Don’t take your clothes off just yet, it was a metaphor. Deep and heavy sigh. Y’all. I never say y’all unless I mean business. I haven’t written in awhile. It’s because I’ve been busy smacking my head into walls repeatedly to knock some of the disappointment out so I could understand life a little bit better. It’s not really working and I have a headache. I’m trying to figure out how life became so censored in some areas.
I’ve been talking about sex in bars a lot lately. No, literally, every time I sit to a meal or drinks with people lately the topic of sex comes up. I’m starting to think that with a bar at our bellies we subconsciously enter some feast room where we left our censors at the door. Or maybe I just bring that out in people, which makes me sincerely wonder when did that happen? So, belly up to the bar, I suppose. This is a stripped down tale about the life of advocacy, i.e. exactly where I am currently.
I currently sit cross-legged on a cushion, tethered to my computer. My coffee and feet are as cold as the room I stubbornly refuse to heat, but the light in here is perfect. I ponder the ways today that I can return to myself and regain the spark of creativity amidst the struggle of this work I chose. It’s not the daily grind one assumes from my late-twenties. As if banging my head into walls isn’t a clear indicator, it often appears that I’m struggling to find my way, especially when I can’t pride myself on articulating fully what my days consist of entirely. It’s a fluctuating mess to me. But it is somehow whole and full all the same I guess, because other people seem to make it make perfect sense. It’s completely unglamorous, which is different from the high intrigue of being overseas or traveling. It’s different here. And while I like & engage in fun and glamour, I recognize the need for the removal of the glamorization of these roles the women I advocate for fill and thus would like to call for the stripping of our censored perceptions of reality. Things in life are really hard, good things are hard, and bad things are hard to fathom, but it all exists together. We feel what we feel when we feel it and allow it to alter us for good and bad. GoodBadHappySadFeelings…what am I even talking about? I know, I get it.
My “Lenten journey” this year was to stop or start doing something that would actually affect my life. Full disclosure, I decided to stop complaining and then kind of forgot about it for most of the 40-day period. I’m nothing if not self-controlled…or was that sarcastic…I always confuse the two, clearly. The fact of the matter is, I volunteer most of my hours as an advocate for the anti-trafficking movement and it’s like crazy sad and depressing sometimes. I recently subscribed to like 10 different emergency travel and adorable animal Twitter feeds just to cope. Some days I want to cry or hug people I trust. Some days, as of late, I just want to rage and hate everyone. Let’s call it, hope-raging, because that part makes it sounds really cute and positive. Really it is me waving my hands around in peoples faces incredulously whilst complaining about the state of the world and how to better it. I’m sure it’s scary to the untrained eye.
Y’all…see, I’m doing it again with the y’all thing. I am coming to terms with this being a state of grief and having grace in that part of my process. For real, I am. I am proud to say that currently, for the most part, I am able to even discuss the subject without flail-arms jabbing someone in the eye or shouting so the whole bar hears me yell things like, “STRIP CLUB” and “SEX SLAVE” and then awkwardly realizing I am totally not talking about some new Britney Spears or Rhianna video. Seriously, it gets awkward and then even more awkward when people clearly realize that I do not give any form of elaborate expletive that it is awkward because we need to just grow up already.
I know, that’s just the hope-rage talking.
Honestly, most days I want to sit in a bar (or a car, or a train, or a plane…) and not talk about sex, or better yet talk about sex in a more exciting way than I do. And how did this happen that somewhere along the line I became the person people come to in discussion and new understanding of exploitation. Maybe because I don’t guilt or sugar coat. Maybe because someone is finally talking about it and getting real. And I’m not the only one talking, thank God!
But since I am one of the one’s talking, I strip it all down for them. I unglamorously rant about how God actually needs to be taken out of the perfect equations people build as safety nets to keep arms length with people who suffer. If I give you some Jesus-schpiel, then it’s all on him and not me building a messy friendship…and I’d love to talk more on that later since I can almost see everyone actively scratching their heads in confusion post seemingly a-typical response.
Seriously. How did this place happen? You know, the place where I moved to a city I now love but previously vehemently opposed returning to, after so much adventure, just to sit and ponder the atrocities of life in a city (and largely a country) that is partially clueless and careless about it. That sounds harsh, but prove it isn’t true. It just happened, I started saying stuff, and things started happening, and I started it with talking and now things are moving. Nowadays, I go to assist an event and end up part of a documentary. I am interviewed about the subject for a local paper. We (the local task force) are developing curriculum to bring awareness to teachers and schools. My life largely looks absurd, untamed, and illegitimate. It’s got nothing at all to do with me. I don’t think I’m changing much, but maybe that’s not true. I have no degree that makes me worthy of advocating, and while I personally seek God it really has nothing to do with it because I choose of my own will to do this and choose love and others choose to stay silent. It appears that you can love God and do nothing, and conversely you can truly struggle with or oppose God and do a lot of good and make real change. If it’s ineffective and in the name of Jesus, does it somehow make it better than non-faith based loving change-makers? These are the conversations the bar and table bring. Naked and honest.
I don’t understand it all, and I guess I just trudge onward hope-raging and watch the journey evolve. Maybe you will join me in a hope-rage at a bar over a hipster drink some time, or invite me away into something glamorous, or simply read about this crazy from a safe distance. You are invited, you know, to this wall/bar/table with me, or whatever.
My whole-hearted guess is that it’s stripped down naked conversations about sex, exploitation, and hope that will actually be what begin to change the world.
Thanks For Listening,