Older generations keep telling us that we have nothing left to rebel against. It’s all been seen, all been done before.
Rock and roll ousted big bands, rap ousted rock and roll. We have a black president, marriage equality has finally been made law, women and minorities are more equal than ever and marijuana legalization is only a matter of time. War that once seemed so unjust, now seems necessary as well as constant. Those of us who don’t believe in eradicating our ‘enemies’, are just satisfied that our gas is the cheapest its been in 5 years.
And even if we did picket, even if we did rally ourselves against all the injustice still left to be righted, we have no confidence we will be heard. No confidence that our actions, our opinions, our hopes can possibly rise above the wall of din that we have created for our comfort against a cold, cynical reality. But every time this defeated, this discouraging and jaded sentiment beats down on my psyche, it quickens a tendril of rebellion within me.
When a life enters its autumn, it grows satisfied. It looks back at all its hard-won victories and begins to understand the wisdom gleaned from the struggle. It grows confident in all its assumptions and begins its quest for closure. But in so doing, it washes the past clean of inconsistencies, of unrequited passions and of work left unfinished. The old and wise believe that wisdom is king, because it emerges last and at the end of a journey.
Yet when one only examines the end, they forget what it was that made them begin. They forget that youth is reckless and wild, only because it dances closer to the spark of creation. They forget that journey’s end is, for us, still shrouded in mystery. That the unveiling of which can only be achieved by walking into fire and praying we are invincible. That unencumbered with the foreknowledge of consequence, our souls are light enough to fly. That ignorance of suffering enables bravery. That nothing is certain until we’ve made it so.
We are beings of infinite possibility and we do ourselves a great injustice should we choose to embody a possibility of scripted pessimism, of confined and cyclical patterns. It would be an injustice as great as embodying only its opposite. Because young and old are yin and yang, water and earth. With too much earth the well will dry, with too much water it drowns. Youth will always need wisdom for guidance, but we beg you not to forget our importance. Water is motion, it is force, it is resilience. It is the power of attraction. Of the few drops that embrace to shelter themselves from the wind, only to find that their embrace entices others and grows into a raging flood that surges to threaten the sky.
So I rebel not against what was, not necessarily against what actually is, but against the naysaying, lethargic, pessimism of the comfortable. Against those who tell me that my desperate need to fix the world will fade with time. Because they cannot hear that there is an insistent, constant drumbeat that echoes in my being. They cannot hear that it’s relentless tattoo sounds in my eager footsteps, in my restless fingertips, in the rhythm of my speech and song. It longs for escape, longs for focus.
We are not who you imagine us to be. There has never been anyone like us and there never will be again. Do not underestimate our abilities because the obstacles have frustrated you. Do not assume that because you can’t imagine how things can be different, that together we will not be able to imagine it. Instead we ask you to trust in us. We are your children. We are learning from your trials, from your wisdom. With your cultivation our fire can burn through those obstacles, so that out of the ashes may grow a forest of our choosing. Trust in our fire as we have trusted in your guidance and let us blaze anew, a path that neither of us could ever have imagined without the other.