be more of you (new year’s invitation and spell)

“we honor our ancestors by thriving.” – dallas goldtooth

it gets in our bones, fear. fear of ridicule and isolation, fear of the unknown, fear of past traumas being repeated.

fear that what we experience now is all there is.

fear of dying – individually, as a people, as movements.

the older we get, the more ways we watch people die – celebrities snatched up by the heart, economic and climate refugees swallowed by salt water, surprising accidents, death by state and/or other lynchings, drawn out battles with internal opponents, our perpetual global wars.

when the threats come we can shrink. as this year crash lands in a stand of burning trees, we have watched an unfolding of the unexpected against our radical will, a daunting removal of certain collectively held bubbles for those of us in us-based social movements.

we shrink in part by ignoring our own emotional breadth – our surprise, our grief, our mounting fears.

one of the ways we do our oppressors’ work for them is to deny our own complexity, wholeness, our right to exist; to attempt to shrink or disappear those parts of ourselves deemed inferior or undesirable to the mainstream. we can forget that WE shape the mainstream and all the alternative streams with our own lived assertions and divergence.

in the spirit of honoring change, taking the new year’s ritual as an opportunity to assert a collective behavioral commitment, i invite you to speak a spell aloud to yourself in the mirror until you believe yourself.

do this in the darkness of new year’s eve and anytime afterwards when such a spell is needed, including at the top of your lungs in the face of anyone even slightly challenging your right to be all of yourself.

remember the kinds of humans who transitioned this year – prince, bowie, gene wilder, prince be, phife, carrie fisher and debbie reynolds, george michael, leonard cohen, don mcvinney and so many others. in addition to your personal familial losses, take on these ancestors. be the fantastical and unique voice on whatever front lines you hold. hold your existence as sacred, drop into your post-compartmentalized whole self.

let this commitment to hold your wholeness as sacred inform your relationships, economics, fashion, food, and time use choices.

do not concede any of the ground you have gained on the path the liberation. be You with the volume on a million – all of your intersecting identities, cantankerous opinions and unorthodox pleasures. be unapologetically complex, a distinct individual in an interdependent network that thrives in part because of your unique offering.

do not shrink in the face of fear as we enter and live through a period of future-history that currently looks…foreboding at the least. instead, be more you.

thrive, at every level, as the living and joyful resistance towards the spreading blank, the nothingness, the sameness, the monoculture, the norm.

here is an offering towards the spell, feel free to use it verbatim, or remix, add onto, create your own:

i assert the sacredness of my whole self, as is.

i love myself with curiosity (as a student) instead of perfectionism.

i do not shrink inside of, or ignore, my fear – i move towards my longings with my fear as a part of my emotional wholeness.

i do not regress in my own expressions and assertions of liberation, i don’t take back anything that i have unveiled to be true in my politics. i recognize both the construct nature and consequential, experiential impacts of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, ability, coping mechanisms, lived experiences, and so on. however whole i am today, i will fill that in in the face of fear.

i am kind in the heart of conflict – without betraying my beliefs.

i seek to understand the motivations of those who differ from me – without denying my full humanity.

i think my own thoughts and feel my own feelings, i cut through groupthink with love.

i have no reason to be ashamed of anything that has shaped me.

i grow movement and liberation through authentic connections and honest processes of alignment. i trade in urgency-based work for efficient, emotionally-honest work.

i relinquish my obsession with outcomes and with control.

i deepen into the call to shape a world that can hold all of me, knowing i can feel that world in my bones, even if i cannot yet fully comprehend or even imagine it.

i use the majority of my attention and words to generate joy, gratitude, positivity, solutions, pleasure, intimacy and liberation in myself and others.

in the neverending process of change, i will be more of myself.

jomo queen whispers goodbye to 2015

me, about to turn up for new year’s eve: what is it?
knee, twinging with petulance: nothing.
me: we not doing that anymore. you have my attention, what do you need?
knee, throbbing: to go home. i mean, to the little room.
me (feeling curious): really? we’re at the beach, in great company. i was thinking dancing, drinks?
knee: meh.
me: well…what do you want to do?
knee: rest. ice. compress. elevate.
me: mmhmm. totally down for that. can we do that tomorrow?
knee: naw. i mean sure, but …
me: i’m listening.
knee: what we’re doing at midnight matters. it matters.
me: yes, hence this exact current situation.
knee: but you want something else, right now. you know it.
me, contemplating my instincts: dang. i think you’re right. (feeling my whole body wanting to rest) you couldn’t have brought this up earlier though?
knee: i have been trying to talk to you all year. with love. turning up the volume. with love.
me: i been hearing you.
knee: you say that, you even tell others. but…actions speak louder than words.
me: truth. so. just go?
knee: just go.
me, some relief and longing moving in my system: you know, it’s unexpected. but i really do want to go. i gave so much of my year to floating through things i knew weren’t right, to doing what i thought was needed, even when it left me depleted.
knee (whistling briefly): yup. like, no exaggeration? i am pretty sure something is broken in here. i’m making it work, but it’s not pleasant.
me: a lot broke in me this year. (teary eyed glitchy montage of 2015 memories) i am so grateful for it, all of it makes me me, i know. but that was a lot.
knee: i know love. just saying, don’t take it out on me. i can heal like a miracle, and also too, i am finite.
me: i am so sorry. 2016 is our year. i mean it.
knee: so was 2015, baby girl. we twisted everything good out of this year and you know it. are we here, or are we here?
(we laugh)
knee: what did you learn?
me: i learned…that when i ignore my body, it always leads to disaster. i learned that no is imperative if i want to be able to say an authentic yes to the good things meant for me. and…i learned that in almost every situation, i’d rather be writing.
knee: and what do those lessons look like in practice? right now?
me: it looks like going home. to rest my body, to write, to meditate, listen to my chani 2016 horoscope. i want to enter the year totally clear and free from obligation, free from the pain of ignoring my needs. jomo queen shit.
knee: jomo?
me: joy of missing out. the glory of intentional solitude. so.
knee: so.
me: thank you. let’s go.
knee: you sure?
me: don’t be passive aggressive. i’m saying i surrender, and taking action. i’m saying i love you, and taking action. i am ready to put you first. us. for life.
knee, glowing: oh.

so that is how i am whispering goodbye to 2015, from the quietest place i could find tonight, from my whole self to yours.