Video transcript: McBride on SXE
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There are a few schools of thought in SXE; Like Surrealism, or the Communist Party, or even Buddhism, any idealogy that has lasted more than 5 years. This is the one that I grew up with in Florida in the 80s and that we have out in LA right now.
Many people know the big 3 rules of the SXE movement: Don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs. But simply not drinking, smoking, or doing drugs does not make you SXE in the same way that loving thy neighbor does not make you a Christian.
For me and the guys I came up with being SXE was about choice. It was about staying sharp to see, hear, feel and remember everything. It was about strength. And ultimately for me it is about fearlessness.
There are a thousand reasons to live a clean life and I'm glad to see people doing it. I think it's great for pretty much everyone. But that is not being SXE. The idea and beliefs-- and to a certain extent the culture and community-- are what make someone SXE. The 3 rules are just the manifestion of that and the customs we keep.
Being SXE is about choice. It may seem strange that holding rules that say, "Don't do this and don't do that" would be pro-choice, but the first fact to realize is that I am choosing to abstain. This is not something I defaulted to or a bi-product of some other morality or fear.
I don't drink or do drugs because I choose not to. It's not being forced on me. I don't believe that I have to or that it's wrong or evil or I'm going to hell. Not at all. It is a choice and I'm making it.
And despite what the vegetarians say, being SXE is not simply about treating your body better. If you were worried about your lungs you wouldn't live within 100 miles of a major city. If I was worried about brain cells, I wouldn't surf waves bigger than I can handle; they kill off a block of brain cells everytime I get pushed under and have to hold my breath for a little too long. And I can't remember the last decent pit I was in that we all didn't come out just physically damaged.
While there is a lot to say about treating your body well and it is very much in-line--perhaps neccesary, to keeping yourself able to chose and stay sharp and engaged, the truth is that veganism, vegetarianism, even sexual absitnance are not inherant parts of being SXE.
There was no vegetarianism in the SXE movement until Youth of Today, the major band back in the youth crew days of the late eighties, dicovered Krishna.
Placing limits on sex though has been an orbiting moon of the big 3 rules for a while and it is easy to understand why. Despite amazing contibutions from females and an ever-growing number of girls with Xs on their fists, the truth is that SXE was always a boys' club and males are easily obsessed with sex. It can hijack you and become the defining motivation as easily as any chemical. Swearing it off or defining it contains it.
Now there is nothing wrong with being focused; In fact that is a great reason to keep a lucid life. But when that one something takes over, then you are no longer deciding what is right for you.
Addiction takes away your ability to choose. Unquestioned habits, impaired judgment, foggy or warped perception, all take away your awareness and your ability to conciously steer your life, your ability to be engaged in what is truly happening around you.
I don't want to disconnect from life.
I dont' t want to side step the world or clean it in my own mind. I want to be a part of it; I want to remember it. I want to see it, hear it, feel it, lick it, fuck it, eat it, get it under my finger nails; all of it. The good and the bad. I want to taste the salt and vinegar as well as the marshmallows and the KoolAid. It's all part of this experience.
I want to confront life. Sure it hurts, but I'll take my punches honest and square and see 'em coming.
When I wear an X on my hand or my triple X necklace, I don't do it to brag or to boast. I do it to fly the flag, to find others with the same feelings I have, to start a conversation with someone who doesn't. I do it to offer a precedent to the people who haven't figured it out yet. Yes, it is possible to do all this shit and more and remember it in the morning. I am proof.
But a symbol is not what it is a symbol of. It's not the name or the mantra or the icons; it's the idealogy and the belief. And keeping those simple tenants gives the belief a solid form. I don't preach it. I don't have to force it on others. Hell I don't even have to leave the room when things go the other way. I simply don't smoke the cigarette. I pass the joint without hitting it. I have soda in my cup instead of beer. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. This is a commitment I made to myself.
Commiting, too, seems contrary to the idea of choice, but again I am choosing to commit to the lucid life. And there is a strength in commitment.
The idea of a commitment, whether it's getting married or joining the Fruit of the Month club, is that you have that thing that you can build off of and rely on. A block for a foundation. If I stay sharp and uninfluenced then in my life I will always have one thing: myself.
Don't drink. Don't Smoke, Don't do drugs. The big 3 rules. But it's not about the alcohol or the nicotine or the chemicals or the sex or the obsession, it's about what they take away. They take away my ability to choose, be aware and stay solid. Being SXE is about exercising those things in myself to protect them.
I am not doing this to be a kinder person or make the world a better place. I do it for myself.