“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison
We woke up on January 1st of this year in a group embrace. Wiping the crusties from our eyes, trying to figure out if we were still high from the night before’s cannasexual cuddle puddle, we began to prepare brunch for the guests that stayed the night. I had poster boards, boxes of magazines, paint and other art mediums for us to get into our vision boards, while we waited for the weed to fizzle out of our systems and start 2020. We were so full of hope and love that morning, and our vision boards are clearly reflections of that, not rooted in any reality we would soon face.
2020 is hell.
In just a few short weeks the world around us grinded to a slow, infectious halt. Those sexy vision boards made excellent kindle and even calendars at this point seem challenging to navigate. There was a sweet spot though. In the midst of a global pandemic, capitalism — as we knew it — dried up. Overpriced marketers of capitalistic dreams where shuttered. Racially profiling boutiques and shitty restaurants closed, gentrification slowed down to a near halt, and all the places we went to show off the things we acquired to show we were doing ‘ok’ in a system that hates us, well — they all went away.
It felt a lot like freedom.
I wore the same 3 dresses for what felt like months. Landlords became human. Companies forgave late payments. Social engagements were no longer obligations. I even wrestled with my own self-imposed burdens to perform and be productive, and realized how strange it felt to be free of them. Freedom feels strange when you’ve grown comfortable in bondage.
Capitalism is a giant though, and sleeping giants don’t rest too long. As red states rushed to open up, many of us with ties to these states looked around and (even if silently) thought ‘yeah, let’s get back to normal,’ all too excited to rebind ourselves to the chains of profit and the American dream of economic freedom.
“I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves” — Unknown
Now we are rushing back to spend time with unworthy consumers of our energy, because that was our normal. Mediocre restaurants, feeding us over-priced and ill-prepared, counterfeit food are packed again, as we are excited to pay someone less than they deserve to serve us. We can’t wait to uphold capitalism, and we have our role we play and that doesn’t align us with goals of freedom. We tasted it, but it was boring. We missed the people we disaffectionately referred to as friends after learning that we didn’t necessarily enjoy the pleasure of our own company.
We unwillingly sat with our emotions while reminiscing of a time when we could mask them in loud bars and unfulfilling sexual experiences, anxiously awaiting dick and pussy appointments to be a thing again. We will never truly admit that we really don’t like the person we keep fucking, but need human contact and don’t make enough to afford a sex worker (plus, our “role” places us above them too.) I have never thought about what it would look like for slaves rushing back to the plantation because the freedom was hard, but none of this shit was on my vision board. I am guessing it wasn’t on yours either.
The fires are late.
I imagine the world is going to continue to burn for a few years now, after being pulled back from the brutality of capitalism and then sling shot right back into the places we held, still under the thumb of the oppressor, still under the sweating body of patriarchy, still in the beds of the lovers we are unable to love. We are here, pleading with our oppressor, looking for revolution outside of ourselves.
It’s hard to burn down the massa’s house when we are so comfortably living in it. It’s hard to destroy patriarchy when we are happily upholding it, grateful for the little comforts it allows.
‘Wifey material’ is a mask we wear. The ‘capitalist’ and ‘submissive woman’ are simply roles we play. Intuition is our sense and yet we are thriving in the act of not knowing.
We know. Perhaps our bodies aren’t allowing us to experience all of the pleasure we deserve, because we have given up our ability to feel in order to fit the mask we feel more comfortable in.
Give yourself permission to be free of the obligation of appealing to others. Remove the mask. Drop the role.
Your pleasure matters,