Last year, I wrote a poem called ‘intimacy is not a crime’ for A Revolution You Can Hold in Your Hand, a zine some friends and I created about radical politics and personal experience. During that time, I was genuinely excited about the work I was doing, the friends I had made, and the community I was becoming a part of. I’d  been reading a lot about the emotional components of building strong political movements, and how community is fundamental to successful organizing. Political movements cannot thrive if we cannot learn to look out for one another; they fizzle out without emotion.

 

If you’re anything like me, intimacy is intimidating. To think someone could know you so well, inside and out, is scary – and as humans, we suck at it. We see people every day whom we claim to love with all our hearts and cannot recall the color of their eyes. We are taught that love is only valid when you have a marriage certificate to back it up. We are entangled in a culture of toxicity: jealousy, possessiveness, and constrictions are thought to be inherent parts of our relationships­­.

It’s time we learn how to love harder, and love for real. What good is smashing the state if afterwards you’re going to be left alone in the rubble? Revolutionary spaces are not built in a day, but they cannot wait to be built tomorrow, either. Just for a moment, forget everything you think you know about love, about self-care, about communication, and about community. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Build a family. Build it on trust and on love– a family that struggles together, celebrates together. Walk through the open door and plop yourself around the metaphorical campfire and clink your glass to togetherness. It is up to us to redefine what it means to spend time together. Do we know each other? Do we really?

What does it mean to build a revolutionary space? Ideally, we build an alternative world. We make time for being together, especially when it’s difficult.  We agree that this is our life, our fight. Struggle is as collective as it is personal. Differences are sources of strength not to be tokenized or ignored. We love. Not whydidntyoutextmeback love, or ifeelbetteraboutmyselfbecauseyoudomyemotionallaborforme love, but the kind of love where you know what you want and how to ask for it. We know each other for who we truly are. We know what irritates us and what puts us at ease. We constantly grow and make each other uncomfortable for the cause. We can never be comfortable, nor rest. We’re always learning­­–– call out the whiteness, the maleness of organizing. Call in our friends who we haven’t seen in awhile. Infuse our bodies and our spaces with the power to heal. Bond over food. Take care of each other.

It is extraordinary, the thought of living outside a system that causes so much pain. This is not reality. We sell our labor to survive only to be exploited more the next day. But activism isn’t just about pain, it’s also about joy. The joy of being together – of having fun – is what builds bonds that will last long after the revolution. And the bonds that will help us endure the hard times. It’s time to build the things we need that will exist when everything falls apart. It’s fun to sit on the porch until 3 a.m. discussing gender and how we understand ourselves. It’s fun to cook meals for your friends every week. It’s fun to walk into a friend’s house after a protest, sweaty and full of adrenaline, and bask in that warm feeling of temporary collective power. How about we try to create that feeling all the time?

 

So, what color are my eyes?

Hazel. Sometimes more green, sometimes more blue, but always with a gold ring in the center.

join hands,

rotten hearts and golden minds,

you know, we’ve got the same idea–

you know?

intimacy is not a crime

nor is to love each other

–for no reason at all

crime is subjective.

they tell us, wrong!

but it feels, right.

the laws that govern are not

our friends

take care of

one another,

we are all that we have

you know?

there are seas between us

we are told we put them there,

we did this to us

it’s not we – but they

they who told us closeness

was a crime

they put them there

only to drown

those who try to cross them