Showing up at an odd little storefront, where I had been invited by a friend I hadn't seen in awhile, I walked into a cramped costume shop area that opened up into a kitchen. It was a group of fire spinners and circus folk, a community of rainbow colored hair and expertly fantastic makeup. Descending into their basement-turned-yoga studio, I sat on the side and watched the packed space filled with bodies twisting and turning sticks in a bizarre pantomime, barely missing each other in their pajama-like clothing, moving to music playing at varying speeds in their heads. It wasn't until my friend lead me upstairs and into the ice slicked courtyard that I understood the importance of that awkward room. Once the ends are lit, they swoosh deep and loud through the cold air, and the fearlessness of the body manipulating these flaming batons is fiercely obvious. Enviable. Powerful.
As the J train moves through Brooklyn, it sits above Broadway, so looking out of the windows alternates between looking out across different neighborhoods and staring into upper apartment windows, level with the people inside. There are surprising and silly placements of graffiti, both good and bad to break up the architectural landscape with a hint of whimsy and broken rules. I usually sneer at the unpracticed hand of some of the wannabe artists... but that awkward room of kids twirling batons and balls on string stayed with me - I realized that for there to be truly profound graffiti, there first be massive amounts of bad to mediocre graffiti. That we must all begin at the beginning.
That we constantly undervalue and overlook the importance of Time.
Two different psychics mentioned during readings with me, right before I went away to college as a freshman, that they saw something blocking my throat. It would take me years to eventually realize that I struggled most of my life with feeling like no one could hear me, and it reflected itself in my sexual relationships as well as my work ones. College provided powerful training in how to have a voice visually, but not in what I wanted to say with it. Schools and parents place such high expectations on a fast turn around from our studies to making money that they never pause to consider the human being at the center of it, underdeveloped as a person, but expected to crank out accolades and a reasonable rate of return. Going from home, to school - from parent's opinions about the world to what teachers feel is waiting out there - how can anyone expect us, upon Graduation, to have big, important things to say yet. All we have is other people's experiences to draw from, someone else's story. Someone else's voice.
It might take years to hear our own voice under the clamoring of voices and opinions around us, at us, over us.
In the behemoth machine we are an extension of -the Economy- our time is transubstantiated, from intangible to flesh, its physical form we know as Money. In the entertainment/labor industry, working amongst all these various standards and rules provides me the opportunity to look into the future. Most of these aging stagehands and carpenters in their unions, the ironworkers and the truck loading Teamsters have spent their whole lives, used up their bodies and any bit of good karma in acquiring piles of money, but it is flavorless. Their daily existence is one long whining complaint after another. When you've spent your entire life putting aside freedom and exploration, how do you start, in retirement to even comprehend those things? Especially when you've got no mobility left, mentally or physically?
It's a trap.
We are starting to resemble our meat, packed into little cages that cut of our access to the world and fed a specific diet, so our flesh and memories have no flavor and no color, consuming blindly until we die. We are what we eat, literally.
Pork used to be a red meat. It lived longer and ate a much more interesting diet not so long ago, recently enough that there are people who still remember a more flavorful animal than what we see today. At some point, even the poorest person knew how to slaughter an animal, how to make bread and cheese from scratch. Most of us don't make or grow our own food, we are forced then to buy what the market offers us. As we have less and less respect for Time and its vital existence in every aspect of our lives, we've sped up all of our processes. We give our time-as-money to machines that process our food for us, the things we eat increasingly becoming a singular product manufactured in a myriad of deceptive ways. In doing so, we also relinquish that knowledge, the thousands of years of learning to harness the elements to nourish our bodies, the ability to provide our own sustenance - and the more we buy into the system, the harder it becomes for us to exist outside of it.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
We have handed over the power we once had over our bodies, from the act of giving birth, to turning healthy food into something torturous (diets), to selling us on Anti-microbial/biotic everything, villianizing the things that make us strong and self sustaining. We've let the GovernmentPharmaceuticalFood industry distance us so far from our bodies that we don't even pause to ask it what it wants. We don't trust our bodies, and we don't allow them to speak with their own voice, because we aren't listening. We go through motions - being taught hygienic standards by unaware parents, washing our hair with shampoo that strips it of its oils, upsetting the balance of the delicate ecosystem that is our scalp, so it over-produces oils to compensate, creating greasy hair that needs to be washed again... allowing a profit based system damage our bodies to justify buying other things to treat the void they created. What would happen if we simply walked away? Opted out?
Would our fears of not being good enough even survive if we no longer let society dictate the things we take pride in?
'When an environment fails, over and over and over again, to provide her with a means to follow her internal compass, then she will leave.'
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”