Recently @lisafield and I headed down to Echo Park to speak with my lovely friend and creative inspiration, Sasha Markova. I met @sasham237 through sweet mutual friends. Over the years, we have shared hysterical and meaningful conversations at many a birthday party and even a memorable night in Vegas that ended with Sasha presenting me with my very own custom "Not Guilty" t-shirt after hearing my story. (In addition to many other talents, Sasha's "I Love Boxie" project highlights her brilliant ability to observe, listen and magically put perfect words to what she sees and hears not only in her advertising career, but also with every person she encounters in life.) After weaving in and out of each other's landscapes with little regularity, last year Sasha led me to an oasis in Death Valley and inspired me to let my creative flag fly. I am so excited to share her Last Cut Conversation with you. She is here to do incredible things and, in very Sasha fashion, is able to express it all beautifully.
Sasha: "Last Cut is about breaking the old story and removing the old tale. It is almost like getting to a place to give yourself permission to be the thing you always knew you were."
I was so happy to sit down and speak with my friend Sasha as she shared about her most recent last cut. Now that she is living closer, we have had the sweet opportunity to share conversation and laughs together in her Echo Park home. “I have to be in a place that is really creatively conscious and alive. Los Angeles and California is it for me right now. Everything that I am doing and thinking about is connected to other people who are thinking about the same things. It was ultimately about being in my creative home."
Tell me about a notable Last Cut you made.
"There have been several in my life. I have actually left a lot of things and started new lives but this was the one, this last one, I just moved finally to Los Angeles in October from London. This was the one that was less about the apparition of a dynamic change, the apparition of a cut, and more about a kind of arrival. It wasn’t a departure. And really it is kind of hard to explain. It was just a decision to be in a place where I could fully be myself. I wasn’t torn. I wasn’t living in an existence of “one day I will get there.” I just decided to be here and that’s what happened."
"What I suppose I did this time I cut out the old story because it wasn’t working for me anymore. That really is the primary change you need to make. That is the ultimate last cut. Most of us live with stories and most of them don’t make any of us happy. Suddenly [I am ] understanding that wow, I don’t have to experience life that way anymore. It doesn’t make me happy. It’s not who I am. I choose contentment. I choose a new experience. I can do that. That’s really what Los Angeles is about [for me]. Everyone thinks Los Angeles is about a dream and it is, but it’s also a place where the dream is closest to reality. Last Cut is about breaking the old story and removing the old tale. It is almost like getting to a place to give yourself permission to be the thing you always knew you were."
What was most challenging about making this last cut?
"There is great safety in your old life. You know the rules of it. You know how everything works. You have lived in it long enough and you know the system. It’s like prison. You know which guard to be nice to and you know which guard is going to get angry with you. You know who not to piss off. It’s easy because it’s known. I left a world that I knew very well, but I was almost exhausted by how well I knew it. I have great family back in England. I sound as if I have left and will never go back. I do go back. I left a world that is very comfortable. You know it well, but it is not the best world for you. Change is exciting. You don’t have history and there is promise in that."
Why now? How did you know this was the time?
"I always had in my head I would move here [Los Angeles]. I don’t even know now how it happened. It’s like how no one can really remember how they were born. I had an idea that I wanted to work more on good things in advertising. I had supportive and wonderful bosses in London. It was just time. I was leaving my apartment in Soho in London in June. I was meant to be there. I wrote a book there for 2.5 years but now I am out and I don’t feel sad about this at all. The same as when I left my office in London, I wasn’t sad. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone. I had lunch with my bosses and then just crept out."
"Everything just fell into place so beautifully. And of course, you are tired when you make a last cut. Suddenly you take off this baggage and you are like “God, that was so fucking heavy. I need to lie down for a few weeks.” That’s probably what I did. I was burnt out for a few weeks. I was living in this amazing castle for a few weeks and just recovered. You know, it’s like you have this set of circumstances around you and even though you are the one that flicks the first domino, it all starts to unfold and it gathers force. There comes a point where as a lucid being, you realize, “My survival depends on this. I just have to get out."
As you are now moving forward with this new life, what keeps you connected to what brought you here?
"It’s just I don’t think there is any choice. I am really into my creativity, the people I know who are creative and I am just into pushing this as far as I can take it and fucking with shit. That’s what I want to do. I just want to fuck with some stuff and that’s what keeps me going. I love my planet and I love nature and I love animals and I really want to help them out. I don’t have any solutions but I know how to communicate a solution. If I can use everything that I’ve got, that I’ve used to sell questionable things...like if I can sell something good, then that would be amazing. Disclaimer…not that I am saying beer is bad, but you know. I am saying, “Man, I am on your side!” If you have creativity, you just gotta do it. I think everybody has it, but you just have to push it and that’s the course."
Was it worth it?
"Oh God. Yeah. It really was. And again this is just the beginning of this journey and who knows what will happen next. Not in a bad way, but we don’t know what is next. You don’t have to do anything extravagant to make a last cut. It is a choice about the life you want. It is about risk and nothing good exists without risk."
What do you believe in most that keeps you going?
"I am going to come across as the biggest hippy ever. I believe in creativity. Absolutely that is what I believe in and what I believe can fix the world. Creativity can shift consciousness. The power of connection. I live a very synchronistic life. It is very easy for me to connect with the people that I am supposed to be connected with. I feel---I have to be really careful so I don’t sound as if I live in Sedona---basically I believe that if I was a Jungian…I believe in synchronicity. It is not chance. It is synchronicity. It’s kind of like the ‘60’s but without the drugs and the misogyny. I believe in creativity and connectivity and I believe in matriarchy. I am not speaking of women who have existed in men’s worlds and tried to be like them and become worse. I believe in a matriarchy where even men can be in charge. It is a philosophy, a wisdom. You clear away the old and you don’t have that thing on you that maybe stopped someone from having a conversation with you, stopped that flow from happening and you are just at ease."
"I feel as if we have all come back to where we are supposed to be. Not to sound like a massive hippy, which I am, but we have about 10-15 years before the ultimate last cut, which is we lose our world. We are last cutting every day with the species that exist. Something like a 100 species a day are dying. Something so nuts. I do believe as well that everybody any kind of creative bone in their body needs to step up now because the world, in order to survive, needs to fundamentally last cut with the old paradigm of the last 100, last 2000 years.
We have to cut from all of these ideas that we have held, desire and an endless destination where we will be ok---though we will never arrive---we treat earth like this shit holding pen while we are waiting to arrive where we really want to get. “There” does not exist. It’s right here. That is the profound shift that needs to happen. I am interested in the big Last Cut. Me leaving my life behind is about my being, as much as I can, being in service to those ideas."