Who am I

(An interview for Tony Botello of tonyskansascity.com )




What do I do/Who am I?


As far as activism goes, I’m really not out to change peoples minds, anymore. The information is out there and I really feel it is everyone’s personal responsibility to venture out and come to their own conclusions. I find myself focusing on getting information out there, encouraging critical thinking and to facilitate self ownership, which I’ll get into more later. I certainly didn’t wake up one morning and find myself in the state of mind I am today.


Most of you are just now hearing my name for the first time but some of you may have seen me tinkering around with different projects such as KCNORML, The Libertarian Party, The Liberty Restoration Project, Show Me Cannabis Reform, Occupy KC, etc and so forth. These days I find myself investing in my most important and challenging venture of raising and nurturing my 3 little ones and tend to work behind the scenes organizing, networking and researching. I really feel my efforts have led me into a more serious and sustainable direction.


These last few months, especially, I have really found myself at a metamorphosis as far as activism and personal growth is concerned. While exciting and even unnerving, I definitely feel I am heading into a more positive direction as I switch up gears and hone in on different priorities. Don’t get me wrong, though, you’ll still catch me engaging people on the streets distributing resources, holding signs and attending events I deem valuable to awakening the public as well as leading a positive direction whether I agree whole heartedly with their message or not.


A lot has changed these last couple years for me as far as political preference, or lack there of, and my the affinity I’ve gained in regards to transparency, sustainability, holistic medicine and personal responsibility. As a libertarian activist that put her time in registering voters, gathering signatures, organizing events, marches and rallies and trying to work within our political system to realize how much good I was doing politically- which was absolutely nothing. Don’t misinterpret me, however. The people I’ve reached out to, met and encouraged has never been and will never have been a waste and I am truly grateful for every one of those conversations and encounters, good and bad. Without them, I would not have encountered and understood the voluntaryist philosophy I’ve adopted and nurture today.


One of my biggest transformations has been my evolution from a a Ron Paul loving, cannabis crusading libertarian to what I consider a plant hoarding, cop blocking anarchist. Now before you cower in revolt to the term anarchist and lash out about tin foil hats and chaos, allow me to better explain. Anarchy, or voluntaryism, is merely the belief that no other person has the right to commit force or fraud against another person and all human interaction is to be voluntary. This includes the idea that taxation is theft and the notion of governance by any group of people, legislated or not, is illegitimate.


We follow the Non Aggression Principle and violence is especially frowned upon and deemed illegitimate; except for in one instance, which is the protection of self, property and family. So don’t get voluntaryists confused with pacifist hippies as they can, and will, defend their families, themselves and their property without hesitation. It would be a huge mistake to confuse a voluntaryist as an easy target. In fact, many tend to be big supporters of open carry- just sayin! Don’t take my word for it, do your own research. It may be as positive and life altering as it was for me.


I am only 24 years old and admittedly new to the philosophy. There are others far more knowledgable on the subject than I. I can honestly, and whole heartedly say, however, that everyday I have followed this philosophy I have found myself a more responsible, honest person and a better parent.


When did I get started?


I’ve had an inquisitive mind and a lust for truth for as long as I can remember. It is rather difficult to pinpoint where I got started. One experience and early memory sticks out in my mind, though, so I suppose I will dive into that a bit. From an incredibly early age I had always questioned theology. While things never quite added up in my head as far as creationism goes and even before I really understood what I was questioning, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the unspoken, underlying notion that it was not to be questioned. I, and many others I’m sure, grew up just ‘knowing’ it wasn’t up for debate or questions, it simply was. I think this is what most intrigued me most with the subject and thus began my silent curiosity.


The mere thought of sitting around the Thanksgiving table with my family and even questioning this belief system as a young mind sends chills down my spine to this day. It is not that my family members were mean, bad people, or anything of the sort. It was just not an approachable acceptable subject and would appear to render one, almost immediately as some sort of unspeakable, clearly immoral outcast. Obviously, I don’t feel this way now but this is merely a view point I can recall as a young child. I remember one day mustering up the courage and sitting on my Mom’s lap and asking her the question, ‘Mommy, where do people come from?’. Predictably she responded with, “Well, god made us.” I then retorted, “Then who made god?. I can’t tell you what her response was to that question but I can say this was definitely probably one of the more profound moments I had in regards to defining myself as the inquisitive, critical thinker I still am today.


What motivates me?


Most obviously what motivates me the most are my children. I would not and could not be able to sleep with the knowledge I’ve accumulated knowing that I did not do something, anything, everyday to help snap our society out of the this embarrassing apathetic mess of ignorance and dependence that has been chosen for ourselves knowing that I have brought precious people into this world.


Less obviously, 3 things stand out in my mind as far as inspiration to the current direction I have chosen. I’ll try to briefly outline each of them without getting too carried away.


The first was my last pregnancy and birth. I had a holistic midwife and also a home water birth. While there are many aspects of that experience I would do differently in the future, for the whole it was a beautiful and memorable learning experience. As I mentioned earlier, the more I dive into horticulture the more interested I become in holistic medicine. This experience showed me how incredibly powerful a healthy understanding of herbs and nutrition can play into all aspects of your life, particularly pregnancy. I was able to not only maintain my health but improve it, dramatically lower and manage my blood pressure and gain the confidence I needed to step out of societies mold of constant medical intervention. Pregnancy is not an illness and I gained the confidence I needed to dive into the incredible world of plants, the relationship we’ve developed with them over these last ten thousand years or so and how to apply them to my families everyday life.


The second instance that sticks out to me was this last November. I was laying on my bed, slipping into a counter productive depression when a good friend of mind walked in and told me to get my ass up and go on an adventure. She insisted on watching my kiddos, handed me my keys and told me to get out of the house and find an adventure. I remember looking at my face book events and narrowed it down to two things. One was one of my favorite bands, Primus, being in town and the other than stuck out to me was the Music City Liberty Festival in Nashville, TN. While Primus was closer and definitely easier to pull off I felt a pull towards Nashville and ran with it. I packed a small bag and hit the road onto my 9 hour journey before I could change my mind. That decision changed my life for the better forever.


While in Nashville, I came across some great ideas, excellent music and even better people. Two of the bands that really stuck out were little known Hart Sawyer with her beautiful voice, almost classical music and brilliant lyrics. I’m not easily impressed, but that chick blew me away. The other was Rebel INC, incredible lyrics and brilliant dudes, definitely worth a listen, as well. I really enjoyed hanging out with these guys and finding out we were on the same wave length ‘politically’, I also had the privilege of meeting the founders of www.copblock.org, Ademo Freeman and Pete Eyre. Both are really great, principled guys I am grateful to have been able to meet. Pete and I continued to talk afterwards and turned me on to my next inspiration, The Unschool Bus.


This family is incredible. They ride around spreading an encouraging message and teaching their children how to live happily instead of just function in society. I’ve really been inspired through their you tube channel and philosophies in regards to parenting, for sure. They have renovated a school bus, which they lovingly call the Unschool Bus, and document their travels. Their adventures and courage has really motivated me to take my family in what I feel is a much more healthy and meaningful direction. All in all, all three of these things have really solidified my decision to focus on family, sustainability and creating life long memories. I’m still in the brainstorming stages with this but don’t be surprised if you see me documenting our travels and adventures in the near future.


The next year…


Over the next year you can plan on seeing me taking steps towards the above mentioned . Also with the only collection of activists I claim to be actively a part of right now, which is MO and KS very own chapter of Copblock. This particular effort is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. Police brutality and misconduct are not isolated incidents and we see it happening more and more everyday. While it also strongly ties into my personal philosophy, transparency and accountability is also so very important. Especially when it comes to individuals claiming extra rights, operating on your stolen money and kidnapping people for victimless ‘crimes’, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t hate police. I don’t believe a badge grants you extra rights, either. I encourage everyone to check out www.copblock.organd look into our first upcoming meeting with co-founder Pete Eyre, on Feb 2 at The Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill. Don’t be shy, I look forward to meeting with other like minded folks and discussing how we can create a healthier better Kansas City without fear of our so called protectors.

5 Random Stories

Awhile ago I wrote this at the request of another when it was trending on facebook… as usual, I over analyze everything.

Things I bet you didn’t know about me!

1. I still have a baby tooth. I have the adult tooth in there. Everything appears to be normal besides my jaw/teeth structure is moving abnormally slow. That, or I’m just a freak of nature. I was told they could yank the baby one out and pull the adult one down to quicken the process. I decided against as I figured it would resolves itself or I could deal with that when I am running around looking like I got a tooth punched out. Regardless, I wasn’t interested in aggravating number 2.

2. Every time I open my mouth, chew, yawn, kiss, whatever- I can hear my jaw. I have ground my teeth and clenched my jaw compulsively since I was a baby- especially while sleeping. I can dislocate one joint at a time, have woken up with my jaw stuck shut and get to have this strange conversation/explanation upon first getting intimate with someone. Yeah, it is that noticeable. My jaw does not sit normally while relaxed and thats why I sort of have my ‘double chin’. I could get a surgery and have the joints replaced basically, but the root of the problem is related to OCD and life long traits. I wouldn’t imagine it taking long to aggravate that.

3. I did not go to a traditional high school. I went to an alternative school for k-12 designed to give students a more ‘therapeutic setting’ and cope with anger, trauma, the like. We were patted down upon entering, put in rooms without door knobs on the inside, there were mats for restraining and we were just expected to act out. It didn’t take long how to figure out how the sneak in the drugs we were already prescribed and understand that I could toss a desk down the hall, tell a teacher to go jack off with a cheese grater, fill out a think sheet and then go back to class 30 minutes later. It was expected and thus condoned as acceptable. Here is where I really went from a meek traumatized kid to the spit fire I became by freshman year. We were not treated like people. While there I organized a voting system, set up the elections for student council, landed president, set up voting for a mascot, colors and other ‘normal’ school functions. After that I grew bored and dropped out. (Black,red, silver. Dragons. They still have their annual school carnival.)

4. I was a pharmaceutical guinea pig growing up. From 12 on I was put on and off almost every ssri, antipsychotic, whatever our insurance would cover. If I wasn’t depressed, unstable or out of control before I certainly was then. I was suicidal, angry, miserable and extremely self destructive. As I’ve grown older I still can’t draw the line as to what was situation, chemical or drug induced. My first time altering my state of consciousness was not voluntary. The first time I did voluntarily I had no clue what i was doing. I had heard something about xanax and my mom had these little pink pills. They were legal, so certainly I had to take quite a bit to get effed up, right? Well, I took 7 which is almost 2 bar of xanax. Well, that was a weird night. Cannabis certainly would have been safer. Getting children comfortable popping random petroleum byproducts in to their mouth at a young age may not be a great choice, parents. In fact, it is really fucking stupid, selfish and unhealthy.

5. I did not get in to cannabis activism because I loved pot. Don’t get me wrong, I could and would smoke you under the table. I believe the prohibition of hemp is directly related to artificially inflating the value of petroleum products and perpetuated the debt class monetary system we live in today. The reason I was initially so passionate is because I knew first hand that people were being herded towards unsafe and oddly more socially acceptable means of coping with their reality. On November 17 2005, I woke up next to my best friend and closest thing to a soul mate I have ever experienced… and he was not breathing. I performed cpr and clotted blood came out of his chest. I thought he was throwing up and would be ok. When the EMTs arrived I was told he had been dead for at least 2 hours and they pulled a bottle of alprazolam with my name on it out of his pocket. Perhaps this is a story I will get more off my chest as this anniversary approaches. I wouldn’t count on it, though.

6. I used to have a neurotic hatred for tap water. I wouldn’t drink it. If I use ice, it’s not a big deal now. Mmm, fluoride. I could use some apathy…

7. If you leave cigarette butts in my yard I will curse your name in my thoughts for weeks. No, it’s not fair or rational. No, I don’t care.


The first time time I attempted speaking was Hemp Fest 2011. It was awful…

and awfully hilarious for some, I’m sure. I ran and hid behind a van to cry. Luckily, it was Hemp Fest and someone showed mercy with a blunt donation.

Anyway, in less that 24 hours I’m going to do my first live ‘show’. I am definitely going out of my element. I have no problem talking -to- people but when it comes to talking -at- people so to speak… yeah, well, doesn’t go so well. A mind that generally has countless things running through it simultaneously goes blank and I tend to get a weird look on my face. This time around I am certainly more clear headed, there is no van and a lot more people… but I won’t have to look at ya.

Haha, but seriously, my activism has been motivated by self improvement just as much as what I try to project on the world around me. Believe it or not, I was a rather meek and mild kid. Really sweet. Introverted. Got laughed at because of my vocabulary ‘sounding british’, always articulate.

I’ve battled agoraphobia and social anxiety most of my life. Getting into various forms of activism has helped me confront so many things. I am still pretty camera shy but nothing like before my NORML shoots. I was able to learn how to walk up to just about anyone and casually strike up a comfortable conversation about what I was passionate about at the time. From there I’ve continued to invest in my self and my causes as what most would call their hobbies.

In closing, I am totally taking this head on. I’ve done more radio, podcasts, etc appearances than I can count but I have never hosted a show.

I am going to seize it as the creative outlet it is and run with it for as long as it makes sense.