Keeping the Magic Alive
words Staley Stidham and Jenna Lewis
THE AUDRE LORDE QUESTIONNAIRE TO ONESELF
1. What are the words you do not have yet? [Or, “for what do you not have words, yet?”]
2. What do you need to say? [List as many things as necessary]
3. What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will
sicken and die of them, still in silence? [List as many as necessary today. Then write a new list
tomorrow. And the day after. ]
4. If we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language, ask yourself:
“What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” [So, answer this today. And everyday.]
Can you NOT EVEN with this imperialist capitalist, racist, sexist, trans-phobic, queer-hating hegemony machine that is slowly, but surely, draining everybody of their humanity, keeping people in poverty, disregarding all forms of life, and killing those deemed unworthy? Is the world making you tired of the world? Same, but we’ve all got to wake up and be someone. If you want the world to be filled with compassion, free of judgment, and mimic the way an ABBA song makes you feel, you have to begin with the way you treat yourself.
1. Appreciate the present.
Are you able to find some amount of joy? Half the time, when people talk about gratitude, it makes us want to ram our heads into the wall, but it’s necessary. The world is filled with hilarious and sacred moments and, just as it’s important to recognize the bad, it’s important to recognize the good. Acknowledge lightness in the world and that it’s worth fighting for. Living in scarcity will make you feel scared and like there isn’t enough. Pay attention to the small, lovely moments the world provides and use them as padding for the torrential bullshit.
2. Take care of number one (that’s you).
Are your basic needs getting met? Are you eating food that nourishes you? Are you eating anything other than bagels? What you put in your body has a direct link to how you feel. Make a habit of eating something that nourishes you at the same time every day. Are you getting good, quality sleep consistently throughout the week? Sure, you can go without adequate sleep, but it will eventually catch up with you. Your mind and body need time to rest, regenerate, and clear out all the junk from the day. Are you getting at least thirty minutes of sunshine and fresh air a day? What’s the quickest way to feel like you’re in a Beach Boys’ music video? Sunshine, baby. Getting out of the house and into nature on a regular basis is good for every part of you (and, so is realizing you’re cooler than any and all of the Beach Boys. We love the sun and hate the Beach Boys).
There isn’t anything wrong with loving technology; we want to be Edward Snowden as much as the next confused libertarian. But, with everything being so fast paced and instant, we need to make the time to slow down. Invest in your real life a little each day by putting away your phone and computer. No taking those gadgets into your sleep den. Find ways to disengage with the world, to relax in a way that doesn’t make you dependent on a distraction.
4. Find your people.
In real life, on the screen, everyone needs to be understood. Being a lone wolf only sounds cool to people who have internalized shame. It’s not shameful to feel things, nor is it shameful to need people. Find and cultivate your pack. Take time to feel understood, laugh, or vent, whether that means interacting with actual humans, dogs, podcasts, or books.
5. Don’t hang out with assholes/don’t take shit.
Social niceties are overrated. I wouldn’t lie to you— it’s bad for your health to be fake nice to those guys who talk over you, say “all lives matter,” or generally excuse ignorant behavior. It doesn’t mean you have to scream “fuck you” every time you see them (I’ll do it for you) but don’t feel obligated to stay in uncomfortable situations in an effort to avoid being labeled a “bitch.”