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Top 10 Rules for Living on the Road

1. RESPECT THE ROAD

The road is not a game.  The road was there before you and it will be there after you, it’s the magic to move swiftly over the earth. Honor this

2. PACK LIGHT

This goes for backpacks and volvos, camping and the burn. Make ninja use of your space. Be humble in your possessions. Pack what you need, and then burn half that crap. The road is for nimble warriors. You will not regret this. You will have room for all the treasures. Then give those away. Make room for your new friends.

3. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM

Speaking of your new friends, keep a homie witchu, it’s literally never a bad idea. Everything is more fun. Someone will be able to help you remember the story. You are a team. Be prepared and be honest.

4. YOU HAVE TO LEAVE TO RETURN

Let that settle a touch. You physically have to leave, to metaphysically return. Learn to MOVE ON, Skip Town, Kick Rocks, flow out, roll, jump, mosey. All of it. You need the space. They need the space. If you want to be a boss gypsy you have to know when to pack up the circus. Don’t be sad, you will come dazzle them again next year. They will truly love you, because now, they get to miss you.

5. LET THE MUSIC STEER

Think about it, the music is everything, it’s why the road matters. There is just absolutely nothing like watching the world melt past you with your favorite song blasting. From Graceland to 36 Chambers, Garden Grove to Georgia. We’ve put miles on the odometer with miles on the radio. THE DJ Rides shotgun but the pilot calls the shots. All ways.

6. LISTEN TO SPIRIT

If You think this is hippy bullshit. Or too new agey, you can skip ahead, you will never understand the road anyway. Getting on the road, ESPECIALLY when you don’t care where you’re going. Is a sacred pilgrimage, dancing with great mystery for real. Who will you meet? Where will you go? Is this fate? Important questions to ignore. Trust the directions. Trust spirit. The road is fucking magic. Get your pumpkin to the ball.

7. DRIVE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IS AN IDIOT

They probably are. Some times, you are. I definitely am. Don’t text, don’t spill your coffee. Don’t forget to take your uppers, sleeping is highly discouraged while doing 80. Stay sharp or get to a parking lot or motel. Wear your bloody seat belt. It might kill you. But it will probably save you. At the very least it will help prevent you from killing the other people in the car.

8. THE ROAD IS THE DESTINATION

This is crucial, the “Are we there yet” mentality is sacrilege. Micro universe with horses under hoods. If you are on the road, yes, you are there, move. See it all. There is something weird happening somewhere. This is the anti-fomo. You are winning races with the wind.

9. SAVE THAT MONEY

You want to have some for emergencies, the best way to have some money, is to save what little you got for the thrift shop, new tires, sushi, ayahuasca. Be frugal and then when the stars align, Bet the fucking house.

10. Go Alone

Yes this is the opposite of Number 3. Number 3 is important for the kind of people who don’t finish an article they start reading. Go. All. One. Not every time. No way. But sometimes. The road is a teacher, and she can be a hard, violent teacher, this has been true since the very first roads, just when you think you have her figured out, she ditches you. But if she likes you, she lets you make the rules.

I collected my period blood in a mason jar for 6 months.

I began collecting my period blood in the winter of 2013. Each month I poured my collected menses from my menstrual cup (an awesome environmentally friendly alternative to tampons) into a medium-sized mason jar and tucked it behind my toilet. I co-produced a feminine-centric, transformational theater piece in NYC called Off the Muff that year. In order to submerse myself in the culture we were creating, I began this experiment.

After four cycles, Elisa, the director of Off the Muff, grabbed the mason jar. We wanted to explore creating a video using the blood as the subject. She set up a mini tripod in the corner of her East Village apartment, it was night time and lights from the city slowly lit the table she had placed a stock of books on top of. We positioned our chairs in front of the table, with our mason jar in one hand and small cup of tap water in a plastic up on the stack. Elisa slowly begain pouring the blood on top of four books and recorded as she slowly poured the blood into a cup of water.

When we plugged the SD card into the computer and synced it up with music, the menses and the song began a spontaneous dance – they were perfectly scored in a liquid ballet. It was actually shocking. Spiritually activating. A visceral response I was not expecting.

I wept.

What was right there on the screen in front of me, had been inside of me. The insides of my own womb. Something I had somehow learned to avoid. Something I had somewhere learned not to speak about above a whisper. But right there, on the screen was…me. And in that moment a sense of nostalgia rocked me so hard to the present it was impossible to ignore.

Right there was love. Right there was death. Right there was possibility. Right there was power; the technology for birth. Right there was everything that could be, and everything that never would. 
I had never truly thought about it – what it meant to be a woman. What it meant to have a period. What it meant to bleed each month. What it meant to be alive. In that moment, life was staring back at me and I could feel it.

I wanted to share it with all my friends. How beautiful this image was. And yet, if I mentioned what it was, the sheer shock might deter some people. Why? Why did I feel ashamed of this process? How could we ever feel embarrassed of our potential to create?

We projected this image onto four white walls for our show, but we didn’t tell the audience what it was. Those that observed the projections, told us the ambience was surreal. One woman said she didn’t know what it was, and when she realized it was menses she felt safe, in a profound way.

We as women are powerful. I realize that more and more everyday. This video is a reminder of just that. An expression of the infinite power that lies in between the legs of each woman on this planet. This video is an invitation to empower that truth, to celebrate that truth, and to respect it.

Photo Credit: Jen Lewis

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Founder of Be You Be Sure & Owner of Moby Works
Lover. Doer. Thinker. Believer.

Defeat City: A Cry for Community

Sometimes when things hurt, I write.  This came out today.  Being human is hard.  But the struggle today for me is internal, and I decided that the healing thing would be to pass on my ramblings to folks with whom I want to build my life.  You’re one of them, whether or not you know it.

Friends,

My brain hurts.  It has hit a rut, an old groove.  And while I have been chugging away at new patterns and new highways upon which for thoughts to travel, an old road has emerged.  If it had a name, I’d have to call it Desolation Drive, and it leads directly to Defeat City.

Oh Defeat City, what a shitty town.  There nothing changes.  Everyone spends all day talking about the dreams they have in other places, the things they wish they could do if only they could leave town.  The confusing thing about Defeat City is that the road there seems pretty clear (I know this road, oh I’ve been here before…) but once I actually ARRIVE, it’s so damn hard to remember how to leave.  Fog descends.  Commercials flicker on the radio saying, “You should go for a jog!”  “A healthy juice will start your day.”  Static.  Residents of Defeat City spend all day with the TV on, the same stories in repeat. Canned laughter and the veneer of Hollywood smiles.  Kitchens are stocked with white crackers and table salt.  No one is satisfied, but no one is hungry.  Days pass and evening always comes as a surprise because the morning somehow seeped into afternoon without any true marking of time changing.

I’ve been to Defeat City so many times, too many times.  Every time I end up here, I swear it’s my last visit.  I’ve broken ties with the folks that live there; I’ve told them I don’t want to call it my permanent residence.  They nod in agreement; who would ever choose this place as home?  They’re all there temporarily.  No one’s door has a lock; no one even brought a toothbrush.

The screen doors slam every time.

The truth is that I’ve been working my ass off to feel well.  I’m in therapy.  I’m working a twelve step program (and I’m not even addicted to any substances!  Just particular behavioral patterns. And I’m willing to do ANYthing to feel GOOD).  I do yoga.  I exercise regularly.  I work for a juice company, for gosh sakes, and I consume superfoods on the regular.  I journal and map out my desired feelings and cuddle with cats.  I get loads of sunshine.  I ride my bike.  I have two loving alive parents and some good friends who I trust.  I’m white so I’m less afraid of my personal safety on a daily basis than a lot of my fellow humans and I have an advanced degree so odds of financial success are more in my favor.  I’m even in a relationship with someone who is loving, kind, smart, supportive, and inspired.   I’m on medicine for depression.

Boxes for okayness fucking checked.

And still, right now, I’m in Defeat City.

And I’m not even energetic enough to be as angry as I’d like to be about being here.  Sure, I’m pissed, but real anger would result in fuel.  Sometimes, in fact, that anger is what fills the tank and helps steer me back down those forlorn streets and out of Defeat City.  Puffing and spitting, my car rattles on fury, zooming out of there with haste and hope.  Fuck that place!  I flip it the bird as it minimizes in my rear view mirror.

Today I’m on the hammock on the porch in Defeat City.  Bookshelves sagging with self help books line the shelves inside, coats of dust adorning them like blankets.  “You Can Heal Your Life,” and “The Power of Now” peek out of a layer of grey.  Unlit candles with wet stunted wicks line the empty cast iron tub in the bathroom.  Above me a lazy outdoor ceiling fan spins listlessly, suggesting the movement of air but creating but a whisper of breeze.  Its sound and the buzzing of an electrical line through the trees are the only sounds besides an occasional door opening and closing.

Friends.

I’m tired of trying to make it better.

I’m tired of hearing myself ask the same damn questions about money.  About choices.  About persistence.  About geography.

As I write this, I recall an essay I wrote ten years ago.  On the same damn thing.

The truth is that the things I want are not things I can get on my own.  Because the thing I want the most, the thing that takes my heart and immediately flips it to channel Home, is community.  Real live community, connection, people talking to each other and witnessing each other and playing together and eating together and waking up and going to sleep and building fires and playing games and asking questions and being quiet in each others’ presence and laughing and arguing and making music and reading books and crying and singing and staying.  And the thing is that there are people around me all of the time, all the damn time, and community is one smile or wink or hello away it seems, sometimes even proven.  A handshake at a yoga class, a hello on the park trail; pearls of connection, seeds of hope.

But GADDAMN, I don’t want wisps.  I don’t want pearls.  I want a fucking solid brick house.  I want an entire oyster bed, a chamber full of necklaces.  I want big, committed, vibrant community.  I want people to want what I want: to grow food, to make plays, to raise animals, to tell stories, to heal each other, to listen, to invite in strangers, to sing songs, and to keep daring to do it together.  I don’t want to have to convince you all that it’s time to begin.  I want US to WANT it.  I want to survive this lifetime with people, process tragedies in each other’s physical presence, watch movies and discuss, make a salad big enough to share.

(Is this the road out of Defeat City?  Let’s find out.)

Will it rev the engine, start the train?

Wr

Photo credit: TROY R HEWITT