Q 1 – Pete the Poet Interviews Odyssey Interviewee Julie

Hey Julie, what’s one “rule” of life you think everyone should break at least once?

Pete the Poet

Hi Pete the Poet. Following the rules. That’s the rule I’ve learned to break.

I’ve spent a good amount of my life following the rules society told me to follow. Hell, I didn’t even smoke pot until it was legalized in Oregon in 2015, because it was against the law! And I always wanted to follow laws! Turns out when I finally did try pot, I really didn’t like it, so no love lost there, by the way.

I think always following rules helped me feel safe. I wanted to believe that if everyone followed the rules all the time, life would be easier and better. Now I know that this kind of wishful thinking comes from a place of privilege, and a quiet, underlying fear of not having control when things going badly. The advent of cell phones and social media makes it easier to see the vast injustice and disparity of rights of people of color, even when they followed all the rules and lived with extreme inequality or got killed for no good reason anyway. The social justice movement has opened my eyes to the privilege I didn’t even know I had. I tend to want to keep my head down and avoid conflict, but that is not always the best choice for society and the world, or for me personally, either.

I’m not an anarchist or saying we should routinely break laws. I still believe that society should collaborate on making good laws, but if the laws are bad or outdated, we need to work together and change them.  Like: Votes for women! No more slavery! Civil rights! Legalize Pot! But always trying to follow the cultural rules we’ve been taught just to avoid conflict can get us stuck.

As a girl and younger woman, I tried really hard to walk a straight line in the middle of the road of “shoulds” and always do what I thought I was supposed to do. As I approached middle age, I started standing in my power more. I let my hair go gray and settled into my menopausal phase with confidence. I let the rules of “should” and “supposed to” melt away.

Julie is an artist, writer and teacher who explores the dance between the organic nature of life at the cellular level and what humans have created from it. Her work is filled with “Biology Rising” themes emerging in circles from conception to death and beyond. Join her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliejulieart/ and on her website: https://www.juliejulie.co/

Pete the Poet still writes poetry. He also co-edits the online poetry journal http://www.ADozenNothing.com.