the process of deconstructing culture: a parent’s perspective. | April 26, 2012

There are thousands of places to read about how to deconstruct the oppressive and unhealthy culture in which we reside. There is even several places to talk about the topic, but how many of you have found places to actually live these ideas?

I feel like I have been giving it a hell of a shot and though this has left me to be called crazy, a perpetrator, a snitch and puritanical by people I have held most dear, I am still pretty flippin’ proud of my progress. I hold no illusion that I trip up. I understand I have a history of substance abuse and aggressive behavior.

This time on the road has been anything but ordinary. The trip has been, shockingly, rehab. I am traveling with an individual who is pursuing a program in astral projection or in more common terms, energy work. I attempted to begin this program with him but quickly found how much emotional digging up this would take and acknowledged I did not have the space to pursue that path at that time. We all gyrate at our own speeds. The energy work consists of several different meditation techniques each day. It has also brought us to pursue further the holistic affects of herbs on our psyche. One of the bulkiest items we have filling our packs is a mobile apothecary and books to supplement them. I have been regularly medicating with the subtle energies of plants. I can not begin to describe how this has been empowering me from the inside out. It makes the absence of alcohol digestible. It makes the nightmares desintigrate. It makes the anxiety of past trauma dissolve from my body and my soul.

I think it is in the current dominant consciousness that this is a reality. That plants can help us more than genetically modified chemicals. What I do not believe is available to the dominant consciousness is how long this takes and the type of emotional support it takes to walk such a gradual road.

It seems common sense that as a mother I would take these steps. It only seems common sense when one is not taking into consideration the entire picture. Laws and schools mandate parenting in so many ways. In order to deconstruct culture and parent, a mother has to balance millions of spinning plates. It means living outside of the culture while keeping up a digestible appearance so that dominant culture does not feel compelled to question your custody of a child. After all, defense of our earth and our individual rights these days is legally characterized as terrorist behavior. In an article I was recently reading it pushes the idea of overly centralized, finger pointing parenting present in our current society. It states, “Our obsession with parenting is an avoidance strategy. It allows us to substitute our own small world for the world as a whole. But the entire planet is a child’s home, and other adults are also mothers and fathers. We cannot separate our children from the ills that affect everyone, however hard we try. Aspiring to be perfect parents seems like a pathetic attempt to control what we can while ignoring problems that seem beyond our reach.” Aspiring to be a perfect parent also often interferes with healthy parenting by perpetuating the anxiety of being a failure, causing irreparable damage, and being selfish when caring for your own needs. As I have pointed out in previous blogs, assuming good intentions is one of the best ways to support a single parent.


*continuously working on the development of myself to include processing anxiety, warding off substance dependence and maintaining motivation–>check.

*detoxing negative, non-supportive individuals and communities from my life–>check.

*maintaining transience to cultivate fresh energy and new ideas to bring back to my community–>check.

*diversifying my network of support and stabilizing my community while not infringing on the liberties of others…. uhhhmmmm, well… I’m working on it.

Denver has been a difficult place to be empowered as a single parent. Initially, it was a great environment to broaden my scope of resistance and my “radical vocabulary”. Then after some emotional and interpersonal fallout it was a great place to rebuild and hone my desires and intent as an individual. Now, the community I have invested in looks as though it has a bit of a rocky road ahead. The larger radical “scene” in Denver seems to be split into two worlds. One world is dogmatic, elitist, repressive and forceful of ideal realities but unsupportive. It’s progress is paralleled by the numerous individuals(including their children!) it throws to the streets while broadcasting its triumphs in perfectly packaged soundbites. It is impressive in its accolades but unfortunately mimics the oppressive structure it resists. The other world is quite a but more understanding and has a more broad goal of embodying anti-oppression work first but struggles with substance dependence and lack of organization. It’s progress is mostly unrecognized and quickly forgotten. It’s intense, slow, daily healing work is undoubtedly present but difficult to measure. It is also unstable, as the autonomy of each individual is a high priority.

The second world is the world I, personally, feel most supported by and have the most hope and personal investment in. After so many years working mental health and staying on top of my own mental health stability, I understand the fickle nature of the beast and the slow, daunting walk it takes. Having this time on the road to manage my relationship with alcohol and my relationship with medicinal herbs, I am clear headed and confident. Recently, I have heard word that the Tea Haus is facing an inevitable communal flux. There is a possibility that there are several people deciding to move on and either new residents will come or the house will no longer exist. As a mother with a month and a half ’til my sons return, this news inflicts terror in my heart. As a member of counter culture and connoisseur of resistance theory, I comprehend the inevitability of such hiccups. There is a certain level of becoming accustomed to people you love and depend on coming and going. This highlights the necessity of a strong network.

It also brings up a discussion topic for the larger whole. Who is responsible for our children? How obliged is the peripheral community member in the development of our collective children? Is my child a priority of those whose emotional and communal stability I make a priority?



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  1. I am really, really enjoying your posts recently.

    Comment by Kristen — April 26, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  2. after reading the article you reference and your blog i am even more excited about the possibility of you being here with that incredible son of yours. after going through a pregnancy and abortion in the last month, i have been questioning my desire for biological children, when there are already so many kids in my life that i want to be nurturing and celebrating. the isolation of parents and parenting is such a devastating practice and i want to be part of a village that holds communal child rearing as a high priority. and i am trying to manipulate my reality to reflect that desire: actively searching for a home for you and jojo and kevin and evan and the kids. 🙂

    and i understand the rift between radical communities. my current community is the post occupy group who was most interested in anti oppression work as a foundation for any other work we do together. and we are more stable it seems, but definitely vulnerable to the strong winds of our commitment to deep emotional work. it’s lovely and exhausting, all at once.

    and i would love to have you as part of that community here. beautiful blog, thanks for writing!

    Comment by Sara Tansey — April 27, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

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