Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words “You must be the change you want to see in the world” could not be more to-the-heart for me. After walking in marches, lobbying representatives, leading petitions, organizing rallies, and writing scholarly papers, I’ve come to realize that the power of my full self expression and being the change is truly where the juice is. To me, this means that I make intentional choices to stretch myself every day, both in choosing what’s more powerful and revolutionary, and I stretch myself to speak up and represent as much as possible to create visibility.
The truth is, I believe that one single event cannot create long-lasting or foundational change in the world. It’s the everyday snags in the normalized system that gently pulls the entire label off the jar.
Although I see the power of representation, agitation, and rebel rousing in the front line of comfortable nationals, I find it to be a continued fight of one against another and reaction against reaction. But when I meet a farmer who is committed to community based resource sharing and has created a trade-system in her neighborhood, I can see what’s possible and there’s nothing for me to defend or react to. In place of anointed kings of two nations trying to represent their entire body of constituents in summaries and demands, coming from a place of separateness and defensiveness… I see a more grassroots, leaderless social change that’s based in authenticity and communication in the individual. The more that I stand up to give my seat on the bus, the more that I love body, the more that I make great food from our garden and give handmade treasures to neighbors… the more that I get to actively create the world that I am committed to. In fact, as I actively create and recreate my actions in line with what I’m committed to, the world I want to see is already beginning. I live my life as an open invitation for anyone to step into and enjoy. There’s nothing to defend. There’s nothing to protect. I am living my life and expressing myself in my commitment and the people who are around me are the ones who are willing to listen, respect me, and see the power in the life I have created.
Through daily transgressions, I can reach people on a very intimate and human level. Each time I show my unshaven legs in public, or someone notices the hairs on my chin, their understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality is shaken. The reality that they are used to just got a bit wider. By stretching myself and recreating what my life is for and what I am committed to, I get to widen my own perspective and notice when I’m out of integrity. When I hold myself accountable for my life as being the source of change I want to see in the world, I speak with intention; I buy things consciously; I stretch myself and my life is for something bigger than myself.