Stories From the Zine - Accommodation Stops

I create the 12 pieces of secret message art for the Secret Message Society sometime in the Fall each year. A theme loosely forms, and I jot out the phrases that come to me. When planning for 2017 the phrases and the art felt very bold. Black and white with a splash of one colour. Self-reliant phrases that paved a definitive way forward. I wondered if they would come across as too harsh for my subscribers, but I didn't want to edit what was coming to me. I'm glad I stayed my course. 

This month I wasn't resonating with the secret message until today. I actually wrote the words "accommodation stops" in my journal, and then realized I had written the exact phrase of this month's secret message. I also realized, right this moment, that I misspelled the word accommodation on the piece of art. Wowza. Apparently I'm got to stop accommodating spelling guidelines as well. Take that! 

After writing the phrase in my journal I looked up a definition and antonyms for the word accommodate.

Accommodation is a convenient arrangement, a compromise, the process of adjusting to someone or something, acclimating. 

Antonyms include: stop, prevent, limit, block, unfit, obstruct, not adapt

I have acclimated myself to the Real World. It's only natural. As a young, soft thing getting punched again and again in the vulnerability gut, I learned pretty quickly that I was going to need to adapt in order to survive. It's a survival of the fittest sort of planet, and I was determined to make it out alive. 

When I wrote the phrase "accommodation stops" today I drew an arrow down from that and wrote: stop watering myself down.

I've learned to offer up alternate versions of myself, sort of meet in the middle, stand in the gap sorts of compromises. I have an understanding of who I am. I have learned that is odd or unattainable by some sort of Real World Standard. I have learned to survive I need to work in automatic translations, patches, and filters that will make me computable to those not like me. 

It looks something like this. I want to read. The Real World wants to watch TV. I can appreciate the story as it plays out on screen. 

I want to be still. The Real World wants to be active. I can make activity an adventure. 

I want to be alone. The Real World wants to be in community. I can spy and take mental notes. 

I want to make something with my hands that matters to me. The Real World wants to buy new shiny things. I can be a traveling companion.

I want to work with raw materials, the simpler and the sparser the better. The Real World is bored and wants more, more, more. I follow along and figure out how to incorporate a portion of more. 

I want to focus for hours on end until I'm thoroughly done with one lovely obsession. The Real World wants to be in constant motion, onto the next thing and then the next. 

I want to follow the white rabbit. The Real World wants black and white commitments etched in stone. I rehearse and recite my regular contributions and trail my white rabbits in my own time. 

I found myself in tears today, journaling about the sun on my skin and my lovely pair of sunglasses and an incredible sunroof in my own car. I've never had my own car, let alone a sunroof. The tears came because in that moment I realized how very content I am with being myself, but I was journaling because I felt discontented. How funny to realize how content I already am, and how the sense of suffering is really only because I am naturally trying to accommodate other people in the Real World so entirely. It's what I've grown accustomed to.

 I am jotting down some ideas for what it looks like to stop acclimating portions of me to the Real World. I think I've learned enough of the rules around these parts that I can stand to break several now without getting devoured. 


This (misspelled) piece of secret message art comes tucked in the current Secret Message Society Zine, No. 51. You can sign-up HERE to become a member, and I will snail mail my imperfections to you straightaway!

I'd love to hear in what ways you are done accommodating the Real World.