The Realest Way to Keep Sh*t Real In Art & Life (Really for Real)

beautiful life gb

Allison Marie for

Incredibly, there’s still a lot of noise on the interwebs about being “authentic” and “keeping shit real” in our lives, in our work, in our relationships, in our swim suits, in our Instagram galleries.

(By the way, whomever started #nofilter, I’m starting #damnrightitsfiltered. If I wanted everything to look like it does on any given pimple-faced Wednesday I’d still be wearing jelly bracelets stacked to my elbows and using those trashable wind-up cameras from the 90’s while getting way over excited that they take pictures underwater now! Stop it. Everything should look like a classic black and white Humphrey Bogart film.)

Of course, some of the noise about keeping shit real comes from yours truly, mind you, so the irony that I’m calling us out on it is not lost on me.  Smug-Allison-Marie is even a little proud of that noise because it’s important noise to be making (she believes).

But somewhere amidst the chaotic weirdness of $5 selfie-sticks and $zilliondollar celebrity, we seem to have confused “being real” with being loud, obnoxious, rude, disrespectful, ignorant, and in an obscene number of cases . . . NOT REAL.

Just because people (or brands) are punchy, bratty, disruptive or confrontational does not make them any more (or less) ‘real’ than people (or brands) who are chill, mellow, soft spoken or still wearing jelly bracelets. #nojudgment

I have been truly and deeply touched – like soul-rocked-to-my-core-touched – by the growing number of beautiful souls who tell me they dig my work because it’s authentic and real. This lights my poetic bones on fire because that is literally THE MOST important thing to me.

Knowing that the rawness translates is everything in soul work. And as sure as I wish for just one day I could be a dewy, sultry, long-legged, long-cigarette-smoking, black and white Lauren Bacall, I promise you that everything I make comes from my Real.

But what keeps my work real is not my bizarre affection for X-rated words. It’s not the sexy poetry or the suggestive six word stories or the naughty innuendos or the calling of ourselves ‘monsters.’

Or ‘babes.’

Or ‘angels.’

Or ‘sex kittens.’ (What: have we not yet referred to ourselves as sex kittens? I’ll check the archives but if not it’s coming, lovers.)

What keeps this real is not the way I write or what I talk about or how I talk about it.

It’s not my hats or my tattoos or my eyeliner or my mala beads or my hypnotic voice (that’s what she said).

Fuck. All. That. Shit.

What keeps this space real is not what you think.

It’s not what you see. It’s not what you heard.

What keeps this work real, authentic, sharp, and relentless is death.

Go ahead and read that again, babe. Because I feel like somebody just flinched and it wasn’t me.


What keeps a soul working ceaselessly at its divine calling is the living of the body as sure as it is the dying of the body.

Both are promised. Both are happening all at once. Both are real.

death steve jobs gb

pg 24 of the outstanding book Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

We don’t like to talk about death in this culture for much the same reason we don’t like to talk about grit in spirituality or sex in art.

It scares us.

We know death is happening to us just like we know we’ve all got darkness in us as well as light, and just like we all know we crave erotica as a natural expression of the beauty and mystery of creation, but somewhere along the way we agreed (in overwhelming majority) with whomever decided we maybe aren’t allowed to mention / admit / use it to propel us forward.

Here’s what, though, sex kittens (*boom*): I didn’t pour all of my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into this sacred sanctuary of a space to AVOID TALKING ABOUT SHIT THAT MATTERS.

I created this space as a very sharp and clear demonstration that I know death is coming for all of us and that is exactly what makes me down-on-my-knees-in-the-delicious-dirt-in-worship grateful that I am here right now and able to write, able to create, able to feel, able to connect, able to experience my body, mind and soul in the ways I was designed to do.

I’ve seen death up close. I’ve seen the fierceness that was my own precious, badass mother leave her body behind when she died of breast cancer ten years ago at the age of 53.

Want real? That’s as real as it fucking gets, troops.

She’s the reason this place exists. My mom. My mom and the way she still to this day whispers in my ear: Do your damn thing, Allison. Do it so loud. Be brave. Be incredible. Be strong. Be unstoppable. Be where you are right this minute and own it so that when it’s over, you may rest in peace and know that your work is truly done.

I created this space because I knew you guys before you even showed up, in all your gorgeous monster creative glory. I wrote for you and recorded for you and designed for you so that when you did make your twisted, magical, mysterious way here, you would know you had finally found at least one true, honest thing.

honest thing gb

view on Instagram @glorybegin

You would know that you had found a place where it’s okay to be struggling and strong. Where it’s okay to be brave and afraid, beautiful and a mess. Where it’s okay to talk about the way it really is on the inside and not have to polish up for the outside.

Where you would know it’s okay to feel lit up, to feel raw, to feel released from whatever fears held you down before. Where you would know it’s okay to feel voracious, sensual and alive because of your spirituality not in spite of it.

I know you are bigger and brighter than what they see. I know you have mad incredible creative talents and a deep dark delicious desire to express the depths of who you are and where you’ve come from and where you need to go.

Your souls are on fire and I’m humbled by it week after week after week. Day after day after day. Your affection for life is palpable, it’s electric and it’s pure unadulterated love, peace and joy. It’s so damn hot.

We believe many of the same things, you and I. We believe in the magic of art and the healing power of connecting to a Spirit of the Highest Compassion.

We believe in our ability to go our own way, to forge our own path, to trust our own guts. To make our own art the way we believe it needs to be made.

We believe in each other. In listening, paying attention, and using the gifts we have to bravely make our love out loud.

And we believe in keeping the shit real at the expense of all else.

I believe this movement toward authenticity – during a time where there is so much nonsense, so much grandstanding, so much copied, manufactured, mediocre, over-exaggerated, relentless, destructive, expensive, glorified crap – is a sacred, evolutionary movement toward a higher collective consciousness.

It’s sacred not because we’re all goody two shoes (would someone please tell me what the fuck that means?) perfect saints trying to be holier than the next guy. It’s sacred because it is coming out of who we actually, really, honestly are.

It’s coming from a deep and clear ownership of where we have actually been, what we have actually seen, and what we have actually gone through. Going through the death of my mom was jarring and tough and empowering and devastating. Going through it then and going through it over and over as I continue on my life journey is what keeps me fierce and soft, curious and focused.

I have work to do and because of her, I know it.

I’ve seen death up close. Maybe it makes some people uncomfortable but I don’t actually mind that, I understand that. But it’s still the truth. And I know you guys all have your stories about death as well. Nobody gets around it.

Knowing that I’ll be gone is what keeps me going.

If nothing else, the Universe has one hell of a sense of irony. I kind of dig that about her.

Keeping it real means using everything they throw at us, everything life throws at us (including death), as a way to make the most of our experience in these precious body-machines before we must bid them farewell.

throw at me gb

view on Instagram @glorybegin

To be real, to be authentic, is to come from an honest place within. Whatever shows up on the outside will only be as real as where it started on the inside.

To keep it real is to own your story.  To let what you have gone through prepare you to do what you need to do now with commitment, passion and love.

It’s not about the way you talk or the way you dress or the way you look.

It’s about who you are and what you stand for if they took all that stuff away.

“The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth.”

  • A Course In Miracles

That’s all it actually means to keep shit real, yeah?

That everything is gone.

Except the truth.


P.S. I thank you sincerely for sharing my work with your loved ones. The only thing more powerful than a single voice who dares to talk about what matters is a collective voice who dares. All my love & deepest gratitude for you, Allison Marie Xx


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21 thoughts on “The Realest Way to Keep Sh*t Real In Art & Life (Really for Real)

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello hello beautiful Kristen,

      Your presence, engagement and comment lights me up BIG TIME. Thank you so much for taking the time and care to reach out. I’m thrilled to bits this one serves you.

      Stay fierce, my good friend. X ;)

  1. Brad

    Sh*t stopping truth bombs! Way to go Allison. I do appreciate your fierce dedication to truth, authenticity and an abundance of swear words. XD

    Thanks for the wake up call. I’m glad your Mom inspired you to live fully. blessings, Brad

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Thanks so very much, Brad! I am honored and thrilled to know this stuff serves you well, my good friend. ;)

      My mom was incredible. I’m beyond blessed to have her as a very close personal angel on my shoulder. Blessings and light, guy. Big love. :) xx

  2. Samira

    Oh babe. I just love this post! It’s real. It’s raw. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful. I too saw death close up. Real close with my mum at only 60. She inspires me to keep moving forward keep doing my thing that she ran out of time to do!! I so hear you on all levels and I wanna squeeze you so tight and tell you how much I love you soul sista. Our wounds are where the light gets in. We are Spirit Junkies and light workers. We are that because we also dance with the darkness. We’re not fluffy – were real. And I love your hashtag #damnrightitsfiltered fucking A. Big love beautiful. Rock on! Peace out ✌🏼️

      1. Allison Marie Post author

        Come as you are, beloved. No excuses needed. You ARE the joy. But please do tell me how you got your smiley face to appear upside down? It’s literally the cutest thing. Like ever. xx :)

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Beautiful one,

      Your words, presence, engagement and light mean everything to me. I’m humbled and grateful to have your story, thank you so much for sharing it here in this place. We understand the fire and the messages and the wounds and the healing. There’s no deeper love than a mother and daughter, it’s endless. We are blessed.

      Peace be with you, angel. So much damn love for you. Stay fierce, stay wild. Xxx

  3. Matthew Bowers

    What the fuck did I just read?! It’s like you were talking directly to me. I can’t help but be real. Everything I write is real. It’s what I feel. I’ve seen death directly as I sat in the room with my mother in her finally hours before dying of lung cancer. 18 years ago. I still haven’t recovered. I will never recover. It changed my life entirely.

    Now, here I am. In a place where death is all that has any substance in this life. I have come to a point where I can’t take it anymore. Why the hell do you think I titled my blog, “Smile, As I Lay Dying.” I created this blog to make my final and very real statements to those who are willing to read it. When I decided to create my blog I was thinking, “I am a dead man. I am already dead, though I am still breathing.” Then, reading your powerful statement, as well as the quote of Steve Jobs, I realized that maybe this is where I need to be right now. Finally, where I am supposed to be. The place I should have been all along. Dead. Once dead, nothing else matters. At least, none of the bullshit in the world matters.

    I am filled with love and compassion. As I look out into the world, I die a little more inside, seeing all the fake shit that is constantly bombarding us. My shield to it felt like it was breaking down to the point that, no I wouldn’t give in to it, but I want to get away from it. Death seems the only way to do so.

    I am so fucking sick of going to job interviews and they want to know my career goals and plans for my life. Fuck! I don’t have any. I don’t want any. I tried that shit and it didn’t fucking work for me. The choices in my life seem limited. But maybe they aren’t. At this point, I could just fucking end it all and be done with it. Or, I could pack the backpack that I bought on a whim, still wondering why I bought it,. Give and throw away all my possessions, and just walk out into the world and see what happens. This is as real as it gets for me.

    When I start writing poetic ballads to death as being my friend. Well, maybe death is my one and only friend. The only one who will stay with me until the end. Maybe death is the one who will cause me to finally let go of all that I’ve been holding on to and finally just go an live, no matter how odd, strange or difficult it may be. Go be a wanderer. A dreaded street person, as defined by the society. Yet, I wouldn’t be a street person as defined by society because, if we go beyond the common and modern perception of life and go back in history, it is filled with wanderers. People who had no place in the society. I know I have no place in this society. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a place in humanity.

    Yes, this was a long ramble. But it is all based on my truth. The essence that brought about the poem I wrote that you liked and caused me to come here and read this powerful statement.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My dear Matthew, your comment rocked my soul. I’m traveling and cannot respond properly yet but I will I promise. I’m honored to hear your story. Bless you, bless you, thank you, Allison Marie ❤️

    2. Allison Marie Post author

      I am so honored, Matthew, that you took the time and care to leave your story in this place. I truly believe that someone who visits this place will be meant to see it and feel a kindred connection, and know they are not alone. That, to me, is the most important and mysterious thing.

      Reading through your words, you are a very visceral writer. That’s really cool and rare. I wish you every wandering, life giving, breath taking, magical thing in this beautiful life. We are blessed to be here in ways we can’t even imagine. Stay true to your path, my talented friend. We have angels on our side. Godspeed.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      I am so thrilled to hear from you and what a gorgeous thing to say! I love your spirit as well. Hope you will visit often. Bless you deep. ❤️


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