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Becoming the person
I am
was so painful it almost killed me.
But I would not
trade this
for anyth
ing

William C Hannan

Manifesto (manəˈfestō)

a public declaration of policy and aims

ONE – I BELIEVE…

I don’t believe the arc of the universe bends towards justice. I don’t even believe in an arc. I believe in chaos. I believe powerful people who think they can make Utopia out of chaos should be watched closely. I don’t know that it all ends badly. But I think it probably does.

Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Myth of Western Civilization
  • it’s hypocritical of me to say that my life didn’t out like I planned when I never had a plan at all.
  • good character is more desirable than a great personality.
  • I can’t tell you what to do.
  • being miserable sometimes needs a medical intervention to survive.
  • sometimes the answer to being organized is to have less stuff.
  • you will stay married if the two of you are just too tired to fight and too lazy to start dating again.
  • most people are good but they get hidden by the sheer awfulness of the minority.

Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go around looking for it, and I think it can be poisonous. I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, ‘Please — a little less love, and a little more common decency’.

Kurt Vonnegut – Slapstick or Lonesome No More!
  • common decency is what holds me to keep my commitments and honour my obligations and makes me want to be a better person.
  • the reason I write is so someone will read it.
  • the idea that equality, physical health, mental well-being, and not being a dick to others is not a political stance.
  • questioning another human being’s right to exist is not a political opinion.
  • that evil is banal a lot of the time.
  • very strongly in what I believe and literally have no opinion on things other people are hugely passionate about.
  • chasing happiness is Hell. Hell isn’t a place, it’s the act of seeking something that doesn’t exist.
  • there is no divine plan, no great cosmic joke and that the universe is “chaotic neutral” at best.
  • in good government.
  • happiness is a temporary event, not a perpetual state of being to aspire to.

I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

Crash Davis – Bull Durham

TWO – I WANT…

I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss-you can’t do it alone.

John Cheever
  • breakthroughs and change.
  • to be the person who starts again.
  • to keep going.
  • to learn more complex crochet and how to embroider.
  • experiences.

We are as a culture moving on to a future with more people and more voices and more possibilities. Some people are being left behind, not because the future is intolerant of them but because they are intolerant of this future.

Rebecca Solnit
  • to see the world and do all the things.
  • to stay in bed and watch all the Netflix.
  • to be independent but not embarrassed about my cane and my future walker.
  • to make life less shit. (Thanks, Pat Burtscher!)

Luckily for art, life is difficult, hard to understand, useless, and mysterious.

Grace Paley
  • to talk about the things that are killing us.
  • to start uncomfortable conversations with the comfortable.
  • to chill and talk about stuff I love.
  • work I can be proud of.
  • to be ethical in all my my dealings; work, professional, personal, in passing or in relationships.
  • to finish what I start, starting now.
  • to be part of conversations I’m not a part of and may have a place in.
  • contentment, peace-of-mind, a lack of anxiety, and a general state of calm.
  • to help elect women to higher and higher offices.

I’m not looking for forgiveness. And I’m way past asking for permission.

Steve Rogers/Captain America/Nomad – Avengers: Infinity War
  • to never leave the city.
  • to win the lottery, but I never remember to buy tickets.
  • to tell a bunch of that I love them without that sounding crazy. But I’m not allowed because you’re only allowed to have one love forever. At best, you’re only allowed to have one love at a time.
  • to spend some time cleaning my house.
  • to spend some time thinking about the future
  • to create Epic Shit. I want to write more than anything.

And when my prayers to God were met with indifference
I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance

Hurricane – Hamilton: An American Musical
  • to spend all the time and money I can afford with my friends.
  • to take a vacation with my spouse that doesn’t require one of us to spend time with their in-laws.
  • to know if my life is worth saving. As a woman who has Opinions on the Internet, I suspect more than a few people will tell me to kill myself before the calendar year is over. I’m fairly well-medicated at this point and I have great friends and a loving spouse who will support me in not being suicidal.
  • to read books, listen to music, to watch movies, to suck in all the ideas and knowledge, to listen to podcasts, to make playlists of music I love, to read magazines, to watch TV shows, read good journalism, go to galleries, makeup counters, museums, fashion shows, watch good stand-up comedy, and to share all this stuff. These are the words I wrote, these are the books I read. This is the art I made. These are the films I watched, the TV shows I binged, the podcasts I wrote, the music that moved me, the places I went. These are the people I met. This is the story of how all of this helped save my life. This is what I want to do.
  • to fail as me, not trying to be someone or something I am not.

THREE – THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE

Embrace your differences and the qualities about you that you think are weird. Eventually, they’re going to be the only things separating you from everyone else.

Sebastian Stan
  • Ideas are worthless on their own. Ideas require inspiration.
  • I get inspiration from people, other writers, art galleries, books, museum, the internet, and other things I have grown to love.
  • Inspiration makes me put one foot in front of the other until the thing is created.
  • Inspiration says “no” to The Cockblocker of Dreams. Fear is the cockblocker of dreams.
  • Most days, I would rather sit here and listen to dead 90s rock stars bleed out of my speakers than do anything at all.
  • I can’t be afraid of the shitty first draft.
  • I swear a lot. I love the world fuck.
  • I’m lazy but also tired.
  • I love all kinds of music except New Country, Norwegian death metal and there’s some new hip hop and noise/industrial I can’t fucking stand.
  • My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
  • Life is too long to not waste time.

#TeamCap forever.

  • I still love people who don’t love me and they never loved me.
  • I try to be at least non-traditional if I can’t get all the way to subversive.
  • I rarely finish what I start.
  • I wish I could take naps without it fucking up my sleep at night.
  • I’m the only person who cares about what I do, and I don’t care often enough.
  • I will read any book with the word “Manifesto” in the title.
  • I don’t do anything like I’m running out of time. I do everything like I’m going to live forever and will have plenty of time for all that shit later.
  • My primary motivation for staying alive is living to see “Avengers: Endgame” at the end of April. I will update this with a new reason for living, if I find one after that.
  • Taking care of my skin is important to me.
  • For a couple of hours every month I forget I have MS.
  • I sometimes trust people I shouldn’t.
  • Perfection is the voice of the oppressor.
  • When I lose my way, I resort to making lists.
  • I hate when people refer to the shit they love as “guilty pleasure.” Like what you like.
  • I’m going to write about some shit that makes grownups really uncomfortable.
  • For no apparent reason, with no prompting and completely at random, the opening riff of Crazy Train will just show up in my brain.
  • Some of my relationships and attachments I thought were obligations are actually optional.
  • People don’t learn from the mistakes of others. They learn when they make their own mistakes enough times. They learn when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
  • Change is painful, especially when fought.
  • I don’t have to live my life as other people expect me to.
  • I’m still learning how to stop wishing to be the person I used to be before I life changed me. I want to let go of the life I thought I was going to have.
  • When I do what I’ve always done, I get what I’ve always gotten.
  • Trust and believe that everything is possible, but most things aren’t probable.

Thinking we can somehow intellectualize our way into best practices and strategies for ally-ship, without being present and uncomfortable, is indicative of how we white folks often think we know what’s best for people of color, despite having no firsthand experience facing racial, state-sanctioned oppression ourselves.

Matt McGorry
  • I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.
  • The longer I live the fewer things I want to own.
  • I stay up late and sleep in when ever I can, but maintaining a regular sleep schedule of sleeping and rising will helps me maintain my sanity.
  • When I find something I like, I do it again. When I find something I don’t like, I’ll sometimes do it again just to make sure. For science.
  • Creation needs organization. I need to get everything I need to start together before I can start. I need to make sure I have the resources to see it through to the end.
  • Listening has done more for my self-esteem, work, knowledge base and general abilities to get through the day than talking ever has.
  • Going on “Artist’s Dates” or “field trips” is good for my soul. If I had a soul.
  • I love my spouse but I hate and/or distrust most men. Miss me with your #NotAllMen bullshit. I am not here for it.
  • I’ll never be as amazing as those I wish to be like, but maybe where I end up will be good in a different way.
  • A great idea will haunt you and not let you forget about it. The Muse will scream the idea in your ear, plant it in your dreams, and nightmares, and it will keep you awake all day, itching to make it.
  • I don’t write fiction because I can’t tell you how someone who is not me feels. I hate ascribing emotions, motivations and mental illness to anyone other than myself. And I can barely do that to myself.
  • There is no such thing as “your permanent record”. Unless it’s a prison record.
  • Spending the night in the drunk tank should literally be a sobering experience.
  • Make sure your foundation matches your skin tone. Too much glitter in your lip gloss will show up in your poo.
  • Making a glitter poo is one of my life’s biggest achievements.
  • Hair experiments are awesome. It grows back. Adults can have a job with blue, purple or fire engine red hair.
  • Don’t ever be talked into inking a lover’s name on your skin. If it’s worth commemorating find a symbol that can easily be explained as something other than a relationship that’s over.
  • You’ll only use geometry in the future if you decide to shoot pool a lot. You probably won’t shoot pool a lot in the future, remembering how to bisect an angle will come in handy when you do.
  • Don’t change for anyone who wants you to be less than what you are. Do change when something isn’t working for you anymore.
  • If they’re just not that into you, let them go. Just… don’t even bother. Just let’em go. Try to maintain some of your fucking dignity.
  • You don’t have to have babies if you don’t want to. You don’t have to consider partners who want children for long-term pair-bonding.
  • You don’t have to buy a house. You don’t have to get a drivers license. You don’t have to stay in one place. You don’t have to get married. You don’t have to stay married if you do. You don’t have to learn how to cook.
  • Learning to clean up after yourself is important.
  • Monogamy isn’t the gold standard of all relationships. Trust, mutual respect, and commitment to whatever your joint venture is ranks far higher than monogamy.
  • That said, just because you like someone, love someone, and want to be with someone doesn’t mean anything should be done about it. Love can be no big deal. Love, a lot of the time should be no big deal.
  • After age 30 you won’t remember 90% of what you were worried about when you were 14 or 20 or 25.
  • Tequila shots at 1 a.m. are never a good idea. Jaeger and Fireball shots at anytime are a bad idea.
  • Trips to the ATM after midnight and before dawn are a sign I’m up to no good.
  • You can’t run away from yourself. Make sure to find a safe place to figure out who you are when you do run away.
  • The question isn’t really, “should I stay or should I go?” The question is more often, “is the status quo more important than my wellbeing?”
  • Two and a half pots of coffee, 15 cups, a day will do crazy things to your heart and fuck up your skin. Drink some fucking water once in a while.
  • The best I’m able to hope for sometimes is “good enough” or more likely “good enough, for now.”

***

Everything I’m doing right now is because of Roxane Gay, Alana Massey, Stacey Lehane, Ijeoma Oluo, Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, and Betty White. These women give me life. When I feel sad or without hope I read their words, I watch their interviews, and I love them harder.

This is for David Eric Grohl. This is my attempt to “incite a riot, or an emotion, or start a revolution, or save someone’s life.” Thank you for being you.

Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.

Stephen King

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