Breathe. Hydrate. Look at kittens. Do you need to laugh today?
The most radical humans I look up to keep encouraging slowness, pleasure, connection to the earth and ourselves and each other.
-The holiness of ritual. Of gathering in song with like-minded souls, of a morning routine, of a tarot card pulled. How can we better look after our spirits, so that we are more whole for the fight?
-Insistence on aliveness and not just survival, not simply limping from one angry direct action to another, but asking: how does your body feel? How much more alive might we feel if we simply started noticing the answer to that question more often?
-The expansion of unlearning. Of fitting new information inside your body. The expansion of “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” Expanding to hold new truths while also learning, when appropriate, to take up less space. Becoming bigger and yet more right-sized.
-The release of shame, the shame that fuels white supremacy and misogyny because we’re so afraid of not being one of the “good ones.” The release of tension from my body because if I’m anxious all day I’ll just stay in lizard-brain survival mode. The release of old stories.
-I’M FUCKING WORTH IT. I am worth cleaning my room for. I am worth making healthy food for. I am worth saving money for. I’ve known for years that burnout isn’t romantic, at least intellectually, but I’ve told myself the story for years that refusing to show up for myself is creative genius or inevitable or a cute quirk. It isn’t. And I am noticing more and more that the folks I look up to the most, the most world-changing radical queer leaders, have radiant boundaries and deep deep care for themselves.
The Chrysalis is all about the raw tenderness, the small victories, the itchiness both literal and metaphysical (scratching my arms is how I've dealt with my anxiety since childhood). It's not just about my anxiety, but I also can't extricate my anxiety from it.
Through all these gorgeous/sometimes exhausting experiences, I feel my capacity expanding, a hair's breadth at a time. Every day it becomes just a tiny bit easier to breathe; every day, I feel the walls inch out just a tiny bit, and the room gets a little bigger.
That is what it means to me to be in my Chrysalis. Claiming my metamorphosis, heartbreak by heartbreak, victory by victory. And even (especially) when it's painful, I am going to celebrate the fuck out of being in this gooey, potent stage.
So often I hear “getting a massage” as an example of self-care. Which is kind of ludicrous, because, um, someone else is giving you the massage. Yes, it is an act of kindness toward yourself to book and purchase that massage, but the fact that we define “someone else performing a service for you” as “self-care” just shows how out of control our culture of “bootstrapping” and rugged individualism has gotten. It erases the service provider entirely, and allows us to think of ourselves as self-sufficient when, in fact, we are interdependent.
"It is a privilege to be a being in a constant state of change."
This is a missive I received from my shoulders.
My own coach, Orion, has gotten me in the habit of checking in with individual parts of my body. How are you, shoulders? What do you need? Is there anything you wish to tell me?
When I checked in with my shoulders, I heard those words: It is a privilege to be a being in a constant state of change. It felt like a prophecy.
You know that you love your breasts but wish they were optional. And honestly, if they were optional, probably most days you wouldn’t put them on. But you have a feeling you won’t like binders; you don’t even like wearing a bra.
You know that you fantasize all the time about having a penis but that you love having a vagina.
You know the word “woman” feels weird as hell to you lately - not because it doesn’t feel accurate, but because you have finally acknowledged what you’ve been hearing for years: that when cisgender white women say “woman,” they mostly mean “a cisgender white woman.” It makes you cringe to see the word “woman” on your own website.
You also know that you don’t really know what a woman is. A woman, of course, is someone who identifies as female, but what the fuck is female?
You know that you identify with the word “femme.” It feels friendlier, more queer, more open.
You know that the year you were pregnant, you felt unequivocally like the most Woman of Woman, like an earth mother sex goddess fertility force field - but that was six years ago.
You know that as pronouns go, “she” feels fine, but “they” feels like an orgasm rainbow ride to the moon.
You know that you feel more at home with nonbinary people than in a room full of cisgender women.
You know that you have no desire to take testosterone on a regular basis, though if someone offered you some, you wouldn’t say no.
There will be times when you dance and you feel so fucking free or sexy or beautiful or just like you’re nailing it. There will be times when you don’t feel anything. All of this is ok.
You dance differently on video. You will spend the month trying to capture the freedom and unfiltered joy you feel when you dance alone or on a dance floor, and sometimes succeeding, but mostly doing battle with the Self Consciousness Demons. This battle is good for you; those demons spend a lot of time in the background and this battle makes them explicit. Stare them in the face. Talk to them.
You will sometimes do many many takes because you don’t like anything your body is doing. Through watching these many takes, you will learn more about the way your body moves than 31 years living in it has taught you. The more you watch these takes, the more you like what you see.
These teenagers give no fucks. Like, absolutely zero fucks. They do not care if they cry or scream or vomit on television. They do not care if they piss off the NRA or the President of the United States; in fact, they want to. They do not care if they have the grown-ups' approval for what they need to say.
And, at the same time, they give ALL of the fucks. In fact, giving all the fucks is their superpower.
My 41-year-old self is HOT. She has a few more wrinkles than me but basically the same haircut. More tattoos. An eyebrow ring.
She has wings. Actual wings. Big purple ones. And she flies me up into the sky, and we look down at the world together.
And then she writes me a letter. She tells me that my pain will make me bigger. She sings me that John Grant song, “Glacier.”
She tells me that with each successive loss, I will have more to lose - a deeper, increasingly hard-won sense of self each time. And she tells me that this sense of self is what will get me through that loss.
You show the fuck up for me. Always. Without exception. Even when you do something that frustrates me or makes me feel out of control, it’s always, always because you’re trying to tell me something. You show the fuck up for me 100% of the time.
And I know I don’t always show up for you, and I’m sorry.