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Audrey Rose
Aug 09, 2020
In UPCOMING EVENTS
Hello! Come and join me for a little family hike and adventure in English around one of the étangs de la minière! We will meet at 9 in the parking, walk around one of the lakes and finish with a small picnic at the picnic tables before returning to the parking. This is a very kid-friendly event! Please bring the whole family and know that we will walk slow to accomodate kids of all ages. We will speak exclusively in English! Bring water and a packed lunch for the picnic. No food will be provided. Suggested donation for the organization and English speaking : 5 euros per person. https://www.meetup.com/Montigny-le-Bretonneux-Creative-Kids-Families/events/272442834/ Bonjour! Venez me rejoindre pour une petite randonnée et aventure en famille (entièrement en anglais!) autour d'un des étangs de la minière. Nous nous retrouvons à 9h dans le parking, nous allons faire un tour d'un des étangs et terminer sur un espace pique-nique avant de retourner au parking. Cet évènement est approprié pour toute la famille, surtout des enfants de toutes âges! Nous allons marcher lentement pour accommoder tout le monde. Nous allons parler uniquement en anglais! Et si vous êtes sages, nous apprenons une chanson de randonnée pour les enfants en anglais! S'il vous plaît, amenez de l'eau et emportez votre déjeuner si vous restez pour le pique-nique. Aucun repas sera fournis. La donation suggérée pour l'organisation et le partage d'anglais: 5 euros par personne. https://www.meetup.com/Montigny-le-Bretonneux-Creative-Kids-Families/events/272442834/
English speaking Family Hike at les étangs de la minière! content media
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Audrey Rose
Oct 05, 2019
In Community Blog
If you still follow the news (I mostly quit 3 years ago, but somehow some things are impossible to miss), or watch documentaries, or inform yourself otherwise about humanity, you may be feeling a bit like me: hopeless, lost, scared, confused, and even angry. And then, like me, you may run into someone who tells you that getting angry is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Something which in a moment of extreme anger feels totally true. So then - looking at all the selfish, self-serving decisions of some of our fellow humans, conveniently those with money (read: with power), how do you manage to continue to love humankind? I am writing this blog as more of a real question that I pose to you. I am looking for your responses; because honestly, I don't know. It's a question I've asked myself all year long. It's a struggle I've wrestled with; and in my personal program of spirituality, I keep coming back to unconditional love, non-judgement, faith, trust, hope, patience, acceptance - all the spiritual principles that in the end leave me feeling like a pansy who is allowing herself and her beautiful planet and her beautiful cohabitants of that planet to be taken advantage of. When is violence justified? When is the moment to take a stand? How do I take that stand? How do I not lose hope? In Yogic philosophy, one of the kleshas, or causes of suffering, is ignorance that we are all part of the one greater consciousness. So those who trample on me and the rest of the world are also part of that greater consciousness. They are also part of me - and you. But how do we keep them from destroying everything beautiful? Can we? Should we?
Love, don't judge...but how? content media
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Audrey Rose
Sep 24, 2019
In Community Blog
After a recent conversation with long-time Human Rights advocate Jack Healey, followed a 13 hour bus/train journey to Charleston, SC, I felt inspired to share some of the thoughts running through my head. The number one threat to Human Rights is not the very small, I repeat, very small percentage of psychopaths...it's capitalism. It's the incentives behind the decisions of all those who consistently ignore the suffering of their fellow person, who write a check to some charity to calm their aching conscience, but who secretly voted for Trump because they knew he'd make their business money with his regulation cuts...the very same regulations that protect us at a minimum to even consider one another...isn't good, non-cancer-causing food a human right? Isn't access to clean water a human right? Isn't it? The psychopaths couldn't possibly have power unless the majority of the people gave it to them. At this point, the big money capitalists destroying this planet are like that last drunk gambler at 4am taking chips out on credit knowing very well they don't have any means to pay but until WE, yes all of us, close this bank down and stop giving him what we don't even have to give, we all know how this story's gonna end! Our parents chased the American Dream - and in direct proportion to their capacity to ignore the groans of those on whose backs they were climbing, many achieved. They negotiated with the devil, they drank champagne at his soirées and they danced on the illusion of abundance, living in the moment and making lots of decisions that would leave this generation staring straight into the eyes of the apocalypse. Millennials aren't lazy...we're hopeless. We're angry, and rightfully so at the world yinz have left us with and we feel powerless and depressed. We saw the GDP blow up with the houses, the cars, and the people, too and yet so did suicide rates, anxiety, depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and overdose deaths. The pharmaceutical industry put us on ritalin at 7 years old and you were so busy working that you were just happy to have a magic pill to calm us down. In the meantime, the agricultural industry lied to us and continues to destroy the environment and our health with it's lame excuse for food and whether or not Neil ever even made it we all have absolutely no desire to live on the desert of a moon. The economy you all created left us with student debt through the roof and when we voted for Bernie y'all voted for Hilary even though everyone knew she'd never make it. She reminds us of every upper middle class American mother who let us down so why would we choose her? Honestly, making money can't be the point. Our parents aren't any happier. Our society is more and more divided by class and let's be honest, race, and we didn't get any great qualities from all your presents...we just got addictions and the only gift, if we were lucky enough, is the gift of desperation that motivates us to do something different. So rather than criticize us for being lazy, why don't you learn from us and put the dollar bill down so you can start to recover. The disease of capitalism is cunning, baffling, and insidious, but lucky for you we've already faced the consequences and we're here for you as soon as you're ready for something different. Why don't people in the developed world react more strongly to human rights tragedies in developing countries or in still developing areas of their own country? It's simple: they are addicted to their lifestyle and not ready to give up what would need to be given up in order to assure a humane world for all. The first step to recovery is admitting that there's a problem. There is. Now let's talk about how to fix it.
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Audrey Rose
Jan 14, 2019
In Community Blog
So, it's been a while - and it's been many hours in bed for this hibernating faerie. This year, the winter time has hit me harder than ever...causing boosts of energy late in the night and a seriously hard time getting out of bed until around 10:30 am, when the sun itself was finally starting to rise. I've had a hard journey since the Solstice...we had a beautiful exhibition in Berlin to bring light back into the world that was very low on attendance and left me feeling a bit empty and sad - grateful for the time I spent with close friends and family, but sad for the artists who prepared beautiful and amazing things and were left with just a small group to share it with. Furthermore, Facebook's ultra-capitalist algorithms caused the event boost to be a 30euro drain on my resources. Disclaimer: [I cannot prove that Facebook has an algorithm to encourage clients to pay more each time they boost something by diminishing the effectiveness of the boost based on a similar pay rate, but I have spoken to enough people who have had a similar experience to believe that it is true. What happened to me is that I boosted the 7x7 exhibition for 30euros and we had over 200 responses, including shares and likes and people who came to the event. I did the same exact thing this time for Yule, and we had maybe 10 responses and no one who showed up. The events were essentially the same, with many similar artists, the only major difference that definitely played a part being the time of year (the darkest weekend of the year in a city where most of the international inhabitants left for the holidays). That being said, I firmly believe that Facebook took that money and did basically nothing with it...asking me every day to add money to the campaign to increase my results. I never did and the result was an empty exhibition hall, which made me sad - though grateful for the intimate time I got to spend with the artists who came and our close friends.] It could also be the time of year. It continued to be dark until late in the morning and early in the night and I just couldn't find the time or energy to do much more than sleep and read. That being said, I did a lot of reading and sleeping and today I woke up at 8 and hit the gym feeling refreshed. SO in the end, I guess it's a good time to take some lessons from nature, who herself cuts out the unnecessary costs (like taking care of leaves or sprouting new sprouts during the winter time) and goes to sleep - conserving energy to survive the long, cold nights and to wake up new and refreshed on the brink of spring...
The Winter Drag content media
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Audrey Rose
Dec 08, 2018
In Community Blog
Recently, I was introduced to an amazing feminist podcast in French: les couilles sur la table. This translates literally to "balls on the table". If you understand even the tiniest bit of French, I highly recommend check this podcast out: I bring this up because during the latest episode: "Ce que la soumission féminine fait aux hommes" (What the feminine submission does to men) our journalist Victoire Tuaillon speaks with Manon Garcia, a philosopher and professor interested in female submissive behavior. I am not going to recap the entire episode (I highly recommend listening if you understand French - or if not, check out some of the writings available online, in English by Garcia such as "We are not born submissive, we become" (Original: "on ne nâit pas soumise, on le devient")) but in this podcast, Garcia speaks about submissiveness - the pop culture and media programming which has encouraged women to remain submissive in order to be suitable for a mate, or to be able to keep their jobs, or to avoid provoking violent, violative acts such as rape or abuse. Furthermore, she goes on to speak about what this does to men, particularly those men who don't necessarily prefer a submissive woman nor assuming the position of dominance. What interested me during this episode in the context of privileged attitudes and behaviors is one moment when Garcia and Tuaillon begin digest a comment from Garcia that "ce n'est pas vrai qu'on est tous des être-humains." (It is not true that we are all human beings) and they begin to discuss the inherent male privilege implied in their capacity to deny their "maleness." This is a response to the commentary of some men who say "But I am not a man, why do you force me to be a man? I am a human being." What this comment ignores is the fact that human beings are conditioned to see the "male figure" or "female figure" or more and more frequently the "queer figure" or "non-gender binary figure" from the outset and to make an immediate judgement based on that image and their associations to what the category means to them. Therefore, to make this comment requires denying a certain privilege that is inaccessible to others, which (the denial) is in and of itself, a privilege. Just after listening to this podcast, I picked up a book loaned to me by the same friend, Sarah, who introduced me to the podcast: "Le Racisme est un Problème de Blancs" by Reni Eddo-Lodge, which is a translation from the English: "Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race." In the preface, she says "Although I analyze invisible whiteness and ponder its exclusionary nature often, I watch as an outsider. I understand that this isn't the case for most white people, who move through the world unaware of their own race until its dominance is called into question...In culture particularly, the positive affirmations of whiteness are so widespread that the average white person doesn't even notice them...to be white is to be human; to be white is to be universal. I only know this because I am not." (xvi-ii). Tuaillon and Garcia argue that in order to reject being a man in lieu of saying "I am a human being," "it's necessary to be a man." What she means is, one must have the privilege of already being something in order to be able to reject that privilege. For a woman, this is not so. For a trans person, this is not so, with a small exception of those who are able to "fully transition" or to camouflage, but even then, there's the administrative and emotional hurdles to tackle, which can takes weeks, months, years, if ever. Eddo-Lodge argues a similar point, albeit on the platform of race. In order for a white person to understand the structural racism in place, this person must first understand the privilege they have in being white, an inherent culturally reinforced privilege that they can never extend to a person of color, no matter how hard they try, which in turn creates an inequality on the playing field from the gate. Entering into a conversation about race with a person of color as a white person is not an even draw, regardless of how "anti-racist" you are. Furthermore, entering into a conversation about sex (the gender identity) with a woman as a man is not an even draw, regardless of how "feminist" or "humanist" you are. Ruminating on this point, this lead me to a thought about the privilege of "acting as if." Realizing that the playing field is not an even one, I can't help but wonder what would happen if every person who feels that way was able to beat the culturally reinforced sexism and racism by beginning to act as if. By simply refusing, from somewhere very deep inside, to allow society to continue to perpetuate these violent and harmful lies by refusing to change our behavior on the basis of internalizing them. I realize that this, at the outset, seems simplistic and potentially even offensive. Please, let me try to explain. Since listening to the podcast and starting Eddo-Lodge's book, I had my first two real-world encounters with French male sexism. On Thursday, after riding my bike for 45 minutes from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to Viroflay Rive Gauche, I was explaining to a man, who I know, but not very well that I was 10 minutes late to our rendez-vous because my Google Maps lost me in the forest and then my phone died, when he cut me off to say that "you should really avoid riding your bike right now because it's dark out and wintertime, anyways, you are a woman." (Mais, Audrey! Il faut eviter de y aller en vélo maintenant! Il fait toute sombre, il est l'hiver et...quand même tu es une femme). I was so shocked when he said this that I actually think my jaw dropped. Coming from New Jersey and then Berlin, I'm just not used to hearing phrases like this. I'm not saying that America or Germany are better off, I'm sure there are those who would speak this way, but what I'm saying is I hadn't heard someone so blatantly imply that my womanness should prevent me from having the same liberties as a man. My eyes widened, the conversation stopped with a "merci, bonne soirée, au revoir!" (Thank you, good evening, see you next time). I understand the very easy response to this: that this guy was just stating the obvious and that he was being considerate of me. That he was just worried about me. I understand that women are more likely to be attacked by men and less likely to be able to defend themselves, in general. However, what underlies what this man said to me is the idea that I do not have the same freedom as a man because society is messed up and that I should change my behavior to accommodate for it. His point of view is actually reinforcing systemic sexism, rather than challenging the society (which is what's actually messed up!). What this man could be doing rather than encouraging women to exercise less freedom is encouraging men to exercise more respect. If "caring: men like this spent more time promoting women's freedoms rather than locking the women safe and sound behind closed doors, perhaps we wouldn't have as many problems...perhaps. The next morning, I received a call in response to a paper with my name, phone number, and a little paragraph about my experiences as a babysitter that I posted around the neighborhood where I live. It was not the response that I wanted. It was the guardian of the residence who was extremely concerned for my personal safety that I had done such a thing. He said "Why did you put a photo on there, that could draw attention to you." To which I replied, "Well, that's kind of the point." At the end of 3 long minutes of listening to his "extreme concern," I ended the call by simply asking him whether or not he was requesting that I remove the papers because it goes against the rules of the residence. He said no. I said merci, bonne journée, au revoir (thnak you, have a good day, see you next time) and hung up. My partner who was present and listening to my end of the call was surprised at how little I responded to this man. I replied to my partner that, like Eddo-Lodge, I'm not going to wasting my time convincing men that they are sexist. In order for them to be able to realize this, they need to do some serious self reflection on their inherent male privileges first AND the ways in which their attitudes and more importantly, actions (including words) reinforce that privilege. Until then, merci, bonne soirée, au revoir. Last night, I rode my bike home from Viroflay Rive Gauche to SQY like I do most nights, when the weather is good enough (by which I mean, it's not raining). Upon putting it back in the bike storage, I stopped to reattach one of the corners of one of my posts for babysitting near the mailboxes of the residence, which had started to come off. Despite wanting to take the train because "what if something does happen to me" and despite the panic I had when I had a text on my phone this morning from a number I didn't recognize calling me "honey" (a friend I had forgotten to properly save into contacts), I have decided to act as if. I have decided to act as if these constraining, controlling, paranoid comments, which come, by the way, 100% of the time from men, do not phase me. I am going to exercise my same liberties. I am going to act as if. In the podcast, Tuaillon and Garcia digest the theories of Simone de Beauvoir, who wrote "Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) and Sartre, with whom Beauvoir is often associated. Sartre, the French existentialist known for his theories on the "anguish of freedom" believed that L’homme est condamné à être libre ("Man is condemned to be free) because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." (Mittal). Garcia digests this by explaining" "At birth there are certain facts about us but we are born absolutely free and therefore it is in bad faith to act as if we are influenced by these facts about us." (à la naissance il y'a certaines faits à propos nous mais on est née absolutement libre donc c'est de la mauvaise fois de faire comme si on était influencer par ces faits à propos de nous. 12:45). Beauvoir on the other hand disagrees strongly with this by saying that we cannot escape our gender or culture. Garcia explains, "On ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas juif On ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas noir. On ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas femme. Ça c'est de la mauvaise fois." (We cannot act as if we are not jewish...or black...or a woman. That is in bad faith." Tuaillon continues on this point by saying..."Et donc on ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas homme. On ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas blanc. On ne peut pas faire comme si on était pas bourgeois." (And therefore, we cannot act as if we are not a man...or white...or bourgeois 13:32). And Garcia brings it home by explaining. "C'est le privilege des hommes, des blancs, et des bourgeois de pouvoir se raconter qu'ils peuvent faire comme si" (It is the privilege of men, white people, and the bourgeoisie to be able to tell themselves that they can act as if" 13:38). SO there it is. The privilege to act as if we are not. Without denying hundreds and even thousands of years of victimization but rather by accepting it, is it then possible for women, for people of color, for any underprivileged or minority group to act as if? What would happen if, collectively, we refused to internalize white and/or male dominance by acting as if it didn't exist? by refusing to change our behavior, to hide ourselves, to keep our mouths shut, to accept jobs for less pay, to put up with abuse, to let someone else tell us we deserved it? Are we numerous enough? What would happen if - ? Citations: Eddo-Lodge, Reni. "Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race." Preface. https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/why-im-no-longer-talking-to-white-people-about-race-9781408870570/ Mittal, Tarun. "To be is to be: Jean-Paul Sartre on existentialism and freedom." 06.21.2017. Your Story, 2018. https://yourstory.com/2017/06/jean-paul-sartre-philosophy-existentialism-freedom/ "Sartre : L’homme est condamné a être libre." La-Philosophie.com, 2018. https://la-philosophie.com/homme-condamne-etre-libre-sartre
Limits & Privilege: Acting as if content media
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Audrey Rose
Nov 14, 2018
In Community Blog
Ah, rejection. The sweet, slow burn to the ego that makes you just want to crawl under your covers and die - makes you never want to step up to bat again, finds you swinging your practice bat in the middle of the night when no one's looking, or singing in the shower but certainly not when someone might hear... oh, rejection. Recently, I applied for a major scholarship. It was suggested to me to apply and I thought, well, why not? What's the worse that could happen? So I did all the work, which turned out to be a lot more than I originally expected, but I did it - giving it as much as I could before crossing the finish line until the day that I submitted it. I had support from my Alma Mater, Rutgers, and those who wrote me the recommendations, so it was a bonding experience - we were all in this thing together. Deep down, I truly believed that there was no way I would get selected for such an scholarship. I am still amazed that I am alive. I am still amazed that I am a walking, living, being, that people want to offer me jobs and give me responsibilities, that in 1 week I will celebrate 7 years clean from heroin, that I have a computer and a house and a relationship with my family. I had small goals, like staying clean. And then I received a very peculiar email, which said: "Congratulations! You have been selected as a finalist and we'd like you to come to New York City for an interview." What a trip. I went shopping with my mother for the perfect outfit (I never go shopping); I wore my little superstitions items for good luck and when the day came, I had a raging headache and a horrible sinus infection but I pulled my big girl panties up and I showed up. I left that interview completely confused. I had absolutely no idea how it went and suddenly, I cared a lot. If I didn't make it now, I had 6 faces of the people who rejected me. Now, it wasn't just words or numbers on the paper that weren't good enough. It would be me. Luckily, this particular scholarship tells you almost immediately, as in the next day, which for me was the equivalent of the silver medal at the Olympics: I got put on the "reserve list." It would be another 3 weeks before I'd find out if someone who had received the scholarship was going to decide that they had better things to do and pass it on like an old dirty pair of jeans, to me. There was a study I read a while ago that said that the most disappointed person at the Olympics is the silver medalist. The Gold, of course, is elated. The bronze medalist is just happy to be there (see photo above, she's more elated than the rest of them). But the silver...the silver almost says: well, you almost did it! The silver medalist deals with the obsessive thoughts about her tiniest mistakes, which took that person just one step away from getting what they most desired: the gold. Disappointment, especially in oneself, is no psychological joke. I understand completely the desire not to try, in an effort to attempt to control the amount of disappointment that comes into your life. However, I encourage you to be clear that this is what you are doing - so that your decision is a choice, rather than an unconscious mantra keeping you caught up in fear and making the playing field lean so much more unevenly towards those who want to keep you there - and the medals, or scholarships, or jobs, or Presidents - in the hands of those who they can better control. Not trying is the only sure-fire way to stop yourself from getting what you want. Furthermore, it's a sure-fire way to help those interested in getting that same thing lower their odds by singling you (and all the others who think like you) out. It is a mantra of the disempowered, of those who have internalized that there's no chance for "someone like me" and I am here to tell you that crazier things have happened - and though getting out there and giving it a go doesn't always lead to the thing your ego most wants - it does very often lead to other, even more exciting things, that never would've happen if you'd stayed at home. As for my scholarship, I still don't know - but luckily I made the decision to challenge all my fear- and ego-based mantras controlling my life seven years ago, so today I am just feeling grateful that I gave it a try and among the fifteen rods I've got in the fire, I've no problem to let it sit for a while 'cause baby, I'm just heating up.
L&P: Silver Medal Syndrome: "I'll never get what I want, so no use in trying." content media
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Audrey Rose
Nov 05, 2018
In Community Blog
This is something I often hear from a wide variety of people to explain unfair life situations and to evade their personal responsibility. Many times it was my parents, who wanted to set limits for their children but didn't want to have to explain them. [side note: I really don't advocate for this parenting method]; I feel like there is nothing more limiting than this phrase. I hear this most often from my working class relatives, immigrants and refugees, inmates, people of color, and those living below the poverty line in rural and urban areas, or to put it more simply: people who do not feel empowered by our society. I worry that it has become a kind of mantra, designed to evade the fear of disappointment one has when she has tried to change or do something and it's taking longer than expected. It's a kind of virus that has become ingrained in entire populations. It's a survival mechanism and understandably so. However, it's allowing those who believe it to survive, but not thrive; and I believe that challenging it, together, will help us grow. My parents only used this phrase to cop out of explaining their injustices to us, in all other cases, my parents were empowering people, to a very certain extent. They had their eyes set on success in the social and financial sense; and in order to achieve that, they had to believe that it is absolutely not just like that. My mother had to believe that as a woman she could climb to the top, over the ignorant and sexist men holding her down with their golf clubs [she did!]. My father had to believe that starting his own law firm (a huge risk at the time) would be better than continuing to accept a lower quality of life in the large law firm he was working for - just because it was "good enough" [it was!]. She did and it was, but their decisions were not without pain, sacrifice, failure, panic, and trauma to their families and loved ones. Every moment was not a constant beautiful, breathtaking, climb to the top. There were many cliffs and valleys and thunderstorms and injuries and detours along the way. For me, this journey nearly killed me. I suffered a lot as a young child from my parents desire to succeed. Though they were reaching towards their personal goals, they had a tendency to perceive their children as an extension of that and they gave the older ones, those who were young during their journey to the top, a lot of responsibility to help them get there. This felt like a lot of pressure. In my case, this also meant sacrificing my own dreams in the interest of continuing to walk the path of my parents, to their vision of success (which was certainly a glamorous one). I didn't want it. I wanted to create. I didn't care if I lived in a big house or a log cabin that I built myself in the woods. I just wanted to write. However, despite financial and in some ways emotional privilege, my parents still believed (in some ways rightly so) that society would not accept or support another artist and that I would have to accept that my art would make a 'great hobby, but nothing more.' In order to help me accept this, they said 'that's just the way it is.' As a teenager, I sunk into a suicidal depression. The closer and closer I came to making a decision on which University I would attend, the harder and harder my parents pushed and massaged my thoughts into the idea that I would need to pursue a career in the law or science in order to survive in today's world. They supported my artistic ideas, as long as they remained on the side. At 18, I entered Reed College under the impression that I would study Green Chemistry, a sort of compromise where I could make my parents happy, while taking care of the environment. However, Green Chemistry in practice was depressing me. I was a great student; I enjoy learning about the building blocks of life and I loved to take acid and tell you about the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in your glass of water - but I couldn't imagine the rest of my life as a chemist. I was surrounded by cool and interesting artists, but I had learned through years and years and years of brainwashing that being an artist was not an option, that's just the way it is. *** I am writing about this today for a reason. Tomorrow is an important election day in America. I am writing to you from my parents house in Pittsburgh, where I am registered to vote. Many of those who have been disempowered are rallying together to try to bring order, anti-fascism, tolerance, and understanding back into the American system. However, I am still struck by the number of people simply saying they will 'vote Democrat' - without any idea of the platforms of the individual candidates, and sometimes even without knowing their names - in order to rebel against our current administration. When I ask if they have considered the Green or Libertarian party, they say that voting for them is not an option because it won't change anything, and 'that's just the way it is.' This is a dangerous method, one that is not surprising considering the currently traumatized state of the American people, but nevertheless, dangerous. Concentrating all of the political power into two parties instead of four gives all the diverse political opinions and wishes less attention. Assuming that a candidate has your interests at heart simply because he aligns himself with one of the major political parties in America sets you up to be disappointed. Voters who vote over a single-issue is what got us into this situation in the first place and we, as American people in a participatory democracy, have an obligation to inform ourselves and afterwards, to make informed decisions. This is not just the way it is. There are actually not only two parties in the United States. We have the Republicans, the Democrats, the Green party, and the Libertarian party and you can chose to be 'independent'. [These links go to the party platforms, but I still recommend looking up your individual candidates to see what they say!] Many people don't even know about the latter three. You can even write in a name on the ballot if no one running works for you. In Germany, they have 7 parties and the percentage of votes each party gets determines the number of seats they have in Parliament. In this way, voting over a single issue is less common, though not entirely absent. We could potentially learn something from a country that survived a fascist regime and revised things politically. Perhaps we could even avoid the inevitable war and collapse that social tension, a lack of cohesion, and fascism bring? Personally, I will vote for Conor Lamb, a democrat running for congress in Pennsylvania because there are no Green or Libertarian members running for Congress in my district and all other votes of mine will go to the Green party. In my district, that means Neal Gale, Paul Glover, and Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick. This is because the Green party is the only party who values the environment to the extent that I am satisfied. Furthermore, they speak about a more humanitarian immigration reform, gun use reform, health care, living wage, fair taxation, election reform, criminal justice reform, governmental transparency, organic farming, and many other things that I value. In my opinion, the Democrats are playing the same game as the Republicans, they just speak the tune in a manner that is a bit more 'acceptable.' However, as we all saw with Bill, Barack, and Hilary: the more information that is available, the more we come to see that they are all answering to their lobbyists, they are all making the same decisions, they are just significantly less transparent about it. For example, Barack Obama stood in front of the people protesting against the Dakota pipeline, managed to temporarily block it, while at the same time agreeing to allow two others in Texas, under the radar. " Within a two-week span in May 2016, as the Sacred Stone Camp was getting off the ground as the center of protests, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued presidential permits for the Trans-Pecos and Comanche Trail Pipelines. Together, the pipelines will take natural gas obtained from fracking in Texas' Permian Basin and ship it in different directions across the U.S.-Mexico border, with both starting at the Waha Oil Field." More info here. This is just one example, not including the troops he continued to authorize in the Middle East and the immigrants he deported, under the radar. And because of things like this, we have unhappy democrats and unhappy republicans fighting over single-issues because 'that's just the way it is.' No, it's not! Today, there's no excuse anymore. Everyone has the internet at their fingertips. Take some time and inform yourself and take action, today, to ask yourself what could be different. *** This phrase is not just disempowering during election time. As I said, for me, I tried to kill myself over a 10-year period to varying degrees of success. I still have physical damage and trauma (7 years from the last attempt) that I'm not sure will ever fully heal. However, after that last attempt, I made a commitment to myself never again to listen to someone who tells me that it's just the way it is - and to fight to change those things that don't make me happy. I started writing everyday and produced my first album of inspirational hip-hop over the year of 2013. I wrote, produced, and recorded one track a month with help from Mystere Jones in Stroudsburg, PA and Garageband and released it as Conspiratorial Whispers in 2014. It's not meant to be the best album of hip-hop ever. It's meant to inspire you to start somewhere. I toured around, opened a sober performance space in my basement, The Blueberry Shire, and began working for Kathy Moser and her program Music for Recovery. Then, we started my current band, The Wichts and I even got to film a music video. I met others who had broken away from their programming and had decided to take personal responsibility for the things in life that aren't working - and to take action to change them. I volunteered at the George St Co-Op and the Garden of Healing Yoga and Wellness Center in New Brunswick, NJ and began working with CoLAB Arts, to combine my passion for performance and social justice. I went to the New Brunswick Arts Council meeting to see what the government was doing for the arts. I started an internship sponsored by Johnson&Johnson and quit because it was really corporate. Just because something looks good on the outside or on the resume, didn't mean I needed to go with it. I continued to grow, to work, to inspire. Today, I only take decisions that make me happy - not those that are going to give me a nice 401-K (much to my parents' chagrin in some ways, but in others, I think they are starting to see the worth of happiness and contentment as compared to that of financial success). This means that sometimes I am crashing on couches rather than in a mansion. I don't have my own pool or even my own house. That being said, I am taking action to be more financially responsible in the interest of being able to remain 'in business'. I haven't bought new clothes for myself in years [though I have received presents :D] and I am much more likely to go to the 'cinema' with Netflix (that I borrow from my brother) in my basement than to pay $15 for a ticket. I rarely go out to restaurants because I like to eat vegan and organic and it's cheaper (and often, better) to do that at home. I haven't had a drink of alcohol of a drug in 7 years and I quit smoking to save money and my health (and yours!). Making these decisions allows me to travel and eat well, to buy the occasional present for my friends and loves, and to enjoy life with a relatively low level of stress about money. This year, I official made this project into CP4P LLC. I am officially a small businesswoman. I toured several countries and have done poetry workshops in multiple languages. I spoke in a jail in Oroquieta City, Mindanao, Philippines. I've done so many cool things and it's not because I have money. It's because I refused to accept that 'that's just the way it is' and I chose to see the world through a lens of possibilities, rather than limits. It's not always glamorous to be me, but it's glorious. There are many who prefer the creature comforts and luxuries of life - and that's fine for you. However, if there's something bothering you about the way you're living and you aren't doing anything to change it - ask yourself - have you fallen into the trap of seeing it as 'just the way things are' or have you asked yourself yet what you could do to make it different?
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Audrey Rose
Nov 01, 2018
In Community Blog
My recent blog about traveling on a budget had me reflecting on how privilege has played a role in my life and in my capacity to travel - even when my parents offered me no financial support whatsoever or when I didn't ask for it. Privilege is not just a matter of money. It's also socially accepted ideas of beauty, of status, of skin, of power. It's the way others perceive you, and in return, how they treat you. But it's also a matter of belief: believing you deserve to be treated a certain way, or believing that you deserve to achieve something material. In some cases, this belief can translate into reality. And when you are privileged, one thing you have plenty of is believing that you deserve certain things. I spent the larger portion of my life trying to hide from the fact that I was privileged - feeling ashamed of being different, feeling like I should give money (my parents' money) away to others, making embarrassing mistakes like buying friends drinks at the bar "just because" or in other cases, just simply trying to hide or deny it. However, there were certain aspects of being a "privileged kid" that I just couldn't change and it is time to admit it: I'm a privileged kid. There are mindsets ingrained in a privileged kid, a kind of privileged programming designed to keep the offspring of the well-off climbing the capital ladder. As someone who wants to fight systems of inequality and ingrained biases and stereotypes, I want to share some of those mindsets as I come to notice them (and I invite you to share with me too) in the hopes that you can combat your own programming (whatever it may be) and use this to help you to entitle yourself to try thinking differently. The first of these that came up is the fact that for me, I see the world through a lens of possibilities, not limits. Now, I think this is also something inherently connected to me and my fantastical way of thinking, as I have more than enough trauma and social programming, which would love to put me "back in my place," but I think it also comes from being surrounded by privileged and in many ways, fanatical, people. Though there are those who think that I don't deserve a voice because I am a woman, I had the privilege of a strong female role model in the home. My mother heard the same things for 30 years while climbing the corporate ladder and eventually, she made it to the top. I, being young, missed the large part of the struggle (except on an emotional level) and got to reap the rewards of her success. As much as I suffered when I was young for all the pressure that ricocheted onto me, today I am grateful for the way that she gave me a personal, at-home, example of a woman who would not be intimated by men. If you know me personally, then you know that this has no doubt had an effect on my strong alpha female personality. My father started young with the "You can be anything that you want to be - I think you might even be our first female President" mantra. This never excited me - and there was no one more disappointed when I finally learned the term 'anarchist' at Reed in 2006 - but I can't deny that the first part of that phrase played a large role in me believing whole-heartedly in the fact that I should pursue my dreams, no matter the cost. Of course, it's complicated. In order to achieve my dreams, I needed to rebel against the ones that my parents had already written up for me. I lived on the streets. I disappeared, changed my name, and no joke, I nearly died. During these years, I felt depressed, suicidal - I could only see society for its limits. I could only see what I didn't want to become (and what I felt I had no choice but to become) and that made me want to die. However, it was at this time that being a white American, which is in its own way a form of privilege, kicked in. Random strangers of all shapes, sizes, and colors began believing in me, helping me, showing me their way of living that was different - off the beaten path, and interesting. My eyes opened to the fact that in fact yes, in America, we are doctors who drive old school buses around providing free clinics. We are squatters living in abandoned buildings and hosting community dinners, we are backwoods "rednecks" who aren't racist jerks, we are families taking care of each other and despite all the misinformed, desperate people looking for hope in Fox News, we've got a lot of amazing people pioneering things like civil rights and gender studies and music exchanges and recovery from drug addiction. We've got capitalists, but we've got researchers too. We've got a lot of problems, but we also have a lot of solutions and at least as of Nov 6, 2018, we still have the right to vote in a more democratic election than in other places, though certainly not the best. I say this all to say that there's a lot of power in perspective. There's a lot to be gained from seeing the possibilities instead of the limits - in believing that your vote will change something - because if 1 million, 2 million, 3 million, or more of us begin to believe, then this dream becomes a reality. Every one of my experiences, even the bad ones, have led me to believe that the more I feed the flower of hope, the flower of options, the flower that says 'yes,' the more it blossoms and I receive, while conversely, the more I feed the flower of limits, the flower of closed doors, the flower of 'no,' the more it wilts - and so do I. So today, what do you want? What is limiting you from achieving this want/dream? How many of those limits are real and how many are based in fear? What are your solutions? your possibilities? What do you need to do to make your dreams real? Coming up next time, I will give some specific examples of limits in my life and how using a privileged perspective allowed me to see through the limits and into the possibilities.
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Audrey Rose
Oct 30, 2018
In Travelogue
So over the last 12 years, I have done a lot of traveling in various different forms. I want to share some of my tips and tricks here because I really think that everyone has something to gain from getting out of their comfort zone and getting to know someone or something different - getting to realize that your little world and way of life is definitely not the only one out there. Also, I think some people see the fact that I travel so much as something that I can do because I am privileged, because I come from a family with means, which is certainly true, but not entirely. Being privileged helped me to see things as possible, rather than limited; and when it comes to organizing a trip, this is a huge asset. However, I don't think that in order to access this mindset, one needs to be privileged. With the right information and support, I want to help everyone see that this idea of traveling being reserved for the privileged is a dirty lie, one that protects those interested in keeping others in a limited mindset, but that hurts the majority of today's world. I will probably write a blog about this tomorrow, as this is a whole other topic that's important to address, but I wanted to write this more as an informative article with tips and tricks to try to help others access the privilege of traveling for themselves. This is not nearly exhaustive. Please feel free to leave comments or message me with questions if you have them! The cheat-sheet: - couchsurfing! this is a "free" website like Facebook, but full of people who want to offer you their couch, for free! - friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends. when you want to go somewhere, ask everyone you know who could possibly know someone there if they know someone there and don't be ashamed to ask for a place to stay. the worst they can say is "no". - if you do stay with someone, keep clean, do your dishes, be respectful, and open-minded - at all times, be willing to be uncomfortable, to a certain extent - conversely, don't be afraid to advocate for your needs. be open and suggest work-exchanges if you can't afford something. If one place isn't working out, move on. - don't be afraid to sleep outside! camping is cool. also, if you get bothered by the police, use the tourist card and beg for mercy! (probably to be avoided in countries with martial law or seriously fucked up legal systems, there's certainly a horror story or two here) - sublet your apartment while you travel to gain money, sell creative projects such as the 'poem on a postcard project', perform on the streets, or take on odd-jobs. - skip tourist traps, expensive group tours (unless you really want to see something) and trust that sometimes there will be boring moments right before amazing ones. - go slow, sit in a cafe and read for a day, people watch, don't be afraid to relax - speak to the person on the train/plane/bus next to you, try new languages, learn at least, hello, goodbye, please, and thank you in the language of wherever you are. this goes a really long way! - laugh, cry, go to the movies alone, and don't panic in moments of loneliness, fear, or complete confusion and feelings of being totally lost. These are usually the times when humanity shows you a different side of itself, for better or for worse, and you will learn something new about you, too. Here's some different kinds of trips I've tried... The Hostel/Airplane/Bike Tour/Wine and Pizza tour of Italy: Duration: 3 weeks Rough cost: $3,000 Comfort level: Moderate/High After graduating from high school, I convinced my parents to use the money they would spend on a graduation party and my graduation present to let me organize a trip backpacking around Italy. This certainly counts as a privileged trip, as my parents had the means to give me this as a graduation present. This trip cost $3,000 (in 2006) including plane tickets, hostels, bike tours, wine, pizza, and souvenirs. I visited one family friend outside of Milan and a second aunt in Sicily. This saved a large amount of money. I don't recommend Italy if you are on a budget and don't have friends to stay with, as it's still very expensive. However, I do recommend it if you can because the pizza is amazing and there's nothing like hanging out with street performers in Rome. If you are really set on Italy, I have some friends there who may be able to help provide more information and there is always couchsurfing! The Altoids-dipped in LSD/wooden flute on the street/faerie tour of Ireland: Duration: 6 weeks Rough cost: $1,200 Comfort level: Moderate/High After discovering acid and cocaine, I made a "good friend" who had a 91 year old grandmother living in Dublin and managed to get myself invited for a 6 week trip to Ireland. This was a very cheap trip because we stayed with the grandmother and aunts when we traveled. I hopped over to London at one point to visit the same family friend I visited in Milan, at which point my friend took a bunch of ecstasy and flew back to America without warning. This left me alone in Dublin without a back-up plan, but thankfully the aunts of this friend fought for me to be able to stay with the grandmother and I had a lovely last 2 weeks in Dublin. I played my wooden flute on the street for change until it got stolen. I stayed up nights on LSD and the main costs of this trip were food and travel, amounting to approximately $1,200. I felt often uncomfortable and unwelcome. I felt often lost and alone. I spent many hours in pubs or cafes or sitting on street corners, just writing. The freight hopping/hitch-hiking/hobo-life: Duration: 3.5 years (any amount of time really) Rough cost: "Free" - based on donations of others. Comfort level: Low, Sub-Basic. After I came back from Ireland, I knew I couldn't go back to a University that cost $50,000/year when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than travel and so I took a "year of absence." Struggling to find my way during that year working at a local coffee shop and living in an artist's commune on the north side of Pittsburgh, I left again, this time in a car and headed South. The cost of this trip started high with gas, but the rubbertrampers that I picked up along the way taught me how to spange (spare-change) for it - pulling into gas stations and asking people to add a few dollars to our tank until it was full or we got kicked out and had to do it again at the next one. This is a slow way to travel and sometimes a very boring one, but if you have no money and wanna go, it works. The car died in Colorado and I hopped my first freight train. When we got pulled off that train in Bridgeport, Nebraska, we hitch-hiked east towards Michigan. I now had a backpack, with a sleeping bag and warm clothes, a notebook and a book to read, and a dog and we slept wherever, whenever, and spent all our money on booze and food. Sometimes we got "adopted" (when someone would invite us to their house to shower and wash our clothes, or just to hang and party with them and sleep on their floor or couch...this didn't happen all that often, but it did). This way of life is super cheap (unless you catch a heroin habit...in the end I was panhandling and spending about 150$ a day on heroin), really dependent on others, and romantic in the beginning, while sad and sometimes pathetic in the end. For a young woman (I was 19-23), it's traumatic. I woke up sometimes in the middle of the night to strangers trying to touch me sexually, or even pulling down my pants while pulling out their penises. I slept with a knife in my pocket and a big dog at my side. Sometimes I was too drunk to notice until it was pretty late. The young men living this way describe themselves as gutter punks for the most part (though I don't want to minimize, there are a lot of different kinds of people who at least try this lifestyle for a little while) but my experience was that being a gutter punk generally seemed to excuse one for being a misogynist asshole a lot of the time. Calling women names like "cum dumpster" and "bitch" or "whore" is a norm and calling it out signifies being too "PC" or politically correct and not punk enough to kick it. I needed a year and a half of trauma therapy after I got off the streets and off the drugs that were helping me forget the traumas just to go to sleep. I lived this way for almost 4 years, on and off, in and out of jails and rehab centers. In the end, the hidden costs and the recovery costs outweighed whatever anarchistic thing I thought I was doing. What I thought was an anarchistic/anti-capitalist way to live turned out to be one of the most pathetic forms of capitalistic living there is. We were totally dependent on the money given to us by others and never by the ones with lots of it. I sat on Wall Street for many months, only to receive money from poor mothers or workers going to work to support the rich lifestyles of others. The "suits" never kicked down a dime. We spent all our money on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and McDonalds - four of the largest, most corrupt, global capitalist industries there are. We were not anarchists, we were drug addicts and criminals - barely making a mark on the face of society with our little "protest," except as a large social and financial cost to those who really can't afford it. That being said, I hitch-hiked last summer in Ireland, again in Germany, France, Slovenia, and Indonesia and had a great car-share experience. I highly recommend hitch-hiking as a low-cost way of getting around and getting to know strangers, with a certain level of self-security and faith, of course. The Study-Abroad Traveler: Duration: 1 year Rough cost: covered by scholarship Comfort level: Moderate/High After I got clean, I was able to go back to University with the help of a lot of scholarships and grants. I went to Rutgers for an average of $2,000 a semester after all the grants and scholarships that I applied for and then received. I also had a great advisor who told me that those same financials aids would cover the cost of a study-abroad program and there was no better time to do it than now. I applied to Berlin, where I had visited the year before on a short, 3-week, summer program in Lewes, England, and where I knew there was a great supportive community of recovering people to welcome me. I also didn't need to speak German to get in. When deciding whether or not to accept the program, I received an email informing me that I would receive a $5,000 scholarship to learn German because I was the woman with the highest GPA who had applied for the program. This was a no-brainer. This covered the cost of the program plus $1,000. I lived with a German family who ended up adopting me. The program was 3 months and I lived with them for 2 years (I still have a key!). Since I had the right to work as a student in Germany, I took on a job as an English teacher, which is a seasonal job at a summer camp. This afforded me the opportunity to make money during a certain time and travel during others. At the camp, room and board are part of the payment so I stayed with the German family and had no rent. All the money I made during this time was profit. I stayed on a second year after finishing my studies, while figuring out what to do next. In January of 2016, I was in a serious car accident in which I was injured. I have since had 2 surgeries and am now seemingly "back to normal" with a large scar, nerve damage, and a crooked small finger. All things considered: normal. With the help of a lawyer, I sued the car insurance of the man who crashed into me and received a settlement for pain and suffering on top of the medical costs. I graduated from University in December of 2017 and decided to use some of that money for a trip through Asia, my largest trip yet. Asian Backpacker: Duration: 3 months Rough cost: $3,000 Comfort level: Ranging from high to very low. I wanted to avoid winter in Berlin as well as summer in Indonesia and so I organized a trip from December until March in SE Asia. I started in Taiwan, where my costs were low because I stayed with my brother and his wife until after Christmas when my family went to Vietnam on a Smithsonian vacation, which was the once-in-a-lifetime 60th birthday present for my mother. I really didn't enjoy this trip from a travelers perspective, as I felt very much like a voyeur - like we were separate from the locals and the locals only saw us as sacks of money. This part of the trip was interesting and informative and sometimes beautiful, sometimes sad. However, I could never have afforded it and simply went to be there for my mother's 60th birthday. Smithsonian vacations are very expensive and I'm not positive that it's better, unless you want to stay in nice hotels and have all your travel plans arranged for you in advance with pre-selected guides and restaurants... I went back to Taiwan with my family after Vietnam, but stayed with another friend and her family in Changhua. Staying with a Taiwanese family, who treated me to all kinds of local vegetarian delicacies and toured me around their town of Changhua, was awesome. In Taiwanese culture, it is offensive to let the guest pay. This was uncomfortable at times, but I accepted it for not wanting to offend the family. I felt lost and alone at times, but Kuan was always by my side and ready to show me something. I only stayed 3 days, but I learned a lot and really enjoyed my time with Kuan and her family. I flew from here to the Philippines and stayed my first night in a very cheap hostel, which terrified me. I don't recommend Malate if you are alone and female. The taxi driver immediately began asking me if I was married and whether or not I was a Catholic and honestly, I had no idea how to respond. I pretended I couldn't understand him. Sometimes the cheaper options are not the better options because the price of a good night's rest and your personal safety is invaluable. The next morning, I took the metro to a recovery meeting. I left at 5 am and packed myself in with the help of others. Men pulled me on and protected me. The weird paradox about seemingly dangerous areas when you are a traveler is that sometimes it inspires the good people to step up and protect you against the bad. You just need a good fuck-off face and heightened intuitions as well as a strong sense of faith in a higher power that's gonna guide you, whether that's something spiritual or rational, it doesn't matter. It just helps, alot. I had no idea what I was going to do next. I was started to really feel like I had made a mistake. I had literally no plans, just plane tickets in and out of the countries. Luckily, at this meeting, I ran into a friend of a friend from New York who was visiting his family in the Philippines and he took me in. I had a place to stay, I had people to take care of me, and we went everywhere together. I took a small side trip myself, staying in a cheap boarding house and sleeping on overnight buses, but otherwise, I was taken care of by these friends and new friends. The Philippines turned out to be my favorite experience in Asia. I also stayed in Palawan with friends of a friend who hosted me at their hostel. This was an awesome experience, but also kind of lonely because I wasn't sure what I was doing there. I got sick from the water and needed to sleep for a whole day while my fever went down. Then, I met a cool surfer guy (Hey Antoni!!) with a car who took me around for great vegan burgers and this trip got better and better. I asked friends and friends of friends where to go and who to stay with. I asked locals for food advice. I tried to avoid obvious tourist traps and I traveled with a backpack, so I wasn't carrying many souvenirs. I sent postcards instead. People donated for the cost of the stamps. There are many scams, like having to pay $20 to go see the hanging coffins, which is a 45 minute gentle walk with hundreds of other people all around. However, it's controlled and there's no other way to see them. The sunrise hike for the "sea of clouds" was cool, but also expensive to do and you are definitely not alone. I moved on to Singapore, then Indonesia. I lost some money because I cancelled a trip to Thailand and India - feeling overwhelmed with all the moving around, and I had already booked Air BnBs which had a no refund policy. That's something to look out for with cheap or good deals on flights and/or lodging because when you arrive, things always change around. I booked all my flights in advance, which was generally necessary for the visa to enter each country (to have a flight out) but it's not necessarily cheaper. I wish I had waited in the end. In Indonesia, I helped organize a community festival and provided English lessons and a poetry workshop for a local NGO, which supported my stay there. I was not staying in 5 star hotels and did not always have a basic level of comfort, but I did have a basic level of needs met. Sometimes, I had even more than that. The sense of community and caring and sharing in Sumbawa was unparalleled. It could get very hot, I had many ant bites, and sometimes I felt really sad. Most of all, I missed a hot and clean shower, which I later had in Bali. Having my period in Sumbawa was difficult due to the lack of clean water, but I survived and I never got sick and had no infections. This trip cost me, including all of the plane tickets and the money lost, around $3,000. I haven't done a full run-down but I know from the numbers in my bank account. It could have cost less if I had been smarter about not booking non-refundable things in advance. What I have gained from this trip in terms of experience, is invaluable. The friends I have made, including people like Siu Sien Huang, who simply sat next to me on the plane from Singapore to Jakarta, started a pleasant conversation and then proceeded to help me through customs and to stay in contact since, sending me a personalized notebook to record my experiences and my poetry - all for just 2 hours that we had to spend together or Andrew James Agana, who treated me my last night in Manila with a 2 hour real Filipino massage - who offered his couch to me for 2 weeks, who was warm and friendly and respectful - could never be counted next to a dollar sign. I recently asked some college students how much they generally spend one night at the bar. They said around $20, which is probably a low estimate. How many days a week do they go to the bar? 2-3 (also probably a low estimate). That makes $60 a week on the low side. If they didn't drink for 50 weeks (for roughly one year), they could easily spend three months in Asia, just for perspective's sake. The Bike Tour Duration: 3.5 days Rough cost: $70 for two. Comfort level: Moderate/High (depending on how much you like biking ;)) This is the cheapest, healthiest, most environmentally friendly way to travel. It's also arguably the slowest (with the exception of walking), but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You will slow down and see things you wouldn't otherwise. You get to know yourself, intimately. Recently, my partner and I decided we wanted to go to Orléans to visit a friend of his. It's 120 km (about 75 miles) from where we live to the SW of Paris. We planned a weekend, we packed up the bikes with the saddle bags, mostly full of food and water, a camping hammock, a zero-degree sleeping bag, warm clothes, change of underwear and socks, and we left. Knowing we were in France, we didn't worry about food or water too much. We shopped at Lidl and local boulangeries to keep it cheap, organic, and delicious. We cooked most of the stuff we were eating at home and at the house of his friend in Orléans. We rode 120km the first day, rested in Orléans the second, doing a 15 km tour of the ville, and then rode into the forest of Rambouillet the second (90 km) where we built a fire and slept under the full moon in camping hammock and did a leisurely 35 km home the next day. This trip cost a total of probably 60euros for food, seeing as we already had all the other gear (bikes, saddle bags, camping hammock and sleeping bag). Whatever your vice is that's inhibiting you from traveling, know that you are not alone, but that there is hope. Please feel free to reach out for any advice or questions and share your stories here as well!
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Audrey Rose
Oct 28, 2018
In Community Blog
Firstly, I want to send my sincere condolences to the victims of the shooting in Pittsburgh yesterday. I don't mean to undermine their suffering with my comments, though I know some people will find this message crude. Regardless, it's important. We are like hamsters on this crazy wheel of racism and gun violence, constantly mourning the symptoms of the larger American problem. I'm not trying to go on a liberal anti-gun rampage here. I shot guns in Kentucky and fucking loved it. I felt powerful. I felt liberated. It terrified me and excited me at the same time. That's not what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about the fact that we are an insane society, constantly repeating the same thing and expecting different results. I'm talking about the fact that we need to reform our behaviors and our attitudes, and most especially, our laws surrounding gun control. Here's a photo of Pittsburgh, today, 1 day after 11 people died in a massacre in a synagogue: We also need to reform our actions. We need to ask ourselves from crucial questions, on a profound level. Why do we continue to wait until people die to gather? Why does it take this to move people? Why is this guy able to publicly proclaim racist remarks on social media and in his every day life and still own a gun? The answers are in some cases, obvious. Our president is doing the same thing, every day, killing people will his policies on a larger scale than this racist ever could. However, it doesn't cease to be sad. I am voting this year. First time in 12 years. I am in Pittsburgh, where I am registered to vote. Where I grew up, where I went to highschool just 10 minutes away from where this shooting took place. I'm feeling really tired of human beings as a race. I'm beyond tired of capitalism and I never wanted to vote for one capitalist over another. But this is just too much. Wake up, America. Wake up. The problem is not the mental health of this one man. This is not an aberrant numeral in an otherwise perfectly algorithmic chain. This is the algorithm. Racism and gun violence. Fascism and hate. Panic and mental illness. This is our president and this is us. But we can change. Despite the underlying hopelessness, I still believe that we can change.
Squirrel Hill Shooting and a lot of questions content media
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Audrey Rose
Oct 25, 2018
In Reading/Viewing List
This is a play that I picked up for a few dollars at Half Price Books because my advisor brought up Churchill while I was working on my Performance Theory certificate at Rutgers, as she's an author who has tackled the idea of trauma from a critical and theoretical standpoint. This play is wild. First of all, thank you Caryl for teaching me about the Romanian Revolution from such an intimate lens. Weirdly enough, I am in the middle of writing a performance piece for our exhibition on the 21st and 22nd of December in Berlin, which aims to explore the history behind the capitalist holiday we now call Christmas. Speaking of capitalism and Christmas, this play is on point. The massacre in Romania, which lead to the Revolution, took place on the 21st of December, 1989 - the same year as the fall of the Berlin wall and many other Soviet bloc countries. Deaths are estimated between 689-1290, when the military of Romania decided to drive tanks into the protestors and to shoot at random. The protest was a reaction, primarily of young students, against the communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who had been systemically removing personal and political freedoms from the Romanian people as well as impoverishing them in the process of glorifying himself, and who was subsequently executed on Christmas Day, 1989, after the secret service and the military turned against him and joined the people in the Revolution. Today, I am stressed about the upcoming US election and the state of affairs in the United States, but reading a play like this really reminds me of what a freedom it really is to walk down the street unafraid to go to prison indefinitely, to call a friend and talk about our asshole president and his capitalist cronies, to critique the fascist rhetoric and regimes. However, at the same time, watching the climate in America, this is a play that scares me. This is a play that gets at the heart of the trauma experienced by individual human beings in the face of fascism. Things I didn't understand are the vampire, the dog, and the angel - these supernatural elements took away from the gravity of the play for me. Something that I really enjoyed was the overlapping dialogues, the singing, the dream scene, and the use of translation as well as the juxtaposition of the American culture through the character of Lucia and Hungarian culture through Radu and Tomas. I have never seen the play staged, but it seems like a difficult one. In the writing, I can tell that many decisions were made naturally among the group that orchestrated/created the piece together - that are hard to imagine in my head while I am reading it. Yes, I would go to see this play.
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Audrey Rose
Oct 10, 2018
In Community Blog
Ok, so this is a bit hard for me to admit. The thing is, for the last 12 years, since 2006, I have not gone to vote. Refusing to vote was my protest and my rebellion against a society in which I feel I have no voice. I justified myself with a "No Gods, No Masters" slogan, a seasoning of, "If the system is broken, then I'm not going to participate in it until it's fixed. There are no candidates for which I want to vote; therefore, I will not vote," and a dash of, "It's just a bunch of rich, crusty old white males anyways." Until now. This past election, living abroad in Berlin, I became acutely aware of American politics in a new way. Whereas before, the media disgusted me, all the players were evil, playing an evil game in which I wanted no part; now, I had a whole new perspective and access to a wider angle of perspective and history. Furthermore, I had no choice. Many Germans, as soon as they detected my American accent, immediately asked me the inevitable, "But, Trump??" question. A culture that has learned from its fascist past, the Germans, in my two-year experience of living there, are very quick to speak frankly about politics, something a 14-year-old student described to me as a conscious effort to remain informed in order not to repeat the past. I found myself, for fear of seeming ill-informed and ignorant, wanting to be more informed. Not always particularly proud to be an American, I found myself getting involved in international political debates and enjoying them; I found the information interesting and I learned things about my own country that I wasn't taught in school, nor through the media. I read the constitution. I began following the news, all kinds of news, searching for the truth through all the biases. In this way, the Internet has been a blessing, a hive of information and, if I can keep my emotions in check, a good place to engage in debate and to share across borders. After hearing enough of the negative critiques, many from people who have never been to America, I found myself wanting to believe in the American system. I found myself wanting to rejoin the fight, to stop acting as though all is lost, because it's not. Hidden deep behind the treasure troves of these misogynist, greedy, egocentric white males (and in a smaller proportion, females and POC, too) who control politics through lobbying, is the law and a system, one that still gives me the right and the privilege to participate. Not yet ready to vote, I made myself available to help a friend register an absentee ballot for the 2016 election. When the results came, I spent the afternoon holding her, a California resident of Syrian descent, while she cried in my arms for fear of her family suffering as a result of the outcome. What could I say? She had thrown in her ballot; and she had lost. Now I stood on the sidelines to care for her wounds, but I should've been out on the battlefield, trying to make sure she didn't get hurt in the first place. I began to see my own culpability as an American, with the right to vote in America, a country with a wide range of influence around the world. Even if it's a small degree of power, the vote is a degree of power and it's one that I need to exercise. I no longer have the right or the desire to hide in the shadows with my fingers in my ears, a petulant child rebelling against my omnipotent and controlling parents. I will not continue to look the other way, while the President of the country of which I am a resident, continues to belittle women and People of Color, as well as throw away years of hard work for social justice and environmental protection as candidly as if he were picking numbers for the lottery. I will not ignore the detainment camps imprisoning families on American soil. I will not ignore my responsibility for American Foreign Policy, nor domestic issues such as Health Care and Welfare. This year, I will cast my vote for women, for the trans and queer communities, for POC, for justice, and for the environment and from this point forward, I won't stop.
Why This Anarchist is Going to Vote in the Midterms content media
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Audrey Rose
Oct 08, 2018
In UPCOMING EVENTS
Well there friends! Here's the official announcement that SOMETHING other than the low tilt of the sun is going to happen in Berlin the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of December due to the overwhelming success of our first exhibition at Gelegenheiten. Plans are in action, cookies are being baked, costumes made. Let's get jolly, holly. xx <3
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Audrey Rose
Oct 03, 2018
In Community Blog
Lately I've heard several friends who I love and respect as artists speaking about the struggles of continuing with the grind. There's always a moment - and sometimes more than one - when we ask ourselves, why the hell am I putting myself through all this? I don't really know why, I can't give a definitive "it's for love" answer because that's not how I feel at the end of it all, but rather, because it's what I should do, it's what I love to do, it's what I feel makes living on this earth worthwhile...sharing, creating, and inspiring others to do the same. It hasn't been an easy trajectory for me to reject the capitalist mentality in which I was raised. I am regularly fighting in my head against wanting to capitalize on my work, as well as trying to figure out when it is necessary to capitalize on the work in the interest of paying the artists, as well as suffering when I re-realize that in order for art to survive in today's world, there is always a consumerist component, whether it's the art itself or the drugs *legal or not* sold on the sidelines to keep the venues going. In the end, it's always those around me who inspire me. It's been easy living the last two years in Berlin - where everyone's an artist, there's venues that give their space to artists for exhibitions for free, and no one's really competing with the next one to be seen or heard. We live in an artists' utopia - which is changing as the city gentrifies - but remains at least until today. I had this moment riding my bike to the exhibition on the last day, feeling exhausted, bruised, stressed, tired, and at the same time, weirdly calm, when I realized that this bullshit hallmark phrase about something that separates the good from the great being perseverance or persistence or determination and I thought: NO. No. No. No. NO. What separates the good from the great is the help that they had from the people who surrounded them. For me, it was Juliette, Darren and Louis above all, followed closely behind by Kiki, Zafire, and Alex. Idan, S Ruston, and Allison pulled their own weight and Evan inspired the whole idea of the exhibition, though he wasn't able to participate much apart from that. Either way, I'm grateful for every single one of these amazing, incredible, inspiring people who made this event possible and I think if you want to do something great, my best advice is to find great people and let them show you the way. xx
When all is said and done, exhibition recap content media
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Audrey Rose
Sep 26, 2018
In Community Blog
One of my favorite aspects of collaborating with other artists on new and interesting themes, such as the 7 Deadly Sins for this weekend's exhibition, is the wealth and range of information that I learn, very often completely unexpectedly. Sometimes the experience hopeful and inspiring, such as watching poet Allison Baldwin walk through writer's block and get to the heart of what she desires to say, changing a mediocre first draft into her stellar 23-page series: Balancing Act. Other times, it highlights a more unflattering side of humanity. Performance Artist and trans activist Zafire Vrba informed me very recently about the topic of their performance for this weekend, On Animals and Cleaning, which relates to the forced sterilization of trans people in Sweden until 2013 and the eugenic obsession in which this procedure is based. When I heard 'until 2013', I felt shocked and appalled; but how could this be?! Honestly, I had no idea. And then, I spoke to some friends from France, the country where I am currently residing, only to find out that it was happening until 2016. Here's a very informative map and chart of Europe from 2014 just to give you an idea. Furthermore, the US is no better as this is an issue divided state by state, but finding a map as clear as this one is hard to find. AND...sometimes the more you learn, you can find little molecules of hope amongst the madness...here's 2018's versions of the same map and chart: Thankfully, several countries, under the pressure of human rights activists around the world, have begun to change their ways. However, this does not mean the system is perfect or comfortable, as 34 countries in Europe still require a mental health diagnosis of gender identity disorder, which categorizes being trans as having a mental illness. I share this to share it, because I believe that the more people know, the more likely it is that human rights violations such as this can change - as evidenced by the work of these organizations: Transgender Europe and Open Society Foundations and the work of 7x7's amazing performance artist, Zafire. And another hopeful UPDATE! From Zafire: "The last map has become a bit more complicated since it was posted in May, WHO has removed trans from the mental health disorders and placed it under sexual health, with the intention to encourage countries to offer trans care not just through specific trans clinics but also through sexual health clinics, making the care much more spread and accessible. There is a good article here: https://tgeu.org/world-health-organisation-moves-to-end-classifying-trans-identities-as-mental-illness/" So, why do I share this? Because after years and years of trans activism of trying to depathologize trans identities, the map has already changed for the better and we only hope to keep that trajectory going. Being informed is a super-power. Sharing with others is exercising that power. Creating something that speaks to our traumatized society in an effort to make art out of the madness is just downright being beautiful. Zafire's On Animals and Cleaning will be performed on Saturday, September 29th at 19h18 at Gelegenheiten, Weserstr. 50, Berlin. For a very informative document from Open Society Foundations about forced sterilization, human rights, and several arguments for and against, click here.
Forced sterilization of trans-people: where it's happening and what we can do. content media
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Audrey Rose
Sep 25, 2018
In Do It Yourself!
If you are a freelancer, or you would like to be one, I'm going to share a little secret with you. Your new best friend is going to be a regular, by this I mean: daily, to-do list. You can experiment and find what works for you; but for me, I have found that sectioning off my to-do list into specific projects, listing the most pressing first helps me significantly. Furthermore, when I am close to a deadline like right now (4 days before the first 7x7 Exhibition in Berlin), I find that it's really good to section the list off by days...prioritizing what needs to get done TODAY as well as tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, etc. Also important! The last and largest section is the "personal" section, which includes things such as : sleep, eat well, go running, meditate, do yoga, and take care of my amazing partner. This is something I started doing more recently as I was noticing that I was more and more stressed, my jaw more and more clenched, and I was struggling to do my usual 30 minute meditation in the morning. SO here are my sections today: Social Media: Creators 4 Progress: Kathy (one of my regular business contracts): Practical: (for the exhibition this weekend) Personal: I cross things off as I get them done...and when everything for today is done, I take care of myself making sure to rest, recuperate, and remember that revitalizing myself as a human being is just as important as being productive and being on top. If I don't care care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health...then, well, what's the point? I hope this helps...here's a lovely photo of today's list and feel free to message with questions and/or for more info!
For the freelancer, the invaluable: the to-do list. content media
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Audrey Rose
Sep 24, 2018
In Community Blog
So, for me it's pretty obvious, but that's because I was raised in a Catholic home and I survived 11 years of Catholic school, church, religious education, and all of the dogma and doctrine that told me that I was going to hell and that there was no chance for redemption for my soul. I was very young when I first heard this and then it was reconfirmed again and again and again until the point where I said, well, "Fuck it," if I'm going to go to hell anyways, then why not have fun on the way there. You see, in the Catholic faith, there are the deadly sins, the "fun" sins for us sinners: greed, envy, sloth, gluttony, pride, wrath, and lust, and there are the mortal sins, such as sex before marriage and eating communion without having confessed your sins. The deadly sins will lead you to the mortal sins or to complete demoralization. The mortal sins leave a mark on your soul that prohibits you from entering heaven. You can pray and pray and pray and pray and repent and pray and hope that God will be forgiving (which if as a young child you look up to these strict people telling you that you are horrible and punishing you mercilessly for your sins on earth, you begin to believe that he's not...) in order to get into purgatory, where you can wait to go to heaven...but if not, you go to hell. Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200$. Go directly to hell. Game over. This disturbed me, tormented me, and ultimately left me suicidal at the age of 16, feeling like how could it be so possible that I was just a bad person inside and out? Didn't I love animals? Didn't I want to help people? Wasn't it I that collected a whole pillowcase of Halloween candy to give out the school bus window to the homeless guy panhandling on the bridge? So, two years ago a photographer in New Jersey, Evan Criscuolo of Evolution Images decided to make a series, photographing each of the sins, and asked me to model. I got to be wrath. It was so cool, and fun, and the photos were spectacular. This intrigued me. I said you know, I'm living in Berlin and it would be the perfect place to do an exhibition with these photos. I could write some poems and we could make a thing out if it. It took some time, but here we are. This Friday and Saturday at Gelegenheiten, 7x7 will arrive. And it's even better than all that. We have photos, poetry, music, dance, ritual, confessions, cleaning, penis sculptures, and a big bad gluttonous vegan buffet. I can't wait. If this isn't heaven, well then I don't know what is. I must've done a pretty good job of repenting, because God have I arrived.
Why the 7 deadly? content media
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Audrey Rose
Jul 31, 2018
In UPCOMING EVENTS
7x7 is a creative, historical, mythological, and prepostoral exploration of the 7 deadly sins, with speakers and an international group of artists commenting on Catholic Theology, through psychology, music, dance, poetry, soundscapes, tattoos, photography, theatre, sculpture, and more. Bring your lust, bring your greed, bring your envy, sloth, pride, wrath, and of course, your gluttony! Audrey Rosey - Performance Theatre, Ritual Juliette Claire - Performance Theatre, Sculpture Allison Baldwin - Poetry Zafire Vrba - Sound piece, guided journey Idàn Sagiv Richter, My little sideshow, music and video performance, www.idansagivrichter.com Alexandre Dujardin, Densha Tattoo, Handpoke Tattoos Sophie Rusty, S Ruston, DJ, Soundscape, Performance Evan Criscuolo, Photography Friday Sept 28: Doors: 19.18, Photography exhibition by Evan Criscuolo Opening Ritual: 21.07 Saturday Sept 29: 17.43: Doors, Poetry by Allison Baldwin, Flash Tattoos with @Densha Tattoo Trauma Speaker/Workshop - the traumatic impact of catholicism/the 7 deadly sins, the corresponding virtues 19.18: Zafire Vrba Historical context/roundtable 20.58: Idàn Sagiv Richter, My little sideshow 22.40: Sophie Rusty/dance party/music/drinks/food a gluttonous vegan buffet 01.05 (30/9) - Fin. There is no cover for this event, donations will be taken to support the venue and the artists. Artwork for the flyer graciously donated by RenDi Young. 📷
7x7 Exhibition, Sept 28-29, Berlin, Germany content media
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Audrey Rose
Jun 22, 2018
In Community Blog
This week, Antwon Rose, a 17 year old young man was shot and killed by the police in my hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylania. 2 years ago, he wrote this poem. I wanted to share because this voice is an important voice - a voice that to me represents so many of the young black generation that I have so far had the opportunity to work with and one that encourages me to reflect, to humanize, to connect, and to remember that I never know how the person sitting next to me, regardless of color, regardless of sex, regardless of origin may be feeling inside. I never know what they confront on a daily basis. How can I?
Antwon Rose content media
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Audrey Rose
Jun 17, 2018
In Do It Yourself!
I recently had a conversation with some new friends about living arrangements and I realized that I have actually lived 10 of the last 13 years almost completely rent free. One girl was so shocked she immediately said: you should write a book! I’m not so sure about a book, but since this is the DIY section of the forum, I thought why not post about it - and maybe open some people’s minds to thinking differently about ”freedom.” I often hear people say things like ”I enjoy paying my own rent today; it makes me feel free.” I find this phrase really interesting; in that, signing a monthly commitment to pay a certain amount in order to attain some level of independence from one’s family is the determining factor of one’s freedom (in this case). On the other hand, I recently hitch-hiked through Slovenia and stayed with a new friend of mine through Couchsurfing. He is 28 years old and his entire family still lives together (including his girlfriend most of the time), except for an older brother who literally moved out last week just in order to be closer to his job, which was 60 km away. I found this arrangement awesome. Furthermore, the family is open to and enjoys having couchsurfers pass through on a pretty regular basis. The father even included me in the Sunday afternoon family dinner, making sure to make vegan friendly food for me and my new friend’s girlfriend - which was so touching. I think this Western/American obsession with space = freedom can be a really dangerous one. What ends up happening of course is that a small percentage of the population takes up too large a percentage of the space, overconsuming resources and living in god-awfully large houses with too much room and no idea what to do with it. In the end, we have loneliness, alcoholism, hoarding, what have you because these people literally have no idea wha tto do with what they have. Then you travel into the cities, or higher density and lower-income areas and you have people sleeping 16 in one house, multiple families together, and somehow - it works (though of course, not by choice). Many of these people reported to me the desire, the dream to have a big house and big backyard - the grass of course always greener on the other side. Yet at the same time, as I hitch-hiked around America - it was always these people who offered me a small corner of floor space before those with the large suburban houses and so much more to ”lose.” So how did I manage to avoid paying rent? Well, for 4 years I hopped trains and hitch-hiked, sleeping on the above floor corners and sidewalks, and park benches, squats, and under bridges - a lifestyle that is fun and exciting in your early 20s and very quickly gets old. I had a backpack with a sleeping bag and one change of warmer clothes that functioned as a pillow and that was that. Oh, and a knife for a front door when the other homebums got funny ideas during the night. I guess in the end I did pay some sort of price for that life, but it turned out to be one that I was able to refund partially through Trauma therapy and my creative projects, which in turn became an investment in the future of projects such as this one, CP4P, where I could use that material to help others. When I left the streets, I spent some time in an institution where the taxes of American citizens paid my rent, and later my parents for the rest of my time in the institution. After 18 months there, I found a friend who was pregnant and needed help at home, and moved in with the exchange of taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, and being generally a second woman around the house for food, gas money, and a room. That was an amazing first arrangement back into society. I know today that should I ever want a home for a short time in Eastern PA, this family is still a part of mine. After 6 months, I returned to University - where I decided to pay rent in order to be able to run The Blueberry Shire, the only “clean” underground show house in New Brunswick, NJ at the time and to have to peace during my studies. Since I had the resources to pay, I decided to and to turn my house into a kind of community center with weekly art and music nights and monthly shows. Some local studenst even made a docu about that house: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QB35lfCc4fM After 2 years, I received a scholarship to go study in Berlin and opted for a homestay with a German family. I moved into their attic, sharing a house with a mother, father, and two teenage German sisters. The exchange was planned for 3 months, and 2 years later I still have a room in their attic and still live part of my time with them. One of my german sisters even recently went to live with my parents in their nearly empty home in Pittsburgh in order to have her own cultural exchange and to get to know her other American siblings. In September, I’m moving in with a friend of my partner’s mother’s - who is 85 years old and has recently put her husband into hospice. She lives alone with a cat and has a need for companionship. In exchange for companionship and help around the house and shopping, I will have a room and an office and the full use of the rest of the house. So this is my experience, which I guess is somewhat unique in today’s world. It comes from my unwillingness to commit to capitalistic ideals of how I should live my life and what determines my level of maturity. My unwillingness to participate in today’s society brought a lot of pain into my life and the life of those who love me initially, because I was also unwilling to compromise. However, today, compromise invites amazing relationships and companionships into my life that enrich and further my personal growth. Choosing not to have my ”own” place of course has its downsides, such as a limit on my ability to walk around naked (all the time at least) or to have sex on the kitchen counter (unless I’m at my partner’s ;)) or to invite friend’s over and stay up all night completely unphased about the time. It means I have to consider the others that I live with. However, in my experience, those small things are actually quite small and not so horrible after all. If I want to stay up all night, there’s my friends’ places or the clubs in Berlin - or camping in the magical forests of the world - or there are ways and places to do it that won’t disturb those around me. Otherwise, I feel quite free, quite liberated (as does my money), and I know that at the same time, should my living arrangement discontinue to function for me or for those with whom I live, there’s a million or even a billion others out there, desperate for a co-living environment and some kind of non-capitalistic exchange and all I have to do is ask!
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Audrey Rose

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