Yesterday, I was reading about the recent anti-LGBTQ legislation passed in North Carolina. As an out, vocal and proud Queer woman – this news cuts me to my soul. As much as I would love to say I’ve reached a place where it can’t touch me, that would be a lie. Every time my love and my community are subject to legislation born of hate I am filled with hurt and fear. And it makes me angry – because this, like all the others, is legislation that only serves to hurt and marginalize me and mine. And it can be easy, from this space – to feel powerless, or oppressed, or worn down.
But then, I came across this article. And as I watched the video (please, please watch), of this beautiful, fiercely alive transwoman of color moving so free – to the beat of drums and the chants of the crowd and in the face of the line of guards in front of the Governors mansion – my body and soul started moving to the rhythm of the dancing and my voice rose with the chanting and I got to thinking big about resistance and revolution.
And I watched her dance, completely mesmerized and overcome with how this particular revolution moved through her body and translated into the crowd. How everything became one – the dance, the chants, the drums.
How everything and everyone was so fiercely alive, pulsing with movement and resistance. Everything and everyone except for those stationary guards doing their jobs. How did they feel, I wonder? Did they have to still the natural movement of their own body? Did they question the side of the line their jobs had put them on?
Did part of them just want to dance?
We make meaning of our stories and our struggles and our fight for visibility in so many ways. In every moment of resistance from the beginning of time. There are some things that carry across language and culture and country.
And dance – especially the dance of revolution – is one of them.
The last few years – we’ve heard a lot about revolution. We’ve called it uprising, resistance, revolt, or riot – depending on who we deem to be leading the charge and how we feel about their cause or whether we claim it as our own. We watch it from a distance and we take to the streets. And the personal becomes political and the political becomes personal.
And sometimes – at the end of it all, the facebook rantings and marching and shouting and campaigning- when voices are hoarse and spirits are united – no matter if everything has been won or all seems lost…
Sometimes – all there is to do, is to rise up and dance.
Revolution, my friends, looks like this.
Revolution sounds like the beat of drums and the rhythm of clapping and the sounds of wild cheering. It looks like dancing in front of a line of guards standing there to keep you out.
Because dance is always the way in.
Revolution is bodies – and voices – in motion.
Revolution looks like showing up for what you believe in. and standing ground against the things you don’t. It looks like staying – even when you’re weary of the fight. It looks like saying yes and saying no – and saying NOW. Not later. We have waited long enough.
Revolution says I am with you – and if this your struggle it is also my own.
Revolution looks like every protest sign I’ve ever held with my hands, and every single one I’ve lifted up in word.
Revolution is reclamation and visibility and the willingness to be seen.
It is fists raised up and bodies laid down.
Revolution says no matter how often you try to erase me, I will still be here.
Do you see me? I am still here.
Revolution is my birthright and my humanity and my responsibility.
Revolution is loud. It’s defiant. It’s the hard cackle of laughter that rings through the streets and the call and response and the demands for change. It’s the walk outs and the sit ins. And yes, it’s the huge risk it takes you to share that post on your social media, when you know there isn’t anyone who will understand or agree.
Because even small acts of resistance count toward the revolution. And even small acts of resistance can feel terrifying.
Revolution IS resistance.
Resistance – even your own, will sometimes make you uncomfortable.
Resistance asks – are you ready to be uncomfortable?
It is time for you to be uncomfortable.
Resistance has no time for your comfort zones.
Revolution is the small things viewed large and the big things made even bigger.
Revolution is righteous and disobedient and inconvenient and yes – sometimes it’s angry.
Right now I am angry.
Revolution is the amplification of voices frequently made silent. It’s the appearance of faces often invisible. It is arms linked and bodies bared. And the rumble that starts low in your belly, and rises up through your lungs and out into this world.
It sounds like the marching of feet on pavement and chants in languages and accents and voices too numerous to count.
Revolution is a network you will never unravel.
Revolution is truth.
Revolution does not ask what is allowed – it says I exist.
Will you still try to stop me?
Go ahead. Try to stop me.
Do you see me?
I am here.
And will not be going away this time.
Revolution is standing up and fighting back.
Revolution builds in the silence and the shadows left by oppression and privilege.
It is pride and desire and fierce determination – open bodies and unlocked doors and people spilling into the street.
The people will always, eventually, spill into the street.
And when they do, the drums will pound, and the voices will rise and the people…
the people will dance.
Eventually, the people will always dance.
Because sometimes, my friends. Resistance looks exactly like dancing.
And sometimes dancing is where revolution is born.
PS: Looking to give birth to your own revolution? I help passionate change-makers raise their voice and harness the power of story. Get in touch to learn how we can make your words dance.