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ten days of falling

Holy cherry frosted poptarts, how is it always March in this magical city? I swear it was December like five minutes ago. Alas, the time is coming friends, for our dearly beloved annual smash and grab, the badge wielding corporate trash blanket we call SXSW. For the 30th year in a row, in fact. It’s our drunk uncle who just won’t die, but who also gives us lots of money because he is very rich and knows smart people. So every year, I end up writing something about how much I love this horrible, wonderful festival in spite of how much I also fear it. It’s like running an event laden booze-fueled marathon in day and night appropriate rock and roll outfits. As any still-SXSW-braving Austinite or longtime attendee knows, you have your good years and your bad years. Sometimes there’s a bit of both, but generally it’s either a shitshow of epic proportion or the best week of your life. SXSW does not take prisoners, it either rains down glory upon you or makes you wish you were dead. No amount of free food and booze can save you if it’s your turn for a stinker. You just hold on and put things in your face, remain upright and try not to die. If all else fails, get the fuck out and stay out. FOMO is not real and you’ll be better off. No one cares about Kanye West anymore anyway. The 5am hangar party out by the airport will never happen again. Your…

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impermanence

“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.” – David Foster Wallace When I was a girl, I remember this M&M’s commercial they’d play on Saturdays while I was watching  Punky Brewster and Smurfs cartoons and eating Mr. T cereal. It was always tweens hanging out at the mall, eating peanut M&M’s, laughing, flirting, not being at school, wearing lots of acid wash denim, being nonchalantly cool, and having the best goddamn time of their lives. At the mall. With no adults. Where boys and lip gloss could freely intermingle in the dark arcade. Where $5 could get me a slice of pizza and a tiny bag of glittery stickers and temporary tattoos. Where we’d be left alone for hours on end, because nothing bad ever happened back then. Now, when I get that giddy ‘something amazing is about to happen’ feeling, I sometimes remember that ‘almost summer, just any day now’ vibe I’d get the last few weeks of school when Mom would pick me and my friends up in the Jeep, having taken the top off and left the doors in the garage for the duration. There’s nothing more exciting to a ten-year-old just out the door of elementary school than riding around in a convertible, wearing a pink miniskirt, listening to Purple Rain so all your friends can bask in your exquisite coolness. My Jeep driving mom was cool. I was cool. My friends were cool. We cursed and called radio stations and listened to…

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colony collapse

Let go of the things that no longer serve you. This is my 2016 mantra. I run shit into the ground pretty hard, particularly things and people that turn out to be negative influences on me for a myriad of reasons. I just can’t fathom giving up sometimes until whatever it is has gone so far off the rails that it might as well be dead. I need it to be dead. I’m driven by hope and possibility and probably an unfailing, naive optimism that people are their highest selves inside somewhere, and that I have some magical power to bring that out in them. What a narcissist. Instead of being irritated at my natural compassion and huge threshold for pain, I try to frame my relentless exposure to patterns of self-sabotage as some kind of samsara of gaining knowledge and tools so I can climb higher. I choose to believe life gives me what I need to have, even if sometimes that’s painful. Seemingly pointlessly so. I value closure, resolution, and hard stops. Completion. I like things to be finished and know the whys and hows. I want a bow around it, and I want to know I did everything in my power to save it. I will analyze and turn things over in my mind until they are just abstract concepts, as if thinking obsessively could somehow will things into being as if by magic. I will stay awake at night trying to decipher someone’s cryptic motivation for…

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the man who fell to earth: a tribute to david bowie

The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1976 I’m sure everyone has reached Peak Bowie by now, but it took me some days to wrap myself around the idea that David Bowie is Dead. Like forever. Permanently. Being dead means he was a human, just like the rest of us. Not invincible. Not able to beat cancer or outlive us all and explode into a whole planet with giant rings the many colors of his Ziggy lightning bolt. He was so human, and yet death has proven him immortal just the same. There have been so many beautiful, heartbreaking, intimate things written about David Bowie over the last several days. Not only by artists, actors, musicians (Brian Eno’s is my favorite,) celebrities, and friends who knew him, but by so many people across my network of friends. It seems as though everyone had a special David Bowie shaped hole in their hearts that he filled up with his music and film and art and fashion. Each of us found him in a different space, a different life phase, and we each have our own unique Bowie experience. The genuine love and loss people have expressed makes me happy to be part of a music-centric community that loves and respects this artist, this legend, this alien chameleon. And more importantly, it makes me happy to be human and alive. In an age where the daily media onslaught feels toxic and dangerous, seeing the world come together to honor and mourn the loss…

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obligation zero

Alberto Oliveira “For fear you will be alone you do so many things that aren’t you at all.”  ― Richard Brautigan A year and four days ago, I found myself painfully hungover, stumbling through the aisles of Red’s Indoor Range, waiting for my turn to pick up a gun and shoot it into the dark metal ether. I’m sure there were targets. There were men. Men and tension. It was packed to the gills.   Guns. This is a great idea. Guns will make you feel better. Shooting guns will somehow make leaving the person you desperately loved stop hurting. Right? For fuck’s sake, try something new!  I stared at rows of men with three, four, five different kinds of guns each. Rifles. Handguns. Scary military tactical shit I don’t even know the names for. They owned these guns. They owned multiple, many, myriad guns. They had more guns at home. They wore gun guy clothes and had gun guy faces. They were happy and I was dead. If someone told me a year before that I’d spend my next New Year’s Day recovering from a sobbing whiskey bender in a gun range, I’d have laughed them out the door. Are you insane? Don’t be ridiculous. That would never happen. Not ever.  It occurred to me to retrace my steps. The irony of my being there was not lost on me, and I clearly didn’t belong. Hey everyone! Look! Liberal Feminist Nonbeliever in a Gun Shop! It was like that…

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solstice

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino I like to think I learn things, both through the experience, and then processing and writing about it later. This has been my tried and true method for years, so much so that when I decided to stop writing here, I felt like a vital part of me was just gone. Evaporated. Journaling just isn’t the same. There’s some kind of validation I get from confessing my flaws and my powers to the great information void, even in relative obscurity and anonymity. I need it, and I always come back here. It’s part of my being now. I don’t know if it will always be in this format, but for me, writing and music and wisdom come to me together in a unified trifecta. It was brought to my attention recently that I write about the same themes over and over. That maybe whatever I’m doing isn’t working. Is it really progress if I have to keep revisiting, rehashing, rediscovering the same lessons I should have learned already? Yeah. The thing about me is that I’m the tortoise. I’m the mountain climber and the mountains are endless. I climb and I fall off the side. I start over. Again. And again. And again. It takes years of practice to really make progress as an adult. As a human. I don’t just pay lip service to…

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in permanent ink

Heart of the Dragon: Socotra, Yemen 2010. Dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena cinnabar)‘Glimpsing the dragon’s blood trees that mantle the Haghier Mountains, one can imagine that this is what the world looked like millions of years ago. Living up to 500 years, these bizarre trees are unique to the island of Socotra. Growing in severe conditions, they have raised their branches upward over time in an effort to obtain moisture from the highland mists – hence the distinct appearance of their canopies, like an umbrella blown inside out. ‘  Round 1 After a couple years of imagining and fantasizing and planning, I finally sat down on Sunday with the brilliantly talented Rachel Kolar at True Blue Tattoo in Austin and got to work on my left arm sleeve. This is my second piece with Rachel, and after getting my right arm done in 2011, I knew I had found my artistic, inky siren. She has always been able to take my collage of images and concepts and ideas and hopes and turn them into something magical. She just gets me, and that is rare and amazing. Like most of my favorite things in life, my tattoo creation experiences are big, messy, beautiful, organic processes that take time, creativity, patience, and trust. They are the ultimate union of self love, communication, aftercare, and human connection. This piece is, for me, the pinnacle to end a year of recovery, rebirth, and finding my way back to honoring the highest and best in myself….

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give up the ghost

People always ask me if I have a favorite Radiohead song, and I usually say “Yes, all of them.” While that’s mostly true (I can’t pick one favorite, don’t be insane) I have a very serious, special soft spot for Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. This song. This song is everything. When I am sad or lonely or hopeless or depressed or despondent and shattered over something, someone, some loss or broken fantasy or dashed hope, this. When I’ve followed another phantom to the end of the Earth, when I fall off, this is what I listen to. This is how I get home. This song brings me back to myself. In the deepest ocean The bottom of the sea Your eyes They turn me Why should I stay here Why should I stay I’d be crazy not to follow Follow where you lead Your eyes They turn me Turn me on to phantoms I follow to the end of the Earth And fall off I’m struggling lately with things being thrilling and fast and exciting and happy and terrifying and overwhelming simultaneously. I suppose that’s the nature of change and growth. When the things you fear come to pass, then the fear is smaller and behind you and suddenly, eventually, it’s powerless and everything is different. Everything is okay, and it’s good. Somehow, after everything, I made it to the place I want to go, or I can see it, and I’m inside the gates. Life is manifesting the things and people…

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epically fuckable

Oh boy, y’all. Mama is riled up.  I have something to say about being the tortoise who works so hard to gain self acceptance and live in her own reality. Sometimes other people are casually cruel and mean and give you no credit because they only live in their shallow world of traditional, generic beauty. Sometimes, what you have done, what you are, your journey, is still not quite inside the borders of what society drills into us as acceptable and lovable and fuckable. Age and physical beauty are huge, dark hurdles women must come up against every day. We fight ourselves, the voices we have inside ourselves that say we aren’t good enough to be loved. The truth is that even if you get closer to “ideal”, when you are flying and feeling your highest, best self, someone will always try to knock you down. Someone will look at your heart and body and mind and only see the outside and find you squishy and soft and instead of knowing your strong, infinite softness is sexy and unlimited in it’s ability to receive care and give comfort and pleasure, he will find it off-putting and foreign and feel like he has an ownership of your self worth. He will offer to engage with you in spite of your deep, ancient beauty instead of because of it. And to this, we say no. NO. We, the soft, curvy, strong, voluptuous, Rubenesque-bodied goddesses, we epically fuckable women, decry your modern aversion…

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help me lose my mind

Humans have always sought out oblivion. We’re wired to push the limits, and then to pull back, to rest, to reflect, to restrain, to tune out. Even sleep is a result of that need, to function and process and then disintegrate into the ether of our subconscious dreams. Magic, ritual, and religion have been bound together by this primal urge since we began walking upright in the jungles and started trying out what nature had to offer. Psychotropic plants, for example. “This one made Mary see the heavens!” “Oh, this one killed Bill, better not.” You know, on repeat, for billions of years. It took our ancestral psychonauts a long time to get us here. Since the evolution of consciousness, of deliberate thought, of awareness of the self, we’ve sought ways and means to escape ourselves and turn it off. Religion itself seems to have sprung from this mystical desire to know the beginning and end of everything, while still simultaneously holding the ripcord, hand hovering on the escape hatch lever. We want in and we want out, always. We want there to be a reason for this life, for yours and mine, for all the lives, for this planet, this space, this time. For us. We want to know the why, and sometimes we can’t handle it. Sometimes the mundane, the repetition, the certain rush toward the inevitable end becomes too much. Ignorance IS bliss. What if there’s nothing else? What if there is? What if this is a…

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