What Does It Mean To Be Radical?

“Radical simply means grasping things at the root.” ~Angela Davis

I’ve been thinking a lot about how certain words, ideas or energies can elicit feelings from within that can cause us to shut down. When I was younger, I felt shamed for being seen as “radical”. The culture I grew up in looked down on people who spoke up and stood out. I can remember being told that activists got what they deserved when they were thrown in jail because they were not acting how ‘good people’ were supposed to act. I was told that if you dressed a certain way it was your fault harm came to you. I was told to sit down, be quiet and conform if I wanted success in my life. The message was clear; if I wanted to be liked, nothing I did could be radical.

There was always a part of me who knew those things to be untrue and I was often seen as ‘radical’ because I chose to push back. There’s also another part of me that likes to be liked. Those two polarities can sometimes be hard to navigate, especially when life gets overwhelming, but reminders like this one from Angela Davis help to keep pressing forward.