Ana Goncalves
and Charissa Arsaoui

Ana Goncalves


By Charissa Arsaoui

Inspiration piece

We will not go trudging through life obeying society’s every command– listening to authority figures barking orders at us as if we have not an ounce of intelligence or determination coursing through our veins. We refuse to be bystanders in our own lives, watching from the sidelines as others work so hard to control us, to limit our income, to force us to pay taxes, to make us live up to their ideals, and to mold us into their ideas of perfection.

We find ways to liberate ourselves discreetly. We join forces with like- minded folk and set the world ablaze with our revolutionary ideas. We start community gardens and feed neighborhoods full of people. We reclaim materials cast aside by the elite and build houses, fuel automobiles, and reconstruct clothing out of their garbage and later to sell back to them as useable goods. We print the type of literature that we would want to read not the type likely to be found on a bestseller’s list. We act as our own realtors, squatting in forgotten houses and closing the gap between debtor and creditor.

We fight for a living wage so that those who have to work for corporations won’t view their paychecks as a cruel joke. We believe in change, not as political campaign tactics, but as the foundation for our actions.

We do not believe that dropping bombs on a country will change its people’s opinion on democracy no better than a few loaves of bread will feed a continent full of starving people. We don’t buy into hoaxes and hoopla because we believe that the truth we find inside ourselves is far more powerful than the education sold to us on campuses.

We do not believe that displaying a flag makes you patriotic. We see faults in our Founding Fathers and their ideologies and fight hard to rewrite history the way that we see fit. We witness evidence of oppression on every living room television set and the streets where we work and play.

We are here to settle the score, lighten the load, and redistribute the wealth. We view millionaires and billionaires as horrible failures because of their inability to properly allocate their resources. We marvel at the courage of average people with open hearts and open checkbooks. It is nothing short of a miracle that we are put on this planet to serve as a voice for those less fortunate. We follow the philosophy that the more we work for money the less time we have to engage our souls in play. We dance on rooftops and infiltrate private property. We shower paint splattered kisses and words of hopes on the sides of buildings because we know that one voice can make a difference.

We plant seeds of promise with our actions and cultivate fields of knowledge. We may detest the role technology has had in speeding up and complicating our lives but we use it as a platform to launch campaigns and reach out to others like us globally.

We refuse to compromise our value systems for a fairer shake at being wealthy. We opt instead to find new and creative uses for old things. We view life experiences as a gift and reflect upon each scar as fond reminders of our past.

We do not measure success by the contents of our bank accounts but in the depths of our spirits. We may falter but we can never be separated from what we believe in for it is our core, our essence of being.

We believe that all great movements come with resistance and all great leaders evoke emotions. To transform ourselves into who we want to be not who they want us to be takes great courage. The devastating loss of one’s self is seldom avoidable. The world will do its best to chew you up and spit you out whole yet we revel in life’s little pleasures—the sound of heavy rain, the feel of our loved one’s lips pressed against our cheeks, and the first ripe strawberry of the season.

We learn to look forward to the future and the promise of another day. Additional opportunities to move people and to change the world present themselves to us on a regular basis. Some people call us dreamers or view us as nuisances but we are neither. We are opportunists, capitalizing on the good fortune of others who toss items into the dumpsters that we visit.

We know what we want and are not afraid to fight for it. We move mountains with our actions and break hearts everywhere we go. You’ll find traces of us tucked into dark corners of libraries and in random flyers wheatpasted to street lamps. The everyday occurrences of extraordinary events serve as a reminder to us that what we do is just and “right”. Glimpses of promise burst through the darkest of moments like fireworks setting our minds ablaze.

We are optimistic but realistic. We know that nothing is accomplished overnight so we work diligently towards our goals, touching lives along the way. We inspire others to pick up the torch where we left off, lighting the way for those who wish to follow them.

The journey of a thousand miles often starts with a few downtrodden steps. We let our hearts guide us through our travels, the way that our instinct steers us safely out of the path of danger. It won’t be easy to forget us; the ones who tasted all that life had to offer yet remain hungry. We are forever gnashing our teeth, lashing out at those who get in the way of our happiness.

Bruised and battered, we step foot into new cities, changing their structure and leaving behind our legacy. We lay awake patiently waiting for the right moment to come along. Our voices serve as our greatest assets. Stripped of worldly possessions, we learn to let the truth resonate from our pores in the freest acts of expression. We know precisely what to say and when.

Our words of encouragement are often just what a person needs to find their way home again. We pick up our guitars, our sketchbooks, and our bicycles and we change the world. In an entirely superficial way, we influence progress. For every seed bomb that we toss and homeless person that we feed, we are altering our universe and shaping our destinies in a very big way.

“This must be what he meant about change,” we say, nodding our heads in approval and thrusting ourselves further down a road paved with promise.


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