Overlaid text reads "Slow the Fuck Down by Alexis Cash (she/her) edited by Molly Johnson (they/them)." Text is overlaid over an image of Gabe Flowers a black person with a beard and shoulder length curly hair. They wear a black frock and leans far to the side looking up.

To the conduits of my healing who have taught me the necessity of accepting my death, and to those who have met and who meet me when I don’t want to move further; thank you.

To those who do not find it easy or even fathomable to slow down, I speak most directly to you. I will use words interchangeably such as death, cycles, growth, and shifts. I will use these words to discuss change.

Transformation, death, cycles, alchemy-- however you resonate with change, it’s happening. I'm not particularly stellar at accepting change. Not many are, especially right now, when we as a society would rather people to die than to have to slow down and discover new solutions.

On a global scale, our white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal system does not honor change. As we move as quickly as possible to remove dead bodies from our homes and charge a fee, we rob ourselves of change’s grace and the ease with which we can step into new templates of connecting with others and resonating within ourselves. Our actualization of change is often the movement or revolution of a pendulum swinging to an oppositive, similar extreme. Not many of us like nuance, nor the choices that arise and must be answered in the absence of simple binaries. The nuance of growth is not in our forty-hour work weeks, nor punitive, non-rehabilitative prisons. Because of this, nuance is draining out of our art.

Our global, consumerist society does not proclaim the benefit of being in alignment with our personal cycles. Even as words such as “rest” and “peace” become trendier on social platforms, and more of us start reading books written by Black femmes, we go “back” into our lives and put these roadmaps to the side. We even read and consume for the placebo effect of quick, positive, woke-activating change with little effort. How many of us actually nourish ourselves with the words of a book, or languidly feel out an idea?

Our willingness to remember and come into alignment with our personal cycles is the difference between a life of deep discomfort, distrust, disconnect, dis-ease, and a life of music, of resonance, and of love. A love defined by nourished choices, trusted actions, and presence. A life of constant love making, intimacy, and depth.

What I have written so far grates into the spine of a lacking mindset. It triggers in me the part that doesn’t always want to be deep, doesn’t always want to deal or engage with all thatishappeningwithinmeor around me. The part of me that relishes in disassociation and was taught that pacification and following the rules is delicious and protective. Yet, as Audre Lorde reminds us, especially in relation to Black women, “ Your silence will not protect you.” All we are is an expression of our truths. How we eat, how we communicate, how we breathe, how we engage with each day, how we engage with our pain and our joy, no matter how seemingly small or wide. Our dissociation does not stop us from being seen, used, or swallowed up by our own fears. We still will die. We still will find ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in. We will still see things out of alignment in the world. We will still have a choice to make, and that is all we need. There is nothing lacking in choice.

 

What is being said when art has no time, when things should have been learned already, when time is money, when you work to maintain viewership, when the choices one makes are how to stay relevant, when all many are looking for is how to be the same, when anyone can do it because everything can be edited, CGI’d, digitized, and when mediocre is enough so it takes the place of gallant, brave, and profound?

What can be remembered in slowing down? In taking the time to understand your personal cycles of rest, action, and completion? Truly, what product has not been on the clock, so for as amazing, as creative as that work was, what stories and layers are left untold? What is yearning to be seen or heard or written or tasted or felt? What pieces or whole of the divine is missing?

How does this change our relationships in our perspective fields with others and ourselves? How does this change what we need from others and ourselves? What would happen if we dared to follow our process through its full journey, to let it lead us? What would happen if we were supported as divine beings sharing a profound spark of ourselves to all life and we saw our work through, no matter the put upon, artistic hierarchy.

Maybe we will make less work, or maybe we will make more. Maybe that work shifts or stops altogether, but why is that a problem? What if you and I were brave enough to take our time, so that what we have to say, do, draw, paint, write, move was the breadth of that idea?This isn’t me speaking to finality or perfection. I am writing about harmony. Harmony with oneself, which becomes harmony with one’s community, which becomes access to share, to be vulnerable, in such as way that is deeper than many of us have experienced before. I am not saying you will be met by most of the world, and I am definitely not saying wait until more people are down. I’m saying do it anyway. Carve out

your space.

Gabe Flowers a black person with a beard and shoulder length curly hair. They wear a black frock and leans backwords looking blissfully up and to the side.

There is an unbelievable privilege in having time, in taking your time. Not all of us will be able to do it in the same way, but all of us have something to offer to ourselves, and to each other by doing it. Many of us have time and support and money to give so that someone else has more time and support and money to slow the fuck down. It is our duty to give it. Many of us have a little more time than we want to believe we do. It is our right to take it. Many of us would find that if we slowed down a lot of questions would arise, a lot of recognition of what is not working would be crystal clear, a lot would be broken down, a lot of something new would need to take its place. It is our responsibility to listen and act on that guidance. And over and over again this cycle will go until you arrive, for a while, somewhere you are ready. Only to tip and move forward.

It is time to get in our bodies. To go slow.

I am asking for you to give your work more time. To become a rebel. To fuck the system. To look at that false god of modernity in the glass eye and log off. To take your power back. To go slow so you can go faster. To find alignment with your work because not everything you have to say needs to be said, not everything you want to say you are ready for, and what you must speak needs more of you than you are giving it.

There is so much more to what we can imagine. There is so much more that we are ready for and deserving of as individuals and as a global people. It all hasn’t been done already, we just have to be willing to open new doors that show a little more of what is going on in the world, that invite more presence in the artist and viewer, that let go of what isn’t serving, that dare to imagine beyond digging through different non-white racialized bodies cultures and ideas and taking it on.

Dare to imagine deeper. Dare to not recognize yourself. Who are you, what is your wisdom? How will you ever know to listen if you never slow down?