Friendship and Movements

#bipolardispatches

Note: While I’m not in danger, I’m affected by current personal and political events like any other person. I’ll be okay, but I’m feeling different right now. I’ll get better with time and trust. If you want to check in, text or PM is fine. Thanks.

—-

Last night we had a showing of the film, King in the Wilderness. When I set it up originally, I was pretty excited. It’s become a favorite. But lately there have been things going on in my life that pushed that feeling away. I wasn’t sure I was going to even show up for an event I’d planned. I felt a sense of shame as the air let out of the balloon in my mind about it and started asking for help.

Today, I’m waiting in the pharmacy for a refill and, as I take notes on a set of beautiful dark violet feelings I am struck by the sharpness of why I feel the way I feel.

There’s a scene in the film where MLK’s lawyer and advisor Clarence Jones is discussing the ramifications of King taking a position on the war in Vietnam. He describes that, in addition to the public excoriation he received, there was a private loss as well. Friendships that were the backbone of his personal life began to fall away. Ministers that supported him personally distanced themselves from him but also no longer welcomed him into their homes. He wasn’t just losing political power but the emotional safety net he needed to survive. Jones remarked that others close to him saw that he was depressed and, at one point MLK actually thought he needed to seek psychiatric help. Jones, his loyal friend and confidant, stated that he agreed but knew “every word would end up in the hands of the FBI.” The scene closes with a look of resolute, wizened pain on Jones’s face as he says King never got that help.

Ive thought a lot about that scene in the past few weeks.

I get a lot of psychiatric help, most of it covered by some form of insurance. I’m reasonably med-compliant, so I can take liberties with my life as a person with bipolar 2 that other folks can’t. But the thing that I have the most of, the thing that MLK didn’t have, was a public face that included this struggle as part of what folks saw. I tell people what’s happening and (for better or worse) link it to my work. It’s all wrapped up together anyway (I mean, fam there’s no escaping the link) so I figure why not relate them. But folk from his time wouldn’t do that, especially Black folk. I still get emails from family about how risky this all is. But looking at the film, with the look of sorrow on Jones’s face as he talks about literally advising his friend to basically stay in depression without something as critical as psych care for the good of a struggle that was calling him ugly names and leaving him low… seems to be a bigger risk.

I was honest with folks at the beginning of the showing that I’m just not able to hold much more emotion other than my own and handed responsibility for their feelings off to someone else. White people, in particular, get little quarter from me right now. I avoid folks who I don’t think will understand. When the scene came on, I could only shake my head at Jones and MLK’s pictures… at times with the same facial expression. I feel shame and guilt that someone so great could get so little from all of us.

My prescription is ready but I’m not quite all the way there. I take a second as violet turns a steel blue, put up my hood and hit the rainy streets.

A Congress of Baboons

#bipolardispatches

Sit with the silence of winter and hear, even as things freeze, that things still change in that state.

—-

Today is my first appointment of 2019 with my psych doc. I don’t have anything nifty to say to him (or to this space actually.) I wrote something else about Bipolar Dispatches being four or five years old now but it didn’t fit. I don’t need to take stock.

But I’m walking into 2019 with new stuff for myself.

Renewal isn’t earned. You can’t win at it. It is inevitable until it isn’t and even then there’s a transition that’s inevitable too.

Our bodies are our brains and our brains are our bodies.

And a gathering of baboons is aptly named a Congress.

Windchimes

#bipolardispatches

I have no real advice other than rest. The ancestors informed me that 2019 will take all that we have. Sleep, eat, be merry.

—-

In August, we went back to South Korea and we saw Secretary Lee. She was free this time and we shared a meal with her. It was a delight to see her no longer in jail and we had a wonderful time together. Amazingly, she gave TiffanyApril, and I presents: a windchime.

There’s little I haven’t received lessons on this year but the one I’m taking into 2019 is definitely my favorite:

Real solidarity is hard as fuck, will cost you so much you’ll wonder at times why you did it in the first place, and yet is worth so much more than what you will ever pay.

Seeking it will demand that people will tell you they care about your work and respect you for doing what you are doing, only to turn around and call you a fool behind your back to gain status with others. The number of people that do this will surprise you and, over time, you’ll discover just how little that it has to do with you.

It will mean intense pain that is sometimes physical and more often than not, unrecognized.

It will mean that some friends will become bitter enemies that question your motives, tear you down when you are already suffering, and – when the hardship has passed – will ask you for help because this world is cold and hard right now on everyone.

But it’s not without striking, luminescent beauty.

Real solidarity will light up the sky. It will give you incredible insight into yourself with that light.

It will bring you new friends that turn into family so quickly that you can’t believe you haven’t known each other since birth.

It will destroy all monsters, real and imagined. Foreign and domestic. Democrat, Republican, Nazi, Decepticon.

It will connect your soul to elder Gods that have twisted their names into Gaia’s hair and keep you out of the fire.

It will leave you breathless and breathe life into your lungs at the same time.

It is the wind and we don’t need ears to hear what we can feel. But wind chimes are nice and we would do well to let them ring no matter how hard the wind is blowing.

We need this connection to each other that, as a root word, actually means linked by destiny or people whose fates are shared.

No wind, no air, no life. The Cape of Storms left that one with me too. I’ll listen and set sail. My beginnings are waiting for me, as are yours.

—-

This is the last of these long form until 2019. Thanks for being a part of this. I had this group I was making but Facebook seems like a thing folks want to abandon. Thinking I’ll focus more on the website and other projects.

Elegba

#bipolardispatches

Today, I went to the end of the world.

The drive to the Cape of Good Hope was about an hour and a half. We went from highways that reminded me of Baltimore or Miami to, quite quickly, another place. We passed through a centuries old port town named after a mixed race governor. It’s main attraction? A penguin colony that lives on a stretch of beach.

As we got closer to our final destination, the world started to drift away. My cell signal disappeared, only to reappear as we go to the nature preserve that holds Cape Point. Alex, driver and adventurer for the day, gasped as we entered and let me know that even though he’s lived in the Eastern Cape his whole life he’s never been here before.

Once inside the preserve, I got tunnel vision. I didn’t want to be anywhere but the Cape. We could smell the sea air as we passed over a crescent of land with a lone road. The high cliffs on my left held beaches like ones I think I’ve seen in my dreams.

After a long winding drive, we reached the literal end. There were tourists there clowning around but Alex and I just took a moment. I sat and listened to the crosswind, remembering that this place was famous for sailors. It’s original name was the Cape of Storms and was the home of the Flying Dutchman legend. It was the point where you were gonna be headed East instead of South, a sure relief for anyone who has been going South for so long. Keep going South? Antarctica. Lol 🇦🇶

It was gorgeous but also old. It felt like a place to leave things so I left some thoughts and emotions there. When I did so, I was met by the oldest voice I’ve ever heard. It sounded like it knew me and was welcoming me home.

A wanderer God’s voice. A sailor’s guide.

It told me things –

1. This year has been the hardest year of your life so far but it hasn’t been the hardest yet. That one is coming. When it does, be prepared for the kind of grief that tears everything apart.

2. You need to be a better steward of all resources given to you. You hurt yourself better than anyone.

3. Don’t fight the feeling that you are not done yet with what you are working on. It’s not done.

4. Justice, your teacher, needs you around. Stop making that so hard.

5. You were meant to wander and you DEFINITELY did that this year, but not all exploration requires what this has been. Feel free to not repeat it.

I was then urged to take stones, leave a prayer and promise to return. I did so then asked Alex if we could head to the airport. He agreed and as we left, a single baboon a ways away turned to look at us and disappeared into rocky distances. I laughed, Alex looked at me puzzled and I took a deep breath.

Home soon.

Winter’s Cold

#bipolardispatches

The human body contains one of the most formidable protective structures in nature: the skull. 💀 Skulls house most of what we need to sense the world, including the brain. Despite outward appearances of endless hardness, what makes skulls so strong is the spongy bone sandwiched between dense tissue and (surprise!) blood vessels and nerve endings. You can feel things in those bones and it is precisely that makeup that makes them strong enough to withstand up to 1 ton of pressure.

Today, I want to get to know my skull.

With breaths in, I feel the protectiveness and value in remaining a force while feeling.

With breaths out, I remember all the times that I’ve been hurt or disappointed and push them away from my person.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Afterwards, I check in.

Am I thirsty? Two glasses of water for this confusing week.

Am I hungry? A meal in blessed silence.

Where is the woundedness? Am I feeling it?

Are my friends and family okay? Do I feel connected to them?

—-

I haven’t wanted to write these past few weeks. After Mr. Stallard and Ms. Jones were killed in a hate crime at a Kroger ten miles from my home, I didn’t want to say anything because life was so complicated. Anice was out of town and my Mom was here and J had lice (“itchies”) and I just couldn’t prioritize grief. I needed to systematize things and get myself and life in order first.

Once I was ready to deal, the deaths of two more people populated my FB timeline and I noticed how little the emotional needle moved for me at first. I made a note in my journal and left it to sit on the stove. This needed to be considered and I needed to be patient.

I had a minute or two on a radio program on Halloween that really drove my feelings home with a trunk full of emotional groceries. It was drivetime and I’d already been kinda wary of being a part of any media circus. I waited my turn, listening as a man who narrowly avoided being inside the synagogue in Pittsburgh as parishioners were being massacred talk about his experiences. After ten minutes of conversation, they took a break and I was up next to talk about Louisville.

The radio personality, meaning well, admitted she knew nothing about what happened here until she’d heard about Pittsburgh. She then played the entirety of a news story, filled with half-truths and a factual but emotionally bereft recounting of the events. After it was completed, she asked me two questions (basically about where to donate and how Pittsburgh and Louisville were connected) and our time was over. I hung up, noted how frustrated I was by even spending time doing all that, and moved on.

I think it was about then that I started to feel the hardening of my heart.

I’m already fairly emotionally managed, so it was a little discouraging to know that if challenged my equilibrium could go from a managed -1 to a relentless -3 as a baseline for how detached I could be. Sadness gave way to a cold anger and it happened quickly. More than anything I’m frustrated by how far away I feel because I need to do that to be with everyone else that isn’t Black or Brown. Otherwise I’m counterproductive (worthless) or mentally ill (dangerous) or something else candy-coated with racial animus.

Don’t get me wrong: I know people have feelings about this. I also know that most of this public disassociation is about trying to live and move forward in spite of adversity. People do that. But the events that have transpired both during the real rise of tension and the aftermath, full of disengagement and false promises, have made me seriously re-evaluate where and how I spend my time.

I yell at people I’m angry at a lot more now. I don’t do it because I want the person I’m with to be scared or suffer. I do it because I’m starting to see that I’ve gained so little from being anything but clear and honest. Also, sometimes yelling at people – especially White people – is an appropriate response.

There are groups I’ll spend less time with. I still love them, but I’m recognizing that sometimes I give more than I get and I’m starting to see that some spaces need more attention from me. The end of the year is going to see a lot of polite but clear withdrawals from me.

Hate crimes are deemed hate crimes not just because they are heinous. They’re specifically designated because of the impact they have on larger communities that they target. When you say something is a hate crime, you’re saying “this hurt more than just the physical target. This injured a community.” That’s not to say all of Jtown or Louisville is a victim.. because nah fam. But Black folks here sure are and are grieving just the same in all the complex ways it shows up.

I’m waiting for folks to say that. All of us to say that. To acknowledge that something happened and that folks will take responsibility and not leave it to grieving Black people to figure it out. Until then, a lot of people will have a different experience with me.

It’s gonna be a cold winter. Be safe.

Let The Fire Burn

#bipolardispatches
#trustblackwomen
#ibelieveyou

My meditation today is simple: I believe you, sis.

The rest is a TW and CW so don’t read on unless you really need to hear me.

But I believe you. I always have. I was too scared and I’m sorry.

“The sounds and smells of fire bring different images to different people. That is surprising since fire is one of our greatest tools and one of our most destructive forces. So what is fire? Is it enemy or friend? Fire in the wildlands does not have to be a villain. Fire that is low in intensity and does not grow out of control benefits our wildlands and is actually vital to the survival of several species.”

Benefits of Fire, CAL Fire.gov

There’s a lot of this that we (men) would love to say is too much. I know a lot of us are saying these kinds of things out loud. I was saying the same thing previously, in the dark, to myself.

“But what’s going to happen next to the man?”

“Is this the right thing to be doing right now?”

“What about the law?”

And all other kinds of bullshit.

I really didn’t believe the words. Neither do most of the men who let those foul thoughts crawl out of their mouths or fly off their hot little ragefingers. We don’t believe them because we know the truth: this world where we control all manner of debate and protect our penises above everything else, including the rest of our bodies, has been madness. It eats our young. It knocks down buildings. It rapes and tears and wars like a raging beast that we refuse to put down, even though we all know that the bullets it shits out can’t possibly allow crops to grow.

Yet here we are, listening to yet another man tell another woman that she’s a liar.

I didn’t come to these words easy. They crashed through air hard, like the train that used to take me to work in the morning summers when I was Kavanaugh’s age the first time he ran with his shitty friends. I didn’t do shit like that, but in the past I’ve certainly been some dude in the corner wishing I had courage I refused to see I clearly had… I just wouldn’t tap into it.

USLAW has been changing this year and as I was trying to work on stuff that will happen in the spring, I started trying to think about analogies so that I could make a theme. This National Assembly will be a good one, full of spice and flavor that can only come from some serious chemical change built on reactivity… new wine AND new wineskins? Yeah baby!

Because I’m reckless and apparently like to yell “Worldstar” in a crowded melee, I remembered that one thing that fit seasonally was the idea of the cleansing power of fire and what happens when you come out from the other side of a controlled burn. Fire, like the quote eludes to, prompts an emotional reaction that doesn’t sit well with the facts.

The truth is that fire really is fucking dangerous and can go WILDLY out of control… but only if we enter into the relationship acting like we know everything and don’t need no directions or science and shit LET”S JUST LIGHT SOME SHIT UPPPPP!!!

Otherwise known as The American Way.

Nah, we need to be smart and remember that we know things and that we have some agency. We need to be safe and confident in our knowledge.

But we need to let the fucking fire burn and men, we need to be so so SO much of the fuel that keeps it going.

The infection that has been working its way into the bone marrow is creating that foul smell from the White House. It can’t be cleansed by anything else.

The ground is littered with admired men who used their power and authority to grow fat off of the toil of smart women for too long and we can hardly walk. There are too many to bury.

I hope the controlled burn that is the multi-headed movement to remove this rot from our forest consumes everything infected… even if its me. I think we’ll survive it, if the forests are any indication. Hell, it looks like it’ll be beautiful when we do. We’ve kept things from growing for far too long.

It’s gonna hurt. Let it burn. Say thank you. Ameen.

“Change is important to a healthy forest. Some species of trees and plants are actually fire dependent. They must have fire every 3-25 years in order for life to continue. Some trees have fire resistant bark and cones that require heat to open and release
seeds for regeneration. Chaparral plants, including manzanita, chamise and scrub oak, also require intense heat for seed germination. These plants actually encourage fire by having leaves that are covered with flammable resins. Without fire, these trees and plants would eventually succumb to old age with no new generations to carry on their legacy.”

https://www.fire.ca.gov/…/downloads/f…/TheBenefitsofFire.pdf

Imposter Syndrome

Stand in a quiet place and give yourself a chance to yell. Let that shout reverberate into the wild or wherever you find yourself. Your voice belongs to you.

I took a look at the work I was moving on before I got onto a plane to Korea a few weeks ago and I gasped when I got back. I had this moment of horror on this past Wednesday in particular when my inbox (truthfully not numerous just filled with importance, urgency, and fear) showed that I had some pieces of information that were too old to be acted upon, three good pieces of press that had ramifications, and an invitation from an old friend that made me gasp out loud in its greatness. I was happy but I was also afraid.

The person that made those plans and asked for that information was not an unfamiliar person. It was really me that was asking those questions, making those arrangements.. but that person seemed so confident in what he was doing. With each click of the mouse, I was working through a plan in my mind that I knew was pressed clean like starched shirts but it just felt too risky to be real.

Sometimes people call this impostor syndrome but I’m familiar with my impostor as a real man. He buttons his shirts incorrectly and confidently strides through the day care with his son. He sends emails with humorous grammatical errors to hundreds of people. He dances in a room full of people who are much more fit and good-looking, having a good time.

That guy is a fucking terror but also, he’s got some great ideas. I don’t like to admit that he’s real, yet much of the time I really want to be him.

This nervous wreck of a man sitting here now, sighing at wild plans and grandiosity, is probably the real impostor in the story. But in my life – my real life – I’m both people. I need to learn from both sides, especially as my emotional state becomes more and more of what needs to be. I’m getting to a place where I can see the balance in my driver’s side mirror as opposed to my rearview or trailing its bumper. I’m in safe distance more and more.

By the end of the week, I was able to make lists based on what I’d written while slightly sleep deprived and anxious. I looked at my whiteboard today and said, with a laugh:

“Okay, okay… I get the point you crazy motherfucker. Let’s try to do this and get a night’s sleep at the same time.”

Our Karman Line

 

Today let’s concentrate on following the air.

The edge of our atmosphere, the beginning of space? It has a name. The Karman Line.

Today, ending the week, I’m concentrating on acknowledging and paying respect to that line… a holy edge between that which nourishes me and that which isn’t suitable for my lungs.

Breathe in the atmosphere that you know, remembering the dignity and beauty of our very real limitations as human beings tethered to Earth.

Breathe out into the majesty of the unknown and magical that is inhospitable to lungs but so powerful for spirits.

The Karman Line is your line. It’s our line. It’s where auroras flirt. What will you do at the edge of your power?

And no, you’re not there yet.

—————————————————————————-

Interests are starting to viciously compete.

Nerves are fraying or frayed long past the root of the axon..

Folks have decided that the best way to protect themselves is to hurt each other, and I don’t mean physically.

I was in a union leader’s office recently and they mentioned, almost in a whisper, that they didn’t know what to tell people in the next meeting. They were worried that the moment required more than what was on offer from their leadership. The solution they came to? Retirement. 😂🙃🤬😓😒

I used to get angry when my white allies would walk away when times got hard. I would clench my teeth, get drunk, call them cowards. Over time, I started to get used to the idea that I needed to expect that solidarity would only be available in short bursts from everyone and to treat them like notes being played on an instrument. The music is supposed to come from us playing together in a rhythm, not one note droning on from a tired bassoon player hoping to extend that long B flat. It doesn’t mean that you get a pass for falling short (because sometimes you’re just out of shape, not out of gas) but we should at least discuss it first. Even nuclear reactors occasionally require new fuel rods.

Urgency, lately, has felt kinda silly to pursue tbh. Everyone everywhere is feeling the urgency of everything already. Why bring it up when it is literally (seriously, look it up, it really is) damaging the complex mental-health fabric of the United States more than it already was before 2016? Uncontrolled urgency generally destabilizes the work because that shit ain’t urgency… it’s anxiety, irritating sister of depression and I don’t organize with that asshole on my committee.

There’s nothing like international work to crystallize the sorrow that is felt by people who are wholly dependent on your undesired military might to survive when they realize that the person making the calls on how that might is used is… well, our president.

So where am I at? What song am I trying to make out of the drummer who has been playing cut time for hours, the bassist with fingers that are bleeding, and piano player that hates them both a little bit because he wrote the music they are refusing to play?

I listen to Fleurette Africaine a lot now. Roach, Mingus and Ellington do something beautiful for about 3.5 minutes. They bring what they bring and then it moves on to something else. It is not perfect (probably, I’m no expert) but it makes me feel what I want to feel when folks are working together. The acknowledgement of all talents and fuckups drifting along a river together, inevitable and gorgeous. That kind of beauty strikes fear in hearts and conceives children in dark alleys…

yes.

I’ll leave it for you, along with an article about all of us.

Stay on rhythm, not on your last nerve… because while it is all critical, you still gotta figure out if it is urgent.

I love you.

https://vitals.lifehacker.com/therapists-tell-us-how-the-tr…

Fight The Spread Offense

NOTE: I have been and will be guilty of every thing I point out here.

Sometimes it helps to close your eyes, sometimes it helps to keep them focused on a blank space on a wall or a picture you like. Do what you need to do. But I want you to imagine a dot. Let that dot be any color you (or it) want that dot to be. Keep that dot in the center of your eye/mind and start to work on your breathing. Start by just breathing in and out regularly. Feel the air enter on the breath in, then feel it pass on the way out. Repeat but with each passing breath, let the air flow a little deeper. With each breath, keep your eye on that dot. Try to make more and more space in your mind for the air and the dot.

Focus. Repeat this for a while.

After you’ve given yourself some space, check in:

Has it been a while since water? Drink some.

Are you in need of sleep? Take it.

Are you hungry? Eat something good and good for you.

Now, make some space for your inner monologue. Ask yourself:

What’s troubling you this week? Be specific, clear and give equal space to:

What are you looking forward to?

Now we’re ready.


I’m gonna go big so I can get small and personal here. Sorry this is so long, but I wrote it just for you.

In times like these, I like to think back to the beginning of all this. The Trump cabal was quite clear with us because apparently all bad guy villains follow this insane logic where they tell you exactly what they’re going to do before they do it… they planned from the beginning, to overwhelm you with fear, horror, and shock. They needed it because everyone knew they were unprepared, had shitty leadership from the top, and couldn’t be anything but what people feared. To accomplish this, it became clear that they were going to run what they call the “spread offense” in football.

To be short, the spread is (IMO) bush league strategy where you flood the field with offensive players in weird places. It makes it look like you have an intimidating team when really all you have is a shitload of people with (maybe) some skills running around causing confusion. In grade school and college ball, this got really popular and it has moved into the big leagues. It’s a rushed strategy, often used without so much as a huddle so that people have some semblance of a plan.

I fucking hate it.

I don’t hate it because it’s good, and it really is a good move sometimes. I hate it because it brings out the worst in people. It makes offensive players think they’re tactical gods for figuring out that you can really fuck people up by making the defense run around all crazy (wow such genius.) It makes coaches play lazy ball because they don’t need to focus as much on what they practice. And, most importantly, it places way too much attention on the quarterback (who usually has too high of an opinion of himself anyway lol.)

They have us scrambling because we’re playing their game for them. We’re obsessing over every single horrible thing that happens and pulling out the typical defense that they clearly blow right through because we’re eating the spread. We react and let our opposition control the narrative and responses. We are only consistent in our reactivity and outrage. Plus, everyone is throwing themselves at what they see without thinking about what strengths they have as an individual to contribute to work.

How do you fight the spread? Well, in football most folks go for a defense that relies on disguise and disruption. In this case it means that you need to think about not being so straight ahead, “line up sound and make ’em beat us” defense and instead play a mental/psychological game. You need to think hard, prepare well, USE A FUCKING HUDDLE, and play your position with clarity and joy of the game. Forcing the team on offense to rely on skill and training instead of Tasmanian Devil-style “tactics” differentiates between the professionals and the amateurs pretty quickly.

Here’s the thing: right now we are experiencing a coalescing of conservative forces into what we know as fascism. It is frightening but also pretty predictable, which makes it feel worse. In this time politically, we’re compelled to react. The feeling is so real and genuine for people and I wholeheartedly respect the need for all manner of feelings. I cringe in horror as I watch my friends, comrades, and family jump onto every headline and show up ready to yell and wear themselves out. It has fundamentally changed my view of things that I used to hold dear in an oppositional moment, issue campaign or larger project requiring social change.

If we want to fight this political spread offense, we all need to get comfortable that we’re not playing the same level of ball we’re used to while simultaneously living in a new time. Our movement work up until this point hasn’t done what we’ve wanted it to do and we are living with the result. I submit this plan as my Attacking the Spread Social Movement Defense (8 points, 3 sentences per point because the 8-3 is GOD.)

1. Every player needs to figure out their role on the field according to assessment and then play it because truthfully, we need skill more than we need passion at these positions. Not everyone needs to be tackle or lead organizer. For right now, respect the coach and stop trying to play every position because you’re fighting anxiety over the fact that Donald Trump is a madman.

2. Every player needs to respect their minds and bodies enough to hear when they are exhausted. Dude, if you went from issue campaign to street fight to political campaign, GO HOME ACTIVIST YOU’RE DRUNK. Also, fucking hydrate because your FB stream is cloudy and smells like asparagus and we need your urine as clear as your mind.

3. If you haven’t huddled, you’re not ready for the game. Actions planned in days require either a lot of people, money, or organizational structure (or all three!) Not everyone is built for rapid response either and there’s no shame in it (see Rule 1.)

4. Trainings are for hustlers and only hustlers are allowed on the field. Everyone needs to build skills regularly and they shouldn’t be penalized for it. There’s no shame in making time for it, building it into meeting agendas, and rearranging work to allow for political education.

5. Human needs and accessibility (including childcare, etc.) are not a weakness that is to be ridiculed, but a strength to be utilized on the field. Some of our best players are queer non-conforming POC moms with disabilities (or some other combination of badassery) and we should treat them like the star players they are. The other side has so few of them and are less brilliant as a result.

6. Know the difference between rules that protect us all and conventions that limit us because knowing that is knowing what to smash to pieces on our way to victory. We’ve fallen into the trap of not knowing that being a bad sport looks different depending upon time and style of play, just like it was totally uncool seventy years ago to play football looking like a member of ZZ Top. Nowadays, those linemen get their own Sports Illustrated issue.

7. Squash all beef immediately. If you have needed to apologize to someone for some foul shit you did, this is the perfect playoff game to hug that shit out so you can all play like champions. Our poisons often come closer when we sweat, so why not eliminate them with warm feelings and a large, cool drink of water ahead of time so we’re not all fucked up at the worst possible moment?

8. Solidarity is contagious and intimidating. Recognize the feeling you currently have, seeing your opponents lining up and working in concert, as a bizarre feeling of envy. Let their presence as a unit be your inspiration to emerge as part of a revolutionary Voltron full of power – pulsating with hope – that can inspire other people too.

So now that I’ve rambled on and on, lemme be clear for you Joshua:

A smart professor I met told me that fascism emerges like an infection when old structures crumble and/or fall into disrepair and nothing exists in their place to support the society that needs something, ANYTHING, to define itself. Eradicating that infection means building new structures and coming up with new ideas that make societies better. Find the things in your life that you treasure and explore what they need to thrive. This means everything from career to relationship, body to mind. Then, put yourself into their betterment THROUGH political education. I don’t mean party politics when I say this (though some people enjoy that and I don’t begrudge them.) What I mean is, help build political movements, organizations etc. that can reinforce the things that you love and use the natural talents/interests/skills/obsessions that you possess to do that construction. Remember and respect the fact that you can’t do everything. You’ll always need a team, so find your folks and build with them.

If someone in your life (or you) are LGBTQUIA and that matters the most to you, become the best hustler for that as you can.

If you or someone you love is POC and that matters the most to you, educate yourself politically around it and act from that knowledge and power.

Whatever it is you do, root it in expertise that emphasizes humanity, a truthful history, accountability, and clarity of thought because these are the things that fascism (like any infection) seeks to destroy.

Through it all, cling to the people and passions in your life that bring you joy. Use that joy as power and fuel because through everything, it’s what will sustain you.

Revolutions, as Jyn Erso said, are built on hope. I love you, even though we barely know each other. Be ready because when we get the ball… we’re gonna need to run like Hell.

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Either Way, We’re On The Ground

 

The weekend is a relatively new concept in the modern world. What we now define as the weekend was first successfully negotiated by a union in 1929 (Amalgamated Clothing Workers) and we now just kinda naturally fall into it.

A new approach that takes this further could save our lives. The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21-hour standard workweek to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time. The Center for Economic and Policy Research states that reducing the length of the work week would slow climate change and have other environmental benefits.

Let the fall be natural but intentional this time. Pay attention to the arrival of it with open eyes. Recognize its presence and let your breathing match what it asks you for. Allow your body to fall out of the work rhythm and walk into one that isn’t defined by your profession if you can. Concentrate on remembering that some time, however small you define it, is meant for you to determine the purpose of and that time is important.

Breathe. In and out.

Drink water.

Have a meal on your own terms.

Check in with yourself.

What revolutions occur when we we allow for leisure? What new ideas are waiting? What new relationships seek us out?

I had it all figured out Wednesday.

I was gonna put this whole thing down in one furious shot, walking my fingers over the keys like I was Monk or Mahones (shout out, Peace, and Black Love to Danielle.)

I had lots of ideas about what to say and how to say it.

At around 1 pm, I started getting congested only to realize by 3 that it was either reaaallllyyy bad allergies or I was getting sick. I was furious. Couldn’t this wait until after vacation? Couldn’t I JUST ENJOY ONE FUCKING THING!!!!????!!!! ARGGGHHH!!!!

Then I remembered my last brain doc appointment.

There was a lot to that last one because South Korea but he pointed out that no matter the obstacle of that trip, I didn’t lose my mind. He informed me that all the triggers for a bipolar person were present and I came back whole – though understandably crispy – and that’s something to remember. We closed agreeing on the idea that I should be proud of myself and he asked me if I was going to take a vacation. I told him we had plans at that time for Hawaii but volcanoes etc so we might need a new plan. He put down his clipboard and basically said:

You can either plan a landing or experience a crash, but remember that either way being on Earth is in your future. Give your body and brain space to relax and refocus. Reconnect with your family. Remember your need for play. All of that grounds you.

I held it and didn’t let my brain punish me for respecting myself. I fought on my way out of the office and into the car on the way home. I’m not very good at pushing back on this voice, so it is real work that I have to do every time I have an appointment so I don’t lose what I have built.

This rest isn’t something we earn. Our bodies need it to survive. Work is important, but not more important than sleep and personal time. Space to heal is important on the deepest biological levels and there are lots of things we can do to encourage that healing. One of those things is to recognize that need and respect it.

So, I’m working on just making space for the congestion and wheeze. My body needs me to listen. I’m seeing this moment as encouragement to relax and expel some things (emotional mucus!) that I’ve let remain too long.

Besides, there are worse places to recover than Belize.