Life in the Fast Lane: A Thanksgiving invitation for my experimental/sociopolitically-motivated friends:

Howdy facebook. How’s it hanging. As y’all surely know, it’s Thanksgiving in the U. S. this week. And if you’ve been around here much in the past, you might remember a little bit about what I think of Thanksgiving. :poop emoji:

I’m taking a bit of a different track this year, and I wanna share about it and invite you to consider my words or even join me.

First, a babbly history: I grew up celebrating “pilgrims and indians” thanksgiving like most suburban white kids with their turkey hand drawings in the 80’s. With a tense and often bickering family environment, Thanksgiving was so quickly a soulless tradition or annoying obligation (how ameri-white can you get eh?). I don’t really recall having a genuine connection with it after childhood, other than a convenient excuse to force myself to connect with chosen family.

Over the years I have boycotted, half-heartedly participated, hosted orphans, and increasingly shared my dissent as I’ve learned more of the authentic origins of the holiday and how continuing to celebrate it harms people I have spent a lot of therapy money and cognitive effort as an oblivious privileged white person learning to actually care about.

My M.O. since radicalizing in 2014ish or so has generally been to water fast on Thanksgiving and fill my social media feeds with trauma porn about the origins of the feasting and how fucked up it is that we do it. You’ll be glad to know I’m (mostly) over that now, in part due to actually dipping my toe into legitimate advocacy by working with orgs like Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training – DIRT Corps and recognizing how deeply impactful the various Native therapies I’ve experienced have been to my personal life as well as my work.

Another big factor in letting go of that rage-stance has been my exploration of my gender identity (they/them), and how getting real about the origin of my binary brainwashing being centered in whiteness has allowed me to authentically connect with the ideals in Native culture in a personal way. Without that connection, all I felt entitled to interact with was the shameful anger of the bloodshed inflicted by my ancestors, so that’s what I signal boosted.

As a developing activist advocating indigenous rights and human person adopting basic indigenous principles into my anti-racism, someone who has worked with the Duwamish and learned from native healers, and someone who is privileged to celebrate my connections any day I chose, I feel it’s important for me to reject the holiday outright in my actions as well as my public talk.

Fasting may seem pointless, and I’ve wondered sometimes what greater good lied in my time during Thanksgiving while hanging out in a van alone and starving myself; whether it was simply selfish and personal or more than that or just self destructive.

As a political/community artist, I understand the value of documenting personal praxis in a performative way. One of the things that I write about in The Book are my personal experiments and what makes them legitimate artwork and not just self-help advice: Year of the Nee in 2014 (of which I spent a year weening from romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, and sex), W.A.S.T.E. in 2009 (in which I kept my recycling in my living space with me for months), etc.

My Thanksgiving fasts have been this sort of art for me, and I do think, when presented in conjunction with others, they are valid outside of myself. While I think it may be best to stop fasting as a means of reverence because I’ve developed such disordered eating in my last year of vanlife that it’s much more risky for my health now, I’m proud of those years in which I fasted, talked about fasting on social media, and sat with and communicated with my hunger as a means to process the reality of Thanksgiving. This year, perhaps for the last time (?), I’d like to fast again.

Which brings me to my invitation: Wanna fast with me this Thanksgiving? There are multiple elements to my approach, which I expect to expand annually if I get other people on board:

1) Water fast for the day of Thanksgiving (this is the “accountability” commitment) – Including peer-based aftercare support for the fasting to help ourselves as a group continue to healthy eating habits after going a day without food (I will personally need this from my community to continue Thanksgiving fasting in a way that does not endanger my health)

2) Funnel the money I would have spent on Thanksgiving food into a one-time donation directly to my local Duwamish and Puyallup tribes (even if it’s just a couple bucks).

3) If I’m active on social media at the time, post at least 2 local call-to-action Native advocacy resources on each of my social media accounts on Thanksgiving day. Post historical and cultural educational content about those tribes as well.

4) If a local group forms (I’m based in Tacoma now), work to create a meetup event in nature for next year, and include resources used in social media posts as lit for meatspace gatherings.

I am considering creating a group of some sort, preferably NOT using facebook, for event planning and information sharing. My idea for this is to include a national online element as well as a local in person one, though this year I expect I’m approaching this too late for a local gathering.

I anticipate most participants to be white because that’s my lane and this is our work, however anyone who is interested is welcome to participate.

If you’d like to be looped into the development of this project, comment here with the word DECOLONIZE and I’ll make sure to include you in whatever list/group/discord/slack channel or whatever the fuck it ends up being. And if you wanna participate virtually in some way this Thursday, let m know how.

Thanks for taking the long read. Also note that I have a post pinned to my artist page right now to a fabulous writeup if you want to delve in more, and many links supplied in the comments if you’re interested in supporting Natives this week.

National Day of Mourning is nearly upon us, and CHRISTINE NOBISS of www.seedingsovereignty.org has done a great service to those of us seeking to resist the colonial gaslighting that is Thanksgiving. https://www.bustle.com/p/thanksgiving-promotes-whitewashed-history-so-i-organized-truthsgiving-instead-13154470

NON-LOCAL ADVOCACY: If food justice is your thing (For instance, if you were enraged by the new SNAP benefit changes and think people on food assistance deserve fresh food), then you should know about food availability on reservations and what Queer Appalachia and @ndn.o are up to: https://www.facebook.com/QueersnAppalachia/posts/2060243613997313

EDUCATION: THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG
To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970

http://www.uaine.org/suppressed_speech.htm

EDUCATION: The Duwamish people of the inside still exist. You can visit their longhouse, attend events, sign up to their mailing list, among other things at https://www.duwamishtribe.org/

And here is their wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duwamish_people

EDUCATION: REAL CHANGE, a publication that I support whenever I have cash in my pocket (and I hope you will too), published this about the Duwamish in 2016 https://www.realchangenews.org/2016/11/09/duwamish-tribe-continues-160-year-fight-federal-recognition

DONATIONS: The Duwamish tribe has created http://realrentduwamish.org as a pathway for Seattlites and other supporters to pay reparations, and is a way you can impact the lives of those whose land we settled despite the federal government’s 160 years of refusing the tribe their rights. I pay real rent myself and encourage every Seattlite to do so as well.

DIRECT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION: DIRT CORPS, a restoration training program I worked with in 2016/2017, works closely with the Duwamish tribe while restoring wetlands in Georgetown, White Center and South Park; areas most impacted by industrialization and training local communities, and they are regularly in search of volunteers.

https://www.urbansystemsdesign.com/dirt-corps-program

THE ORIGINS OF MY FAVORITE SALT –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Salish
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Salish
https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/indian-tribes/coast-salish.htm

In contrast to this Black Sparrow clusterfuck, I’m periodically thinking of someone named Heather Dwyer.

Heather is the person from 4 culture who contacted me a month after a grant application due date to let me know that my application was almost complete; I just needed to upload work samples, and if I could do it within the next day or so, I’d be eligible for the grant I’d almost applied for.

I’d purposely abandoned my application about 6 weeks earlier due to overwhelm, impostor syndrome, and fatigue. I was having a hard time figuring out what samples to include, how to present my work in the timelines and parameters requested, and in frustration and sadness had let the due date pass by without returning to finish it. This is usually how grant applications go for me. They are kind of a fucking nightmare, and thus far have never paid off, so I historically don’t even start to fill them out.

I’ve made a concerted effort to be better about this and work through more of my internal resistance, focusing more on grants this year than the last 5 combined, with the encouragement of friends like Pinguino who occasionally sends calls my way (I totes applied for that artist at sea program, buddy!), and my anonymous benefactor that elevated my perception of myself as an artist with their gift last year.

I’m still like, really fucking bad at it, though.

I responded to Heathers mail quickly and automatically out of the same place that I’d abandoned the grant, and said I just couldn’t figure out how I fit in the application, explained that I was traveling in my van, etc. Heather was respectful of my limitations, and said she hoped that I would consider applying for future grants at another time, reminding me that if I did want to try to get work samples in by the next day, she’d be happy to help me however she could, including downloading images from the web and uploading them to my application for me.

About an hour later, I emailed Heather back and expressed interest in working through the process with her to get the application finished. I’d recalled calling for help when I first got stuck but the phone tagging winded me and I had never gotten back to her. She helped me understand the application rules a bit better — for instance, it wasn’t that I could only submit up to 10 minutes of material, it was that the selection committee was not obligated to spend more than ten minutes on each submission — and suggested a video on my youtube channel that seemed to her like a good one to submit, one that I had dismissed as too long. With her support, I finished the application, even finding a wireless solution and pulling out the laptop and creating the required work samples document in the correct format myself.

Heather was consistently tender and encouraging while remaining respectful, and when I thanked her for putting in the effort to give me a chance to finish applying for the grant she mentioned understanding on a personal level as a former artist just how hard it can be to push through the last pieces of a grant application.

This grant, btw, is specifically for artists who suffer mental illness. I won’t know until the end of the month whether I will be awarded the grant or not, and of course, I don’t expect that to be the case. However, Heathers efforts helped me feel less alone, and assisted me in my goal of practicing applying for opportunities I would normally dismiss myself from being worthy of. And sometimes, I think about that still. Today, while processing a major blow to my artistic plans and my self esteem, is one of those days where Heather is popping up. So I wrote to her.

“Subject: Praise

Hi Heather!

I just wanted to thank you for your care, recently, and let you know that what you do matters. I dunno if you struggle at all with needing reminders about that, but I do, and oftentimes I don’t really know I need to hear it until I’ve been told. So I’m taking the opportunity to write you while thinking about how your encouragement and support has touched me — in fact I think about how I was treated by you in direct response to being royally fucked over by a venue I was supposed to be playing this weekend in the middle of the country — and how honestly rare that is in my experience of trying to make life as an artist work. I just really appreciate having heard from you, your willingness to work through my hesitations with me, and the patience you showed. Regardless of the grant, that has really made a difference for me, and it still stands out when I need it to. Thanks.”

Is there someone in your life to randomly praise today?

The Black Sparrow is dead

So things changed for me yesterday. I was tagged by a stranger in a post indicating that the birthday party I had been hired to play at Black Sparrow was moved to another day/band. This was in addition to no longer having access to the place I’d anticipated staying for multiple weeks in the area, thus still being 750 miles away at a different safehouse and preparing to pack up and leave for the show last night.

I emailed the venue owner with the subject “I’m confused”, with a screenshot of said post which was said to ‘clear up confusion’, to ask how this might change the specifics of my show, like the cover charge and set lengths, mentioned I was just about to leave that night in order to make the drive, and that since the built-in audience of the birthday party would suddenly not be present, I would appreciate any local promotion they’d be willing to do in the meantime.

She responded by verifying that the invitations for the birthday party had mistakenly said “Saturday” the 12th, rather than Friday, and therefore they were moving the birthday party to another bands night to accommodate out of town guests coming on Saturday. She also encouraged me to cancel my show if I found that ‘too discouraging’.

I have based my tour map around this show, which, once I was able to set up my music rig, I have spent the last 9 days absolutely solid working on, including preparing an album to sell, buying stickers to give away, investing in a dual tiered keyboard stand to have access to both keyboards for the set, buying mastering software to help improve the quality of the album, buying blanks and sleeves when I discovered all my previous jewelcase albums are out of print, creating a poster, posting like a mfer on social media, etc. I was committed as hell to this performance, I thought I was playing somewhere known and safe, I was putting everything I had into it, and for a while now this show has been the focus of my life. I wasn’t ready to cancel, I just wanted to know wtf was going on and how it would change this thing I’ve been envisioning for months.

I asked for an idea of when they needed to know by, so I could work out my disappointment before making a decision (and also check in with my second show in February, which Black Sparrow was halfway toward, and by confirming or denying that booking I’d know better whether the trek was still worth it).

The venue owner responded by saying that due to the ‘tone’ of my emails, she felt it was best to cancel my show. The email included mention of every decent thing she’d done while booking me, from offering me one of her precious few dates when I contacted her (after she’d said she wanted me back any time after my first performance there), to negotiating a whopping $25 increase in guarantee from $50 to $75, said she was losing money on every show as a first year venue owner, and ultimately cited “I just don’t have it in me at this point to spend money putting a show that the musician isn’t thrilled to be playing. It’s not worth it for either of us.” as the reason for cancelling me.

I am hurt, frustrated, and angry. I feel impressively fucked over, and I am still reeling at the accusation of not being into my own show enough to be worth hosting. This tour was my bon Voyage to my two favorite venues, and the tour life I’ve been leading for three years now. I only had solid plans for the next two months of my life while doing that, and now those plans are obliterated. Green Door is battling on a day by day basis, and cannot tell me whether they will still exist by my booking on Feb 16th — and without the Black Sparrow show, traveling 1400 miles one way to play GD one last time is insurmountable. I’d anticipated finishing these shows in NOLA territory, doing a little more busking, and going from there, with loose plans to return to California at the end of March and potentially to Seattle in the summer, but now, I have no idea what to do or where to do it, my fragile confidence in my art is shattered to shit because of the crappy way this was handled, and I currently don’t know how anything that comes up out of this black hole might effect the small semblance of stability I had in my projected travels.

I am also really horrified at the manipulation I experienced yesterday, and am really fucking triggered by it. I haven’t been able to shake yet that I actually did something bad, that I’m in trouble for being bad, that the problem really is me, that once again I just wasn’t good enough, committed enough, nice enough, excited enough, HAPPY enough. That somehow, someone else fucking up their party invitations is ultimately my fault — for not staying in Taylor locally, for having the nerve to ask how these changes would effect my show, for having the audacity to be honest about being disappointed and sad to hear indirectly on facebook that my audience had literally fucked off three days before I performed, and for having the gall to be asking for time to deal with my emotions before deciding what was best for me to do.

This was all padded with praise and sycophancy, which made it even worse, and in the pressure of the situation I violated my own boundaries — which I presented when I asked for time to get my bearings before deciding what to do — and responded in exactly the ways that encourage people to play these fucking mind games to get the outcome they want but don’t have the fucking minerals to take ownership of — I thanked her profusely for all the decent things she’d done that any fucking venue owner should be doing, like actually booking gigs and being open to basic fucking rate negotiations for people who are touring, and agreeing to cancel the show while I was still disoriented and wasn’t ready to make that choice for myself, all while kissing her ass and failing to stick up for myself in the face of being belittled by her projections.

This is what capitalism does. This is how people trying to survive this economic paradigm — even people who say they care about what they’re doing and say they care about what you’re doing — treat one another while fighting for scraps to survive. Now that I’ve stopped cussing and yelling, all I can seem to do is cry. I’ve tried to go back to work on the album, making it even better now than I could under the timeline I had when I had this show, but I just.. can’t.

Some days, I really feel like I’m living my calling by carving out this weird life and making all the shit I make. Other days, like yesterday, and today, and probably more than a few tomorrows, literally none of this shit I am doing seems worth it.

Borderline



In the beginning, the plan for Year of the Kat was to get on medication. That, thus far, has not come to pass, mainly due to the runaround and wait times in seeing a psychiatrist meaning I had one single appointment before I left on tour (in which the psyche questioned whether I needed medication at all).

Medication is an option to enable a quality of life, and I may still come to be taking it before July and stay true to the intentions of YotK, but whether I am certifiable is no longer relevant to me. Reality dictates that, in conjunction with attachment difficulty, complex PTSD, and depression/anxiety, I frequently animate debilitatingly agonizing borderline behavior and patterns, and what makes those times relevant to me is that I suffer when in that state.



Observation and history dictates that, since my experience learning to care for myself is the origin of my ability to teach others how to care for themselves, I do indeed possess the ability to treat myself in ways that reduce the impact of those time periods, and potentially prevents them entirely. 

The issue of debilitation virtually always coms down to one of two things: I am being gaslit or otherwise abused by someone I trust in my life, or I am neglecting the care of my own self.

One tidbit I know works for me to maintain a sense of direction (I no longer believe, in my ‘higher’ self who compels to write these things, in the common concept of identity) is to periodically write out who I am for myself, rather than in order to display it for others — on tinder, my biographies on my websites, facebook.

We have experienced recently that you, Kat, are a person who cannot be healthy, and be talking to Dad, at the same time — and thus, I cannot be healthy, as you are a part of me, and I am a part of you.

 It’s about time I reminded myself, again, as ever, who it is that I am, so that I can hopefully better remember it, the next time you need for me to be who that is for you.





This is why Year of the Kat. This is why we reconnected. We have one another, to remind us of who we are.

—— W H O I AM —— Jan, 2018

Artistically, I focus my outward attention (and my internal monologue) on my advocates, sustainers, enablers, supporters; and do not give any of my true fucks to the people who do not know me, do not like me, either, or both.

Professionally, I continue to forge my vibrant, dynamic, challenging, grueling, and unique path of resistance and integrity; as derivative of white supremacist parasitic capitalism, and also source’ one that processes many a cathartic shit releasing what terrified white men in suits tell me about how to meet my needs or measure the success of my life’s work.

Personally, I fuck the binary, poop on rape culture, and disembowel the ableist colonial white supremacist heteropatriarchy however, wherever, and whenever I am able, oppression dynamics withstanding, and spoons provided.

Emotionally, I remain ever in search of my tribe, my home, my sanctuary, by continuing to search in myself.

Socially, I am committed to restoration, integrity, and decolonization, including for me. 

Especially, for me.

—-



We have one another, Kat.


I’ll handle Dad from now on.

2017 Arc Fellowship Grant

Submitting this application nearly didn’t happen. If not for Heather at 4culture encouraging me to submit work samples a month after the official deadline had passed, I’d have not been in the running for this $12,000 grant. Here’s what I’d forgotten I wrote, and the work samples I included.

Inspiration: I am compelled to create art naturally, to the point that since 2015 I have lived mostly in my van and sustained myself through odd jobs and my modest patreon campaign. My background as a sexual abuse survivor and female-presenting person informs much of the anti-patriarchal pro-feminist tones in my music. My development as a nonbinary person informs my aesthetic and my activism. My life-long battle with mental illness and suicidal ideaton informs much of my writing, and is often the motivation for my visual art, paintings and self photography. Right now I am encouraged to collaborate more with other artists and art groups to enhance existing projects and help inform the solo work I do, and taking existing projects to the next level.

Vision: In three years I plan on having an official gallery show (as opposed to the informal shows I’ve done with already existing work — I wanna have to paint for 6 months!). I’d like to take some visual art classes — drawing, painting — and improve the age and condition of my mobile studio (fancy words for the van I live in). I’d like to be ahead enough in the scramble to survive financially to have the energy to fill out more applications like these, to have grants and awards even on my radar. I’d like to have completed an artist residency and toured my music internationally. I’d like to continue to pursue artists modeling, as performative expression and to cultivate a larger community of trusted collaborators. I will find a way to do all of this; $12k and the backing of being a grant-awarded artist will significantly impact my ability to inch forward in all of these respects.

Relevant Expertise / Experience / Accomplishments: Performing and teaching circus aerial since 2004 at SANCA (past) and Versatile Arts (current). Going to Brian Utting School of Massage in 2007. Co-founding Vita Arts, a 501(c)(3) arts org in 2009 (and recognizing it was time to leave in 2013). Directing “How art saved my life” in 2011 for Vita Arts, a combination theater performance and multi-disciplinary workshop I designed as creative director of the company. Performance directing for multiple years with the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. Busking alone on the street of New Orleans was a terrifying, and fulfilling experience both as a performer and a musician — it took me two weeks curled up in the van to finally do it, and I have not been the same since then. Moving into a van and touring the country, twice, is probably in there too — and I plan on doing it again this winter. I received what I would consider my ‘liberal arts’ education as a 6-year troupe member of the Little Red Studio, where I had a space and a community with which to develop as an artist, painting my largest acrylic pieces and debut directing a 40-cast member show in which I wrote and starred and performed aerial. I have always used art to express my overwhelming emotions and be seen in my developments by others, it is my main form of connection with people and one of the most profound ways I inspire others.

Highlight: For this I choose to tell you about Embodied, a self-produced, directed, and performed show I put on at Fred Wildlife Refuge in 2011. I funded the project via Kickstarter — the first time I ever asked for money to do my work. I created the video projections shown on the wall, I created the music, I designed my costume, I bookended the musical performance with aerial performance pieces, I put on the two-night show while raging sick, I edited and released both the behind the scenes documentary as well as mastering the two albums (retail and limited edition for backers) and creating the album artwork. The show was deeply personal, tackling the subject of the parental abandonment and the fracturing identity that was the psychic result.

00-Rex-C-WorkSampleDescription

OptimumDesk.exe / ODService CPU hog won’t uninstall

My last 24 hours:

1) Did the steps in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYB07SUPcI&feature=youtu.be to confirm the title executables were the reason dad’s win10 machine blared at 99% cpu usage unless in safe mode — did all those steps with every instance of eventvwr or task manager taking upwards of 4 minutes to load.

2) Found this, which confirmed for me that these programs are malicious — weird company, very little cross-pollinated information about the program online, uninstall instructions reference an uninstall executable that is not installed, requires downloading another program from weird site to supposedly uninstall, see for yourself at http://www.advanceduninstaller.com/OptimumDesk-6ef36ef217edb1361947a381152d63b2-application.htm

3) Downloaded malwarebytes, spybot, and ran dad’s native mcafee scan twice — none of them were able to quarantine and delete the rogue install. During all this testing, the machine was still at 99% CPU and running at an absolute crawl.

4) Tried loading safe mode and deleting program file directory – reinstalled itself. Tried deleting the service from elevated command line – reinstalled itself. Tried removing registry keys directly with regedit – reinstalled itself.

FINAL SOLUTION: Removed all access permissions from C:/Windows/Program Files (x96)/OptimumDesk.exe and ODService.exe including to SYSTEM, leaving the files but rendering them completely useless. Before coming to this conclusion, I pretty much had to extract every little thing I once knew about the windows operating system, which I frankly haven’t used in any capacity since Win7.

System idles at 4% CPU now, and I feel like I’ve just been hit by a truck.

On minimization as patriarchal reflex

To follow up on that post about at least starting to learn about something that is painfully obvious to women: patriarchy inflicts the stress of constant bodily vigilance at best and acute terror at worse:

All the comments were amazing. So many stood out, like those that reported on strategies for increasing safety in taxis. Jesus.

One genre of comments sent me down a rabbit hole. The commenter would start with congratulations that I could be sensitive to this kind of thing, because the commenter commonly interacts with men who simply think they’re irrational, neurotic, angry or bitter.

But I could feel instantly that such a compliment was undeserved, because I know in my bones what minimizing the other feels like.

I’m an expert at minimizing, and I’ve used it with female partners in ways, often subtle, for most of my adult life, and I’ve only recently begun to listen to the call-outs on it, mainly from my partner, and also others.

My minimizing reflex is mobilized in an instant. The speed is a clue. My partner gives me feedback. Whatever the content is I instantly reframe it so I can feel like it’s either personal attack on me, or — and this is harder to see – as a problem that I am now responsible for, on behalf of someone who I instantly tell myself is overreacting. Both reframes are designed to render the incoming data dismissible. That data could be about real blindspots I have and real harm I’m causing, but I’m skilled at lumping it in with things I claim are insignificant, or flipping it into a character judgment on my partner.

It all happens automatically. Changing it can feel like changing the way I breathe. This is part of the reason why, I believe, men can be so insulted by descriptions of this stuff. We’re being asked to deconstruct something that feels essential to the way we are in the world. What would be left if those defenses were taken away?
How does that moment feel? Like I’ve been invaded and have to push out or strike back. My neck gets stiff with narcissism: I can’t let the other person have a legitimate problem without making it about me. I have to react instantly. I can’t pause, take it in, nod, reflect, try to differentiate the other’s feelings from my own. I can’t let it be, without fixing it, which really means casting it aside.
What do I do? Below the threshold of open conflict, I never do anything that I couldn’t justify according to some arbitrary spectrum of “normal emotional responses”. Maybe a little exasperated sigh, a tiny smirk that no-one but a partner would pick up on (so it’s even worse), an eye-roll. Maybe I change the subject too quickly. I might squint my eyes and shake my head. If I get going a little, my voice becomes irritated or more emphatic. This all happens within the realm of being able to pretend to be innocent. At least according to me. The net effect of all of these gestures, not to mention the verbal deflections I’m working up to, is to say that the problem my partner is bringing to me is hers alone. Past the conflict threshold, these things become more obvious.

What I’m getting at here is that the explicit minimizations I can verbalize are grounded in countless somatic reflexes that have been trained into me. I believe that before gaslighting becomes an institutional strategy, it is a nervous response. A lot of the vibrant discussion out there focuses on changing behaviors, and that’s as it should be. I’m trying to look into what drives the behavior.

I can hardly think of any men that I have these hair-trigger responses around (but more on that below); it’s a problem that comes up much more often in my relationships with partners. And if I track it to my immediately wider circle here and now, it’s of a piece with what the men at the community centre gym do when they talk about women.

The locker-room comments amongst my middle-aged cohort aren’t as sexually objectifying as they are gender-objectifying. When a woman partner is mentioned, there’s a general groan. There’s an expectation that a story of nagging or craziness is about to unfold. I get on edge when I feel this happen, because it’s hard to point to anything distinct to call out or in. If I’m feeling up for at least pretending to do ally work that day, the most I can say is “Well maybe she feels like x, because of y,” referring to some aspect of patriarchy that wouldn’t otherwise get discussed. This is always awkward, because I’m interrupting not only a discharge, but veering out of a well-worn groove.

I might feel superior about it in the sauna, but I’m no better. I know that groove from all-boys Catholic school, where it was hard-wired into me. It’s more like a drone, really, an underlying hum of misogyny, and it begins with belittling. Girls can be cute, but they’re not serious human beings. They waste their time with needlessly complex thoughts over petty concerns. They’re weak, neurotic, and will try to control you through seduction and emotional manipulation, which is all they have talent for. In other words, going to an all-boys Catholic school is like growing up in a politer, more disciplined or militarized version of a 4chan board. All these MRM losers these days are total lightweights in comparison. We made misogyny look good. Hell, we could even make it look liberal.

So the legacy confers an underlying, subconscious reflex to equate a woman’s (insert “gay man’s” or ‘transperson’s”) voice or ideas with irrationality, anxiousness, or lack of understanding the real issues of life. This is the baseline emotional reality of heteronormative men that the #metoo movement is charging at on the open field.

It’s a vicious feedback loop. Dehumanization escalates to outright rape, and minimization – the most socially-acceptable dehumanization tool – neutralizes the call-out of injustice. At the microlevel, when my partner suggests I take a cab at 3:30am, my ingrained response is to feel she’s infringing on my space. There are elements of personal and familial psychology at play for me here – some of them reasonable. But misogyny has hardwired me to belittle her concern, so that I can own more space.
In an instant, my response provides cover for rape culture: With a simple eye-roll, it says: “It really can’t be that bad. You’re exaggerating. I don’t believe you.”
I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?

(Likewise, I don’t have to commit overtly racist acts to participate in the structures of racism. Have you heard about those studies that show white doctors consistently underestimate the levels of pain that POC are in, and therefore undermedicate them? Same type of minimization.)

Where does it all come from? I don’t know, but I chant this famous bell hooks quote like a mantra (not saying I know much at all about her work):

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”
Why do I feel hooks is about 1000% right here? Because there’s only one other person in the world I know I have the reflex to belittle, who is not or has not been a female partner.

It’s my son, who turns five tomorrow.

When he gets the big emotions, something in my body wants him to stop, wants him to get over it, ignore it, shake it off, stop crying. It’s an ancient response. It goes back to Abraham and Isaac. I learned it from movie heroes, priests, music teachers, sports coaches, yoga teachers.

Then, it’s amazing how quickly needing my boy to stuff it down slides into offering strategies for sublimating it. Barely consciously, I think: “You could learn to use those feelings to express power, instead of vulnerability.”

Some days it’s like climbing a mountain to stop this reflex, to even begin to hold whatever he’s feeling, without trying to minimize or dismiss it. Or tell him he should use it for something else.

If I wasn’t climbing that mountain, I could easily wreck my relationship with him by the time he was ten. In place of listening, and counterbalancing his mother’s gifts, I might give him the armour and belligerence that I learned to carry and wield as defences against my own feelings, until I got lucky in this relationship, that therapy, this work.

I have to climb a mountain, forty years high, to look a little boy in the eye and tell him it’s okay to feel his pain and sorrow. To tell him it’s a good thing, actually. That it will help him learn to listen, and listening will help him let other people have their feelings as well.” — Matthew Remski

“I don’t have to assault [people] to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?”

I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with a woman while reading this, wherein the person immediately responded to a third-party abuse allegation by minimizing the accuser. It was textbook minimization, to the core, complete with gaslighting by claiming that it wasn’t that, a classic “I don’t wanna sound like I’m victim blaming….” . I observed myself immediately fall in line — I observed myself not calling it out, not saying anything about how uncomfortable I was with their response, and even agreeing and coming up with my own versions of character minimization to chime in with. I became part of the problem I didn’t have the spoons to name.

I did it to get through to the other side of the conversation, to preserve the existing relationship, and to preserve my own energy. I did this because oftentimes, even when I recognize it happening to me in the moment, gaslighting WORKS to reduce the likelihood that blatant victim blaming will be called out, in part by making what already requires bravery require even more explanation, confrontation, and emotional labor to name — there is a reason why it is such an incredibly common (and often automatic) defense mechanism. I did it because I felt awkward, out of place, and had opened a pandoras box I wasn’t prepared for. I did it for lots of reasons.

But the main one I am chewing on the most still, days out, is that I did this ultimately because I am practiced in doing this. Doing this is my default. I am practiced at minimizing abuse, my own and that of others. I am practiced at reducing emotional responses, wishing them away, and prioritizing dissipating immediate uncomfortable feelings over long-term harm reduction; and when challenged on this particular day, I chose the flow that was the path of least resistance. I chose the flow that I know to work to get the result I wanted: out of that conversation, and on with our day.

My soul deeply dislikes this, and I am working it out. Part of that process is acknowledging the idea that I can simply flip a switch and be perfectly on, all the time, and the fallacy that simple awareness of a learned behavior while remaining in the same environment is enough to change that response permanently, come into play regularly when examining and correcting this shit. I am so tired of holding myself and the people around me to this ridiculous standard, of being so afraid of fucking up I burn up half my fuel before I’ve even taxi’d the runway. I fucked up. I lived. I will continue to do and be better.

I don’t think we talk enough about the fact that unlearning oppressive behaviors and internalized oppression, particularly while remaining steeped in the culture that imparted them, is a life long commitment that never really ends.

I don’t think we talk enough about what accountability looks like in those terms, what to do when we stumble and fail in our work and say or do something shitty. I don’t think we talk enough about the distinction between integration and divorce. There will be times for all of us when we witness things that we don’t respond correctly to in the moment, and can only internalize after we’ve made that mistake.

Thankfully, this happened with a friend that I can return to about our conversation and clean at least some of it up, let her know what we said wasn’t cool and work to repair the harm that I perpetuated in how I chose to manuever our conversation — and I think that this is a good lesson to take away, a lesson I learned in another conversation a while back about race, gentrification, and social responsibility — sometimes that white hot urgent feeling moment is not the right moment to push back.

Sometimes it’s important to trust in our relationships and friendships, to utilize what seems like cowardice to sit with overwhelm and return to the subject with them another day. We do this consistently in other areas of our interpersonal lives, but in terms of social justice, I notice an intense pressure to be immediate, reactive, relentless. I notice an intense burden of being perfectly reflexive. That pressure is mainly what has driven me into the social evolutionary ground over the past few years, contributing to my exhaustion, inefficiency, and frankly, loneliness. None of us can take it all on, all the time.

But let’s also get really clear here — we do this to one another, my ladypeople. This subversive, dismantling shit. And sometimes when we do this to each other, our histories and collective understanding of the harm we’ve been subjected to serves as a scapegoat for holding ourselves accountable for reanimating our abuse. We adopted these mindsets as a means of gaining a semblance of control in this atmosphere, and when we pretend as though we are immune to the toxic teachings of patriarchy, when we pretend we aren’t conditioned to mimic them amongst ourselves, when we pretend we are not vulnerable to taking a lead down these deeply entrenched roads, we do a massive disservice to ourselves, and the people we are becoming.

We are and have been complicit in abuse culture, in rape culture, in racism, in ableism, and though the work looks different for us, the work, too, is ours to do.

Every time I go to bat against the curve balls of patriarchy under the lifetime conditioning of binary, cis-centric language and thinking, the tiny, quiet actuality of me shrivels and cries. I notice that when I address y’all from the position of my oppression as a woman, a small fetal me shudders from my peripheral vision, waiting for big me to care enough to stop the yelling and help them get warm.

Perhaps it is time to spend more of my efforts building up my Self — a solidly nonbinary person who has been socialized and perceived as a woman and thusly has experienced the impacts of that oppression — rather than continue stepping into the role of of a cis feminist woman because it seems ‘easier’, because it’s the way I’m perceived, because it seems strategic like it will make a bigger ‘difference’ for ‘society’ to ride the waves of cisfeminist groupthink and fall in line.

Perhaps it is time to address rather than simply continue to acknowledge my deep fear of further alienation; that I am not queer enough, not weird enough, not oppressed enough, not kind enough, not enough, to find a home for the person I truly am in any community.

Perhaps it is time to get real with myself about what actions accompany my realization that I do not belong where I have continued to orient myself. That perhaps I might be more effective, more secure, and stronger in my base while I push and resist and attempt to influence from the stances I take, if I were to make that effort, for myself.

Perhaps it is time to go to bat for the me that I am rather than atoning for the me that I’ve been told I was; to embrace the actuality of the causes that effect the deepest soul of me, rather than continue to animate the dynamics of patriarchy, sexism and abuse culture that I’ve come to see as significant in the bulk of the interpersonal and relational hardships I’ve endured in my weird little life.

Perhaps it is time to consider what might have been had I been raised to own my gender for myself, now that I’ve spent such a notable amount of time considering, embodying, and fighting againt what being socialized in the binary has done to me.

Maybe it’s time to really walk my talk, and say, fuck society, fuck the way y’all are doing this, fuck the scaffolding I’ve been handed, fuck the place I’ve been told by others I belong, and once again forge into the unknown, and figure out how to do it my way.

Maybe it’s time I stand up for myself, rather than standing for the damage and inflated sense of responsibility I carry for the consequences of being told by others what that was.

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main obstacles I face in dismantling my harmful binary thinking is the attachment I have to how I own my oppression as a woman under patriarchy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of the key factors in how massively I am triggered by accounts of abuse, and how difficult it is to maneuver the constant, relentless reminders of the disrespect, the entitlement, the dangers I face and the abuse I’ve experienced because of how the world perceives me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this methodology stunts my growth, diminishes my spirit, and prevents me from the further dismantling of my unearned privilege.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that the damage to me from the bullshit I’ve put up with from men pales in comparison to the quiet corrosion I do to myself when I present as a cis woman in response to it.

The damage to me from patriarchy pales in comparison to what I choose to put myself though every day that I abandon myself to the identity that I think you’ll best respond to in order to convince you to address your position of power in your own fucking violence.

Fuck this ‘well, I’ve suffered like a woman, you see me as a woman, so a woman is what I must be’ horse shit, and fuck focusing on y’alls actions, y’alls motivations, y’alls work. Fuck your shitty dynamics and fuck me blaming them while simultaneously molding to their demands of what I am supposed to be.

I will remind myself of this again, and again, probably forever: I am through existing for the purpose of evolving men. I am as through as I know how to be with centering you, centering your impacts on my past, centering your improvement in response to the fucking shit y’all have put me through, and I will continue to learn how to more effectively be through with it. Fuck y’all. Fuck your mistakes, fuck your selfishness, fuck your willful ignorance, fuck your recovery, and fuck making you better. If you wanna be better men, if you wanna heal your toxic masculinity, if you wanna shed your internalized misogyny, you can learn a tip or two by fucking watching me do it for myself — if you’re lucky enough to be privy to my examples.

When I’ve been in therapy (I’m not, again, btw, for those following along — psyche wasn’t hip to placing me on meds and social worker was a low level sounding board/not particularly effective for my talk therapy needs. That’s why hotlines for now, and still stumbling along as an under-overdiagnosed self medicating pothead wierdo.) I have historically been irritated with the direction my therapists would generally go with things — my mother.

“I am having trouble with my boyfriend”
‘Hmm, I wonder about the commonalities here with your mother’

“I got cut off on the freeway today” ‘mmm, reminds me of your mother’

“I took a really awesome shit yesterday”
‘Mother.’

The relentless nature of the mother track in therapy is often the butt of jokes regarding the field, and for many years (and still sometimes even) it really fucking annoyed me. But it’s inarguable how deeply family of origin experiences shape the way we view the world, and shape our social tides as well. Everyone talks about how we need to teach the babies differently, and yet we resist challenging the identities we still manuever around conclusions we came to as them.

Imperfect and in some ways evoking of my new-cage skepticism, this is still one of the important poop-on-patriarchy links I keep handy for reshares and link drops. It focuses not on the masculine work at hand, but repairing our feminized relationships as daughters, which of course stem from… mother.

http://www.womboflight.com/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/

#hotline

Lately, I have been very raw and sensitive and emotionally reactive. Being that way comes with effects, which include being oversensitive to damaging others. Things like feeling really gutted for days if I unintentionally hurt someones feelings, and digging too hard into myself to look for subconscious sinister motivation, when I forget or misconstrue boundaries and tolerances (we should do this as recovering abusers, as I am, but I get relentless and shameful in it when triggered or emotionally fatigued — I go back to the habit of digging for the molten core of awful I must be to be capable of being so shitty).

Generally when that happens is when I reach a tipping point where I go into isolation to avoid people. That, I have discovered, is when I usually fall into the pit.

I have been noticing this, and noticing that I have needed to talk numerous times in order to mobilize myself to be functional in the last few days, and even after scrolling over my lists, short and long and public and private, I find I have no one I feel I can talk to in those moments.

This is all self talk, shame, depression, and insecurity. I am blessed with SO MANY people I can talk to. Perhaps they might not understand, and perhaps they might not be the people who are immediately around me. But I can speak without logical fear of retribution to many people in my life. Yet I don’t, or if I do, I am so clumsy and desperate and self critial that I feel bad about it afterwards; I didnt ask well enough for proper consent before talking about something potentially triggering, I took up too much time uming and stumbling to get my words out, and so on.

And well, writing here is triggering more often than it isn’t, to be perfectly honest with y’all.

So I called the hotline again today, while I was stuck managing the anxiety of going to a place I work where someone who violated my boundaries and emotionally abused me also frequents, still vibrating from #metoo triggering. 1 (800) 273-8255. I talked to a person who has already given consent to hear whatever it is I need to say, who is not my friend thus also not my long term emotional responsibility, who can also hear the details of that assault without potentially having personal investment in protecting the asshole who treated me like shit.

1 (800) 273-8255

1 (800) 273-8255

1 (800) 273-8255

A little poop on the stigma, and a glimpse of what a suicide prevention hotine actually looks like:

“I got into this field because when I was a teenager, I was also trying to kill myself on a monthly basis, or cutting myself, or ending up in the ER,” she says. “I finally met a therapist who said, ‘Well of course you want to kill yourself. Your life is terrible.’ And the moment she said this, I thought, ‘OK, now I can fix my life.’ Because before I had been so busy trying to prove to people that my life was bad, and once someone believed me, I could go do something about that.”

That’s why, according to PM, traditionally trained clinicians are not always the best crisis counselors — they first have to unlearn a lot of what they were taught.

“Most counselors and social workers are profoundly uneducated about suicide prevention techniques,” she says. “This can lead to a lot of frustration or even panic.”

On the other hand, “at one of my hotline jobs I worked with a guy who, on paper, looked like a terrible candidate,” she continues. “His last job was manufacturing, and before that he’d been a bouncer at a couple of different strip clubs. But … he was the most sensitive person ever, and he knew how to approach a call. ‘It sounds like you’re thinking of suicide.’ Totally non-judgmental, but puts the topic out in the open so we can talk about it more freely. When he’d hear a person talk about why they wanted to die, he’d be compassionate. ‘Given all that, I understand why you’d think about killing yourself.’ That may sound like a really bad idea, but it’s actually been proven to be really effective: You’re actually hearing them, which makes them feel more open to talking. Then you can circle back to reasons to live.”

Source, with All The Trigger Warnings: http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2338-5-disturbing-things-i-learned-working-at-suicide-hotline.html

Brought to you by Instagram

I’ve been observably manic since last week, and my appointment with my social worker was canceled this week. I’ve fallen into the online social justice trap after a successful march on Sunday where I stepped into the opportunity to utilize my skills and street medic, expecting that I would have the aftercare of a therapy session the next day. So often, these small victories in actionable social justice incite me to return to old habits and guilt fueled hubris if I don’t take care of myself properly. I tell myself I cannot stop, because it feels righteous. I tell myself I cannot take a break, because those below me in oppression hierarchy cannot take one. I note others moments of rhetoric to convince myself that no one I am fighting for has any respite, no one I am fighting for ever takes a bath, or a meal, or laughs about the good things in life with friends. With dwindling reserves and increased isolation I maneuver traumatizing, triggering subject matter and personal pain for The Cause, whichever flag it is I wave at that moment, with an unspoken urgency that I must do it all myself, that I must be the one to stand loud and naked and public and brave and triggered, and that what little I am doing by putting myself through these things in the gaze and at the mercy of others matters more than it does. My nearly-lifelong addiction to social media is insidious, and once again I face the maddening dichotomy of what fuels this addiction, so I can dig in my heels and stop before the tide turns, and I find myself latched to 1’s and 0’s when I crash, to once again find I am alone, in the dark, and in real fucking trouble.

SOLD!

at Mr Darcy’s Opening Night​

curated by http://crystal-barbre.com

Current inspirations:
http://www.clockworkart.com
http://reddwalitzki.com

The Year of the Kat

In 2014, I began the Year of the Nee, choosing to go a year (and change, it turned out) celibate and without intoxicants of any kind.

Overlapping that year, the two years of unofficial survival experimentation of #vanlife began.
And now I float, disconnected, purposeless, again in need of healing and self acceptance. It’s about time to embark on a new experiment, I’ve been thinking.

From July 4 2017 to July 4 2018, is the Year of the Kat: the year I go on brain medication, and officially return to the discipline of writing regularly in a private, offline, SOC journal.

Turns out after all this searching for an avenue to rediscover and reintegrate the wisdom of my long lost teenage self, all I had to do to reconnect, was write to her.

Funny, how that works.

Where do we go from here

Having that fucking IUD out is a such a godsend. I still haven’t felt any more pelvic pain! And now after two blows of sextrust related trauma in the last month, I am back to having zero interest in sex again anyway and feel sure about putting off sterilization, so I won’t be dealing with healing from abdominal surgery right now either. 😂 Yay, numbness. It’s a thing, ya know? Bets on whether I can hold out til after menopause?

I’m really looking forward to getting in about brain pills next month. The fear around that is greatly reduced and I am curious about the advancements that have been made over the last couple decades. It’s become something I am looking forward to and I’ve figured out/been able to adjust more than a few factors that were contributing to how bad things had gotten with my mental health.

Now that I’ve had my signature rage catharsis from this last fuckshit obstacle my plan is to contract from social media to focus on making sure I have the energy to keep up on face time with core support people until I get to my dr. appointment. If you don’t see me flailing around here too much it’s likely because I am successful with that.

Thank you so much to everyone here who has participated in helping me through these last few roughass months and encouraged me to Keep Going. Your participations have often been the only thing I perceived I had in some really fucking dark worrisome moments. You’ve been collectively saving my ass and articulating encouragement and support in ways that penetrated and made a difference. I’m not a big keeper of things, but some of y’all gave me gifts I’ll remember for a very long time. Thank you. I’ll keep trying to do and be all that you’ve reminded me that I am. –facebook

Times haven’t actually changed all that much since the 90’s, but it sure does feel that way. I am often nostalgic for the days when I could stay blissfully unaware while simultaneously chomping at the bit for something real to believe in and fight for.

While being a part of a tech movement that literally changed the landscape of every single aspect of human life, I was furious for having been born in this time, rather than the 60’s or during the Suffrage movement, when the “real” battles were supposedly being won.

But damn did I never wish I was born in the future.

I was naive and impulsive then, still am I think, but full of energy I no longer have, that I spent a lot of time squandering on abusing myself. I was sharp and tenacious and aware of social injustices and that gnawed me from the inside out. I hated watching how abusive and horrible we were to one another and I had not yet learned that not all people behaved the way my tech buds and I behaved, treated one another so badly, or were as harmful and destructive as we were. Who knows what I could have accomplished with my head on straight and in a stable environment where I’d learned to actually relate to others.

Despite her many faults, in these last few years I’ve been hoping to connect with the core of that person I was then, after spending a lot of my adult life taming my nature and unlearning what she inherently knew.

God damn but did I know who the fuck I was back then, what I was about, what I thought needed to be done. I left every tech job I had because I was horrified at the evolution and was miserable contributing to misery.

I was also abusive, racist, classist mean, selfish. It’s been a fucking pain in the ass, this inbetween, trying to mine for the baby I threw out in that bathwater while continuing to dismantle the oppressions I still embody in myself. I am so lonely, my already fragile community connections are all damaged and fractured, AND I still don’t know who the fuck I am.

In the past I have joined groups based on my interests and naturally thrived there, drowning myself out and absorbing my environment. Now I’m just spinning in circles.

Debts mount, time in this temporary sanctuary ticks, the hits keep puncturing my heart, and I just keep waiting for the cry, MY battle cry, not knowing what the fuck to do with all this exhaustion, aggitation, despair, and doubt.

I’ve had faith since closing my business, leaving my partnerships and hitting the road that I would know it when I see it. Whatever I’m looking for. But I am also losing hope, losing steam, and running out of ideas. In a bit over two weeks, I will finally be talking to my doctor about getting on meds. I hope that works. Cuz I really, really, need something to work. 

#triggerwarning #mentalhealth

#triggerwarning #mentalhealth

I’ve been struggling badly with my mental health since last fall. It’s been pretty awful in general, and then the small shred of resource and sanity I felt I had — my van/house/freedom — did what vanhousefreedom things do when they have 204,000 miles on them, and started breaking things.

Expensive things. While I was 3000, 1400, and 800 miles from ‘home’, which is a place I don’t really identify much with anymore, that I can’t afford to stay in, but is the most familiar to me.

I’m broke, in quite a bit of credit card debt, which is rising as I’m trying to take care of my body, which is also really pissed, and enjoyed a ratio of playing shows that leaned toward the ‘really sad empty dive bar’ sorts of ways far, far too often for my tender worrysome heart.

I’ve got pals and a warm place to sleep, which is helping me not completely lose my shit. I’m also spending most of my time manically making slapdash art, or sobbing and paralyzed and thinking about how easy it would be to clip an aertery and be done with this shit.

Every day, though, I do something meaningful to get better. I’m seeing a chiropractor to take care of my spine. I got that horrible inflammatory IUD pulled out, and acknowledged my gratitude for the ten years of effective birth control that little angry shit provided me. I’m on antibiotics for an infection I’ve likely had for about 8 months. And for now, I am living somewhere I can actually stand up in.

For a while, I was taking classes to get my massage license back before recognizing the returns were not sustainable (and, let’s face it, I’d be much better off making sandwiches 8 hours a day than going back into the job of touching people). But I enjoyed the classes and I learned things. That’s what you take classes for, right?

I’m also working edges like usual, one of which being to get better at letting go of money when I spend it, rather than being attached to the notion that everything I spend money on be some sort of investment.

I’m having a particularly hard time working up the nerve to get back into therapy, though, and to get on meds, which I’ve recognized it’s time for me to do. Like, actually do, and go through with, this time. I have an appointment with my primary care person in July to talk about it, but frankly, I’m really worried I’m not going to make it that far.

I’ve attempted multiple times before when it’s gotten this bad, and self harm is becoming a regular thing to deal with the sobbing fits, like the one I am stuck in right now while attempting to get ready for the one damn thing I committed to doing today.

I spend so much effort holding in a wall of sadness behind my face, and when the dam breaks, relief doesn’t come with it. Just more pressure and exhaustion. I think about doing the morning walk-in freeforall at the clinic, or going to the ER, usually multiple times a day. But I don’t.

I’ve been trying to figure out why, after so many years of being capable of getting help after how hard I worked to get there, I’m so stuck now.

I feel like my spirit is broken and no one can help me.

I’m consumed with fear that hopping on a medication rollar coaster will make it worse, and I don’t think I can handle anything more.

It seems I’d rather smack at myself qnd bruise my own face to feel relief than walk outside and pull weeds out of the ground (and risk fucking up my back again, I say to myself. Oh, my back went out while putting my pants on a half hour before a band rehearsal about a month ago. Did I forget to tell you that? Probably).

It’s hard to remember a time I’ve felt so alone.

But even moreso, I am finding that I am deeply mistrusting of the health field now. The last two therapists I had (out of four) had pretty shit boundaries.

Both relationships were helpful in ways, but ultimately the situations were very messy and consisted of a lot of loss, especially the last one, which was long term and complicated and multifaceted and ended traumatically.

There are quite a few things I used to be interested in/enjoy that I no longer enjoy after realizing I had to get out of that relationship. And getting out at all kicked up so many self criticisms I have about my limitations in maintaining close connections, and so often being the one suffocated and scrambling to get away.

When that relationship broke, so did my last frayed ties to the ‘healing community’, my trust in it, and my trust in my abilities as someone who was once a teacher in that realm. It broke my confidence in my worthiness to continue to be any type of healing guide or mentor, too. For the best, maybe, but disorienting all the same.

Of course, as I have created distance, I have recognized where being in unethical ‘healer’ relationships enabled me to be unethical and damaging to others myself in my care practice.
For the bulk of my time in the scene, I was surrounded by and looking up to healers and mentors providing therapy to people they were fucking, providing therapy to people they then started fucking, providing therapy to friends who didn’t ask for therapy, incepting their own notions and beliefs into vulnerable people looking for their help, having unintegral boundries and phasing in and out of roles without communicating or garnering consent.. the list just went on and on. And I belonged there. That’s the kind of shit I did, too. I think about some of the things I chose to do now and cringe so god damn hard.

It was a shitshow and I’m glad to be out, but, I’ve not found an alternative for the positives being in those communities allowed me to receive. The modalities, when respected in safe containers, were very powerful and helpful to me.

My trust in writing, which in the past has brought me a lot of connection and relief in the absence of stable relationships, has also faded. I no longer feel empowered by posting vulnerable shit like this and writing about my mental health struggles here. Or anywhere really.

I no longer feel fueled or that I am ‘helping’ anyone by sharing my stories, after a lifetime relying on that to make finite connections while constantly growing and transforming and leaving people behind who were important in my life but wanted me to stay the same when I needed to move on.

I simultaneously feel like such a loud obnoxious burden, and that I’ve forgotten how to take up space.

I feel like a complete sticky fucked up projectile mess, and also like I’m so constricted I can barely breathe.

But maybe broaching the subject now that I’m onto this will shift something. I’ve got shit to do, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let today be another fucking day I beat myself in the head to stop crying long enough to get it done.

P.S. if you are like I’ve been in the past and have become again and are hurting yourself to deal with your overwhelming emotions, this might help you feel like a little less of a freak about it. It helped me to remember how normal this all is, for all of 5 minutes, anyway.

Well, here we are again.

After some time keeping my head barely above water, my hearts busted open into a suck wound of fuzzies and my brain is linking up solutions again. Good night! 

What will I wake up to, though? Ugh, I hate waking up. Maybe that adjustment today worked, but I can’t know until I sleep how things will be when I wake up. 

I need to work on trusting my body more, and relying on my mind less. My fatigue right now probably isn’t physical. I forget that my ballcurled psychic emergency cutoff is to be too exhausted to carry out the plan. I forget that I know how to not spin myself comatose with infinite looping worry when something is wrong with my body. 

Yes, somethings wrong with probably my nerves, and yeah, it hurts. And having my legs giving out on me periodically is not any kind of ok, I’m not gonna lie. 

All the same, I think it’s about time to look into what’s happened in the SSRI world since I visited it last. Aside from being back in a mental place where I must consider that I really could die from this; I cannot accomplish my goals while feeling this way.

Is it valid? Yes. I dont deny or begrudge it. But I’ve got shit to do, god damnit. Shit to do so I can be in a position to handle whatever this is without feeling like I’m waterboarding myself while reciting the most horrible things I can imagine people I love saying about me. 

I trust you, gut. And I can’t right now. You’ll have to wait. 

I’ll get to you, too, but you’ll just have to wait.

10 more things I’ve learned on the road, year 2

I am solidly into my second year of vanlife. Here are 10 more things I’ve learned since last time

  1. Spraying swampy sockfeet with 90% isopropyl at the end of a night means you have fresh socks to put away in the morning after they’ve dried. Actually, a spray bottle of hefty alcohol is pretty much a must. I use it to clean my cookware, sanitize my pstyle, clean my greasy phone, and on and on.
  2. Chicken noodle soup in a pot, heat to simmer, kill the flame, sprinkle some dehydrated mashed taters, stir, cover, wait a bit. Bam. Cheap, salty, satisfying comfort roadfood in about 5 minutes.
  3. The little touches (for me: having a few flavors of artisan bitters, keeping spices around, hand-rolling cigarettes, having a zippo filled and at the ready, stocking a bar of excellent dark chocolate), add an immense polish to an otherwise pretty grungy, simple life. Oh, and if you’re gonna bother with it at all, always buy the expensive beef jerky. Don’t skimp on the tortillas, either – they are a great staple and can be used to wrap up damn near anything, but not if they tear and taste like cardboard smeared with dog shit.
  4. Relatively-full, mid-range hotel parking lots are excellent places to park for a night, especially if you roll in nice and late. One time I managed nearly an entire week at a Days Inn in St. Augstine, in part because it was bike week, I had the motorcycle on the rack, and I blended in. I like La Quinta too; and these hotel parking lots are usually a little less interrogation-room lit than truck stops or Walmarts — which both tend to have birds trying to get laid at all hours of the night from the lights being so fucking bright.
  5. These sorts of hotels are also excellent places to refill water jugs, camp shower bags (also a must), and bottles — A lot of them have outside spigots for the maid service workers. Same for ice — many hotels with outdoor room access also have ice machines that are outside.
  6. http://freecampsites.net
  7. AAA is a requirement, and completely, 150% worth every penny. I’ve used it at least twice a year since I left, from towing to running out of gas on the highway. I will ride without insurance before I will ride without AAA. Seriously; don’t even fuck around with not having it.
  8. Bella Stinkbutt is now at 210k miles (from 180k when I got her), and all told in gas, repairs, maintenance, towing, insurance, registration — has cost roughly $.40c a mile. She has gotten anywhere from 11 to 14mpg highway in the time I have had her, and been towed so many times from breaking down on me I’ve lost count. I make anywhere from $15k-$18k a year, and for the last two have spent half of it, before taxes, on my vehicle. When the van needs repairing, it’s rarely less than $800. This is not a cheap life. Far from it. Don’t let the trust fund couples in their reliable $60k rigs fool you. It costs money no matter what way you go.
  9. Speaking of the #vanlife social media complex and their $60k rigs, one of the big lessons I’ve learned after doing this for a while is how fucking lonely the hard times are when you don’t know anyone else who is doing it. When I am stranded in bumfuck with a blood curdling estimate while already in thousands on emergency credit, I don’t have any pals to talk to who will actually understand what going through that in your house with all your shit is like. I suggest doing a better job than I have of networking with other itinerant people, and establishing a support network of others in similar situations.
  10. It’s true what they say, about travel and prejudice. Having spent most of my adult life in the charmed self righteous liberal mecca bubble of Seattle, I had a lot of notions about the midwest and the south. Those few notions I still hold have taken on a much different shape than they once did, and there is context to them I didn’t have before. Hit the road with humility and openness. Everybody’s looking for something.

New experiment

For the summer: Focus only on artistic and social justice related projects that I would want to post about on patreon or my mailing list. 

Tired of social media. 

Shutting down this mailing list!

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with my meanderings via this blog list. I don’t use this blog for public posts much anymore, so I am shutting this portion of my list down. I will continue to send mails when I update the neevita.net main site. Please join my Patreon to keep up with personal and behind-the-scenes posts in the future, at http://patreon.com/courtnee

Take care of you,

Courtnee Fallon Rex

Traveler, and Doer of Things

Revisiting The Rape Song

I’m tired of pretending what you did wasn’t rape
I’m tired of making creepy shit be ok
With me
So I’m writing this song
Calling you out
I’m calling you out
I’ve been hoping too long
You’d get some help
Some psychological help
Cause fucking me while I was so drunk I couldn’t stand up
Negotiate no condom on a boundary I’d held steadfast for a year
That’s rape
Push your way inside of me I’m so dry disinterested
I’m curled in a fetal pose I’m glassy eyed and silent
That’s rape
Yeah, that’s rape
OH! Finger me while I’m asleep but never even asking
If it was ok with me
Well honey, there’s a word for that.
It’s rape.
Fuckin’ rape.
See it took me far too long to figure this out
Been so full of doubts
How we’re playing, it’s fucked up
And I’m calling you out
Calling you out.
So just in case you’re not pickin up what I’m puttin down I’m done with all you Rapey McRaperson rapers who rape
Nah. It’s not a date.
Yech.
No thanks
I wont pussyfoot around it I’m angry and fed up with softening my language around this shit fuck it it’s rape
The veil is raised
What I’m saying is I’m done helping you out
By keeping my mouth
Shut (Full)
Don’t believe me? look it up for yourself
Look it up for yourself
(Wow they actually wrote that down somewhere?) YEAH!
RCW
9a
.44
.050
Never. Again.

I wrote that song over three years ago, but I never, really, called him out. The glassy-eyed and fingering verses are references to periodic experiences I’ve had with many sexual partners in my life – starting with this one. The song, though motivated by certain incident, is not solely about him.

I said his common first name a few times #onhere, where I know virtually no one follows anymore. This blog, that isn’t indexed by search engines anymore, that I link to a handful of times a year, usually from my Patreon of 50 supporters, most of whom I’m pretty sure don’t actually read my posts. That was me ‘calling’ him out.

I am tired of protecting his identity and beating around the bush when I talk about the shit he pulled on me and how that effcted my life. I am tired of being what I claim to abhor; someone who protects predators in the sex positive community.

I am tired of carrying it in my guts, with me, I am tired of concerning myself with backlash by calling him out; because he is nice and charming, because he is a lawyer, because he didn’t come to my office that night maliciously intending to rape me, because I sucked it up and performed a house show for y’all with him days later, because I refused to focus my energy on reporting or prosecuting him rather than focusing on healing my own damn self.

I also didn’t trust the community to listen to me after Clayton Hibbert, who I experienced as being a selfish, vindictive, predatory, abusive, manipulating, intentionally deceitful, cheating, gaslighting, malicious, horrible excuse for a human being; Way worse than the guy I wrote this song about, frankly, and a lot more dangerous, too. But communities don’t really care all that much about that, and cared even less in 2007 when that shit happened.

But I am tired of refraining because what David did wasn’t as bad, as prolonged, as devastating as what other people have done. I am tired of avoiding validating any other women who experience similar with him because of the pain I still feel from people who were supposed to, I thought, stick the fuck up for me and didn’t.

I am tired of believing the apologist bullshit other people fucking said to me in order for them to avoid facing and dealing with what the fuck he did.

I am tired of being cagey out of fear that shitty things I’ve done in previous relationships will surface in retort; Which is fucking ridiculous, because one of the most challenging steps I took in my recovery included writing a god damn screed about it that’s been read tens of thousands of times. https://medium.com/@courtnee/i-dont-like-being-raped-4fcd0320dd5d#.fwpmkndt0

I am tired of holding this, insulting my own soul, and being a fucking coward. It’s high time I walked my talk of no longer viewing to rape victims as mothers and daughters and honestly calling out the men who have raped us as fathers and sons. And friends.

As of 2014, David Cohen was a serial boundary pusher toward me who eventually crossed over to date rapist. We had many conversations about his unsettling behavior over the years we dated, in which the pattern was his enthusiastic appreciation for the feedback, because he didn’t want to ‘be that guy’, gobbling up advice on alternative actions to take to replace the hurtful ones, and then going back to the same fucking thing again.

In addition to that seemingly well-meaning density, he confided in coercing an unsure women into having sex with him at an out of state blues dance convention (and questioned after the fact if she might have been a virgin because the sex sucked) and it literally made my skin crawl. There were other stories he shared that caused me discomfort, but that’s the one I really, truly remember, because it was toward the end of my relationship.

After he raped me without a condom while I was in hysterical emotional crisis, shitfaced stumbling drunk and suddenly saying I didn’t care about protection, he proceeded to make each of the few conversations we had about the incident thereafter a coredump about how awful he felt. This included the conversation in which he violated me again by contacting me after I’d told him not to, in order to tell me, for the third time, how badly he wanted to stay friends (we dont even have to keep having sex!) and how important it was, to him, to be a trusted fixture of my recovery… from him.

Oh, and I found out only after he’d raped me, that he’d stopped using protection with another partner months before. Cherry on top!

When I caught up with one of his friends months later, whom he had lived with for a notable amount of time, their reaction to the news when they asked me about him was a nod and a comment about having observed his ‘selfishness’ in that area (in-fucking-furiating). I, thusly, know at least some of y’all close to him have seen it.

Perhaps a year later, David was claiming to just not understand what he did to upset me, or why I won’t have anything the fuck to do with him now, to a mutual friend he was attempting to have sex with. She mentioned to me then that he still seemed upset and confused about me cutting him off.

How the fuck that man could possibly tell anyone he did not know? I left my primary partner over their tone policing of my angry, pointed, bitingly truthful, scathing fucking explanation of what an underhanded fucking asshole I thought he had been, how fucking infuriated I was at him contacting me. I emailed him a final email explaining why he would never hear from me again. I removed him from the show I was producing and avoided and ignored him when he showed up to that festival anyway like a selfish fucking weasel. He had been apologizing profusely and centering the living shit out of how bad he felt about what he’d done, but then he was playing the dumb butthurt victim while trying to get into my friends pants?

That is a simply fucking inexcusable and a flat out predatory Sanford frat boy rapist-level fucking lie. Surprise! Guess who went to Stanford?

This was my experience with someone who has been historically active in Seattle’s sex positive and social dance communities, and who in my both personal and professional option did not show promise of improving these harmful and unacceptable behaviors while we were still in contact.

David is intelligent, well liked, generous, well known, teaches dance. Regardless of those qualities we all appreciate about him, these are the memories that linger for me from that relationship. It was impressively traumatizing, subversive, and difficult to pin down or call out, even while I intuited that he was doing this shit with other people by the stories he would tell me.

If you have a feeling about him being dangerous for you now, it might be because David Cohen is a rapist. I encourage you, to heed it.

Meet the woke misogynists. Surprise! They’re pretty much everywhere.

This is my lived reality.

With former boyfriends, with former peers in the supposed sex positive/healing communities, with men in the intersectional feminist movement, with lauded teachers and self proclaimed sex healers; Every single fucking feminist woman I know who tries to date men and talks with me about it has been traumatized by this ‘Bob’ creep just like I have. Over and over and over again both personally and witnessing it go down with others.

We are constantly seeing vulnerable communities tolerating foxes in the henhouse who are ‘trying’ to learn how not to hunt and slaughter the god damn chickens, often with the added intensity of witnessing these men rise to leadership and power positions over the people they systemically oppress while invalidating our own signals of danger, like we’ve been fucking trained to do, and it’s utterly crazymaking. We observe this while denying to ourselves it’s happening until we find out about someone geting really hurt, and it’s destructive to ourselves and one another.

We are counting days between learning that one more fucking high profile feminist guy we let ourselves believe was doing it right is actually serially abusive or a flat out sexual predator. We allow the truth to break only once one of us is brave enough to scream loud enough about it to give the rest permission to speak, and frankly, it’s devastating. 

Additionally, these dudes are naturally padded by coward rape apologist niceguy’s who take their sides and feel sorry for them having to face the fucking music, by women still struggling with internalized misogyny and the social conditioning to leverage their understanding of this shit to cape for/protect/try to teach their abusers and predators not to be abusers and predators (guilty!).

In fact, I can count on less than half of one of my hands how many people over the last THREE FUCKING YEARS of my periodically talking openly and publicly about the person who raped me in 2014, how many people have asked me to tell me who he is. For a long time, I thought it was because everyone knew. But over the years it’s trickled out that people don’t know. They don’t know, and they don’t ask, because they don’t want to fucking know.

Abusers, by the very nature of our fucking society, are shielded by their powerful allies, and the snowed communities of followers of which they hold power or interest over. They invariably leverage that power to maintain that stasis they seek to maintain, despite being disgraced, at the expense of the people in those same communities who are betrayed, violated, and hurt by the shit they’ve chosen to do. 

So, so often, they double down. They make excuses. They go silent, disappear, and hide like fucking cockroaches when the lights come on. They refuse to resign their positions as presiders over people who are systemically vulnerable to their flavor of abuse. They gesture as though they are stepping to the plate, but don’t. And in alternative communities like feminist communities, kink communities, hacking communities, queer communities — where already marginalized people seek out solice — we seem to be even more apt to automatically fucking protect the living shit out of them until it is far, far too late.

At one time I fantasized of dating that mythical, truly dedicated openly feminist man who was into fighting for my humanity as much as I am. I really wanted to believe we as a collective were ready for that to actually exist. And I was still very attached to the possibility of finding a mate to grow with indefinitely.

But you don’t domesticate the fox by just letting them hang out with hens a bunch with a fucking bowl of kibble tucked in the corner. Now, I have adopted a zero-tolerance for supposed ‘consent accidents’ in the rare instance I find myself willing to even consider fucking any of these lingo-slinging space-taking dudes, who I generally won’t even give the time of fucking day to after the camel-breaking shitshow straw that was Charlie Glickman’s public “apology” to his ex, and how disgusted and manipulated I felt by having ever ended up a part of that.

Because while restorative justice models exist and are gaining momentum, I have yet to personally see a feminist man who has violated women in his community truly commit to and complete that process. Because, frankly, they don’t fucking have to.

Now, I only remotely entertain the posibility of trusting ‘feminist’ men who make their own space feminist, religiously credit the women they are learning from, and fight the fight within their communities of OTHER MEN in their feminist activism rather than buddying up with their female teachers and their circle of women activists.

Protip: if a man says he’s feminist, but mostly only hangs/talks shop with feminist women, and you don’t see him out there being the change in front of other men, he’s at best a cowardass crap ally in it for cookies and free education/emotional labor (that the women near him will both supply AND pay for), and at worst is a rapey gaslighting predator fuck who will then use the knowledge he’s gleaned to weasel out of being accountable to the same community that has invested pricelessly in his growth and resulting status. 

You are NOT WRONG to mistrust these guys, or to be angry as fuck that you have to. 

You DO NOT have to be polite, tolerant, or accepting of men in your community who give you the fucking creeps, violate your consent, rape you, abuse you, gaslight you, even if they are ‘nice’, and even if they tell you what you’re seeing isn’t true.

People who truly want to learn to dismantle their oppressive behaviors in order to take their fucking boot off your neck will find a way to do it without your having to further sacrifice yourself for it. They will find a way to do it without demanding that you be nice about it or prioritize their fucking feelings. They will find a way to do it without leveraging the social capital the have over you — be it money, or being straight, or white, or male, or being socially entitled for centuries to your validation and obedience — and when they fuck up they will fucking own it, air it, apologize like a fucking grown up and move the fuck on.

You don’t owe people who don’t have the skills to respect you, who are clearly struggling to see you as an actualized fucking person worthy of the breath meant to pass through your own neck, a god. Damn. Thing.

To go gently

Isn’t it kinda weird that crowdfunding sites, where people literally ask widely for money to deal with a dead friend or try to pay for their medical care, are for-profit companies? 

That just seems weird to me. 

.

It occured to me today that one of the reasons I despise the idea of volunteering my vessel to grow a parasite cloan of myself spliced with someone else (who is twisted enough for me to wanna fuck, which in and of itself is kinda like, dude… come on. Like, I don’t gotta be the stupid white person in a horror flick to know how that’s liable to turn out), is that all of us don’t have to go through the dealing with the eggs for 40 years shit. That is some fucking bullshit man. Insulting.

I am surfacing again. That clif my life seems like it’s charging toward, the dropoff in April where I stop knowing why I exist — it’s blank to make room. It’s blank to make room, and the abyss is scary as fuck. Holy shit have I been really wanting to die y’all. 

I rehearsed a primal growly cover you haven’t heard me perform yet — while sitting on the toilet taking a dump — and; I am coming the fuck back to the gulf coast, bitches. And it is going to be fucking real. It is gonna be so fucking real I need a black hole of nothingness afterwards to sop up whatever juice is left over. Nola. The ocean. So much music. Gonna go the fuck out there and change some notherfucking worlds, is what I am gonna do. 

The rollercoaster is a battlefield right now. There is so much going on in my head. Thinking so hard it hurts. Wound so tight because if I wasn’t we would all unravel. Puzzle pieces clamping down for this next configuration thrown into the hellfire of constant motion. My pussy smells amazing and I feel so fucking alone. 

No rest for the wicked. 

Fuckin artists.

Hello again

A deep 4+ day depression has started to move and things are settling back into place. The level at which I am able to unconsciously dissociate from my value in life, and how fucking real that blindness feels, is really staggaring. It’s debilitating to go through, and it’s awe-inducing to look back on from the clearing, flooded with flight and exhaustion. 

How can I not see it? It’s been my keystone for over 20 years, how do I watch myself dismantle my social media accounts and dive into intense software projects to rewrite my personas and not know I am rupturing again? 

How do I go dark and batton down and withdraw from proven avenues, while simultaneously spending virtually all the limited energy I have struggling to remanufacture communication platforms that feel authentic and NOT REALIZE I HAVE LOST MY FUCKING MIND AGAIN? 

I was convinced for days that I needed to kill myself after the tour, start planning how to make it graceful like for y’all, and look like an accident. I just could not imagine any utility in existing any longer than my immediate commitments, which only extend to April. It just made sense. 

I stayed laying in bed for hours, not letting it move, not crying any of it out for some reason.

It’s so fucking ingrained in me to hold it in. 

Catalyzing it out via inevitably-codependent human is worse, but being intimately alone like I am is fucking risky. By stepping off the escalators and refusing to get on again there is no one in my life who would know how to come for me, or even know if I was in real trouble. There hasn’t been anyone like that for a long time, even longer than it’s been since I just stopped trying to cultivate it. 

Is it because I need it to be like this to live with myself? Live with the impacts of what it is to be you and to know me? Is it because I need it to be this god damn fucking hard?

Is this really the best I have ever been?

I don’t often feel of this world (I expect I am before my time really), but often it’s only when I recognize I’m spending most of my waking hours staring off into space while holding back a wall of tears that I even begin to grok that a bigger process has been trying to happen, stinging behind my face for days as I launched myself deeper and deeper into a computer. 

The flavor has aged, the frequency less, yet I feel no matter how long I deal with being this way I will still discover myself blindsided by my own cleverness. The deceptive methods I, and others like me, use to perform as functional, if not eccentric depressives for you, are methods that I also use on myself. 

That’s what makes it so convincing. And that’s also what makes it hurt. 

Perhaps this really is just how I am. 

How I am hurts. 

Fight

As I sit here speed dialing the fucking government as a last ditch harm reduction and pressure tactic I am thinking a lot about how much our methods for protecting and advocating for the vulnerable are going to have to change. And I am thinking of how long that’s actually been the case.

I will not ‘wait and see’.

I will not ‘give him a chance to lead’.

I will not fall in line with this latest example of our normalized fucking insanity, or the compulsion to pretend what is about to happen isn’t what is happening.

Make art that feels fucking scary.

Make time and space for your people.

Brush up on CPR, first aid, de-escalation, self defense — then use those skills to help others.

Revisit basic survival techniques, and things like how to change a tire — then use those skills to help others.

Fund immigration, LBGT, health care, and anti-racist orgs.

Utilize encrypted, decentralized communication methods.

Pay attention to POC organizers and activists. Contribute, and follow their lead.

Protest.

Ignore the attacker; be present with the victim. Most times, this will be enough. Be prepared, for the times it may not be.

Divest from relying on the militarized police state to help you or keep you safe.

Rest. Whenever. You can. Be creative; Snatched moments are better than nothing.

Google alert your local representatives, and CALL THEM to hold them accountable.

Do the inner work you need to do to support yourself through the discomfort and fear. Prioritize this highly. Have your own back.

I fight with my pen, my phone calls, my local political involvement.
I fight in the street with my fist in the air and tending to wounded.
I fight with my freely given cigarettes and my freely given skills and my freely given knowledge.
I fight by taking care of myself.
I fight with my solidarity and my travels and my artistry and by putting my future and my body on the line to resist this impending holocaust.

If you can’t stomach doing all that yourself, THAT IS OK; support the living fuck out of those of us who can.

There is a lot of judgement floating around regarding how best to show up for this time in history. Fact is: We need our quiet ones (not to be confused with silent), too. We need our funders and our snitches and our safehouses and our people who remain under the radar.

Bottom line: this shit is here, now, and a goal without a plan is just a wish. Resist the confusion. Resist the ‘I wish I knew’ and ‘I wish I could’ or ‘I wish I were brave like ____’. You belong here, now, in fucking reality.

We need you. Sharpen what you have, and fucking use it.

Thanks for giving: a shit. 

Third rockin’ass orgasm of the day. Enjoying the hell out of my solo day-long water fast. Fuck your oppressive shitass holidays. — https://instagram.com/p/BNNjpf5hffd/

Water fasting as of midnight last night. Had no idea when I decided to do this a year ago, take the next step in personally divesting from the lies and the cognitive dissonance, how apropos it would be as I closely follow Standing Rock.

This is the thing about trying to figure out how to meld my art with activism. I fasted today as a self care and development experience because I believe we must decolonize ourselves, and that includes, perhaps most importantly, the means and motivations for our connecting with each other. So we can stop passing up connecting with real friends to complain about being “alone”.

I could have made it into art, I could have organized people who wanted to do it together and bare witness in a collective. We could have decided to have made it disruptive and done it in the street, or in a plaza, or quietly somewhere for the groups healing and told our actual friends about it. Part of the reason I didn’t do any of those things, is because I didn’t realize this was art until now.

Art is how I sneak up on myself. It’s how I tell me my own story, and I warn myself of things, and the fucking CURSE of it (and also what makes it work?) is that most of the time I can’t see it until I’ve experienced my own fucking art! It’s like Westworld, I look at the poem or I sketch the choreography or I sew my own mouth shut in watercolor and I go ‘meh. doesn’t look like anything to me’. Until one day it does look like something, and I laugh at myself for not seeing it then.

Developing ourselves is art.

The world needs more art.

Make more art.

Reprogram thyself

In my view, which has been informed greatly over the last two years by activists of color, there is little actual difference between a person who holds oppressive ideals, and a person who simply ignores and aligns with oppressive ideals because they care about some other benefit more. In terms of impact and the policies, silent social contracts, and decisions we make as a society, there is no difference between the two other than the level of attention and reaction they garner.

I think the establishment lost because the establishment has so blatantly proven that it is, finally, finally finally, no longer a viable option for most people. The other side of that coin, is that half of us didn’t participate in the charade at all. Until 20 minutes before the polls closed, I was proudly going to be one of those people — and had I not chosen in the final hour to vote for Hillary as a means of harm reduction, I would still have been proud to divest.

While we mobilize to protect and resist against the wave of bigoted celebration from the known hatemongers in this country, who pose a very real and dire, life-and-death threat to so many people here, remember that social media is still media.

Remember that we know the people who believe in Trump are squeezed, poorly educated, hungry, and afraid. They have been burned. They want their country back, and they’ve been trained, even by a Black President — with his drone policies, continuation of the war on terror, his respectability politics and infantalizing of Black Lives Matter, his commitment to upholding a white supremacist heteropatriachy while tossing out scraps from the table, — to believe that the America they want back was taken from them by those of us with the least systemic power.

I read not long ago in my psychological geeking, that it is the false presumptions that we place effort into coming to on our own that are the hardest to peel away and replace with a more complete view. We will defend them, personalize them, blame others, distract ourselves, become confused, emotionally fall apart, when faced with information that challenges our hard-won beliefs.

If we are simply told something, and accept it as true, it is much easier for us to respond correctly to being confronted with clarifying information that invalidates that position. However, if we infer a notion, connect the dots ourselves, then our identity, intelligence, and cognitive validity come into play, and the resistance we feel to being wrong is much stronger. Especially when those beliefs center around our goodness and worth of ourselves and our alliances.

This is part of the reason why classism, sexism, racism, transphobia, are such stubborn and difficult viewpoints to break open. They are confirmed and validated subconsciously, all around us, in every moment of every day. Including in the righteous wave of indignation and shock that has spread since the election, and the scary stories of isolated hate crimes that have occurred since the veil was so unflinchingly raised when Trump won.

I am certainly not saying that there is not every reason to be paying attention, to be sharpening our skills, to be planning and organizing and ready for another escalation of a very, very long fight. And I am definitely not saying that to feel, to be numb, to recognize our collective despair, is in any way the wrong thing to do or to be. We all have our own valid experience of this mess.

What I -am- saying: Also pay attention, to what you are being told to pay attention to.