Tuesday, August 30, 2011



Hey.  I’m not joking.  I need your help.

But first let’s talk about things that are NOT EASY.


Okay so this is just me, personally, but I am no longer in St. Louis.  And some things are apparent to me as I am elsewhere:
            a)  It is an illusion that 80% of people are not straight.  It is an illusion that was really great that somehow infected me as I was surrounded by the amoeba-esque safety-net of South Grand and its inhabitants. 

            b) When I am not in my comfy corner of the planet, the HUMAN TOLL gets higher.


So I’ve been donating some thought (for better or worse) to Jared’s comment on our HUMAN TOLL. 

I’ve realized that I have LOTS of tolls.  You know?  I think our tolls change as we go from place to place?  And what does any environment COST us?

In a world of red fish, the yellow fish has to sort of pay her toll for being yellow.  But when she is in a world of yellow fish, she has to pay her toll for being…I don’t know…really ADD.


When I am in my semi-new surroundings of grad school, my QUEER person toll is higher.  I pay an extra thought, an extra act of overcompensation, an extra effort to find where all those people with those haircuts and tattoos are going…

What’s your toll?

Maybe it’s queerness, or lack thereof.  Maybe it’s that you have terrible body odor or seem to be followed by an undeserved karmic curse. 
Maybe it’s that your parents weren’t kind to you, or that your feet are different sizes.
Maybe it’s an illness.
A big loss.
An aversion to human contact.
A fear of something irrational, like condiments or the word “moist.”

I think one of the biggest ones for all humans after the age of eighteen is that we’ve had our hearts hurt.  We carry that all the time.  (Except not me, that’s never happened.  I’m totally okay with everything always.  You can probably tell by how smooth/confident/effortlesslygraceful I am).   

I’m going to just…put it out there that I think I have a whole handful of problems.  I’m only going to give some (a teensy fraction of) examples of my personal...


1.  Inability to conform to social expectation.

2.  Natural inclination to NOT do what people tell me I should/could do.

3.  Obsession/interest with all things/people that seem (or are) UNATTAINABLE to me.  (I am not special.  This is some sick fascination that many of us have.  It costs us a lot a whole lot of the time, so why we’re all not over it, I really couldn’t say.  Seriously, let’s get healthier about this.  It leads to being CREEPY).

4.  General state of discomfort.  (Symptoms: Spaz laugh, non-English or non-Human speech, choosing to WRITE as a career, being called awkward by 100% of people I interact with on a regular or non-regular or one-time basis).

We could REALLY go on, but that’s all I feel like I can share right here right now.


WHAT IS YOUR TOLL?  What’s the biggest one?

Is your HUMAN TOLL less at MoKaBe’s?  Or different?
Do you have any TOLL to pay there?

I think some of these things might bind us.  I think some of them may be funny.  I think our problems are pretty great to talk about.  (I think they might be what I want to explore in this documentary.)

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THIS:  (No, still…more help).  

Let’s talk about questions.



ANSWER:  People keep asking me this.  I don’t really know.  It has to do with MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse.  It has to do with why people spend time here, and why that time is different than time spent at other places.  It has to do with their HUMAN TOLL and what they bring or leave behind or shed or gain. 

It has to do with people who have found a HOME here.
Or people who have found COMFORT here.
Or people who have met their LOVE(S) here.
Or people who come here anyway.

Or people who have changed here?

"I reflect on what my twenty year old self thought I would be at twenty-seven…and it is not this.  But I’m extremely happy with my life."  (Liz T.)  


So that’s good.  I guess we’ll get to that later.  Like…later.
Forget that one.





I have asked some people what the movie of their lives would be called.  I get a lot of “umm…I don’t know.”  I think I have this idea that the name of the movie about someone who has been changed/ruined/enlightened/bored by this place MIGHT nicely coincide with a title for a film about the place itself. 


Some titles I have gotten:

“I hope you didn’t pay for this.”
“Where did I leave my shoes?”
“(Laughs awkwardly).”

I have a couple of promising titles that relate to both the lives of individuals and their experiences at MoKaBe’s, but I would like MORE.


If you come up with the name of the film, you will WIN:
The honor of naming a movie that might be seen by someone sometime.

YES!  It could happen to you!

So…what is your TOLL?
And what should this movie be CALLED?

Or could the same thing work…for both?
(No pressure).

If you haven't seen this...I guess maybe watch it.  And then name it.


  1. nounorverb?

    Definition of TOLL
    intransitive verb
    : to take or levy toll
    transitive verb
    a : to exact part of as a toll b : to take as toll
    : to exact a toll from (someone)

    verb \ˈtōl\
    tolled or toledtoll•ing or tol•ing
    Definition of TOLL
    transitive verb
    : allure, entice
    a : to entice (game) to approach b : to attract (fish) with scattered bait c : to lead or attract (domestic animals) to a desired point

    noun \ˈtōl\
    Definition of TOLL
    : a tax or fee paid for some liberty or privilege (as of passing over a highway or bridge)
    : compensation for services rendered: as a : a charge for transportation b : a charge for a long-distance telephone call
    : a grievous or ruinous price ; especially : cost in life or health

  2. mmmmkay

    so, a few things to share. a few things, all connected, I swear. bare with me, just dare.

    As most, some, all, the world knows. I went through my first very heart smash at the ripe age of 26, two weeks ago. Here it is, been waiting to wonder what all this fuckin' blubbering is about. I've heard my friends ramble about it for years.

    (some of them on multiple occasions. Don't worry all. I loved every moment of it.)

    When the heart smash first happened on that faithful Sunday morning, sitting naked in the kitchen with my soon to be former lover across the table and she spewed at me a the most sloppy slurs of cliches I could imagine, my heart did not break, did not crack, it smashed.

    I lost it. For hours after I demanded she get the fuck out of my apartment. I yelled, bellowed. Sure I cried. But mostly I released the most guttural vibrations my gut had to offer. I lost it. I lost control. I was hurt.

    ...flash back...

    Four years ago, the night before I was to graduate from undergrad, I was held at gun point, raped, robbed, and forced to drive my 'perpetrator' around for over two and half hours. Needless to say, I lost it. I lost control. I was hurt.

    ...flash forward...

    while attempting to apply for illinois license, no small task i tell you, i was turned away four times for certain pieces of paper, money variations i didn't have, barely passing a 40 multiple choice test (dislexia in full force) and a 25 fill-in the black sign exam. I arrived at the photo booth only to be sexually harassed my the man sitting behind the lens. Before I knew it I was waving my finger at the man saying, "That's quite enough out of you sir. I'm in no mood to be sexually harassed!" He took my photo, handed me the still warm freshly laminated card, I escorted myself out of the mazes of ropes directing the defeated lines. I made it to my care before crying. I lost it. I lost control. I was hurt. Battered by bureaucracy.

    All this loss of control. All this hurt. got me thinking. got me wondering.

    then you asked. what's the human toll?


    I'm figuring something out. I think it's pretty big. It is to me at least. And deep at it's root's Lorde-ism. (Audre that is)

    In all these moments I felt wronged. I felt victimized. I had done nothing to ask for any of it. Boom. Someone else has control. My reaction: I fucking freaked out. I lost control. And I felt hurt. I started thinking that those two things were the same. hurt is a direct product of victimization.

    wait. a product. my product. My production. mine. they're not the same.

    My feelings of hurt are mine. I own them. even though they are reactions to the actions of someone i do not have control over. That control stops there. I own the hurt. but when i allow the perpetrators to own my hurt. they own healing. i'm a victim. I cannot sit with victimization, too paralyzing, no where to go.

    I have agency to sit with hurt. own, understand, and heal it. I have the power, and control to heal.

    All this, got me thinking about human toll.

    Got me thinking about Mokabe's

    Mokabes is a place of profound and deep resilience. It is a place where we can deeply feel the scars of hurt; swim, retrace, paddle backwards through time, reopen wounds, close books, climb through windows, solicit advice, and feel it all.

    Feel in company of those whose trauma, and love came before. It is a place of celebration of self love, growth, movement, and the unique capacity of each one of us to hold our feelings deeply close, own them and from this act honestly as we walk and dance forward. It is my place of healing.

  3. Brilliance. Moving/walking/dancing forward. For me it is the brightest place for healing, too. The opposite of paralyzation somehow? This. Is. So. Wonderful. (And generous and heart-smashing).

  4. I feel the hurt, and I'm very sadsickangryannoyedneedy about it, come home, I'll meet you at Moks and use my arms to fill you with love.

    I thought about not making a joke after all of that but I decided that's not really my "style",...which is part of my human toll I guess, and it gets worse at Mokabe's...because no one really thinks I'm funny. Ponche finds me offensive most of the time, and every other time I'm just a creep, and even Sara knows that.

    I have so many tolls...ever changing with my environment, also ever changing with the amount of T I store in my butt cheeks, and time. It's all making me happier, and a bigger, better, stronger person. I'm really good at picking myself back up and dusting myself off now. Where as before I just kept getting down on myself so much that I would be in a "funk" for weeks. I know everyone has said that no one can change you, but you, but I've only just now started believing in it. I used to leave my hurt, and the rest of my feelings to be fixed or adjusted by other people around me. Never wanting to be a burden, but "that's what friends are for" right? Also somehow convincing myself that if I didn't let other people help me or if I let MY feelings get in the way I was being selfish. I don't know what changed or how I changed this way of thinking, but I did, so now I think it's selfish of me to want other people to just fix me. No one's going to come along, and be my fucking white prince. I'm my own prince, somehow I've joined partnership with myself finally at 21. I'm sure it won't be the last time I get lost and have to play hide and go seek again, but right now I like where I've found myself. As for friends, I do need them for support to share our tolls, for human contact and love. Sara's right Mok's is our "place of celebration of self love, growth, movement, and the unique capacity of each one of us to hold our feelings deeply close, own them and from this act honestly as we walk and dance forward." You really can't get anything better than that. That is the definition of Mokabe's. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Mokabe's is home, it's just home.

    I think the movie needs to be called "All One" because we are...right LiZa?!

  5. Ooo ooo or The Rainbow Connection.

  6. Or "$0.75 refill for the soul", you know like chicken soup for the soul... but with coffee.

  7. People who laugh cry too

  8. The movie was a lot of fun! I consider Mokabes' an extension of my home, and family. I don't think I would be the person I am today with out Reeny Mo and well the entire family. They give their hearts and souls to people. I hope I give enough back to them.

    Simply title it: A Place to Call Home

    Good luck and Sarah was super cute crying at the end =)