Facing Extinction: A Few Thoughts on Collapse

I posted the above link on Facebook to start a conversation among my online friends about the realest shit ever: the fact that we're living through broad-scale and irreversible collapse. 

It's a rough but necessary read, please titrate according to your own nervous system.

I'm honestly not sure what other conversation we should even be having at this point. So I'm having it where I feel safe enough and brave enough to do so. Like with you, here on Patreon. Thanks for being here. 

I understand this material can be super triggering and I'm here to remind you that consent is ongoing and pledging to my Patreon is wonderful only if it works for both of us. Please take care of yourself <3

So here is what I wrote in a response to a question posed in the above-referenced thread.

The question was:

"What are you doing? Is the conversation you’re wanting to have a group one? How are you navigating the devastation of this?"

<breathing deeply>

So, for me, I’ve first had to come to grips with the fact that apocalypse (meaning things being uncovered, not just “end of the world”) has already occurred for many indigenous peoples and other folks whose worlds were ended by those with power. This is ongoing and is not a thing of the past. The world has also ended for a staggering number of non-human people due to human power dynamics too. So that’s a kind of foundational piece for me.

And so collapse isn’t coming, it’s already happened; it is here. Get used to words like "inland sea." We are on the top rung of a ladder as cultural apex predators in an empire in decline, the lower rungs are on fire and are giving out one by one and most of us kind of register the jolt as a bit of a startling hiccup and think that we can just build new rungs through Green New Deals or “sustainability/efficiency” initiatives to climb back to where we were as a way of staying where we are at the top.

I don’t think it’s fixable for a ton of reasons in large part because if there is profit to be made tomorrow, nothing will change today. We could stop all emissions this second and the glaciers are still going to be gone. Gone in our lifetimes. You can’t have a habitable biosphere without glaciers. I do not think this process will be reversed by technology, prayer, celebrities, aliens or anything individuals do, and certainly not by governments or nation-states. 

I do believe each of us are needed in this specific time and we should proceed as if that were true. I don’t believe that any human being is disposable. I think it’s time to really know what your medicine is for this time and bring your life into more alignment with what that might be. 

<one deep breath> <another>

I don’t find most social justice discourse, especially online, to be useful anymore. I don’t find online woke-tivism to be anything I’m interested in. The far right offers belonging, myth, a sense of united purpose (while also being very collapse-aware and prepping for that) and are right this second very effectively fortifying and concentrating their efforts while over here on the left we’re focused on dragging Kylie Jenner on Instagram for wearing box braids. 

Like:::: every “accountability” call-out I’ve ever read has been on a device made under slave conditions by people of color using materials utterly toxic to the ecosystems/communities exposed to them (which are conveniently nowhere near me). So in this way, I’m finding dominant social justice discourse to not be collapse-informed at all. I have a lot of thoughts about this but honestly I feel a lot of fear in my body when I think about sharing it here. 

It looks to be entirely possible to get all your behaviors and words “correct” under ever-changing yet rigid academic social justice language orthodoxies and still be very much BOUGHT IN and BODILY MAPPED ON to toxic systems that are destroying the planet and each other.

Honestly? I glean more insight from the hours I spend in a double-wide trailer way out on SE Stark with a dying white dude who says he only voted for Tr*mp because Bernie didn’t run. It’s more of an education around race, class and empire than any hashtag campaign could ever approach.

Our culture tries to prolong life at all costs and this is what I believe we are asked not to do in this time. Bezos and Musk be damned.

So for me, I’m becoming a real student of sorrow and belonging and what it means to die well, to die among those with whom I might not agree, in ways I might not prefer, to die in a time and in a culture that is dying precisely because it is so death-phobic. Studying death and becoming grief-literate is something I think we’re all being called to do (so much death is both here and headed our way) and as an artist, this poses particular challenges.

As an artist with a public persona and a “following”, it’s even weirder, gotta say. I don’t want to pretend that added dimension isn’t there -- and I’ve retreated from sharing much in the last couple years as I am afraid of being dragged or shunned and am not sure my voice needs to be anywhere near the forefront of anything. Also I am a voice and words witch; I struggle with where to put them, and this discernment I have come to understand is what real priestessing looks like. 

This material can make a person suicidal and I actually don’t have as much mental health resilience as my online persona projects and I don’t really trust online relationships to be true community. I fucking don’t. My true community will come dig me out of the rubble when The Big One hits. You know? Like that.

And so I hesitate to have this conversation here where we can’t look in each other’s eyes and read body language so we can co-regulate through it together. But fuck me, I need to have it wherever I can get it.

What I’m pretty sure we don’t need is more traumatized and freaking-the-fuck-out white people running around urgently trying to “DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT” so I’m very interested in generative somatics, cultural somatics, and looking at how diverse traumas are at the root of all oppressions. Reading everything about #polyvagaltheory, attachment, and accountability processes that actually do the work of repair

<breathing> <sensing hands and feet>

<sensing tight chest, breathing space around it, activating lower abdomen energy>

<standing up, s t r e t c h >

I am really focused on the radical togetherness, like how I might approach my ex-Marine firefighter neighbor who may not vote the way I do in sharing the fig tree between our yards. 

I do a lot of magical practices that are secret. Magic being the mythic entanglement of meaning and matter. 

[Yesterday I made beads out of clay and heirloom mustard seeds and tears.]

I cry a lot. Like, a LOT a lot. I can cry at will. I claim it as a superpower and not a liability. I vow to never weaponize it. I believe there is a difference between real grief and feckless mewling and it has to do with the WE over the ME.

I still recycle and sort my trash and limit single use plastics and carry a metal straw in my purse not out of smug purity or belief that my individual choices make a difference but because this is how I pray. 

Most of what I do is unlearning and remembering.

I use a lot of practices from Path Of Devotion with Jen Lemen. It speaks to the need for regulation even across space and time on the internet. We have a daily practice. 10/10 do recommend if you need to be held and not coddled. 

I surround myself with people who know who I am, who know what I would put my very body on the line for, who actually communicate and won’t shun me when we disagree or have conflict and who don’t bring transactional or hierarchical energy into our friendship. 

I choose communities that share money and resources and systems that are mapped on the more-than-human world which includes the very real world-behind-the-world that is mythic, magical, and fed by death.

The antidote to rage is awe. 

The activism that calls to me now is one of both immediate local community resilience but also of time-travel and non-linearity into the deep ancestral future. I understand the skills we must cultivate now in ourselves and in our children may not find purchase in our lifetimes or even in theirs. The influence on me of the scholarship of indigenous and black women cannot be overstated and people like Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Walidah Imarisha are outlining ways of understanding that all activism is science fiction because it plans for a world we don’t have yet. 

I live in the tension between asking, will this action materially benefit anyone in my community who could use it *today*? And, will it benefit the future generation 100 years from now (who are likely going to be living as they did hundreds of years ago)?

What might post-collapse art look like? What does collapse-informed entrepreneurship look like? What would my life look like if I were less dependent on things like the state and capitalism and machines?

I refuse to regard myself as a machine and I don’t use phrases like “wired for xyz” or “programmed” or “getting downloads” and I resist mechanistic metaphors when speaking about people or other animals and I resist and interrogate practices that turn people into machines which actually requires I have a class-analysis as well as a fundamentally biological mytho-poetic ontology. 

I fucking refuse to hate my body. Someone is profiting from that emotion, and no one has ever hated themselves into being free. And so:::: orgasms. Super important.

I don’t want to speak or teach alone anymore. I would like to gather with others who are drawn down by the reality of our collective situation and would like to grieve it magically-materially-somatically but with sheet masks, better jokes and less loopy prose from charismatic patriarchs. 

In general, I limit my exposure to the imaginations of white men in power and what those visions are for our future. We already live in their world of shitty ideas. NEXT.

I refuse to refuse the joy that is my birthright for being the embodiment of all the freedom my own ancestors wished for me in a time they knew it would not occur. That time is now. My healing goes forwards and backwards in time. God is change and I keep it movin’.

I’m working on growing food and medicine and gathering seeds in the form of actual seeds but also songs and crafts and breadmaking and rituals, on mapping myself onto biostructures designed to hold me and unhooking from cultural constructs that I did not create and cannot fix alone.

The alone part is the most important part here, I think. We need to locate our security not in the state or in increasing our purchase power so that we may better defend ourselves against our enemies or at least outperform them in the marketplace. I think our security is in each other and how we stay with the trouble, together.

But mostly, I don’t pretend that this isn’t what’s happening and that the stakes aren’t this high. Because it is and they are.

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