Activate Your Spine

Backbone vs. Spineless

The spine is made up of 24 bones — called vertebrae — connected by ligaments and muscles to form the spinal column, which protects the spinal cord: a pillar of nerves that connects your brain to the rest of your body. Without a spinal cord, you could not move your body. Without a spine, you could not stand tall and keep yourself upright. (I smell a metaphor brewing.) Without a healthy backbone — literally or figuratively speaking — we cannot stand up for ourselves… or others. We are symbolically spineless.

It’s been said that the spine “symbolizes our strength, courage, being centered and uprightness. Problems with our spine indicate feelings of weakness and fear. We have lost our centeredness and emotional integrity and are feeling overburdened.” When we feel weak or overburdened, we are, in a way, spineless. But when we’re centered and in touch with our emotional integrity, we are demonstrating backbone.

Spineless is not examining ourselves and our own personal choices.

Backbone is embracing freedom 24/7.

Spineless is living in fear of social norms, oppressive laws, and loss of reputation.

Backbone is being less afraid of the State than of living on a planet without trees, without drinkable water, without arable land, without a hint of justice, and without personal autonomy.

Spineless is playing it safe.

Backbone is recognizing that safety is an illusion.

“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” (Rumi)

If you rebuild and fortify your subversive spine and stand up in the name of holistic justice, plenty of folks (including some alleged comrades) will be coiled and ready to attack. It’s never easy to challenge the status quo, to stand out, to consciously opt out of groupthink… but it’s a whole lot easier with a strong and flexible spine.

No one knows how the realm of rebellion will play out in 2022 but without some committed and sustained backbone from a wide range of allies, it cannot grow, evolve, and realize its potential. And if this generation does not realize its potential, well… we’re fucked. The choice must be made: Spinelessness or Backbone. The present and the future are waiting on your decision.

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.