Evolution, Religion, Sacred Space, social justice

Eat your Heart out

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
–Ursula K. Le Guin

What do we do with a hardened heart?

Tonight was Shavuot – a Jewish holiday where we review the whole Torah, but through new lenses. A quick Google search turns up pictures of wheat fields for Shavuot, which symbolize the Harvest of the land of Israel, the day when the Jewish people were given the 10 Commandments. Buried in the golden symbolism of this holiday lay some deep seeded reflections concerning namely, our hearts. And lately, my heart has been hard.

I used to think love was enough.. that with enough love and good intentions, you could over come any trial or misunderstanding. I used to put more optimism into LOVE than into the doing of the actual “work” in love itself, but as it turns out, you cannot force love. No, “love, like bread, must be made every day” (or like challah, every week if you’re Jewish).

Now it takes a LOT of hard work to even make dough… I mean how many of us have worked the fields, harvested the grain, turned grain into flour? Then there’s the combining of the ingredients, patience for them to rise to just the right combination of measurements and temperatures curated to ensure the bread is even edible. So many factors and variables… and just like in our relationships, we must work at keeping the bread alive, constantly in the home, remaking it anew. A ritual, even!


Now, while man plans… Ingredients change. Oven temperatures may vary, yeast evolves and new recipes are written; all along we adapt our process. Cut corners. Shift in dies and as we get older, our hearts change. Love is always there, but it can hide, even from ourselves. Love does not exist in a vacuum, but rather it is surrounded by forces of nature that ebb and flow, pulling our hearts and minds sometimes in opposite directions sometimes. Unlike mana, there is no exact method or science for why hearts are hardened, or not. Layers build, and callous without constant maintenance.

SO – when I looked at my Torah portion tonight called: Bo, I was reminded of stories of the plagues of Egypt, the anguish, the frustration, the hurt that for years so many people even to this day continue to endure, I asked myself, “what DO we do with hardened hearts?” When people are SO angry that they cannot forgive, forget, or give in, where do we go from there? When Pharaoh hardened his heart for the final three times, what hatred that brought out, what misery? What good came out of that, God? Yes, we may have received the commandments and we will forever forward observe this Passover counting of the Omer culmination in celebration, a mitzvah yes, but not without years of hardship and difficulty. How could anyone’s heart NOT be hardened right now, under these circumstances?

And thus, I must look at what I have learned from my many mistakes made in love, and I find that no matter how hard we try, we cannot force a softened heart. Only that is between God and the heart itself. We can work out our own hearts, showing forgiving our own souls but also, finding grace for who have hardened hearts, even when it may not feel rightfully deserved. The hardening and softening of hearts, that is left to God. And when God is everywhere, as I was taught by my parents, it’s up to each of us to do the work. To take the time. To soften our hearts. To bake the bread new. To knead the truth. To re-read the stories, with fresh lenses so that we can keep gleaning wisdom, even, and especially, when the bread turns stale.

Stale bread … used to be for the birds. But opening and reopening our hearts, that is for our people, and everyday we work it. Love, like bread, can go stale, and can be bought back to life. – you can freshen it up with a little heat, or dry it out and make croutons. Starter yeast has probiotic health benefits, and we learn that even from the sourest of dough, love can grow, into a new culture if we can cut through the tough outer later with knives of justice, in order to enjoy the warm parts. Even when matzah didn’t get the chance to rise, we still ate it up, and made ourselves strong. We keep nourishing ourselves, even when it’s tough, because sometimes love isn’t enough to survive.

In this time of modern day plague and uncertainty, we can be grateful that so many of us even have the time to learn how to bake bread, as well as the time to have had the difficult conversations with our loved ones about how to properly love our neighbors. All the while, continuing to work on our own hearts so that they may be as soft and open as our nature will allow.

Everyday, made new.

Love always,
MissConception

“You cannot rescue people from their pain and sadness you can only offer to walk beside them as a fellow kindred spirit” -unknown

Uncategorized

Artistry

I’ve learned a few techniques in interacting with others that involves asking questions in order to connect. Rather than just posting on my feed, “I love to eat clams”, I ask the community, “what are your favorite foods” and the answers that I get back are astoundingly honest and interesting. In using this technique applied to doing any kind of research and in connecting with people deeply, I noticed, that rarely do I answer my own questions.

So when I asked my community a few months ago a tough question, I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I start answering honestly.

I asked my readers, “are you leaning into your vices, or abstaining from them?” online, and I got back a mixed bag of fascinating answers. I don’t even know how myself could honestly answer that, because it’s a lot of both in reality.

My self control tends to come and go as she pleases, without proper timing or reason. I freeze in the most gawd awful dream scapes, and when I awake, what’s left in it’s wake isn’t always pretty. I often shake my sense of self control silly, and oh boy, is she witty! She can talk herself out of any pity party or throw her own damn ball when called upon, real pitiful. Willfully, only sometimes reliable, but who’s counting wrongs or rights? She’s a fighter. She’ll cut her teeth on a short knife, and then blame it on her inner freak’s wife. She’s is also weak, my self control. She’s been known to blow her whole roll right away just for show, because yes it’s best to blow your load early then not at all right? Except in maybe in hindsight. Whatever I did last night, sometimes I don’t even want to know myself. My self control coulda shoulda woulda got drunk and drove straight to hell, speeding down the lonely streets of inside my mind. For the hundredth time, I tell you, my self control has come and gone out of line be design. And honestly, I don’t mind a bit. That’s some true shit.

Funny things about playing with fire and creativity, is that is you don’t always know when creativity is going to strike, like lightening, fleeting in the night . Capturing the quantum can be incredibly risky. Going out on a limb, isn’t always safe. And whistleblowing, comes with a price if you’re not cafeful.

That’s part of this new paradigm we live in, adjusting to the now, and the immediate hours before us. Our lives have been reduced to a day-by-day mentality. Where as we used to plan for weeks, or months or even years out, we now are a slave to our daily routines. “What are you eating today” is a big concern, and “what food do we have for the next few meals? What project can I realistically tackle? What emails need to be checked? What conversations need to be had? What does my soul need to thrive?” Hopefully these questions are being asked and answered regularly for tou. Planning for your wedding, or next month’s vacation, or next weeks drinks and dancing, has become obsolete.

As service industry employees are struggling to make themselves essential by switching careers or adapting resources such as food, alcohol and needs of the community, others in simple positions such as gas station attendees and grocery store employees suddenly have the most crucial role in society. The working from home crowd is overly taxed and full of guilt for complaining about it, while the unemployed continue struggle. Everyone is hurting.

Really not much has changed: The poor are still poor and miserable. The rich are still ignorant and thoughtless. Meanwhile, anyone who isn’t tied to their zoom screen all day such us retirees or stay at home moms suddenly find themselves with more learning opportunities virtually then ever before, an introvert dream. Are hair salons essential, or are bowling alleys? Who’s to really say? And where does the line of “essential to mental health” get drawn? To each his own, and a nation is divided even more.

And then theres the artists, who are all drooling at the mouth to make themselves relevant and prove themselves worthy during this pandemic, if not on the interwebs, at least to themselves. It’s the artist’s job to interpret a crisis and make it palatable someone once told me in a dream. Someone compared being an artist in their reality to the likes of trying to paint a masterpiece while on spin cycle. Lots of hot air in blowing off steam. The limitations in art of improv and freestyle is that statistically it is half genius and half terrible. Hit or miss is what you get when you’re being real, and in a culture that values snap judgement short tempered attention spans, it’s become nearly impossible to succeed. But by whose standards?

The artist is merely trying to connect it’s viewers… to something outside of them selves, something bigger than any one person. What do we do when our art that is designed to unite starts to divide? It’s like we are all looking for a reason to disagree and prove a point wrong.

What is this human drive that facilitates our strong need to be right? What’s wrong with being wrong? Nothing. It’s forgiving the wrongdoings that is are the hard part.

What do we do when we can’t forgive ourselves let alone others?

We make art. We take the negative and turn it at the least into something palitable and maybe even interesting, if not something beautiful.

Professor Nightlife Jones taught me that we each make a choice… to be an artist, or to be a cog in the machine of the rat race. If you choose the path of the artist, you will never be a cog, and you will spend your life trying to entertain cogs and gears so that you can eat. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, it will be rewarding as hell; you will be anything but bored, and at the same time, you will remain underpaid and overworked most of your life. If you choose the life of a gear in the machine, you will spend every working moment miserable and bored out of your mind. You will work 9-5, 40 hours a week plus overtime to then spend every free waking moment trying to forget and tune out the monotony. You will rely on the artists and athletes who choose the other path for your entertainment, to make the machine bearable. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, and hopefully rewarding as hell at times. Both have definite pros and cons of all works. Both are a destiny.

From the Bible we can infer that the original sin was actually learning how to sin itself. We are all given the choice… do we want to eat from the tree of knowledge of good an evil? Or do we want to remain in paradise where everything is easy and simple. Do we want to understand the nature of ourselves, or is it too hard?

We’ve come full circle. Nows the time to choose for yourself. Both lifestyles carry equal weight. We need both to survive and if we are lucky, we may even be able to take turns someday.

The only thing constant is change these days. Shape it.

Love,
MissComposition

Burn, Music Festivals

The Future Burning Bright

Dear Burning Man,



We are at a ground-breaking point in history where what we wan’t doesn’t exactly pair up with what we need. Our communities need us more than ever right now, and it is our civic responsibility to do what is right for the greater good of humanity, as burners. We have the resources, and now it is time to act. Many of us are already acting, and it’s incredible to see what the outcome of such synergy can create.



As madly in love with the Black Rock Desert and all of it’s citizens that I am, I think it necessary for us to consider pressing pause on Black Rock City for one year. Even “IF” the “ban” is lifted next month, it is still obvious we are in crisis, and have been for years. The world needs our burner love, compassion and expertise right now more than ever, not just because of our resources and our ability to get shit done and connect the dots, but mostly to serve as a good examples of HOW to take care of people. ALL people, not just ourselves.

What’s if we took all of this energy and talent and put it into bolstering the civic common good? “If” Burning Man is cancelled and we instead use this as an opportunity to make a very large PR statement about what our values are as burners, think of the impact that could have on the world. If Burning Man could publicly encourage it’s citizens to take our resources, skills, and efforts and put it into our local communities, Burners Without Borders style, we could literally revolutionize the world.

Already theme camps have made this decision to pull out of this year’s burn based on the hit that their communities are taking. A plethora of regionals have already taken the step of canceling this year’s engagements. People in our community from across the globe are struggling financially more than ever and they need our help. Let’s support OUR people (and all people) in crisis now.

Nobody wants to go back to that desert to heal and celebrate more than this burner right now, but I know in my heart what the right thing to do is. 
Black Rock City is my FAVORITE city in the world. It will always be there for us. And we will always be citizens, but now is the time to act bigger than just our Mecca. WE have to help the world HEAL, not just ourselves, but every person. That’s what radical inclusion, civic responsibility and gifting is all about, after all.

It’s time to make a statement, and a very loud one. Let’s take our money and put it where our mouth is, and show the whole world what these principles are really about.

Until we meet again, stay strong and healthy,

MissConception

EDIT: Burning Man did decide indeed not to go back to the Black Rock Desert this year. Instead of course, we are attending “The Multiverse”, and doing just what is talked about above, which is bringing BRC to the world. Thank you CEO Marion Goodell for your decision making, passion, and your message:

Uncategorized

Radio Silence

Are you paying attention?

We all saw this coming. We’ve dreamed about it our whole lives. Blockbuster movies tried to articulate what it might be like. Right now, the whole world on standby with no sight in end. Deaths and mystery viruses swirl around, and martial law looming in the distance. 

We KNEW it would happen! And still we are so unprepared.

We are being forced to change; forced to get creative. We are being forced to face our vices. We are forced to face OURSELVES and yes, it is uncomfortable.

We have free time in the world right now, meaning we can pretty much do whatever we want!

We are being give the space to recreate ourselves in the void of nothingness.

This is the stuff books are made of, bibles are written. New code of laws and ethics are developed. This is a completely new ways of relating and defining community.

I’d like to point out that being OVERLY positive during this time doesn’t always help, because the “positives” don’t always apply to everyone. Some people aren’t luxuriously working from home and stocking up on groceries. Some are totally out of work and can’t afford groceries let alone health insurance, with little relief on the horizon. Sensitivity is being forced from all directions and for why? To punish us?


Or is it possible, that this is a gift? We can and should use this time to get really clear about what YOU want your life to look like. No limitations. Where do you live. How do you eat? Where do you commune or dance or play or pray. What brings you joy? And where is joy needed most right now?

Maybe this is happening to teach us how to speak kindly to our loved ones. How to get along with our communities. To help where needed without question

All in all, it’s a fact that we ALL needed a break . We need to lesson our dependency on money and on the system; the broken system.

Nobody is going to starve. Yes some people are going to die and it’s horrible. But we are going to do our damnedest to take care of each other because that’s what we do: We Pay Attention.

So pay attention to your fears, your needs, your community, and to all of the sub conscious thoughts running on idle as we go about our days. Make little changes. Grab each new habit by the balls and make it your bitch.

Pay attention to what you are paying attention to and shape it.

And don’t forget to call me to check in!

Love, 
Miss Coronaception

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Hair Piece

“Haters mean you’re doing something right, right?”

It’s funny how often I feel misunderstood… I think we all do. When I choose the name MissConception as an artist alias, the WHOLE idea was that I was to exist as a means of bridging the gap between the understandable and the unexplainable. To walk that scary line between equality and injustice; I am the oxymoron, and often people do not like what they cannot understand.

It has been brought to my attention that an angry person has been saying unkind and unjust things about my character, my intentions, and last of all, my hair, so I wanted to take an opportunity to break down a few things, ya know, for the record.

For starters, I fell in love with the women’s hair industry in 2009 when the documentary “Good Hair” by Chris Rock came out and I thought, WOW, I never knew hair could be so artistic! I had always been eccentric with my look, and as a performance artist, I often regularly braided in feathers and ribbons to add flair. When a friend of mind who braided African hair styles offered to braid my hair properly, I jumped at the opportunity and thus began my LOVE and adoration for the weave. I’ve tried many different styles, box braids, crochet, dreads (yes, real ones!) and have come to prefer cornrows with braided in lock extensions over any other hairstyle. It is truly a LUXURY that only occasionally do I treat myself to, and has brought upon a whole new level of awareness about hair and style for me.


I Am Not My Hair – India Arie feat. Akon

Every time I see another person with a weave I get a little giggly inside. “Does she like my hair? Does she hate it? Do I look stupid? Does she know?? She must know. SHE looks like a GODDESS! Am I pissing people off by having my hair done? Is it a ‘waste of money’? It sure makes me feel like a million dollars fabulous. Confidence is key right, especially in the events industry. Oh yes, it is itchy, I’m glad you asked…”. All of these things go through my mind daily when battling insecurities, those of your own are usually too much to bare, let alone an outsider offering their critical scrutiny.

But do I complain? No. Do I dismiss those that do not understand my look or style? NO. Do I seek to understand and spread understanding around what it means to be an artist in the modern world, explaining that IT’S OK to adopt other styles and techniques that work for you, as long as it’s done with integrity and respect? YES. The goal is to keep the conversation going, and if that’s what my hair is doing, even for small minds, so be it.

When I have my weave, I feel MORE like me than any other hair style I’ve ever had, and that to me is a blessing to feel that comfortable in my own skin; skin that is so often admonished and debated, wether or not my skin has “permission” to wear or say or do anything – is of no one else’s right to determine.

I love the African American hair braiding industry and I am happy to support that culture financially and artistically. I hardly even GET my hair cut and cringe at the idea of $100 hair cut and dyes, but I’m thrilled to give my money to someone who creates a work of art.

I do hope that I am not offending anyone with my display of creativity and freedom, but rather am inspiring others to do what makes them happy to. Learn about the intention. Learn about the history and then respectfully pay tribute to past creators, … As with anything that walks that line of appropriation, as long as it’s done out of kindness and understanding and not vengeance, there is at the least room for a dialogue.

So, to the women who called me a “clout hound (had to look that one up) pretty cringe person who’s insisting on being a white girl with box braids dreads,” I say to you, on the record:

I will continue to braid my hair when appropriate, to enjoy it and bask in the glow of feeling fabulous, confident and content in my own skin, if ONLY so that I may be an example for you and others on how to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY while not giving a flying FUCK about what anyone else thinks. Thanks for the inspiration. THIS is why I make art. And I hope that you can find some peace in your heart for that which you do not understand. Our world literally DEPENDS on this.

Poetry for Personal Power 2012 “Hair Piece” Spoken Word Piece:

“Honoring culture and where we each came from. Because some of our evolution as a people involves choosing what works for each of us and what doesn’t.“

Love allways,
MissDreamWeaver

food, Health, Sacred Space

Candida – What?

“I’d like to think these hard times are just instilling us with the lessons we will need to be successful later” 

Are you taking notes?  I sure have been. Many years ago a young lady told me about her issues with Candida, which is when there is an unbalance of yeast overgrowth in the body.  What she spoke of was fascinating, but I was skeptical.  It sounded “new-agey” and like a lot of hokey-pokey snake oil, but I did some research and the more I learn about the human body and my own system, the more I believe from understanding my friend’s own journey and lessons from ten years ago (Thanks Leigh).  

Taking care of oneself is a full time job.  I wish someone had explained this when I was younger in school. What DID they teach us anyway?  They told us a lot about the “drugs” we were not supposed to take, the scares, the horrors of using “bad drugs” and how it would fuck up your life, but I don’t exactly remember them saying “why”.  And then we were taught some about the “good” drugs (aka antibiotics and other man-made chemical formulas) that we were supposed to take to make us well, but they didn’t warn us about the dangers of taking them.  You see, when you take an antibiotic, you have to be incredibly careful to make sure to take probiotics with and immediately after. For some this is common knowledge, but  I cannot tell you how many times doctors have prescribed me an antibiotic and never said a word about the health of my gut.  When you don’t follow the correct protocol, you risk your small intestine over-growing with bad bacteria.  These bad gut bacterium in turn eat your nutrients, so that your body doesn’t get them, even when you’re eating a super clean diet.    

When I tell you I’ve been sick for over a month, realistically it’s probably been more like a year or two, or 10, that I’ve been dealing with this type of mysterious illness that manifests as chronicle fatigue, not to mention bloating and gas (YAY for my boyfriend, right?) and other GI issues.  Yes, I messed up my gut years ago unknowingly, and now I am paying the price.    Doctor after doctor has run tests and tell me that “everything looks good”, so I had to start taking matters into my own hands.  

What does that look like? Overall I feel okay, I feel “fine”, but I don’t feel GOOD.  I’ve been one one of those scary medical googling binges and asking my doctor constantly about this or that; I’m sure he thinks I’m paranoid and crazy, but I stopped caring about that, I just want to feel BETTER.  

So I’ve been taking all of the research and knowledge that I have learned on the sidelines over the years about staying healthy, and pulling it together in a full embodied plan for living life, and yes indeed it is a full time job.  Many of you have heard me talk about the Whole30, which I am still a huge proponent of, and that sugar/carbs/dairy elimination diet has been the foundation for cleaning out my gut.  Healing truly can and has to be done with food… it’s not just a recipe, it’s a lifestyle.  It takes time and money… all the money I’m saving by NOT doing drugs, I’m spending on food and supplements, but hey, at least I’m taking care of myself.  

Healing is truly a feel time job.  Today I took off work because I woke up feeling absolutely exhausted and knowing what I needed to do today would involve not being at work, so I sucked it up and set about continuing on my health cleanse.  

This morning, I woke up, took my morning meds which included two tinctures, several multi vitamins, ashwaganda, lysine, and reshi (all spread out by about 20 minutes to give each molecule some alone time to process. I also take aloe with probiotics along with my meal, a mud shot (yes, real MUD to clean the pipes), along with several other oils balms and remedies to try and keep myself on track.  This morning, I ran myself an apple cider vinegar bath, while freezing some coconut oil and tea tree suppositories, I also used the mud on my face for a mask, made a hot tea with 40+ medicinal herbs, did some stretches, and this is all on top of the colonic hydro-thearpthy session I had yesterday (now you can understand why I needed to stay home from work!)…. The list goes on. In fact, I CREATED my own “self-care” daily reminder list that goes a little something like this:

NO SUGAR FOR ME THANK YOU!!
Food Prep Weekly
Supplement twice a day
Tinctures twice a week
Probiotics every day – Take aloe with probiotic
Coconut oil pulling
Mud Mask once a week – or mud drink!
Frankincense and tea tree for anti fungal on floor of shower
Coconut Oil Moisturize!
Bath: Epsom salt, sea salt, ginger, baking soda and activated charcoal
Sleep with lavender on my pillow at night
Take magnesium before bed
Ravansara under my toes
Bergamot in the morning on my temples
Iron Ferrus Sulfate 1 pill three times a week
And on occasional colonic 😉
Why do I need a list? Because forming habits is hard, and I need constant reminders of staying on track.  

It’s almost 2:00 p.m. and I still have major food prep to do.  I’m day 18 on this Candida food cleanse, and I honestly don’t even know what I would do if I didn’t have sick-days to take off work to focus on my health right now.  Being and staying healthy is truly the most important and more difficult part of our lives….one bite at a time.   

It’s also much easier when it’s a GROUP EFFORT. As always, feel free to post your recipes and ideas for staying healthy or treating Candida in the comments section below.  I learn from you, and we learn from each other, that’s how this works.

MissNutrician,

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www.themissconception.com

Art, Evolution, Poetry

MissConceptions of a Modern Day Mash-Up

I laugh at myself (as artists often do) almost every time I practice my newfound art of DJing.  I laugh because I never thought at age 33 this is what I’d be geeking out over, but also I laugh because as a poet at heart, my DJ flow is an extension of my poetry.  Whether I am spinning hoops, weaving words or mixing tracks, I find poetry and laughter in each art form. As a DJ, the poetry flows from my own consciousness as well as from blending other people’s cherished words together (more often than not, the words accompanied by music in the background) to put together a unique and experimental set.  Call it hip hop, call it vocals, or poetry, whatever; I have fallen in love with the art of blending the sounds of other people’s words in a way that takes the listener on a new and mystical journey, and it totally cheeses me out.  And now here I am BLOGGING about my LOVE of DJing WORDS as a POET… the irony layers upon layers of “WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE DOING” seems to spin me around saying boldly that in this wild world of art, I have, and will again, come full cipher.

“How did I get here?” I often ask myself that question.  At first glance it might appear that my white girl entitlement woke up one day and thought “hey, I think I’ll be a rapper”. On a deep level, where one must look honestly at ones privileges and entitlement,  I can admit that there is an element of truth to that; however in all honesty the evolution of MissConception has really has been so much more.  Allow me to spin a tale of truth, take you back to my youth, and share why I dare be so bold as to tread instead on this blazen path of creativity.  See, I was born wanting to defy any and every stereotype imaginable, but I wasn’t always so brave.  When I look back, there are a few crucial moments in my life when I distinctly remember thinking “I am going to be an artist, blow some minds, and have a fuck-ton fun doing it”.   I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard, despite everyone’s warnings.  (Sometimes when you’re not even trying things come easiest, and then you start working at it and the challenges show face).

Safe to say, I pretty much came out of the womb dancing.  My grandmother Carol used to tell me about how she would take me to brunch on top of the Alameda hotel and I would sing and dance and put on a show for all the guests with the piano player on deck.  I choreographed and performed my own dance in 2nd grade for a talent show.  I wanted to be Aretha Franklin at age 10.  (My parents put me in singing lessons when they heard that.)  I remember my whole childhood full of adults telling me I shouldn’t sing because I was, plainly, annoying.  Nobody used that word, but I could tell they didn’t want to hear it.  I often wanted to put on shows that nobody wanted to watch.  Time and again I participated in ecstatic plays where nobody cared to hear me out.  Entire lifecycles I role played out in my head, alone.  Though my parents did offer dance lessons and school play auditions, which I readily appreciated, I couldn’t help but feeling stifled in hindsight.  I wanted to bring joy, but I was told to hush, like many children.  “Don’t be so silly,” they warned.   I distantly remember a time in 5th or 6th grade when even though I knew deep down in my heart that I was an “artist” of mystical meanderings, that the power of the universe was within me and I had all the knowledge I needed to make the world a better place, admist along all of that confusion, I decided I would put it all away, as to not bother anybody. The sadness in not feeling welcome to be ones self, I know it well.

Yes, I put it all away alright; through high school in dance team I opted to be in the back row every time. I didn’t try out for parts that had singing auditions, which were almost every part.  I didn’t want to call attention, for fear that I would be told I wasn’t good enough.  All of those things we are told as women, as children, as adults that we “aren’t pretty enough, aren’t smart enough, didn’t make the cut” echoed through my head constantly.  After all, wouldn’t we rather do nothing at all than fail?  “If you don’t do anything you can’t fail,” I thought.  (All this coming from a straight A student…). I never really felt like I fit in, or had a purpose, and it was very confusing for a child who was asked constantly “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Until I found the misfits…

I signed up for a poetry writing class at KU, mostly to avoid British Literature, and I remember my classmates seeing my love of creativity and word-smithing, encouraging me to go to poetry readings and let my words be heard.  I didn’t believe them at first; THEY thought I was worth OTHER people’s time??   As I began going to readings and putting myself out there slowly people started asking me to do it more.  The local jam band asked me to come sit in and flow during their Monday night jam sessions.  I started calling poetry circles in the park, where strangers would come to just hear words exchanged in the moonlight.  People BOOKED me!  I started attending secret midnight readings, hosting events and finding serious poetry slams, with jazz bands and professional poets encouraging me to “work harder to find the right word,” which is what a professor taught me once.  An endless cycle, nonetheless, I was hooked.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t poetry that dragged me surely out of my sh-ell (sheltered-hell), but rather, it was a hoop.  I was in college and my friends started learning how to hula hoop, this oldschool-made-new fitness craze; but these girls were learning tricks, dancing and meditating with the hoops.  Dancing, having always been a vertical expression of a horizontal desire (said Rita Dove), became an immersive experience. I had always been a lover of play and movement, so I followed right along in stride with the other hoopers, learning how to work with one, two, and up to six hula hoops at a time.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but later I would light them up, and set them on fire!

 

“The irony spins in hoops yearning to endear our ears to truth” – Stella Dreamwalker

It was using these plastic rings with a “give-no-fuck” attitude that gave me the courage to really bless the mic the way a mic should be blessed.  Well, the hoops, and many poets and artist that I encountered who each inspired me to the stars and back.  A little bit of self-confidence was the ignition I needed.  Fueled with my words of love, I combusted and in 2009 I made a decision to start taking myself seriously, as an artist.

Over the years, I’ve casted many nets and caught a lot of fish, some very lucky minnows and some sharks. I knew carving out a niche as an artist was going to be difficult. It was going to be full of disappointment, misunderstandings and with plenty of people telling me I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t be successful. I knew I was fishing in waters deeper than I had fished before. I also knew that there was no other option for me but to try. I was a guppy who wanted to move mountains with art. So first learned to walk on lands and then I learned to fly… and then, mountain hunting I went.

I remember the night it dawned on me that if I was going to do this, which is when I started diving deeper into hip-hop.  I realized I had been embodying many of the elements of this loved art form without even knowing it… DoJing and emceeing, art (graffiti/stenciling), bboy dancing, and the consciousness of it, all touched my heart; the pain and the sadness right along with the badass gladness.   “My Main MissConception” was the first spoken word performance piece I wrote and my roommate deemed me the name MissConception.  #miccheck

Special thanks to Alex Chase for recording and mastering my first track.

Since I was little I had always loved rhyming.  Shell Silverstein and Dr Seuss were heavy influences as a child , and in middle school I memorized all the words to a Jurassic 5 song and then the rap at the end of TLC’s Waterfalls.  I was obsessed with cadence and delivery.  After flaming hoops unleashed my inner confidence, I took to the stage saying the thing that nobody at least nobody who lied like me) wanted to say.  Passion and truth flowed naturally like water from my lips.  Largely, I wasn’t the most popular act in town, especially in the thick of the spoken word and rap scenes, despite my emphasis on social inequality, the environment and gender equality.  I wanted to change the world, and again it seemed nobody wanted to listen. Eventually a local producer, DWILL, offered to make beats for me and record my first album.  In  2008 he helped me to debut my dream, Self Titled: MissConception; I was ecstatic.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be making a hip-hop album. He believed in me, and that is sometimes still hard to believe.

Since then, I’ve performed on hundreds of stages, hosted showcases, self-produced several more albums (Ostentation, Saraswati, Saratonin, Serendipty EP, and my new release coming in 2020 titled: Saramony); I’ve worked with some very talented producers, and I even had the opportunity to release my first chap-book of poetry in 2016 entitled: Class Action (because who really wants to go to law school anyone when you can be a poet). #poppoetry #12poetsin12months.  (I still have a very limited amount of 2nd edition signed copies left #classaction)

Yes, it all looks so pretty on a website, and yes I have wanted to give up over and over.   The truth is for an artist, it is a constant internal battle of your mind as to whether or not to keep going or give up, and an external battle with everyone else.  Almost every day I doubt myself.  And almost every day I have someone reach out to me telling me that my words changed their life.  “Have you considered getting an agent?” is the most grateful and yet painful question; lord I wish I could find an agent who would understand this hot mess of an artist.  But just knowing that so many people now believe in me; what a blessing. On the other side of the same token, I receive more messages than I’d care to admit that my work is trash, founded in ignorance, and  I have no business as a white woman in hip-hop, or that I’m chasing a dream that no longer serves me or my lifestyle.  One thing these hoops and ciphers have taught me is that each of us has our own fires to burn and our own lessons to learn.

I learned long ago to not chase the dream.  Follow it. Show up for it.  Be ready for it when it comes knocking, but don’t chase it.  Desparation is a heavy stench. The thing I keep coming back to as an artist is that it doesn’t matter who likes or doesn’t like my art. The art is made FOR ME, by me, because of me, and through me.  It’s there if you want, take it or leave it.  You don’t have to understand it to appreciate it.  Sometimes the parts of creativity that we MISunderstand are actually the POINT of making the art.  The more healthy discussions that spark from these dreams come alive the more fuel for the art.

More often than not I wake up lyrics in my head from a dream and scribble them down before I forget.   I am not necessarily a writer, dare I say that I am a channel? I always tell people that although I may write down the songs, they don’t exactly come from me, they come through me.  I didn’t plan for this. I didn’t ask for this.  I just simply cannot help myself; and thus another misconception was born.

Saramony Album Art 2020
Album Artwork painting done by Wieteke Waterborg, 2008
Ceremony | Saramony Release Day January 1, 2020
– A projection of desire and reflection of the fire –

In preparing for my new album release, Saramony | Ceremony in 2020, I collaborated with a group out of the Twin Cities called the Gypse Freq Circus for one track; several of the tracks were written by a producer named Eisenhauer, and a few parodies in the mix that just fell out as well.  (Parodies are my favorite!)  Recorded and mastered by Jonathan Larson of the Tenderloin Studios in San Francisco, this is some of my darkest and most conscious work yet dare I say?  It is set to release on January 1, 2020. #2020vision

I’ve always said that there are two rules of ‘Show Business’: 1. Shock Value –  and 2. Always leave them wanting more.  Say the thing that they don’t expect you to say and then leave them hanging on the edge of their seat baby so they come to your next show. These 8 tracks I am hoping will tug on your heart strings just enough to help me fuel the next round of creativity, whatever that may be.  I’m always paying attention and ready when the universe calls.

Another professor once taught me that “Poetry is the art of paying attention” and he could not be more right.  Paying attention in a century where attention-spans are the length of twitter tweets is a nearly impossible feat.  It’s asking a lot of people these days to cut through the clutter and really give your mind to one train of thought for more than five or ten minutes.  How about, just one song even?   Listening may or may not save your life per say, but it’s CERTAINLY saving mine.  Here is a sneak peak of the title track off my new album, entitled: Gypsy Freq Circus

Gypsy Freq Circus 

Being an artist and performing original work to an audience that appreciates said art is truly the greatest give in the world; the highest of highs abound.  It has become my mental health lifeline.  Booking an artist is somewhat akin to saving their life in a sense… it’s our purpose, striving art. It’s what we live for.

“Art is why I get up in the morning,” said Ani Difranco, “but my definition ends there you know it doesn’t seem fair that I’m living for something I can barely define…and there you are right there in the meantime”.  Art is the process of defining what there is to get up in the morning for.  Whether it pisses you off or inspires you, at least it’s doing something!

 

❤ Thanks for the love during the last decade ❤

If I’ve realized anything about the beauty of performance art, it’s that it’s an incredibly hard sell, almost especially so when your tool-kit is full of a variety of tricks; often people don’t know what to do with me as an artist.  I’ve been told, “I’m too spiritual for the hip-hop heads and too hip-hop for the yoga teachers.”  I don’t write my own “music”, I write the  words.  I take other people’s music and words that flow through and mash em up often serenditiously.  When they ask about my work style I tell people, “If you put Ani Difranco and Jurassic 5 together, you get one hell of a MissConception”.  And I suppose I’d have it no other way; after all, my name is MissConception; the element of mystery and elusivity is part of the practice.  You’re supposed to interpret art, not be told what it is.   “Just what is she trying to do?”  Truth is the magic is in the mystery.

In closing, I just want to say a seriously great big thank you to anybody and everybody who has ever supported MissConception, myself, or any other artist that inspires you on any level.  Thank you for also sharing your art with me. Special thank you to my dear friend and editor,  Stella Dreamwalker, for believing in me and writing with me along the way.   I will be forever grateful for your love, and I will continue to offer my creativity and love to any and all who wish to share.  The only way out is in-word, and we are all in this wordy world together, spinning circles.  Let’s keep rockin’ into the twenties!

THANK YOU 

Love,
MissComeOn

Miss Concept Ion

www.themissconception.com