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A Rotting Idea


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"A Rotting Idea" 
Acrylic and Screws on Drywall 

Kim Barry


How old are you?
How old are YOU?
Wait…. How old are you?
I hear it a lot. I never satisfy their demand with an answer.
What point is there in it?
Does it tell them ANYTHING? Quite the opposite.
Not replying, expresses so much more about what I believe in. There is nothing in believing in and providing a numerical account of my time. Attempting to gain any info at all about me from receiving a random number is retarded.
Seems to me when people open up this Pandora’s box, everything in our naturally, connecting conversation becomes a scene from Criminal Minds. I have friends from nineteen to ninety. The last thing I find interesting to talk about is how old they are. Self-consciousness sets in for both of us. Where connections happened sharing new thoughts, beliefs, and stories, the subject of age builds up a wall as fast as you can say, “Humpty”.
“Oh if only I was your age…” (self pity, regret, shame) or
 “When I was your age”…. (a know-it-all attitude- professor/student dynamic) or
 “ I am too old now….” (the belief in age is so strong it becomes a prison) or
 “Oh wow I am sooooo much older/younger than you!” (assumed power over the other in the value of youth to the young or experience to the mature) or
 “Shouldn’t you be acting differently at your age?” (the boxing in of a life, thanks for the judgment call xo  ..l.. )
Oh wait…. my favorite--- “Oh wow! You look so good for your age.”
What the does THAT mean?  What does any of it mean?  Nothing.
It’s a paralyzing conversation in any direction.
I do the courtesy of bringing the conversation back to what has interest, opens up new ideas, and builds connection. Some interrogators are very stubborn. "But why?" they ask. "What are you hiding?" In this demandingly open culture, any sign of privacy holds an air of criminal activity thanks to all 800 cop shows on TV nowadays. “If not that, then why else would she not answer my request?!” they suspiciously think to themselves.  
That’s not it.
I simply do not believe in anything that limits or diverts action. In its purest form, healthy action begins with a thought, morphs, translates, blossoms, and ends. I follow the children. Children are open-minded, imaginative, and free to express original thoughts, language, and movement. They have not yet accepted learned limitations, protocol, and rules of conduct. In short, they lack the stagnant bureaucracy that adults are so good at searching out when they lose faith in their own head and hands. The youth are our future --not because of a number  in time but by how they think and what they “do” purely out of a need for a solution to a perceived obstacle in their path. They find the most innovative ways when not muscled by adults to overvalue dead routines of tradition over their own. I try my best to keep that mentality.
All too often it’s an older generation’s ego demanding that the new give holy validation and reverence to their own past actions. Children don’t look to bronze each action they do for their future generations to do nothing but worship and slave over  its maintenance. They learn to do that by big poppa. They are just as happy in destroying that which they spent all day building. Insider tip, the young successful adults never let that go and quickly surpass most others wrapped up in striving for acceptance in dead circles. I wish I had this conviction earlier. Conversely, those who uplift in holy reverence dead thoughts, dead language, dead conversations, and dead actions of others are playing with suicidal spirits. Children, as we grow into adults, should be able to value what their parents did then take it and run with it to new corners of the universe. They destroy it even and make new without the threat of insult or injury. They move based on their natural instincts without fear of becoming a renegade, a rebel, a turncoat, a terrorist. It’s actually very natural, very responsible, and sometimes quite heroic.
If anyone is offended, well, I hate to break it to you but uh…..  it’s how nature works. It is constantly renewing itself for the better. Maybe thinking “old” means you no longer work with but against nature and as your movement stiffens by resisting natural change, you allow youth to fade from you mentally, spiritually, and physically.
A problem we face in society is not allowing a bad idea to die when its initial good has lost its purpose. Older generational mentalities have been amazingly adept at giving life support to ideas gone zombie. They fully invested in the early, televised ideal of the nuclear, materialistic, white collar, church-going, family valuing, big insurance, big banking, big business, profiteering medicine, and legal drug dealing circles while wearing WWJD t-shirts. They birthed and raised pharmaceutical companies, nuclear power plants, a $400 billion army, Monsanto, Dow Jones, Wall Street Reaganonmics, and the oil industry, They created lots of ideas—that turned into things- some at the beginning were ideal in purpose, but many were based on fear, image oriented, and in opposition to the best in our  human nature and the bigger, natural world.  The Ideas became money generating, familiar, and institutionalized (I loathe that word). These Ideas created a perceived, safe economic resource for “jobs” for themselves, their future children, and the future of their children’s children’s children’s children. But their children’s children’s children’s children look like monsters now and are lashing out by literally going postal from knowing their future is being forced into a really bad past idea gone rotten. The same old ideas that need to die in order for their purpose to shine and grow for the benefit of themselves, their community, and nature. This overly controlling action shows the worst in lack of faith while simultaneously forcing an outward, perfectionist version of morality onto everything and everyone else outside their Barbie Highrises.  Quite frankly, I think  it's super controlling and egomaniacal to think your personal idea is so freaking great that it not only stifles one generation, but the 2,3,4, and 5 generations from newer ideas and growing realities????
Makes me think of my own grandma. Total control freak. I love you, Grandma, just calling a spade is a spade, here. My mother, living in her mother’s ideals, still swears by doing things the "old fashioned" way for everything!! Sometimes it is right on. Sometimes it is soooo not. I am the only young person that knows how to change a knob fuse from in 1910’s and any call to updating the home’s electricity is not only suspicious but hazardous!  Ok. Sure. I’m going to go up in the roof now and patch another slate shingle.
This is an old story. It was first marked in the 1960’s, by our feisty, spirited forefathers of real, uncertain, honest faith. They took on the stiffening, contradicted world through their struggle against being euthanized in every way- mind, body, and soul- but the obvious in their day of youth. What they learned was that new action is the most dangerous act you can put out there when people value old ideas, their own ideas and death.
We want change but don’t want to change. We want the image of change not real change. And adults have been following this mantra really well.
Children have no fear and know they will be happy with or without what most adults would have a nervous breakdown over-  healthcare, for example.
What is healthcare?
It began, I suppose,  as a virtuous mission to care for the well being of others while striving to learn new techniques in bettering lives, social health, and awareness. Right?
By my definition, healthcare is caring for the health of the all encompassing "us"- top to bottom. It is no accident that it is has deformed into an institution of sickness profiteering.
Remember hearing, "Oh you should be a doctor when you grow up! You'll be rich!" ? Enough said. That statement we’ve heard for 4 generations and has attracted more of a financial incentive to enter that collective conversation than a  primary care incentive. Case in point? Ask a doctor if foods do a body any good over the prescribed drug they just wrote. And what was a splint the country doctor fixed up for little Olaf’s broken arm for a dinner and cookies is now a $3,000 debt for the ambulance alone. $10,000 for the splint. Hmmmmm. That’s a rotting idea.
Currently, and generally speaking, it is a dirty circle economy of raving vultures surviving off the causes and effects of toxic food, stress, depression, natural accidents, legal drug dealers. It has become profit driven through the  “Maintain Sickness. Do Not Cure. Do Not Report Real Causes” rule of thumb from hospitals, Monsanto, the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. All the CEOs of these “ideas gone instition” are in it for the money and that’s why they are on top setting the current tone. All the little people within each institution go along with it. It lost its idealism and integrity long ago. My grandmother said she saw this coming while she was head nurse of a prestigious hospital in upstate New York in the 1940’s. “They’ve lost the “care.” She would say to my mother.
Why does this happen?
 “I NEED A PAYCHECK, KIM, so shut up with all this idealistic talk. It’s just a job!!! I can’t fix the world and I just don’t know what else to do.”
  I reply, “It’s just a job until it gets you, too.”
If someone walked into a hospital with a true cure for anything, the Hospital administration, the doctors, the pharmacudical companies, and every Sickness Research Center and Donation Non-profit would be fighting to shoot him first and burn the evidence. Why?
A massive economy has been created here!
Fear of change.
Loss of control.
Over belief in Money.
 Under belief in a Phoenix rising from its ashes.
What would we do with ourselves????? We fixed ourselves out of this specific work idea, familiarity, stability, 5 Mercedes, and a Martha Stewart Living subscription!!!!!
It would be an economic crisis  in America!!!!!
This is just one example of how this mentality has distorted so many opportunities for our “youth” to work with nature in THEIR time to truly make for a faith based progressive world. I find it funny when hearing the words, “faith-based,” “conservative,” and “suspicion” all expressed in the same thought. There is no fear or doubt in the concept of faith. 
In lieu of the healthcare industry, we could insert the oil industry, the real estate market, the meat industry, the banking industry,  the for-profit federal government, and the conformity based federal education as further examples of  ideas gone rotten from loss of faith into dependence, greed and deformity.
Generation X saw their former Flower Power parents buckle to their own ideals and initial actions only for many to fall into their own nuclear parents fearful world. 800,000 lawyers and doctors were born in the 1970’s after college kids put down their signs and shaved their Afros. And let’s be real here, maybe only 1% of the population of that generation really got it, believed in their actions and purely acted on it.  But even those who made the impact and those masses beginning to get it, still receded into a safety-first mentality. And then the money became really, really nice. Those initial actions did not die, though. The thoughts and ideas were whispered into the ears of the babies. Parents, who had gotten timid, quieting hoped their kid would have the balls to create a better world.
Just by having kids, you are expressing trust that things need to naturally change. Why do we stifle and instill fear in them when it becomes their turn to shine? Hey you in the WWJD Tee, well you tell me, buddy.
I see so much progress in the children of the 1980’s and 1990’s.  They have friends of all colors and creeds. They have begun to free themselves socially, sexually, individually, and collectively like no other generation prior. Their parents are those who truly kept the faith and not surprisingly, whose children and grandchildren have been at the forefront of creating acceptance of these new ideas, healthier lives, and alternative sustaining work to the one way pyramid living of the corporate world. I am in awe of them and they have my utmost respect.
Even with this progress, many times, I hear parents say, “You can be anything you want as long as you fit an already solidified and respected profession that was created one to three generations ago. The frontiersmen of America were allowed to be creative back then. Now we just need money and sustainability from you, ok? Furthermore, you can fix this dilapidating system from within even in your own little way but the institutions, themselves can never really change or put to rest or it would be anarchy. In other words, pretend to change- don’t change. Maybe just  change the drapes, k? ”
By the 1990’s everything that had been building in the last century was stinking of toxins in cannibalistic thought and motivation with a Wall Street, bottom-line focus. Need I say more than this-  that era birthed Nirvana. Enough said. Punk hadn’t done anything but create piss in the streets and cut lips. Though I love  Sid Vicious forever. XXX u rager!!!!,  The Hippies prior had tried but disco, drugs,  and David Bowie were just too much a temptress to deny. In truth, I couldn’t deny that concoction of colorfulness, either. And everyone knows that, to me,  David Bowie is what I like in a creator of the universe.
But it was the 90’s. An entire youth generation was in grunge. I looked like shit in a XXXL flannel, cutoff jean shorts, unbrushed hair, and military style ballet shoes. We were all depressed and angst ridden before Reality Bites made it cool and fashionable. Children know when their hands are tied. They express it only for adults to drug them into stopping their new action from being expressed any further, and then the adults wonder why so many children are 10 times more depressed, hopeless, and go frigging postal.
The 1990’s youth saw the rottenness of their grandparents and parents’ laid down limited options in, by then, had become destructive action as a good economic path for their lives. To pappy and grandpappy’s credit, it seemed a good idea at the time when THEY were young, but the bads were now outwaying the goods. What else for the children to do but dive into the closest coffee shop and play slacker? The youth with any heart knew how jacked up the institutions were. Those that took the “I-will-fit-in-even-if-it-means-losing-my-soul-to-make-money” pill and proceeding to build up the marketing industry of the 1990’s, the revamping of reality tv and MTV, well, there is a special place in hell for you guys between Dahmer and Kujo.  Woof woof…….
Faith-based living is not expressed by doing whatever hurts yourself and others. You cannot be a compartmentalized coward and say, “Well, I was just doing my job. Jesus will forgive me when he comes down any minute now to clean up and take my irresponsible, littering, wasteful self to heaven where I will habitually litter there, too. Hey maybe making a really, really big mess will make him come sooner. But I will keep telling my kid that I am trying to make a better world for him here.” A rotten idea. Ummm… my Jesus would rather you learn to do it for yourselves. He’s not a janitor. That’s why God invented children. They see the world new again and translate old ideas into new ideas for the better no matter how retarded the last ones were.
Another Idea—
Faith based is trusting that each moment that unfolds is a gift to put to good use, even if we may be hesitant on a step or two. We keep walking and trusting and it all will be ok and what dies a natural death is for the better.
Could faith be a sign of youth? Yeah
How about language?
What’s the magic of generational language?
Every generation has a language. Every language dies with that generation. What if there was someone who could jump the generational languages. Learn each one of them as they go. Would they live? Would they die? You start with one generation. Learn that generation’s language and that’s symbolic of  learning that language changes, ideas change, actions change and its all for the better. Unless you allow fear to be the language and that’s regression. So there’s that. So as long as it is loved based, child like, faith based circles of new youthful language- what if that is the fountain of youth?
Could be.
What if our own words were what  killed us? What if our own thoughts were what aged us? What if we could reverse it with the reversal of our own heads—in our thoughts—in our words? Words are magical. I think its true.
It’s so effing late right now. Maybe I am in a dream or maybe you all know this already and bored with all this stuff that is only new to me.
I have been doing an experiment for some time now.  I find that those who tune in to the ever evolving language of the youth, seem to be in a more optimistic, open minded, youthful in body, mind, and soul.
It is the language of new ideas, open doors, new sounds, new movements, and yeses.
Those that stopped new ideas, language , and movement after high school, college, or upon entering the job market--- Well, at the very least, you need a new haircut, k? Oh wait….. I think it just came back in.
For many, pure ideas stopped with the utterance, “Grow Up”
The concern for others’ perception of you is what really “grows” as your beautiful, free, spontaneous being gets squeezed into a one page resume that must always look top notch, look loyal, and look consistent. Your image of what you do becomes more important than your honest, spontaneous action in being you. Your thoughts become routine. Your dress becomes routine. Your routine becomes routine. And all to often you reply- “Oh, I am too old for that.”
You believe it.
Your body follows suit.
The end.
When thoughts stiffen
The body stiffens.
When the spirit of a person is smothered,
You can see it in the eyes.
When the stress takes over after a time
The weight gains
The hair grays
The wrinkles tell the story of what is going on inside
Good news,
This can be reversed.
And I am not talking plastic surgery.
I was older at 18 to 25 than now
It’s all in your spirit
When you are weighed down by “life”
And the no’s out way the yes’s
It’s all seen
When you start letting the yes’s to out way the no’s
And just start letting go of all the crap they all throw at you that doesn’t truly matter
Really doesn’t matter
It doesn’t exist
All the prisons start unlocking
And there’s so much fear that is thrown at us.
If you don’t pay all your bills at exactly the right time, at exactly the right time,
And your credit score is not perfect perfect perfect
And your job history isn’t perfect perfect perfect
And everything you do isn’t perfect perfect perfect
Oh my you will lose all of it
You are going to be homeless
You are going to be jobless
No one is going to love you
It’s so sad and people believe it
Is this the idea of living we have been handed down to value and protect at all costs?
I’ve been saying this since 2005—Throw away your television. Throw it out!
That’s the number one way it gets in your head. And it’s so sad that people pay to get brainwashed into prisons. It just blows my mind.  Maybe tv started perfectionism in a way.
Like that weird commercialized sense of perfectionism like the reality never matched up to the commercial whereas it should really be the reverse.
So many ideas gone rotten when they have outlived they stay and have been on life support for the singular incentive of money.
Let us let the children do what they do best. Maybe we will allow ourselves to think the same way someday. Let's forget numbers and routined, prescribed deadening language and keep the youth in our heads. Maybe we can start with a 21st century "markingartmakingfunmakinglove" mission  in creating abundance and taking care of each other rather than the 20th century's mission of just making money. There’s my idea. Oh, and when this idea goes rotten, please throw it away.
Posted by Kim Barry on 11/5/12

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