“Nonessential” Neighbors Battle and Extinguish Dangerous Brush Fire in Densely Populated Manchester Neighborhood Before “Essential Responders” Show Up
If that headline sounds melodramatic, it’s simply mimicking press releases from the media in similar situations, except I’ve used the government’s new designations regarding who they think are “essential” and “nonessential.” I think we proved we’re essential to ourselves, no matter what anyone who claims they’re more “essential” says.
Yesterday, my husband, one of my neighbors, and I battled and extinguished a dangerous in-town brush fire. Below is my first-person account of the events (as posted to Facebook within the hour), as well as my Right-to-Know/91-A Request filed with the Manchester Police Department today to get copies of the body camera footage that was recorded by some of the officers at the scene.
I am very grateful we were able to take care of the immediate danger before anyone got hurt or any real property was destroyed. I hope the City makes a better effort to clear-out Gossler Park’s brush. A few years ago, kids were regularly setting small fires back there, but this was the first one I’ve seen in years. Glad it worked out!
From our kitchen, I spot Louis running past the living room windows towards our garage. I open the door and stick out my head, “Where you running to?” He’s already grabbing a couple of shovels. “There’s a fire at Brinck’s house!”
The minute he says it, I smell it.
“OK, I’ll grab our extinguishers and meet you there.” I race around the house, collecting extinguishers from my kitchen and basement, and an extra one I keep stashed. I’m in house PJs and an apron, but I grab my belt and click on my gun. I have no idea what’s waiting out there. Proper preparation, what what.
The fire is burning behind Brinck’s house, on the school’s property, a couple of feet from the wooden fence, which, since it’s old and dry, would light up like a matchbox. The brush is burning maybe a couple of feet, one foot, from the fence. It is TINDER back there, with overgrown brush, fallen trees, piles and piles of leaves. Two tween boys are throwing sand on the burning leaves. One yells, “We didn’t do it! We just saw the smoke.”
Louis is tossing sand on the flames with his shovel. Matt is using the sprinkler hose over the fence to try to dose some of the spreading flames. I pull the pin on one of the extinguishers and start spraying the base of the flames. (I was trained as a fire fighter in high school.) The smoke and white stuff blinds me, but I keep going. After a while, the kid grabs the extinguisher, and, as I am alarmed at how much the fire is now spreading, and how little defenses we have, I run back to our garage to grab two 5 gallon spring mountain water jugs and run back (I definitely got my workout today).
The fire is dead in several zones, but rekindling is several others. One particular pile of dead trees looks like a natural pyre, and so I use the other extinguisher on that.
Somewhere on one of my runs between the houses, an unmarked police car shows up. The officer in jeans and a black shirt with his badge on a thick chain around his neck starts walking onto Brinck’s property through the back gate.
“Excuse me, I don’t think you should do that. I don’t think the property owner would consent to that.” At this stage, I do not know that Brinck is actually at Whole Foods. “The fire isn’t on the property, it’s behind, on the school’s side.” He keeps walking down, almost behind the building. Loudly, I say, “Hey! You’d need to ask him first.” He comes back to the street.
“Why… does he have a gun?” I don’t respond. I am clearly opening carrying, so I just shrug. “Look, I don’t have time, I’ll ask him to come out.”
We fight the fire. A uniformed cop comes out back, and helps. The fire truck shows up just as the fire turns and is heading back down the hill, away from our properties. 3 more squad cars show up. The fire fighters head out back, pulling their hose past the pool area, but the police just mill around on the cul de sac.
The fire near Brinck’s fence is dead, the rest is under control, heading down the hill, where, I believe another fire truck is stationed. An officer starts asking me questions. I tell him I live next door. We chit chat a bit, then after I swear while recounting the situation, he says, “Oh, I need to let you know I’m wearing a body cam.”
“Yeah, you are,” I say with the cheekiest of grins. He looks confused. “That’s because of me,” I explain and stick out my hand. He’s wearing a mask. “I’m Carla Gericke.” He doesn’t take my hand but we half-heartedly elbow bump.
I ask the firefighters if there’s a way to get my personal extinguishers replaced, “You know, now that we’re just giving away free shit wily-nilly.” He is not amused, but says, “We don’t do that.”
When I head home, 4 officers are standing around near their cars on the street in front of my house. I walked over to say hi, introduce myself, and say, “It’s all under control now, we put out the fire, y’all can scoot on out of here.” The senior-seeming guy doesn’t really know what to do with that. The firemen unleash the fire hydrant at the end of the street and the road starts flooding with water. At least we now know it works! “It’s going to get wet here,” the officer says. “Yeah,” I say, “I’m heading home. Bye now!”
What can I say? Everyone was professional. They seemed amazed that we knew what to do and took care of it ourselves. When one started fronting about showing up to save us, I gave him a look, and he said, “Yeah, okay, you guys really took care of it before we got here.”
And that we did. Essentially.
I can still taste the soot, and I smell like a chimney, but all is well that ends well. Now, let’s end this bullshit lockdown, and let liberty rise!
Dear Manchester Police Department,
RE: Right to Know Request per RSA-91A
Pursuant to the Right to Know Law (RSA. 91-A), I am requesting public access or emailed electronic files of, within 5 business days, the governmental records reasonably described as follows:
All Manchester PD body cam footage from police officers as captured on May 14th, 2020 between approximately 13:30-15:00 at a brush fire event on Gossler School property, which was accesses from Durette Court, Manchester.
The following emergency vehicles were parked on Durette Court during that time: one black unmarked vehicle with two un-uniformed police officers (male and female), and three SUV cruisers. One firetruck was present.
I’m only seeking footage involving interactions between police officers and civilians during that time frame.
If you deny any portion of this request, please cite the specific exemption used to justify the denial to make each record, or part thereof, available for inspection.
Please let me know when these records are available for inspection or, preferably, you may email the records to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also submit this request via email directly.
Thank you for your lawful attention to this matter.
[Phone number and email redacted]
Per RSA 91-A, governmental records means “any information created, accepted, or obtained by, or on behalf of, any public body, or a quorum or majority thereof, or any public agency in furtherance of its official function. Without limiting the foregoing, the term “governmental records” includes any written communication or other information, whether in paper, electronic, or other physical form, received by a quorum or majority of a public body in furtherance of its official function, whether at a meeting or outside a meeting of the body. The term “governmental records” shall also include the term “public records.”
Today is General John Stark Day, supposedly celebrating the Revolutionary War hero who coined New Hampshire’s state motto back in 1809, “Live Free or Die.” People often forget the rest of that quote: “Death is not the worst of evils.”
But, ackshually, these days, according to our Lockdown Overlords, guess it is.
I’m pretty sure General Stark would be turning in his grave today–you know, that place we will all end up. If YOU are suddenly so scared about dying… how are YOU living? You can read more about the history of General Stark Day here, and here, and I wrote this piece back in 2016 about yesterday’s Pine Tree Riots, when a bunch of “uppity slaves” rose against government overreach as testament to the spirit of independence, freedom, and the New Hampshire way of life. If you want to know what I will be doing to observe General Stark Day in my own truly defiant style, click HERE.
Psst, Don’t Tell My Husband, But I Fit Back in His Jeans: 3 Things that Worked When I Started My Keto Life
A friend asked for more details about my transformation and weight loss journey that started in December 2017, and to date, March 7, 2020, I have lost and kept off 65 pounds following an Ancestral/Keto lifestyle, meaning: I eat low carb, medium protein, and high good fats; I move daily (walking the dog for 45 minutes counts!); and I sleep enough to recharge my brain for optimal living.
3 Tips for Success When Starting on Keto
1. Eliminating alcohol: I quit drinking in December 2017, and for me, this was a huge part of my success story, but mostly because I was drinking a lot of wine daily, and those calories added up… Also, I wasn’t making the best food/life choices when I was sauced up.
2. Eating out: I don’t eat out much anymore, and when I do, I usually just get a salad with some kind of protein. Not eating out is mostly because my home cooked meals are better than 99% of local restaurants, and I’ve gotten REALLY fussy about where my food, especially meat, is sourced. So, that’s mostly a personal choice, but I know people who can balance restaurant meals and Keto quite successfully, but you have to be willing to be particular when you place your order (and that’s OK).
3. What’s in your house? My husband and I did a serious pantry purge when we switched to Ancestral living. We threw out or donated any foods that were not supposed to cross our lips. This was an important step that I recommend you not skip. Trust me… My parents came to visit for Thanksgiving 2018, and my dad bought some Pringles and left them in the pantry when they went home, and for me, those chips were like having crack in the house–and even after 4-pages of journaling about why I shouldn’t, I ended up eating the whole damn thang! I chalked up my relapse to a learning experience, and used it to remind myself that I can’t have stuff like that around… So, instead, my pantry contains a million types of delicious, nutritious nuts that arrive on scheduled orders so I never run out.
The crux of my journey–everyone’s is different–but mine was about getting unhealthy ADDICTIONS out of my life. Ones I wasn’t even willing to admit to myself were addictions: Sugar, carbs, alcohol, negative/nihilistic people–I’m working on digital minimalism and less screen time now.
So to answer your question about “a normal life,” you have to ask yourself what is “normal”? Is society’s definition of “normal” what YOU want, or is what society accepts as “OK” really unhealthy/less than optimal/possibly not what you want or need to be your best YOU?
I no longer take my cues from what’s “normal” but rather from: What do **I** want? I want to be healthy long-term and have an excellent quality of living, which means **I** have to WORK AT IT BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE CAN DO IT FOR ME. I want to look my best for my age. I want to EMBODY a life free of as much statism as I can muster, which means eliminating the toxic stuff that is regarded as “normal” in our lives, but that isn’t normal, acceptable, or good for us… Like the Standard American Diet (SAD!) and the entire middle part of a grocery store…
The other major change I made is getting enough sleep–we read in bed and are asleep by 10pm, and up around 5am.
I’ll tell you the secret of my success: STICKING TO THE PROGRAM. When I stopped making exceptions, and stopped “negotiating” with myself (which created a lot of cyclical/negative mind-talk) and just DID THE RIGHT THINGS, it became EASY. THAT’S how you form new and better habits. (I even stopped biting my nails–after 45 years!)
Now, getting to a place where you can do that, isn’t so easy, but those three books will lead you in the right direction. The other thing is once you get your hormones/sugar levels in balance and are eating right, you genuinely don’t get hungry/cravings anymore, and it all gets pretty awesome, easy, and ends up simply being how you live and are.
In other words: *YOU* CONTROL HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE AND IT IS A DAILY CHOICE, SO CHOOSE WISELY. 😀
Keep me posted and GOOD LUCK! I’m proof positive it works![EDIT: This post first appeared on Facebook on February 6, 2019.]
You know how they say, “Fake it till you make it”? Well, two years ago, riddled with chronic fatigue, inflammation, at least fifty pounds overweight, drinking waaaaay too much vino, and generally not function at a peak-anything, I realized, you can only “fake” things up to a point before reality bites. Here’s the truth: You can’t fake health, and you can’t fake skills. And you need both to survive a Zombie Apocalypse…
Here are 10 steps I personally took to change my life for the better. Read about my transformation, and then CHOOSE to make these changes, too! A better quality of life is within YOUR control. Write down what you want to achieve, and then… do it!
#1: Turn off your TV. The mainstream media wants your attention… it’s how they make money. They don’t care about your feelings. They don’t care about making you anxious. They don’t care about scaring you. In fact, the more anxious and scared you are, the more money they make. If you want to improve your life, the #1 thing you can do is TURN OFF THE NEWS. You can still watch all the shows you love, just make how you consume content a conscious choice, on YOUR terms. I turned off the news years ago, and it radically improved my life!
#2: Get healthy! If the possibility of getting sick in the future is now a “legitimate” reason to suppress millions of citizens’ rights, shutter and destroy businesses, and crash the economy, let’s use this time to get healthy. This means new routines! Get your blood work done to provide a benchmark against which to measure progress.
#3: Change your diet. I lost 65 lbs following an Ancestral/Keto lifestyle. I stopped eating carbs. I stopped eating sugar (except some dark chocolate from time to time, more in Times of Covid, obvi). If immediately eliminating carbs and sugar sounds too hard, try approaching this lifestyle change this way: Cook from scratch until this is over and eat every meal together at the table until then. This simple step will noticeably improve your life!
#4: Turn in early and get 8 hours of sleep. Our brains detox while we sleep, keeping us healthy and sane. Sleep deprivation is a recognized form of torture, so if you aren’t sleeping well, you are… literally *torturing* your body and mind, which might explain some of the serious health problems in this country. Honestly, if The Control Freaks really wanted to make an impact on the health of Americans, let’s get some SWAT police flash-banging down doors to ensure you are getting enough sleep! (Please don’t do this.)
#5: Try something new every day. Use this opportunity to foster curiosity–curiosity is the antidote to stupid. Take a virtual museum tour in a foreign country. Watch all the TED Talks about a subject you are passionate about (I want to learn more about the brain). Learn to cook or bake something new, a fun project you can do with the whole family!
#6: Learn to meditate. No time like the present! There are a slew of YouTube videos of guided meditations, or apps like Waking Up or Calm that can be downloaded straight to your phone. Meditation is something you can even start practicing as a family. Ten minutes a day can make a vast difference and set your kids up for success in life. Start today!
#8: Volunteer. You can sign up for official NH volunteer programs to help during the coming weeks here, or, like my husband and I have been doing, you can go out and do neighborhood litter pickups, reach out to infirm neighbors to make sure they have what they need, and generally be a decent human being–from six feet away (or, wear a mask and gloves)!
#9: Grow an edible garden. If this sounds intimidating (it does to me!) start small with some counter herbs, then some herbs in the garden, and then work your way up until in a year or two, you will be able to feed your household healthy, nutritious, locally grown and organic food–yours! If this still sounds crazy to you… support a local farmer at farm stalls and markets in your area.
#10 Live! Free people move freely. If you need to go about your business, be considerate and make an effort to comply with safety instructions, but also, while keeping things in perspective, remember YOU are the captain of YOUR LIFE, and YOU, and only YOU control your life, the government does not own you (and if you disagree, we should talk!). Use this time to take charge of your life, grow, and change for the better!
Years ago, Jeff Berwick rocked up at the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, aka PorcFest, now in its 17th year with featured speakers Tom Woods and Jack Spirko, and comedians Dave Smith and Lou Perez of We the Internet, taking place June 22-29, 2020 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. (Buy your $60 Early Bird tix today, or upgrade to VIP and drinky-poos for $250.)
Back then, Jeff and I sat huddled at a picnic table under the 2AM night sky and recorded one of the first Anarchast podcasts ever (which has never released because: A. technical difficulties; B. we were super wasted; or C. why not both?). We discussed various freedom-related topics, as well as the ins-and-outs of running an event like PorcFest.
I don’t know for sure if this is where Anarchapulco was born, but, as I recall, I was encouraging because I’m a firm believer in more is more, especially as our movement grows and we need to enlighten more and more people in the ways of voluntarism and peaceful evolution. There’s no zero sum “anarchy pie” (not even in a late night sky!).
After fits and starts, the stars finally aligned for my husband Louis Calitz and I to attend Anarchapulco 2020. Winter in New Hampshire is a reality (but remember, it’s still warmer than Mars!) and a beach holiday in February sounded mighty nice. Even if the beach is in the “most dangerous city” in Mexico.
Let’s address this upfront. As an intrepid world traveler, my appetite for risk is pretty high–I have been held hostage in Vietnam, my husband’s passport was stolen India and I got it back without paying the extortion fee (and I made the blackmailer cry), I’ve been punched in the face in a strip club in Thailand–but, based on reports, I was expecting to spend my time in Acapulco in a hyper-vigilant, “don’t-fuck-with-me-or-I-will-shank-you-with-my-TSA-approved-nail-file” state.
Nothing could be farther from my experience. The Princess Mundo Hotel is a classy, old-school resort, perhaps a little long in the tooth, but she is well-staffed, well-lighted, and I felt 100% safe. The beach is clean. I took sunrise and sunset strolls, and swam in the ocean. The water is warm. The waves are just right. The hawkers are not overly pushy. I received a decent 25-minute beach massage–on a table, under an umbrella–for $10. The whole area feels tightly controlled, like it is being managed by some “invisible [cartel?] hand,” but, be that as it may, if you are concerned about your safety within the confines of the conference, don’t be.
Even leaving the resort didn’t feel “dangerous,” at least not from outside forces (but beware of skinny dudes in cream suits with man buns). Taxi fees are fixed. Shuttles and busses were provided for official off-site events, like the Night At The Disco (where Berwick and Man Bun Clown got into a ridiculous fist fight–HEY GUYS, THAT’S NOT HOW NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION WORKS!). Louis and I took taxis to restaurants and stores. No big. So, if rumors of “it’s sooooo dangerous” are stopping you from attending, don’t let it. (Also, from a survivalist perspective, if you’re scared of Mexico, you are going to get your ass handed to you when the Zombie Apocalypse comes.)
The consciousness-raising opening and closing ceremonies led by Christof Melchizedek and his crew were… spectacular, and for me, moving. Louis, like a good tech-nerd, just rolled his eyes, stating it was too “whoo-whoo” for him, but that’s exactly what I liked, being transported and uplifted–I mean, who doesn’t love a fifty-foot rainbow-colored phoenix rising?!? (Besides Louis.) When Christof spoke of the balancing nature of feminine energy, I was reminded of how my mother gifted me with unconditional love, that we all have the ability to apply this to our lives, that we all have the ability to heal our wounds and worlds, one person at a time, by living intentionally and by being kind to ourselves and others.
A few of the advertised speakers failed to materialize, but I did catch talks by Doug Casey and Larken Rose, got to meet Freeway Rick Ross (“If you shoot for the stars, you may hit the moon. I’m shooting!”), Ron Paul [insert obligatory “RON PAUL!!!” here] walked right past me after his great speech but I neglected to snag him for an updated photo (boo!), and John McAfee did his “tequila-and-lines” thang on the big screen from an undisclosed location. I learned a lot about alternative health options, and am intrigued by the stem cell therapies offered (I might return for this alone).
Saturday was my big day, with two talks, and a request to run the evening’s entertainment at the Gala Dinner, a special “Rant-Off” based on my signature event, Soapbox Idol, which will celebrate its 10th year at PorcFest this year. On the AnarchAwaken Stage in the morning, I spoke about how the “REVOLution Starts Within” (how you can try to “fake it till you make it,” but you can’t fake health and you can’t fake skills) and on the Main Stage in the afternoon, I spoke about my own radical transformation in a talk titled How to Change the Color of Your Aura (that had nothing to do with auras).
That evening, with me playing Vanna White, and live music provided by Naomi Brockwell and Amanda Rose, we kicked off Queen Quill’s First Annual Anarchapulco Rant-Off, where Jeff Berwick, Catherine Bleish, and Benny Wills judged six contestants on their passionate 3-minute rants. With the audience’s indulgence, I slipped in my own “rant,” explaining how, when I testify on bills at the New Hampshire state house, I often ask legislators who they root for when they watch sci-fi movies like The Hunger Games or The Matrix. I asked, why it is that in The Matrix, we all root for Neo, but now, here, in the real world, in the present, the reality is that everyone is rooting for Agent Smith?
The theme of this year’s Anarchapulco was “EVOLVE,” which, considering my own evolution over the past couple of years, suited me fine. For years, I have struggled with prioritizing myself, failing to take care of my health, and partying too hard. In the past, I would neglect to plan for my public appearances because I was taking care of everyone and everything else first (and usually had waaaaay too much on my plate because I didn’t know how to say, “No”). I would tell myself, while my puke-inducing anxiety rose higher and higher, that I could just “wing it, and it’ll be fine(ish)!” Sometimes, it was; oftentimes, it wasn’t. [I’m looking at YOU, Jeff-“I-like-to-get-hit-in-the-face-for-therapeutic-reasons”-Berwick during your “Amy Winehouse Towards the End” opening remarks…]
Which brings me to this: Several speakers mentioned in passing during their speeches something that boils down to, “I don’t know how I’m going to top this [INSERT CRAZY ANTIC] next time.”
This got me thinking… Expecting the people we admire to constantly “one up” some previous crazy behavior in order to keep our attention… is… a crazy way to expect them to live, and is a cruel thing to ask of the people we purport to admire and support. Expecting our heroes to constantly “re-up” to keep our attention is a terrible approach for the long term sustainability of our movement. Sure, I love me a good trainBerwreck, but if we care about people as individuals (and we do), we need to encourage each other to live more balanced lives so that we can stick around for the long-haul.
On this trip, I stuck to my routine of eating low-carb (AND AS MANY AVOS AS I COULD STUFF IN MY PALE FACE), sleeping 7+ hours, and getting at least an hour of exercise daily. I even prepared–GASP!–for my talks, visualizing different outcomes, like my slides not working right, which did end up happening on the main stage (and I didn’t puke! Progress!). While prepping, I learned the area where the stage’s countdown clock is, is called a “confidence corner,” and the event producer called me a “consummate professional.” CONSUMMATE, GUYS!!!
I wanted to show myself I could still do the speakers’ circuit and not totally annihilate my hard-earned “Better Me” routines. I wanted to show myself I could still roll with a party crew and not give in to any unchosen vices. I’ll admit, for a hot second, I considered indulging but then acknowledged to myself that while the first “whatever” would probably be fun, I just, simply put, didn’t want to derail my progress. I didn’t want to awaken the sleeping Brain Monster who always wants MOAR! I’ve had enough of those “gimme-moar, gimme-moar, just-one-moar” thoughts rattling around in my noggin’ battling against my better nature.
Over the past two years, by journaling and meditating and fasting, I’ve taught myself to identify and ignore those unhealthy ruminating brain-grooves, and I’m grateful to be free of that now. I now choose what I spend my time thinking about. I now choose what I put in my body. I now choose this life. As I said at the end of my talk: YOU are the Keeper and Giver of your time, which is your life… choose to spend it wisely![h/t to Alex Vidal for the title of this post. Go show the Freenauts page some lurv.]
#1: All the Woolen Underthings
When confronted with your first New Hampshire winter, everyone will tell you to invest in woolen undergarments. Everyone will tell you to, but YOU will ignore this advice for at least the first if not the second winter. You will say: “Don’t you tell me what to do,” while thinking, “What difference can a pair of woolen socks really make?” As someone who waited 4 winters to invest in all the woolen underthings, let me tell you unequivocally: A LOT. I’m talking warm tootsies 24/7. Toss in a pair of woolen leggings and a long-sleeved undershirt for when you will be outside for extended periods, and you will find yourself saying: “Wait, what? Winter is over already?” Treat your woolen items with respect–don’t toss them in the dryer!–and they will love you back, winter over winter. Toasty!
#2: Layer Up
And strip down when needed. Layers give you the flexibility to be comfortable, no matter what the temperature is, inside or out. Added bonus: New Hampshire winters come with built-in stripteases!
#3: Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
If you take vitamins, consider doubling your Vitamin D intake during the winter months. This is a no-brainer mood picker-upper.
#4: Invest in a “Happy” Light
Short days getting you down? Let technology be the cure! While winter technically starts mid-December, the days then actually start getting l-o-n-g-e-r again. In the meanwhile, chase away the blahs with a light designed to enhance your mood, and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside the head.
#5: Seize the Day!
Embrace the weather, and get outside. Learn how to ski, and then learn how to ski at night. Discover the tranquility and peace of snowshoeing in fresh powder. Ride a toboggan. Get into a snowball fight. Join fellow Free Staters at a winter luau (pictured). Take a New Year’s Day Polar Plunge. Whatever you do, crawl out from under that blankie, and carpe diem the crap out of winter.
#6: Embrace Your Version of the Serenity Prayer
Whether you are a believer or an ardent atheist, you can manage your relationship with winter by observing some version of the serenity prayer, whether your prefer the religious classic: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/The courage to change the things I can/And the wisdom to know the difference,” or, the activist version from Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change/I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Accept your power will likely go out, a Nor’Easter will spoil well-laid plans (possibly to get laid), the plow guy will show up late; it’s winter, trust me, something gnarly will happen. Bottom line: New Hampshire isn’t for sissies. How you approach these challenges will determine how you cope long-term. Change your mindset, and the rest will follow. Including Spring. I promise. It comes like clockwork, every damn time.
#7: Community Reigns Supreme
There is no place on Earth for liberty activists like New Hampshire, regardless of the season. Pop-up parties follow people with power (literal power, like lights and generators). Friends help friends. And there is no better place on Earth to make real, lifetime, meaningful friends than as part of the Free State Project community. Liberty warms the cockles of our aching, over-achieving, dreamer, doer hearts. Join us in New Hampshire, and let us keep you warm with the glow of knowing we are achieving “Liberty in OUR Lifetime.”
This article first appeared on fsp.org on December 15, 2014.
YOU moved your ass all the way to New Hampshire, where it is currently, well, yanno, wintery blerghinism, and, when you moved, YOU committed to EXERTING YOUR fullest practical effort, and I’m going to ask you straight up today to evaluate and determine, honestly, in your heart of hearts, to yourself, whether YOU are FULFILLING YOUR PLEDGE, or whether YOU could be doing JUST A LITTLE MORE to help build a voluntary society with smaller and more limited government here in NH?
I’m not here to (only) guilt-trip, I want to REMIND YOU:
1. It takes a quillage and we need HELP! It’s frustrating when the same 10-20 people keep doing all the work! SHOW UP!
2. You CAN make a difference! SHOW UP!
3. Find 1 or 2 things you are passionate about, and… SHOW UP. Be present. Pick a fight. Come testify on a bill. Support someone who is running for office (like Elliot Axelman‘s upcoming special election in Hooksett, you have two weeks to help, do it!) Run ideas by old timers if you want. Try something new and see what happens. But FFS, PLEASE DO SOMETHING to enhance Liberty in Our Lifetime.
Here are some simple suggestions to get started:
1. Commit to attending 3 liberty meetings a month. This could be your local meet-up, Bardo Farm’s potluck, Merrimack Valley Porcupines, Lakes Region Meet-up/North Country/FreeCoast, New Movers, Market Days, your local political events (where you can network) etc. Check the FSP calendar if you’re not sure where to go, or what’s cooking. Or, join me on Monday’s at The Currier Museum’s Cafe from Noon-3PM where we gather to co-work on projects together. Whatever you choose, please, choose to SHOW UP.
2. Find a board or group that shares your passions and VOLUNTEER. I joined Right-to-Know NH a couple of years ago for this very reason, and still serve as secretary, even though there are few things I hate more than writing minutes. SHOW UP!
3. Into politics? NOW is the frigging season. Come testify on bills! Join GencourtMobile. Volunteer with the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance (basic membership is FREE, or support the organization by becoming an annual or lifetime member). Help the NHLA review bills—there are LITERALLY THOUSANDS! (See “we need help” above.) SHOW UP!
4. Buy YOUR Liberty Forum tickets today! Join hundreds of activists, state representatives, and speakers like Babylon Bee’s Kyle Mann and Julie Borowski (and me! :-)). I’m all for voluntary interactions, but I kinda wish I could make it mandatory. 😛 SHOW UP!
5. On Reddit? This Friday at 2PM help us promote the FSP to r/politics. This is a huge opportunity to help spread info about the FSP to a new audience. SHOW UP!
After a dozen years here in New Hampshire (yeah, that’s where the gray hair comes from) I still 100% believe in the Free State Project’s mission of attracting productive people to the freest state and working to keep it that way, and I 100% believe New Hampshire is our best chance (and now LAST chance in America) to achieve Liberty in Our Lifetime, but only if we all PULL TOGETHER, WORK OUR BADASSES OFF, and SHOW UP. Please, and thank YOU!!!!
As I write this with a clear and happy head at 6AM on January 1, 2020, I am struck by the remarkable things I have accomplished over the last couple of years.
I lost sixty-five pounds adopting an Ancestral/Keto lifestyle.
I quit drinking alcohol.
I restarted my Bikram practice after a twenty-year hiatus.
I broke a nicotine gum/vaping addiction after fifteen years.
I stopped biting my nails, a shame-inducing habit I’d had since I was a toddler.
I chose digital minimalism and significantly reduced my screen time.
I cooked at least 700 meals from scratch.
I fasted for four days more than once and am doing a 7-day fast soon.
I launched my website CarlaGericke.com where I blog about The Art of Independence.
I co-host a weekly local cable access show called Manch Talk.
I co-host the best podcast you have never heard of (yet) called Told You So.
I celebrated my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary to a man I love and who loves me back.
I write in my journal every single day since the day I promised myself I would.
As of May 1, I published a collection of award-winning short stories, flash fiction pieces, and essays about my activism in New Hampshire. Buy your copy of The Ecstatic Pessimist today!
But, the most important thing I did is to finally, fully internalize the notion that in order to advocate the virtues of individual liberty and personal responsibility—from health to wealth and beyond—it has to come from the inside out.
In order to be free, I had to understand me.
A friend who hasn’t seen me in yonks recently said: “I don’t know what you’re up to, but your aura is, like, totes a different color.” I don’t know if auras are real. I can’t see them. I didn’t think to ask what color my aura was, or what color it is now. But aura or no aura, I am totes different; I am a better, less anxious, more balanced, me.
If YOU want to change, you can. You just have to choose YOU.
We hate to admit it, but there is a very simple recipe for feeling good. You know the drill, routinely: eat right (low carb, medium protein, high good fats); get enough sleep; exercise; don’t abuse the fun stuff; and sometimes hang out with other humans. Routinely. We know it, and yet, if you are like me, you resist anything that smacks of “routine.”
After a very unmoored childhood, I waited almost forty-eight years, three continents, two careers, one miscarriage, and an arrest to start following the script routinely. And while I have always set, met, and surpassed my professional goals, leading to success as a lawyer and nonprofit executive, in my personal life, I’ve resisted looking too closely at what makes me tick. This resistance involved copious hard drugs, hard liquor, and hard partying. YOLO, baby!, until your friends do start dropping like flies.
A while ago, my husband Louis randomly asked: “When are you happiest?”
Me: “On holiday, d’oh!“
Louis: “What is it about vacation that you like?”
“Well, for starters, there’s more,” I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively and we laughed, “and, I suppose, because I get enough sleep, and, oh, I read a lot.”
Louis: “You realize all of those things are within your daily control, right?”
Me: Oh, screw you, Babes, hmm, huh, wait a minute… Dammit!
Another “huh” moment was when I accepted my calendar didn’t just have to include work obligations and Things That Must Be Done, but rather could, and indeed, should include the things you love to do. Things like, “Massage,” or “Call Kari to Chat,” or “Date Night” are totally acceptable ways to spend your time, and that:
1. It’s OK to schedule fun;
2. You are more likely to do it if it is on your calendar;
3. It’s satisfying and healthy to treat yourself like a priority.
These observations may seem obvious, but they helped me understand that I was “The Keeper (and Giver) of My Time,” and that this is the most important job I will ever have, because… this is literally… my life. All life is, after all, is figuring out how you have spent your time (your past), how you are spending your time now (the present), and how you plan to spend your time (the future). Your time equals your life. Spend it wisely.
The radical notion that I could tweak my “everyday experience” to feel more like vacay simply by choosing to read in bed instead of, say, watching another episode of a show that would still be there tomorrow, or arguing with some idiot online, was… liberating.
The next part of “Unpacking Me” involved one new habit, two books, and a quote.
The new habit was journaling. First, my sincerest apologies to every friend who over the years suggested I keep a journal. For every eye-roll, every semi-disparaging sigh, every “yeah, yeah, whatevs,” I’m sorry, and promise to accept all future Moleskines with super extra delight. Now I know.
Seriously, if you only adopt one new habit this year, make it journaling, by which I mean, keep a handwritten notebook and write in it each and every day with a firm commitment that triggers something terrifying inside yourself if you don’t. Natch, scratch that, since that’s a perverse incentive and there are better, more positive ways to motivate yourself, which I only figured out by, you guessed it, writing shit down in my journal.
How about this: Stick to journaling routinely because positive habits create positive feedback loops which lead to positive outcomes which make you want to do the good things more. It’s like a cocaine habit, except the exact fucking opposite.
The first book in question is Charles Fernyhough’s “The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves.” I’d heard a segment on NPR and thought it sounded intriguing.
Then I started reading the book.
Then I became hyper-aware of my own thoughts.
Then I started hearing a lot of voices.
Then I worried I was crazy.
Then I stopped reading the book.
But the voices in my head did not shuddup. And, thanks to journaling, I was able to isolate them. Some were smart and helpful, a couple were wise and pleasant, a handful were manageable assholes, but one, one was a Certifiable Cunt.
World: Meet my ego.
My 2020 mission is to kill this Cunt. (Do your best, she says, and just to show her who is boss, I write that down. Every time I hear her nasty, belittling, backstabbing, negative, cunty voice, I take notice. The more I see her, the weaker she becomes.)
From my notes, I discovered The Cunt’s negging is always in the second person, always with a “you,” or “your,” or “you’re” statement. She’s meaner than my worst enemies (and I’m a libertarian politician, so my enemies are… loud and plentiful).
A typical mind-convo goes something like this: “You’re useless!” “What have you accomplished in the past five years? Nothing!” “Why haven’t you finished your book!” “Why did you say that?!?” “Why didn’t you say that!?!” “Not good enough!” “Never good enough!” And my all time favorite worst critical comment that can shut me down for days, “Who cares?”
Fuck you, Cunt. I care.
Why? Why do I have this voice in my head who only talks to me in the second person as “you,” and never “me/I”? Who is she, if she doesn’t think she is part of “me”? Where did she come from? And what will it take to kill her nice and dead?
Around this time, I ran across a quote by Lao Tzu on Pinterest: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
I want to be at peace, so next, I started reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” which I’m pretty sure I read years ago but the message just didn’t resonate with me then. Important ideas are like that sometimes, you need to circle back when you are ready. The book’s back cover says, “To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind.”
Sounded to me like I’d found the roadmap to kill The Cunt: a little mental time travel, baddabingbaddaboom, and, voilà, peace in the now, right?
Then I started to delve into my past.
I looked at the story I told myself about my childhood. Child prodigy! Genius-level IQ! International travel! Exotic locations! Chauffeurs and maids! Penthouses with elevators that opened into the apartment itself! My whole persona was wrapped in this belief that my upbringing had been oh-so-glamorous, diplomat’s daughter, what, what, that I had never stopped to consider—not true, I taught myself not to—the potentially damaging effects of living on an entirely different continent, separated from your—my—parents, when you are—I am—a ten-year-old girl. Sure, we spoke on the phone once a week, usually for less than five minutes because international calls were crazy-expensive back then. We mostly talked about the weather. The standing joke in our family was that my sister, Lizette, and I would always ask, “Please send money!”
Please send money to buy your own—my own—toothpaste when you are—I am—ten years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first bra when you are—I am—twelve years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first tampons when you are—I am—thirteen years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first bottle of booze when you are—I am—fifteen years old.
For a while, I wondered if the negative back-talk stemmed from suppressed memories of awful teachers or matrons or “Mean Girls” who bullied me, but, for me, unlike my sister, that wasn’t the case. Sure, I was bitterly hungry for five years straight, and any All-Girls boarding school is going to give you some food and body issues, and I did for a time become a compulsive exerciser, and I definitely leaned into my neurotic nail-biting, but for the most part, Pretoria High School for Girls gave me a solid education, impressive leadership skills, a stiff upper lip, and, at least publicly, what appeared to be a great deal of confidence.
In the Mystery of Carla’s Secret Cunty Ego, turns out, the culprit all along, was… me.
After my parents left me at that ivy-covered, cabbage-reeking hostel with its metal-framed prison beds, I was so alone, so confused, so sad, so devastated, that in order to cope, I told myself my parents were dead.
When you miss something so intensely that it is easier to pretend the subject matter is dead, you are probably going to create a few voices in your head. When you are also a very bright, analytical child, you know, deep-down, the “Dead Parents” narrative isn’t actually true.
So you create a voice that starts with bargaining (if you run that extra lap, they will come get you), moves to chastising (you should have done better on your math test, then they wouldn’t have left you here), and eventually settles into something malevolent (of course you are a failure at everything you do, even your own parents don’t want you).
But here is the reality: No one said these things to me but me. So no one gets the blame—if there is any to assign—but me. My parents genuinely loved and spoiled us when we did spend time together. And because no one else created this monster, no one but me gets to off her. No one but me gets to set me free.
For my entire life, I said awful things to myself in my head, and I allowed that voice to become an integral part of my internal life. No more. True freedom comes from loving yourself, and the way to love yourself is to like yourself, and the way to like yourself, is to know yourself, and the best way to know yourself is to examine yourself, and in examining yourself, you have to figure out what the hell you are spending your time on, both physically and mentally. And, from now on, I am not spending another second being mean to myself. I do not blame Little Cunty Abandoned Mini-Me. From now on, my slate is clean, because I choose what’s in my head, and I choose to forgive all of me, now, and in the future, which is always now.