“A revolution won’t happen tomorrow, but we can work toward it.”
These were the surprising closing words of my professor. Surprising, because up until then she had been ceaselessly motivating.
I get where she was coming from.
It’s easy to think of revolutions as specific points in time, that they are thresholds from which we suddenly jump from corrupt governments and inequality to a utopian world where everyone is respected.
However the concept of a revolution is actually a lot more like the concept of happiness. It is not a destination, but a way of life.
And the Revolution is happening right now, manifesting in so many different ways.
For example, I used to get mistaken for a guy quite a bit when I was younger. Especially when I had short hair. Public washrooms were my greatest fear because of how uncomfortable I made people feel. One specific time I walked in and there was a mother with a young child. The little girl took one look at me and turned to her mom:
“He can’t be in here, he’s a man!” she said, legitimately concerned.
The mother smiled at me as she responded to her daughter:
“Love she just has short hair. If I cut my hair short would that make me a boy?“
The girl shook her head, looking a bit embarrassed.
I had never experienced such a positive response and had never witnessed such a productive and beautiful moment of parenting. In my mind, that was a moment of revolution: a mother chose to teach her child love and respect instead of judgement.
A revolution doesn’t only occur in the moment a government or corrupt corporation is toppled, but it is also visible in our daily lives. To be part of a revolution is to make the decision to love ourselves and others instead of buying in to the individualistic norms that pit us against each other. It happens when we choose to take control of our own happiness and when we no longer feel the need to prove our worth to anyone but ourselves.
It happens when we come alive.
For some, this vitality can come from protesting—I know it does for me. But it can come from an endless amount of other things as well.
I see it in the eyes of a farmer who decides to not use harmful chemicals on his crops, even though he could make more money if he did.
I see it in a strong woman who goes out of her way to build up her fellow sisters, a revolutionary act when the norm is competition.
I have seen it in the man who is comfortable with being vulnerable, who embraces the emotions we are told are “only for girls”.
And not just the men, but the women as well. If we are really headed toward the future of our dreams, what we need are more people who can be vulnerable. Healers, caretakers, peacemakers and lovers. Vulnerability is lacking in our current world, but it will be the foundation upon which we build the new one.
I feel it when I start my mornings slow, giving thanks for having one more day to try to accomplish my wildest dreams.
And perhaps the most moving example is one I have both witnessed and experienced it in the absence of hope.
In a world that has become unbelievably cold, uncaring and unequal, sometimes the most revolutionary act is surviving, choosing to wake up for one more morning and not give in to the twisted perspectives of the demons in our minds.
There are a lot of broken souls on this planet and most of us have been or are broken. So own it. We are who we are because of our struggles, and they will make us stronger. The journey isn’t an easy one, but it’s worth taking.
Things can change. Things do change. Don’t wait for a revolution. Live it.
Author: Jennie Rideout
Editor: Alli Sarazen