It feels so good to be free

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.

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Resistance should not be an identity.

sick of motherfuckers trying to front because they are “revolutionary”

It’s fun when, you end up in those after-class university-sponsored debates about non-violence and see white women wearing “Brother Malcolm” t-shirts (in the U.K. no less!). It’s fun when your former Women’s Studies classmates bash other people for being “cis,” or “straight” or “not feminist enough.” It’s fun when you are in Falasteen and the white internationals show hostility towards you for not being down to talk politics and Netanyahu all the damn time.

Here’s a newsflash for all y’all motherfuckers:

don’t nobody give a fuck about you or your politics –

I spent a decent portion of my youth being just like this; thinking that my resistance and political ideas made me special, that people should know exactly what I’m all about so that they can walk away thinking “Wow, that girl is really radical, man!” I spent a lot of time doing that, and I think its a normal step in the process towards decolonizing oneself … the point being of course, to move on from it. It is so easy to think that we are better than others, isn’t it? To think that our beliefs and our positionality make us superior to those who do not share the same ideas…

It is so easy to get caught up in the confusion of what is going on in the world and to brand our resistance to it all by feeling different, or unique, because what we have to say is not the “norm…” and then finding others who also share that same brand and building community out of it. There is nothing wrong with building community out of resistance, but when that community is about the identity of resistance, then things get a little more complicated.

Back when I called myself a feminist I wore that identity like a badge, a label to differentiate myself from others, to say: this is who I am! I felt that I was ahead of the curb, that I was unique because I was thinking about things that most of us don’t think about. I found myself in “feminist communities” of people who spoke the same language as me, who held the same viewpoints, who validated my identity because it was shared. But then it got to a point where I started to behave exclusively; where those who didn’t identify as such were looked upon with pity, pity that they hadn’t “found the light” of resistance or whatever the fuck.

Later, when I moved on from feminism and more deeply into radical black forms of resistance, the urge to do the same was strong. It is tempting to want to give ourselves wholly to an identity of resistance when resistance seems to be the only option in a situation of extreme futility and grief. I have been so consistently heartbroken along the trajectory of my own political consciousness that I have wanted to give myself fully to that pain, to the struggle — I have wanted to dedicate my life to the struggle because it is the “struggle” that grips me so completely.

But when we get too caught up in our resistance to the point that it is through that which we identify, we actually lose a lot of ourselves in the process. We must ask ourselves this: If we identify as revolutionaries then what happens when the revolution is over? Who do we become then? The temptation to let our resistance become our identity, to let it become who we are, actually distorts the very nature of our resistance. We should be resistant because it is our historical and ontological vocation to strive towards humanization. Once we begin to wear that as an identity then we become attached to it as we do all of our identities, and it becomes difficult to lose and easy to protect.

The point, though, is that we don’t want to protect resistance — we resist so that we can resist no more. Holding on to resistance as an identity makes it so that we have much to lose in losing it, and blinds us from the interactions and possibilities that can actually help us to move closer towards a reality where our struggle is but a historical phenomenon to be studied (idealistic, I know, but that’s besides the point). I am fully committed to resisting all forms of oppression of humanity, but I also know that I cannot give myself up to it; I also need to live outside of it, even if only in those moments of hopeful calm in the calamity; I cannot always be struggling or else I have lost to the struggle.

I know that many of us are tired. I know that many of us, like myself, resist for survival, out of necessity and not necessarily by choice. But we must be careful not to let it become who we are, because the whole point of our bravery is so that we may live fuller, and freer; and as much effort as it may take, we must live full and free now (in the ways in which we can). The revolution is not waiting for us, it is now, and it means living resistant, but not only through resistance. As much as it is a central part of us, it cannot be all that we are.

And for the rest — for those of us who can choose when to be resistant or not, whether through women’s marches or carefully curated outrage on facebook, ask yourselves: how do you choose to show your resistance to the world? What would it mean if no one saw you doing these things? If we are truly committed to the struggle, then we must not exploit the struggle for our own personal gain; that defeats the whole purpose, that distorts the whole point; it renders useless the vocation to be fully human.

so Take a Moment

(This picture): A moment from the best morning of my life, a morning where I laughed so hard I thought I would puke, and although all the things around me were still there, I didn’t care. And it is difficult – not to care, and sometimes it feels like: am I just leaving my people behind, am I just basking in my own undeserved privilege, am I just being apathetic to things that too many people are already apathetic to?

But happiness is not privilege, and happiness is actually something that we can all attain, like love. At first I want to think that as the layers of oppression are laid upon us it is more difficult to be happy, but let’s reverse that and see that the happiest places and the happiest people are often the ones who have the least, Any one of us can be happy at any moment; no, not happiness as a myth of continued and maintained joy, but joy in a moment – a moment of laughter or of surprise or of a surge of the feeling of love.

It can seem so difficult sometimes, those moments, because we’ve been working so hard to find them that we miss them or because we’re so mired in grief that they seem impossible and almost wrong to experience – but it is quite essential that we open ourselves to noticing them when they arise, because it is those moments that are resistant. The moments where we feel joy in our hearts, even if only fleeting, are the ones that make up our internal collage of the feeling of love: the energy of resistance and the frequency of life.

I’ve wondered lately what it means to heal; what it means to be healthy and whole in a diseased environment (how does one heal a wound that will never close?) – and maybe the answer is that the healing comes from the inside. The environment itself is stubbornly slow to change, and it will keep inflicting blows upon our bodies, but perhaps instead of looking for a salve to rub upon our wounds we fight it from within… Joy is the antibody to the virus of oppression, and we owe it to ourselves to be happy. We owe it to ourselves to experience moments of joy wherever they may come to us. We owe it to ourselves to take a break from the fight, to sit for a moment and laugh if even only at the ridiculousness of it all, to put ourselves before the struggle, because we are the struggle. (what’s the point of getting to the other side if we don’t know how to be free?) Not every single one of our actions has to be towards the greater fight; there is merit in simply doing something because we want to and in doing it we can find a shrug of joy in our hearts.

Let’s make less time for guilt and obligation and grief and instead let it inform our deep saturation within those small moments where something so ordinary can be extraordinary because we have learned to value bonheur as much as our tragedy. Appreciation, if only for the knowledge that we are alive and so able to continue to live our stories; appreciation for all the moments that are devastating and for all of those whose stories no longer continue.

Happiness is resistance and joy is love.

The Black Joy Project. #blackjoy

humanity is suffering from a self-love problem

What is more tragic than wasted potential? I don’t know! Tell me!! Please god, tell me, because I am feeling really fucking tragicked-out lately from noticing all the lost fucking potential everywhere I fucking look – its like, people really don’t give a shit do they; we are actually settling for less as a collective species and are OKAY WITH IT!!!! (wtf is going on yo). It takes meeting a lot of different types of people to understand that there is so much that we have to offer as human beings – so much creativity and inspiration and intrigue and love – and it also takes meeting a lot of different type of people to understand that the basicness fucking abounds, yo, and it don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

And what a fucking tragedy that is because, for those of you who are reading this now (and myself who is writing it), we are alive NOW, our own life-track has already started, and we aren’t getting back any of the time that we have passed. And because we are alive that means that death, our physical death, is now inevitable; we are not the yet-to-be-born who can perhaps spend their idle time not worrying about life on this (decreasingly) green planet, who can sit in waiting hoping that things will be a little less wasted-potential-y when they finally arrive. No; we are here already, and hopefully we are not stupid enough to take for granted any time that we may have left in our own infinitesimal lives. After all, people die everyday, and one day that will be you, and me.

So we must ask ourselves: are we really going to wait until we are on our deathbeds to fully appreciate what it was to live, to have our life play out in a loop in our heads while we count all the regrets that we had and all the “should-have-dones?” Are we really going to wait until we have cancer to start selling meth to support our families??? (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of Breaking Bad lately) – the point being that, there are all these great lessons to learn and we learn them too late, there is all this gratefulness to be had, and we are having it too late.

And how do I know this? I know this because, well look a-fucking-round you, there is so much wonder in this world and there is so much more that we are just letting lie dormant for lack of love for ourselves and conviction that we can be (that we are) better than this. We are better than this. Do you not believe it? Just as any Oprah-approved advice would tell us, happiness begins and ends with the self, self-love is the key to happiness, and dare I say: freedom. When you love yourself you are free, free from every source that would tell you otherwise, that would tell you: you are not actually good enough as you are or worthy of love simply by being a part of the human community; you/we/ are not worthy.

Why are we all falling for this shit? And what makes us think that happiness is actually attainable through accumulation and control and power over others (and even ourselves)? The biggest myth of all time and we are just accepting it because seemingly we actually don’t think we deserve any better individually, or collectively.

The world is not the way it is now because it has just always been like this and oh well what can you do? We are the world now – the world is made up of us, and it is the way it is because of us. Everyone jumps at the chance to show that they “really care” but none of us actually do (do we). Or else things would not be like this. There is more capital in the world now than happiness. There is more power in the world than love. (I’m not even sure of this last statement actually but, could we really be sure of the inverse either?) How tragic is it that, instead of allowing ourselves individually, and therefore collectively, to flourish, we take the less-expensive but shittier version of things and choose power over happiness and oppression over love? We would rather entertain ourselves with empty notions of fulfillment than actually be fulfilled? WHY, PEOPLE?? This is the greatest tragedy we are committing as human beings – to ourselves – and damn if it ain’t the most tragic shit you done ever heard —

Imagine if we had more love for ourselves as a collective species of humanity. Imagine all the music and all the movement and all the creations and all the real, actual happiness that we could experience. We could see new colors. This is all we are missing out on by being co-conspirators in our own collective imprisonment. It is not enough to say that you care and still not love yourself and your humanity enough to not allow yourself to be free. FREE YOURSELF: of judgement, of self-hatred, of oppression, of death. Don’t fall for it!!! Life is too fucking present for us to continue succumbing to the temptations of death. Stop selling yourself short: be brave, stand up for yourself and others – KNOW WHAT WE DESERVE – and let love enter your soul and equalize your being within the universe. We only have so many years left on this planet, and even less years of our own lives – why are we still wasting our time?

for Kesha

 

 

Let Love Prevail

As the world continues to crash and burn, it can be challenging to weed through the myriad ways that all this chaos manifests itself in our own day-to-day lives, lives of those of us who have the time, space, and equipment available to even access this very blog post, to sit in our leisure and read the words of someone whose livelihood isn’t being violently ripped away from them… at least not directly.

But there are plenty of ways that my livelihood is being stolen from me although I don’t wake up to see homes smoldering around me. The most basic shit, the shit we should all be on our fucking knees with gratitude for having the ability to experience – even the most basic shit becomes so difficult amidst the fogginess and confusion of inhumanity. I should be sitting here feeling like the most fortunate motherfucker in the world for all of the things I have – yes, shelter, food, all of those things, but really love, Love, LOVE: love for people around me and the people I care deeply about, and reciprocation of that love. When love is what the world is most devoid of, I should be cherishing this shit like water droplets in the desert (which honestly it feels like it is); I should really be allowing myself to revel in the glory of love and then channeling that energy outwards to inject even just a little bit back into the world… I know that sounds like some Jesus shit but it’s true. Love > everything.

The part that gets difficult to admit and even infuriating, is that it isn’t easy for me either to let love flow through me like a channel, because I, too, am blocked in different areas from allowing myself to just give into it; I am blocked by fear, fear that comes from the knowledge of a lack of love and the deeeep cutting pain that comes from it. That knowledge, and that pain, prevent me from living my life as full as possible and letting love transform me into something more human; the only force really, that can transform our humanity in a world so dehumanizing and violent.

When we devalue any life anywhere then we are automatically devalued along with it, because we are no different from one another regardless if we are the ones sending the bombs written “From Paris, with love” or the ones whose children are receiving it; the forces of hate and dehumanization do not only exist in certain places – it’s just that it is easier to feel as though they don’t exist when we can be distracted with the so-called “luxuries of life…” But we’re no different. There is a reason why it is so hard for us to love ourselves as human beings when there is so much showing that humanity is not worthy (look at the fucking Bible ha!), and no amount of anything will make it easier until we start to truly value humanity wholly and understand our sameness with one another.

It is hard for me, someone who at many levels is on the side of violently desecrating the humanity of others through forced complicity, and at so many other levels having the same thing happen to myself, to love myself fully and therefore allow the power of love to transform my being. It is hard for me to believe that I am worthy as a human being because I am lack of examples of what that looks like. And how fucking stupid is that? I may be black and I may be other things but goddamn if I don’t have the time to sit here and ponder it, and that ENOUGH should make me feel driven with a feverishness to soak up all the love possible; to put what I know in my head into my heart because we don’t have TIME, we don’t have any time anymore to not be about love and only love and nothing else, I mean – look what is happening all around us!!!!

I can’t let my fear of not being worthy keep me from whole-heartedly running in the direction of love when I can sit at a vantage point that sees how fucking destructive the lack of it is. We all owe it to ourselves and our humanity, especially those of us who get to sit at this vantage point, to not spend any more time letting fear creep into the spaces that instead should be filled with love, it is the least that we can do (or the most?) to in any way resist the forces of oppression/destruction that are being wreaked with flourish across our precious universe

We DON’T HAVE ANY MORE TIME.

In fact, time ran out quite a bit ago, so we have to work extra hard to undo the accumulation of destruction, and fear. Do it for yourself, do it for others, do it for humanity… do it for Syria. Those little moments that scare us, the fear that prevents us from glowing with love, fight against them with every fiber of your being, because if not, we are just as dead as the rest.

 

I’m not waiting for the Revolution anymore

I’m sick of not being sick of bullshit that doesn’t actually matter. I don’t need to die tomorrow to be close to death; the energy I put into caring about things rooted in the ethics of death – things that I no longer want to care about anymore – is enough to draw my proximity closer. I may be young but I needn’t have lived many years on this Earth to know that waiting is bullshit. What exactly am I waiting for? To lose ten pounds? For the perfect credit score? (Ha!) Until I feel 100% confidence in myself and my life and experience no insecurities whatsoever? None of those things are very likely to happen and time is just a social construction anyway. What is real is what is felt now – and without getting into the question of metaphysical existence suffice it to say that what is real now is oppression and the suffering that comes along with the ethics of death. The pain that we have the shocking human capacity to feel that is a natural consequence of it. Love is also real – the realest – but there sure as hell ain’t enough of it. Why do so many of us cry alone???

I cry alone all the time but that is not the reason I’m done waiting on revolution. We can be the people who stand behind the revolution when it comes, the ones who say “Oh, yeah, when the revolution starts, sign me up!” Or we can say fuck it and understand that carving our own path and resisting death through life cannot come at a sooner time; in fact, we are already quite late. I can’t wait for the revolution anymore because there ain’t nothing to wait for. What, am I going to cry and then wait for someone else to pass the clipboard around? Nah. Fuck that. Bravery finds strength in the knowledge that our suffering does not stand idle for our ideals. The revolution begins with us and the seeds for its cataclysm lie within our deepest and purest humanity… Somebody has to not give a fuck. Is it going to be you?