- Still don’t have much to write about in essay form.
- Kate and I are still in Atlanta, in a cute cottage in Grant Park. We recently celebrated ten years together.
- Have started teaching myself Ableton and Music Production. You can here some of my (not very good at at this point) music on SoundCloud. Feel free not to share it.
- Managing my depression pharmaceutically and behaviorally.
- Donating resources to a collection of non-profits dedicated to fighting white supremacy and creating a more equitable society.
- Generally avoiding social media other than Instagram (and a few topic-specific sites). I dip in and out of the others.
- Do not have a full-time job but will occasionally freelance projects in a variety of categories.
- Still listen to a ton of music.
- Is my life where I want it or where I thought it would be? No. But I am very blessed in many areas and am grateful to be here.
This is your regular reminder that the culture war we are experiencing (with body count and all) is bought and paid for by the wealthiest class as a way to distract from them draining the country and the planet in order to overfill their coffers.
They own the media shaping people’s minds and opinions on both sides, they own (and sometimes are) the politicians. They are defining “normal” and “acceptable” and it’s all nonsense, and that nonsense kills people.
I am well aware that my presentation to most of the world (a fair-skinned male-bodied bearded bespectacled lefty-leaning person with a long-term exclusive opposite-sex partner, amongst other “normal” signifiers) affords me some cultural advantages that my fellow non-straight and otherwise atypical folks do not enjoy.
I do my best to use those traits to raise the voices of those who do not have that visibility rather than to bloviate about issues that may otherwise affect me.
I do this not for any sense of credit or ego, but because lived experience will always be more relevant and important than even the most compassionate speech by those not in as many positions of marginalization.
I’m pretty open about my identity in how I present to the world. I am a Queer person (which to me, defines a worldview as much as anything else). I am not a straight person. Ever more relevantly, I’m Jewish. My relationship is not traditional in many ways, though it is absolutely committed.
What I do know is that “Normal” feels super oppressive to me, rather than something I identify with. The prevailing culture is so toxic to intentionality, compassion, generosity, inclusion and wholeness and actively suppresses those things with violence and manipulation of narrative. It hurts women (cis and otherwise) especially, men in different ways and affords very little room for others along the spectrum.
Whenever possible, I strive to reject this “normalcy,” and avoid it. I am very much aware that I have the privilege to do so.
So what are some small things can we do in addition to the political acts of resistance we must take as people with privilege? What can we do as compassionate individuals desiring of a more whole human experience for all that is not afforded us by how things are right now? How can we move the needle?
Here are a few basic things. Fuck with the system. Make people uncomfortable. Make out in public. Hold hands with two people (don’t block the sidewalk). If you’re male-bodied / identified, hug your male friends without slapping them on the back. Be kind and uncompromising to individuals and merciless to systems and groups. Shut up and listen.
It’s even more radical, these days.
i am just
out of the way
the way is
the him world
but he is
dead so what
am i doing?
the last poem
his world shall inspire
this is my world now
and everyone gets room to breathe.
I used to do these “What I’ve Learned” lists every year. I’m going to do them more.
- Resistance is not a reason not to do things. It may be an invitation to explore further. It’s also not a reason to shut down and “power through” without feeling.
- Having a structure to my day is one of the only ways I can stave off feeling like a useless burden on society. Writing just three things that I’d like to accomplish the night before and being able to cross them off is helpful (a framework I learned from Gina Trapani). When I don’t do this, it starts a spiral of self-judgment and shame around concepts like “wasting my life” and “not living up to my potential” that actually get me further mired, rather than leading to action.
- My voice is not essential in conversations about politics, and the best way to use my privilege is to amplify the voices of those being primarily affected by oppression.
- I am sad a lot. I have a habit of self-medicating/numbing out to avoid sadness. I’m trying to sit with it more. If I can sit with my emotional state for 30 seconds longer than I did yesterday and then numb out if I want to, then that is an accomplishment that I can feel proud of.
- I have real challenges with internally-generated motivation. Motivating myself and feeling ‘positive’ (i.e. motivating) emotions like excitement and anger get quickly redirected into shame (as well-documented in The Change Triangle). This motivation -> shame cycle is often misdiagnosed as depression (though I have also historically struggled with depression, I’ve thankfully . I am addressing this. This shall be addressed.
I surrender self-improvement.
I surrender “fixing my life”
I surrender making small changes that add up.
I surrender figuring it out.
I surrender doing better and hoping it works.
Fine. I’m “so smart” and “things just naturally fall into place for me” and i’m “so lucky” and I’m a “sensitive person” and whatever else takes it all away from me.
Fine, I’ll stay out of your way.
I surrender so that you can make art.
I surrender so that you can figure yourself out.
I surrender so you can keep your image of me intact.
I surrender so let’s talk about you.
I surrender, so I’ll stay out of your way. Out of everyone’s way.
I will feel childish about feeling angry. I will feel embarrassed about being hurt. I will throw a tantrum, apparently.
I will find comfort in shame and victimhood and powerlessness and surrender and not in excitement and self-directedness and positive reinforcement.
I will be contemptuous of my flavor of brokenness.
I will accept my flavor of brokenness.
I will find it boring.
It will not solve things.
But maybe they’re beyond solution.