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Something struck me last night at a presentation I attended with the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable. Something that I want to write about without a witty lyrical title or any images.

First, I want to emphatically acknowledge that if I wasn’t already aware of the incredible challenges those who are re-entering the community after being released from jail or prison face, I certainly would have been after last night’s presentation. I have no lack of empathy for people who have had run-ins with the law to any degree, and particularly with those who have committed non-violent crimes and are struggling with the co-efficient of mental illness (including substance abuse) or those who have been dealt the short hand of being treated as a second-class citizen in our society for any number of reasons that have been proven to put one in a position to choose to commit (or at least be more prone to being prosecuted for committing) crimes or become dependent on substances…or both.

However, one thing that was mentioned last night and was celebrated as a victory kind of hit me in the gut and has stuck there like a stone ever since. One of the presenters stated that the laws have recently changed so those who are re-entering are able to delay their obligations to pay child support upon release. This is meant to help ease the burden of the formerly-incarcerated, but it made my head buzz. After listening to the panelists talk about the other debt collectors who required immediate attention upon release: bankers, student loan officers, and the prison system itself, which charges for monthly P.O. visits, among other things…it was stunning to me that the person/people who were expected to bear the brunt of easing the burden on the newly-released would be the children of the formerly-incarcerated. How on earth do we justify that? Is there no way to suspend college loan payments, mortgages, or credit card debt for a period after release? Do we really need to further burden the parent who has already been burdened by being the sole provider for a child while the other parent has been in jail? Is this what we call progress?

I guess it’s my experience as a single parent that informs my outrage over this. I mean, it’s bad enough that there are people out there who view child support as “indentured servitude” by the other parent. I hear so many stories of non-custodial parents who haven’t been incarcerated who actually have the fucking nerve to be irritated with the custodial parent for expecting them to, you know, earn a fucking living and pay their fair share of support, as if the custodial parent actually has a choice to do so. And now this from the state – this dismissal of the very real challenge of being the sole financial provider of children who have two TWO *TWO* parents. As a single parent with primary custody, I don’t have the option to opt-out, delay, or postpone taking care of my child’s everyday needs. I simply have to find a way.

And, while I know those who have been recently released from jail or prison have a significantly more difficult time finding a way, I feel if the state is compelled to make it an option for them to opt out, postpone, or delay these responsibilities, it ought to take responsibility on behalf of its recently released inmates and provide assistance to the co-parent of those it chooses to incarcerate. Anything less than that is flat out invalidating the challenges of those parents and children who are the collateral damage of our (in)justice system, and by association – it even manages to invalidate the need for all children to have the support of both of the people who chose to bring them into the world, whether they’ve been incarcerated or not.

I just realized I never got around to writing about my return trip from Colorado. And, to me, that was almost the best part. I took the long way home, choosing to travel south through New Mexico, rather than angling southeast. My intention was to pop in on my friend Raymond before heading back to Austin. No big whoop, right?

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Well, I left Denver super early. It was gorgeous outside. I resumed my steady stream of “No fucking way” I had continually uttered at the sheer gorgeousness of everything in the universe. First, it was the moon that I began my journey beneath. I snuck out of the house before Pansy and Scott could wake up and drove south – hoping to drive as far up pike’s peak as possible. Unfortunately, Pike’s Peak tollway doesn’t open until after 9, and I got there well before.

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I took the opportunity to, instead, take a nice stroll through the garden of the gods. Excitedly trying to snap pictures of the (to me) pretty black and white birds I saw everywhere. I’m sure to people from Colorado, these birds are as interesting as grackels are to us Austinites, but I just adored them.

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Oh, and there were also some pretty rocks to look at.

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After wandering around for a bit, I got back into the car and drove around the little town until I found a restaurant with the word Omelette in its name. Hoping to get a decent omelette, but ended up getting this monstrosity stuffed with canned jalapenos and nothing else. It was pretty gross. Thankfully, I apparently have a stomach made of steel, because I suffered no after-affects of that culinary atrocity on the journey.

I spent much of the day traveling along what I perceived to be the Pacific-Coast Highway of the Rio Grande…I THINK it was 285, but I’m having difficulty mapping it now, and it might have been a smaller road than that. Snaking through Taos and Santa Fe alongside the river. I love and fear traveling near water. I get the same kind of feeling I always get when I’m in a high place. That feeling that I might just be overly tempted to throw myself over the edge or drive right into the water, and not be able to stop myself from doing so. I felt the same delight traveling next to that river as I did when I found myself accidentally driving through Clearwater National Forest, as well as the multiple times I’ve driven up and/or down the actual PCH. An approximation of the feeling I’ve had standing on the shore of Lake Michigan…coastal Florida…The Pacific Ocean…This. Is. Where. The. Land. Ends. What lies beyond is made of the stuff of drowning. You can walk to the edge of me, but once you cross that line, you are altered physically.

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And it’s these little surprises that happen along the way that make me prefer road trip travel (particularly when I am able to be loose about schedules and therefore choose (or not choose, and let randomness choose) the path I take. I tried to take as many obscure routes as I possibly could (which isn’t difficult to do with my meandery GPS system that seems to be programmed to send me off on the least direct route possible.) And while I didn’t have enough time to actually stop and enjoy the water, I did take the time to pull off the road a view times and take pictures, or write, or just sit in silence and wonder.

I was listening to the last half of Nick Cave’s _The Death of Bunny Munro_ on CD, having heard the first half on my way up, and trying to decide if I liked it because it was by (and read by) Nick Cave, or if it was because it was actually a good book (I’m still not sure what the answer is to that.) The day was perfectly temperate, clear, sunny. There was more traffic on the way home than there had been on the way up to Colorado, where I barely encountered a single car the whole time I was driving on open roads. And it took me a very long time to get to Albuquerque.20140316_174214

But I got there, and got a tour of the gallery from Raymond, and stayed a little longer than I should have but not even a fraction of the time I wanted to stay, picked up a gigantic pizza to feed the boys when I got home, and left just before dusk, determined to somehow drive the remaining 10 hours straight through, all the way home – losing an hour at the border, and getting me home at around 4 in the morning. hahaha.

I’m nothing if not ambitious. Particularly when it comes to driving.

But I’m also practical. And, after once again marveling at a fucking gorgeous full moon slowly emerging first as a giant plasmatic orb peeking just over the tops of distant landscape, and inching slowly to the top of sky – beaming triumphantly. It hypnotized me, and I realized I was getting tired already at 11 AM, and this is my VACATION, damnit…so I decided to stop at a hotel near the border of NM/TX and get some rest and enjoy the rest of the journey daylight even though, like regrettable sex, the drive through Texas is almost always best done in the dark of night.

And with that…I’m going to end this section and write the last leg another time.

snippets of springtime from random journal entries:

There is a tiny baby in polka dots here in the waiting room at the eye doctor. We are waiting for Buddha the Grouch’s pupils to dilate. The baby cris, is picked up by her mom. She (the baby) makes a motor boat sound with her tiny lips. I tell Buddga the Grouch “That baby is cute. I want to squish her.” Buddha the Grouch says “That baby wants me to be able to play M-rated video games.

***

End of day I’m off my feet

This cultivated silence, background noise & candle & a cuppa joe. Resounding non-sound a temporary respite from day’s dull roar & I sit in silence, let word overtake me silence bringing onrush of joy to temporary standstill silence & my crickets still sound like birds after all these years humidity brings it back to me that bedroom window the only place to press my face for cooler air to embrace. People drifting in and out of my picture view, bumbling like enormous mountains the size of ships. The traffic shifts my focus.

***

Dear You,

What have I learned this week? That you can’t force a banana into a peanut jar? That I don’t know why I keep ending up in the middle of crazy-ass relationships. It’s like the reverse instinct. Like when we were at the zoo & the people all ran TOWARDS the lion when he roared.

***

What I mean to say is this – I am forming sentences in a vacuum. A grave mistake. A simple misdirection and a hollow expression. This magic can interact transgressively. Regress into an open can. Trying to believe I can be liberated. B.B. King is free from the spell.

***

I ate popcorn for dinner tonight – and other tales of misguided adulthood.

The dog is outside, whining. Right now, I’m playing Sims. Enjoying peace and housematelessness and guestlessness. Soon there will be more guests and new guests and before that kids and back to work.

But at least the house is mostly clean, and the laundry is mostly done, and I have mostly exercised mostly every day. Mostly.

From here on out, I get to do what I want to do. Wander around in my pajamas all day.

Mostly.

***

 

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When did I allow my heart to get so fettered, not feathered,

Weathered. This is not love

by any approximation & yet

it is approximately the closest

I feel like I can get

 

One who gives me everything but

one who gives me nothing but

I divide myself into portions

Portions of me

Free

For the taking.

 

I should be satisfied

with

the dove in my hand, and

the hawk in my bush.

Instead,

I may go cold turkey.

***

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I wonder what I am half paying attention to now?

What am I?

I stopped caring

the minute I stopped

defining.

Steadfastly refuse to call myself

a poet

Though…pictures

paint words

in my mind.

**

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Walking in heat

Falling in love w/the you in everyone

& longing, which is the better part of love

The distance so tangible, it feels

like a touch

that keeps me from alone long not long alone. The

you in everyone I have never had had

never known no never. Will never know

& that’s ok b/c longing

is the better part

of love

***

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Listening to wind chime & bird chatter and cars going by. It sure feels good to be alive.

In a minutes, I’m going to wrap this up & take the kids out for ice cream. Maybe come back out on the porch later & write some more.

<3

Oh, and – I got the job.

***

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Chirping, I hope like a cricket – w/out wings. I can only fall. Hop. Skip. You say it is not the way you planned things. I say Fuck Your Plans.

***

The Tao of Bird argued about not wanting to take a shower for about 30 minutes this morning. Including yelling and name calling and tantrum throwing and many many many “I HATE YOU”‘s. Now he is in the shower. Has been for about 15 minutes. Singing away. Apparently never planning to come out.

Meanwhile, Buddha the grouch is still sleeping, I am listening to an Animal Collective song called Bees. The birds are singing. The sun is shining.

“Please Take Your Time…”

The song entreaties me. Entices me. Pleads with me.

 

IMG_8912 The second day of my trip (the first day off the road) I had a bit of solitude, during which I wandered around feeling so alive I wondered if perhaps I had maybe died. I remember thinking to myself “I think I’ve died and gone to Colorado,” then admonishing myself for even thinking that and forcing myself to promise myself that I would never ever write that. (oh, hi.)

I wrote in my journal: Relying on the light that comes from shadows.

In all, I must have wandered around for an hour, trying to decide at what point on my journey I might have died, if I had died. And what part of the journey was my afterlife, if there is an afterlife. And then I started thinking about the fact that I don’t know anyone’s phone number. Like NO ONE. Not even people back home. Nor did I have the address of where I was staying anywhere except for on my phone. And without my phone I was basically helpless in this strange city in which I was currently wandering around lost.

But I managed to not lose my phone, and I did manage to wander back to my friends’ house, and we had a nice walk together to the cemetery nearby as the sun went down, and we went to the pot shop where giant marijuana buds filled rows and rows of candy jars along the counter, and I felt like I was experiencing history – like the end of prohibition – and it was a little weird being such a noob in that environment, but it was pretty cool.

And then we went for Pho, but I had vermicelli.

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The next day was Pi day, so we had to get pie.

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I noticed a conspicuous absence that the weird allergy headache thing I had in Austin that was causing me to feel like maybe I might possibly have an incurable brain tumor and just maybe might be on death’s door (and I’m usually not a hypochondriac, but I had honestly never had a headache like this one before – it lasted for weeks and weeks, went away immediately went I went on antibiotics after my doctor and I agreed I might have an ear infection, then came back a couple of days after I finished the antibiotics.) This made me feel a little less…well, old.

 

 

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Before pie, though, I had the best salad I have ever eaten in my entire life (avocados and honey mustard and…BANANAS! OH MY!) and did some more wandering. Snapping pictures of cool houses against the perfect blue sky.

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And then Casa Bonita. But first we watched Southpark to get in the mood.

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And the next day, breakfast snacks in a cool diner in Denver and a road trip to Nederland. I tried to write in my journal on the way but it was just a scribbly mess, so fuck it.

I actually did very little writing while I was there. At some point during the trip I just decided I would have to gather the sounds, sights, smells, and textures of the trip like Leo Leonni’s Frederick the mouse, and hoard them for less spectacular times. I busied myself with the gathering and the experiencing. Watching and listening. Feeling and thinking. And, always, moving.

Nederland, where we got to see just enough snow to be delighted, but not enough to be annoyed…

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…then Boulder, where I bought postcards and notecards from local artists and candy and pop from local companies.

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And ate in a pub. And wandered. And met some new and interesting people. And my hosts convinced me to climb the zillion and one steps and visit Red Rocks, which I did not regret one bit…And we talked about having drinks at Charlie Brown’s, where Kerouac and the Beats used to stop on their mad cross-country adventures, but we were all pretty tired after all of that climbing, so we retired to the house to watch a horror movie and I planned my return journey before bedtime. Good night.

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(to be continued)

I want to write more about my vacation, but today was an exceptionally good day, and rather than write about the then, I’d prefer to gush about the now.

I’ve been struggling lately. I mean…I’ve actually been struggling for awhile, but I do a pretty good job of managing my own personal struggles I think (I hope!) – but lately I’ve been struggling in a positive way – overcoming, is the word. I’ve been overcoming some of the residual imprints of struggling.

Overcoming seems to involve a lot of self-reflection. A lot of heavily guarded alone time. Sometimes to an extent where I wonder if it might be unhealthy for me to spend so much time alone, without really desiring the company of anyone else in particular. Not that I don’t love and adore my friends and loved ones…it’s just lately I seem to adore spending time by myself an awful lot more.

I sometimes worry that I don’t have the ability to deal with ever surrendering any tiny scrap of my autonomy to be in a relationship with another person…but I’m too busy not caring to worry about that for very long. Though I do have a corollary worry that my inability to surrender any tiny scrap of my autonomy will cause me to end up being bitterly alone when I’m too old to find someone who wants to surrender a tiny scrap of their autonomy for me.

Who knows. Maybe it’s just a phase.

What I haven’t been struggling with lately is being ridiculously appreciative of the gentle rhythm of my days, which is possibly WHY I’m feeling reluctant to risk losing control over them. I notice that I really seem to enjoy my job on a soul-nourishing level. It’s nice to help people all day. To be able to talk to them as a human being and solve their technical issues. I really enjoy people treating me like an authority on something. One of the first things I had to learn to do to succeed at my job was to eliminate my tendency towards humility when helping people with technology. I’m used to approaching people in an exploratory way, which works pretty good for training, but generally when you are calling tech support, you want someone to be a bit more authoritative. I’m really enjoying mixing both so I don’t come across as a know-it-all and intimidate people who just need a little nurturing. It’s actually not a bad way to spend 10 hours a day.

I’m also really happy with the habits I’ve formed around preparing and eating healthy, homemade meals all week, reading, getting some sort of exercise, and writing in my journal every day. It’s been awesome to have time to spend on myself. And while I have had weeks of getting sucked in to one TV series or another (most recently, Eureka, which actually gave me some of the most amazing dreams and, in spite of the fact that it was a pretty damn cheesy show (or maybe because of that) has me mourning the little world I lived in with all of those characters for a month or so.

I guess this is all sort of related to my vacation, because part of all of this is the fact that I’ve also been able to travel more – take more road trips – get out of town more. It’s something I feel I’ve been somewhat deprived of over the past few years. It’s really nice to be able to pick up and leave town for a bit. The endless rhythm of the tires on asphalt with trees and signs and other cars whishing by. The places my mind goes when there’s endless novel monotony all around me. My face focused forward, but watching the world peel by on either side. Tracking time by moon and sun and moon again. Driving. Driving. Driving. Being driven.

I want to dance…I want to write…I need to dance…I need to write. I know! I’ll do the dance/write/dance ritual. Perhaps that will bring forth the words I’ve been meaning to write.

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I can’t think of a non-cliche way to start a blog post about road trips. Do I talk about how my family used to drive around in our big blue van, and I fell in love with the rubber-to-the-road endless airplane runway sound, and the dreamy haze of entire towns whisking by windows on either side? Do I mention the long-distance trips to visit friends across the country…road trips within road trips…about taking my young children on the road across country and seeing them begin to understand the vastness of the country, much less the world in which they live…the feelings of invincibility after my newly-single self traveled across the entire west/northwest/southwest in a gigantic loop that began in Texas, peaked in Portland, swooped through Los Angeles, and drifted through sleepy southwestern deserts with two young children in tow…over lonely railroad crossings blinking mutely in the middle of the night as I pass through yet another 1 stoplight city in the middle of a vast nameless field on either side of some forgotten highway?

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This particular journey began with this Radiolab broadcast – most notably, “Goo and  You.” Most MOST notably, this closing quote:

“It’s not just what of me carries forward into the future, it’s like – what of my future self is in me right now.”

Give yourself 14 straight hours of travel time, with no one else in the car or, really, on the highway, but you, to ponder that. As you drive through parched Texas/Eastern New Mexico flatland by day, and only approach the mountains as invisible barriers to your destination at night…then wake up to find yourself surrounded by them and the thin, nipping air that accompanies them. It was one hell of a way to kick off a road trip. Perfectly timed, and not timed at all.

Like conversations about giving too much and not giving at all, and about art and the art of paying attention. In my silences, I replayed these thoughts in this context. I have observed that all things transpire in context with the things that transpire adjacent, with a little help from throwback memories. I am interested in how things interplay to form a new thing out of the combined things and a dash of timing. Like two books you read at the same time that have nothing to do with each other, but somehow end up syncing up. Like seeing the same car at multiple gas stations along the journey, and never interacting. The lives of the people in both cars intersect at that moment, then continue on in meaningful meaninglessness. Unintentional intention.

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In the car, I play road games with the navigation system. First, I use both Google Maps on my phone, and the navigation system in the car. I sync them up as much as I can, and make decisions as I go. It keeps me awake, and leaves me open to adventure, or curtailment thereof…depending on my mood and/or level of energy. As I travel, I focus only on the next leg of the journey – only recalculating the total time of the journey and ETA when I embark on a new leg.

This keeps me alert.

Also, math.

(Not meth, you weirdo. Math.)

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Some road notes:

this charming man

tears of a clown
baby it’s you by the Beatles
Shanghai shuffle by fletcher Anderson
give it to you by Blackalicious

I believe in me by trenchmouth

radian by air

boil by the handsome family oil by the handsome familyI’ll buy the family

wagon wheel restaurant Red Bud inn and everything’s fucked by dirty 3

Christianity is not a religion it’s a relationship with God

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153 to 7o there’s like a 20 square-mile wind farm. I don’t even know how fucking huge is is, but it’s beautiful.

so beautiful

it’s so beautiful I burst into tears and had to pull over.

(…to be continued…)

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Photo by John Jack Anderson

 

Name Change. Because I accidentally typed “unruly mom” in an email, instead of “unruly mob”…and, miracle of miracles, for some reason no one has ever thought to snatch up the domain name unrulymom.com until now.

I mean – it RHYMES *and* it’s a play on words.

So, that was something that made me happy after a rough couple of days.

I want to say things about love and friendship and how complicated it is to deal with conflicting feelings about depression and suicide.

Instead, I think I’ll just say a few words about family. Or, interchangeably to me, Community. Family is a concept I have struggled with all my life. I come from a large family, but they are not all my Community. It is an oddly mismatched group of people with a somewhat similar upbringing. As the youngest, I don’t feel like I ever really got to know my eldest family members all that well. As the half-sibling to all of my 6 siblings (3 with the same monther, 3 with the same father) I’ve always felt like both the outsider and the tie that binds.  Though I do remain in touch with some of my immediate family members, for whatever reason I’ve never been connected to my extended blood relatives. This could be why I spent much of my adolescence (and beyond) cultivating relationships that imitated family.

Now that I have children of my own, my lack of a solid connection with my larger family disturbs me. I worry my children have inherited this disconnection by default. I do my best to encourage them to be conscious of their connections, but I haven’t set a very good example, and I’m not much of a “do what I say, not what I do” kind of parent. So I try to compensate by committing to my Communities in a way that some people commit themselves to their families

To me, family is about staying connected to people even if you screw up. It’s about second chances, asking for forgiveness and fully expecting to be forgiving. It’s about being forced to learn to get along with people who might not agree with you, and being patient when you don’t agree with them. Sometimes it’s about setting boundaries and enforcing them. Sometimes it’s about giving in.

Today, I’m reminding myself that even family members make mistakes. Even familial love has its limits. Sometimes people need more than their immediate family. Sometimes they need an entire community. And sometimes it takes an extreme circumstance for family OR community to respond to the needs of its meekest members. Sometimes it’s just impossible to know thin the rope is until someone is hanging by the last strand.

I’m very glad I don’t have to talk about one specific family member in the past tense. I’m once again in awe of this community I have haphazardly become part of. A community that responds to a cry for help by organizing a people-powered dragnet to comb the city and rescue one of their own. A community that responds to a loss of hope by fully reinforcing the reason why we should have hope in the first place. A community of people who arrive in the nick of time. Maybe not precisely when we want them, but time and time again I see my community members…my Brothers and Sisters…get there EXACTLY when they are NEEDED.

This world is a scary place. I’ve lost too many loved ones to despair, and I don’t really care to lose more, though I certainly understand how one would get there. Today my brothers and sisters have restored my faith and hope in family and community – and the necessity of both. Thank you for providing the best of both worlds as an example for my children. Thank you for providing such a wonderful example of mutual aid and selflessness to anyone fortunate enough to witness it. <3

 

Me: The birds look like apostrophes

Him: What are the words if the birds are apostrophes?

Several of us gathered today to say goodbye to a friend who passed away. We met at City Hall, where most of us originally entered one another’s lives. And we walked together to the tree on the other side of the river on which little medallions were pinned to mark the deaths of  others who, like our friend Chris, were houseless but not without friends in life or in death.

Several people told stories of their friendship with Chris. Universally, we agreed he was a gentle man. A quiet man. A man who forced us to slow down and think. And rethink. And as I listened, I realized I was not only mourning the loss of Chris, but also the loss of that time. That time when we all gathered several times a week to slow down, sit down…and talk. And listen. And plan together. And just to gather with a group of people from disparate backgrounds and experiences – a group of people who, under normal circumstances, might never get a chance to meet – and become aware of each other as fellow humans…and struggle together. And learn from each other. And totally fuck up in the presence of each other. And forgive each other. And try again.

I didn’t tell any stories today. Today, I listened. The truth is, I didn’t have a lot of stories to tell about Chris. I cared about him. I tried to look out for him the best I could. I respected his growth and his journey. I remember him.  I will miss him. But it’s not enough to miss someone like Chris. It’s not enough to mourn and be sad and go on living and forgetting all that I have learned through my friendship with Chris, and through all of the other unlikely companions I’ve been blessed to come to know over the past few years. There were so many lessons learned. So many I forgot. It’s time to remember them now. It’s time to come out of hibernation and be present in the world again, and open to listening and sharing and relating.

The things I have learned as an occupier are lessons I have needed to learn my whole life. And I’m not merely talking about social and economic justice. I’m talking about taking the time to really see people. To see AND hear them. Taking the time to be present in public spaces and share with people. I don’t think I’m done learning those lessons yet. I don’t think I’ve learned them well enough, and I think they are too easily forgotten. I still have a too-frequent tendency to hide myself away. To hurry from one thing to the next without stopping and giving time to appreciate the unexpected. I still frequently neglect the things that are most important while freely frittering time on things that have no soul-nutritional value.

This is how I know that Occupy is not dead. Because we haven’t learned these lessons yet. We are too easily distracted and divided. And until we can learn to come together and be present, we will continue to Occupy where we should be Living.

Rest in Peace, dear Chris. I hardly knew you, but I certainly loved you. In honor of your memory, I plan to spend at least an hour every Sunday occupying the steps of City Hall with my sketchbook and journal. People watching, and hopefully conversing. Maybe I’ll bring a sign…maybe I’ll go incognito. It’s not 3 General Assemblies a day, every day…but it’s something. Maybe I’ll see you there.

(by Cole: Age 13)

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IMG_8868Had the pleasure of seeing and rousing rabble with a lovely group of ladies who I spent a significant portion of my summer with today. The day was lovely, the reunion was raucus and celebratory. And I just so enjoyed seeing a crowd of people united for a cause again.

However, I feel I need to address something that made me feel uneasy, and will likely continue to make me uneasy about political organizing/gathering around causes that regard personal and collective autonomy which needs to be defended within the legislative process. Too often, these causes are co-opted by political parties and candidates that attempt to direct the participants to “stand for” “vote for” and “support” them. And it’s frustrating. First, because no one political party has a monopoly on any particular issue – so, turning a rally for an issue that a good number of individual people feel passionate about into a means of promoting your party or candidate by holding banners for said candidate or party makes it seem as though we are marching for that party or candidate, rather for the rights that we as individuals are entitled to. Second, because political parties and candidates are supposed to stand for and support US. IMG_8890

I’m pretty sure my beautiful, strong sisters who chained themselves to the railings of the chamber – and others who put their bodies on the line in one way or another – during the HB2 special sessions last summer were not doing it to stand with a political candidate, or to encourage people to vote for a particular political party at all. I’m pretty sure many of them, if not most, did it to express outrage at a system that oppresses, endangers, and stigmatizes people without apology and without regard for the fact that we are standing right there in the same room WATCHING them do it. In my opinion, acts of civil disobedience are the furthest thing from politics that can be imagined. They are acts of passion and sincere love and emotion – and as might be expected with anti-political actions, they are frequently discouraged and downplayed by political candidates and parties. I remember being scoffed at and told that it would be silly of me to expect a political candidate to outwardly express sympathy for our injured brother Josh, who was taken to the hospital after being brutalized by DPS officers moments before said political candidate emerged from the building, surrounded by her own DPS bodyguards. How dare I assume that a political candidate whose banner I would be forced to march under at every gathering until election day would risk the political suicide that would no doubt arise from her showing concern for someone who was fighting for the same cause that we are all supposed to stand with her and fight for?

IMG_8826And while it’s all very well and good and understood that politicians have a role to play in this spectacle, the reality in my eyes is we as individuals must collectively rise up and make it clear that we are continuing to watch them and we will not sit down and shut up and allow anyone to legislate away our rights. We must make it very clear that it is absolutely unacceptable AND WE WILL NOT SILENTLY AND POLITELY ALLOW ANYONE TO FURTHER OPPRESS OUR SISTERS WHO ARE ALREADY MARGINALIZED. I hope everyone remembers this as they shame us with admonitions to vote out of one side of their mouths, while they condemn, discourage, and even shame those who take direct action out of the other. We need to remember this movement…really ALL movements, are about people. And even though I believe the personal is political, I think it’s wise to ensure the people, rather than political candidates, hold the power.

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