Years ago someone once asked me if I was “a hippy or a punk?”. The way that someone might ask you if you prefer cheese or chocolate? I pondered it over sensing that there was something much deeper underlying the question than I fully understood at the time. You see I had fantasies of being a hippy but my lived reality was very far from sunflowers and flares. What was even more terrifying was that as History of Modern Art graduate was that I wasn’t to sure exactly what was meant by the question and realised I might have missed something big in my understanding of the two movements.
You see I’d never given the punk movement much attention. It wasn’t pretty it didn’t make me feel good and although I love the Sex Pistols and everything they stood for I wasn’t ready to own that level of explosive dissent. All that rage was ugly. Why can’t it all be the higher ideals of love, peace and non-violence? I’m a libra. I answered the question. “I’m a hippy.” I was met with “Kimberley you are so a punk.” and just like that the reality of my own self-perception was thrown out the window and turned upside down by a rather impressive activist who had been collaborating with Platform for a while. Maybe this could be pinpointed as where my shadow work began. Then it was explained to me that in essence I was willing to take imperfect action and I wasn’t into spiritual bypassing (before that was a thing). To be clear at that point the cultural movement that I belonged to didn’t have a name yet. We were the generation that wished that we “were punk rockers with flowers in our hair, we were born too late to a world that doesn’t care.” We were proto hipsters searching for authenticity, meaning and belonging in a very fake world (‘they’ even monetised that). Apathy was the word of the decade after the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq War where 100,000 people marched for a cause and a call that has never been answered. Tony Blair and George W. Bush are war criminals in case you didn’t get the memo. There’s no justice for the powerful (take note). President Trump at least was only intent on radicalising his own country. Trump and Boris are the just desserts of any person not engaged in the political capital of there own community. So there it is.
I was and am somebody willing to take imperfect action, get pissed off and get involved. It was always clear to me that there was no other path other than social responsibility. You see ever since I can remember we’ve (that’s society) have been fucking up people, families, communities and the environment at a staggering rate. It was and is shocking. Yet nobody cared. That was the way of it. That was progress. Our parents were more concerned about fitting in with a society that was destroying itself than taking action for the natural world we clearly belonged in. The parables were endless and yet still progress pushed on. For those of us who chose to sit on the sidelines, disengaged from the destruction it was agonising, exhausting often excruciating to witness. The self-destruction that emerged through political engagement was tangible. To be an activist was to be poor, disenfranchised, marked out and criminalised. The ongoing critique of our approaches was endless. With more people questioning why you would choose your own personal annihilation over doing the right thing…?
There were so many causes to fight for, so much to say. There wasn’t enough time. We just had to do the best we could with the resources we had and the odds stacked endlessly against us. There’s a reason why Greta Thunberg became the activist of this generation. A child all alone. All we could do is what we could, and what we can without the slick resources of the greenwashing and societal gaslighting that we still didn’t have a word for yet. Anxiety paralysis came to rule as we balanced self-care with what is now termed eco-anxiety. In the end, for me it became a choice between the subtle art of inaction and the ability to authentically produce. If I waited until it was perfect, if I waited until it was ready to be accepted by the establishment, it would never be ready and neither would I. I had to be willing to take my rage to the world if a little sanitised. I needed somewhere to take my unresolvable feelings blog writing became that place. It became my safe place to figure out me and the world simultaneously. I’m on year thirteen of this journey. Still very few are reading cause I’m not presenting it in a way that’s easy to digest that doesn’t fit into a highly curated mould for easy consumption. It’s deliberate. It’s here to highlight your prejudices. It’s here to make you think about what’s acceptable behaviour. It’s here to get you to think differently.
I’ve had too many conversations about. If you just tweaked this. Or if you just did that. Meanwhile, I am actually trained in curation. You see it goes beyond slick marketing and getting the message out, these blog posts are an artistic creation. I’m questioning the system not answering to it. I’m anti-aesthetic for a reason. These are messy for a reason. What I have to say is of value no matter how it is presented, like the homeless person, the black women, the guy with the speech impediment, the dyslexic writer. Fuck you and your judgement. Fuck the system. Do you know why? All previous perceptions are leading to our extinction. Time to get down with your shadow self people. Remember the only people who are upholding the system are the ones who benefit from it.
So if you want to know why these blog posts are messy, unedited it’s because I made a choice to get started with a punk attitude and hippy ideals.
Today I was offered a breakthrough moment of how to create context by Thrive With Me who wanted to collaborate rather than control… and inspired this whole blog post by asking me to provide a little context. I hope you enjoyed this unexpected sidenote.
* This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.