a few words on flourishing

I have been writing as a way to process my grief and sadness and dreams and desires as I begin to heal my time in a community that was so interpersonally violent in its survival. A huge part of this healing has been the work of adrienne maree brown, especially her book Emergent Strategy. Her writing spoke to so much that I have been dreaming of and begging for from community and activism and our futures. Below are my words, greatly informed by her work, as she helped my find words for things I knew in my body and soul. 

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What does it mean to flourish in a deeply oppressive and unequal society? We are taught the system’s logics of zero sum: logics that teach us we can not have without taking, that we must compete in order to survive. Yes, there are incredibly harmful ways of flourishing AND what harm do we do when we define flourishing as somehow counter our struggles for justice and liberation?

We can shift away from scarcity, from competition and insecurity. In the simplest forms we can examine how respond to others in out community succeeding, having something good happen, expressing joy and happiness. How often do we respond with criticism, cutting them down? That is capitalism bubbling up in our bodies, setting us up in competition, defining their flourishing as a threat to us. Other practices are possible. How do we learn to respond with gratitude for their power, with excitement for what possibilities open up when people have their needs and wants met and dare I say celebrated?

This doesn’t mean anything goes. This doesn’t mean that we ignore times when harm may come from flourishing. This doesn’t mean we stop working to change systems of oppression. This doesn’t mean that we abandon the need for justice and liberation. This is not the only work to be done. And it does mean shifting our logics away from competition, scarcity and capitalism towards harm reduction sweetly nestled in potential building. And it does mean claiming our agency and our right to expand beyond survival if even in the smallest moment. In doing so I believe we are tending the soil in ways that will help justice and liberation grow.

This may not be our work all the time. And to dismiss it as unimportant, or even counter our struggle is a grave mistake. How will we create a just world if we don’t practice justice in our day-to-day life? How will we know freedom if we don’t live it every chance we get? 

This system is fucked and there is so much magic and possibility in our hearts, our shadows, our powers and our ability to envision and live the futures we need and want.

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a few words on flourishing

Self-Sweetness: an incomplete list

Sweetness for my body/mind/heart/soul is:

All-dressed chips

Long baths

Consensual pain

Singing at the top of my lungs

Shaking it off

Walking

Disco

Moisturizing

Extra water

Saying no

Sunshine

Being alone

Not washing my hair

Brushing my hair

Kissing what hurts

Selfies

Sweat

Tahini

Slowing down

Seeking fire

Feet on the ground

Wiggling

Bad puns

Chatting with ancestors

Tears

Jelly tots

Being naked

Stretches

Tattoos

Shoulder girdle down

Dark lipstick

House-only outfits

Dad dancing

Mixing music

Writing words

Writing gibberish

Grieving

Clean socks

Growing my nails

Asking for help

Talking fast

Jiggling my fat

Soaking in rain

Flexing in the mirror

Cuddling

Choosing risk

Running

Farts

Petting dogs

Touching all the things

Being touched

Expressing desire

Rocks in my pockets

Cedarwood oil

Headphones

Cooking food

Eating out

Soda pop

Sleep

White noise

Fresh pineapple

Black spruce

Listening

Telling the same story

Trying new things

Taking the long way home

Making lists

Looking at the horizon

The Moon

Zoning out

HGTV

Making less rules

Embracing flow

Humming to myself

Hands on my heart

Doing nothing

Fidgeting

Being vulnerable

Ignoring everyone

Siblings

Big burps

Trusting myselves

Self-Sweetness: an incomplete list

reclaiming needy

Reclaiming NEEDY.
From abusers.
From isolation.
From ableism.
From misogyny.
From capitalism.
From domination.
From classism.
From shame.

No Shame NEEDY means:
Needy as boundaries.
Needy as connection.
Needy as engagement.
Needy as transformation.
Needy as honesty.
Needy as showing up.
Needy as contribution.
Needy as caring.
Needy as nurturing.
Needy as validating.
Needy as fulfilling.
Needy as reciprocity.
Needy as loving.
Needy as anti-capitalist.
Needy as anti-individualist.

Cause this world is needy:
Needing change.
Needing care.
Needing healing.
Needing power.
Needing transformation.
Needing justice.

reclaiming needy

to be honest (with myself)

to be honest

it would be easier to project on to others
to the people you spend your time with
to pretend that if you focused your energy on me
you would do the work
you would see me as myself
and want to contribute
but you wouldn’t
to be honest
if you wanted to
you would find space for me
you would find time to grow
to learn what reciprocity means
in practice and in process
no matter who else you love
to be honest
I stay connected to you
because you reinforce what I have been told
I am not worthy of love
my needs are too much
love is sacrifice
and that the most I can hope for
is to be consumed by another
to be honest (with myself)

I haven’t written anything is a long time. Haven’t been well enough to wade into it. And then today, while feeling a wave of mania this spilled out

 

You left
And I ignited
After months of holding in
Compressing it all
Channelling carbon
Destined for diamond

No spark
Just air
Expanding my lungs
I ignited
Full flame
Raging
Powerful
Cleansing

You left
And I ignited
Torched everything
Every we
Every us
Every memory
Every wound
Cauterized

Let it be over
Let you be gone

sex and surviving

you know my histories
you know my traumas and pain
you know touch can be trigger
and touch can be pleasure
you know that sex is a risk for me
and you want all of me
not me in spite of it all

I get to choose to wade in
choose to take risks
sometimes I get triggered, and we need to stop
sometimes I get triggered, and we need to try something else
sometimes I get triggered, and I want to keep going

I want to hold this trauma
with this pleasure
to be able to be in it
even if part of me isn’t
to try to stitch together these holes
with desire and connection
I want to decide what all of it means
how all of it is connected
I want to define it for myself

my triggers get to be my own
you don’t take them personally
you get that I get triggered
not that you are always triggering me
you don’t take on what is mine

it doesn’t always work
it often doesn’t work
and you aren’t scared of me
when pleasure becomes trigger
you don’t run
when shame creeps in
and all I can do is cry
you make space for me
reminding me that all of this is intimacy

sex and surviving