Also known as: Why I ain’t gonna slap a bitch
“you don’t want no problem, want no problem wit’ me”
To be free, to be free, to be free… liberation… *sparkles*. You know, all this talk about Trump, all this talk about how bad the world is, who is oppressing who, who wants to be oppressing who…. blah blah blah is how I really feel about it (not that what I feel is any more valid or important than what anyone else is feeling, ha). But really y’all, what is the end goal/result of all this? I understand getting caught up. I understand wanting — needing — to let all of the deathful energy that enters our bodies leave in some way or another, whether that be through writing about it or crying about it or allowing it to manifest itself into something ugly hidden in your expression.. but you know what feels really good? What feels better than cathartic grief? To be free. It feels soooo good to be free.
I’m not saying that I have the key to freedom or the secrets to happiness; what I do know is “being more free” is a blueprint that I have set for myself in my own life, and that every inch freer tastes so, so sweet. Here is what being free feels to me now: it feels more aware, like I am more alert to my movement on the surface of the earth. It feels more joyous because my joy is decreasingly dependent on all the shit that don’t really actually matter — like whether your roommates are uncomfortable with the type of music you listen to, or whether that guy over there thinks you’re cute (because we as women are taught to value this shit even when we don’t personally find a particular man attractive), or whether your boyfriend is meeting gorgeous women in his new city, or whether your brothers are making the right financial decisions in their youth (etc., etc., etc. i.e. bullshit). It feels more joyous because when you are freer you know deeper what truly matters to you — what would matter to you if you were staring your own death in the face in this exact moment. Would Trump’s ass matter to you then? I think not.
It is not that on my deathbed I would suddenly find irrelevant the suffering of peoples on this earth or the oppressive effects of more imperialism, more capitalism, more hate, more suffering that we are seemingly going towards, no. It is that when you are faced with your own death it is the moment in which the complete honesty of your life is revealed — and would you be happy with what you saw? If I died tomorrow I know I would be happier knowing that I danced all crazy by myself in the middle of the street today than not. I know that I would be more satisfied having known that I chose love every time, or at least gave my best effort, instead of the easy temptations of the ego or the addictiveness of power and control (it is important to note here that choosing love must include choosing love for yourself — always).
Think about something that bothered you today, or a decision you have had to make. If you knew your life was coming to a close, what would matter to you really in those moments? For me, being free is living in harmony with life and death in a perfect balance. It is impossible to always balance the two — as we are only human — but it is the effort to do this that engages us in our vocation towards humanization. Assuming that full humanity is what we are after, we must accept death into our lives if we are to respect our own time on this earth and remain in solidarity with those who are closest to death, or already dead.
To put this into words that make more sense, here is the way I perceive it: I did not choose to inhabit the body, class, gender, color, country, citizenship, privilege that I do. I did not choose my oppressions either, they have chosen me. If I want to be more fully human then I need to understand the value of my own life alongside the lives of every other living thing on this earth. This means that I understand that I am no more valuable than any other life on this earth (because death is the ultimate equalizer), but also no less valuable, because I am alive. How do I then, live in accordance with this knowledge having not chosen (at a very fundamental level) which position I occupy in the matrix of all living things? I do this by accepting death as a reality (not in a “I’m going to die one day” sort of way but a someone is dying right now and it happens not to be me sort of way), and in turn living with respect to the fact that it just happens not to be me.
This, to me, is the best way to live in solidarity with those who are closest to death: it is to live my life as if I am them, and to live as if I was given a pardon at death’s door. Let’s imagine it this way: you are a child, from some poor country, no one even knows your name, you are mostly “irrelevant,” and lets say about to die at the hands of an abuser who is attempting to traffick you (insert any oppressive situation you want here really). If that child, in that moment, instead was granted by the universe the ability to live in your body instead of dying unnoticeably, what kind of life would they lead? Do you think that, if granted life at the brink of death, that you would not gulp it in like fresh water in the desert? Do you think that, if you switched places with someone who was differently oppressed than you, that you would care about the same things?
To be free is to live as if we are dying; and when we are dying, being hateful towards others because of who they voted for, or because they do not understand and have hurt you, being hateful towards yourself because you are not x pounds or because of some arbitrary-ass “credit score” — those things maybe start mattering less. I am not saying that things are not all relative and that the issues we have in our lives are invalid. I am saying: if the point of all of this is not to live freer and therefore closer and fuller in our humanity, then what is it? Living our lives truly hand-in-hand with death is to give honor to ourselves and to the lives of all living beings. If you are not doing that then all of the things we are saying and doing are null; the struggle itself cannot be our lives, living has to be our lives. And when we live with death in mind, we live freer and fuller, and damn… does it feel so, so good.