Revolutions

creative commons flickr by Alan

creative commons flickr by Alan

Definition of REVOLUTION

1
a (1) : the action by a celestial body of going round in an orbit or elliptical course; also : apparent movement of such a body round the earth (2) : the time taken by a celestial body to make a complete round in its orbit

2
a : a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm

Why do we call them resolutions?

I wrote all this last year, and I’m a little wobbly from the truth I see in it for me now, today. I could probably write this same post all over again.

“I resolve to let things make sense.

Turning around to face the past year, I do know this, risk is vital and that life is random and capricious. Deaths of all kinds, physical and meta, occur without much notice. Using your precious time preparing for the moment when you’ll be who you are enough to do the things you want is a risk indeed, but not the one that will help you. By negotiating with demons such as After-I-lose-weight or Once-I-save-the-money and so forth in order to be who you already are, and you DO know who that is, is a kind of dying while living. Risking leaping while learning, just letting yourself take the damn lead, that’s the trick of it. Even if it is terrifying, it’s aliveness.

I resolve to be who I am.

There is no glory in waiting, no nobility in waiting to live until later, until tomorrow, or until the time is right. My mother, who waited and waited and waited while she was alive, waited for something that I still don’t quite understand, always put off who she had been, could have been again, and simply waited. After her illness, I waited alongside her glimpsing parts of the me I should have been being, if not for waiting, waiting until she passed? And then? Get to finally be myself without fear of loss and reprisal? Have less on my plate? Just wound up behind where I could have been? Perhaps, perhaps it was all a process to get where I am today.

Still.

I resolve to live without waiting.

The year itself ends, a symbol of passage both of time but also life. A year dies, a year is born and we mark the end with lists and the beginnings with resolutions, perhaps it is all the same thing swirled in and out of itself. All I know, facing this transition is that holding back the self, the call whether through waiting, hiding, not risking, being one way at work, another outside of it, serves no one, certainly not you. Certainly not me.”

And yet, there was frustration at things not making sense.

There was challenge in trying to know who this person I said I’d be ok with being actually was.

There was most certainly waiting.

Sometimes waiting is the thing that you have to do in order to not wait. Waiting as an action? I don’t know, it feels like one of those paradoxes.

Sometimes there is a desert and you sit in that desert because that’s where the work has to happen even if it doesn’t feel like work. Sometimes things take a lot of time to process, to grow, and to emerge from where they’ve been hidden.

Have I mentioned ever that I’m an ADD Aries with an impatient streak?

I realized today that a year ago, a friend of mine made a big and bold declaration about her life. When I read her words, I had this huge huge response inside my chest, of desire, of want, of a nearly desperate call to do that same thing. I know it wasn’t time, but the call was loud and clanging in my ears and I was terrified.

She wants to be a minister. I do too.

I am often embarrassed and frightened by my desires, the deepest ones, as if to admit the want is a weakness. Or worse, that admitting them is opening the gate to let out a hungry animal, that will then leap out of me and consume me. I know that seems dramatic, but it feels like that sometimes.

These desires are the transformative/transcendent experiences, the peak moments. Sex, food, grief, writing, theater, dance, music, magic, deep community, religion. All are the same feeling, on my own or in groups, I realize it’s a room of mirrors all of it the same dynamic and the same feeling inside of myself.

All are the same feeling because it is all the same thing. The source.

And I have lived a life where I measure those out those moments and try to control them, or I leap a little too far in (often letting alcohol provide a gateway in) and feel overwhelmed afterwards, or I deny them totally choking off the power that is right there and poking at me and wanting out to run alongside me. There is a lot of shadow territory there. I started off life with some heavy stuff, so it makes sense I’d either have jumped into it or left it in a box avoiding that work in favor of “light” things.

I don’t know that I resolve anything this year, save to continue revolving around the center of this understanding, spiraling inward? Outward? Which doesn’t always happen in space because of gravity, I realize but that’s the image that comes to mind.

Revolving.

Revolutionizing in both sense of the word. And it feels like revolutionary times right now, at least it does to me. We are all feeling it, I think, this pull towards realness and real systemic change is happening hard right now, and frankly, it will take all of us to pull this revolution off; a revolution of people, accepting the deepest truths about ourselves personally and culturally, light and dark. It will entail not hiding desires in boxes, not measuring them out with fear and a leash, but letting them run alongside, often leading the way of revolution, towards love and rage and hope combined.

At least, that’s how it feels today, on this last day of 2014.

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Year End

Creative Commons Flickr Ken Owen

Creative Commons Flickr Ken Owen

It has been a long and very interesting year. I memorialized my mother, supported my husband as he opened a film, found a dream job, helped produce Austin’s first 14/48 Festival, deepened my activism and was able to attend several amazing conferences and trainings (and a few coming up).

And our son started high school.

Next year looks to be a doozy as well, with BedPosts doing a mashup with Soundtrack Series, getting to perform at SXSW and the Alamo, and some fantastic events, conferences, and art installations happening with the Women’s Center throughout the year.

I’m pleased and proud of all of that and I’m exceptionally grateful that I get to be small piece of a big picture of change and social justice.

I get tired, though.

A long time ago, I was talking with an improv colleague, discussing the idea of taking periodic breaks from artistic pursuits.

He said something to the effect of him believing in breaks for others, but not for himself. At the time, I didn’t ask him why he believed that, because I was kind of laughing out loud at how familiar the words were. I could have been talking to myself based on the itchiness I feel when I don’t know what the next gig is gonna be.

I’m not sure if this is a trait particular to the creative arts, or all work that involves self promotion and free-lance, but the drive to “find the next gig” seems common. And the majority of us are not even doing this for a living. For a life maybe, but not a living. Most of us do this for the sheer love of it, for the creation, and for the community, not for our livelihood.

And it’s not just art, the constant call occurs during activism, too. I see loads of my fellow advocates working their tails off and needing rest, and we often don’t do self care enough.

Why avoid breaks? If gaps in work doesn’t equal loss of financial support, then is it “busy and booked” as status? Is it a sense of overgrown ambition? Or is it perhaps a basic existential fear of being of becoming irrelevant, of being replaced, of missing out somehow?

And with social justice work, it’s not that necessarily (though it can be about ego), but it’s this awareness that The. Work. Doesn’t. Stop. And it needs all hands on deck to keep moving. Or so it seems. So, it is.

There is a relief in realizing that there are many working on the same goal. There is a deep feeling of needing to stay awake, stay active, stay working though and that can lead to burn out.

Rest is important. Letting the soul renew is vital. And even more comfortingly, the health of a community should be mirrored in it’s ability to weather change, the comings and goings of this director or that producer, and this leader and that activist, the resting of one should not make or break the community as a whole, it should strengthen it.

So, that was one thing I’ve though about over the years, in regards to my reaction to our conversation. And I’ve taken breaks from theater, and from the work, but coming back always seems stronger.

I found theater again after big breaks in my life, (or it found me, more accurately. Theater hadn’t gone anywhere, I had). If anything the experience has been more joyful, more thoughtful, more focused now than anything I did in college or after. The difference is that my schedule is tighter, my life and domestic responsibilities are heavier yet richer, still. That in and of itself makes the time spent with shows and the people in them even more precious and valuable.

I like working. I hear the “call of the gig” and of the work in my head, I want to be involved. I still have the energy to get up and work. I hear the call. I will not ignore the role I play in helping the world.

But, as I’ve aged, I’m more willing to trust that “the gig” is actually my life (breaks included) and that theater ain’t going anywhere. Activism surely isn’t, and calls just keep ringing like a phone. Besides, it’s not all up to me, not even close. I am connected to communities with moving parts but I fit in where and when I can. My work and my relationships are determined by the desire I have inside me, available to me. And rest is necessary to allow that desire to build.

Breaks allow ideas to sprout, alfalfa like, from fields which need to lie fallow, at least for a time.

Winter is a good time to rest. Year’s end is a good time to look back and then forward, like Janus. And lying fallow helps the fields ready themselves for Spring.

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Must Reads-Race, Ferguson, The State

All of these writers have moved me over the past week. If you know of others, please list in comments. All the voices, all the protests, all the people in the leader, if I can help promote and amplify, then let that be a gift I can give to stand behind and lift people up.

On how protests are wakes not pep rallies-A letter to white people by Aaron Goggans.

Sarah Kendzior reports on Ferguson.

Black Rage and Fear after Ferguson, by Brittany Cooper.

Travis Gettys writes about Racism Without Racists and how so deeply white supremacy is integrated into us, that we don’t see it.

Stacey Patton offers a piece on Black Children and Childhood In America.

Mia McKenzie lays out what violence is and isn’t.

Burnt Orange Report writer Emily Cadik points out some truths on arrests of Black Americans in Texas.

No Indictment and Protests in the Guardian’s Comment Is Free by Syreeta McFadden.

Carol Anderson writes about how Ferguson was about white rage, not black.

A powerful post by Latoya Peterson on Tamir Rice.

And Derrick Clifton with advice for white people. Things not to say.

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Block

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Photo Credit Rosipaw Creative Commons Flickr

I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write. I need to write.

I don’t know why I can’t. Or won’t. Or haven’t. Maybe I do.

Just thought I’d put it out there.

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BedPosts!

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Tomorrow night! Come on out!

Come out to play with BedPost Confessions in November!

We will have smart, sexy stories from~

❤ BedPost Producer Sadie Smythe with the call of love and sex.

❤ Author Mo Daviau looking over a difficult but powerful learning experience.

❤ Sexual Renegade Holly Lorka taking inventory of her sexy-time past.

❤ Moth Grandslam Champ Giulia Rozzi with some childhood obsessions.

✰ ✰ ✰ Hosted by Me!!! ✰ ✰ ✰

Our giveaways will be provided by Little Shop of O’s, Glo’s Goodies, Karuna Sessions, Sexy Delicious Things, and Package Menswear, so be sure to sign up to win prizes at the door.

✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ THE BASICS ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

11/20/14 BedPost Confessions @ The North Door
[One block East of I-35 on the corner of Brushy Street and East 5th]
Tickets are $10 at the door
The ND Lounge opens at 6:30, show doors open at 7:15, show starts promptly at 8:00

✰ Bedpost Confessions is produced by Sadie Smythe, Julie Gillis and Mia Martina. Event management provided by Sara Henry of Oh, Henry Events ✰

✼ ✼ There are a limited number of seats, so getting there early will help ensure you getting one. After seats are full, it is then standing room only! ✼ ✼

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WE Con 2015 Call For Proposals

Andrea Zarate, WCC Artists

Andrea Zarate, WCC Artists

Call for proposals for second annual Women’s Empowerment Conference Austin! (En español abajo)

The second annual Women’s Empowerment Conference Austin (WE Con Austin), a community conversation and resource fair, is seeking workshop and panel proposals! This two-day gathering for women, girls and those who care about them will be held on March 7 & 8, 2015, at ACC Eastview. Take a look, submit your ideas, and share with your networks!

Our theme for WE Con Austin is: How do you WOMAN?

Our goals for the conference are:
– Building community among central Texas women and girls
– Sparking great discussions about gender, race, sexuality, class, disability, & more
– Helping women and girls gain knowledge and build skills that will enable them to create the lives they want

Submissions should be consistent with the goals. We welcome various interpretations of the theme. We prefer interactive models such as discussions, skill-building workshops, or other styles that engage in alternative types of education.

We are particularly interested in proposals dealing with one or more of the following topics: self-care, community and coalition building, self-determination, practicing feminism in everyday life, economic justice, trans/queer justice, reproductive justice, food justice, prisoner rights, immigration, local Austin issues, woman of color feminisms, technology, the arts, body image, movement, health & wellness, and empowering women and girls of all ages.

We will offer teen/tween programming, so we welcome proposals for this age group.

Please include in your submissions:
– Title of panel, workshop, or presentation
– A brief description of 300-500 words
– Description of AV and space requirements
– Presenter/s name and contact information
– A short bio (100 words max) and picture

The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 12, 2014. Please submit all documents via email to conference@womenctx.org. You can send the submission as a Microsoft Word file, .pdf, or text file. If postal mail works better for you, please send it to: Women’s Community Center of Central Texas, Attn: Conference, 1704 San Antonio St., Austin, TX 78701

If you have any questions please contact Carrie Tilton-Jones at carrie@womenctx.org

——————————————————

Convocatoria de propuestas para la segunda Conferencia Para Empoderamiento de la Mujer Austin!

La segunda Conferencia Para Empoderamiento de la Mujer Austin (WE Con Austin) un conversación comunitaria y feria de recursos está en busca de propuestas para talleres y presentaciónes. WE Con Austin será una reunión de dos días para mujeres, niñas y aquell@s quienes se preocupan por ellas. Se llevará a cabo el 7 y 8 de marzo de 2015, en ACC Eastview. ¡Échele un vistazo, presente sus ideas y comparta con sus contactos!

Nuestro tema para WE Con Austin es: El reto de ser mujer

Nuestras metas para esta conferencia son:
-Formar comunidades y alianzas entre mujeres y niñas en el centro de Tejas
-Fomentar discusiones importantes sobre el género, raza/etnicidad, sexualidad, clase, discapacidad y otros.
-Ayudar a que mujeres y niñas adquieran el conocimiento y las habilidades que las permitan crear la vida que quieren.

Las presentaciones deben ser consistentes con las metas. Damos la bienvenida a diversas interpretaciones de la tema. También preferimos modelos interactivos tales como discusiones, talleres para desarrollar habilidades, u otros estilos que se dedican a formas alternativas de educación.

Estamos especialmente interesadas en propuestas que traten uno o más de los siguientes temas: feminismo enfocado en la lucha de mujeres de color, cuidado personal, formación de comunidad y alianzas, autodeterminación, la práctica del feminismo en la vida cotidiana, justicia trans/queer/lgbtqia, justicia económica, justicia reproductiva, justicia alimentaria, derechos de prisioneras/ex convictas, inmigración, temas locales de Austin, tecnología, las artes, imagen corporal, movimiento, salud y bienestar, y el empoderamiento de las mujeres y niñas de todas las edades.

Ofreceremos actividades para adolescentes y jóvenes, así que damos la bienvenida a propuestas enfocadas en estos grupos de edades.

Por favor, incluya en su(s) propuesta:

– Título del plática, taller o presentación
– Una breve descripción de 300-500 palabras
– Requerimientos de equipo audiovisual y/o especificaciones de espacio
– Nombre e información de contacto de la(s) presentadora(s)
– Una breve biografía (100 palabras como máximo) y una foto

La fecha límite para someter propuestas es el viernes, 12 de diciembre de 2014. Por favor, envíe todos los documentos por correo electrónico aconference@womenctx.org. Puede enviar su propuesta como un documento de Microsoft Word (.doc), Archivo PDF (.pdf) o archivo de texto (.rtf). Si prefiere el correo postal, favor enviarlo a la siguiente dirección: Centro Comunitario para las Mujeres en el Centro de Tejas, Atención: Conferencia, 1704 San Antonio St., Austin, TX 78701

Si tiene alguna pregunta, puede contactar a Andrea Zarate: andrea@womenctx.org

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Inspiration-Rosetta

Photo-European Space Agency

Photo-European Space Agency

I love space. I love Star Trek and the ideals of exploration. I love the whole idea that we can think up ways to get out and explore and then go do it and find meaning in our existence.

Rosetta is happening, landing on a comet. It’s happening live, now.

Watch here.

For the past 10 years, the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Rosetta spacecraft has been chasing a comet known (awkwardly) as 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. And it’s all come down to this – the day has finally come for it to send its lander probe, Philae, down to the surface in an attempt to become the first spacecraft to land on a comet.

In August this year, Rosetta finally caught up with and entered the orbit of the 4-km-wide space rock, which is on its way towards the Sun. Since then we’ve managed to learn a lot about the nature of comets, such as what they smell like (farts and horse pee) and how they respond as they warm up.

Fascinatingly, just yesterday Rosetta discovered that the comet is producing a mysterious, dolphin-like song produced “in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment,” as ESA’s Rosetta blog explains. The frequencies have been increased by a factor of around 10,000 so you can listen to the eerie track below.

But the biggest test comes today, when the ESA attempts to get Philae from the Rosetta craft onto the surface of the comet, a journey that will take around seven hours.

Philae will start its descent from Rosetta at 8pm AEST (9am GMT), and the expected landing time is around 3am AEST (4pm GMT). Because it takes around 30 minutes to up to an hour and a half for Philae to transmit information back to Rosetta, we won’t know if the landing has been successful until around 4.30am AEST (5.30pm GMT).

If Philae achieves its goal, it’ll stab harpoons into the surface of the comet to hold it into place and use its solar panel to recharge its battery. It’ll then start making observations about the comet and beaming them back to Rosetta, until March when the surface will likely become to hot for the lander to survive.

These observations could help us understand how Earth formed in the Solar System, as astrophysicist Stephen Hughes from Queensland University of Technology in Australia explains.

“In some ways, comets are like bricks left on a building site long after the building is completed. We have high hopes the Rosetta mission will allow scientists to ‘read’ one of these bricks to obtain information about the formation of the Earth,” said Hughes in a press release.

In particular, Philae will be analysing the type of water that makes up the comet, and testing whether it’s similar to Earth’s water. “This may indicate at least some of Earth’s water was supplied by comets in the early days of the solar system,” said Hughes.

The livestream above (you can also watch it here) has already started and will be continuing throughout the whole process, but you can see the full ESA program here.

Good luck, little lander, we’ll all be watching. But, most importantly, good luck to all the amazing scientists, engineers and support staff who have been involved in the mission so far. Let’s hope for more of these photos by the end of the day.

Now here’s some creepy comet music to keep you occupied while you’re watching the ESA researchers nervously await their fate.

I may not get to beam places and replicate food while on a space ship, but I do see that if we dream it, we can create it. So long as we don’t destroy ourselves here on Earth, perhaps we can rise above and connect with the Universe. I hope we do so with peace, love, and hope.

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Top Secret Rosies At The Women’s Community Center

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Join us at the Women’s Community Center for a special screening of Top Secret Rosies on Veteran’s Day, Nov.11, to celebrate some women that have been often overlooked.

Synopsis: In 1942 soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a secret military program was launched to recruit female mathematicians who would become human computers for the US military. Top Secret Rosies : The Female Computers of WWII shares a story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.

Watch the film trailer here

1704 San Antonio
Austin TX 78701

Free and open to the public
Free parking on street after 6pm
Free childcare provided

Snacks and drinks will be provided!

See you then!

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Darker Stories

flickr shotsatrandom

flickr shotsatrandom

Today there was a very good post in HuffPo about things not to say when someone has experienced a great loss. The article was specifically discussing death, because death loss has a very particular feeling and pain to it. Grief can be found in losing other things, most certainly, and it’s real, but this article really moved me because we, as a culture, don’t talk about death other than to cover it up.

The article lists things not to say, 8 of them, to someone experiencing deep grief such as

“1. “Cheer up. Your (loved one who died) wouldn’t want you to be sad.”
After my mom died, people told me that Mom would hate to see me carrying around such pain and that, to honor her memory, I should stop being sad. It’s true that I can’t think of a single time when my mom said to me, “I see that you’re super sad, and I think that’s awesome!”

Sure, Mom liked to see me happy, but for a period of time after she died, I simply couldn’t be happy. When you love deeply, you grieve deeply. Grievers need to be sad in order to get to the other side of grief.

2. “Focus on all the blessings in your life.”
While this message is optimistic and all, it’s not really what a grieving person wants to hear when his world has just been shattered. I mean, I get that it’s better to concentrate on the positive than the negative. Nevertheless, even if a griever appreciates the good things in his life, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s reeling from a monumental loss. Therefore, when someone is newly grieving, he likely won’t feel like yelling from the rooftop, “Hey, look at lucky me!”

(and my personal least favorite)

3. “She’s/he’s in a better place.”

I agree those things aren’t especially useful things to say, but then again, for some people they might be. More importantly, I think we need to consider WHY people say those things. My thought is its because we don’t know what to say instead, and we feel extremely nervous and vulnerable about saying anything at all. We create verbal rituals to pass the difficult moments, which often make the moments longer and harder. We create verbal rituals also to protect ourselves (magically) from death coming near us. Many of us are highly rational atheist types, but I see this kind of “Defense Against The Dark Arts” kind of magical thinking all the time. It shows up a lot in victim blaming, but also around difficult transitions like deaths, divorces, job loss, and illness.

Why not talk about death more and get used to sitting with people in their difficult emotions? It’s hard, I’ll say that. I’ve experienced how hard it is on both sides. I’ve lost a father early in life, several dear relatives in my teens, a boyfriend to suicide, and my mother over a long slow lingering battle with Alzheimer’s. I’ve not known how to share my stories and felt awkward when I did, like I was that weird kid at the party with TMI. I also was comforted in the weirdest of ways by people with good intentions but who didn’t help much.

Mostly, its simply that I wasn’t sure how to asked for what I really wanted that could help me, and others didn’t know how to offer. I’ve been on the other side of it too, saying the wrong things, being afraid to reach out (that magical thinking thing DON’T ATRRACT DEATH!) and been frustrated when nothing I could do could help (most scarring- with my own mother whose grief ran so deeply that I pretty much lost her for about 5 years).

Because of this, I think we should open up a conversation about it to make things easier. Want to talk about death, grief and grieving? I’d love to meet you for coffee or lunch. Have a story to tell about a loss? I’d love to read or hear it. There are several friends of mine who want to hear and share those stories too. I think they need to be told and that we can create a courageous space to share ALL of what they entail-from the sadness, to the absurd, to the (yes) humor that can attend death, and wild frightening moments of emotions that fill us up so much we can’t but pour them out in deep and powerful tears.

Let me know if you are interested. They may be darker stories, but the deserve, and I’d say demand, to be told.

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Welcome, Fall.

flickr jamesjordan
James Jordan Creative Commons

Song for Autumn
–Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

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