How to Dress like a Revolutionary — ’Cause Being One Is Too Hard

When I was a kid, and by kid I mean teenager, my career goal was to become a political revolutionary. And I know what you are thinking? Marcela, you can’t make a career out of being a revolutionary. Unless you listen to Fox News, in which case you are convinced that protesters are paid workers with benefits. But as a teenager, I was aware of the injustices in the world and I was convinced that the only way to bring about change was to sacrifice the comfort that a well-paying job provides to fight for what’s right. Besides, I viewed capitalism as the enemy of civilization and I didn’t want to participate in a system that exploits the majority for the benefit of a tiny minority. And when I say I wanted to be a revolutionary, I didn’t mean fighting a guerilla war against the US government (I cannot survive in nature), I meant being a grassroots organizer who advocates for the racial, economic, and gender equality. Not all revolutionaries are Che Guevara, though I did have a huge crush on him and I probably would have joined the Red Army for him (JK! FBI please don’t tap my phone.) Fast forward to the present, I’m my teenage self’s worst nightmare. Not only am I not a revolutionary, but I’m also a corporate stooge who barely has the drive to call her members of Congress when it actually matters, and refuses to join any protests when it’s raining. Come on, can we just do it when the weather is perfect outside?

So how and why did a self-proclaimed revolutionary turn into a sell-out of her teenage self? ’Cause being a revolutionary is hard AF. After graduating with student debt and quickly realizing that the three basic human needs (food, shelter and clothing) don’t pay for themselves, my tune quickly changed. Of course, I still maintained the desire to help everyone and make the world a better place, but I couldn’t do that unless I lived a relatively comfortable life (which I now know is truly BS; comfort begets a desire for further comfort.) And when I finally got the decent job, I slowly drifted away from my goal to become Angela Davis and moved towards being Hilary Banks. Here’s the thing, being a true catalyst of change requires us to make sacrifices that may not benefit us in the short term but will improve the lives of those who come after us. That’s why we revere people like MLK, Malcom X, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. And not to be selfish, but I am, I really don’t have that type of courage. So that’s why these days I just opt to dress like a revolutionary. And that’s easy, just wear head to toe camo print and a look of self-determination…see!

You can also accessorize with a revolutionary book. Revolutionary Books include the “Communist Manifesto”, “A People’s History of the United States of America”, “The New Jim Crow” or “Malcom X”. You should probably know what they are about before you walk around with them, lest someone approaches you and you are completely clueless.

Lastly aviators are the revolutionaries’ sunglasses ’cause they make everyone look badass. And revolutionaries are obviously bad asses!

Hold on, I’m not going to end this on that sad note. Though being a revolutionary requires us to sacrifice more than a lot of us are willing to, being agents of change doesn’t require significant sacrifices if we all do it. So, use some of your mindlessly-scrolling-through-Instagram time to call your Congress people about protecting the rights of immigrants and our planet (’cause global warming isn’t playing with us.) Give up your latte dough and donate it to organizations like the ACLU, that are fighting for civil liberties for all. And lastly, tell your family to do the same. If we all do the little things, maybe we will be in a better place tomorrow. So, in summary, you may not be a revolutionary, but you can dress like one (hella cute) and you can still contribute to our world.

How to Dress like a Revolutionary — ’Cause Being One Is Too Hard was last modified: January 8th, 2019 by Marcela Onyango

Originally published at on January 8, 2019.