and each other, to love, and that includes critical thinking and adjustments to our lives that may not be “convenient”.  We need to show some solidarity with people globally (denouncing wars waged in our name, choosing not to buy products of slave-like labor as examples).  We need to honor our Selves by acting harmoniously with our morals and ethics.  We need to honor and love the earth which we are rapidly destroying by choosing sustainable practices.  This is a love note because, while critical, it comes from a place of deep love and deep respect.  I want to see us living up to our own standards, whatever they may be.  For each person it will be different.  But for all those who strive to make the world a better place, these are certain realizations I have come to that I wanted to share.

For so long I was attending rallies and donating money and other community education/organizing efforts, feeling like I was making a difference and fighting the good fight. Yet I would consume products that were made by sweatshops, my convenience coming from their exploitation. That’s not showing solidarity with women globally.  I was not mindful of food politics or sustainability.  I drove like a jackass.  Even though I said I detested hierarchy and domination, and even though I did what I could, what i knew how to do to fight oppression, I was perpetuating power relationships and disrespecting this earth, nonhuman animals, and other humans. COMPLETELY unintentionally, of course.

Of course it was ingrained into my brain from early on that one person cannot make a difference and thus the choices I make every day were of no political consequence – I believe this motto OVERTLY entered my life when I became a vegetarian about 6 years ago.  I cannot even recall how many times I was told I was not making a difference.  But I am.  I am choosing not to perpetuate animal cruelty and factory farming which has vast negative geopolitical consequences. And to me, that is very important because I’m honoring my beliefs and living my life intentionally, understanding that the choices I make have a ripple effect.  I am altering the minute fabric of my impact on this world.  No, I will not single-handedly end animal cruelty or change the world.  And I wouldn’t want to.  I will be one piece of the puzzle, one thread in the foundation of resistance being weaved by individuals all over the country and the world.

This is a love note because I LOVE humanity and I want to see us thrive, not just survive. and I want those I love to feel empowered and to know that individually they can make a difference. If we are living in love and making choices that support liberty and a harmonious lifestyle instead of perpetuating exploitation and domination of the earth and other peoples, that is the best thing we can do for this struggling world.

I love you.  Thank you for the work that you do to make this a better place. Thank you for being a part of my existence. We are capable of so much. I believe in a better future.  I don’t wanna get all cheesy on ya, but we really ARE unstoppable. Another world is possible.

As long as we believe it and take actions to match.