HOW TO BE A TIDE: A MESSAGE FOR CANCER SEASON

In the thick of Cancer season’s deepest feels, spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx’s exclusive new poem, “How To Be A Tide,” reminds us that our most tempestuous emotions are our beautiful birthright …

How To Be A Tide is a poem about the movement and motion of being woman. It’s a dialogue about finding our most supreme beauty in that familiar expansion and contraction. About how much can be gained from seeing ourselves as individual waves in the ocean of sisterhood.

One great purpose of poetry is to turn familiar aches into unfamiliar blessings; to subvert moaning into marvelling. The instability of a hormonal body could drive a person mad if they’re pressurising themselves to maintain a static constant. So for me, as an incredibly tempestuous person, I traversed this tidal metaphor as a bid for freedom.

I’ve been philosophically exploring the nature of beauty for the past year or so – what it is, what it does and why that might be – writing out my revelations and dreams. This piece is about taking ownership of one’s own beauty. When you no longer have the resources to flow outwards, that means your beauty – enriched now – is coming back home to you. – Lisa Luxx 

How To Be A Tide will be published in Luxx’s upcoming collection Breastmilk Martini, which is out later this year with New River Press.

VOICE OF EARTH: A MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx, has a powerful message for International Women’s Day. Voice of Earth is a poem about sisterhood, mother nature and the history of womankind. Written at a Sisters of the Wild gathering.

COMFORTABLY NUMB: AN AMNESTY ON COOL

Enough with the hiding your real self behind your artfully composed selfies. It’s time to call an amnesty on cool, says Comfortably Numb columnist Kate Atkinson.

 

I want to declare an amnesty on modern cool – realizing this is one of the most uncool statements I could write, and more than aware that several people will probably be cringing reading this. If you are, call me anti-millennial and grind away. But if you’d have hoped we’d left it behind in high school, it seems like “cool” is an extremely contagious epidemic no thanks to the digital revolution.

What exactly is cool anyway? It’s an intangible phenomena that you can’t really touch, a state of being that defines the way you walk and talk, what you wear, the music you listen to, where you’re eating, and whether something is on trend – that is, worthy of likes on Instagram. It’s visceral. You can just feel it. And when it comes to true self-expression, I have to say, the modern version is a straight-jacket.

I also want to preface this story with the fact that while, yes, I do have tattoos, by no means am I an expert on cool. I was on the debating team at school – enough said. But I have got up close and personal enough with this insidious contagion to know how it works, and the more I examine its motives, it’s beginning to feel like cool is the root of an identity crisis that’s plaguing our generation.

A girlfriend put it perfectly when I asked what it means to be cool: “it’s the desire to be accepted, the need for validation, the urge to seem radical, despite longing to fit in.” And so it goes. Oh, the dichotomy of being human. Our narcissistic tendencies AND our insecurities are fuelled by cool, especially at a time when platforms for inclusion and exclusion are at an all time high.

Are you aspiring to be an “influencer?” This breed is all about being seen and accepted, “liked” on the interweb. For them, Instagram is basically a digi-friendly version of the high school cheerleading team. Things are sold to us now by “seeding” them with cool people. Brands, celebrities, and destinations are made by their manufactured “cool factor.” What I want to know is, what happened to under-the-radar cool of yesteryear?

In his 2013 book “The Cool School”Glenn O’Brien talks about the new tastemakers. But his cool  “squad” were, put simply, incredibly creative weirdos. Homeless Jazz beatniks, bohos and roaming beat poets. Anyone who made people uncomfortable basically. Something tells me that they wouldn’t be invited to Kim and Kanye’s dinner party.

We live in an age of such style over substance that it’s incredibly hard to rage against the machine and do your own thing. In fact, a study commissioned by smartphone maker HTC late last year revealed that 52% of the approximately 1000 Brits surveyed admitted to posting images of possessions and items with an intention of making their “friends” jealous. What the hey?

Wasn’t this cool thing supposed to be people going against the grain? Rather than just sticking up photo-shopped images captioned: “I ate, I pooped, I wore Celine!” Now pardon my French, but WTF? If this isn’t numbing what’s going on in our down and dirty daily human reality, I don’t know what is.

Because cool these days is about hiding the “sad” half of your life and projecting the best bits. Ambivalence is also key – pretending not to care, even (especially) if you do. Which is basically saying to your soul that your true hopes and aspirations count for nothing unless they fit with whatever’s trending this month. And yet, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character puts it in cult classic Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

A moment please to consider this: when the cool castles in the sky come crashing down around you and you’re left with the reality of your life, who out of your carefully curated online “tribe” will actually be there to help cushion the fall? Because what you’re really doing when you shield the real you with a glossy veneer of cool, is construct a bulletproof force field that deflects true intimacy.

So beside a total social media detox and cancelling our memberships to Soho House, how can we wake up from this aspirational bullshit existence that we’re creating for ourselves? By taking the time to get conscious to how we while away our days, and creating meaning in every interaction. By walking our talk, with our roots firmly entrenched in reality.

It sounds so obvious, but social media is the great distractor when it comes to following your own expressive intuition….and it’s there for seeking approval when you do actually create something. The old greats weren’t preoccupied with showcasing their creativity, they just did it.

It’s a mythic delusion and a safety net to communicate and earn accolades in this way – as well as a way to mask what’s actually going on. Surely giving away change on the subway is also worth a few “likes” – so why aren’t we posting on Instagram about that? “Saw a nice guy dish out change today on the subway – what a dude!” Shouldn’t he be the real “influencer?”

These stories DO come up on social media – and when they do it’s meaningful, the positive slant on modern technology. But too often, they’re engulfed in a stream of exclusivity: “I ate this, my bae wears that” – with resulting countless digital high fives and @s to follow.

I know my feed rarely delves beyond the aesthetics. And yes, fashion week happens, and friends stay in epic mansions. There are days at the beach with the clearest water ever. Again, I am not counting myself out of ANY of this malarchy, I am as partial to a well-posed selfie as the rest of us. But the lack of reality is what’s wrong with this whole picture, and it’s beginning to be all I can see.

Can’t somebody invent “Unstagram” for the days you’re feeling a bit off? For when you get dumped, you spent the last two days in tracksuit from Target, or you have an embarrassing medical problem?

Because you know what’s really cool? Being real. Not some projection of me me, me, me, I’m so fabulous, watch me eat, watch me sleep! Watch me break my arm! Look at me tagging historical references to show how tapped in and culturally aware I am.

Are we really this dumb? Is there no end to our ridiculous need for validation? This is the worst kind of cool that there is, and what’s more, this culture of exclusion is not social by any means. It’s actually scientifically proven to be making people chronically depressed.

So in a recent discussion with a friend on a rather significant life choice that involved making a potentially un-cool move, when she advised me to: “Fuck cool” – I decided I whole-heartedly concur.

NOT by Ernest Hemmingway

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the color of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided that you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.

TURNED ON: “TAKE A LOVER WHO LOOKS AT YOU LIKE MAYBE YOU ARE MAGIC”

“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic” – Ellie Burrows is inspired by the classic line behind our most popular Instagram post to date…. Portrait: Mikal Marie Photography

“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic…”

This quote is often incorrectly attributed to Frida Khalo, but it’s actually a line from a poem called Frida Khalo to Marty McConnell by Marty McConnell. I guess I can sort of see how that would be confusing. You can watch McConnell perform it beautifully here, and if you’re really listening it becomes clear this poem is a reflection on a break up, rather than an ode to mystical love.

But no matter who said it, taken out of context this line never ceases to inspire those who read it. It pushes our internal heart button and causes us to double-tap the external one too – there are thousands of likes associated with it across Instagramland, the Tumblrverse and the Twittersphere.

Magic…

One meaning of the word is “inexplicable things” and that’s the definition I want to focus on. But first, I need to clear a bit of smoke from the air, and throw out some mirrors.

Let’s pause for a throwback: When I was growing up and would get into trouble for hanging out with the fast crowd, my mother would say to me “you’re judged by the company you keep.” And although 15-year-old Ellie would call me a sellout for saying this, my mother was totally right.

So hey Magic, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you have to stop hanging out with the word “trick.”

I can’t tell you how many people I know who are seeking meaningful relationships via suspect means. All around me I see people trying to conjure love, undoubtedly what feels like a rather tricky business of late. In the contemporary dating world, some of the newest tricks in the book are actually very old tricks called “illusions.”

She gives him the impression that she’s fine with an open relationship in order to make him stay.

He creates a mirage of interest and strings her along because it makes him feel less lonely while he gets all those oats out of his system.

And my favorite – she doesn’t respond to a text message right away because then it appears like she’s busy and indifferent. (The latter we call playing hard to get. Since playing is the operative word, it would indicate that she is just pretending and is in fact, easy to get. Just saying.)

The Magician card from the Star Child Tarot

While these tricks can deliver results, they actually involve zero magic. And they don’t usually add up to anything meaningful.

Friends, your act isn’t working. It is time to drop the top hat and the rabbit. If you are an adult and seriously looking for love, then why are you choosing to forget that tricks are for kids?

I’d like you to consider that the illusions listed above have nothing to do with magic. Instead, they involve another M word: manipulation. Definition: “control or falsification.” And when you think about it, a stage magician is really more of a master manipulator. He is highly skilled at fooling you, but no – that woman didn’t actually get sawed in half.

But a true magician? Well, that’s something else entirely…

According to the Tarot, the Magician, #1 in the Major Arcana, is considered the bridge between the spiritual and the material. With his right hand pointing a staff toward the sky and his left bringing our attention the ground, he can channel the power of the Universe and bring it into the physical plane.

You can see it on the table next to him, which holds all four suits of the Tarot (Pentacles, Wands, Cups, Swords), each of which corresponds to one of the four elements of the ancient alchemists (Earth, Fire, Water and Air). These symbolize the proper use of mind, heart, body and soul in the process of manifestation.

A real magician is not an illusionist, but a creator. This card is all about the best use of our highest self, turning ideas into actions with the power to make a difference in our own lives. This card begs questions like “Am I using my powers for good or evil?” and “Am I tapping into my fullest potential?”

The Magician from the Spirit Speak Tarot

We are the magicians responsible for taking our abstract, sometimes inexplicable, feelings and bringing them through to the material plane. This is unbelievably challenging, since it requires the full engagement of physical form to lay our souls’ desires on the proverbial table.

When I’m building a relationship, I can feel my entire system using its “powers” to do so. My mind must ground the fears of judgment, rejection, and loneliness. My heart must glow with unconditional self-love, trust, and honesty. My body must swim against the current of its biological predisposition to fight or fly in the face of vulnerability in order to genuinely communicate my wants and needs.

We are all magicians who must work daily to create clear unobstructed pathways within ourselves in order to travel more freely in the confusing world around us. We are the magicians who must understand that our internal worlds are so complicated that we must endeavor to create external simplicity wherever we can.

But if instead we focus on crafting trap doors and smoke screens that are just there for effect, then authentic relationships and clear outcomes will be center stage when it comes time for the disappearing act.

So if what you’re looking for is, in fact, a real relationship, leave your bags of tricks at home. Instead, put something like the following on the table next to your drinks:

“I am going to be super natural with you.”
“I am looking for something serious.”
“I am looking for love.”

Because then you would be the fucking unicorn of the dating world, and then I guarantee your lover will look at you like maybe you are magic.