I finally sent of an email asking for money, affirmation and support from friends and supporters and posted it to this website on May Day of all days. It was actually really nerve racking to send it out. I had written the post over two months ago, before there was a pandemic, with the support of a few friends. But I couldn’t make myself send it. As time went on, it felt like a worse and worse time. Asking for community support to do…whatever I wanted…seems strange, out of touch and self-centered in a way. At the same time, this particular crisis is only highlighting the problems with our current way of operating. Doing things for money just isn’t going to cut it any longer.
I have to say it already feels pretty liberating. Even though I don’t have enough money coming in to meet all my expenses, I do have a couple that is supporting me with $2K a month! which is pretty extraordinary. Having two other patrons on my patreon really makes me feel like I am not alone walking this path. It frees me up to really listen to heart and to spirit and decide what to do next. It feels like everything I do, from cleaning the house to listening to my partner is part of what I’m on earth to do…to just be.
I’ve really held in my heart the quote form Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs in her short story “Evidence” of “life isn’t easy but its life all the time…” That for me, sums up this new path that I am on. It is part of rejecting the idea of work. The idea that there is some meaningful separation between the reproductive work of keeping myself alive and healthy, the subsistence work of cooking and cleaning, the “productive work” out in the world and my leisure time. I have been profoundly affected by the arguments of Maria Mies in “Patriarchy and Accumulation on the World Scale” that such of divide naturalizes subsidence work as “not real work.” Yet that reproduction and subsidence work, that is mainly done by women, femmes and children, is the most crucial because it literally reproduces humans and keeps us alive.
Mies challenges us to rethink work around these feminist lines. What if the work of cooking and cleaning wasn’t drudgery? What it is was purposeful and communal and joy filled? What if there was no distinction between leisure, production and subsistence? How might my “hobbies” be rethought as meaningful for my life and my community? How might I stop connecting my worth to my “marketable skills” and reorient my time towards being and loving and giving care to those around me?
Already it has created a marked change in my relationship with my partner Sandra. In addition to getting off facebook (which was a total game changer btw) moving away from work-life balance towards what we might call a feminist praxis of community supported labor has really allowed me to more present to myself and my partner. To feel that time was infinite and not something to be tracked and invested in. It was really done wonderful things for the quality of our relating. It has also allowed me to have much more generosity of spirit in my engagements with other people.
Ironically, being supported to just be has led to an explosion of thinking, writing and doing over the past month. I am currently working on new personal website, finishing the first draft of my first book! working on launching a new religious community with some dear friends on mine and working on a comic based on what this community might look like 400 years from now! Its actually kinda crazy how much more productive I have been when I am not forced to be; when my ability to eat and move through the world is not predicated on it.
So, thank you all (both of you!) for being willing to accompany me on this journey! I really can’t say how much better and more in alignment with myself I feel walking down this particular road.
In love and solidarity,
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