Sovereignty in the age of the extinction rebellion

November, 13, 2019

Article by Paul Nelson

A trail blazer, a passionate and talented poet, mother and activist, gain deeper insight into what some in the media have dubbed "A radical movement". Just a glimpse into one of the many faces and personalities that go to make up the Extinction Rebellion as an organisation.

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I’ve known Kelli Marie Sellwood all of my life, always a beautiful star even back when she wore those big glasses that made her look like a chipmunk. This young lady is indeed family: my older cousin who I’ve seen transform in front of my very eyes, has done our family proud. 



I first knew Kelli was made to be in the limelight when she had a cameo in Dizzy Rascals video "Come dance wiv me". Subsequently of course, she had offers to present, perform and act but as she told me it wasn’t for her.



Kelli is a woman of integrity, a woman who is courageous and is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes in. Another reason I respect her is amongst other things,  in recent years having parted ways with her husband she followed her heart,  found new love in a same sex union and built a new life for herself.


This woman is a trail blazer, a passionate and talented poet, mother and activist, and by reading further you will gain deeper insight into what some in the media have dubbed "A radical movement". Just a glimpse into one of the many faces and personalities that go to make up the Extinction Rebellion as an organisation. I hope you all enjoy...

 

Hey Kelli, thank you for agreeing to an interview with us, how are you? I know you’ve been quite busy doing your part for the community, tell me about it.

Hi, thank you for asking me to share my story with you, it's my pleasure.

I attended a protest in my home city of Chelmsford yesterday, which was a bit of a roller coaster of emotions.

How are the children doing it must be quite challenging balancing everything?

Well this evening my two young boys accidentally flooded our bathroom, so I’m feeling quite low on energy this evening. With that said, they have gone to stay with their dad for the week now, so, I finally have a chance to get on top of things and do this interview.

As a parent I understand you fully, and appreciate your time, as awkward as this timing is, lol...

Now, Extinction rebellion is in my opinion an outcry from those who with acute awareness of environmental catastrophes. Some may regard the movement as radical but what actually is it from your stand point?

I would have to say, it is both of those things. Every soul within XR has had the realisation that we have to do something to protect our planet and our future. We have come to the realisation that we cannot just carry on life and business as usual, expecting that everything will be ok. We realise that throughout history all impactful and positive changes arise out of rebellion.

As the truth is actively spread, we collectively grow in awareness and, when given the emotional support needed, when dealing with such scary truths, we reconnect with each other, helping us to rise in trust and love.

 I fully agree with the notion that as the “intelligent” beings on the planet we should be doing a lot more as Earth’s caretakers. I’m interested in your piece entitled Rise Up, it was very moving and powerful... what was your creative and emotional process?

 

Rise up was born out of a deep emotional struggle with the environmental and human rights injustices that go hand in hand with today’s form of Christmas. The poem was written about 3 years ago and was originally much longer. It was a complete purge of some of my thoughts and feelings, repressed, for fear of making others uncomfortable with my truth.

The conception and evolution of this poem had a great healing effect on my mind body and soul, as the piece travels through the evils of the world, into acceptance of what is, forgiveness of what has been, and a call for reconnection and action.


 What was the message of the piece in your own words?

 

We all need to educate ourselves beyond standardised education structures, we must reconnect with ourselves, with the earth, with one another and most importantly we must act, we must rise up!
 
How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as creative, emotionally sensitive, curious, determined and strong. I go through lows like all of us, but I have come to realize there is a beauty in the darkness, a beauty that births some of my most healing and powerful creations.
 
Where does your creativity take you art-wise, and where has it taken you physically?

My poetic creativity seems to dance with my emotions, making painful emotions much more bearable. This dance between my emotions and creation, reminds me that life’s constant dance comes with graceful lifts and downward spins, but all these moves and many more make up the dance. Creative expression through poetry allows me to acknowledge, observe, make sense of and appreciate the great dance of life.

I have performed in both Essex and London at a number of events now, and have had the pleasure of connecting with a plethora of like minds, caring and supportive creative souls

In November last year I founded ‘The Poetry Circle’, a poetic community based in Chelmsford Essex, specializing in Poetic healing therapy, and hosting open mic events.

Wow that is commendable I always respect those who provide platforms for others there is a Samaritan air to it, it’s therapy through expression which I think is to be encouraged.

I want to ask you, do you have daily affirmations... if so what are they... if not what would they be?
 

I do not have a daily affirmation. However, if I did, my affirmation would be to remind myself that ‘I was born with worth, and that my worth does not diminish because of someone else’s inability to see it.


What was the worst thing you have been through that you feel comfortable talking about and how did you pick yourself up?

 

That is a very hard question to answer. I have had many painful experiences in my life, but I will choose an experience that endured over a long time, as its persistence took a great toll on my mental and physical health. From about age 9 until 27 I was a prisoner inside my own body.

 

I truly believed I had no worth unless I looked a certain way.

Over the years I invested a ridiculous amount of money in toxic beauty products. Hair relaxers, and weaves that caused pus filled blisters to form on my scalp, hair removal creams and machines that savaged and scared my skin in red raw burns, that would take months to heal. Face creams for acne, that dried out and cracked my skin, exacerbating the very condition the creams were supposed to cure. Clothing and undergarments that sucked me up and pulled me in, bruising my body, and marking my skin.

 

These treatments were advised by doctors. These ‘Cures for fizzy hair’ these ‘cures for ‘women’s excess hair problems’ These body shaping garments, were pushed in advertisements and on popular tv.

As I was growing up, I was bombarded with information that would lead me to believe that, to be accepted, to be loved, to have worth, I must look a certain way, ensure that the hair on my head was sleek and straight, that excess hair on my body or face did not exist, that any part of me that might be deemed as imperfect must be covered up and hidden, in layers of lotions and contraptions of torture that lashed me daily…  This was the social norm… And it was my daily torture chamber.

 

Because this went on for so long, and affected me from such a young age, it was hard to pinpoint why I was living with this constant feeling of dread and fear. This belief system, had been slowly injected over time, through advertising, cruel comments about my appearance and people making fun of others that had the same ‘issues’ as me, but that they could not see because I had worked like a slave to hide them and fit in. This made it even more important that I kept up this painfully debilitating beauty regime at all costs. I was too scared for anyone to see what I truly believed I was, without all of these products, and potions

I truly believed I was only beautiful, and worth anything, when I covered up my hair, painted on a face and stuck to this abusive beauty regime

By age 16 I was often suicidal, I was surrounded by people who did not truly know me… How could they? I didn’t even know me.

I was too busy trying to be what I had been told I should be… Beautiful, well dressed, fun, happy, smiling.

As the years rolled on, not much changed, except now I had to also be well paid, sexy, the life of the party.

So, I strove to be all those things… but Inside, I was dying.

 

 Alcohol became my trusted companion, it helped me smile when I wanted to cry, and numbed the pain, when I wanted to die. But of course alcohol was just a band aid to a festering wound that needed to be cleaned out and healed. Alcohols band aid was becoming filthy, and was soon infecting my wound even more.

I was around 26 when my life took a drastic and unexpected shift. At this point anyone looking in from the outside, might have thought I had an idyllic life. Living in a little country cottage in Ongar with my partner, our two boys, our dog and cat, financially well off and stable…But I was far from stable.

 

One day, I had some friends over, to join me at the cottage for tea. Amongst all the rote routine chatter, something uncontrollable happened. The cells in my body would no longer allow me to carry on with the lie I was living. As I picked up my cup of tea every cell in my body started to shake, like an earthquake spreading across my body, cracks trembled open to let out the myriad of truths I had buried deep down inside myself. My inner voice was screaming, ‘NO MORE LIES…’ I was far from ok, and I needed to stop pretending that I was.

And so, began the painfully healing journey, towards self-acceptance, self-love, truth and justice. My life went through a much-needed radical change.

Wow just by hearing your response I can only imagine what you were going through, I can see that there are millions of women out there who share some of the pain you had gone through. It must have been hard, and all I’m thinking about is people the world over are going through the same thing, but not having the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown, and just stop the personal crime of living an inauthentic life.

 I would like to know what has been your most transformative experience?

When I wrote my first poem, called ‘She’. It was the first time I fully expressed and gave form to the experience I just told you about. Before I wrote that poem, I never truly understood what I was feeling, why I was in so much pain. When I gave form to those words, as I poured that ink upon the paper, it revealed to me a cage that was once invisible,

once covered in ink however, I was able to see the open door on that once invisible cage I had been trapped inside. I was able to fly out, and up into the clear warm summers sky, crying tears of joy. Poetry allowed me to give form to the formless inside myself, allowing me to heal myself from within.
 
What does connecting with the world mean to you?

Connecting with the world, to me, means spending time in nature, alone and with others. Sharing our stories with one another, creating together, learning, growing and healing together. I feel all these things add an unquantifiable, yet intrinsic value to our lives.
 
Do you have regrets, or are you in a state of acceptance in your current soul journey on earth?

I would say that generally there is nothing I regret, I have made a few mistakes in my time, but often these mistakes end up being important life lessons. I am at a stage where I am aware of where I can be of service, and am very happy to help in ways I can.


What triggered your way of thinking and when was it?

The birth of my first child, the birth of my second child, the nervous breakdown that I had when I was 26, and the breakdown of the relationship with my boys farther.

I find my way of thinking is constantly in flux and is often triggered by intense emotional experiences.
 
How do you overcome feeling powerlessness?

I write poetry, I purge all my powerless thoughts, and feelings onto the page, and then begin to weave in words of change, until I finish by marking the page, with thoughts and feelings of strength, courage, compassion and self-belief.
 
What makes you feel optimistic?

Getting creative and being in nature

 
What is your advice to the world?

Don’t perpetuate laws, or rules that oppress.
 

What is does food diet consist of?

 

I follow a vegan diet, consisting of vegetables, beans, peas, grains, Oats, nuts, seeds and fruit.

 

 

 As a big foodie I have to ask, what is your perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert?

 

Breakfast

I have recently got a taste for a vegan full English with Stella McCartney sausages, baked beans, fried mushrooms, onions, toast and half and Avocado
 

Lunch

Vegan Sushi rolls with cucumber and carrot sheets. Or, a vegan mezze with hummus dips, pitta, fermented vegetables, fresh carrot and cucumber sticks, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, edamame, spicy olives, roasted sesame seeds, and garlic oil

 

Dinner

Sunday roast with homemade vegan stuffed loaf, sweet roasted vegetables, crispy and fluffy roast potatoes, with onion gravy and cranberry sauce.

 

Dessert

Fresh and juicy peach or chocolate brownie with ice cream.


If your perfect world was a song, who would be the artist and what would that be called?

 

Louis Armstrong: What A Wonderful World.
 
Lastly what is your piece of wisdom you would like to pass on?

 

Do not run away from the pain. Confront it, observe it, creatively express it.

 

It was enlightening to get this insight into the mind of Kelli and gratifying that like much in life when it comes to me, the discussion somehow finds its way back to food. And on that subject:

 

 

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