We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this month’s prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here). Deven Wisner shares his thoughts on our prompt:
What does it mean to you to be radical?
As I reflect on what it means to be radical, I’m faced with some discomfort. There’s an inherent fear that accompanies being radical or extreme…and for me, it draws me away from a place of comfort and confidence. It subjects me to vulnerability. Simultaneously, I experience apprehension when I label something I’m doing as radical; the word feels precious and as if it should be reserved for something system-altering — life changing, even. This is an acceptable space to be in, I think, but can hinder our ability to make progress.
For this reason, when I established my values, I had to think about how they’re contributing to the long game. How are they informing a radical reimagining? And from there, it became easier to walk it back and engage in a sort of reconciliation process with my values and how I’m currently living – knowing that when I’m embodying my values, I’m contributing to something radical.
So, what does it mean for me to be radical in this moment?
It’s showing up. It’s embracing a level of vulnerability with family, friends, and colleagues that I’ve never experienced before. It’s owning the privilege associated with my voice (inclusive of my social media platforms) and instead of shying away from controversy, taking the opportunity to educate and continue to be educated. It’s having dialogue about racism, white supremacy, and misogyny in hopes that someone impacted by these very things doesn’t have to. It’s realizing that having values and remaining silent about them never should have been an option.
If you’re struggling to put into words what radical looks like, take a moment to acknowledge, appreciate, and box up what’s holding you back (e.g., minimizing your own contribution or abilities, fear of change). Next, spend time with your values. Are you living them out fully? Are your values misaligned, or are you missing an opportunity to live them out in full? Although living out your version of radical might not feel as comfortable in the beginning, eventually you’ll experience some relief from the cognitive dissonance (at least I did).