Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Borderline

Friday, January 5th, 2018



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.

#hotline

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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

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Friday, August 18th, 2017

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.

#triggerwarning #mentalhealth

Monday, June 19th, 2017

#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.

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

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.

Revisiting The Rape Song

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

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.

Thanks for giving: a shit. 

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

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.

I think.

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

If love is wishing for others what you would wish for yourself, if it is protecting others how you would protect yourself, then love is what I am likely to give in most of my moments, and what I have regarded most with in the past.

If do unto others is the basis of love, then the idea of love being any particular quality — that it is only kindness and light, that it is forgiveness, that it is acceptence, that its bones could be universally recognized in behavior observed from outside me — cannot be held authentically in that same space as autonomy.

There was arguably little humanity in how I learned to view my self, my needs, my emotional body. But there is NO fucking humanity in ‘elevated’ New Cage love.

Even Gandhi was a rape apologist and a misogynist.

Stop telling people they can only ever love others once they ‘learn’ to ‘love’ themselves.

Stop disconnecting further by perpetuating the bullshit myth that loving others is possible only once you don’t have any more personal issues with yourself.

I am love.
For better and for worse.

I am love.

Fuck you.


I need my teeth cleaned, a physical, to figure out why it seems I’m always cramping, see what I’ve got for birth control options after this IUD expires.. which might be why the cramping.

Hell, I need a massage, and more safe enjoyable cuddles, too. And I need to relax. I’m so tired all the time.

This place (Seattle/Home) has a tendency to suck me up. I got back here in May for the purpose of healing up, and it is basically October and I’ve done none of the stuff I’d planned to do the minute I got here.

It took me almost 6 months of occasionally irrational, fearful procrastinating just to make an OB/GYN appointment which is now scheduled for the middle of November.

I’ve tried to relax in significant ways, two “vacation” trips so far, and each attempt has brought expressly traumatic experiences resulting in mental and emotional breakdowns, and unexpected labor/expense.

I’ve been doing other important things, and the work I am doing now is expressly healing without me being as a professional healer. My experiences in between these mess vacations has been pretty fucking good.

But hanging out in the dirt cleaning up our human mess with good people isn’t enough. I am hoping my subconscious has been setting me up for a good nest, because that’s all I can figure has been going in this last season, with how much resistance and distraction I’ve had from going in and looking at the state of my shit.

Do you know why you enter into relationships?

Over the last year, I’ve found that my explosion into my deepened relationship with social justice marked another wall I have built up around myself. In isolation I once again have become to me a person of such deplorable character that I do not deserve the care I require to function.

Doing unpaid, emotionally intensive social justice work, which has involved a lot of painful personal dismantling and centering of others, has significantly contributed to my current state of being.

And I think I did it, to myself, on purpose. Because I’ve done so much work resurrecting things from my subconscious, apparently I have this idea that I have some sort of control over it, or something. As though having the tenacity to do that to myself again and again illustrates the instinct and the muse that drive me being fully fledged in this dimension.

But I’m pretty sure I’m still a ghost puppet and that’s not how things actually work.

“Some people need to create a nightmare far worse than the one they came from before they will go back and heal their early wounds. We see this in trauma survivors all the time. They pile hell upon hell, until they have only two choices – die, or heal the wounds they are fleeing.

I used to find this confusing, but I no longer do. Sometimes the first hell was so bloody bad that it takes a far worse hell to uncover it. Bows to those who choose to heal their hells, after so many years on the run. Bows to those trauma survivors who give reality a try before they have any evidence that it will serve them. If that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.” —Jeff Brown

I wrote at some point perhaps a year or two ago, during Year of the Nee I think, recognizing that I’d begun embracing the work I’d been working to do in my romantic relationships on a world scale.

At the time I still identified as a healer and was in private practice, I was still on what seemed to be the front lines of hashtag activism, and it was still serving to open eyes and create dialogue among my circle. My friends were coming with me where my lovers had failed to walk, and I set out to built a new model for what my relationships looked like.

I’d also recognized somewhere around that same time, that while I do not identify as them, the diagnoses I’ve collected over the years served to assist in addressing behavioral symptoms. But it wasn’t until I entered into PTSD therapy after walking myself into a crisis center that I really began to understand the underlying cause that those diagnosis didn’t seem to be touching quite right.

Those days of blossoms of Social Justice Me from buds of Social Critic Me are pretty long gone, though. More and more I am shown and reminded that my work there is done and that flower has wilted, decayed, and died (happy fall btw). The conversation I was challenging people around me to engage with is happening now, and there are so many activists out there who are more skilled, effective, knowledgable, and deserving of platform than I am.

And yet, I still go to that place to preach and hide, to dwindling response. We are all tired of that, believe me. I don’t want to fucking yell about shit any more. I want to make art, and I want to create public protest performaces, and I want to make music and sell paintings and maybe some day get into a relationship again with someone I want to fuck.

I want all those things and yet my social media presence has turned into the adult version of phuqed.org. It is too often my new version of skinless, toolless, teen angst me pointing and complaining about the state of the world without actually doing what needs to be done for myself.

“Even though I know better, even though I can sometimes see it when it happens elsewhere (IE, Jian Ghomeshi getting the drop on the narrative first), even though I have been shown over, and over, and over, and over again that I can’t trust the narrator, my first instinct is to protect the person being held accountable for their abuse. To spend my emotional labor helping them save face, rather than protect myself by staying the fuck out of it.
This has shown up over and over again in my life. So often I can even name abuse, see it happening, see them doing it TO ME, and I walk right into it, thinking my familiarity with it makes me impervious. Makes me smarter than they are.

It’s true that the level of abuse I’ve suffered in my life has made me incredibly sensitive to the presence of emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and subversive power plays. It is true that I am well versed in these areas myself and I’ve used the tactics both unconsciously and consciously in my life and in my relationships. Knowing that about myself is how I rationalize WHY my first instinct is to put my boots on, go in there, and ultimately, protect abusers.

I say to myself that this is a chance to use my skills to say “l see what you did there”, to hold them accountable, and to get involved in the movement to stop this fucking shit from being what’s normal in our society. And then I DON’T DO THAT. My sensitivity is there, but my sensitivity is often like a rolling compass. My brain works, and it works well, but it does not work when the person who is abusing is someone I view as being in a position of greater social capital than me.

I choke. I get freaked out. I go into compliance. I protect their feelings. I talk myself out of saying things I need to say because they are harsh, because they reflect things I’ve done, because I’m ashamed of having done those things myself.

I give myself credit for having critical thought I don’t have access to in these situations. The work I’ve done has not made me the person I thought it made me. Sometimes I can behave like that person. When I see someone as being on a level playing field as me, I can be that person. But that’s rare. It’s a lot more rare than I’ve let on.

It is true that part of the reason I don’t have better access to this skill I sometimes have is because I have been conditioned and oppressed my entire life, and part of that is having been told that I cannot trust my instincts. It is true that I have patently been victimized by this cultural reality.

It is also true that I do not have access to this critical thought because I am still using these tactics myself. I am still controlling the narrative and running from being accountable for the things I’ve done in my life. I am still using toxic masculinity to protect myself and garner power.

This has become more and more clear in the last year as I’ve stepped into my nonbinary gender identity. When I did that, all of a sudden the sexist femm degrading slurs started creeping back, like a fucking tick. I’ve imagined it feeling like tourettes, though I have no actual frame of reference to assume that. I only know that when I am angry, stressed, or triggered, I feel like I HAVE to say them, like I will fucking explode inside if I don’t say them.
The anger started coming back more often, too, and the association with my masculinity being violence and guns and militant appearances resurfaced.

I am a person who was forged in a way that I have to get ok with the expectation that I will always have to be managing this shit. I am an abuser who was raised breathing and eating and drinking abuse. While I have experienced times in my life when this was not as apparent as other times, this is something that I’ve never fully accepted and embraced about myself.

I am learning that I don’t have the luxury of being the idealist I’ve been trying to be. I expect I can’t be living on a shoe string, floating around in a van, alone, without emotional or intimate support, resources, or even a therapist, and live to the level of integrity that I need to live by in order to be ok with myself and who I show up as.

I’ve tried to name what I’ve been noticing about my personality shifting and recognizing that I’m experiencing setbacks. Many long posts written and deleted, acknowledging that I’ve been slipping. I haven’t really known how to approach it and all of the posts have felt like I’ve been making some kind of announcement as a perceived social justice leader, like ‘here I am, being an example’ and that just didn’t fucking sit right. It felt good, but it didn’t sit right.

I have to find a way to do better.”

I’ve noticed that while my mental diagnosis’s over the years (Bipolar disorder, Attachment disorder, CPTSD, Depression, Anxiety Disorder) have not painted the entire picture, incrementally addressing their symptoms has brought me into better alignment with myself, relieved some of the burdens of keeping myself alive, and given me insight into the deeper and more complex elements at work in my psyche.

In my seeking, I’ve been wanting to move into some sort of somatic therapy, ultimately in an effort to reacquaint myself with my sexuality and safe touch. I am tired of being isolated and touch starved. I want to learn how to allow touch and sex and tenderness and cuddling back into my life in an authentic, whole hearted way.

“I still believe if I go back far enough, if I heal hard enough, if I dig deep enough, I will come to the place in my life that I can remember being.. Not this. The time in my first tiny memories before it all started showing. Before the behavior problems happened. Before people started shunning me because I was violent and reactive and weird, or embracing me because I was a 6 year old adult. Before the suicidal/I wish I was never born thoughts. Before I started running.

I was tiny and there are so few of those memories, but I have them. I’ve believed in them like most people believe in things they hold dear enough to ignore facts: like the one that tells us that memories are unreliable as shit.
But even if I give myself the benefit of mine being accurate, these tiny faded senses of what I was Before, they don’t matter. I can never dig myself back there. What was installed after them was firmware that I can’t roll back, can’t even dig through.

Who I fundamentally am includes a dozen versions later than where I have been trying to go.

I will never have the peace I’ve been searching for.”

Black and White Image: Foggy ocean horizon

Liminality

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold”[2] between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

Experiencing this In Between, where I still notice and attract familiar interlocking wounds with people, but recognize my instincts and veer away before I’ve done the sort of damage I’ve identified with relationships, has been very, very educational. And frankly: Rewarding, in that awful way of people like me who are always moving.

“I understand it now. I know what the compulsive development drive is. I know when I will feel satisfied with who I am as a person.

I am working now to become someone with the resilience and the knowledge and the discipline and the alignment and the tools to stand accountable for the atrocities I committed while being a fucking insecure terror for most of my life.

I want to be able to see anyone from my past at any time and know in my gut of guts that I will survive whatever I have coming to me, and I will hold presence with it in a way that will not cause me more harm, and if it does, not in a way that will ripple out to others.

I don’t know if this is any more reasonable a goal as digging out my psyche to once again experience the perception of my lost innocence but there it is all the same.”

Thus far, I’ve engaged in therapeutic efforts to address all of the diagnosis’s I’ve been given, except one: Borderline Personality Disorder. The impact of accepting this diagnosis as reflective of my personality is devastating to my self image. I’ve done just about every fucking mental gymnastic I’ve been able to do in order to avoid addressing it.

The stigma associated with people who have BPD (a ‘womans’ mental health issue, too, btw, diagnosed 3x more often in women than men) is suffocating. It’s like fucking hysteria was in 1900. Like Sociopathy and Psychopathy, both of which Social Justice Me has been desperately trying to dismantle my prejudice about and stop using as pejorative insults, people labeled with BPD are often viewed as lost causes to be emotionally abandoned by anyone with their head screwed on straight. They are seen as self serving emotional vampires with no hope of being anything else. I don’t see positive comments on the internet about people who have Borderline Personality. From the looks of it even their friends talk shit.

Are my friends talking shit?

I have struggled intensely with the ableism I embody toward mental illnesses such as these. I am afraid of what’s ‘wrong’ with me.

I cannot show up as the person I want to be until I address myself. And I am tired of trying to be someone I am not yet, or the someone I was before and can never be again, while setting myself up to externalize what needs to be my inner work.

I cannot continue failing in this.

I will not continue to make my suffering and profound feeling of hopeless disconnection an integral part of addressing my privilege in society. I release that coping strategy as the waste product it is and look forward to the fertilizer I’m gonna have a year from now when I’ve long forgotten what I wrote here.

I will not continue to abandon myself in response to seeing how our culture has abandoned others. To do so will continue to create an atmosphere where I feel martyred, unseen, and unsupported in the communities I interact with. It is up to me to find my place in relation to those communities, not make one for myself within them.

I will not continue to ignore my warning signs and put off constructing my life around taking fucking care of my mental health. I see that life is pushing me in that direction, anyway, even as I try to resist the change.

So, I am back on the blog. Back on the therapy and accountability track, finally doing what I came back to Seattle, limping and licking wounds, to do.

Right on schedule, I guess, when you think about what my falls and winters are generally like. But I think this metamorphosis will be a big one. I think that perhaps if I am successful, it will be so successful that one might not recognized it’s happened at all.

I am ready.
… I think.

Fuck I am tired.

Serendipitous gifts

Friday, August 5th, 2016

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
James Baldwin

Just now, I texted everyone I have a current iMessage conversation with “Thank you for being human with me”. It is because I associate those people with the ones I maintain the closest friendships to because we share our phones messaging app between devices.

This is, invariably, a false equivalency, though it became more balanced when I changed my phone number and worked through (am still working through) who to tell.

The truth is there are many filters that would leave deserving people out of the loop about this mass, and yet personal, messaging spree I just went on, but what alarms me is to discover that the selection process is not as intentional as I’d like to think it is.

It’s not even a selection, really. It’s laziness, lack of awareness, automation, which causes me to turn to iMessage. The fucking automation. The fucking machine that plugs my supposed need for that kind of connectivity and false belonging to sell me unethical products that are not meant to last.

Look. There are people I will never talk to again who deserve to hear me say “Thank you for being human with me”. Every single person I’ve ever met deserves this recognition. And I deserve that recognition from all of you. And I think it’s fair to say that it seems pretty universal that we have all been unconsciously programmed not to acknowledge one another in this way, but to pretend that we do. Like the quotes in Embodied said on the walls of Fred Wildlife Refuge,

“I am the collective effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Apart from never being able to truly trust anyone, I wasn’t a hacker, or a bone fide hardware geek. I appreciated that stuff, but I was drawn to hackers because I was a *communicator*, and I could relate to hackers. I like being clever and sneaky and destroying shit as much as I like creating it.

For a long time, being a part of the hacker community — and later the little red studio, specifically, had me feeling very special. I felt popular, I could say whatever the fuck I wanted, I threw weird parties, and I had a community with which to be creative.

In both those instances I’d locked societal woundings with whole communities, and the learning was fertile and priceless. We were communicators who wanted to build our own god damn platforms, to cultivate relationships with our expression forms, and with technology, that mattered.

Well, as far as I can tell, most of us still want to do that. But where the fuck are we? What the fuck are we doing? We are on facebook, and google, and twitter, and none of us trust these fuckers with the soul we give to them.

How is it that we got to the point that your fucking words, your thoughts, your fucking anniversaries, your fears, your personality scores, your rants, your sorrows, your calls for justice AREN’T YOURS, AREN’T OWNED BY YOU, instead being fucking manipulated and distilled and romanticized for profit.

What the fuck.

My space. My fucking space.

That’s fucking better.

I have a deep desire to be in structured school, with a goal, challenges, variation, and letters after my name. So many of us do, I think; we crave knowledge, a safe space to explore not already knowing, guidance, and we crave our own continued understanding. We crave the idea of education that the educational system abandoned in order to survive civilization.

For people like us, right now the best we can be doing is learning by teaching what we know to our communities, but more importantly to each other, our fellow activists; especially those of us who recognize that without drinking water, without being able to be naked outside in the sun, without food, without air, without the ancient peat bogs and rainforests holding so much carbon for us, we are fucking lost. Those of us waiting for the cleansing fire. The birth to the destruction to the birth.

It’s people like us that need to be learning from people like us who are focused on different parts of The Thing.

Start hosting workshops to teach the shit you know. Start risking your ego to make a difference, to open yourself up to learning by empowering others. Make that shit happen, and do it with fucking integrity. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make money off the backs of those society deems yours. Admit you don’t know it all. Explore. Let them come to you, and when they do; Teach.

Teach.

Y’all want fucking revolution? Then let’s use our fucking skills to prove it, and create one.

One day at a time, one habit at a time, ween yourself and take responsibility for your own shit.

Stop fucking leaning on the systems you recognize are corroding your fucking soul.

Learn what it is to nurture and toil the food you eat before you eat it. Learn what it means to be have less stuff. Explore options of supporting yourself that don’t rely solely on the internet, or invisible slave labor. Invite a friend over to your house to chat. Share your mentors with the people you love. And ffs stop fucking maneuvering your most precious relationships via fucking text messages, ya fearfulass Previous Me insufferable text-dumping asshole.

I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, but when I really sit with what it feels like to give facebook and even instagram the product of my mind, I feel a gross sense of self betrayal inside. I’ve grappled with it a long time, but I think I’ve made good headway lately.

And I’m fucking watching you, Patreon. Every greedy fuckshit mistake you make by us, I’m holding your asses accountable and taking fucking notes. You have to earn the shit out of my trust. The shit out of it. Do better.

The Notebook

I am noticing one of the blockages I experience around my writing, is that I rarely write. I type. And that’s different.

I have also noticed that my organization of ideas is scattered as shit. Self sent text messages, voice memos, emails to myself, google spreadsheets, soundcloud, patreon, my blog, the notes app on my phone, and hardcopy notebooks — all house my fractions, experiments, and prose. Ideas for my current album, Cold Front, span all of these mediums. Even if I wanted to work on it, just going through my fucking notes is like looking into a shattered mirror.

While I excel during projects when I allow the process to be messy, and I do best while fragmented and having multiple, different projects in the fire at once, I recognize that I lose myself in obsessive tracking and procrastination when I do not start those projects from a place of organization, grounding and levity.

It is time to carry a notebook. Everywhere. And to utilize technology as a backup, a failsafe should something happen to it, rather than.. Whatever the fuck it is I have been doing. Amusingly, I was just gifted one by a new pal.

I made him sign it. Oh, the pressure I put upon y’all.

One of the people who passed through my life at one time is a very famous, beloved author. He understands the value of a hand written page. I am thinking about him as I make this commitment to myself, and my work, to intentionally try things just a little bit differently, now.

Besides. I know how the brain works, at least in regards to how it processes information in the context of expression methods. I learned this as a student at Brian Utting. Writing, with my hands, on paper, making marks, will download the essence of what I want to capture into a place that is very unlikely to be taken away from me, even if something happens to my notebook.

And when I was out in the woods, exhausted, overwhelmed, spread to the breaking point while literally holding up another human being, losing my own mind and breaking my own heart and remembering what really fucking matters; the safe, private notes I drew to myself kept me going.

Keep Going.

I trust me, and my mind, which god damn fucking WORKS, to level up about the kind of care, thought, and and attention that goes into my functioning effectively. Efficiently. Conservation, restoration, nutrients; they are not just for the world around me, and not just applicable in the literal senses I am learning these skills via.

I trust me to fucking take care of myself, even though I have spent, and will still spend, effort and time struggling, and making mistakes, in that department.

I am ready to take another step towards strengthening me, so I can hold what it means to be bigger. Braver. More. Less.

Funny, how significant, this dumb little shit can be.

I’m Courtnee Fallon Rex, and this is only barely scratching the surface of what kind of writer, activist, teacher, and human being I can be when I am fulfilled in my work, selective with my friends, appreciative of my fans, careful how I spend my energy (and why), have the means to support and nurture myself, bathe, farm and harvest my own food, am seen, and paid, and create and perform my music on my terms for fans who truly appreciate my. Fucking. Work.

So thank you, for being human with me. I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not alone in my frustrations, my desire to see more empowerment outside of the constrained, incompetent systems that are all we’ve ever been truly encouraged to know ourselves by. In every career path I’ve taken, I’ve been the one standing up and asking: Why? Why are we bowing? Why do we immediately attempt to contort under these strains, these fucking invented, arbitrary oppressions? When the fuck are we going to stand up?

We are. It’s just.. slow. And I am going to keep doing what I need to do, respecting the influences, the tides, and the sheer fucking magnitude that is the task of standing up. Over, and over, and over again.

I am angry, at society. Today, and to some degree, every day. Today I also accept the possibility that this will not change.

Returning home has been a long, steady, breakthrough; a return on previous investments. Level: up.

Next challenge: learning how to respect my opponents.

Ugh.

ANNIVERSARY: NAME DAY

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Every year, google calendar reminds me that June 27th is my Name Day.

Unlike my birthday, which is a passive obligation based in celebrating something I had very little to do with, my name day brings me a sense of pride and reverence for myself and the work I have done to actualize my own personhood and stand firmly within my own integrity.

Two years ago, early in my Year of the Nee, a year of celibacy, therapy, teetotaling and self focus, I became Courtnee Fallon Rex.

My drivers license picture is of me beaming from that day. My most vivid memories are of walking downtown after taking myself to the market, glowing, because something about me had broken open. Something that flourished and gasped gratefully in the raw, rushing air. A seed so sealed and protected, only the tire fire that was my life at the time could have set it free.

I won’t go so far as to say everything changed that day I simultaneously released myself and claimed my masculine royalty. That would be an offensively simplified version of the events that lead to and preceded that particular June 27th. But, I am able to think of very little of my life that has remained the same since.

Now, after that dense year I dedicated to only myself, Name Day is the lingering milestone. An appreciation for what has come, gone, been gained, and lost. I still think about the many casualties of that fire. I am grateful for their sacrifice as I continue to refine; into my Self, into my vision, into my senses, and into my appreciation for who I, so uniquely and messily and strangely and passionately, am.



** As I continue to fine-tune the edit I notice that this piece appears to be about my transformations over the last two years, specifically illustrating the experience of music as a catalyst for moving forward, while existing in a world which most of the time I clearly do not belong.

This weird little project was made possible by my supporters at http://patreon.com/courtnee

A Cart for Your Invisible Horse

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I started really chewing on class accessibility issues in my work about 6 months after I moved from the Medical Dental Building downtown, to the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square.

For those who don’t understand Seattle, that’s basically from the hoity toity business and shopping district to the historic bar crawl and stadium area where all the human resources, walk in clinics and homeless shelters are.

For a while, I was my typical entitled self that I was back then, avoiding the beggars on the street, feeling unsafe and deeply inconvenienced by their presence.

Over the course of the years I had my practice in that area, though, I transformed as a person. Some of y’all witnessed that, and know how profound it was.

The last two years I had Artful Touch, one of the biggest road blocks for me was that I wanted my work to be accessible to the types of people who were sleeping on benches in front of my office, not only the types of people who were supporting my businesses existence with their money.

I hadn’t found a way by the time I couldn’t afford, even with help from friends in terms of living situations, to stay in business in Seattle any longer (which, amusingly, coincided with the first year I finally grossed $20k, a long-time goal of mine).

And without my business, I couldn’t afford the office I’d been half living in already, so there went my last semblance of housing as well.

A year ago, almost to the day, was when I packed into the van I’d spent 1/2 of my savings on and left. I’ve spent the last year doing this:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=1Fz43w54SqRabmekWCnNyq4JRY0Y

Before that, I’d spent 6 months living in a friends backyard shed — which, frankly, turned out to be one of the best living situations I’ve ever had.

That year on the road has shown me what a fool I was. And I fear, that in most cases, people tend to remain foolish about this until it or something similar to it happens to them. It’s why it can be so easy to dismiss someone who is houseless for not behaving properly, for not having more than they do.

But I know better now. I know it is virtually impossible to function without shelter, without a place to bathe, without a way to shit. Not just function in terms of being capable and receptive to the type of exploration, trauma recovery and deep work I offered at AT, but just to fucking get the basics covered. Just to make a meal and clean up after yourself. Just to shit into the plastic bag without making a mess in your living room.

I learned this when, after being on the road 6 months or so, and not even actually hurting for industrialized comforts much via couch surfing and guest rooms and room and board via summer job, I understood how much my production rate would have to change now that I did not have a stable housing situation anymore.

I realized I couldn’t belt out the paintings and the albums and the performances like I had been able to in the past. That I needed a lot more sleep, I needed more down time that wasn’t sleep, and I had been too hard on myself for not producing as much or excelling as quickly as I wanted.

And this was BEFORE I started really living in that van, really experiencing what it was like to wake up with a start at 3 in the morning HAVING to shit and having nowhere to do it but hanging my ass out the side of my house and picking up my turd from the side walk. Experiencing the dichotomy of wanting to use sustainable methods of handling my period but having no running water. Having most of my entire world revolving around how to manage the blood when the days came. Sleeping in layers and layers of clothing and not being able to stand upright.

And this was while I HAD a place to retreat to, that was mine, and relatively safe, and warm when I wanted to put in the effort.

I am understanding another layer of this now that I am in a stationary room again for a while, and noticing how I am EXPLODING with patreon updates, the amount of energy I have now, how much less I stress about managing basic tasks, how much less time it takes to accomplish things when I don’t have to set up and tear down hunched over in a living space the size of a couch every time.

I was a fool, thinking that my desire to work with the homeless and addicted represented for me anything much more than the guilt I felt by participating in the offering of classist, privileged healing work.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can transcend a persons need for shelter and food in order to contribute to their development as people.

I get that the houseless don’t need massages or hugs or one of my cow chip cookies to thrive as human beings again. That’s the shit I needed to feel better about what I had that they did not.

It’s not just the social stigma the houseless face, the little cuts of every clumsy swishypants white girl that tries to see them as people but fails, that keep them from overcoming their traumatic circumstances. I mean, I knew that. But now I KNOW that.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can swoop in and create a magical illusionary container of safety for people who have none. Especially as someone who barely has that container for themselves. The houseless need fucking *houses*.

Now, I wonder more about what little thing I could start to do, about that.

Corners Turned

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

It’s too early to tell precisely. But I suspect I may have stumbled onto something I’d like to do for a while, which helps me to feel less powerless in the world, gets me outside, teaches me to grow food, teaches me about land preservation, restoration, and conservation, shows me how to effectively irrigate using reclaimed waste water, gives me ideas I can put into practice in my life right now as opposed to only if I had land of my own, directly helps to feed me, pays me, is helping me heal my scarred relationship with this city (and thus most cities), and does all these things and more in an inclusive educational environment spearheaded by smart, powerful, personable, women.

Whether this is my particular thing for a short while or a long while, I’m recognizing immediately within this experience that I am ready to let go of the stupid idea that the way I will make a difference is linked to my being isolated, insulated, cut off, angry, lonely, and largely disengaged with society.

I’m ready to let go of the idea that I need to sacrifice my own self and make myself fucking miserable reliving my traumas over and over again to express them for the benefit of others, being hungry and making myself poorer and staring at horror all day every fucking day to atone for the existence of capitalism, to atone for my previous place in the predatory self-satisfied tech industry, and for being white. For starters.

But most importantly, I am ready to let go of my simultaneously narrow yet long-game focus on social critique, which being immersed in had taught me and served me well but became toxic for me.

Reality dictates that without an aggressive shift in the appreciation, education and protection of wetlands and insects and amphibians and nutrients in soil (for starters) there won’t be any of us to oppress the other in the first place.

I’ve been feeling this.
I’ve been paralyzed by this.
I am not paralyzed by this any longer.

I am ready to enjoy and continue to further my appreciation of nature that I’ve developed over my first year itinerant, but to consider as I learn and re-cultivate my skills as a group leader how I might create a career around fucking doing something about what’s happening to it.

I am ready to not have to save the whole fucking world and every earth raping meatsack person in it on my own to feel like a viable, worthy human being. I am ready to no longer be tasking myself with reinventing the wheel of society in order to prove myself to be existing rightfully.

Fuck yes am I ready for that shit.

There is Nowhere

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Just south of Green River, Wyoming

One thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: There is nowhere.

There is nowhere to go. There is nowhere to outrun patriarchy. There is nowhere to outrun capitalism. Nowhere to feel safe. Nowhere to feel comfortable. It’s gone, along with my blissful ignorance. Anywhere I go will be touched by it, if not in any other way than by my being present there.

Another thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: It is damn near fucking impossible for a person to understand something when their survival depends on them not understanding it.

This is why reform of capitalism won’t work. This is why people don’t see how bad their relationships are until they leave. This is why you can’t dismantle a system which pays your salary. This is why making a difference “from the inside” is ultimately a bunch of tyrannical horseshit. This is why there can be good in people, but there are no “good” cops or judges or politicians.

Y’all tell yourselves what you need to in order to deal with it, tell yourselves you’re somehow starting a revolution by playing the same fucking game you’ve always played. You and I always will be fooling ourselves to some degree, as long as we’re inside the machine.

As long as I’m using money, as long as I smile and thank that server who is obviously treating me differently because I’m fuckable in their eyes, as long as I’m alive and interacting with this society, so too will I be telling myself that somehow my participation is warranted and benevolent and different than everyone else’s. That for some reason my reluctance, my anger, my squeezing myself dry to avoid as much as I can changes the impact of my acts of compliance.

I shopped at Walmart today because they have the cheapest price on motor oil, which my van burns like a chain smoking gangster.

I put gas in my house twice today, and twice yesterday, blazing across Wyoming to beat a looming snow storm.

I paid my taxes. On time. But only because I fear being hunted.

These are the choices I have made, the things I hold onto in order to survive turncoating on the tech industry, on rape culture, on romance supremacy, to resist couples privilege, being kept.

There is nowhere.

The only way actually out of this mess is to stop going along with things that insult your fucking soul.

All The Things.

And that’s a life’s thankless, lonely fucking work, right there. Chipping away.

A whole life’s work, at least, planting seeds for more life’s works in the future. Slamming your head into the ceiling.

Existing is so fucking expensive

and so, fucking, exhausting.

A meditation: New Cage 

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The door to the original Pony Express Station, Gothenburg Nebraska.

Bipolar disorder, Attachment disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Serious Depression are all diagnosis I’ve received at various times in my life. 

They all added up symptomatically at the time, but there was always something under the surface that wasn’t touched by those theories. I presumed, for most of my life, that was an unattainable evil core deep inside me that simultaneously responded to, and created, the painful circumstances I kept repeating.

Medication didn’t make sense for me, mostly (I tried Zoloft for a couple months after a horrible breakup, with no intention of staying on it longer than it took to break out of the suicidal phase, and it made my brain spasm and was super fucking creepy).

Like most everything in my life, my mental problems weren’t consistent, and for me, I am so very thankful I faced what I did without getting caught up in the medication cycle. Two years later, I’d find suddenly that I had some other disease that was causing my misery. I can’t imagine what a fucking rodeo trying to medicate me would have been.

What was actually happening for me, I came to find, and which exactly zero psychologists pointed out, was that as I healed and became honestly self aware (as opposed to debilitatingly self critical and constantly trying to dig out the evil black core of me and stab it in the throat until it died) the outward and internal symptoms of my traumas changed flavor.

I thought I was a lost cause, a lot of the time, but what I was experiencing was progress. My anecdotal and professional observation is that trauma, especially for people who have formed in many types of it, seems like it should all feel the same, trigger the same set of responses in a nice tidy list (protip: there are no nice tidy lists). But each experience is locked away, and responded to, uniquely.

I really got clear about this in my bodywork practice and with my interactions with clients: If we’re doing it right, the pain moves. It changes once the shoulder girdle is attended to, moves into the ribs, the hips, knees, or maybe the neck. The quality adjusts, the locations shift, and once one thing is addressed another takes the opportunity to ask for attention.

It’s the same with mental and emotional struggle, and we don’t give ourselves room for that enough. Knowing this gives me mixed, conflicting feelings about the mental health industry. Long term, and as my only form of psychic hygiene when I first decided to get help, I found nothing more enabling of my caustic personal vendetta with myself than the brutal, over-intellectualized Western model of psychological therapy.

I am critical of its resistance to acknowledging the disembodied grief we share as a species and a collective, as well.

I had many, many levels to slog through before I got to an actual clearing in my personal work. I ran around in self defeating circles for years, it seemed. Sometimes I still do. Sometimes it’s all I can do. But not all the time, anymore. And that really counts for something when hurting myself was all I used to have.

It all came down to, rather than this cocktail of mental illnesses I supposedly had to blame, an inability to process and complete grief. Grief recovery skills (I talk about it here: http://artfultouch.info/grief-recovery/) and PTSD-specific therapy for the consequences of knowing nothing but misinformation about it for so long, were the key elements that a lot of other very valuable, helpful patchwork experiences were missing.

And still, I struggle. I want to say that having these tools gave me a happily ever after, and sometimes it even does feel that way for a while. But I am an empath, and our species is dying. I am sensitive, and I’ve rarely had a chance to heal from one trauma before another has come. I experience glimpses of comfort which fade, or less ideally, explode in my face.

Sometimes progress is taking a few steps back into the fire after walking into a dead end; a feeling I know all too well. Sometimes progress is never making it to an end goal. Sometimes progress is just surviving a whole entire life.

Stop telling people that no one will love them until they love themselves. That they are broken or inferior or somehow bereft of human connection until such time as their issues are resolved. 

Stop planting the idea in peoples heads that they are unworthy of love due to their struggles.
Stop holding ‘love’ up as the be all end all standard of human existance at the expense of being awake, taking in and processing a whole other spectrum of emotional wisdom. 

Stop listening to these out of touch, privileged assholes

But more importantly, and this is what I am finally feeling some relief from recently; stop saying that shit to yourself about you. 

Stop holding yourself and others to the inherently abusive concept of perfection.

Being incapable of being loved is not the same thing as being incapable of receiving love. 

You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.

You are allowed to be both profoundly lovable and profoundly unable to receive that love in its fullness, at the same time.

Love means so many things, looks like so many things, and is so often passed off as things it really isn’t

Learn what love means to you. Accept that can be a life-long task for people like us. As you go, learn to treat yourself with that love

Along the way, others can and will share with you, and direct their concepts of love toward you; for better, and for worse.

There are infinite definitions, and infinite applications of love; You are lovable just the way you are, whether you are content with being that way, or not.

me, Clayton, rape.

Friday, April 15th, 2016

me, Clayton, rape.

It wasn’t rape because that’s what he growled at me the first time he overwhelmed and coerced me when I’d just said I wanted to wait before we started having sex together.
It wasn’t rape because he’d only gone down on me and fingered me and heroically resisted sticking his cock in my body.
It wasn’t rape because when he walked out without fucking me, saying “That’s all I wanted”, licking his lips at my door, I smirked.

It wasn’t rape because if it had been rape it wouldn’t have signified the start of a long term relationship.
It wasn’t rape because I came so many times, every time.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to do things I’d said I was uncomfortable with after he said over and over that he needed them.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to try things I was scared of and it would be my fault he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.
It wasn’t rape because we were “the power couple”
It wasn’t rape because he was the “top”

It wasn’t rape because I tried to leave him 7 fucking times and kept going back.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected I was with a sex addict and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was a sociopath and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape, because he was cheating, and it has to be one or the other.
It wasn’t rape because gaslighting.
It wasn’t rape because manipulation.
It wasn’t rape because power struggle.

It wasn’t rape because ‘his sexual needs’
It wasn’t rape because I became accustomed to never not having sex when we were together.
It wasn’t rape because he made sure I got off before he did.
It wasn’t rape because any critique of his treatment of me was immediately escalated to my accusing him of it and rape is a bad, bad word.

It wasn’t rape because I’d done the same toward others and couldn’t face it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew I’d ‘met my match’ in him.
It wasn’t rape because I was trying to be less controlling — surrendering was the whole point.
It wasn’t rape because we were ‘sex positive’

It wasn’t rape because I was already damaged.
It wasn’t rape because I had to be Good, Giving and Game
It wasn’t rape because I was learning.
It wasn’t rape because I was getting what I deserved.
It wasn’t rape because love is hard.

It wasn’t rape because my life revolved around being good at sex.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was in love with Zita, and not me.
It wasn’t rape because he bought me dinners and marathon texted.
It wasn’t rape because he invited me to meet his family.
It wasn’t rape because there was something wrong with me.

It wasn’t rape because losing my mind in that relationship was my fault.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who screamed and yelled
It wasn’t rape because I could see the scared little redhead boy he kept trying to cover up
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to make babies with him
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to marry him

It wasn’t rape because I let him get away with it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew no one would take my side.
It wasn’t rape because I’m not supposed to have to need anyone to take my side if I’m telling the truth.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to be in love with a rapist.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to have been a rapist.

It wasn’t rape because what about the theater we worked at together.
It wasn’t rape because it was my fault his ex’s wouldn’t talk with me about him
It wasn’t rape because all those other girls are just jealous of you, Courtnee.
It wasn’t rape because I was the dangerous one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the evil one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the powerful one.

It wasn’t rape because fighting for my sanity was exciting.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who was so fucked up I’d get suicidal
It wasn’t rape because when it all came crashing down, I was the one the ‘sex positive’ community ditched.
It wasn’t rape because he succeeded at peopling and I failed.

It wasn’t rape because the Judge clearly hated me and sided with him.
It wasn’t rape because his pretty ex girlfriend made amends with him just in time to show up in court by his side.
It wasn’t rape because the other woman he raped and then pretended didn’t exist ran and hung me out to dry.
It wasn’t rape because I needed to burn the shit he had given me and that’s just crazy.

me, Clayton, rape.

So I watched Jessica Jones on binge a few months ago. Alone.

I shouldn’t have been alone for something like that, but I didn’t expect for it to bother me so terribly.

It bothered me so. Fucking. Much. I hated her so. Fucking. Much. I spent the second half of that show vehemently wishing she would kill herself. I kept wanting to see her kill herself and when she did it I would have woken the neighborhood celebrating. I fucking hated her fucking dramatic drinking and her stupid decisions and I fucking hated how fucking weak and pathetic she was. I wanted to see her die.

I knew when I was watching it it was bringing up some massive shit, but I couldn’t figure out from where. It couldn’t have been from David. David was a fucking meatheaded boundary pushing fucking emotional moron who finally went too fucking far, not a god damn Major of Psychological Warfare like Killgrave.

So what the fuck was it? What the fuck was triggering me so badly?

Yeah. OH.

How did I write this, without seeing ^^^^^^ this ^^^^^^? I don’t know. I’m not supposed to know everything. But I’m going to Keep Going. I am, perhaps naively, looking forward to a time in my life when my gnashy, suicidal trauma surfacings don’t revolve around figuring out/remembering who in my distant past fucking raped me. This broken record shit is getting really, really old.

HEALING UPDATE: When I am ready, I do NOT fuck around.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

^^^^ This is what waking up clean, in a clean bed, that I can stretch out in, looks like. Thank you SO MUCH to my pals Michael and Jill for gifting me with a hotel room last night. I needed it. Lemmie tell ya why:

I’ve been coming to a clearing for a while, since I left Seattle of course, noticing the significance of the experiences I’ve been having. Playing a demigod version of myself possessed by a tormented 3000 year old genius intersex two spirit character for two solid months, for instance.

But I’ve really been feeling the true madness of it, since descending upon New Orleans.

I wrote my ex while there (agh fer fucks sake). And for a while, I thought my preoccupation with him meant many things, which maybe, they did. However, the process was moving so quickly that by the time I put a finger on it, what he represented for me had shifted again.

At the end of it, when I once again came to the conclusion that I’m not in any place to have any contact with that guy at all ever, I also realized that while I was healing and regaining traction after we split up, I had focused almost entirely on releasing — what did not belong to me, what did belong to me but was not serving me, on flushing out toxic shit and giving back positively in my wake, including a ritual burning of his letters and cards, which was focused on returning his soul to him so we could both move on.

I hadn’t considered that perhaps there was cause for me to take back fruits that belonged to ME. Things I needed, that could be fueling me were I to take ownership of them again.

I also hadn’t considered, yet, that maybe he wasn’t the person I needed to take those things back from. That maybe, the atonement or apology or recognition or even an actual conversation in the same god damn language I’d been harboring a deep desire for in those first weeks in New Orleans, seemingly to complete something with him, didn’t have anything to do with him at all.

Today I head to the beach to rekindle my connection with self care ritual and constellating. I am experiencing a lot of resistance, both in emotional response and in things like forgetfulness and confusion tracking simple steps. I recognize this is a time I need to work through that and loosen up whatever is binding me. I also recognize that I have never actually had any practices like this that weren’t bolstered by consistent communal support and in-person witness before. It (falsely) feels like I have no fucking idea what I am doing by myself and that is combining with my usual level of self consciousness and paralyzing me.

When my bestie dumped me just before leaving Seattle, it coincided with her plummet into a sex-positive magic and witchcraft cult-looking thing along with her husband, adding to her years-long allegiance with a healing community which had always felt alienating and inaccessible to me (based on the cost of their training, their jargon, and my persistent creeped out feeling about their leadership).

She also, years ago, began seeing my former psychotherapist (at my referral), which became a feeling of inaccessibility and betrayal for me as our friendship strained and ended.

This combined with my years of willingness and sharing of therapy concepts, my practice, my healing space, and encouraging her healing and growth for over a decade left me feeling bitter and used and discarded and, in response to the content of her Dear John letter to me, blamed for it.

Along with less accessibility to guidance and comforts like bath tubs which for many years was my main source of regeneration, this was a major part of what I closed myself off from after finding out what this person really thought of me — my interest and abilities in healing modalities.

That relationship falling away coincided with taking the break I needed after burning out in my practice, however the betrayals and most importantly my judgements surrounding all of that happening have been significantly blocking me from returning to my own practices.

Thoughts and good juju while I dig through that pile of shit are appreciated today.

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I wrote that 4 days ago, and that day was magnificent.

I went to that beach, walked the white sands, collecting shells that spoke to me as my feet went cleansed, and slightly numb.

I chose representatives, or rather they showed themselves, for parts of me I didn’t even understand, and parts of me that I knew immediately. Representative for what belongs to others, that I’ve held on to needlessly — one for the darkness, one for the light. Representative for my judgement, the hard, complete shell that kept me from allowing these things to move, kept me from doing any of this stuff for myself for as long as I’ve been resisting it.

From the moment I got to that beach, the mantra was clear: My healing belongs to me.

My healing belongs to me.

My healing belongs to me.

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I took those shells and I set them up as an alter in the bowels of Bella Stinkbutt and I smudged the living fuck out of myself, my van, my psyche.

I gonged my Tibetan singing bowl, rich with its own intense and growing story, and rejoiced in memories of my safe, comfortable healing space that always smelled so good, that always provided me a safe haven to break the fuck down. The space I held that also served others.

I sat on the dunes where the ocean met the sand, creating a perfect shelf where I could sit in inches of calm, yet reconstituting water, until I was acclimated and ready to swim. My skin lit up in crisp sparkles as I rinsed months worth of head to toe fucking bullshit, exfoliated and swept away by the salt of the sea, while a few confused old white people in sweatshirts looked on.

The ocean
Is cold
In February

*bows*

And I cooked myself some nourishing, tasty food, after a good week of having been eating garbage because while I was shopping for food I’d bought garbage.

The sun went down. I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I felt the significance and subtlety of the shifts that had happened by reconnecting with myself. I felt my body alive with ache I’d been previously unaware of, or ignoring. Again with my right side. Again with the masculine, with severity.

I made more good food. I smudged a bit more. I saw some great music.

I’m at The Green Door in Fort Walton listening to a space jam that reminds me of my favorite band: Archive. Nik Flagstar can fuckin own some drums! Rad shit happening here.

I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I nourished myself. I walked the beach. I worked my aching back and arm periodically with my theracane and racketballs. I got dressed up in my I Poop On Rape Culture leggings, and wore The Key necklace for the first time in a couple weeks, not really thinking about the significance of either. I went to see Hank and Cupcakes play at The Green Door here in Fort Walton, where I will also play tonight.

And then, it came. Waves. Crashing.

First, I was profoundly triggered when I saw someone who reminded me very much of the former friend of mine who molested me in my sleep in my teens. I left the show, immediately, pacing and crying outside the venue before retreating to the van. I do not have memory of ever seeing a person, certainly not in the last 20 years or so, that caused me to return to that place like I had just then. It was overpowering and demanding of my full attention.

The story of this person was the one I most recently read my writing about and had to take a long, hard pause. I wasn’t taken aback by the events, per say — I am very familiar with them — but I was taken aback by my writing. How I had viewed it, when I wrote it, and how differently I view myself now. How painful it was to see part of me that responded to that happening to me with behaviors that hurt so, so many people.

It was also the story that, while working through what came up for me in revisiting it, brought clarity to the fact that the book project is about my healing, and virtually nothing else.

And once I worked through that trigger, literally coughing and dry heaving up what was presenting visually to me as black, sooty tendrils, what rose like oil on water was the layer of understanding that I had done, when that friend violated me at a time I was so vulnerable, what my ex had done when I had been raped.

I sympathized with him. Empathized with him. More than I did myself.
I refused to believe what he’d done was really that bad.
I voiced outrage, but in my cockles, I thought it was my fault. For being desirable. For being powerful. For being enticing, and asleep.
I felt conflicting emotions, but ultimately, I was convinced I wanted nothing more than I wanted for things to go back to the way they had been.
I pleaded with him to come back when he rightfully withdrew from me.
I was so desperate not to lose my friend, I refused to acknowledge he had already been lost.
I was so desperate for control, I refused to acknowledge that loss wasn’t my fault.

The dry heaves gave way. And under them, This:

It’s fairly universally frowned upon, at least in terms of people whose opinions I have tended to value on these sorts of matters, to dehumanize those who have hurt you with their behavior.

I struggle with this especially in terms of intimate relationships gone bad.

But personally, I’m developing an appreciation for my compulsion to do this. Part of me fucking hates humanizing, relating to people who have done some heinousass shit. Because while the draw is still there, while I’m still attached enough to be converting that attachment into anger, I am doing it out of protection.

The moment they are human to me again, rather than a one-dimensional fucking maliciously meatheaded hurtful fucking weasel, I am at great risk of also opening up again. Because that attachment still exists, and is still a strong force in the forefront of my psyche, which is fraught with decades of conditioning from abandonment, mental abuse, and scarcity.

Those moments of foreshadowing forgiveness, of understanding, of relating and humility so often open me up just enough to give them the opportunity to remind me in vivid, gory detail that they are, in fact, not fucking humane, at all.

My severity conceals and protects the level of mercy I am capable of.

Then, the next day, I discovered a message in my ‘you don’t actually wanna fuck wid dis’ folder on my facebook, from a creep statutory rapist I dated in my teens, whose account should have been fucking blocked, who still, twenty one god damn years later, periodically sends shit to me that starts like this:

“Hi there, person I thought would never turn on me. Do you still hate me for loving you? Giving you space after you dumped my ass? Taking the time to track you down now and then?”

This person, I’d all but forgotten about, until David Bowie died, and suddenly, people were finally keen on talking about the Lori Maddox interview that had been published for months. Even then, it was simply a recognition that my perceptions of that interview were colored by personal experience that I had not yet folded into my evolving definition of rape, or consent.

With my rekindled connection with myself, the support of people in my community who are familiar with the methods I use to process surfacing traumas and triggers, and the floodgates I opened by letting some of my walls move, these things passed. And once they had passed, mostly what was left was the feeling of being in sync, again.

In synch. A thing that I’ve felt like a privileged, entitled asshole at the thought of being in touch with in part as a side effect of the ways in which I have engaged in social justice the last few years. It took me disengaging from that cult of personality to be able to connect with this part of me again, a part of me that I had become ashamed of for having the resources to develop when others around me, who are just as deserving and worthy of that resource as me, do not.

I slept.

Woke up from dreams because of the sense of welling up to cry. I was feeling the metaphysical experience of letting go of something in a line of more something’s. I woke up to a perpetually long face, needing to poop and pee, with a desperate sense of needing to get to the beach. Here now. Oof.

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All this writhing, scrambling, sadness, defeat. All this expectation, impatience, discomfort. All this hope for belonging, wishing away my skin in an attempt to really feel. All this sanding off my edges, quieting my voice, stifling my role as a leader in an effort to know what it feels to fit inside your contours, your communities, your group thinking. All that shit.

Fuck that shit.

It takes a lifetime, to know yourself. But I know enough right now to understand that I am doing just fucking fine.

ROAD UPDATE: Fort Walton Beach

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Originally posted to my Patrons at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4470079

Right now I am hanging out in the van with the side door open, out of the wind but in the sun from my waist down. The temperature is perfect like this, mid 60’s and cloudless, and I still have lots of time left in my day to do fuckall before heading to a show to see Hank and Cupcakes tonight.

My days right now consist of mostly resting, reading fantasy, practicing music, working my grumpy back with a theracane and racketballs, eating, my return to self care rituals/smudging/affirmations, and walking along white sand beach barefoot while wrapped in a blankie.

And the internets, of course.

I am finding it possible to kill time here easily without spending money, which I desperately need for a couple of months to recover from NOLA. People in general don’t bother me unless I approach them, I haven’t been getting hassled or hit up on the regular, and the beaches are damn near deserted, which are all immensely relieving changes.

I am having periodic moments of clarity and stillness in and around the water, which is proving to be wonderfully cold, and which is reminding me that while I am skilled and familiar with managing abrupt transitions, I am often much more satisfied and less triggered by taking my time.

Yap, it’s true — the earth is changing, we’re all dying, and everything is fucked — but it’s ok. I am having vivid, cinematic, meaningful and encouraging archetypal dreams that are aligning with other indications that I may have, finally, cleared through some major shit in terms of my recent cocooning, and I feel much more willing and able to be myself — which resembles Kali and Akhilandeshvari catfighting in a steel box — again.

Giant silver alligator blocking a doorway. I have a broom. The silver alligator pike eel thing can jump very high. Large blonde viking lady appears as I fight, eventually remarking that she hasn’t seen me in thousands of years, around the same time I find out her alligator thingie has jurrasic park gill wings that can cause it to hover in the air for a few moments. We’re both good natured and somewhat natural but I don’t trust her cause her pet is trying to eat me and I dislike that she thinks she knows shit about me when I’m god damn 37 and I’ve never met her before. Silver gilled pike eel alligator thingie is slow and predictable but does eventually take my broom, which viking lady then rides, along with him, and I grumble that she’s a fuckin witch. We stop fighting and discuss things. She insists that I have to cook a small chunk of what looks like top ramen soup, pour it into a bowl with what looks like grated cheese (probably wood pulp and cellulose, according to a recent scandal!) and ‘choose some’ to, what I instinctively expect, turn into allies of some sort for whatever stupid side quest journey I have to go on next. We talk about items I need and call another person, someone who I sense is a man, and discuss pickup times. It turns out that the day she wants is better for him to drop off, and as I am realizing the van has gotten too warm in the sun and am waking up I hear her tell him a drop off address in Manhattan, reminding me of Blair Hopkins . My last pull from the dream is endearment and excitement at spending some time doing things with viking lady for the next few days.

I’ve also made some significant strides in processing a few emotionally and mentally violent interactions I had with a couple of former friends, which I found had been blocking me from pursuing anything spiritual, healing or ‘magic’ related in my self care based upon unconscious associations with occult and groupthink community I’d maintained in response to their behavior.

I’ve also loosened the social justice noose I’d placed around my neck when I decided, also unconsciously, that I wouldn’t have been raped and betrayed by my lovers two years ago had I been a nicer person, a more open person, a more tolerant person, a more perfect person. Social evolution is still at the core of my interests and passions, but not in the unsustainable, violent, and self destructive way I had been going about it since all that happened.

Things are good here.

How are you?

ROAD UPDATE: Pensacola

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Originally posted to my Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4413008

Mississippi: OH EM GEE you’re heeeeere omg yay! Here, have a welcome center with all kinda free camping with picnic benches and spigots and shit and a FUCKING NASA SPACE CENTER!!

Alabama: Fuck you. Welcome center closed.

Florida: Fuck you. Show us your vegetables. Then welcome center, maybe. Also toll roads. Also palm trees. Also fuck you. — Facebook

The above selfie was taken in the divey bathroom at The Handlebar last night in ‪Pensacola, where I played an impromptu show for a tiny, tiny audience in a mostly empty bar. I got a nice fueling practice in and made my beer money back.

New Orleans shaped me as a musician. It is different now; stronger. More solid. More joy in it. Truly beginning to embrace and simultaneously transmute the darkness. Thank you for that. I like being a performer. I just needed to figure out what kind of performer I am. It’s taking a while, but I think I am well on my way, now.

Here are some amazing pictures of me doing my thing, taken by an amazing man: http://neevita.net/louis-maistros-lower-decatur-street-new-orleans/

And here is some soul healing no nonsense darkness for anyone who might be feeling the pitch lonely creeping in today, or know someone who is: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/14927

I plan to be in Florida playing and enjoying the weather/beach for a bit, then moving up northish. I’ve shifted my long term plan, and will be back in WA state this summer rather than heading all the way up to the NE. I need to see a doctor about a few things and get my motorcycle sold.

Keep Going is a year old today. It is an album I released last valentines day about healing, heartbreak, patriarchy, sexism and rape culture, which is surprisingly soothing and, if I may say so, well-crafted. It’s well suited for the day particularly if valentines gives you the intense desire to side eye the fuck out of everything.

Http://courtneefallonrex.net

In a somewhat fitting turn of events, on the same day as Keep Going’s first birthday, Wounded was played on That Indie Thing with Rob on sinwebradio.com! As far as I know, this is my first radio play from the album. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1182534628424252

Also, Reverbnation keeps sending me emails complaining that my ranks are slipping. So, this seems like a good time to mention that there’s a pretty decent sampling of original music up there including most of my originals from Keep Going and a couple of my old ambient electronic tracks. It is representative but also not too long. If you wanna go stream ’em and give RN something happy to mail me about I wouldn’t mind. :)

I’ll be picking from my Feb 14th random pool of $15 a month and above potential art receivers and notifying the winner today. $5 and above Patrons: Also look for another Seven Deadly Days of Naked (SDDN) post in a few minutes.

Glad you’re all here with me,
-nee

Next up: The Bosque Village

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

The conversations have been had, the mutual admiration has been expressed, the values and goals are well aligned, the time is right, the action item list is soft drafted. I’ve the plane ticket and the passport renewal submitted in plenty of time (presuming no catastrophic postal issues) and am thus ready to let the population at large know what my patrons have been hearing for a while now – after having Brian Fey and his amazing project on my radar for many years, my next adventure begins in September, in Mexico, at the Bosque Village.

A good page to familiarize ones self with what the Bosque is: https://www.quora.com/Mexico/What-is-the-Bosque-Village/answer/Brian-Fey?share=1

The Bosque facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bosqueforest

Patrons will continue to get my personal experience and musings/updates about my travels. $5 a month at http://patreon.com/courtnee gets you all the updates and the opportunity to support what I am doing, directly. Sign up, and spread the word if you would. My goal is to break 35 patrons before I depart in September.

A large part of my contribution to the Bosque will include video production, process documentation and social media, in addition to faciltating music, art, movement programs and of course, hands on learning about sustainable forest living.
Between my personal projects, philosophical musings, and the work I will be doing to contribute to the Bosque specifically, I expect to enjoy a very rich and busy rest of 2015.

BAM.

Belonging

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

I used to think I would never find a place I belonged.

The lonliness filled me to the point that for a long time I didn’t even have the energy to wander anymore, looking for it, literally or figuratively.

I’d talk myself out of going anywhere I felt I might find my place before the possibility could take shape.

I talked myself out of distancing from people who I could feel saw me as projections of their fractured selves and believed they were smarter, better, and more worthy than me.

I struggled against a rising tide to stay where I was, even as it became clear while the life I’d built for myself fell away piece by piece that it was time.

For years, opportunity and the damn near limitless directions I could take overwhelmed and paralyzed me. And it seemed as though no matter where I went in the world, no matter how well my skills or personality fit into a certain group of other humans, I would never be free of that feeling; I don’t belong. Anywhere.

So in a way, it didn’t matter what the fuck I did. But I had to do something.

So I decided to belong to myself, even though I only felt it part way.

I decided before I was ready, before I really believed, that I had to figure out a way to believe that the possibility of belonging was someplace other than where I was told it was, where I had been encourage to look for it.

I decided to give up most of what I know the majority of the people in my life to work their entire existence stabilizing. I let go of things that I know friends of mine lose sleep over getting, having, and keeping.

I gave away massive amounts of expensive possessions, one of a kind art, things that had defined me for decades.

I flew the nest I’d spent 17 years building and tending as it smoldered behind me, wrought from the merciless determination of a universe demanding transformation, and I left.

One thing I’m quickly learning after doing that, one thing that keeps coming up for me as I look around Texas and camp and experience myself in this environment, is that I don’t actually ‘belong’ any more here and now than I have in any other time of my life.

Yes, it’s true, this camp is strangely well suited for my natural theatrical gifts. And yes, it’s true, the recycling mentality in Texas makes me actually cry sometimes. It’s a mixed bag. Seattle was a mixed bag, too.

But the path to belonging, that feeling I thought meant I was so close to having belonging for myself for so long, was actually control, and dominance. I felt I belonged when I was in charge, when I was leading, when I was on display, and when I was in power.

I learned a long time ago that sort of ‘belonging’ was not only fleeting, high maintenance, and high anxiety — but that I didn’t feel very good about myself once I was dethroned, either. The mist that rationalized the oppressive nature of my height and status, and the grief of having worn mask after mask to maintain the facade that I enjoyed it, once gone, paved a view of someone I was deeply ashamed of.

Belonging is something I now know as a learning.

It’s something that helps me grow, expand, and something I take with me in my soul when I move on.

It’s not popularity in high school, it’s not being the better half of a beguiling power couple, it’s not running a nonprofit — belonging is a muscle I work, that gets stronger and stronger when I am where I should be, experiencing and connecting in ways that feed my soul.

So much has changed in my life. Almost everything. But those changes aren’t why I belong where I ended up.

What’s changed is me.

I belong with me.

The journey that began thrice

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Originally, I was planning to leave for Spokane last Friday, giving myself a whole day to prep for the house show I was to be headlining in Spokane on Saturday.

Alas, a 3 hour brake job ended up taking all day long on Thursday, setting me back and causing me to be working late on other elements of the trip. It took forever because my emergency brake light was stuck on. They checked and checked and checked, and had gotten to the point of tracing wires and dealing with electrical, convinced that it was not a brake problem.

By 5:30 I said fuck it, and just decided I would pull the damn handle before I moved the van ever, and call it good until I could get down to New Mexico to hang with my pal who has a shop (and who I will be doing work on the van with anyway) to figure out what the stupid electrical problem is.

And of course, the tow equipment I ordered arrived late Friday evening without all the proper hardware I needed, so it was a somewhat stressful pain in the ass to get put together, too.

By the time I was planning to leave on a 5 hour trip Friday evening, I still had some things to deal with in Seattle and I was a deep fried shade of worn out tired. So much tedious shit had gone wrong I was walking around muttering ‘skullfuck’ most of Friday afternoon. So I decided to leave Saturday morning, rested, instead.

That was the first time I didn’t start my trip. No biggie.

Take II:

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I left around 11am Saturday morning, driving by that fuckass eyesore inconvenient ass canoe fucking sadium for the last fuckass time in a long while, commemorating my pleasure at this by snapping a picture while I waited at the light.

Not long after North Bend, I started having the roadtrip feels. During my first solo road trip in 2011, the surge hit me as I was maybe 20 miles south of Seattle. Pearl Jam’s “I’m Still Alive” came on the radio.

I hadn’t heard it in years, but that trip was all about confronting the darkened hallway of my past in California. I didn’t understand exactly what I was in for at the time, but I did sense that song was the perfect floodgate opener for what would come in the weeks later.

This time it was about 20 miles outside of town again, east this time, listening to Keep Going, when my cover of Heavy in Your Arms came on.

Like the Pearl Jam song, there were a lot of applicable layers to why it hit me like it did. It’s a fresh wound that’s also been salted recently. And like the Pearl Jam song, there is hope there.

I recognize how I anchor myself stationary in order to ‘be’ with people. How heavy I HAVE to make myself to justify doing that, how hard I lean in to them because of it. And I also recognize how much I received from them while I stayed. I recognize how much I still miss some of them, sometimes. A lot, sometimes.

But mostly I recognize how done I am with all that shit. I cried out my doneness. I cried out the regret and the pain and the loss and the missing. And I let in the goodness and the openness and the raw cold air taking its place. Just like I’d done with Pearl Jam, when I’d finally gotten done being anchored by my heavy past life in Sacramento.

Mixed in with the missing and the hope and the exhilaration was a sense of relief, of freedom. Against many odds and my own resistance and fears, the van was packed, running, stopping, full DOT inspected, puttering down the road. My motorcycle was softly swaying on the tow carrier and I had alternative, maneuverable, affordable transport other than the huge van. Just that I was here at all proved I could count on myself, and that I could trust my instincts well enough to ask and receive from people.

I started smiling through my tears. I started feeling the excitement. I started believing in the possibility, in the adventure, in all the shit everyone ELSE has been so excited about while I’ve been making big asks, and doing a lot of physical and soul grinding work to make this actually happen. I started believing in the positivity of my choice to leave, not just the necessity of it. I started having faith.

And then I smelled the smoke.

The first time, I figured it was the semi next to me, burning some brakes, like they do. I recently saved a friends van transmission with my nose and insistence that we pull over in Maui, so even though I thought it was likely nothing, I rolled my window down and sniffed and paid attention. Then the smell went away.

..And then it came back, right next to a road construction site another mile up the road or so. I wanted to believe I was smelling something in the air, but as my friend Neil so elegantly taught me not long ago, while wandering a crowded area with a friend, if you smell the same fart twice, that means it’s your friend farting.

In that teaching moment, I was the farting friend, in case you’re wondering. And in this case, I was pretty sure I was the farter by now, too.

Trouble is, I had no shoulder and nowhere to pull off for another 3 miles or so. The smell was getting worse when I opened the window. It took me a while to figure out my cab was filling up with a delicate haze of white smoke. And my brain kept spinning back and forth between believing it was me and thinking it was some horrendous tire fire or something somewhere.

As if I didn’t know tire fire smoke is black, or what burning breaks smell like. Stupid brain.

I finally pulled into a rest area, went to the semi side, got out and popped the hood. Nothing. The smell wasn’t even very strong now, mostly in my scarf and clothes. Then I took a look down the passenger side of the van and saw this:

Neato.

I wasn’t particularly worried — I have AAA, I’d mentally prepared myself for breakdowns of many types, expecting things to go wrong. I wasn’t expecting them to go wrong on my first day, with a system of the van I’d just had worked on two days ago.

I knew it would take forever to get a tow (I was right – 5 hours), and that I was too far from Spokane for that to be my destination, so I cancelled my performance immediately, thankful that the house show organizer had found a couple of openers and the show would still be great without me (it was). Then I started trying to figure out wtf went wrong.

At first, I thought it might have been the weight of my motorcycle on the back. That was the only thing that was different from yesterday, when I’d eaten half a tank of gas driving that damn beast around running errands, and the back of the bike made for the load to be slightly heavier on the right side.

I know how ridiculous that sounds NOW, but at the time I had decided I wanted to take the bike off the tow carrier, turn it around, and try to make it the 30 miles into Cle Elum without waiting for a tow.

I walked around a bit and asked a couple truckers to help me get the bike off the rack (it’s not possible for me to wrangle it off myself). Once we got the bike off, one of them asked me what was up with the van, looking at my tire pensively.

We talked a bit about what happened, and soon thereafter I had confirmation from three separate people who tow shit for a living that there was no way the bike caused my breaks to seize up. We tried backing the van up to release the brake adjustment, which we confirmed was stuck slammed to the inside of the drum.

I suppose you could say the van moved.. If two inches of strenuous lurch and then locking up again under a tremendous amount of engine torque counts as moving. I tried both directions. Both back wheels were stuck as fuck. Which begged another question — why wasn’t the left back wheel of a rear wheel drive vehicle, which wasn’t brake seized, spinning?

Thus began the wondering of whether the ebrake was stuck on, perhaps the cable broke while I was driving or something. Plus that stupid light being on. But that seemed unlikely, given that I’ve left my ebrake on before (who hasn’t) and it’s more of a lagging kind of thing rather than a seizing up kind of thing, and I felt nothing while driving. I thought maybe it could have been the ebrake, and with the drag at 60mph for god knows however long I was driving, maybe I’d friction welded my breaks or something.

“You got a jack?”
‘Yeah.’
“Well, I’ve got tools. And I don’t have anything better to do, my pick up got cancelled and I’m stuck out here til Tuesday. This sort of thing happens to our rigs all the time. I’ll bet we can get this fixed”

The plan was to get things cracked open to see if I’d thrown a spring into the brake which had gotten stuck, check the shoes/see if I’d need to ride over to Cle Elum to get parts or not. So my new friend Marcus started working to get the wheel off and the brake cylinder open, while we talked about what could have caused the seize and what to do next.

*bang*bang* .. and the break cylinder open. *pry* … and the break cylinder open? … *tap taptap* OPEN SESAME, FUCKING BREAK CYLINDER!!..

Or, not. Not is fine too, I guess.

By this time, I knew I was getting towed back to the place that had done my break job, Tire Factory in South Park, and I’d be spending another night in Seattle. In fact, Owen eventually worked out a way for him to come in the next morning (Sunday) to get me back on the road, so I didn’t have to wait the entire holiday weekend.

That sounded about right, to me. I was convinced this was their problem, anyway. In fact, I was pretty pissed off, especially about that brake light, and letting them convince me my breaks were fine while the fucker was on. I was handling it super well, though. Like someone I didn’t really know very well.

Like someone who knew they could count on themselves, maybe.

Many hours, a nap, and much conversation later, including two more people coming over to see if I needed help/drinking water/etc, and my tow driver stopping by to let me know his person before me needed a tow to Tacoma (4 hours! yay!), Eddie from Cle Elum towing showed up, for the second time, to rescue Vandwell.

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Day 1: Spent at a rest stop outside of Cle Elum, waiting for this. Rear right brake (which was adjusted along with other brake work two days ago) stuck and burned to utter shit over the pass, van won’t move. Met many helpful people, was actually a pretty enjoyable day all considering, perhaps a blog post about that tomorrow. For now, lotion on my increasingly roughed up hands, an unexpected extra night of KEXP radio, van tea, and sleep.

PS: Loretta’s in South Park for breakfast around 9:30, if you want the in person version, or are curious what fried brake smells like, cause everything I own smells like it now.
I will quit you yet, Seattle. (And sorry I am not performing tonight, Spokane)

Her name is Vandwell now, btw. And as she was pulled onto that tow bed by a metal rope with a skid under her back paw, I saw her big pretty face for the first time, a little sad, a little scared, a little sick, and I realized: I love my van. I love my big stupid rusty gas guzzling van. That, and also there was something in my eye.

I also noticed that with the skid, passively, all three of the other wheels were rolling, and the ebrake caused a noticeable change/lurch when Eddie took it on and off. So, no ebrake sticking there.

Eddie and I took my tow carrier off the van, since her fat ass took up his ENTIRE tow truck bed, and ratcheted it to the bed floor near the cab. I rode the bike back to Seattle, into the sunset, as it were. I beat Eddie to the tire place by a few minutes, hung around while he dropped off the van, got the tow gear back on her big dirty butt, and wished him a safe drive home.

And that was the second time I didn’t start my trip. Somewhat bigger biggie.

Take III

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I didn’t sleep very well that night, in a deserted parking lot BY THE RIVER (y’all happy now?). On Sunday morning, Owen rolled in around 9 and started getting to work on what I felt surely would be a much bigger deal than he seemed to think it would be. I was thinking for sure I’d friction welded my breaks dead and I’d be in Seattle another fucking week getting them fixed. But hey.. better than Cle Elum where I don’t fucking know anyone, right?

I started wandering around to find a place to get breakfast. The place I wanted was closed. I met an artist rapper named Kaev on the sidewalk. We walked for a while, chatted philosophy, drugs, trust, art. Sat in the Subway for a bit, until I gave him the $4 he asked for to cover the gap between what he had and the sim card he wanted. Then he disappeared. Funny how that works.

Did you know, btw, that if you stop in at Subway really early in the morning and order a cookie (so you can kill time in their shop, being the only place open at 9:15am on a Sunday in South Park), there is a possibility they will tell you with a crinkled nose that those cookies are from YESTERDAY, as if you wouldn’t want them? And when you say, well, how about selling me two cookies for the price of one, then, they might look over the entire case of cookies, about two dozen maybe, and offer to sell you the whole fucking batch for three bucks? Cookies have been on me ever since. YMMV.

Since I was back in the area, my friend Chris, who walked me through making the brackets for my bedframe last weekend, met up with me to get breakfast. Around the time Loretta’s was about to open, I got a call from Owen, asking if I was ready to hit the road.

I stammered a little, cause actually, I wanted breakfast now (that wasn’t cookies), and I was a little shocked that it’d taken less than an hour. Incredulous even. I had questions.

“You got the cylinder off?”
‘Yep! Needed a chisel and hammer, but yeah, it came off. Those semi’s, they’re big, they use big tools. I’ll bet what your friend had just wasn’t small enough to get in there.’
“Wait.. the pads are still good?”
‘Yep! You caught it early! They’re still super thick.’
“And the spring is still there? It didn’t break/get caught?”
‘No problem with the spring. Your adjustment wheel just froze up. I had to really work at it to get it loose’
“I’ll be right over. Do you still have the wheel off? Can I see?”
‘I can totally take it back off for you and show you.’

And show me he did. The shoes were, in fact, in darn good shape. There was a fresh coat of shiny metal goop on the adjuster mechanism that I found out was lubricant. He also told me about how neither wheel would move under engine power because the right wheel is always the drive wheel, so the left wasn’t trying, either.

I got under the van and looked at the star wheel through the adjuster hole and was taught how to use a screwdriver to adjust my breaks if they ever lock again — which they shouldn’t. But, as is made clear by the existence of this story, sometimes shit happens.

Slowly and surely, it was coming back to me, how much I liked working on my own cars when I was a kid. I started remembering my drum breaks on the Superbeetle, how I’d change my own muffler, and how I’ve periodically been thankful for my Dad teaching me about tools and cars when I was younger.

Chris, Owen and I put the bike up on the rack, and said our goodbyes.

The moment when I put Vandwell in reverse and she MOVED was very exciting, indeed. We were back in business, and while I wasn’t thrilled with losing 60 miles of gas, I was very glad I’d taken her back to Tire Factory and gotten complete with them, without being charged, or having to wait for the holiday weekend to be over, even. I gave them a chance to take care of me, and it worked out. Otherwise, like if I’d gotten towed to Cle Elum instead, I might have been farther along in my miles, but I would have been out more money, and stayed pissed at those guys for a good long time.

I took the opportunity, since I was in Seattle again, to hit up Ballard one last time to pick up my NAS, which I’d realized I’d left just before this break shit went down. I was getting low on gas, the needle had hit empty, and I remembered still having about 6 gallons left the last time it’d been there — plenty to get 9 mostly-highway miles away to the Safeway by the shed for the cheapie gas. Right?

#nope.

Not only did I run out of gas, like full on engine death out of gas, I ran out of gas … on 99, in the battery street tunnel.

For those of you not in the know, it’s a two lane one-way tunnel with a 40mph speed limit where people regularly do 60+, with zero shoulder in sight, an onramp/merge point about 50 feet past the tunnel, and a concrete median between lane directions once you’re in the daylight again.

In short: A motherfucking death trap. Even if I could have gotten out and pushed, it would have been a level of stupid I just won’t go to anymore.

I can still hear myself mumbling encouragement as my dead full ton van full of everything I own in the world rolled along like a fucking steel whale in the dark. Just a little farther, boo, and we’ll be heading slightly downhill. Maybe we can get off the highway and onto Harrison if you have enough momentum, big girl. Hoo, that’s not looking so likely, creepy mccreeperson. Just get us out of the tunnel, then. Keep rolling until we’re out of the tunnel.

I came to a stop a few car lengths outside of the soul eating dark, with my hazards on, and my eyes unable to stop watching in my rear view as people blasted out of the hole, seeing a horizontal motorcycle hanging off my ass end, gears in their heads turning, changing lanes around me.

First things first: I called 911. I never call 911, and honestly, I was pretty cool and focused about this whole thing. I knew what to do, that I wasn’t getting out of my car no matter the fuck what, and that I had AAA and I’d be covered (if you don’t have AAA, fucking get it.).

But I did use 911, because that was the quickest way to get the information I needed to get to the people I needed to get it to rather than trying to fuck with my shit cell service to look up numbers. Besides, I knew I was about two freaked out drivers away from having the cops called on me, anyway.

I am in a very large stalled vehicle in a very, very unsafe location. I said, yo, you need to know I’m out of gas on 99. I’ll call AAA after you, it’ll be a quick fix, but I have no idea how quickly they can come to me, and when they get here, they’re gonna be a sitting duck in the road (my gas tank is on the drivers side, and I was in the right lane where I’m supposed to be). You might wanna get someone down here. Like, now.

I called AAA for the second time in as many days which is as many days as I’ve been on this fucking ‘adventure’, and get an estimate ‘within the hour’, but I’ve been red flagged, so it should be less than that.

Well let’s fucking hope so.

I settled in, continuing to watch Rear View Roulette in some weird abstract fascination. Being a holiday weekend, traffic was fairly loose. I wasn’t bogging anything down save for maybe two or three cars when someone had to actually stop and wait a few seconds to get around me. But it was steady, always cars coming.

I remembered hearing that they generally ticket people for breaking down on the bridges and wondered if I’d have to deal with any shit when the cops showed up. I hoped since I wasn’t actually fucking traffic up they wouldn’t think about it.

At one point, a big truck changed lanes smoothly behind me, seeing me in plenty of time — but the Car to Go that had been tailgating that motherfucker blind barely, barely missed my bike.

Every time a large vehicle came up on me slowly, I fantasized that they’d stop, hop out of the car with a gas can and come ask if I just needed gas.

I wondered if maybe I should make a cardboard sign that says “Need Gas!” and keep it in the car, cause, despite the encouragement from my friend that I keep 10 gallons of it with me in the cab.. that ain’t gonna happen.

Then my phone rang.

“Hi, this is Mikey from AAA.”
‘MIKEY. How far away are you man.’ (in my ‘I have a sense of humor AND this is fuckin serious’ voice)
“I’m about 5 minutes away. Are you past the denny onramp? Or before it?”
‘I am just outside the tunnel, before the onramp. I’m blocking the right lane.’
“Ok. I will be there soon. Hang tight.”

5 minutes. Ok. Cool.

About two minutes later, a giant truck pulled up behind me. I watched in the mirror as the door opened and showed a big WSDOT on the side. Then I noticed the light bars — not tow lights. MOVE THE FUCK OVER lights. They started blinking bigass arrows toward the left.

The tension broke and I laughed. FOR ME?

The driver walked to my passenger side, I shuffled over (the van is so wide, I can’t adjust the rear view mirror while sitting in the position I drive in.. it’s like two steps to the passenger side) rolled the window down and let him know AAA was close, and thanked him for showing up so quickly. I wasn’t sure what they’d be sending, but I was really pleased it wasn’t a cop, which is what I guess I was expecting.

I really don’t like cops. Not because I have anything to hide or reason to fear them, other than not having the money to pay the damn tickets they write, but because the police as a system require a bunch of brainwashed (in the best cases) uniformed oppressors masquerading as service workers. The institution of policing is one of the most violent dirtyworker tools of the imperialist capitalist colonialism bullshit I fucking hate about America that’s infecting the rest of the world. Their jobs exist, and have always exited, to bully and injure and kill a demographic of people I have come to care about, and many Seattle police have fucked over and hurt and maced friends of mine. Upon first glance I pretty much fit the stereotypical demographic they’re supposed to ‘protect’ (rich/not obviously poor, white) but I don’t trust them, I don’t think we as a society need them, having them around makes me nervous, I can’t pay their fucking ransoms, and I don’t like dealing with them basically ever. Which is kinda why I don’t call 911.

But I’m glad I did, in this case. For me, it was the smart thing to do, and having that truck on my ass felt like the most direct protection I’ve had in recent memory. I was in a bad way and someone flat out had my fucking back, no question, literally, standing up and in the way for me. I really felt the bigness of the truck, the power in the engine, the magnitude of that signal saying, fuck off, get out of the way, heed, we’ve got this. I felt covered. It was good.

I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people in recent weeks, amazing support. And, I didn’t realize until I wrote this, after having some rugs pulled out from under me by people I thought I could trust to stand the fuck up for me and help me when I’d fallen flat on my face, how much I needed to feel something just like that truck at my back.

And then a second WSDOT truck came, stopping behind the first, and I chuckled again. YES I AM THAT GUY. I AM THAT FUCKING GUY WHO RAN OUT OF FUCKING GAS IN THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE EVER.

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I called Mikey back to let him know I had a posse behind me now. He said he was almost there and he had an officer with him. I had a flash of a cop in the cab with him waiting to fingerwag me and write me expensive tickets. I pushed the thought away and decided I’d play that as it came.

Mikey showed up a few minutes later, escorted by a police car with lights on, who rolled right past us and kept on his way. Mikey got me my gas, shared a few commiserating words (He has a suburban that likes to run out of gas before empty — I just didn’t mention I actually WAS empty :P), was helpful, fast, and friendly, and did in fact completely avoid getting run down in the middle of the street just as I’d suggested.

Mikey left. The WSDOT guys smiled, waved, told me to have a good weekend. I was moving again, about 15 minutes after I’d stalled in the tunnel. I got back to Ballard and picked up my NAS, filled up my tank, and went on my way toward Spokane.

I stopped at the same rest stop, which will be closed permanently in two days, to get a healthy picture of Vandwell, pleased to not have been inhaling break smoke getting up there this time. It’s really a shame, save for the Bonneville Salt Flats rest area, this was by far the nicest one I’ve been to.

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I caught up with Marcus in Ellensberg for lunch, still hanging out waiting for his next pick up of hand sanitizer or apples. “I wish I’d thought of lube!”, he said. Indeed. :P

And, I stopped at a scenic overlook, walked up (and down) a bigass hill in flip flops to snap some pictures.

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I’m now safe in a little attic in Spokane in my friends, Craig and Mark’s, house, who have been fans of my music from the beginning. I played their house a couple years ago for their wedding, my first house show ever, and here is my home base for the next week or so, complete with a bath tub that I am using indiscriminately, along with the ridiculous selection of bath sauces Mark picked up for me knowing how much I dig his tub.

I’ll be getting the glass tinted in the van on Friday and after that, be continuing on my way, potentially camping a night in Coeur d’Alene. I’m thinking Zion, after that, but the for-sure part is that I’m heading south, toward Los Almos, and what is sure to be a prime selection of problems to solve, working on getting the AC functional in the van.

Here’s hoping I’ve gotten this good batch of teaching moments and calamities out of the way, and I’ll have mostly smooth sailing for a while. I was shocked at how tired I am today after all that excitement and problem solving and learning. Which, it turns out, I’m remembering, I’m actually quite good at.

Also; My stupid parking break light? Still on.

It’s been a long time since a blog post took 4+ hours to write. Time for another bath, I think.

Beauty in the Breakdown

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

I had come to the title for this piece while it was in progress a couple weeks ago.

It’s fitting that I finally finished it today, which was largely spent processing through a complex and incredibly irrational emotional trigger.

I figured it out, and figured a few side notes out, too. Like that my ex now represents abandonment for me rather than my mother — he shows up when my little is feeling desperate and lonely — and no matter how grown up I get or how professional I act or how ‘correct’ the response is, it hurts and is deeply scary as fuck when someone I care about doesn’t seem to care too much about losing access to our intimacy.

While I was finishing this watercolor, I sobbed and wept a lot, and I sipped through the last of the discontinued tea that marked intense bonding and sense memories from my last romantic relationship. It felt like the right time to officially complete that part of my life.

These hideous and beautiful and incredibly uncomfortable processes helped me figure out what was happening with me today, and what needed to be done to balance it. Hint: I’d forgotten an important step in completing a grief transition.

Always comes down to that, doesn’t it.

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Finding Amanda: An internet love story

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Amanda Palmer and Courtnee Fallon Rex Photographed by Steve Kuhn The Art of Asking Book Tour. Sat, November 22, 2014. First Unitarian Church – Los Angeles

When I was young, I thought I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I knew the problems, the deeper causes of the things I was seeing in people, that needed answering.

And I thought, since I seemed to be the only one who really *saw* what the problems were, saw them and felt them in my guts and talked about seeing them and feeling them in my guts, I was naturally responsible for fixing them, too.

All of them. Everywhere.

That turned out to be a bit of a problem for me. One I’ve since largely solved in my growth, accepting my role as a healer, an activist, and learning about boundaries.

Back then, I kept wishing I had been born earlier, so I could have been a part of the uprising in the 60’s, when “shit mattered”, when the ambient rage against this profoundly sick world order had a focus and a voice.
Now, I really really miss the 90’s.

I did my best to rebel and find my own way, but internalized a contempt for my own perspective and an intense hate for my sensitivity.

As a tiny girl I had started cussing and spewing sexist racist shit like a motherfucking truck driving military sailor, and I basically hated everyone. I lied about my age (when I was 11 I was 14) and hung out with older boys. I started smoking when I was 9, drinking when I was 10. I stole shit and resold it at school. I experimented with drugs.

In middle school I had found my niche as a leader of a small group of nerdy weirdos. I, like most middles schoolers, was bullied and pushed around, once by a large group in my own front yard.

I was the girl who peed her pants laughing, daily, at lunch. I was the girl who responded to being given flowers by immediately eating them. I was the girl who stayed at school until 6pm hanging out with the uncool teachers because they cared about me and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house and I secretly loved and adored them even though that wasn’t cool and I don’t think I ever told them how much they meant to me and I wish I had now (Thank you Mr. Pericone, Mr. Ebi and Mrs. Wollard).

By the time I was 15 I was so acutely aware that the system was a sham, I was going insane. I saw so clearly the dynamic of perpetrated violence in society, and in my life. I saw the pain hiding in peoples eyes, but I didn’t have the support to find my ground to stand against it. Everywhere I looked what I saw was how we were killing each other, and how I unconsciously contributed to that cycle.

I hated High School, even though I barely attended, and once I went there, I immediately fell deeply into drugs. I’m talking deep. Few know how bad it was. I quickly dropped out to join the workforce with a fast food job, so I could go on USEnet and use my minimum wage to buy Nirvana bootlegs, and more drugs.

I had no direct examples of self-supporting ways to cope with the cruelty of the world, and if I did come across them indirectly, they weren’t cool or appealing anyway because they weren’t ‘powerful’ like domination and violence seemed to be.

Emotionally, I was broken open and rawly empathic, connected with attrition and the damage we inherently do to one another simply by existing, and enraged at my impotence in fixing it. Physically, I was, frankly, killing myself.

I hadn’t lived enough then, well enough, to have the decades of varied experience and intense healing it would turn out I’d need in order to break out of my patriarchal conditioning and trust the instincts I was trying to snuff out. I was going crazy in part because that’s what I believed I was.

A new (digital) hope

In early 1995, in Sacramento California, from a commodore 8088 connected to a shell account with crl.com on a screechy modem with an actual WIRE, my dad showed me how to get on this Internet Relay Chat thing he’d told me about.

CRL’s root .ircrc file had a bunch of dead servers referenced in it, and I’d spent likely not nearly as long as it felt like I had being suicidally-frustrated with trying to figure out how to get the fuck online. Dad swooped in, figured out there was a /server command, and my life thus changed forever.

There were words on a screen attached to real-yet-fantasy humans who, when they weren’t talking about overthrowing governments and anal rape, were telling me I was not alone. That the social system we inherited was fucked and we were going to unfuck it by fucking it. There was a space, suddenly, to tell people what I saw.

There were vulnerable conversations about emotion and loss and pain where the ‘real’, world had been about image and learning how to be an expert on being fake. I’d found people who weren’t afraid to talk about the despair we all felt, through a medium that protected us better than any person had.

That was where, I thought, I found salvation. And for a while, I suppose I did. I wasn’t a sad sack high school nerd druggie statistic everyone fucking picked on, I was a social engineer in the thick of a god damn underground hacker revolution that only some people picked on.

My social life was with criminals on IRC, where I could explore my rage, screw the man, and say whatever the fuck kind of offensive abusive shit I wanted. I spent my time on meth and anything else I could find, listening to The Prodigy, chain smoking reds, fucking around with linux and waiting for the years to cycle to the next DEFCON.

I started maintaining my own web pages, gnashing my teeth about the worlds fuckedupedness (and how it caused me to feel), in 1995. I was one of the first webcams on the internet. I had my own irc channel (#nee). I had fans.

People emailed me often to tell me they’d found my site and how much what I was writing mattered to them. That my words mattered to them. I kept expecting waves of hate. They sent me fan art. They shared their stories. They told me I had saved their lives and that my spews of misery and hopelessness gave them hope. They told me I helped them feel less alone.

The first time someone told me I should write a book of my life I had been alive 15 years. I was a social advocate without really knowing it, a musician without accepting it, a community leader without being responsible for it, a digital artist. A flawed and miserable human being, with an intimate community online that fueled and supported me, nodding, saying; I see what you see, thank you for saying it.

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As a musician I had a bit of a business on the original mp3.com in 1999/2000, but had started recording cover songs long before. I went by the name Not Applicable, and I insisted, vehemently, proudly, that my music would always, always be available for free, on my site.

But things change, and so did all that.

The RIAA destroyed mp3.com, and with it, my faith in the world supporting my niche-y emo-enya never-gonna-sell-shit-for-sony music. I went from identifying as an empowered independent artist with a support structure that validated me, from being featured and interviewed by ABC news (and my cam images being used in the original piece as well) regarding the success of the movement I was a part of, to feeling displaced and bullied and utterly rejected, with my dreams in flames at my feet.

With the fall of mp3.com, I also went from being a part of a community of artists and musicians who were, once again, revolutionary, by collaborating worldwide via audio files online, to drifting alone in space. I was always in the top 3 of the ambient electronic charts, and many people sent me remixes of my work and collaborated with me by finding me there, including one of the trance musician idols I’d had at the time, and lots of unknowns who are still unknown.

We were a creative artist economy birthing cross-pollinated artwork existing inside the payback for playback and DAM CD models for making money. It wasn’t going to make us all filthy rich, but it was a god damn fucking internet revolution utopia all the same.

I shrugged it off and didn’t let myself think about losing that community part all that much. I spewed anger at how unfair mp3.com’s demise was, and suddenly focused on the money, the wopping $2700 I’d made in a year, because of course it was just weak and selfish and shitty to want support and connection and love from people.

It had taken such immense courage for me to share my deeply personal and vulnerable music, music that made me cry from being so good and double over in pain for being so raw, music that rose out of me from a dark place I didn’t understand. I kept waiting for the hate to come, especially after I joined the mp3.com community from sharing my songs by DCC sending to friends in my IRC channel.

mp3.com was my taste of vitality as an artist. It was the first place I was confronted with irrefutable proof from strangers that my music was good. It was my bridge, back when I was still the only Courtnee on the internet, and the internet was all the connection with the human race I had that fucking mattered to me. It was a community that I’ve never found a comparable replacement for.

The hate never did come. Perhaps because it never had the chance to. For my efforts, for my courage, I received virtually nothing but waves of acceptance and love, feature after feature on the site praising my work even though I was a screwed up crazy hermit making weird whiney sad music that would never end up on the radio.

Losing that relevance changed me, reconfirmed my doubts in myself. I utterly loathed the music industry, threw up at the thought of playing shows. With mp3.com, I had let myself open up, and feel some hope. The loss of this flow of connection for me was staggering. And because of it I hardened.

I turned to the other revolution I was a part of for comfort and belonging while grieving my artistic self, to find it wasn’t there anymore, either. The geeks, the remaining foothold of my revolutionary home base, are no longer the underdog freedom fighters, and they haven’t been for a very long time. They’re the ruling class in the same system we despised.

It hurts to see your revolution become the system. Maybe even more than it hurts to see the revolution get flat out crushed by it. It’s a fucking betrayal I can only barely wrap my head around, but I feel it in my body. It’s a fucking betrayal I keep seeing over and over again in my life. Seeing the entropy, seeing the fear, seeing how the people who are doing what is most needed in this world are getting fucked and assimilated.

It got under my skin when the powers that be managed to napalm the countryside we were beginning to settle with mp3.com. Feeling like I almost had it, like I was almost valid — and then I closed my eyes and covered my head while the power in the world which already had way more than it needed clubbed me, and when I opened them again everything was different.

I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting. Not until Amanda walked into my office.

I can articulate now, after a lot of processing, and galvanizing our connection a few weeks ago by performing for her and her fans in Los Angeles, I hated Amanda Palmer because she represented for me the person I was who died with mp3.com and the internet as I had known it. Died “because” I didn’t have what Amanda Palmer had — a stream of fanbase supporting her when her conventional link to them [a record label], which I knew would have fucked me, fucked her, too.

She represented who I could be now if I hadn’t divorced from my core and spent years of my life chasing money and stability betraying myself in the tech industry before finding my way back to myself.

She represented for me the damage I did to my soul by choosing to take that path, for going through the motions while shutting down who I really was, for taking the RIAA attacking the home I’d found in mp3.com so unbelievably personally.

She represented the pain in becoming even more isolated and quiet as a musician, my most vulnerable and profound form of art, the paralyzation of being introverted and insecure and losing my foothold.

She represented the reality of only knowing how to be a solo musician making music in the safety of my dark little cave and posting it on the internet.

Healing is a pretty important aspect of being a revolutionary. It’s hard to cheer someone on who breaks through the glass ceiling you’re still concussed from smashing into and weakening for them.

In the rise of the digital music revolution, the unsigned artists of mp3.com got royally fucking fucked. As we grew in closer path alignment over the years, Amanda served as a screen for me to project that disembodied grief.

I had it first. I was there first, I had it, I had the following, I had the waves of love, I had the future, I WAS the future, I was AHEAD, and then I fucking wasn’t. In utter projective emotional simplicity that makes little logical sense, I was an Amanda Palmer before Amanda Palmer.

And then I wasn’t.

In the decade after the blow of mp3.com, and countless other events that knocked my fragile sense of self around back in those days, I am finally beginning to feel and trust in the ripples of reward for the tremendous amount of exertion and surgical accountability it’s taken to come back to where I am ready to step into myself again. Into my seeing, into my caring, into my vulnerability, into the vivid authenticity that steams off of me as a performer and a music maker and a singer, into my talents, and into my contributions.

It’s been a long decade.

Finding that I was still so emotionally fucked up over a website going down a decade before was an embarrassing reality to resign to in order to write this, but it’s just the honest truth of things. The impact to fragile hiding 22 year old me, losing mp3.com and what it represented in my life, at that time and at that point in my delicate career, caused a painful rift between me and myself that has taken a long time to sew back up.

Thank you for helping me heal it, Amanda. Thank you for helping that part of me come back.

PTSD no moe

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

EXPERIMENT: Cognitive Process Therapy to address nearly 30 years of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Fin.

Here are the results.

Full Circle

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

For many idealistic years, I vehemently declared that I would never, ever step foot in LA, certainly never to perform on a stage. Nope. And at one time, I fiercely convinced myself I hated Amanda Palmers guts, too.

This Saturday not only am I going to LA (for like a third time now.. shhhh), this time it’s to be on a stage, talking with Amanda Palmer as part of her Art of Asking book tour, in which our first encounter is mentioned.

What keeps going on in my head right now, is that I didn’t have to let her into my office that day. I didn’t have to rearrange my schedule to be able to see her. I was genuinely busy, genuinely had every opportunity and, on the surface, reason to let her pass me by.

But I knew atmospherically that *I* was worth it. I knew *I* was worth more than the behaviors I had identified with, I knew *I* was worth growing into newer better behaviors, into newer better ways of thinking and relating. Even if it was fucking embarrassing and challenged my ego and was scary as all fuckin shit.

I really can’t imagine a better way for all of this to have happened with Amanda. I wouldn’t have been able to join her, be open to receiving this opportunity, unless it was specifically to talk about the transition in my perspective of her. How we grow and connect and heal each other and love ourselves as human beings, how we can forgive each other, but most importantly, how we can forgive ourselves.

At the time I met Amanda, she was shining a light on everything that was wrong with me, and also everything that could be right if I just stepped into it. Part of me wanted to stay “busy”. I knew I was going to have to face some big ugly shit in myself if I let her in, things I had identified with “being” for a long time, things I was confused and embarrassed about.

I knew being vulnerable to her, no matter what came of it, would just be the beginning of something new for me. I could feel it in the air and in my blood and up my back and in my overheated face. And I knew that maybe I was going to get the shit kicked out of me for it.

I am reminded of a span of 7 recent months I spent writhing in intense emotional pain, trying to show someone important to me how much their unconsciousness, their turtled up insistence of “THIS IS HOW I AM”, their utter self loathing, was hurting me, disrespecting me, and was finally irrevocably destroying our relationship.

I am reminded how much I wanted to do that same thing I witnessed him doing — to dig in my heels, say no, to stay willfully obtuse — when I was faced with the prospect of Amanda showing up on my doorstep.

I did face it. But no one else could have made me do that. And if there is one hard lesson I think I’ve finally, finally learned, it’s that I couldn’t make him, and I can’t make you, do the same.

But I can remind you that you are worth healing for. You are worth reconsidering. You are worth examining. You are worth forgiving. You are worth more than your patterns. You are worth healing what your defenses are covering up. You are worth a kick in your own ass. You are worth more than what you were taught. You are worth raising your standards. You are worth your own honesty. You are worth being seen. You are worth being supported. You are worth letting go of what doesn’t belong to you. You are worth going deeper. You are worth your love, your energy, and your commitment.

You are worth facing your shit. And no one else can do it for you. But when someone comes along who can help you along your way…

Take. The fucking. Doughnuts.