"The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be Brave. Live. For me."
In the final episode of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy throws herself into an inter-dimensional portal in order to shut it down and save her sister Dawn from that season's Big Bad, Glory. Buffy dies doing it. But before she sacrifices herself, diving off of the radio tower and through the portal, landing on the pavement below, she whispers the following into Dawn's ear:
"Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."
Whether or not you're a Buffy fan (you should be, we can talk more about why at another time), the message here has to resonate with you unless you're made of fucking driftwood, you icy-ass motherfucker. This world is so, so hard to live in. It often feels like every moment is painful, every step we take is a struggle. And right now, more than ever, we are all feeling fear and existential dread, and people are going into full meltdown mode while attempting to face difficult truths as our national dialogue finally starts to scratch the surface of our legacy of oppression, abuse, racism, violence, misogyny and hate.
It's hard. It's the hardest thing. To live.
Tonight at Flask, Monday of the Minds - their hip hop open mic and freeform mc night - is celebrating our friend Brittany's legacy and collecting donations for the Brittany Goldych Scholarship Fund, set up by her family. It's also Monday of the Minds' 2 year anniversary, and goddam it man is it fucking hard to keep ANYTHING going for two years, so good on them.
This is the kind of event we need right now. Independent artists coming together to just TALK ABOUT IT. We don't have to solve anything, we don't have to do anything other than just lay down our own difficulties, put down our own stuff, and HEAR each other. That's it. Listening and being together.
Earlier in that same season of Buffy, Buffy goes into the desert to basically do the network television equivalent of a magickal Ayahuasca situation, and she talks to the very first slayer - her dark mother. That slayer tells Buffy: "death is your gift."
The message, "death is your gift" doesn't really click with Buffy until that final episode when she sees that she needs to give her life for others to live. But if you look at that phrase in a different way, I think that every death of a loved one that we experience holds gifts along with the pain and sadness of loss. It took the death of my mom for me to really figure out who the fuck I am, start making the art I needed to make... I mean it took her death for me to be brave. For me to live. In a certain way, death was her gift. In a certain way, I'm grateful. It also fucking SUCKS. But I am also grateful.
Brittany's impact on the folks at Flask and our community was pretty big. And it will take some time to fully grasp the extent of the gifts she left behind as we process our grief and the blank space that just feels so cold and vast in her absence. But I think Brittany would want us to be brave. To live. And so before we set upon the difficult work of just living with things as they are, take one more moment to join our community in love and honor.
Please listen to this song before you go. It's short and simple and carries such an important message for us all right now.
Praise the mountain and the rain
All the gifts that still remain
But the greatest gift of all
And the law above all laws
Is to love your friends and lovers
To lay down your life for your brothers
As you abide in peace
So will your delight increase