Musician and Activist devoted to Justice, Creativity, and Courage

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33 Self-Interview Questions… and how…

Upon realizing that today is Monday and last week I decided that Sunday would be my big blog day, I decided to get right to it.  I have been recuperating from having my wisdom teeth removed and a slight complication of a nerve being exposed during surgery so now my mouth is STILL numb on one side, four days later… Nevertheless, I have been spending my wonderful free time relaxing at my grandmother’s house on pain medication, sleeping most of the time, eating and wiping drool off my face, and then sleeping s’more.  No Spanish practice, no work, not anything.  Today I thought I would go mad and then my thankfully my grandmother was also experiencing some cabin fever and she announced that we MUST get out of the house today.  And we did.  We went out joyriding, ate lunch out and then rode around to look at all the beautiful snow that everyone had been raging about for days.  The roads weren’t that bad so I decided to truck my happy ass back to Saxapahaw to be with my kitty friend, Pepita.  I missed my pals, but mostly I missed my Netflix to be honest, I missed Grace and Frankie.  I was recuperating without the internet and I thought I was going to lose my mind.  There is only so much journaling and reading and Instagramming one can do without going crazy.  Today I looked forward to going home and answering this long “get to know yourself” questionnaire.  In my therapy session last week, exploring titles and understanding myself is something I was tasked to do.  I was also tasked with watching a video about female masturbation.  Haven’t done that yet. I may not tell you when I do…

So here goes the questionnaire: (

33 Questions For An Interview With Yourself

1. What Do You Do For A Living?

I work for Democracy Matters; I’m the national organizing field director.  I also wait tables and play music professionally.  These are all the things that put food on the table.

2. Who Do You Love?

If this question is directed at a romantic love, right now I should say that I love Peter.  Even after all that we’ve gone through and now have broken up, I love Peter.  I’m not in love with him, but I do have love for him.  That said, I am falling in love with Me.  I’ve done some things just this past week that I am proud of and pretty soon I’ll be learning more that I love about myself (if I watch that video..).

3. Do You Have Enough Money?

Right now, no.  There are some bills that I would like to pay off and not worry about whether or not I can still live in this house I am renting.  Student loans, car, insurance (health and car), electricity, internet, groceries, gas… This is actually the reason why I started making the decision to go to law school.  My current job is amazing and I love what I do, but I don’t think I make enough money to ever be able to pay off my student loans and build a house/farm/family.  I do want those things.  I also want to kick some ass in the political realm, law school would definitely scoot me toward that goal.

4. Are You Healthy?

Yes, now.  I eat extremely well, take good care of my body, and I am very aware of how much I consume.  I have about 4-5 drinks a week, exercise 5-6 days a week, I try to walk every day.  I keep my mind healthy by keeping a tidy home and catching up with my sleep nightly. I love my curves, but I want to fit into some of my pants better! Enjoying going to the gym lately with a gym partner, feels so good!

5. Do You Think You Are a Good Person?

I wonder if there is such a thing.  We all do things that we regret.  We all hurt people’s feelings whether we want to or not.  I think I am a good person.  I would trust my word.  You’re as good as your word and that’s the bottom line for me.  There’s much to say here, but in terms of the shitty life circumstances I’ve been presented with, with some help, I will say that I came out okay.  I came out a strong, talented and good person.  I hope 😉

6. How Old Are You?

I feel like I’m 33 almost 34, but really I feel much younger that that.  In terms of “where I should be in life by now” and where many of my peers are at this age…. it could be perceived that I am lagging behind.  I have no kids, no spouse, no house, no boyfriend even.  I’ve been asked by my family if I’m ever going to “settle down and find a man and have some kids…” I shake my head at this.  Truly, I would love to be old as hell.  Old like the old lady at the end of the street who feeds 100s of cats and still has tons of boyfriends she goes out with.  Old like the old woman who can say whatever the hell she wants because she can and it doesn’t matter anymore.  Old in the way where you can just hear the nonsense that some young whipper-snapper has said and all you have to do is shake your head knowingly…and then whap them upside their head.

7. Who’s Your Best Friend?

I have a few.  Becky Miller.  Jill Boogie.  Lindsey Smith.  I met Becky as I was getting to know her on a porch, she was about to be my new roommate.  That worked out well.  I met Jill in a naked virgin race.  She won.  I met Lindsey dancing around a fire in Buncombe county.  We now have tattoos of that night.

8. What’s Your Childhood Dream?

My childhood dream was to fly.  I had repeat dreams of me flying over deep chasms in the earth.  I could fly away from whatever was happening down here on old earth and just be up there in the clouds.  I have flown several times in my life, I do love it.  I love to travel and get above the clouds.  I jumped out of an airplane too, skydiving, and laughed like a loon the whole way down.  My dream now is to get grounded.  To get into the comfort of my own skin and not have to fly away.

9. How Often Do You Laugh?

I laugh every day.  At least once.  Sometimes I laugh at myself.  That’s not often.  I laugh at my cat because she is with me most of the time.  I laugh at the funny things she does.

10. What Makes You Smile?

  1. Sunsets and Sunrises
  2. The Moon
  3. Ice crunching under my boots
  4. Candles and flowers
  5. Hiking
  6. Driving like a badass in snow with 4wd
  7. Fresh eggs
  8. Having coffee with my friends early in the morning
  9. Sledding and playing in the Snow
  10. Dancing to Music by myself

11. Who’s Your Most Dangerous Enemy?

Donald Trump.  Isn’t he everyone’s at this point? Even his own? No seriously.  OUR most dangerous enemy is complacency.  We cannot be complacent about this man, his cabinet, or the corrupt system/rampant racism/sexism that got him to where he is right now.

12. Where Do You Live?

I live in Saxapahaw.  I rent a house here.  It’s a small, old mill house.  I love it.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that the driveway SUCKS and I’m afraid someone is going to roll their car going in or out of it.  I feel at home here, I am still trying to figure out how I’m going to pay for this place when the Summer comes… Originally it was supposed to be a place where Peter and I lived together.  That was because I was unhappy living on Beech Mountain, less to do with Beech Mountain though than to do with our unhappy relationship.  It probably wouldn’t have mattered where we lived, if we weren’t going to be able to get through our problems in one place, probably not going to get through them in another..  I am glad we realized this and still care for each other in the reality of our circumstances.  Home is a very special place to me, it’s the place to come home to.  I have two homes really.  This house is one of them, but also my grandparents’ house is the other.  I grew up in that home mostly.  I feel like it’s the closest thing I have to a homestead.  I still go there and take care of that house, take care of my grandparents, because they are so special to me.  But boy do I love Saxapahaw.  I love this little community, this little tiny village.  All romanticism aside, I hope to find love here and stay here and I hope that the world doesn’t burn down before that happens.

13. Do You Think You’re Strong?

Yes.  Horrendously so.  The stories this life could tell, which I don’t have enough time to type, would fill pages of why I’m so damned strong.  I’ve stood up for the right things for a very long time.  Strong to me means doing just that.  Standing up against all odds and doing the right thing.  Whether it’s protecting the weak or speaking truth to oppression.  Flex your muscles baby, strength comes from the battles, not the victories.  I’ve only recently been told that I was strong, never really thought about it before, but I am.  I’m eagerly accepting it and waking up to a new moment in my life.

OK – that’s 13 out of 33.  I’m not typing anymore tonight.  I might fill this out more tomorrow.  Maybe next week.  Right now, I’m going to turn on Grace and Frankie and eat s’more soft foods.  I’m guessing that’s going to continue until I get feeling back in my jaw.  Pudding does not suck.  Thanks to my dear Kimberly for putting that on my radar.

Love, Anita


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“Honey, you turn me on, I’m..” ..on the radio!

Well folks, it’s the last day of the year.  What a year it has been.  I’ve been pondering what kind of resolutions I might choose for 2017.  One of them is definitely finishing my Master’s degree.  I have to take a speaking/oral assessment exam and pass in order to get my official degree.  I’ve defended my thesis, now I have to be fluent-ish in Spanish.  No short order!!

This year has been full of new experiences, some heartache, some triumph, some serious disappointment, and learning all around.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I would like to exist in this world.  2016 started out in Taxco, Mexico with Peter Perkins and new friends, celebrating New Year’s Eve.  More photos of the trip:  (If we’re friends on FB you can see them here.)

nye-taxco lemon-merenge

Throughout the year I did things that, all listed out, sounds like the life of a super-she-ro.  I got better at skiing, started making homemade almond milk and eating better in general, and made the best lemon merengue pie I’ve ever tasted. I marched at HKonJ in Raleigh, NC with my students from Democracy Matters for the 3rd year in a row, hosted the 15th annual Democracy Matters student Summit in Albany, NY.

hkonj summit-photo

I participated in the Democracy Spring march from Philadelphia to DC (Marching 13-17 miles per day, 150 miles) and half-way through was tasked with feeding all those people 3 meals per day for 6 days straight, while also helping to find them places to sleep.  I was arrested for the first time in DC in a week long of protests with over 1000 other people, highlighting voter suppression and the pay-to-play, profits over people election system in this country.  James Madison and I also went with a large group of protestors to lobby Congress to pass the reforms we marched for.

marching-for-fair-elections me-n-pete-guam-after-march

me-n-james-madison democracy-spring-marchers

screenshot-2016-12-31-11-23-58 screenshot-2016-12-31-11-23-30

We all witnessed our country stripped of whatever dignity was left when the DNC, wrought with corruption, squandered our chance for having Bernie Sanders as the President.  (But hell, with what happened and the president-elect now, I wonder if it would have made a difference…) I protested the DNC in Philadelphia alongside 1000s of other concerned, affected, and marginalized humans.

black-lives-march bernie-quote-dem-spring

Despite the corrupt and disheartening nature of the state of our country, I tried to make the best of it.  Peter encouraged me to sing more and gave me a weekly Sunday brunch spot up on the top of Beech Mountain during the Summer.  I serenaded brunch-goers and often had the one, the only Brad King playing with me.  I’ll miss the sunsets on Beech Mountain.

me-n-brad beech-mtn-sunset

I played a whole lot more music and even EMCEE’d the Sirens on the Mountain women’s music festival and the Blue Bear Mountain Music Festival.  I’d never done anything like that before and it was a honor and delight to be asked.  I also got to hear some amazing music, Ruthie Foster, Melissa Reaves, the Carter Brothers, Acoustic Syndicate, Mark Schimick, and the Larry Keel Experience.  Some of my absolute favorite musicians.  I played with the Radar’s Clowns of Sedation (Pete Pawsey’s amalgamation of nomadic musicians) at the Carrboro Music Fest and sang at the Eddy Pub a couple of times, even once with John Saylor!!

me-n-peter-sirens beech-mtn-singingcarrboro-music-fest me-n-john-eddy

A bittersweet and melancholy goodbye was said to my tenure on Beech Mountain.  Peter and I have parted ways and over time, I moved back to Alamance County nearer to my dear Maw Maw and Paw Paw and my friend family of Saxapahaw, NC.  Can’t say love is easy, but it is always worth it.  Learning how to be true to one’s self is a priceless lesson.  I still love Peter Perkins dearly and always will.  Glad we had the opportunity to learn those lessons.


Now that I’m back on my own-ish (we never really are alone or do the work alone, that’s for sure) I’m finding my way back to the path.  Studying and setting up a system of living, a badass kitchen, plans for law school (#iknowright!?), plans for a garden, and giving thanks for all of the ways in which I feel like I’ve been blessed in this life.  On Halloween, Doug Williams dressed up as ME, while I just went with the mermaid costume.  What a surprise and honor!  My great aunt Dorothy passed away, that was a very sad day.  My grandmother is the last of the original Darnells in her family still living.  Democracy died in our country on (or before) November 8th but I voted (and drove a friend to vote) nonetheless.  I had a lovely holiday season with my dear family.  Stress free and delicious, all you could ask for.  Today I feel grateful.

doug-as-me mermaidaunt-dot-and-fam voting-with-pea

christmas-with-fam badass-kitchen

mmpp Strength and Weakness

…and now that we are on the last day of the year together, please let me offer up some things that I hold dear and some things that I hold high.  There is so much poverty and injustice in our world. Please do your part, whatever that is. Vote, encourage others to vote, fight for voting rights!  Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.  Teach someone something that you know. Learn something new! Make art, unabashedly.  Protest.  Go in the streets and speak truth to injustice.  Get off Facebook and BE with people.  Seek out and support live music.  Smile and frown, whatever you feel like doing right now and in the moment.  Don’t talk down to yourself.  Lift yourself up as high as you can, you’re the only one who can heal yourself, and it’s your choice, your perspective.  Please pray for the hungry and feed them.  Please pray for the poor and advocate for/with them.  Please pray for justice and participate in your democracy.  Please help to end racism and sexism (and all the other -isms) by speaking up and out.  Please pray for our water and environment and act to protect them.  STAY AS INFORMED AS YOU CAN. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King said; and Maya Angelou said this, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Nelson Mandela  beech-mtn-sunsets

So all of that said, I was on the radio last night.  Invited by John Saylor and Bob Johnson to be on the show “Pass The Hat” on WHUP 104.7 for open-mic night! A snippet of the show is linked below – the portion where I am on the show. The whole show can be listened to on the following link.  Love on all yer heads and heres to 2017, cause damn 2016 was crazy. (headlines below also)

Excerpt of the show with me (and Lance White accompanying)

12/30/16 Open-Mic on Pass the Hat with John Saylor as guest host! (full two hours)

News headlines for December 30th from Skimm and Democracy Now:

“People we will miss…as in Muhammed AliDavid BowiePrinceAlan RickmanLeonard CohenNancy ReaganGwen IfillJohn GlennAlan ThickeMiss CleoGeorge MichaelCarrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds” my aunt Dot and so many more. (

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Journal Entry, from the Gettysburg Hotel on Business…

11-15-16 9:41pm Gettysburg Hotel, Room 401.  Wow, just in the last hour I have gone from mood to mood from despair to curiosity to contemplative to glad to peacefulness to questioning to disgust to pain and to feeling sorrow.  I held the partial hand of a man confined to a wheelchair in the elevator.  His name was Rich.  I held the door and eagerly got on it (the elevator) with him.  He asked me what brings me to Gettysburg and I said that I work with the school and Democracy Matters to educate students about the corrosive influence of money in politics in our election system.  He said, sort of asked, “Getting rid of Citizens United.?” I said, “Exactly that. And more.”

It was so nice to meet him, if only for a moment.  I’d just returned to the hotel from seeing the movie, “The Dressmaker” and the movie was good, albeit somewhat depressing but still, I laughed at some parts.  Themes of revenge, miscommunication (intentional and unintentional), love, death, and mother/daughter relationships, and redemption.  After the movie though – at the historic Majestic Theatre – there was an art exhibit about Healing.  People wrote on cards about what they wished people understood, what they wished people wouldn’t assume, and what surprised them the most about their own healing.  The submissions were tremendous, heavy, and inspiring.  For what felt like an eternity, I stood there wanting to contribute but being still and waiting for some sort of approval or for someone to tell me it was time to leave, without me having a chance to write my own submission onto a card.

But I did.  I wrote about the voices inside our heads which are mean and tell us lies about who we are and what people think of us and how they hold us back from realizing our true potential… or something like that.  On the back of the card , I thanked the artists for providing such an outlet via art.  And then I walked out of the Majestic.

I’m feeling quite lost at the moment.  I went into the campus Lutheran chapel yesterday and prayed.  I even searched for the chaplain but he wasn’t to be found.  I walked down the basement hallway and at the end found the choir room.  Unmistakable rows of silent and still chairs and a grand piano, touched with dust yet probably frequently used.  This room reminded me of singing in high school and church and all the choirs I joined voices with so long ago – and I longed for those times.

Yesterday I remembered a happy memory from my young adult childhood of roller skating and feeling like flying yet still anchored to the ground by eight rubber wheels.

I’ve been searching for inspiration to be as energizing in my work as I know I can be.  Look there.  Deja vu.  I’ve felt this pen to this page before.

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On a sunny morning that feels like afternoon…

Today is November the 6th and I’m having one of those mornings where I feel like I should have accomplished a lot already, but really, my inside voice is just being a bitch.  I’ve woken up early, fed the animals, made and eaten breakfast, read a chapter of my book (Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, just in case you’re interested and want an amazing new book to read), and walked the dog, gathered eggs and fed the chickens… I’m house sitting for my dear friends little farm/menagerie and I’ve accomplished much already.

I will be doing work shortly, to make up for the two days I’ve been behind since my car decided to quit on me Friday afternoon.  Could be the battery… I’m hoping it’s just the battery…

Like many of you, the inner voice tells me things and gives me excuses and keeps me from shining my light at it’s proper voltage.  This is due to depression, anxiety, addiction, laziness, and a lack of assertiveness and will-power.  If you don’t know this about me, then now you do and you may actually be experiencing the same.  I’ve too often considered myself a victim of the abusive past in my life vs. rising above in my own mind.  Giving myself the time of day and showing up for me, because I matter too.  I hope you can have moments where you can rise above those limiting inside voices.  Each moment I hear them, recognize them, and challenge them consciously is a victory in my day.

I’m going to finish my work right now, and go out and enjoy this gorgeous day afterwards. With so much going on in the world, I am glad for the privilege of being able to enjoy a beautiful Autumn day and I hope I honor the Divine by living with more peace in my heart and more will-power to glow brighter every day.  I’m saying prayers for those in the struggle at Standing Rock and all around the world where greed and injustice are the M.O. (in my backyard as well, I see it.) I hope the work I do in this world impacts the long-time struggle for justice and peace.  Because we cannot know peace without justice.  And we cannot know justice without action towards it.





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Music makes my fingers wring out these words

Anita my love, put a smile on that face.
Your moon is handsome and frilly all the day long and so very shimmery in the night.
As the stars begin to weep for the strength of your heart, you will play the chords of all of their hearts and make tears flow from their eyes.


You will speak more than one language and you will stand and speak, bravely, and say unto yourself, “I love you. You are my rock. You are the wavelength upon which all the universe is spoken and heard, whispered and forgotten. You are everyone, everyone is with you.”


Smile now and skip away, in a giggle that beckons your soul to laugh out loud.


(image from Zaloo’s Canoes in West Jefferson, NC)


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Joe writes back.

Good Grief Girl, hope you take a vitamin supplement array…sounds like you and your boyfriend live life on your own terms…as we all should.
Sam Ervin the fourth, or something like that—and Tillis
I look forward to a possible January reunion…
Let’s keep in touch, we seem to be “well met…”   Sincerely, J
I am so proud of your grad school efforts; tomorrow looks like academics will rule the roost…life is so complex, compared to what looks, looking back, like a simpler time long gone.


Funny enough Joe, I have been taking my vitamins and I actively and daily recognize the privilege in my life to make the choices I make to be a little bit freer than some.  Yesterday, I was delighted to hear from you. I wrote about it in my journal this morning.  It filled me with joy to remember our first encounter and I wrote a recount of it.

​Life is seemingly more complex even than when I was coming up as a little girl in Alamance County.  I realized just yesterday how much I longed for a telephone you couldn’t walk around with.  How a stationary place to talk on the phone allowed for, or rather dictated, that one must pay attention to the person speaking on the other end.  How precious a thought in these mind-blowingly, fast-paced times when I truly believe people do not take the time to merely look one another in the eye, much less pay attention to the words they are bravely saying out loud.
You and I are brave creatures.  Boldly stepping out into the world and speaking.  Greeting everyone we meet.  Honoring the lives of the workers in places; we are the ghosts, I believe, of human past.  Is that too nostalgic of me?  I read in Woebegon Boy by Garrison Kiellor that nostalgia is for the birds.  Here is the beautiful paragraph about his mother, “Being Lutheran, Mother believed that self-pity is a deadly sin and so is nostalgia, and she had no time for either.  She had set at the beside of her beloved sister, Dotty, dying of scarlet fever in the summer of 1934; she held Dotty’s hand as the sky turned dark from their father’s fields blowing away in the drought, she cleaned Dotty, wiped her, told her stories, changed the sheets, and out of that nightmare summer she emerged stronger, confident that life would be wondrous, or at least bearable.”
What are you doing for Christmas?  
Cheers to a brave soul,

The Stationary Telephone                                                  photo from: