The Revolution Has Got to Be Fun

You give a damn.  You give a damn, and give a lot of yourself.

I would describe you as the leader of your family. You have a master’s degree or you may be a doctor. Perhaps you work in social services or health care, giving of yourself on the job and caring intensely about the world. You’re intensely creative. You’ve got all of this hope that carries you forward. You’re driven and hardworking. You’re very practical and down to earth. You’re aware of your privilege and your eyes are open: you’ve traveled the world and walked in your community, and you’ve had experiences that have inspired you to be of service. You give of yourself in such a huge way. As major empath, you wear your heart on your sleeve. You laugh and cry easily as you celebrates and grieve. You see that there are things that are broken in our country, our world, and our environment—and in the face of looming disaster you hope that you have the tools to be part of the solution. You begin by nurturing your family, your community, your clients, and your patients… and by extending your compassion to those around you, you can begin to heal the whole world.

There is a revolution of women like us.

There’s an uprising in the face of Trump—in the face of the patriarchy—in the face of competitive nationalistic immigration policy.

There is an uprising.

There is an uprising of women.

There is an uprising of activism.

There is an uprising of using our voices to work for change.

There is a discussion nationally about racism.

There is an empowerment of the oppressed.

There’s economic inequality that getting exacerbated to the point of revolution.

What I see, though, as an artist, is that the revolution has got to be fun. Don’t get me wrong: I know that these are thorny, serious issues and we have to have difficult conversations about them. I’m writing this on Juneteenth—it’s really hard to talk about racism. It’s hard to talk about the fact that slavery was not abolished in the US that long ago, and that systematic oppression continues today, such as in the justice system and the prison industrial complex. Add to that the indigenous rights issues such as the conflict at Standing Rock and all of the crazy immigration policies put into place by the Trump administration, like separating thousands of kids from their families and jailing adults seeking asylum from violent governments in other countries.

Can you tell that there’s a lot that I care about and that I want to say? I think that you do, too. Sometimes I think there’s a sense that the problem’s too big and we can’t do enough. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or panicked when you hear bad news about issues that concern you.

But listen. You’re in a body. You’ve got a family, and you’re the matriarch (like me, you may be the youngest, or a dog mom, but my family still looks to me for leadership and inspiration—so whether or not you have children, I know you are central to your family group). You need to take care of that one body that you’re in, and you need joy.

People who give a damn need joy! People who give a damn need access to the power and the ignition and the creativity and the resilience that joy brings.

We are in a revolution right now. We are creating a new future in the face of challenging times.  We have got to make the revolution fun. We’ve got to take all this pain and make art out of it. Let’s make these urgent conversations visible! We need to get out of our own way and get in front of people: lead a conversation, have a conversation, and stay in the conversation when we get triggered, scared, or panicked.

We need to dance, sing, laugh, cry, and grieve. Artists in our culture have a historic role: we express, allowing others to express their emotions. You go to the theater and you laugh or you cry. You see a piece of art and it evokes an emotion—it moves you into a place of evolution. It ignites a conversation. It starts a fire in your chest, a lump in your throat, and tears in your eyes.

Somebody dancing can start a whole dance party. One good playlist can ignite an otherwise uptight crowd—it’s a commonality; we find our common language in music.

I was inspired to write this because my dog Summer taught herself to climb a little hill and then wiggle down the hill on her back.  She clearly got a kick out it and did it five times in a row. It was an expression of pure joy and unadulterated fun! As I laughed and delighted in watching her do this, I realized that joy is imperative.  

Fun makes people want to join us—and that’s why the revolution has got to be fun. The revolution has got to be the party that everyone wants to be at! It’s got to be inviting. It’s got to be uniting—there has to be a sense of belonging and universal acceptance.

Without consciously pursuing and making time for simple, joyful pleasures—picnics with my husband, snuggle time with my dog, laughing and dancing with my friends—I couldn’t raise my head off the pillow in this world most days, and face what I feel called to do. And you? How can you use fun to boost your spirit so you can do your part to change the world?

Annamieka Davidson