I went to the drug store today. I never go to the drug store. The things they mainly sell, I make. Soap and toothpaste, shampoo and cold medicine. Even food. But q-tips were needed, and I had thoughts on a new lipstick. I know I could make some make-up with certain plants, certainly with beets, but I don't want to experiment with that right now, and I was envisioning something like lilacs.
Have you ever stood before a mature lilac bush in full bloom?
I hope there is a ring of heaven just like that.
Sometimes when I go to stores it's a grand exploratory adventure, even like going to an alien land. The aisles are walked and pondered. Items are stopped by and looked at. Examined. Elusive. But what does it Do? I was going to say its like going to an alien land because it is like so many of these things are relics from another culture, but not like; they are. They are relics from another culture.
It pleases me to see brands focused on wholeness gaining in number, still on bottom shelf. But then I remember my disdain for capitalism, my vitriol with the commodifcation of healing and health, and the rage against the inhumanity of the general toxicity all around.
I'm a blast to go shopping with.
At the card aisle I stopped and paid more attention. Wouldn't it be nice to get some cards for people? There are so many womxn at work who I care for, admire, even adore. I feel pangs of grief already; I don't want to leave them. Do I have to leave them? Do I have to leave here? Does it have to be either pay rent or pay tuition? Where is the land where I can do both? all?
I should get pretty cards on recycled paper and write them something powerful about how some days I think there can't possibly be any more room in my heart or chest for the love I have. Is this why my hips seem to be getting bigger? Is that where this love I am growing for my sisters goes?
Maybe in the card I write somedays, when I have my regular release of allthethings from work, sometimes some of those tears are for those womxn with whom I work. Because I love them. Because sisterhood is so sacred, and in three years here I have made two lady friends but now I have rotating shifts of three, four, five, six, somtimes even NINE lovely ladies.
I am so hungry for this. This is a dream come true.
I never thought it could happen for me.
Sincerely, I think I will explode.
Did you know that after a particularly harsh winter of famine, wolves will go on a brutal rampage, killing far more prey than they can ever eat or need?
Inside every woman is a wolf. Did you know that? We aren't inherently violent or blood thirsty. But we are malnourished. We, like men but more, suffer and hurt and have slow death under the expectations of society, even from our well meaning partners and friends even.
I've known a lot of hard winters. This one wasn't the worst. But it lingers. And I haven't heard the VT wolf counterpart in far too long. When the coyotes call I feel more relaxed, like I drop down into that wild within.
My famine is eased by those womxn at work. And as spring approaches and I long for toiling in soil I wonder what brutal state I would be in without those womxn, without that work together.
There should be stores for wild wolf womxn. Isn't that how a drug store started?
Where are the herbs and flowers and elixirs and seeds and rocks and art? Where are the instruments and dresses made by hands of neighbors and dyed by plants? Where are the poetry books and art supplies? Where are wood carvings of animals and round beautiful women and books about whales and hawks and porcupines? Where are the maps and tools for building?
What am I even doing here?
Standing in aisle four having a slight existential crisis is always a good time.
I went through the categories and envisioned what it could be like with more spectrum, more specifics, at least in the card aisle.
In Lioux's Drug Store there all those things things for ritual, plant medicine, creative expression and more. And the card aisle is twice a long as in this alien place. There are many more categories of cards than just the linear and the binary and the heteronormative. I want other sections than
birthdays for her,
birthdays for him,
engagement then wedding then congrats on the house quickly followed by
yay for baby, kids birthdays and bar and bat mitzvahs,
congratulations on retirment,
sympathy for your death.
In my drug store card aisle there are more options.
There are cards for existential crisis, for example.
There are cards for when we awaken to our divine feminine and masculine qualities inherent in all people and things. There are cards congratulating folkx for growing past defensiveness, for those times we say we are sorry and really mean it.
There is an entire wall of - ISM cards. Here there are cards that somehow make apologizing for white privilege, white colonialism, racism, sexism, classism, colorism, ageism poetic, heartfelt, honest and thoughtful.
There are cards that express acceptance and tolerance for cultural differences. Next to those you can find, for the novice and master, cards of actual honoring and appreciation for the rich diversity and indigenous and colorful cultures white dudes haven't managed to destroy just yet.
There are cards that celebrate puberty, like every other indigenous culture, like we used to worldwide.
There are cards that honor and normalize mental illness, just like that cards that here wish you well during knee surgery. In Lioux's drug store there are cards that wish you well during substance abuse school, EMDR sessions or another attempt at finding just the right cocktail of anti-psychotics, plant medicine, somatic experiencing, tibetan chants and smashing the systems that oppress.
There are cards for little girls that have every color, adjective, future possibility other than pink, pretty, princess. There are heroines from African countries. There are emulations of the goddesses from myths we have lost. There are cards honoring the Black Lilith in all womxn.
The cards for boys encourage a world where crying is strength and dignity in action, where chivalry extends beyond the hopeful lays, where being a writer or a philosopher or a nurse or a teacher offer multiple perfectally acceptable universes harmoniously next to soldier, CEO, athlete.
And of course, in my drug store aisle of cards, one can't tell at all which cards are for boys and which are for girls because they are all together, all inclusive, without color codes and the inundation of consumer culture.
In my drug store there's -
My reverie was interupted by a call over the speaker.
Price check for your health.
How long have I been in here? What am I even looking for?
There was something about the abrupt interruption of my inner imaginings and as I walked towards the make-up I felt more and more strange and foreign. Am I the alien?
Why don't I care about these things in here? Well, I DO care, in a different way I guess. . . .
Am I a freak?
All I can see is overwhelm of essentially the same things but in different labels,with the same unpronounceable shit, the things we are told we absolutely need to be healthy and beautiful and happy and attractive and fuckable and incapable of insecurity or abandonement.
How did I get here?
Oh, right, GMO cotton on a stick to clean my ears and a lilac inspired lipstick that preferably isn't made with death. Where . . . Ah, here,
I started wondering why the names of lispticks, blushes, eye shadows and liners, nail polishes, hair dyes, shampoos, lubricant weren't more honest.
"You Are Flawed" in dark red, light red and pink.
"We Play on your insecurities" in extra conditioning
"Don't Ever Let Him See You Naked with the Lights On" in rouge
"We Don't Find People of Color Attractive or As People" in extra white, white, white but gets tan in July.
"We Are Afraid of Women Knowing their own power" in bold lash formula.
I remember I don't need anything from here. Someone somewhere makes the make-up with some ethic, some plant and animal and humxn love.
As I leave empty handed the really pleasant and underpaid person asks
"Did you find what you were looking for?"
You betcha, babe.
stories from afar(m)