I Am A Political Person.
I found something I wrote back in February 2016 the other day that began “I’m not a political person, but…”
I AM a political person. Always have been. We ALL are.
But I knew why I said that.
Never mind that everything after “but…” negated that statement. Claiming I “wasn’t a political person” was me basically opting out of any sort of conversation.
I was afraid of not having all the answers. I was afraid of being called out, or called in (oh the irony). I was afraid of social media backlash. And I was afraid of not being seen as understanding or empathetic.
The change started to happen sometime around summer 2016 (moving to NYC definitely played a part in this) and was really cemented on election night. I’d spent the day so giddily optimistic, walking around (in my white blazer and “H” shirt) with my friend Negin (in her Frida Kahlo as Rosie The Riveter shirt) marveling at the historic day we got to experience together. It felt like the celebration we’d waited our whole lives for.
Around 2am that following morning I began to realize how naive and empty my optimism had been. It was the realization that only “being political” when it felt convenient or safe to do so served literally no one – not even myself. That by not “being political” when it actually counted, I was in direct conflict with everything I SAID I believed and everything I SAID I was working toward. That “being political” only when I was surrounded by others who were “being political” wasn’t anything more than a feel-good moment for me myself & I.
I look back on that version of myself and I’m embarrassed. But I write all this to say that while it might be easy to look back on how you “once were” and overindulge your embarrassment:
THERE IS NO TIME TO GET CAUGHT UP IN EMBARRASSMENT.
I call my 2016 self in and hold her accountable for all she’s learned. I know she knows when and where she didn’t do enough and where she fucked up. And I know she knows that integrity isn’t just about morals and values – it’s about constantly assessing whether your intentions and impact are in alignment.
She knows that intent is not much if the impact doesn’t align. She knows that “but I meant this to be…” isn’t a valid argument. She knows that if you want something to have a certain effect and it doesn’t, and you’re not willing to change the action to get the intended impact, then it wasn’t ever really about the intention at all.
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I now know I’ll never have all the answers – there’s no way I can – and that in no way means I am exempt from speaking up and speaking out where my voice is useful. I now know we’re ALL political whether we “enjoy” talking about politics or not (bc politics isn’t a hobby, it’s a system that affects us all). I now know getting called IN/OUT is an opportunity to learn, grow, and change. I now know empathy needs a backbone and doesn’t excuse one damn thing or give anyone a free pass to be dangerous and destructive.
To be political is a freedom worth fighting for.
I am a political person. I no longer shy away from that.
We all are.
And no matter what happens from here on out: we are not done.I am a political person. I no longer shy away from that. We all are. And no matter what happens from here on out: we are not done. Click To Tweet