Max (Megan Elizabeth) Morris
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As I share more of my process of recognizing my experiences to be so deeply interconnected with the promulgation of racial prejudice, I don’t want there to be ANY mistake in this:
I was trafficked by white people.
People I care about, survivors of intersections of extreme trauma, severe physical disabilities, and ongoing unconscionable suffering — they are (now) being trafficked by white people.
The assumptions people with privileges frequently make about human trafficking, and the entrenched (privileged) denial of the pathways that lead to human trafficking, have made it significantly more difficult for me to share details to prevent it happening to more others.
I notice that when I speak up, parts of my brain go into fear loops trying to remember what I said and what the ramifications might be.
The ramifications have proven to be very different with different people, so much so that my brain in neurological recovery has struggled to predict the five or six different most common (harmful) responses — common responses that ensure trafficking in and around our communities will continue.
Because common responses from caring others have resulted in violence to my body so ubiquitously, rebuilding my neurological capacity to tell you about it explicitly is a whole huge thing.
When I might receive another harmful response, especially where the responder is unwitting, my ability to speak verbally has wanted to shut down and protect the body, which (for my actual physical survival) has been necessary.
But what is needed now is NOT for me to stop talking, shut down, and only protect my physical body from harm — this time, every time, and from now on — because my sisters, brothers, and beloved others are being harmed MUCH worse.
These harms and countless harms are coming MOST GREATLY TO Black, brown, and Indigenous people.
Much more extensively than white people, our non-white neighbors are being hurt more brutally and being silenced more horrifically, far and beyond my experience of being trafficked.
White people have long been acculturated to fear supporting non-white, non-male people, especially around dangerous-feeling subjects.
But the support, uplifting, nourishment, and amplification of Black, brown, and Indigenous communities — especially that of women and disabled people — STOPS trafficking.
Do you understand?
Communities honoring living beings, expressing their true sacred selves, living close to their roots and to the Earth DO NOT disable or commoditize their community members.
Stopping racism stops human trafficking.
What marginalized communities have to teach us, especially from their expertise developed through overwhelming severity, relieves so many of our collective challenges that to allow that nourishment instead to perish tortured in front of us while we cry out how helpless we are is a sin so dire I don’t know how to describe it.
I and others who do not yet have privileges that protect them to speak out in public the way I do I have worked diligently on these issues in private, trying to help more of this work reach more others in public.
Now more than ever, there are so many ways to be connected to effective, life-affirming solutions — once you know about them, with myriad choices in front of you, you will know that you are not helpless.
These are skills for us to practice together.
Thank you for prioritizing and joining these efforts.
The list of intersections I know too well and the ones I want to understand better don’t describe something theoretical.
These intersections describe violence, trauma, and terror that is daily happening to real living people.
People are being trafficked now. People are being harmed, raped, and murdered now.
Black, brown, and indigenous people, people of color, diverse and neurodivergent communicators, queer and trans people, disabled and severely disabled people, survivors of extreme and ongoing trauma, and many others I wish to list more specifically and accurately — whose hardships continue to compound horrifically without community supports and at complicated intersections — they don’t have the time for the rest of us to slowly process through it.
We must swiftly learn to speak and act with enough awareness to restore resources, resilience, and safety where most needed.
That is what serves all of us.
When I wish to make the choice to talk about this and to underscore the immediate necessity of it…
…When I want to tell you that the most important work of intersectionality was begun by a Black woman whose name keeps slipping away from me, for instance ((!) her name is Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: please see link in PS)…
…in that moment, I am struck with physical debility, and feel filled with a terrible fear that I will be raped and murdered for saying something substantial about it.
I know that I feel this way for many reasons, particularly because of the circumstances in which I was trafficked.
That’s what I’m overcoming in order to speak up and work on this every single day… affected by severe physical disabilities… even though I do not have income or resources to meet my own survival needs.
If I can find a way through all of that and still self-determine to speak up about it — after becoming a survivor of sex trafficking and after years of deteriorative physical damage — maybe you will notice yourself having an easier time of it.
PS. Here is a good place to start reading more of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberl%C3%A9_Williams_Crenshaw
PPS. Here are the beginnings of our intersections document: https://Intuitive.pub/intersections
PPPS. If you need a safe space or conversational support in order to talk about this or a related subject, send me a private message or find my other contact info at this address: https://Intuitive.social/hello/Max
PPPPS. Thanks. 🌿
Even through the terrible things that happened, I have had and continue to have a great deal of privilege others do not — skin-color privilege and many other systemic privileges included.
To survive those terrible things, I have had to center far more powerfully in my life how sharing our privileges matters, and how doing so supports our surviving together.
The last portion of the word community contains the word “munity” — privileges we choose to extend to one another.
The privileges I have must be used to most effectively restore privileges that have been destructively stripped away from others.
That’s how we regain community, connectivity, and safety.
The stakes are very high. The effects of our efforts all together grow very deep. You feel that now, right?
Intersections of multiple marginalization can regenerate vital nourishment and creativity… or wastefully torture and kill countless human beings.
We get to choose, together.
We can do something about it, together.
What does that mean?
The only true way to relieve invisible harms and hardship in our communities is to tune to the voices of those least heard, those most devastatingly being hurt.
Our methodology has been developed around this first most important point to serve all those undeservedly excluded from community safety.
Survivors who reach out for help, having been told something will be there to help them, often suddenly realize that there is nothing…
…except the crucial solutions that we survivors of severe disability have been building.
We say “self-identified Survivors of Severity” — and though challenges have kept us from framing this more specifically, we have started to collect the intersections we find ourselves experiencing most frequently.
Major problems are created when severely disabled people cannot rely on non-disabled people to ensure consistent communications and community interactions.
When we cannot maintain consistent connections, it becomes much harder to communicate successfully. Often, severely disabled people have no way of communicating with one another because their communications with non-disabled people are already so compromised.
It has been important over these last several years for me to be profoundly careful what I say and about whom, especially as I am striving to support that person.
Part of severe disability for me is that if someone feels upset or offended by something I say, even unwitting, and if they respond without awareness of how my physical body is affected, their response can be fatal to me within days.
For a long time, any opportunity where I might speak up for someone else’s safety, because my continuous physical suffering has been so great, I might make a neurological mistake that puts them in greater danger instead.
It’s one of many reasons we needed a collaborative, inclusive, access-oriented public radio.
I must constantly educate others about the intersections I’m experiencing so that I can continue to be alive on this planet on a day-to-day basis.
To continue to be alive, I need reliable communications access.
Hi. I’d like to talk about racism.
I’m afraid to talk about racism, because the circumstances in which I was trafficked were circumstances in which it was unsafe for me to speak up about this and related subjects.
Most of the people who stopped me from speaking up about racism, however, were people posing as or believing themselves to be supporters of marginalized people — some of them specifically considering themselves anti-racist.
Because people in and around advocacy communities submitted me to such violence, part of my complex neurological injuries is a scramble of how to determine whether a person who presents themselves as helpful will actually be helpful, or may turn out to be someone with intent to do harm.
What is required to resolve this injurious neurological scramble is a clear litmus for the awareness, caring, and communications intentionality of those I’m interacting with.
What I need to know from each person is exactly what I was stopped by force from knowing — whether they would deny causing harm to me or another, whether they would protect the safety of those most vulnerably at risk, whether I with severe disabilities or my colleagues in greatest severity could rely on a fully respectful dialogue with the person.
I had some basic feeling understandings that individual, systemic, and internalized racism was at the heart of what was going on in those communities, but as my brain function radically declined and dangers increased, I was unable to speak to it verbally.
I am able to speak to it more verbally now, so I am committed to success in it.
And now is long past the freaking time.
Thank you to everyone who has been so patient and supportive in regards to my severe neurological effects on Facebook.
I work very hard to cultivate a sense of normative narrative for those who need it, which means that — every time I show up in public, especially if I’m using Facebook — I am minimizing and hiding severe symptoms to a profound degree.
Doing this work makes me much sicker, and at the same time, I will not survive without establishing a reliable personal income stream.
(To underscore this last statement: I do not have *any* reliable income stream and very rarely receive donations. On a daily basis, I am without crucial emergency supplies, safe food, clothes, shoes, health interventions, and disability aids while too ill to care for myself, and frequently do not have money to access the most basic solutions to prevent suffering.)
If you’re hearing from me in public, I am almost always *faking* greatest possible function, struggling through physiological severity to make it happen. The moment I go offline I am much sicker than when I started.
When you hear from me in public or when you think of me, please check on me.
If you don’t hear from me in public on a given day, please check on me.
The symptom cascades I experience from daily exertions are extreme. Without support, my body can die of complications within days.
I really, really, really appreciate people who check on me.
If you value the work I’ve been doing through personal and cultural apocalypse, please consider sharing a little of what you have here: https://Intuitive.community/donations
If you want to help in a non-financial way, please read this page, participate (please and very thank you!), or give me feedback if you are able: https://Intuitive.pub/support
Thank you for courageous heart-lights shining. I am feeling it — in miraculous ways, it is sustaining.
I was little when I learned the word “eisteddfod” and a little older when I learned the plural, eisteddfodau. The final syllable is pronounced to rhyme with “eye.” Those two Ds in the middle are a TH sound, like “the.”
We had a Welsh alphabet hanging in the house amidst carved wooden love spoons, photographs, heirlooms, and family mementos; all that survived the circumstances we’d grown through. I knew a little of where those things came from and what they meant.
I was much older when I came to understand more about what had happened to the Welsh.
All the eisteddfodau I engaged with and all the kind people who supported me, but I didn’t anticipate this kind of apocalypse. As I reclaim those neurons… rediscover those communities for what they are now, and possibly what they meant to me previously… there is a distinct absence of group singing.
Not for a lot longer, though, I think.
All the instruments are broken, but some of them still sound.
Slight and tuneful clip-clops of natural movement through quiet streets, the Internet brought to me.
Those are handsome goats. Let’s wish them well.
I never was in North Wales, though I tried. I was south in Swansea, then a few years later, Ebbw Vale.
I was wandering through little alleys, bridle paths, hills and havens; early in the misty morning, I went running. The mountains were broad and tall with clouds among them. The green and growing things shared energy with me. Awen and Nwyfre, I should think. And I do. These are memory nutrients with deep roots.
The photos I took then are blessings to me now without me having even found them. They made profound impressions. My cells hummed.
Really, everything was humming.
Intuitive Public Radio is an Internet-based public health art and advocacy project that I have been working on with international friends and colleagues for a number of years.
One of the things we have done each day is to imagine together the lives of microbes.
The lives of microbes and our own lives are so interconnected — especially for those of us who are aware of how we and our microbes eat together.
Understandings of microbially healing foods and safe fermentation practices strengthen our communities and those we have been reaching out to, especially at this challenging time.
To talk about this on a public platform with kindness, solidarity, and a healthy dose of whimsy (you must know!) is restorative to all of us including and especially many very scared people and whole communities suffering in pain or confusion.
My own healing journey has required deep emergency education about fermenting every possible food I can ferment.
A crucial part of restoring my function after digestive failure has been in building relationships with the populations of tiny people in the cultures I am fermenting — friends and neighbors to me, sharing food with me, sharing their lives with me even invisibly.
This food based relationship building has also been a relief in prolonged isolation and a means of recovering from trauma, all of which many people are newly experiencing.
In community, when we imagine together what we cannot physically see, people who are struggling find they can learn and develop new skill sets more easily.
This is a leverage point I have used to come back from neurological injuries a number of times, and has proven life-saving for us to remember on a daily basis.
More notes available at Intuitive.Social/Kitchen 🌿🥦🥬