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Speak up

Today’s comic is a special audio edition, in which Molly delivers her speech at the Bare Bones intentional community, for the opening of her Power Station.

I hope you enjoy. I’m back to work for now.

The transcript of the speech, for those who cannot hear it (Also added to the description of the video, thanks to reader Björn Tantau for reminding me to add it!):


Umm, hello everyone.

I’m… Molly Beans. I designed this place.

I’m really not good at this, and I didn’t really prepare anything.

On top of that, I’m standing here in front of something which I’m still having a hard time accepting as real, so my brain is all over the place.

So I’m just going to have to make this up as I go. Thanks, Heather.

So, we’re here today to activate this power station for the bare bones intentional community. This station exists mainly through a chance meeting.

A chance meeting, along with what amounted to a dare from one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and a little help from
man who has taught me more than I can describe.

Thank you Grandpa Gus.

This station is a chance thought made real.

A chance meeting while I was trying to figure out why a scale model of this station wasn’t
working, led to this.

And while I’m indescribably happy to set eyes on this achievement brought on by so many chance occurrences,
I also can’t help but feel sad at the same time.

Because chances like this happen all the time, and we don’t always get to this point. And that makes me sad.

In fact, that’s one of the things that I’ve been trying to understand for a while now. But I think now that I’ve had time  to reflect on it, I may be beginning to see the truth of it.

When I was 18, I realized that I was so excited to start my life that I decided to leave college to pursue real world experience. I reasoned that, statistically, I would be dead in sixty years, so why would I involuntarily waste a single minute of that time, and more importantly, waste it because I was afraid not to?

It broke my heart to see so many people my age afraid to even start their lives. Delaying, avoiding, postponing, or denying.

I realize now that…

Sometimes, in order to stop being afraid you actually need to be afraid.

Like, if you need to take a painful shot to cure a disease,
or if you’re in a burning building and your only escape is to leap down onto a safety net.

One thing is scary but the alternative is worse.

For me the alternative was between the uncertain future of a life on my own terms, or a slow death of everything that I am by a slow acting, toxic, corrosive gas.

For me, the choice was easy.

I would rather be broke on terms I can live with than be wealthy on terms I can’t.

For me, The former is an achievement no matter how small, and the latter is not, no matter how big.

I’ve had first hand intimate knowledge of the results of the latter decision, and it was the most heart breaking thing I’ve ever had to witness.

It was most heart breaking because I witnessed it in someone who was my first true love.

If somehow she hears this, she knows who she is.

Seeing her slowly degrade herself was like being a starving person watching people throw food away.

She constantly compromised for the sake of the approval of people she hated, but was afraid to upset. If only she realized that everyone else was probably in the same situation. She was standing in a room in which everyone had a gun pointed at everyone else, and everyone hated and was afraid of everyone else.

But the room’s door was wide open, and she could have left at any time. But she didn’t.

She stayed in the burning building, and she refused the shot.

Because she did, and I didn’t, she came to resent me.

It’s easy for you to hate another’s confidence in their ability to produce and survive, if you have none yourself.

It’s a rebuke. It’s a disproof of your own self imposed stagnation. It says no to your whole life.

I understand why she did her best to tell me I was foolish or rash, for having the self respect to live
my life the way I wanted to. Because she would not allow herself the same. Instead she chose a life of constant fear and anxiety, hoping to  avoid reality for one more day, if only that.

Hoping to avoid being targeted by all of the others who lacked the courage to take the shot or jump from the building, as she and all of her, let’s call them “friends”, targeted me.

To her I say, If you hear this, you don’t have to continue. You have time. Don’t sentence yourself to a prison with a cell door that is sitting wide open.

And I urge the same to everyone here.

I’m not claiming it’s easy. I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever imagined I’d ever be able to, and I’ve failed spectacularly more than a few times along the way, and I’ve paid prices I’m still dealing with. But those failures are mine. I’ve learned from them, I’ve grown. I wouldn’t trade them for all of the wealth in the world.

I am gratified and humbled to have had this opportunity to help everyone is this community actualize the opportunity that this power station represents.

The opportunity to do what I consider most important. To do your own productive work your own way, as you see fit. Because you want to see it made real.

This power station will increase the productivity of everyone who takes part in this community, limiting them only by their own effort and imagination.
My reward for my part in its construction is seeing it used to that end. I asked for no money.

I only asked for the chance to prove that the time Molly Beans spent alive in this world
was worthwhile. With the completion of this station, I finally feel that it has been.

I can’t wait to see what everyone builds.

So, go build things.

Thank you.



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