I Was Incredibly Naive.

I didn’t know what “stack” was. Or how to get on it.

And I damn sure didn’t know what “the process” was. Or how to “respect it”.

But maybe I am getting ahead of myself…

 

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On the day that I went to my first Occupy Atlanta general assembly, I zoomed on my bike through Atlanta from Ponce De Leon in Midtown to Hurt Park next to GSU. I had about five friends meeting me there and I was a little late.

I found a spot to let my bike stand and join the group.

I’d say that there were a little over thirty people there.

I couldn’t tell how many people were new like me and how many people knew what to expect.

I sat and listened to people talk about “getting on stack” for something and “respecting the process”.

I had never done any sort of protesting before.

The closest I’d come had been during the BP Deepwater Horizon Blowout and oil spill in the Gulf and I cut my hair off to send to Matter of Trust. I even went around and collected hair from some local salons. 

 

So, I figured out that “getting on stack” meant getting on the list in order to speak.

I raised my hand and was added to the stack.

By the time that it came around to me, the discussion had evolved into something entirely different and what I had to say became irrelevant. I made a great speech about how we should all decide what we have to offer in our skills, trades, services, and qualities and split up to go about using those talents and resources in the best ways possible to benefit the group and the movement. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I felt pretty great about it. I remember everyone kind of looking at me like I was lost or something, though. Apparently, this “stack” was just for announcements only. I was told this by someone as-a-matter-of-factly and everything I’d said blew right out of a window and out of existence. I decided right then and there that from now on, I would only take part in General Assemblies by listening intently from the outer edges, encouraging others that seem to have something they needed to say, and keeping my distance and thoughts to myself unless it was absolutely necessary for the benefit of the group. I can’t honestly say that I never made another mistake in a general assembly again, but I will tell you about the one that I regret when my story brings you there.

 

Over the years, I’ve seen many general assemblies, or G.A.’s for short. I’ve seen them in various states and settings and it is very interesting to me to see the same opinions about them all over the United States. Some people avoided them like the plague. For good reasons and bad reasons. Some people flocked to them for the wrong reasons and the best reasons. Some people thought they were the most important part of Occupy and some thought that they were absolutely pointless and sometimes even more damaging than useful. What you have to realize, though, is that when you are working with various individuals, strangers, friends, or just anyone with similar or vastly differing opinions… the general assembly really is the best way to have some form of democratic order in the chaos. Not “Democratic” like the political party, mind you. Democratic like, “The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.” or “The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.” 

 I wanted to make this distinction because I believe that it is very important for everyone to know that Occupy Wall Street or Occupy in it’s entirety is not and was never for the Democratic Political Party. OWS/Occupy came together with the realization and agreement that neither side of any political party was truly there for the people, the citizens, the majority… you know… the 99 percent. Many people liked to get technical and dispute whether the figures were 99 or 98 percent or whatever, but the point was that 99 percent of the American population was getting screwed in many ludicrous ways by the tiny 1 percent at the top. The CEOs of banks, Multinational Corporations, and the majority of our politicians. (Mitt Romney is a shining example, with his offshore bank accounts.) All in all, I want you to know that Occupy was never and is not the opposite group of the Tea Party.

I must mention that I find it completely befitting for this day and age we are in, that the tea party is named after the Boston Tea Party where citizens were so pissed off about the East India Trading Company (the first MNC, or Multinational Corporation…) that they threw the shipments of tea into the sea… yet, the tea party of this age is actually a Republican funded group protesting with money from politicians backed by MNCs of today. What a twisted world we live in! xD

 

Ah… I have gotten so off track from explaining things.

 

Also, I’m really sorry if my grammar or punctuation bothers you. I’m just trying the best that I can to get all of this information out of my head. I need all of this to be said and understood completely. If you would like to edit my blog and it keeps you from sleeping at night, go ahead and email me at kimleenguyen@live.com. ^_^! I wouldn’t mind.

 

So, to get back to the G.A. in Hurt Park…

 

Everything wrapped up with everyone splitting into different working groups.

Medics, a Media Team, Facilitation, Tactical Unity, etc.

The Media Team was designed to bring our messages across distinctly and clearly to the public in various forms.

Facilitation and Facilitators were there to not control or be a leader of the General Assemblies, but to guide them with as much ease and patience as possible. I’d say that some of these people were much more brave, patient and had more endurance than I did for sure.

I went to join the Media Team initially, but there were so many volunteers there and when I heard a call out for people to join Tactical Unity, I asked someone what that was. It began as a group of people to disperse among the crowds, marches and encampments in order to mediate any time a dispute broke out. Peacekeepers. I joined them immediately and we discussed wearing blue bandanas tied around our arms in order for others to know us quickly so that they could spot us and let us know where tensions were brewing and where to go. We would keep people from abusing each other, causing chaos, fighting, or keep the peace with officer interactions by using only our words and conversation skills. Our slogan became “P.L.U.R”, for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. One of the girls in the group made big, round, blue buttons for each of us. (No, I had no idea that PLUR was a raver term. I did, however, find this out very quickly and it made for the best interactions and first encounters. Haha! ^_^!)

 

I met my friends before leaving Hurt Park and we discussed everything that went on there and how we each felt about it all.

Some felt that it was a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit and that it was a pipe dream that would never go anywhere.

I left with good feelings and felt lighter. Like, a balloon of hope had been tied around my waist.

 

There is no way that I could have known at the time

that on the way back to their home,

my best friends would be robbed at gunpoint. . .

 

{To be Continued…}

 

~Kimlee

 

 

 

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Let Me Tell You Something…

I’m going to be completely honest.

And I don’t plan to leave anything out.

 

It’s time for me to start writing about my Occupy Wall Street stories.

 

I have successfully abandoned Facebook and committed myself to a few months of solitude while I get on my feet in the world again.

…I was really good at this. This society thing. I had a nice serving job for three years. I was paying for my 99 Mitsubishi Galant.

Then, within one month…

Four years and two days ago…

Everything changed drastically for me.

 

I was quarantined for two weeks from work because I got shingles.

I used to work seven days a week, so with all this new time on my hands, I went through a handful of books and movies.

I read “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn.

I read “the Little Earth Book” by James Bruges.

I read “Radical Simplicity” by Dan Price.

I watched “An Inconvenient Truth”.

I fell madly in love with one of my best friends.

I became a vegetarian.

And my brother was killed by local police.

 

I was out of work for three weeks and when I returned, I wasn’t the same person anymore.

I was beginning to question everything I’d come to know.

Society, the state of the world, the environment, the government, corporations, animals, my job and my own impact.

I felt useless.

 

Like, I was just existing until that moment and I had no direction with a purpose.

I was just at twenty-four.

An insignificant female working every day at a serving job making enough to pay off my car, gas, insurance, food, and a few nights out with friends. I’d realized that I’d stopped doing music completely and would sing karaoke a few nights a month to get the taste of music in some form going through me.

I had no plans beyond any of this because I knew that I was at the horizon with unlimited potential in all directions.

I’d been reveling in my own freedom since splitting up with my ex-fiancee in 2008 and I never made plans for my future.

It was at my brother’s funeral where I had a few life-changing conversations with my cousins.

They were always asking me my plans about going to college when we talked.

I never really thought that someone like me, coming from my family and my past could ever get into college so I always threw the idea out of a window. This time, it was different. They talked with me about grants and payment options and my best friend/boyfriend made me really feel like it was possible.

So, I made up my mind.

If I was going to go to college, I wouldn’t settle for less than my first choice.

I’d always wanted to go to Georgia State University since we took a tour of it in eighth grade.

I began the process and my beau and I decided to move to Atlanta so I could be closer.

 

My boss didn’t like the new me and told me not to “get too involved” in that stuff. “That stuff” being critical thinking and questioning the world around me. He started to treat me differently to the point where he had me crying each night at work.

We were really good friends before, so it hurt that I had to leave and stop putting up with his change in attitude towards me.

I quit my job.

 

A month after finally paying off my car and getting the price of my insurance dropped, it was totalled out by an impatient driver pulling out into the road from a gas station.

I used the settlement money to buy a good commuter bike to get around Atlanta with.

 

Within a year, I got into GSU, we moved to Midtown in Atlanta, I went from car to bicycle and I decided to declare a double major of Art and Anthropology.

 

The only negative thing that I can say about this entire transition and experience is that my beau had to work two jobs and be away from our home way too much. He was a firefighter and paramedic so he was usually gone twenty-four hours at a time.

I was very much intimidated by the big city and kept to myself for the most part when I wasn’t zooming to and from school on my bike. I just stayed in our apartment with our lovely kitties, Pepper and PookyLips. Most of the time, I was reading, doing art, studying, journaling, or doing schoolwork.

 

When I look back, I can see so many things I could have changed then and there about myself that would have been a major improvement, but none of that matters now. Only the lessons I shall keep with me always.

 

For Summer, I took my first Drawing class and Scientific Perspective on Global Issues.

I was just entering my second semester in Fall when I saw the video that set me on fire.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqsgtcHDnKw

 

I don’t even know where or how I saw it.

I just remember tears streaming down my face and being appalled at what I was seeing.

I could literally feel the vulnerability of each individual that was being abused by the police.

I was arrested on false charges and harassed by police on my birthday only three months before and all of the feelings of being violated, humiliated, vulnerable, and helpless came rushing back to me.

I could feel it for each individual in the video like it was happening to me and I felt even more helpless as the onlookers and citizens could do nothing to help their friends and fellow neighbors.

I thought about how defenseless everyone is against the police and how their word is always above your own no matter what happens. It made me feel so angry, so helpless, so useless, so sad! I wanted to go straight up to New York City and stand alongside the protestors. I wasn’t even entirely sure what they were protesting. I was just so enraged and pissed off that the police would, could, and do treat people this way. All the time.

 

I started looking things up to find out more about Occupy Wall Street and wondering how I could get up there.

I slapped myself in the face, though. I’d JUST started Fall semester at the school I’d been dreaming about for years.

I was in the school I never thought I could get into.

With the man of my dreams and the most wonderful life.

I couldn’t just go up to New York on a whim and what the hell was I going to do there anyways?

I didn’t know, but I had this urgency in me to be a part of it somehow.

I felt needed and like my heart was being pulled by some incredible force beyond me.

 

I found out that there was a local occupy group in Atlanta starting up and their next meeting was at Hurt Park right next to GSU.

This made me feel better about not being able to go up to New York, so I invited a few conscious friends to come check it out with me.

 

This is how it all began for me.

{To be Continued…}

~Kimlee

 

 

 

 

 

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I Lost My Pen.

I need to write in my journal.

But I lost my special pen.

I actually never use my blog to talk about anything really deep about myself.

I let my extroverted side run free on the internet while the introverted me writes ink to paper in my journals and keeps the deepest feelings to myself.

I am an ambivert. I think it makes perfect sense, considering that I am a Gemini.

Lately, I’ve been more introverted than usual.

This side of me is humble and patient.

Maybe even hesitant and bashful.

I don’t usually like to limit myself to labels, but I’ve been letting my mind roam a bit these past few days.

This is easily one of those moments in life where I could succumb to negative thoughts and downplay my own progress, but I’m done with my own mental masochism. Just done.

Life is what it is and my opinions and feelings towards it are only subjective and temporary.

There are only a few things I have come across that remain the same and those are like the love of family.

The love of family is like the involuntary movements of your heart and lungs.

You can make them distinct in your thoughts if you acknowledge them but even if you don’t think about it, they are always moving and you can trust in that until you die.

Love like this is humble and succinct.

It’s something that you don’t have to talk about every moment of every day to know that it is true.

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…sigh… I need my pen.

 

*Crawls back into self*

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Discomfort.

This is the place you need to explore.

I mean…

I’m not telling you what to do, I can really only speak for myself, but I definitely suggest it.

Discomfort is what comes to you whenever you give up all of the things that you disliked about your life. When you crawl away from the comfort zone and try new things, invest in new habits, become better.

This is the natural response of the comfort zone. Incredible discomfort.

All of these thoughts will come to you. Trying to beckon you back to what you know and what is easy. Each time you choose to come back, it’s like giving in to a bad relationship. You are made to feel bad by all of these thoughts challenging your newfound hope and spirit. If you think, “awww okay. I’m sorry comfort zone. You’re right. We can work things out here where it’s nice and squishy and warm. We can keep doing the things that we’ve been doing and get the results we know we will get.”

Then, it always comes back to a moment where we wonder what we could have been capable of had we decided to keep going, keep growing, continue exploring and pushing ourselves.

This wondering can make us feel bad about always coming back and getting comfy.

It’s never too late to try again.

Even if you continue the cycle of deciding to change for the better and bring new and awesome habits into your life… only to give in…

This can be practice.

Everything in life can be practiced and help you grow.

Everything.

All of those cycles can make you begin again one day and just decide that HEY! this time I am going to hold out for just one more minute, day, or week longer than I have any time before. Then, you just bypass the struggle you had before because you’ve inched closer and closer to your goals and have decided this time that you want to see what it feels like to go much further.

This can be likened to a baby struggling to become mobile and finally reaching out and crawling across the floor instead of rocking back and forth with a steady gaze on a targeted toy or object.

 

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You start to fill up inside with this amazing energy!

This energy of “Wow! I am further than I ever thought I would be!”

If you are curious enough about yourself and your own abilities and capabilities, you can thrive off of these feelings and energy and go even further.

Then, just when it is feeling so empowering and amazing to have pushed your limits, your comfort zone creeps in like the creeper it is and says “Hey! Don’t forget about me, okay?… I don’t like all of these new things you’re doing. And I really don’t like how much you are enjoying all of it. You should come back home to this place that you know. You’re going to ruin yourself. You don’t know what you’re doing. Stop exploring the unknown! Something is going to get you. You’re going to get into a lot of troubles and they are going to hurt you. ” Blah… Blah… Blahhhhh…

“Do me a favor and shut the hell up, comfort zone… okay?” says me.

This girl right here.

With the two thumbs.

UP.

But seriously…

This is one of the best moments of pushing yourself.

Listen very closely and intently to your comfort zone.

Hear what it has to say.

This is extremely important in your growth.

Whatever it tries to tell you… Whatever it says to you and tries to use against you…

Those are the areas you need to pinpoint as if you were burning a hole into something with a magnifying glass and the Sun.

Tear down your walls.

Destroy your hesitations to try something new and wonderful.

Obliterate all that you think you know about yourself so that you can look into the darkness and beyond. There is potential inside of you just waiting to be freed and released into the wild. It feels good.

Kill the comfort beast and run full speed into the direction of your dreams laughing maniacally and giving the comfort zone a nice double fisted bird on each hand as a parting gift.

Expect discomfort.

Relish in the knowing that this is a sure sign of the changes you are making and work through it. Use all of these uncomfortable, fiesty, crazy energies in great productive ways. When shit gets thrown at you, just throw up your bucket and collect it all, then scatter it into your garden for compost and grow your garden. When the luscious fruits and vegetables sprout and ripen, cram them into your mouth and laugh even harder at the fact that you never let that shit get you down.

Use it all to your advantage in every way that you want to grow.

Paint.

Draw.

Sing.

Play guitar.

Write.

Whatever it is that you do and love to do.

Create.

Then, when you have something absolutely beautiful and astonishing that you’ve made through your own struggle of self-discovery, it can be something tangible to remind you that you are amazing. All it takes is doing. The only person you have to wrestle with is your own self/thoughts. And I mean, really… have you ever tried thumb-wrestling yourself?

You totally win every time.

 So, don’t beat yourself up.

But do.

 

~Kimlee

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“You miss 100% of the shots that you DON’T take.” ~Wayne Gretzky

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“The Tao of the Snowflake.” ~February 27th, 2013

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Snow seems to have more patience than the rain.

With rain, it always seems to be in a hurry to reach the

ground and cleanse everything back to new again.

It slides down and drips impatiently off of anything and

everything to get to where it’s going. It collects into

puddles waiting to seep into the ground or floods and

rushes around until it find a crack, crevice, or opening

to sink into and vanish immediately.

 But when it comes to snow, it’s like there is all the time in

the world to descend upon us. It floats, glides and drifts

down, sideways and in swirls before it finds a spot to rest

at. It doesn’t mind sitting on a branch or powerline for a

while because it seems to know that it will always eventually

reach the ground. It dances in the air and swirls and

twirls as it welcomes(becomes) the wind and direction it blows. It

accepts the push without a single hesitation and seems to

flow with the other snowflakes in a symphony.

A silent symphony with the wind as a maestro.

 

          Yes, that’s it.

one snowflake melts upon contact and seems to have not

existed at all. But together, billions collect each other all

over the place and become something else all together.

Something new. A transformed landscape. A temporary

setting. The snow says, “I can dance in the direction I’m

blown into and find my place among the others. And I can

wait there patiently until it is time for me to leave.” This

must be the Tao of the snowflake. This must be the Tao.

~Kimlee

 

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