Creating and Forcing: Reflecting on MAKE

For me, MAKING is all about creating. Perhaps this is due to countless hours in my adolescence singing at the top of my lungs along to the RENT soundtrack. So when we pulled MAKE this week, I had one single association:

“The opposite of war isn’t peace… it’s creation.”
~Jonathan Larson

This week I set the goal to produce as many tangible objects as possible. Oddly, most of that turned out to be food or beverage related. (not complaining, it was delicious)

Every meal home-cooked. The only thing purchased out was a jumbo cup of coffee after a rough work meeting.

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eggs, homecooked pinto beans, mushrooms, kale, green onions

Craft booze — I finished both a pear and a pineapple vodka, started a Kahlua whiskey. Plus! I also received a package of home brew from a friend; a glorious taste of home and of love. Sometimes our VOW shows up in completely unexpected and delightful ways.

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pears, vodka, sugar, cinnamon = AMAZING

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my vintage inspired bar cart

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taste of home from one of my besties — thanks Nate!

I made  a second attempt at my own mozzarella cheese… which became overheated and therfore too lumpy to stretch. So I added some herbs and EVOO to create a kickass ricotta spread. Then I whipped up a batch of my favorite Peruvian yellow pepper sauce which I was introduced to last June at another good friend’s wedding. I pretty much bathed the below charcuterie board in this stuff, it’s that amazing.

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attempted simple mozzarella, created fancy ricotta. Fuck ups FTW!

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for the next two weeks I’ll put this on literally everything I ingest

Not pictured are the multiple artworks I created and immediately threw out. An exercise I developed for a in-home-meditation weekend last November, I treat these paintings like art therapy. The idea isn’t to make a masterpiece, and by promising myself from the get-go that their final destination is the garbage curbs all pressure for perfectionism.  It’s just me, my white noise app playing quietly in the background, and the simple act of expressing paint to paper. One piece was a world map which I watercolored over — populations united in beautiful chaos. Another, this quote by Martin Luther King Jr in honor of his day:

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“make a career of humanity. commit yourself to the struggle for equal rights.”

Like every other week so far this year, politics have weighed heavy on my heart. I skipped Obama’s farewell address because I couldn’t emotionally handle it. I didn’t watch the inauguration either; instead, I flipped through pictures of  now-Former President Obama and cried buckets of unexpected tears at the closing of this chapter.

I never expected that a politician would make me cry this hard. I didn’t think it was possible to miss someone I’ve never met this much.  I wrote these words in my journal and read them over and over. I was surprised Barak ended up meaning so much to me. Because I do have great love for him, I respect him, I am so thankful for who he is as a man and what he helped our country become.

Conversely, Trump leaves me both heartbroken and angry — I simultaneously want to destroy and to rise up. The weight of the fear I feel, as well as the utter disgust for that man’s character, has zapped me of vigor. My body literally feels slower; my mind darker. Everything just feels gloomier, harder to pass through.

MLK Jr’s words, along with the aforementioned lyrics, resonated throughout my mind all of Saturday morning. It’d been a long couple days already — Friday and Saturday I attended Mental Health First Aid certification. We talked about trauma. Depression. Substance abuse. Suicide. Adding Trump to that equation, my heart and mind felt as heavy as the topics we’d been covering. Class got out in time for me to attend the Women’s March at Kelly Ingram Park, across the street from the Civil Rights Institute and the (tragically) historic 16th St Baptist Church.

To be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was join a huge crowd — all by myself and sans social buffer — to hold up signs for a protest I wasn’t sure what the end goal was for.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe in what the Women’s March stood for. Quite the contrary. I work in social justice. My very job is to eradicate sex- and gender-based discrimination from occurring in my community. But as I lay on my chaise debating whether I should participate, I thought about the Civil Rights marches and Vietnam War protests during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Those marches sought a specific outcome — to end segregation and war. The Women’s March, to me, seemed like a protest created because we all hate Donald Trump. But what did this picketing actually hope to accomplish? The Senate and House wouldn’t impeach him. All the bullshit Cabinet members will still be appointed. He’s still a cruel bully and bigot.

So what was the point? The point was to join the whole world and shout NOT MY PRESIDENT. This man is DANGEROUS. This is a mistake America will regret. As it turns out, in the end I couldn’t allow those words go unspoken. That, and the fear of regret, MADE me go. Because I needed to show up for social justice, goddammit.

I didn’t take pictures of the March. I wanted to EMBRACE the moment. I also didn’t want a slew of pictures on social media to demonstrate my dedication to the cause… because in that moment I didn’t feel so dedicated. Mostly I felt depleted and resigned.I didn’t want to misrepresent my life to acquaintances through social media (a promise I’ve made to myself this year which I’m sure I’ll address in a future post).

Ultimately, going was the correct decision. Seeing images from around the world of other protesters, I feel connected. And even though I spoke to no one else in the masses, I didn’t feel isolated. It’s a funny thing, how love can buzz around like that, uniting us with transparent ropes. When we chanted “black lives mattered” my voice broke and tears sprang to my eyes (so much crying this weekend); I’d never said those words with others, our voices echoing on the churches and skyscrapers around us. Strong, those words. Powerful. Committing and creating a future of equality.

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#lovetrumpshate

So this week I learned that sometimes our first insticts with a word aren’t going to be the way it shows up during the week. Sometimes MAKING isn’t about creating something with my hands; it’s creating something stronger with my words. And sometimes the best decisions of our week are the ones we MAKE ourselves MAKE.


Lin’s VOW mantra: Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.

Lin’s Song of the Week: La Vie Boheme by Jonathan Larson RENT


Be sure to read up on Steph’s post about #VOWmake


And now we WITHDRAW

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