UPDATE: The talk is available as a podcast on the Out There radio show.
I gave a free talk at the Forbes Library on Saturday, February 6 at 1 pm in the community room. I spoke about sharing and learning the skills of cooperation, reforming the culture of busyness and creating non-traditional family.
I’ve been living cooperatively in a cooperatively-owned house for the past 10 years, and gotten tremendous benefit from that, both economically and socially. It’s also been a challenge to learn how to get along with each other. Bringing up the difficulties before they build to a place of resentment, openly talking about feelings and hashing out the details are skills that I’ve learned and am still working on.
I’ve been spending time every week for the past three years with my adopted niece who is now 5 years old. Together we’ve created videos, gone biking, hiking and on public transit adventures, and this past summer we’ve been building a house on a bike trailer to travel to Antarctica with. It’s been about following her lead, and finding the places where I have interest too. I feel very much adopted in her family and all of us support each other – having dinner together, saving thousands of dollars in child care costs, and filling my need for connection with children.
And I’ll talk about making space in my life, through sharing and cutting expenses, and through meeting my needs in multiple ways at once. Some are: biking for transportation and exercise, cutting wood by hand with a two-person saw and talking the whole time, taking the time to walk places to help me think and to see so much more than I would see traveling faster.
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from people of color and raised poor and working class people, locally and internationally, who are cooperating and conserving and living in ways that many white middle-class people have lost touch with. I’ll be speaking about my experience, understanding that my situation is unique and that I have had a lot of privilege to have the space to figure out new solutions, and these solutions won’t work for everyone. Oppression is very real and puts us in a bind unequally. Making space in my life has given me the time to work on fighting to end systemic oppression without burning out.