I sometimes feel like being an artist is quite frightening (when I’m not worried it’s totally indulgent) for so many reasons, especially as it’s something that I didn’t ever decide, but was rather heaved upon my shoulders by the world, held together with wax, and without my prior consultation wholly commanded my life and thrust me, in spite of any better judgement and without support, violently into the sun.
I need to find a way that I can live into what is being asked of me as an artist living in these times, and so very soon I’m going to deactivate this account.
So I have a proposal for you:::::
But first, a quick recap:
I suck at capitalism, THE END. THANKS FOR COMING OUT, PLEASE TIP YOUR BARTENDERS!!!
No but like, my professional life has been a succession of public school teaching jobs, non-profit work, and waitressing. I made art in the margins, with little shows here and there, mostly benefit auctions. Plenty of bar gigs, playing the other kind of music most people don’t like.
It seemed for a while, after I moved to Portland, that I could earn a living by finding a niche in the new-age spiritual solopreneurship online biz world but what made me the most money was always correlated with more exploitation: of other cultures, of overseas manufacturing labor, of my own labor, of zombie ideas like “sustainable business.”
I’ve been getting in trouble (albeit in relative safety) for running my mouth for a minute now, but once I really started asking why #blacklivesmatter wasn’t being put at the forefront of the work of white online personalities ostensibly dedicated to the path of liberation and personal development, I started losing followers, friends, opportunities. Bigtime.
The resolute unwillingness of my white colleagues and friends to even discuss, much less take any meaningful action on, racial justice beyond a spiritual bypassing framework was staggering.
I was sofa king naive.
And blowing whistles around personality cults that traffic in light supremacy is also not great for business, apparently?
Then we (white women) tipped the election, Nazis started marching freely in our streets and I just about lost my mind. I mean it’s around here somewhere, I just saw it *flips over couch cushion*
Online radical social justice culture becomes a circular firing squad at the Woker-Than-Thou-Ball and no one is spared. Everyone is trash, there is no elder wisdom to guide us; punitive, not restorative, “justice” prevails. Everyone is harmed and no one learns a thing.
“Intersectional” becomes a trendy adjective rather than a framework for understanding matrices of oppression affecting black women. “Identity Politics” are decried by people who have never even heard of the Combahee River Collective.
More mass shootings, floods, fires, White House fuckery. The deaths of several heroes, personal and famous.
More business as usual.
Over and over.
AT THE SAME TIME:::: Brilliance, insight, and awakening from so many. Renewed civic engagement. Public displays of grief and affection. Organizing, radical togetherness, soul-searching. More visibility for marginalized folks. White people reckoning with their Whiteness. Resiliency, survival, an unflinching gaze. Resistance. Humor. And building anew. #MagicalRadical. So many gifts. “It could be like this.”
Read the rest of my Facebook farewell letter and find out what is next for me right here.