Monthly Archive for May, 2014

pop vent: on ‘me, i am mariah…the elusive chanteuse’

I normally pop vent in private. You know – if you can’t think of something nice to say, just spill it over a nice bourbon to your best friend. But me and Mariah go back like pop infantilization, and I need to process aloud my intimate disappointment with her most recent work.

I was gonna leave it at a Facebook post until I heard R Kelly on this album. His voice is a desperate canary in any pop singer’s coal mine. I generally don’t comment on famous people’s scandals, because who can really know? Except, you know, journalism.

When I was the age at which he would have been interested in me, I was hiding under covers with a Mariah tape in my walkman singing Always Be My Baby. I’m disappointed to hear his voice here, especially in what sounds like another gross narrative of his innocence. I removed the song from my playlist, but I’m not sure I can shake his verse from my view of this work.

And it kind of clicked something together in my mind about why Mariah has been coming up short for me since Glitter. She’s desperately clinging to the past.

She was ahead of her years in both vocals and content on her first album. But this most recent album, besides it’s unfortunate title, continues the trend of implying that Mariah never got past that moment. In fact I am beginning to wonder if the lyrics and presentation and vocal choices could actually indicate that she is unavailable for any emotions that might age her.

She adapts, which I am generally fan of. But not necessarily the good stuff. Mariah keeps learning the language and vocal styling of the lowest common denominator pop of the incoming generation, and adjusting. Her voice, within that hit-oriented container, is contorted. In the effort to quickly top charts, she loses her capacity to awe.

In a vacuum this might work, but I’ve listened to Little Dragon, Meshell, & Lykke Li’s new albums this month, each one amongst their best work, Lykke Li’s work an emotional revelation. And Beyonce is still right there. All maturing before our ears. So I am getting spoiled, I expect my artists to develop, grow, age elegantly.

In terms of the music, it’s certainly not a vision of love. It sounds like it was a first production effort by her church choir director, or by her teenage heartthrob husband Nick, or maybe herself with garage band (I speak from experience as a mixed girl with garage band – that’s private MC!).

Song after song, album after album, she surrenders her once glorious upper register to an oft giggly childish nasal tone that makes me think we wouldn’t get along anymore – keep in mind she was once my range ambition at five octaves! Now her runs are overwrought in a way that implies she couldn’t hold these notes and let the emotions run.

I accepted these floral concoctions as a teen. But now we can make other choices.

She brings Nas, Fabolous and other rappers in the studio with her, and it makes me miss Ol Dirty…even Puffy. But that might be nostalgic bitterness on my part, because somewhere in her effort to be a perpetual hip-hop princess, she’s sacrificed the grand potential of her octaves. It isn’t just hitting the notes, it’s filling them out with life.

To veer close to petty – I’m not convinced she understands the word elusive. But regardless, I don’t want her to tell me how to think of her. I want her to embody herself fully. That is what makes an artist irresistible to me, that is how she first appeared on the scene. Now she deploys multisyllabic vocabulary in her familiar oddly paced way, as if she perhaps longs to be a rapper at some tectonic level.

And yet…isn’t this my Mariah of unicorns, butterflies and rainbows, earnest romance, random visits to black church, abundant runs that indicate she lives an unedited life?

Yes, she is Mariah.

There are catchy tunes on this album that I could give in to. I feel some goodness in here. ‘Make It Look Good’ is the best song I’m hearing so far. Her babies are sampled in cute ways on ‘Supernatural’. If I forget we are grown women, there are moments that shine, that earn my shimmy and my nostalgia.

But even with the cute bits and occasionally lovely and innovative runs, I can’t green light this. Her look, her words, her sound all evoke a teenaged love affair, a girl afraid to be a woman, Romeo and Juliet forever sacrificing wisdom for romance, forever sixteen. I want to see a line on her face, hear her throaty experience show up in her songs, see a grown up sexual diva emerge – isn’t the butterfly a creature of spread wings?

Clinging is not healthy, clinging to one’s youth truncates the miracles that come as the gift after suffering. Clinging leads to bad choices. Mariah wants to look and sound like a sixteen year old. And R Kelly? He is the step too far in her role play.

circumstance-itarian

i just spent a glorious week in rural eastern kentucky where my food options were largely in the hands of others who were proudly and lovingly serving me breaded chicken, fried catfish, succulent ribs, baked beans, green beans flavored with pork fat, fried okra, buttered corn, buttered mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw, bacon, cheesy grits, a southern salad made of whipped cream and chopped fruit that brought ‘i-miss-my-mema’ tears to my eyes, plates of watermelon, no-bake cookies, ham on white sandwiches, potato chips, platters of broccoli and cauliflower with ranch dressing, and iceberg lettuce salads with sugary dressings.

i list all of this because navigating it humbled me. i had brought my brilliant sugar free homemade trail mix (pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, goji berries and pure cacao), seaweed snacks, brown rice crackers, peanut butter – but nothing substantial enough to take the place of meals. there wasn’t even time to hit a grocery store for basic meats and veggies before heading deep into the country.

and i was fine.

i keep learning things in my sugar shift. this week i learned that i am honing my discipline, but i don’t want to be rigid to the point of self-punishment. in fact, the long-term goal is to be a circumstance-itarian, a term i think i may have created (but am willing to cede creation rights to someone else if i can use to mean this): to have a healthy, local, organic default of food that is very low in sugar (including alcohol, bread, desserts) and high in other fuels that work well for my body (primarily protein, vegetables, good fats) – and to shamelessly revel in the wonders and generosity of the places to which i travel.

this feels crucial, to be open to the wonders of place.

in eastern kentucky the wonders included bourbon, moonshine and ribs. there were lots of other foods which were not unique (like pink cake out of a box), and thus not necessary to me, though my eye kept wandering over to the pink cake and processing childhood memories – pink cake equals birthdays, joy, celebration. and i can process that without eating it.

being able to make the distinction between wanting (i desire that taste in my mouth) versus needing (i need that nourishment for my health) is powerful. i feel my capacity to make the best choice in any given scenario increasing. i don’t always make the best choice, but i can now say i almost always know what it is.

i am also learning the places where i have agency (alcohol, bread, meat) and the places i cannot even dabble a little yet (cookies, sweetened chocolate, chips). all of this is crucial data in this case study of myself.

someone suggested i write a book about this and i am seriously considering at minimum a zine that reflects on the detoxes with rose cole and diane san filippo’s guidance, as well as my own lessons, with somatics, food justice and economic justice lenses on the whole endeavor. because it isn’t just about eliminating sugar – it is tied up in this work of a just transition – how do we bring our human selves, our human bodies, in right relationship to the planet? we stop dousing it all in cane sugar and corn syrup, learn to taste the million sweetnesses of the earth.

i think something about humanity’s future is tied up in this question of sugar, of addiction and nutrition, of nourishment versus feeding a beast inside ourselves. i am playing at a long game here, and i feel more at ease than ever before, more self aware, and thus more free.

what is in your body?

resting in poetry, for maya angelou

I was thinking how people I hold as eternal keep dying – I don’t know I believe this till they pass – when the news came: you so constantly here are gone.

You were the first poet where I knew your name, your creviced smile, when I recited you. Phenomenal, phenomenal – you lived what it is to be a phenom, to claim it as radical truth amongst cowardice and conditioning.

You loved us word and flesh, edge and marrow, pleasure and secret, with your thunderous mouth and grandiose spirit and such elegance.

In the midst of battle you let us rest in poetry, in your arms, in your faith that Yes, we were precious.

You didn’t whisper, nor did you shout, but measured each word as an ode to our humanity. You were a movement, a poet, a black woman saying now is the time:
To be love
To be beauty
To be black
To be free

Where you have gone I cannot hear, what you have left I cannot measure. I thank you for living your beautiful truth all these short and transformational eighty six years.

(Written in tears in a bus through Kentucky)

i love my hip, i love my healers

the healer community in detroit is pretty amazing. small, but gifted. i work with adela nieves, who is trained as a curandera, and with enid carter, a black mama masseuse who affirms my body the whole time she works on me. both take however long we need.

both have helped me with an ongoing hip pain that i have been looking at in horror, unable to comprehend that such a strange fire could truly be radiating down my body. they’ve helped from a physical and emotional perspective.

enid said in our most recent session that i have to love my hip. it is a simple thing, but when a body part is in pain, my response is to think – ‘[insert body part] i wish you would go away, detach yourself from my body, disappear, just stop!!’. i curse at the pain, i curse at wherever i am sitting, everything around me. then i curse at the sky.

then i go into my somatic mode and think, ok what does this pain have to tell me? through the filter of my curses, it’s sometimes hard to understand the pain, but i listen, i journal, i reflect. i pray, i wish, i long for relief.

enid suggested that i just love on the hip. and do the following loving things to it:

ice it
use a yoga ball for sitting at my desk
rub and ask others to rub my sacrum and feet
use pillows to support my knees and ankles when i am laying or sitting
stretch my hamstrings daily, gently, with a yoga strap
use weleda brand arnica oil and arnica pills
and take aleve – don’t sit in the pain

and then keep sending love at my hip, at my back, down my leg, to my whole left side as it works to release the pattern of pain, to my right side for growing stronger in this process. i think about the million intersections of my body, my wholeness, and the layers of emotion, memory, and joy that reside within me.

then i love my hip.

and i love my healers.

i love my hip.

future things: on skawennati, yan jun, feedback improvisation + international kindred in montreal

i’m writing from a train pressing through a gray quebec landscape. yesterday i spoke at science faction, the sight + sound international digital arts festival in montreal. the panel i was a part of was called ‘whose fictions? upturning the male dystopian gaze’, and it was pretty fantastic.

i am wary of things that sound very cool, especially in the digital tech world – i always seek the organic connection. this space felt like building the organic bridge between technology and the heart, desire, evolution. it felt like being amongst those who will tinker and experiment and push edges into the future. i was blown away by the kindred thinking of the other artists on the panel, especially skawennati, who i got to connect with before the panel on sex, sugar and sabbaticals. i share my notes from the conversation below.

i also got to experience a few other artists. sound artists. i have found a new experience to love. let me start there.

the first artist was named yan jun and he did something called feedback improvisation. i followed an instinct to sit in the very front row. an announcement came on before he played, that the performance was subtle, so the audience should be quiet, calm. the room was dark, just a bright light where his equipment was set up. it looked like a bunch of volume knobs, a sort of gun with a cone at the end of it, some round metal disks, rubber bands.

yan jun walked up with a quizzical alert look on his face. he took off his hoodie and draped it over the back of his chair, then took off an outer shirt and folded it carefully and draped it too. from the first movement, everything felt meticulous, intentional. he sat down and started making noise. the noises he made took us on a journey. sound is vibration, we are vibration, and he took us to the very edge of what the body can handle in a performance that was part meditation, part internal massage, part tension and distress, part caress.

subtle, yes, and incredibly sensual. he would hold a piece of paper near the sound gun, or press two fingers against a vibrating coil, and the feedback would shift in ways that sounded like dancing, heartbeats, terror. at one point i was sure i heard a choir in the static. it was strange and exquisite.

after him, leslie garcia came on with bio-box, this complex set up with algae and moss in little dishes, hooked up to wires, so that the sounds of the plants could be used to create music. it was beautiful and paradigm shifting – there was so much life in the sounds. leslie is from mexico city. she says at home she has over 80 variety of plants, and each makes a unique sound, that philodendron sound nothing like lavender, and algae nothing like moss.

if the opportunity comes to you to take in some sound art i recommend it. get high first, it helps you listen with your body.

now, notes from ‘whose fictions?’

our facilitator erandy vergara was wonderful. she opened up by asking us to speaking about how fiction can move us beyond binaries, and offered us two questions:

1. how does something unnatural become natural? (if you cannot reproduce human children, for instance, it is considered unnatural – how does it become natural? she had a clip from the movie her to explore this, but as is the case at every tech related conference i have ever been to, the tech didn’t work)

2. how does the cyborg figure show up in your work?

i was the first speaker. i spoke of my social justice background, my background reading and watching sci fi, and how that was coming together in my life through octavia’s brood and my sci fi salons and emergent strategy sessions.

i said for me the cyborg figure – which is becoming current, i am one step away with my constant devices – is a way to explore: what is freedom? the ways we become cyborg are not necessarily so drastic, so binary as human, not human. it is often to address some self-defined limitation. my friend recently got bone anchored hearing aid to counter the severe hearing loss he’s experienced in the past few years. he looks like a future. i think our cyborg age will likely come very naturally, slip through and into us, as an expansion of nature. afterwards i thought about talking about cyborgs and economic divide – who gets to enhance? how do we hack into cyborg equality? but perhaps that will be a future talk.

in terms of natural or unnatural, i said what interests me is how often that which is different is considered unnatural, at least at first. but really difference, diversity, is what nature shows us works for evolution.

i said fiction is one way to naturalize things which people aren’t yet comfortable with. i have been thinking about this lately as it relates to the idea of ‘master’s tools’…perhaps there is no such thing. master’s ideologies, yes. but there are tools, masters use them, so do we. fiction, storytelling is a tool. men, mostly white men, have used it to express their imaginations for years, particularly in the realm of science and speculative fiction. through projects like octavia’s brood, we as women, people of color, queer people, feminist men, claim this tool for the inception of our own power in the future.

skawennati was next, and i just have to say i love this woman, and i love her partner. some people you meet and its just easy from the start.

her work focuses on natives in sci fi, imagining indians in the 25th century. she used second life to create a series. she spoke my thesis: if we dont imagine ourselves in the future we will not be there. she said particularly in native communities, ‘we spend a lot of time thinking about the past. its an unfulfillable wish’. she did a millennium project where she made a timeline from just before contact, 1490, to 2490. as she moved through it she realized it was a girl project, and wanted to do a brother project.

she created a scenario about a time in the future when people have a device that they can put on and have the 3d experience of a historical event. in her work it was important to notice that her people, mohawk people, were no longer worried about survival, they were thriving now.

of her character, skawennati shared that by learning about himself, his history, he learns to love. he is even financially successful. she said she was inspired by a lyric from an indigenous artist: ‘im gonna live real lavish for all the times you called me savage’.

the final speakers were members of the transnoise collective, a platform based in barcelona for artists to collaborate. they said they are part of the transhack feminist movement. their approach is network, DIY, performance as a way to live. play with noise. they use garbage from the places where they perform. there were technical difficulties and a language barrier, so i don’t have as much of their content, but they shared awesome stuff, such as:

– we understand ourselves as a mixture of culture and nature.
– no more projects and outcomes, more processes
– we see in research that bacteria sex is the transmission of information. sex, pleasure is another level of information, of communication.
– the fear of the unknown doesn’t exist. you have fear because of something you know, something you have heard, even if it is false. you heard it. it made a belief in you.

then erandy asked us how working with communities had impacted our practices. i shared that as a virgo, an oldest child and an american i was oriented towards individualism. but i have also learned from early achievement that success in that context is isolating. so with lots of fits and starts and lessons, i can proudly say community is growing me.

the allied media conference has been a major space of being and working and growing in community, around the principle: we begin by listening.

i shared that in most of octavia butler’s work (its always comes back to her somehow, she is muse and prophet to me) she is challenging hierarchy. that has really impacted me. it’s working with others, but also shifting traditional power dynamics.

the collective creation process of the sci fi writing workshops has been major – when building a world with others, the imaginative space goes beyond what i would think alone.

i also spoke to pace in terms of learning to work with others. often we realize we want to be more collective in our approach, and then leap from working alone to being part of an intricate highly involved collective.

collectives are advanced. the phd level of human interactions.

i have been learning to work with one other person at a time, and learning about myself in that. my work with walidah on octavia’s brood, for instance, is really revealing for both of us.

creating with others in detroit is important to me. i realized that so many of the spaces i was in in detroit were about our shared suffering, victimhood, powerlessness. and we need the reality of those spaces, to grieve and vent. but i also needed to experience and create generative healing space. and the pleasure of creating together.

at some point we spoke about embodiment – how important it is to bring the body self, which needs to eat, drink, have sex, have pleasure, into the space where the future is being imagined.

skawennati said people should teach that sex is for pleasure, instead of procreation. my heart flipped. i shared how my brother is talking about not teaching the babies the concept of virginity. how do we teach different things about the role of intimacy, the work of bodies – to not see ourselves through a religious lens, but a wholistic lens.

i spoke of pleasure, referencing audre lorde and the uses of the erotic. that the body and pleasure can be a compass for leaving behind suffering. people are motivated to change for pleasure, for desire and longing more than fear. we have tried scaring people to change, for instance, with climate change. but we have to paint compelling futures because we change when the future is so beautiful, abundant, not because it is so terrifying.

skawennati countered, ‘our society is based on fear. turtle island was developed on fear, religion based fear. telling people how bad they are. same in europe in all colonized countries. i think this is the role of the artist – to think about ways for us to move forward as a society. to put these ideas out and hope they take root.’

she recommended reading snow crash and physics of the future.

in the conversation we also got to speak to how important it is to create outside of the ongoing dynamics of oppression. toni morrison speaks to this, and nnedi okorafor has spoken about writing stories without white people in them, not as a slight to white people, but just because she writes worlds centered on black or african people who are reacting to other challenges than whites.

this means not centering our victim selves, but our creative selves. it becomes easy to come together based on shared oppression, and then start to compete about something that cannot be measured – the suffering of oppression.

i spoke about emergent strategies as an alternative. birds don’t win migration, they just go where they are supposed to be, adapting and facing the challenges along the path. this gives us space for our complexity, to have oppression in our identity and so much more. to have the tools in our communities not just to commiserate, but to move through and beyond grief and survival.

i noted that i intentionally spend a lot more time on healing, generating solutions, positivity, in relationship to others focused on cultivating the same things. as radical work.

an audience member asked how we respond to the singularity, the idea that eventually we will create an artificial intelligence that surpasses us, and how can we continue in, or merge with, that future?

i referenced kweli tutashinda’s book on grassroots and indigenous responses to singularity, which basically posits that we are all connected, that the intelligence of the planet, of life, is beyond what we comprehend and that will still be the case in and through the technology we create.

but also, we have to keep working on increasing our capacity for impermanence. meditate.

another audience member asked how to get more women to his hackerspace in mexico city. the other panelists spoke of creating women only spaces, safe spaces for women to be a part of. i added that it would be amazing if the people there, if the men reflected on how to turn up the feminine in themselves.

between the talk and performances i met two women. one was anne goldenberg, a feminist hacker artist who had just given a workshop on meditation and computers and somatics and being present with the body of your technology and the body experiences you have in your computer interactions. i was so excited to hear somatics!, and loved the premise of her work, bringing mindfulness to the machines we use all the time.

the second person was named angela gabereau, co-creator of this awesome little expressive lamp. she invited me to be a part of her current project, a queer futures online video tarot deck. um…yes.

i think that’s everything.

i will just add that having the organizers bring me by train rather than plane worked beautifully to give me a writing retreat. i feel creative and rejuvenated in it.

sugar shifting is hard.

i am nine days into this sugar shift and it is hard!

what gets me through it is taking pictures of myself looking cute to stay inspired.

the challenges include but are not limited to:

1. the mental game of wanting sugar. the physical cravings are done, but now i am alone in the gruesome battleground of my mind. i am in montreal, and if you know anything about me please know that i love french things: french food, french wine, the idea of frenchness, paris, dijon mustard, french words for food (i failed french utterly, yet i know that the french word for my favorite thing in this city is pain. pain au chocolat. that feels appropriate). so being in montreal and not having chocolat, steak frites, baguettes and croissants, cheese, jam, croque madame, etc? it is an act of great valor!

and it is not like i make the decision not to indulge and it’s all good. no, it’s constant. here is a sample of inner dialogue from my walk this morning:

what about this quiche?
no.
what about that croissant?
no.
how about just that cookie?
no.
aren’t frites a vegetable?
nope. no potatoes. see, look at the list of forbidden foods you downloaded on the phone for precisely this moment. see?
hmph. well…one dessert? you’re in montreal!
no. then i will have to start over.
ok. ok fine. oh – pain au chocolat!
sigh. it does look good.
i think they just made it. that one on the end looks kind of melty?
yeah. it smells pretty aweso- hey wait a second! no! no.
no? forever ever?
for right now, no.

that is how i ended up here, now, in my hotel room with my pre-approved snacks, writing and writing and writing.

2. breaking out. i have massive situations all over my face as toxins work their way out of my body like aliens seeking sunlight. i look like a sullen teenager. luckily i have speeches to give and videos to record, so this phase of the cleanse can be captured for all time.

3. bathroom times. i am not going to say much about this other than…i am really changing the inner landscape of my body!

4. feeling like this whole thing is so self-indulgent. there is so much suffering in the world. is my journey with sugar really that big of a deal?

i am helping myself in this by looking at sugar as a global issue, as a tool for capitalist control over my communities. i think of the people who get sugar to me, and their working conditions, their lives.

i am also learning to see sugar as a counter to mindfulness and intentionality, personally and politically. it is an unregulated addictive substance. it creates a prison pattern for my body, a cage that decreases my capacity to be mobile, to be authentic, to be intimate, to have power.

i am on a front line in my body. the liberation i find beyond sugar opens up my relationship with the planet, with other humans, with my purpose in this world. transform myself to transform the world.

5. getting tired of the foods i am allowed to have. this doesn’t happen when i am home and able to cook and innovate a lot. but when i am on the road, it can start to feel like…fuck pecans.

and i love pecans!

so. tonight i am going to find a gorgeous steak and eat it with some vegetables.

send love.

only lovers left alive: movie review / gush

i have said it before and i must say it again: if you are a vampire, i want in. turn me.

i am rearticulating this in light of jim jarmusch’s gorgeous new vampire classic only lovers left alive. jodie recommended it, and i was going with my favorite movie buddy, mike, so i had high expectations.

without spoilers, i just want to say: it is a joy of a movie. exquisite, from the pace to the soundtrack to the landscapes to the clothing to the peculiar problems these vampires face amongst their buttery leathers, intricate moroccan textiles, walls and stairs and piles of books, ancient instruments, ornate robes, cheekbone speeches.

it’s gorgeous.

and it’s set in detroit (albeit a fantastical-alternate-universe detroit with only one black person in it. and that black person is jeffrey wright!)!

and tangier, which looked much better in the movie than it did for the few hours i was there.

here are the other reasons i love this film:

tilda swinton is a delight, that is just her truth. i dressed particularly happy style for the film in her absence and her honor. as eve, she is a direct hit of everything good – swag, lilt, fervor, pleasure. she stomps around the movie all twenty feel tall and full of compassion and good choices and wonderful things she’s learned. her character offers a powerful theory on life – that we are not here to obsess about ourselves, but to connect, learn, love, dance. and she dances, and it’s a wonderful thing to see, she’s a slinky benevolent demon.

jarmusch gets detroit like an intimate stranger. he captures the quiet wild feel and sound of the city if only you know it at night: the glowing skyline across what can look like a forest, the vast clearish skies, the juxtaposition of old rambling homes, empty intersections in rare streetlamps, the isolated clubs where genius can be heard before the world recognizes it.

the movie also offers a beautiful example of the life of lovers – reading, traveling, making and consuming music, loving. delight, adventure, reuniting, nesting, care, tenderness.

jarmusch touches on very specific emotional needs, like tom hiddleston’s adam wanting to uncouple the act of sharing his work with the world from the wretchedness of fame.

it’s just a wonderful film. i recommend it on the big screen, particularly for the closing scene.

mothers, metaphors, life

Today for some reason I keep thinking about mothers as planets. Or actually, as earth, in terms of being a body that is a life source. I am thinking about having agency, and not having agency.

There’s something that is a whisper in me, about how my choice not to mother from my body is related to my wonder, my awe to be in the gravity of this planet/womb.

So many people. Maybe too many. I think we can’t quite know these things, but…our pattern of reproducing in clusters, generally taking much more from the planet than we give back, and not adjusting behaviors that are harmful to the planet…we seem to have negative impact.

Watching people experience this day, I come into awareness again of how complex the relationships between parents and children really are – how little can be assumed. Some people, lots of people, are accidents. Some people don’t survive birth, or their childrens’ childhoods. Some parents had a child and had to let it go. Some parents don’t want to be parents. Some people want to be parents but not for children born of other bodies, so there are children waiting for home, and parents with empty arms. Some parents do their best but the damage still echoes louder than the effort. Some parents can never let go. All those people, children, stories, desires, piling up, creating, continuing somehow, loving and suffering.

I wonder if earth ever feels like a spent mother. Sore, bruised, tired for centuries. Grieving her youth and beauty, only able to see the excavations. I wonder if she notices us as we return to her body.

It is probably an insulting reduction, to assign such humanity to her great vastness, even to gender this entity. I like the idea of ‘mother’ being a larger concept than physical capacity to birth – I mother sometimes, and when it shows up in me I love it. But who knows how rock and dirt and river process experiences, notice themselves.

It’s just – earth is surrounded by us, by our emotional processes. Earth is so much water, and we know our emotions impact water. I wonder sometimes if this planet feels all our different feelings towards her, if she can parse out how many of us still adore her.

I’ve watched a few humans become mothers now in a variety of ways, birth included, and each time it is a terror, a sweetness, and worth everything. It is also a devastation. To create creatures who will need you with no shame, love you absolutely, use you as life source and teacher and beloved, and then turn completely to their own life.

To imagine every living thing as a child of this earth is to consider the ongoing grief of our planet in the constant change change change. And something in that makes me feel such compassion for my mother, as she has given of herself so thoroughly, and then gracefully released myself and my sisters into the world. No matter what we do, she learns us, learns with and for and from us. She is a magnificent mother. I can’t comprehend the scale of that kind of love. But I am grateful.

amb and sugar, sitting in a tree. amb: GET OUT OF MY TREE!

yesterday i started the sugar detox again.

i did the sugar detox in february, and i loved it. i came off it on a glowy high of self-love and new flexibility, tummy joy, personal power, less allergies, feeling great. i was sure it would just magically last forever, the aversion to sweet things, the enhanced palate, the haughty upturned nose at bread.

i forgot that i had 35 years of sugar loving practice in my body, and live in a sugar addled nation.

at first a banana was a glorious sweet gift. but then i tasted sweetened chocolate again. a crepe. with goat cheese. white wine. a piece of french bread with butter.

then a cookie.

sweet baby deity of destruction do y’all know how good fresh warm dark chocolate sea salt cookies are?

and then april happened. apparently it was astrologically predetermined to be a monster of a transformational month. stars, i bow to you once again. every time i try to scoff at the cosmic crosses and retrogrades, which is RARELY, i feel like the whole universe laughs at me. and then sends some intergalactic beygency my way. it was a stunning, full, emotional and decadent month, crowned with my sister’s wedding.

when i realized what was happening, i tried to adjust. back, back to no bread! eat more vegetables now! double water intake! walk! no chocolate!!! but it’s like overcorrecting a car spinning on ice; i ended up safe and shaken in an embankment of pizza.

i want to note that all along my body was like ‘nooooo!!’ i rejected food, cramped, spasmed, developed new severe pains – communicating all along very clearly that we are not here for this. that was deep, because it meant that the comfort i was seeking in sugar was being justified by my mind and mouth, at odds with all painful evidence that i was hurting myself with these choices.

so i am coming humbly back to the exact list of foods on rose cole’s list. last time i didn’t really tune in to the lentil and quinoa options, or the ghee. i did my shopping yesterday (plenty of seasonal vegetables, eggs, frozen and smoked wild atlantic salmon, farm raised chicken and beef, ghee, olives, peppers, fresh ground peanut butter) and have already made dal, garlic hummus, and a frittata. everything tastes awesome, i am drinking tons of water, walking and dancing daily, and feeling committed.

a humorous aside/vent: just like last time, my moon came on the second morning of the cleanse. for those of you who have experienced one period, or roughly 264 (especially those among you who, like myself, are perpetually surprised to find yourself bleeding each month and/or aren’t interested in birthing other people), you may know the screw face i had upon discovering this coincidence. for those who have never reveled in this cursed blessing, i can’t put into words how much i want dark chocolate ice cream with some kind of other more firm chocolate and nuts inside it today. i just can’t. but it’s a lot.

the difference between the last cleanse and this one is vision. last time i was sitting in wonder at how much the absence of sugar changed my body and my mood. i was in the gathering proof phase of an experiment. this time, i have the proof in my body. the more sugar i have eaten, the less energy i’ve had, the more pain and stomach sadness, the less feeling of being a gorgeous divine creature alive in a beautiful world (my aspirational default!).

my vision with this is a lifestyle shift. a liberation.

i know for sure that not having sugar in my life just works better for my body. so i am going to get 21 days under my belt, then shift to having fruit be my only sweet thing through my birthday in september.

it feels just as important, if not more so, to share that i am returning to the cleanse. yesterday a friend reminded me that people often quit smoking several times, and sugar is much more socially accepted a habit. i want and need the support in this change, and i want to be honest about the process for those in it with me. coevolution through friendship :-)

send love!

p.s. getting me through it is my ‘falsetto season’ playlist on spotify. shy girls, sam smith, moses sumney and more.

Forgiveness Litany

Forgiveness, pour into me
Fill me up so my every word, every touch
Can only be you

Give me breath to say what I’ve done
Not in spite of witness
But because I need witness to survive

Give me enough tenderness
To offer myself understanding
Beyond good or bad, I was always moving towards life

Let me cast you ahead of me
As I wander through this inner realm
Let me trust my shadows

Forgiveness, run through me
Be a river shifting my silt, always changing
Make me a beautiful impermanence

Forgiveness I need you
And I need to give you away
Make me a fool who keeps returning to myself
And a crone who knows how wise that is

Axe