I’m a hashtag! I am representing a clicktavist slogan for change, championing a word I whisper-yell after I’ve made one phone call to my already democratic senators and stammered out a message about a bill or appointment I can’t entirely remember because it’s only the latest in a hurricane of whatthefuckery and I have only called once this week instead of 7 times, but. RESIST, I tweet at senators, hoping that someone likes or retweets as though that makes it less of a void to shout into. RESIST, I say with my smug face because I’m wearing a Diva Cup and Thinx so I can freebleed all over the patriarchy in a very clean and responsible manner. RESIST, I chant wearing my pink pussy hat and marching arm in arm with women who probably won’t show up at the next Black Lives Matter march, including myself because I had a sick kid. But she has a hat, too! Resiiiiist.
Things are not going the way we had hoped in this country, and “hope” is an understatement in the way that “napping” is an understatement for “asphyxiation by garbage bag.” Currently, we’re watching our cartoon villain leaders twirl their moustaches and burning sack with dollar signs on them outside orphanage windows, and we have decided that it was time to resist.
We’ve watched black men and women killed on camera by police, we see the numbers of murders of trans people - especially those of color - jump exponentially; we see synagogues and mosques burned and defaced. We have decided. Just now. To resist.
See, this is America. We’re really new at this.
Countries who are accustomed to dictatorships think we’re super cute right now. With our “resistance.” Aww.
Resistance is more than an ideal, and we all know it. We don’t know what to do about it, but we know it’s something important. It’s like walking into a room with a cooler full of organs and forgetting why the hell you came in there. Ahhh...there was something...I was gonna do with these…
To resist is to exist for most of this country. It’s not like this is new. It’s not like there was a moment when someone’s boot on your neck was like, “no, this is good I like it, leave it there” - but many of didn’t notice for longer than a headline click to actually do anything of about it. That’s privilege. To not notice when you need to resist.
Resist is stigmatized here, see. It’s not looked upon favorably. Delicious things and desirable people are “irresistible.” Go on...give in...you can’t resist. You deserve it, we say, despite that gorgeous person’s sugar content and that donut’s penchant for selfishness and cheating. (pause) And once you become sick from those indulgences, you’re up against treatment-resistant disease. We hate resistant things. Unless it’s water resistant. Then we’re excited. Cause...fuck water.
But Resistance is what makes a civilized society work. It happens every day. I don’t smile when some dude tells me to - unless he just fell down. We don’t slap the goddamned phone out of someone’s hands when they’re staring at it while you’re talking to them, even though you wanna. You don’t go on a murderous rampage every time someone tells you to “calm down” or “not make it about race.” You don’t tear the limbs off of every person who chews so loudly it sounds like earthworms are thunder fucking in jello, though NO COURT WOULD CONVICT YOU. And persist? It’s just resisting defeat. So.
Now, on a national level, Admittedly, we’re behind. We don’t hear “intersectional feminism” without clutching our very white pearls, and FEMINISM is still looked at as a dirty word. The worst thing you can call a racist in this country is a racist. I’m not saying resistance is futile, but right now it looks like stoned people trying to assemble an IKEA shelf - we know what it’s supposed to look like, but it’s gonna take a long time and we’re really hungry.
Here’s the key: resistance begins the moment we say “no.” The moment we decide on no, we’re joining in. Toddlers already figured this out, so let’s go.
When I was 14 years old, I was single. Isn’t that the strangest fucking word to describe a child? But that’s what I thought. It was Thanksgiving in the two bedroom apartment on the dead end street we lived on in Melrose Park. I don’t remember what we ate. I just know that as soon as it was over, my mom went out with her boyfriend. My sister went out with her boyfriend. And I sat at home, wondering what to do. So I went to my yearbook, looked up my senior crush from the previous year, and found where he put his phone number. I called him. He was hanging out with friends and only too delighted to come get me. Dreamy! He picked me up, and every girl’s fantasy was fulfilled as we drove to an empty parking lot and his friends got out of the car, took out a case of beer from the trunk and left us alone. I was lucky. My resistance was met with acceptance. I wasn’t pushed after I said no. I was, however, left alone in the car waiting until his friend came in. It was his turn. He thought that was the deal. My resistance was met with begrudging acceptance. Again, this made me lucky. It doesn’t work for a lot of people. You say no, they don’t like no. So resistance becomes another word for “fight with everything you have to keep what is yours.” Some can accept the anger of defeat. Some cannot. Some can see that what they’re asking for is causing someone else pain and suffering. Some want pain and suffering for others.
And this is precisely why Resist is what we need. It is our daily bread, and we can’t get caught in the shame spiral of not baking it earlier cause we’re here now. We’re here to listen to and/or shout at the right people at the right times. Use the right pronouns, it isn’t hard. To march and call and tweet and show up. We’re here to stand up on the train when someone is abused and harassed and not be ok with things as they are but also but ALSO but also? we must resist despair. Resist does not mean we are not allowed joy. If we smile or gather or drink or watch shitty television or eat fatty things we aren’t letting anyone down. We are not finding one cause more important than another. I kissed that boy in the backseat but I owed him nothing. I took my happiness and steered it away when someone wanted it for their own. When you say STOP is when you resist. That moment. That’s why it’s never too late. You can be late and flawed, but you are welcome. Just don’t make it about you, and make it for everyone. We will resist the idea of always being miserable. We will destroy the thinking that you must not resist in order to be happy. That shit ain’t cute. I need fries. And ranch dressing. Oh, and for the marginalized populations to have equality and to smash the patriarchy, to rid the country of the scourge of this administration and institutionalized racism, school choice and for profit prisons and government all up in my uterus blah blah blah but FRIES! VIVA LA RESISTANCE.