Design Refresh, Authenticity, and Activism

I’ve been wanting to do a refresh on this site for a long time – and today is the day I picked a new design and went for it. This is small in the scope of everything going on in the world right now. But I think it’s pertinent because this is a symbolic step that shows that I’m meaning to show up more in alignment with who I truly am instead of hiding large parts of myself away. I’m still working on unraveling that and showing myself more and more online and in the world. Why is this important? Because when we show up authentically as ourselves, we are better able to serve the world.

At the end of 2018, I became heavily involved in animal rights activism, and within a year that involvement had tapered off. I lost the momentum while repeatedly confronting the horrific truths of the animal agriculture industry, seeing it firsthand and documenting it. I was posting a lot of photos on Instagram from vigils and other animal rights events like street activism and education. It got really heavy when I didn’t see a translation from the work I was doing. It felt so futile at times.

I lost myself in others and what I thought they thought of me. I got lost in feeling unheard – even though I felt I was putting in so much work to educate people about my cause. I was criticized for going too hard and being too involved. I started stumbling and my identity shrunk under the words of an ex partner who could not accept that I was still the same person he’d met – passionate and forever lit up by expressing my voice for the voiceless animals abused in the agriculture business.

I became quiet. Now I had some unwelcome voices in my head telling me I was too loud, too much. Now, come 2020 and the rise of Black Lives Matter, I feel a different type of relationship to my involvement with activism. First, I felt that I should stop referring to myself as an “animal rights activist” and now refer myself to simply “activist” because I see how civil justice for Black lives in intricately and irrefutably intertwined with my fight as an animal rights activist.

I would not be an animal rights activist without being an advocate for Black lives. Those two cannot fight for one while largely ignoring the other. So I am simply an activist. Once I started activism in 2018, I knew there would never be an end to it, even if there were times where I drifted away from organizations and went solo for a while. I spent my break from organizations to have one-on-one conversations with different people in my life. Activism is an integral part of who I am and who I’m becoming.

As for COVID, this time alone has been difficult and eye-opening and wholly necessary for me. I’m going through my Saturn Return and its coinciding with social isolation is cataclysmic. I feel the importance of what is happening, on a personal level and on a societal level. On a personal level, I am working daily with the Tarot, which I got very seriously involved with several months before isolation started. I’d worked with it prior, but this time, I felt a special affinity to it. In isolation, I’ve drawn and worked with the cards daily. I’ve been doing a lot of research as well, from watching readings nearly compulsively to reading lengthly narrative descriptions of the cards in various books. Basically, I’m obsessed.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through this medium – and am using other tools in conjunctions. I’m also journaling every day about mundane occurrences as well as tracking my dreams. I’ve been having very vivid, lifelike dreams. So vivid that I sometimes have to corroborate in waking life whether something has or has not happened. I’m using my dreams as messages for themes I need to further explore in my waking life. But there’s a lot to learn on that front because of the complexities of the places, people, and events I explore in my dream state.

I feel awakened to some unidentifiable strength within me that’s really wanting to do something more tangible in the world of Tarot and alternative healing. The only thing stopping me is feeling that impending doom I can’t shake. I have a very familiar deep within that tells me nothing ever happens in my life – nothing ever changes. It makes me feel very invisible. It makes me feel like nobody can hear me and that I’m speaking into a void. Accompanying that – these feelings make me feel that my activism makes no impact. There’s still a call to show up regardless. But the idea is that if I am able to further develop and employ my strengths beyond the enclosure of my apartment walls, I would be able to make a bigger impact.

I see it as mission critical to develop and expose my authentic self in order to break beyond my apartment walls. Without the whole of me, my involvement is not lackluster, but hazy sometimes. It can be a shot in the dark, and seem unsubstantiated with a directed and purposeful intention. Basically, I am saying that I believe those who come to movements in their direct capacity of talents and groomed skills make a considerably more intentful and holistic impact on the cause they are fighting for.

I’d Be Woman and I’d Be Free

I walked outside on cemented sidewalks, cracked and directive. I walked down streets lined tightly with buildings, metal fences, and defensive closures. I came to the park and led my feet through the grass where there were walkways to otherwise take. 

I listened to the same sound of my feet coming to the ground again and again. I thought if I let go, I might fall. If I let go of the things in my mind, they might all come tumbling down and be soaked up into the earth. And then I might be free. 

I thought if I let go, it’s disintegrate and sink right into the earth, and I’d be comfortable there. But when I cling to those thoughts, I have my identity. I have my wounded heart. And if I let go, I don’t know who I’d be. The earth is more than willing to take those thoughts. It pleads. I walk and the trees around me whisper for me to give them attention, and to release. 

I, undignified, hold the hurt. When the earth comes to me, as she does more and more frequently, she soothes me and tells me that she knows I have suffered. She sends me poetry through words so vivid that I write them into existence. She sends me written messages and funny little coincidences. She sends me numbers and overwhelming impressions that it’s all going to be okay. 

But I resist and I keep all of those thoughts within me, and they make me sick. They make my body weak and my mind foggy. They set me into trance and prevent me from using the creativity inside of me. When the earth comes, she magnifies the parts of me that I want to let out. 

I’m the woman who wants to run through the woods in the daytime and dark. I’m the woman who wants to breathe wild literature into existence. I’m the woman who wants to speak the absolute, moving, changeable truths I feel moving in my rib cage. I’m the woman who wants to build, with my hands and with my heart. I’m the woman who wants to breathe flames and pour coins and move water. I’m the woman who wants to breathe into the mind of my other. 

I walked outside on cemented sidewalks, and they told me where to walk, where to stop, where to refrain from stepping foot. They told me, “this is the way everyone else will walk too.” I walked down streets tightly lined with owned spaces, feeling the restriction of fences and walls integrating into my own body. There, in the park, I kept my thoughts and didn’t let them go. Without them, I’d be woman and I’d be free.