Love Yourself Like My Life Depends On It

The Revolution Starts With You.

One person can change everything. We know this. We are powerful, connected and talented beings.

What does your revolution look like? Marching? Phone banking? Demonstrating? Facebooking?

I want to know if you have asked yourself, really asked what the revolution means for you. Not for the “movement,” and not for the stolen lives America has taken through the centuries up to this point. Your revolution may look like marches, demonstrations, Facebook rants, phone banks. Your revolution may not look like intentionally considering what you want this world to be when we are done.

What is your revolution?

Your own, personal liberation?

I am worried about you. I am worried that you don’t know what to say, how to act, or what you want. I am worried that you have not accounted for the past and it will stop you from fearlessly striding into the future. I am worried your expectations of yourself limit your expectations of me, which will cut me off at the knees before we even get going.

Why don’t you believe you can live exactly how you desire?

Your role in society is more than your profession, or the laws that restrict you. It is the way you are taught, the way you will teach, dress, live, eat, commune, believe, the way you bury your dead and birth your babies.

Prior to this moment your role in society was dictated by everyone except for you. It is time for that to change.

As a trans person of color I feel strongly that I am pulling ahead in this moment because I have always had to define myself to, and in spite of, other people. If I do not have a use, a thought, a word, an action, I am no longer needed and society makes it clear I will be discarded. In this society, I am expected to dictate my own role, as there was never one for me.

Taking full responsibility for everything that you do has never been asked of us. Not at once, not truly. Taking responsibility would mean recognizing your power. It would mean that you helped to create the conditions from which you now suffer. This responsibility is overwhelming. This is why the climate movement gains so little wholehearted investment; because it asks us to account for one of our ugliest collective creations.

This is why people do not want to see racism; they are afraid of the very thing they created. And in their denial of it, rather than transforming, it becomes even more absolute.

Those of you who practice mindfulness know: It is often the thing you don’t look at that is causing harm. I need you to see your entire life. I need you to consider how you have hurt those around you and I need you to understand you can stop it.

Nothing enrages me more than your powerlessness. We are undoubtedly working against insurmountable odds, but if you cannot understand you created this world, you cannot change it. This could doom us to remain exactly where we are if not worse.

So I need you to do this for me: envision your life. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Where do you live? Who do you wake up next to? What is your room like? What colors are present? Who do you want to see that day? What do you want to do? What is valuable or precious in your life? What do you want to learn? What are your relationships to your loved ones, to your world?

Would the person you envisioned recognize the person you are choosing to be right now?

Radical Imagination, specifically Black Radical Imagination as I apply it, requires you to interrogate every story you ever told about yourself, or that was told on you. I need you to imagine who you will be and shed that old story inch by inch like a snake shedding its skin.

The revolution must start with you. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love me. If you do not respect yourself, you cannot respect me.

In fact you will hate me for loving myself, you will hate me for respecting myself, and you will convince yourself the only way to stop being uncomfortable is to kill me.

The future will depend on where you find your value, worth, and comfort.

The revolution must start with you.

Love yourself like my life depends on it.

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