Joy doesn't betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.

Rebecca Solnit

Rad author and activist Rebecca Solnit is inspiring to me for a million and one reasons. But I'm especially grateful to her because reading her words from Hope in the Dark gave life to my mantra for 2017: relentless joy.

Like many of you, I'm wracked with anxiety about our planet and our politics in the coming year. The last few weeks, I've felt afraid to celebrate, to adventure, to embrace, because it's too damn sad to be wildly in love in this world when I'm so worried about losing her. I know, I know—it's stupid. But lately my turbulent heart has craved mindless distraction. 

Reading Rebecca Solnit's words reminded me that existing numb and neutral to the world isn't where it's at. I can't fight Trump, can't do the good work that needs to be done to heal our earth, if I'm spending my evenings curled up inside. I want to be a body in this world, baby! I want to be full of joy and daring and dreaming.

So my mission for the new year is to fearlessly pursue happiness. I'm going to throw a feast for friends for my birthday next week and travel to snow-kissed hot springs with my beloveds and plan an epic hike on Inauguration Day to counteract all that sadness with relentless joy. This isn't a call to pledge blind allegiance to happiness because it's healthy—hell, it's necessary—to experience anger, frustration, and sorrow too. Rather, it's an opportunity to give myself permission to celebrate the thousand and one beautiful things that are growing gorgeous in this world even in spite (or maybe because of) all the shittiness. 

Relentless joy is a radical act right now. How are you, sweet creature, going to party? 

Kate Weiner3 Comments