Then the other day someone asked me what it “means to be an outlaw” and I didn't have an answer for them.
(I don't pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed.)
What does it mean to be an outlaw?
Fuck, I don't know...
It's sort of like obscenity or integrity – you know it when you see it. I don't know what being an outlaw means for you, but I think for most it starts with responsibility...reclaiming the unique responsibility for your thoughts, words, and deeds.
For me it starts with discipline and ends in integrity, and lies in the crafting of a unique path that suits me and me alone.
Then walking it.
An outlaw is part nomad and part renegade...they're part romantic too because they believe that no matter how deep is their sleep, man will wake up, rise up and overcome whatever hurdle that's placed in their path, that when belief and work are present what could be has a chance to become what is.
The outlaw is a workhorse.
They know that nothing happens without work and that laws make us lazy – obedience is all that's required to do what's lawful. An outlaw knows that it takes real discipline to do what's right, and that it starts within.
The outlaw has a voice.
There's an inherent rejection inside of the mind of any outlaw, a voice that shouts against that of the small self and everyone else's small self combined – the collective voice of preprogrammed doubt and internally generated shame.
A voice that says, “I know best...at least for me”.
There's power in walking this outlaw path, a path that, because it comes from within, can't help but produce an authenticity born of integrity and belief, a belief before all else, in oneself.
This outlaw voice is alive in each and every man and woman ever born on this planet but it gets dulled over time by environmental factors beyond our control (public school, pollutants, etc.). It's drugged through the years by chance and by choice until, in time – and in most – it becomes faint, quiet or silent.
But in the outlaw, this voice is present and loud and it rages creating conflict and confusion within. At least until its power can be recognized, prioritized, and multiplied.
Anyone can be powerful, but an outlaw empowers.
Being an outlaw doesn't have anything to do with being a criminal. You're not an outlaw because you break the law, especially if the law you break hurts someone else – even causes them undue stress or shits on their day (incidentally the only good reason not to run red lights or rob banks, if you ask me).
Real justice must be more than personal, it must be transferable and include an aspect of empathy even and especially for the inlaw – the person on the other side of the gun. The oppressor suffers as much or more as those they oppress, even if they feel less pain.
Outlaws are accepting.
I don't know what being an outlaw looks like to you, but I know what it looks like for me. And that's good enough for me...
And maybe that's what it could mean to you – being alright with whatever the hell being an outlaw means to you?
In your story it might mean being a great stepmom who trusts her instincts instead of wanting to be temporarily popular to a teenage kid? Or being a graffiti artist who paints beautiful, consciousness-raising, protest-themed murals? Or maybe it means not paying your income taxes, or being a yoga teacher, or being bisexual?
F*ck, I don't know.
But I do know that silencing the inner outlaw, the voice that shouts “Stand up” for too long will kill you from the inside, out. Whatever your inner outlaw is saying, listen to it. Encourage it. Help it get louder and prouder and do whatever you can to empower it to sing from whatever platform it requires.
But don't let me or anyone else tell you what words to say. Everyone's got their own story going in which we're all just supporting characters. And what kind of main character would you be if you let a supporting character tell you how to play your unique role?
At the end of the day, maybe being an outlaw can be as simple as not have anything to prove to anyone but yourself?
What does it mean to be an outlaw?
F*ck it, I don't know...
You tell me.