Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

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.

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.

No more I Love You’s

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

“I am starting to tire of these memes and these standards. I am beginning to feel as though the stringent ‘enlightened’ perfectionism in what ‘relationship’ is supposed to look like and what love is supposed to look like is just as damaging as other dehumanizing expectations inherent in society. I look at these standards and I wonder where the hell the person is, and where the social environment comes into play. Who the fuck talks without intention? What even is that? If I wanted to approach life like an unattached non-structured ghost shell I would go be a fuckin monk in a vacuum where I might actually be able to accomplish reducing myself to that. Otherwise, I no longer see these ideals as attainable or even remotely empowering. I especially dislike these supposed values when they are placed in expectation upon women, who are historically supposed to somehow be whole people, but also be the empty containers of infinitely flexible nurturance for all of society. For whatever reasons and because of wherever I am at, this really rubbed me the wrong way.

And by ‘starting to tire’ I actually mean I am so fucking done.

Like seriously fuck this meme.” — Facebook

I’ve been contemplating my strengths lately.

Which is different from what I am usually doing, which is attempting to bolster and improve upon my deficiencies — enough so that I’d actually come to view the incessant practice of striving toward the improvement of my flaws as my core strength (it’s not).

You’d think, with how long and hard the road has been, and how many backslides I’ve experienced, that perhaps I wasn’t really designed for loving. And I’ve said/accepted as much, before, usually as a way to make myself feel like shit.

But funny, how I’ve not really come to terms with this objectively, in regards to what ‘love’ actually even MEANS.

When I am honest with myself, it is clear as day; To most anyone’s standards, including my own, I’ve never, ever ‘loved’ anyone. Not a single fucking person.

And yet, I’ve told people I loved them.

Whatever the hell that meant at the time…

And until now, I’d maintained that I had been in love, while also maintaining that I do not know how to love.

..Indeed.

I spent most of my young life putting up with shit from people who I knew didn’t meet my standards. Then I spent a chunk of my adult life markedly alone trying to calibrate my radar to detect even one person I could love with unconditional acceptance. So I could finally prove to myself and to all of you and to the people who’ve ditched me in my life for not being good enough that I had learned to ‘love’ the ‘right’ way, the enlightened selfless malleable accepting unattached spiritual perfection way everyone tells me, and themselves, is the correct way to do it.

Well, I am done with that horseshit. I’m done trying to do it your way.

My love is god damn fucking conditional. In fact, my love is downright fucking finicky. My love doesn’t look like the bosom of squishy motherly space making sacrifice that many people, including myself, seem to want love to look like.

My love doesn’t look like the fantasy love your mommy never gave you, and *it’s never fucking going to*.

My love looks like I give a fuck about you when generally I don’t bother with most people.

My love looks like I am intimately encouraging and engaged with you when I am not that for the rest of the fucking world.

My love looks like being invested in your growth.

My love looks like the truth when you wanna hear some kind of placating watered down bullshit.

My love looks like having your phone number saved in my phone for longer than a minute.

My love looks like dropping everything to help you when you’re fucked sideways or stranded somewhere.

My love looks like I actually reach out to you myself sometimes.

My love is for sale.

My love comes and goes, and at any point in time, you might be the direct recipient, or you might not.

My love doesn’t mean I set myself aside for you, or that my space is always your space. My love doesn’t mean I won’t swipe at you when you’re acting like a fucking asshat or playing out oppression dynamics on me. My love doesn’t mean I’m going to meld my everything with your everything and be attached to your hip. My love isn’t reserved to be focused in one way or in one direction. My love is a droplet of silkspun supermoon primordial spit trickling out of a unicorns cunt, not blasting like a fucking firehose 24/7 for your fucking convenience.

That’s what my love fucking looks like.

But in actuality, I’m also done with calling any of that ‘love’. Because that fucking word has caused me more interpersonal grief than any other word in our entire fucking language.

That word has been used against me to punish me for not loving right, completely enough, fast enough, long enough, for not doing what YOU wanted me to do.

That word is a fucking un-fileable non-entity with the weight of the entire fucking universe attached to it, and I ain’t got time for it.

I’ve used that word to project unrealistic and subconscious expectations on others. And myself. HOLY SHIT myself. I’ve used peoples inability to live up to my evershifting concept of that word as justification for punishing people who didn’t do things my way. And I have had the same done to me.

Aside from the impressive number of people who have used their ‘love’ for me as rationalization for doing shit like raping me, gaslighting me, lying to me, manipulating me, dumping me on my ass, stringing me along — or the impressive number of people for whom my ‘love’ has meant all of that and a sense of possession or resent-laden self sacrifice or both — when I say that word, there is an exceptionally high probability that whoever I am saying it to won’t actually know what the fuck I am talking about anyway.

They will instantly decide what my love means in a vacuum in their own heads. They will decide it means they’ve found a fantasy others never gave them or relate it in comparison to what other people who are nothing like me project love to look like and then punish themselves and me for not living the fuck up to it.

Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the fuck I am talking about when I say it. Sometimes I say I love you to explain away, cop out, or to make my emotions or actions someone else’s problem to figure out. Cause ‘love’, a word that speaks of mental state, emotion, action, intention, and a whole clusterfuck of other intersecting ideals and performative concepts, is just something that’s supposed to be understood, somehow. Even though it doesn’t fucking MEAN anything concrete or directly referencable and it shows up differently in everyone.

And in my experience, even when the meanings behind ‘love’ are intentionally explored, that equates to fuckall in reality. Because all that unconscious heavy overrated fantasy crosscrossing shit that word holds uniquely for each person is engaged in their consciousness already, instantly, filtering, and selectively deciding how to fill in the rest.

So no more “I love you”s. No more of that lazy confusingass shit. I may not be great at ‘loving’ the right way but I AM great at expressing and articulating my emotions in terms that actually make fucking sense, mean something tangible, and don’t open a spring loaded door into my fucking face.

I need just one catchall word in my vocabulary, that can speak to a great many number of various things and bring me a constant stream of emphasis, expression and amusement. That glorious word, is fuck.

So that’s my current language exercise, now. No more “I love”. Instead, I am working on describing in detail, in words that illustrate actual things, what it is I actually mean.

Fuck ‘love’.

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

“Letting go of a relationship is letting go of a form. It occurs when the love that you are cannot be expressed in the container of the relationship, in the form that it is in. For as your heart has continued to grow and expand, you may find that the current form of your relationship does not allow you to express all the love that you are. When this happens, your soul will find ways to free you, to help you build a new form. Wether it is you or the other person who physically draws away, it is always because the relationship has been a success and all the love that you can express has been expressed, and there now needs to be a new form for you to express all the love that you are now capable of giving. The purpose of every relationship is to open your heart, to allow you to become more loving to yourself and to others. Think now of how you have become more loving since you started this relationship… Congratulate yourself on the expansion of your heart, on your greater capacity to love. The ‘you’ that is even more open now, more loving, more kind, more gentle, more open, more understanding.” -Orin

Monday, October 12th, 2015

“Twenty years ago, if you had told me I would be doing what I’m doing now I would have said you’re crazy. There is no way I would have believed you.

We each walk a path that is our own. It isn’t always pretty. It can be painful. Messy. Destructive. And we experience things that shape us for better or for worse. I fought my path tooth and nail for a good chunk of my life. I tried to fill it with things that hurt me. Because I was hurting. I made choices that hurt people. I made choices that hurt myself.

Like many out there, I’ve survived terrible things. Seen things I shouldn’t have. Witnessed atrocious behavior and didn’t speak up.

Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to be happy and live a life I could be proud of. I wanted more than being a martyr or victim or to suffer in silence. It was lonely and very difficult. Many times I wanted to give up. I don’t know how I made it sometimes.

Experiencing hardship and challenges is what makes many of us more compassionate and accepting. It did me. And it showed me what I didn’t want in my life.

In my culture we call this kind of idea “ciillanguarteq”. To become aware or conscious of the world around us. We have many awakenings like that in our lifetime. It’s up to us to choose how we process and use those awakenings. It’s up to us to continue to evolve or to fight them.

One of the things I promised myself when I was younger and experiencing hardship was that I would become adept at being able to do as much as I could. Enhance the definition of our Yup’ik word: “cavesratuli”-Somebody who knows how to work on everything. I promised myself I would become an expert in as many things and types of work as I could so I would never be without a job or a way to support myself. That desire came from having nothing.

Another thing I promised myself was I would constantly work at being a better person. Learn. Grow. Change. Because I knew that who I wanted to be wasn’t who I was. That’s the difficult part. It means you have to be able to look at yourself critically and see what needs work. You have to admit your weaknesses. To yourself. And sometimes to others. It means you make the things that don’t work in your life obsolete.

What’s really hard about that, is that sometimes…it means you’ll be alone. If you’ve ever changed while others around you stayed the same, you know it’s a lonely thing to do.

I’m glad I chose the things I did. Even the mistakes.” — Estelle Thomson

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

“You torment yourself wondering how they could not love your burning heart; the answer is, darling, you are not the star you thought you were. You are the fucking universe, and not everyone is an astronaut.”

Adios, Austin!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Leaving with an expanded resume, a touched heart, my hands full of new helpful tech, and a head full of ideas.

Also I learned that sometimes there ARE good reasons, to water dirt.

Get updates at http://patreon.com/courtnee

24 hours

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

The artwork I’ve made in the last 24 hours. About 12.5×6″ Ballpoint, ink, watercolor.

From top, my friends:
Fedora El Morro, Eliza Skeffington, and Dreadful Jonquil.

Road update from Bozeman, MT

Monday, June 1st, 2015

I’m back on the road as of Sunday, after spending a full week staying with friends in Spokane. I mostly rested a lot, took many baths, ate ice cream, and hung out. Van life is also a lot more comfortable now that I got the windows tinted. NW Solar in Spokane did a great job for a reasonable price.

I got about half my mp3’s off of my NAS onto an external drive during the time I was on a network, which I will do pretty much nothing with for the time being because the van only has an AM/FM radio. But I have more readily available access to music than I did before so.. score?

In art news, on Friday, almost one week later, I played the house show I didn’t make it to the weekend before, for a tiny audience of three. Matthew Winters of The Bight joined me and played a bit. He’s an impressive solo artist and super nice dude. Check out his bands music if you are like me and missed them at the Volume Festival this weekend.

IMG_6432http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />I also finally got a chance to hang out and have lunch with Dreadful Jonquil of Fiercelocks, formerly of Seattle and now of Spokane. We’ve collaborated artistically in the past but had never had a chance to just be together. It was really freakin nice.

I’m also having more brake troubles with the van. I got them checked in Spokane after an uneventful second drive out, to be told that the holding pin on the left rear drum brake had apparently popped out (and that they’d never seen that happen before) and my left rear brake hadn’t really been braking at all.

They also said that in 14 years of brake work they have never heard of, and can’t imagine how, an adjustment wheel would be responsible for freezing a brake in mid-transit, and suggested that the people at Tire Factory told me that’s what happened to cover up something they fucked up.

Regardless, my rear brakes were adjusted, again, and off I went with a supposed clean bill of health, again.

Now, when I brake at high speeds, the van shudders like it’s going to shake itself apart, and I can feel the rear brakes catching unevenly. I can avoid this if I use up about half a mile to slow down (so that’s what I’m currently doing). Today, rather than puttering through Yellowstone as I’d planned, I am trying to find a brake shop in Bozeman or perhaps Livingston to get the rotors properly measured and examined and likely, replaced.

[insert dead happyface with dollarsign eyes]

In my bodywork/healing practice, the definition of progress is often the act of chasing down a moving problem. I’m sorta looking at this brake thing like that. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to not be having these issues, though.

Speaking of which, my health has been a little off lately (and what would a blog entry of mine be without mentioning poop?). I’ve got a pale clay color going on, indicative of a problem with bile secretion, and I am fucking -tired-, basically all the time. I also ate pretty badly this last month or so, and I’m not in a lot of pain, but it’s another thing, like my brakes, and like the sag in my motorcycle tow carrier, that I am tracking closely.

IMG_6473http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-1024x688.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-460x309.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-688x462.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />
Montana is fucking beautiful in the springtime, btw. I spent many hours yesterday driving south of a gorgeous storm. I could see lightning in the distance for most of the way. It was so cool I couldn’t stand it, and stopped to stand on top of the van and take a panorama video for my patrons.

I also took a few pictures at Old Mission National Park in north Idaho that are available as prints.

Maui 2015

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Back in April, with a little help from my friends, I returned to Maui for a week, where I was expertly whisked directly from the airport to Baldwin beach.

OH GOD THE WATER SO GOOD SO GOOD OH GOD OH GOD SHO GHOOOOOOOD OH GHAAAAAD — Facebook

Mostly, I spent my time sleeping, reading (the Percy Jackson books, to prepare for Camp), learning some basic archery, and swimming about a zillion times a day whenever I needed to cool off (or felt crabby, which usually meant I needed to cool off).

I also ate lots of cake, drank lots of water, cooked breakfasts, shared shaved ice and fresh coconuts, enjoyed the jungle, hiked small cliffs, and swam with turtles off the coast where I was staying.

I returned to Little Beach, shaved my head again, got naked a lot, rescued an umbrella from a tree after a split second wind storm, and it was a good week had by all — even when the van overheated, dumping its transmission fluid, and we needed to be towed a zillion miles on the road to Hana. I also added a bird and a branch to my sleeve tattoo (reminding me of the importance of rest) on my last day.

Here are some pieces of photographic evidence of my downtime, taken by Shawn Jezerinac. Thank you especially to Shawn, for offering to share his fortune of a place to stay on the island, and Cliff, for helping me get there.

The few photos I took are on neevita.net

A place to lay my head

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Over the last two days, with the guidance and collaboration of my friend Chris, I used a hacksaw, a jigsaw, both a table AND hand held grinder, an oxygen torch, assisted with two types of power saws and a drill press and all sorts of other shit I don’t even remember, in order to make metal brackets and holding pins for the wood base of my platform bed, which utilizes the seat rails that are already in the van and is totally removable.

Grinding metal (on purpose) is fucking awesome. I am glad, regardless of the things that aren’t really ideal about this vehicle, that I got the chance to play with some power tools again — and I’ve never worked with metal before. Sparks and bending red hot torchassed metal rod, FTW. I wanna do more of it.

It had looked like, and I had hoped, that I would be upgrading to a shuttle bus before leaving — however, that didn’t pan out, and the pre-bedframe part of me was kinda ticked off about that. Now that it’s done, more space creation and organizing energy is moving, and the van seems less cramped and oppressive than it did yesterday.

I kinda wanna make a table that attaches to the frontward seat rails, now…

*whistles innocently*

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.

IMG_5547http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-550x760.jpg 550w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-252x348.jpg 252w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-688x951.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 741px) 100vw, 741px" />

Monday, January 5th, 2015

“Love is challenging in all its forms. Familial love, love in friendship, love in romance. Love in our relationships with ourselves. There are all sorts of definitions for love, all sorts of ideas about what love is. In All About Love, bell hooks talks about love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”. I like that definition, it sounds right. And simple enough in the way a definition of love off simple.

Only it isn’t simple at all. Because in order to extend one’s self for anyone’s spiritual growth, including one’s own, one has to first be capable of extending one’s self, and then be willing to choose to do so.

And extending oneself, for the purpose of anything, let alone love, is really fucking scary.” — Mia McKenzie

Behold: The Itty Bitty Hizzy Committee

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Building a kickass little house is awesome!

Building a kickass little house is also a lot of work, requiring a lot of skills, many of which I do not yet have, as well as many other skills I do have but probably can’t exercise all at once.

Are you shitballs excited that the Tiny House is happening and wanna help? Do you have carpentry experience, know about roofing, solar panels, instant water heaters? Architecture? Welding? Running electrical? Composting toilets?

Can you hammer a nail without hammering your ass to the wall, mostly? What about cooking for a dozen people, running water, or errands? Can you point a video camera and document the process for my Patrons? What about editing video? Got a truck? A clawfoot tub? Do you wanna throw money at me like confetti?

If you’re local to Seattle (and maybe even if you’re not..) and know how to do something, we can probably use you, either right away or next year when the build starts. And if you have build materials or tools, we might want those, too.

That is why I have created C-Rex’s Itty Bitty Hizzy Committee.

Currently it’s a mailchimp list, so I can get a list of people’s email addresses and their opt-in consent to badger them about what they may have to offer.

For now, it’ll be a bit of a catch-all list, but as the project ramps up and I understand more about how the types of needs I have will flow, I’ll probably branch it out into a spreadsheet filtered by talent or something like that to spare everyone spam.

For now, if you think you’re gonna want to be involved in this project at some point, sign up and get your head counted!

WWWWHOOOOSH!!!

Listening: The Secondary Trauma.

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“If you are a man who is becoming upset/depressed/overwhelmed/hopeless/defensive when you listen to the women in the world/your life talk about their experiences, you need to talk about it. With another man.

I really, really mean this. You absolutely need to talk to another guy. A guy you are friends with and who you trust is ideal.

If you don’t have that kind of guy in your life- and, seriously, you are not alone in that area- then you have the very hard, critical work of figuring out how to make that kind of friendship ahead of you. If you are feeling a restless helplessness over all of this, that can be your challenge.

And if you are a guy who has already figured this out- if you’ve already figured out the circle thing and the male friendship and intimacy thing and how to be supportive of women thing- then my personal challenge to you is to go and find the guys in your world who haven’t totally made this connection, and pull them into your circle. Mentor them. Teach them how to do what you’ve figured out to do.

Seriously, I can’t do that. Your girlfriends and lady friends and moms and sisters and classmates and bosses can’t do that. But you can, and that is absolutely invaluable.

Women need men to learn how to be emotionally connected to other men. We need men to learn how to draw emotional support and nurturing from other men. Not to do that in absence of us, but in addition to us. Because men being isolated and lonely- it really, really is killing us.

Men and women, it is really killing us.”

Notallmen/Yesallwomen, secondary trauma and relearning everything for the sake of not killing each other

Revenge of the nerds.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Due to recent experience and lessons therein, I am purposely avoiding reading about the sorority murders or following the story right now.

But what’s most interesting about that, is how little I need to follow that story in order to grasp what’s going on.

Of all the murmurs I have heard about Elliot, and what this all means socially, the write up I chose to read ended up being this one by Arthur Chu:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

Reading that dailybeast link made me cry with somber recognition. Crying for the vulnerable little girl who thought she was safer and more respected by these nice timid geeks than I would be by the other manifested forms of sexism and misogyny that plague our interpersonal landscapes.

I am crying for all those times my illusion of escaping that plague unraveled when trusted friends crawled out of the woodwork asking for romance whenever a relationship of mine ended.

Crying for all the chances I gave people I knew weren’t up to snuff because they were around, appreciative, and not violently raping or overtly abusing me.

For all the confused acceptance and inclusion I have done in my life when I didn’t feel right about it, and how that furthered this unintegral dynamic.

For how few — how absolutely very few — men; people, in the geek subculture have an understanding, or an interest in understanding, how rampant this problem is, and most importantly, how they play into it.

For how I have played into it.

“So, a question, to my fellow male nerds:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

How much longer are we going to be in denial that there’s a thing called “rape culture” and we ought to do something about it?” – Arthur Chu

As part of my recent wake up call, I ended a 16 year friendship with a nice geeky guy who was loyal, generous, available, and among many things, perpetually incapable of accepting my sexual disinterest in him.

The connection I had with him had been limping along for years, and had been peppered in the distant past with ill consented sex, bad boundaries on both sides, opportunistic leveraging of substances, obsession, and a lot of whining about how he only wanted me and didn’t know how to move on from that (but also hadn’t really tried).

I blamed solely myself for his attitude for many, many years. I had at times slept with him, after all, even cheated on my husband with him a lifetime ago, and felt responsible for his paralyzed inability to accept when I had moved on. …Or to even take a small step in the direction of moving on; like take down the myriad of images of me in his house.

For years, I attempted to integrate this waning and uncomfortably pressuring friendship from my misguided youth into my intimate life, with infrequent pity sex, ambient inclusive gestures like including him in the description of ‘my boys’, ignoring that we had less and less in common, and constantly stuffing down my creeped out feelings about what we both had done.

Once it became clear I could no longer maintain that, I cut him off from any sex officially and I mostly avoided him, again for years, unable to determine how I would be capable of ending such a long complicated friendship without doing more damage; until I was raped, and he reached out to offer support to me, and found I could not pretend to trust him any longer, or pretend that he hadn’t done the same.

This friend, while of the extreme, was not an isolated dynamic in my life.

“What did Elliot Rodger need? He didn’t need to get laid. None of us nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid. When I was an asshole with rants full of self-pity and entitlement, getting laid would not have helped me.

He needed to grow up.

We all do.” – Arthur Chu

It is not just the men who are suffering from this Princess in Another Castle syndrome and need to wake up and grow up; women are bred and conditioned to give chances, make exceptions, and throw a guy a bone because they’re ‘nice’, claim they are ‘nice’, and gosh darn it, they really like you.

Don’t shit on the nice guys, we are told, and are telling each other. Don’t let that nice guy get away, cause they’re a rare breed, honey, and to be an evolved woman means leaving the cheating jerk bad boys behind.

Even now, removed from the intimate relations, I see more evidence of this culture in my solo life; It’s piling up, like sightings of the make and model car you just bought, showing up everywhere in my memories, in media, in the interactions I witness between people. And it’s profoundly disturbing.

“But I have known nerdy male stalkers, and, yes, nerdy male rapists. I’ve known situations where I knew something was going on but didn’t say anything—because I didn’t want to stick my neck out, because some vile part of me thought that this kind of thing was “normal,” because, in other words, I was a coward and I had the privilege of ignoring the problem.” – Arthur Chu, you may just heal my long-learned distaste for Asian men yet.

And why would these guys think they weren’t entitled to what they want from me, whatever that is, or that I would actually stand by what it is I am asking for, and be capable of letting a connection go that continues not to fit?

I had told them all no, first. And then I eventually said yes; Because he was nice, and available, and persistent, he didn’t push me to have sex with him or pester me about it (or he did), but most importantly: he’d decided he had found his princess.

From the first male figure in my life until now, he wasn’t who I needed, but neither was I; So his princess is who I became. Over and over again. Because that’s normal. And romantic.

When these people let me down; by raping me, resenting me, stalking me, empathizing with one another, defending rape jokes, stewing for years in their stale self-pitying mediocrity — as horrifying and devastating and frustrating as all that was — it was actually on me to recognize that as being the only honest response they were capable of.

Rather than asking how they could choose to be so perpetually fucking clueless and self centered, what I really should have been asking was why in the world I expected anything other than that?

Rather than chastising myself for not having respect for these people, thinking I was somehow defective for not accepting their ‘niceness’ at face value, I really should have recognized that by standing on their pedestals I had no choice but to look down on them.

“Other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

We need to get that. Really, really grok that, if our half of the species ever going to be worth a damn. Not getting that means that there will always be some percent of us who will be rapists, and abusers, and killers. And it means that the rest of us will always, on some fundamental level, be stupid and wrong when it comes to trying to understand the women we claim to love.” – Arthur Chu

I really must thank these boys (and Arthur, for growing up and writing what he wrote) for the light they collectively switched on for me; for the role they formerly played in my life.

It took me a long time, but this is now one of those things, like the day my boyfriend punched me in the face for the first, and the last time, that will go down in my history as one of the most illuminating and transformative experiences in my life.

Like finding that wall with my intolerance for being hit, I have made my way to this edge, and what I have here seen cannot be unseen. My landscape has changed, my world is different, and I will not tolerate this shit remaining in my life.

Once again, I am shedding ties, and leveling up.

I’m sorry, but your Princess is in Another Castle; and that is not my fucking problem anymore.

Sketchbook update

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

First page with color in my tiny sketchbook. It will be full by summer, I’m betting.

A word on friendship: Featuring Brenè Brown

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

There are moments in people’s lives, people who decide to move through the world ever growing and opening their hearts, where a pattern of truth can no longer be unseen.

Here’s the tricky part about compassion and connecting: We can’t just call anyone. It’s not that simple. I have a lot of good friends, but there are only a handful of people whom I can count on to practice compassion when I’m in the dark shame place.

If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm. We want solid connection in a situation like this — something akin to a tree firmly planted in the ground. We definitely want to avoid the following:

  1. The friend who hears the story and actually feels shame for you. She gasps and confirms how horrified you should be. Then there is awkward silence. Then you have to make her feel better.
  2. The friend who responds with sympathy (I feel sorry for you) rather than empathy (I get it, I feel with you, and I’ve been there). If you want to see a shame cyclone turn deadly, throw one of these at it: “Oh, you poor thing”.
  3. The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. He can’t help you because he’s too disappointed in your imperfections. You’ve let him down.
  4. The friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds you: “How could you let that happen? What were you thinking?” Or she looks for someone to blame “Who was that guy? We’ll kick his ass”
  5. The friend who is all about making it better and, out of his own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy and make terrible choices. “You’re exaggerating. It wasn’t that bad. You rock. You’re perfect. Everyone loves you.”
  6. The friend who confuses “connection” with the opportunity to one-up you. “That’s nothing. Listen to what happened to me one time!”

Of course, we’re all capable of being “these friends” — especially if someone tells us a story that gets right up in our shame grill. We’re human, imperfect and vulnerable. It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off balance.

When we’re looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, able to bend, and, most of all, we need someone who embraces us for our strengths and struggles. We need to honor our struggle by only sharing it with someone who has earned the right to hear it. When we’re looking for compassion, its about connecting with the right person, at the right time, about the right issue.

-Brenè Brown “The gifts of imperfection”

And who had I chosen to be the main support and companionship in my life?

One man who had massive boundary issues around my sexuality and consistently expressed how they just couldn’t understand my emotional struggles, my abuse history or my shame (You’re perfect!). And another, who thought compassion meant pity (My poor girl) and forcing me to stand on a pedestal (Your angry response to your rape is unjustified) for him.

Ugh. What a horrendously damaging multi-year mistake that was.

So let’s be real now, then, shall we?

Even as my sense of self worth and compassion (the root of which means “To suffer with”) has developed, I am this friend to others all too often – the scolder, the blamer, the shame confirmer – because I let people who haven’t earned my vulnerability, have it anyway.

I have lived my life assuming the list above is relationship, that this is intimacy, that the scolder, the blamer, the shame confirmer, the pityer, the perfection seer, the worthiness piller needer, was sufficient to support me through the intense excavation, completion and transformation of the grief, the pain, and the horrible things I’ve done to survive in my childhood and continued to do much of the rest of my life.

I have lived my life assuming these things because that is what I learned in my family, and even after recognizing the error in that, I have been unable to confront my own shame around so often being such a bad friend to the people I care about.

I am currently unable to show up for others, embedded in scarcity and a place of emotional guarding and urgency, after all this effort and work to pull myself out of that, because of the frequency with which my need for connection and understanding isn’t being met in the relationships I have chosen to prioritize.

I am not still struggling so much with this because I’m so fucking broken and set in my patterns that I’m incapable of cultivating real connection and trust with people.

Though claiming over and over again that I’ve wanted it, I have literally never chosen to be in a romantic relationship with a person who was capable of empathy regarding my experiences in life, or who has shared in my values in terms of personal growth, openness, and what the journey of existing means to me.

I have let people who don’t empathize, don’t understand, don’t share their own vulnerability, and don’t show up for me when I need their support cause me to question the validity of my painful feelings, and turn my back on my basic human longing for connection and acceptance that has not been met in my relationships with them.

I have let them do this by allowing a small part of me to believe their insistence that my pain from those situations is entirely due to my triggers, my patterns, my personality failures; that I’m just not good enough at controlling my shit and bending myself around their righteous plans for me, yet. That I’m just seeing things.

I have let them do this by allowing a small part of me to believe that the compassion and holding I’ve been asking for was me expecting them to be my ‘therapist’, was asking too much, and that the intimacy I needed to be close with them with the depth and authenticity that I choose to live my life in, was wrong.

I have been afraid of isolating and closing down, of repeating that pattern which leads to suicidal ideology, to the point that I have been damaging myself with the opposite.

And, I have felt emotionally obligated to be open with these people because of the money they have chosen to spend on/with me, and their consistently expressed desire to be validated by my trust in them.

These are not the friends I need for the big shit, the people I should be trusting to hold and protect me when I’m threadbare and broken, no matter how much they think they should be or that I allowed them to be in my heavy hitters club for as long as I did.

These are not the people I need to be spending the majority of my time with, entrusting my body with, having sex with, being vulnerable with, talking about therapy with, or relying on for emotional support in my struggle.

These are my art patrons, colleagues, and my fans. They are my supporters in that they are admirers of the results of my hard work, not people who had earned their privileged place as part of that intense and ongoing personal process.

At a time when I was at my most vulnerable and fragile, my most brave and broken open, tackling the deepest darkest shit of my life, precarious in every aspect of my psychological journey as well as in my situational circumstance which is wrought in uncertainty and transition, I have turned to people in search of consideration and awareness who have proven time and again that they are not really there for me.

Not because I’m stupid, or a masochist, or because they are bad people; but because I honestly, even after all this time, haven’t known or believed that better, for me, was possible. Or that I really, really, need it to continue to practice openness and reaching out for authentic connection.

No wonder I ended up such a mess.

I may fall down, and I may hit hard. I may forget to use the tools I have for a while. I may sometimes be too taxed, beaten, tired and weary to be courageous. I may regress and become triggered and show my mean biting ugly. I may brood and stew and go through vile, aggressive phases of pure unadulterated hate, blame, and verbal violence. And I may not always like what I see of myself. I may be forever resigned to dig down deep and introspect and not like what I find and want to change it.

But the thing that’s different about me, though it doesn’t always look like it, and I’m not always elegant at communicating it; I’m on my side, now.

This intention, my drive to keep practicing what I’m learning, to keep growing and providing myself the environment to do so, to keep trying, keep learning how to put my heart out there, to keep opening back up again and again to love, to keep trying to understand what closeness and and belonging look like for me, to keep practicing courage and empathy whenever I can, is more important than maintaining any imbalanced interpersonal relationship. With anyone. Ever.

I’m on my side, no matter what.

Epic motorcycle trip is Epic

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

After crunching the numbers and needing a long walkabout about now anyway, I’ve determined that I will be riding the motorcycle solo down to Palm Springs and back to take my Grief Recovery Method certification workshop next month.

My definite stops on the down route will be looking something like: Portland, Grants Pass, Crescent City, Redding, Tahoe, Bishop, Palm Springs.

Then I’m in Palm Springs for 4 days getting certified and spending way, way too much money staying at the Embassy Suits where the workshop is.

Stops on the way back will be looking something like: Los Angeles, Sacramento, and then whofuckingknows so far, but I imagine I will be taking I-5 back up to save time and mileage.

After the crash in February turning on metal tracks in the rain up here, I haven’t ridden much. After this I’ll either be roadsplatter, or damn comfortable on that bike.

Big adventure.

Can has accordion? (NSFW)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

I’ve been itching for an accordion for a couple years – a little one, that suits little me, and doesn’t have too many bass buttons and isn’t too heavy.

Generally, the less complicated, the better, for a musician like I am.

I had a musty Milano at one time, which was a bit too big for me. I sacrificed it for my underwater series with John Cornicello in 2010, which has brought upon many compliments for us (and print sales for him).

Strangely enough, my new accordion also comes from John – A little Hohner, not as musty – which he’s had stashed in his basement and hadn’t dusted off in years. It was brought out today for the shoot we were doing as part of a birthday gift for a client of his.

We shot with it today, as evidenced by the iPhone picture I took of his camera LCD because I could NOT WAIT, and now, it is mine.

Full circle, bitchez. Full circle.

Seriously fuckin stoked.

Thank you John <3

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

“It’s ok you know,
to be carried now and then,
strength too needs a rest.”

-Tyler Knott Gregson-

In defense of the men

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Lately, I’ve been observing a few racial and feminist activists on twitter complaining about white people and men (especially white men) butting into their conversations about their experiences of oppression. It’s been an interesting ride.

I mirror a number of the sentiments and questions those white people have posed to black activists, and very much dislike the judgement focused on ‘all whites’ in response to them asking.

At the same time, I absolutely want to be more educated and more empathetic to the oppression that surrounds me, because as a white-cis female, in many respects I have had the opportunity not to have to look at it.

I want to look at it. So I can reduce the ways I unconsciously encourage the status quo of dehumanizing people of color and QUILTBAG‘s. Because fuck that. I worked through my distaste for how white people I identified with were being railroaded and vilified and kept watching.

Ultimately I learned a fuckton developing an understanding of what it means to be an ‘ally’, and where best my voice fits in the social justice chorus (hint: It isn’t in the conversations of black women feminists).

One of the many indirect things I have learned from having looked deeper at this, is that sometimes the reason men insert themselves into feminist conversations is not because they don’t see feminism as viable or because they don’t recognize that something is wrong; it is because they do not feel they have voice on the issues of their own sexual and physical abuse.

They see women speaking of their own oppression in the patriarchy and want to let them know, in that completely inappropriate moment, that men suffer physical and sexual abuse as well. They want to be recognized as going through the same things as women are.

In many ways, this is an exercise of their privilege and power to make yet another conversation about them, and it’s not ok to do that. Which is why, for the most part, men will find that this is not an effective way to be heard.

I recognized the need for men to have more safe places to talk about their stigmatized life experiences, even though they like, own everything and everyone and have all the stupid power and all that. Just as I need safe places to talk about my issues even though I’m like, white and cis and pretty and all that.

So a few weeks ago I started a conversation on Facebook inviting the men in my life to discuss their abuse stories, and immediately, the first thing a dear friend of mine feared, was that I was being sarcastic and insincere.

My opening a space for him had triggered his lifetime experience of abuse and subsequent neglect and dehumanization.

This, too, is rape culture, people.

We don’t talk enough about sexual assault against males (or other identified genders besides men and women, for that matter).

I know it happens because this study Slate talked about says so, and also because I’ve unconsciously sexually assaulted men in my past.

If you are a man who thinks they may struggle with the remanence of abuse experiences in his life, 1in6.org is a nonprofit specifically for men, offering tools for thinking about childhood or teenage sexual experiences that may have caused or contributed to current problems.

The site exists as a safe haven for men in specific, and the information here is humanly universal. The depth and quality of it is priceless, and I am very, very glad it exists.

Sadly, it is not enough that this wonderful site exists. We also don’t talk enough about lack of resources for men who are victims of domestic abuse or the realities of the anti-male bias in our court systems.

Plenty of options and resources are openly available for women suffering from physical domestic violence, but for men, as told in this piece published by the also amazing website The Good Men Project, the situation is all too often hopeless and bleak (and utterly heartbreaking).

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/brand-what-do-you-do-when-a-girl-hits-you

This story indirectly mirrors my own teenage experiences, in which I would periodically break down in rage and hit my boyfriend. Many times this would happen in front of others, often at parties. I would be held back, and he would be encouraged not to hit me.

This went on for years, until one day, he pinned me down and beat the shit out of me.

When that happened, most of our friends rallied, I was granted a restraining order from him, and the court system prescribed mandatory therapy and kicked him out of the state.

Over the years as I’ve healed, become more aware, able to better control rage when it comes (much more rarely than before), and moved away from behaving like this, I consistently see the effect this double standard has on our society.

Most recently, it showed up in the form of a male lover, when, after being told I was violently triggered for the first time in years and isolating myself because I feared I would potentially hit him, said “That would be ok.”.

No. That would not have been ok.

Years ago I experienced a breakup in which violence was not a concern from me (the other woman, however, had assaulted him and was having fantasies about beating and knifing him.. but I digress); I wanted nothing to do with him under any circumstances.

However, that person chose to file a restraining order against me which disavowed even the existence of the other women, letalone her presence during the confrontation surrounding his infidelity in which he claimed I did what she did.

Though it was a dick move from a calculated self-serving lying jackass, had he actually been in danger, very few people would have believed him over me. Simply because he was a he. And that’s not ok.

Patriarchy is fucking *everyone*. Tear it down.

We need more safe spaces for men to be heard and understood about their experiences with abuse.

We need more education, dialogue and awareness of this problem and the needs of men and boys in abusive situations.

We need more awareness of female violence and resources to help women who hit people as coping mechanisms.

Shame needs secrecy, silence and judgement to exist.

It cannot survive being spoken and recognized.

Note: For another look at the machine of patriarchy, rape culture, of women needing to be the gatekeepers of sex, of the commonality of acceptance of rape in our society, and the reactions to sexual scarcity that I’ve been writing about lately, check out my friend’s thoughtful fairy tale version from an imaginary male child perspective: Rape: A Fairy Tale

Hawaii

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Drove a convertible across Maui today taking most of the daylight to soak in the road to Hana and a ton of side trails and stops. Wireless access in the Hana Bay yurt we are staying in is better than the Sheraton in which we were charged a $30 a day resort fee for it and the outdoor shower is heavenly. We are shopping too much, sleeping nightly with the windows open, and so far mumbly mcmumbleson has not been mysteriously kicked down the mouth of a live volcano. Thus far this has been exactly what I needed. 7 more days before I am begrudgingly back in Seattle once again attempting to scheme my way to warmer pastures. – Facebook, December 16, 2013

So, basically, Maui is amazing and if you can go there, you should. Even if you think you can’t go there, you should probably rethink it.

Apparently it’s a great starter island (Hawaii is giant and mostly country with only a couple cities, Oahu is basically LA on an Island and who the fuck wants that, and unless you’re Backwoods Mcgee Kauai is probably too remote after a while). So there’s that, and since we didn’t want to spend our trips packing, repacking and dealing with tons of airports, Maui worked out great.

After a few shitty Christmas seasons in Seattle, and periodic bi-yearly or so reminders that, oh, right, I’d never been on a proper tropical vacation, I finally took David up on his offer to remedy that, and he finally took me up on my offer to be the reason he finally went to Hawaii.

This trip was an actual vacation for me; a gloriously vapid, mostly-brainless exercise in laziness, gluttony, and as it turned out, material appropriation. I did not go there to soul search or figure out the deep questions of our life and times as is the normal way of my travels. I went to eat, sleep, swim, look at fishies, eat lots of THC, hang out with one of my special dudes and fuck occasionally. And that’s exactly what I did.

7 days into 10 day Hawaii trip and I presume it safe to say; I firmly believe that fruity, overly sweet tropical drinks surk. I can’t even stand them while on vacation out here, where I hope they are better made than the complimentary premixed maitai Alaska offered us on the inbound flight. I have decided they are simply flat out awful and people who like them are idiots. Fin. – Facebook, December 21 2013

Yep, you heard it here first folks – one of the biggest epiphanies of my trip was I Hate Shitty Drinks. Like whoa, man. Otherwise, when it came to where we would be eating (when not at the resorts, which were, of course, amazing) Yelp came in super handy, so I won’t go on about it all here.

During our 10 day stay, we:

  • Hit up Black Rock Sheraton and Kaanapali Beach Hotel (If in doubt, do Sheraton) for some awesome snorkeling and SNUBA.
  • Took the road to Hana by way of Paia and stayed at Luana Spa Retreat in a yurt which was amazing (but maybe skip the massages, David had to end his halfway through it was so bad).
  • Drove back via the southern route on Piilani Highway where we got all those awesome sunset pictures.
  • Shopped way too fucking much in Lahaina, which is cute as shit and right on the water and I love love loved.
  • Spent two days in Lana’i touring the two Four Seasons resorts and staying at Hotel Lana’i. It was amazing – get the cottage, I imagine there are noise issues in the main hotel, and EAT AT THE GRILL OMFG. We ate dinner there both nights. Best meal I’ve had in a long, long time.
  • Capped off the trip at Makena Golf and Beach resort, in which we played exactly zero golf but hung out naked a lot at Little Beach
  • Afterwhich we missed our outbound flight, and killed another few hours catching lunch at Mamas Fish House, playing on the rocks at the nearby beach, and driving up the top of a mountain I don’t remember the name of.

I have been eating the best tasting, simple, clean burning comfort food of my life since getting here. These people are so onto something.

Spent hours in the ocean today at Hulopo’e, mostly getting the shit kicked out of me, right where the waves break into surf, while laughing my fool ass off. I got sand in everything you can imagine getting sand in, some of which I didn’t discover until later. In fact, after this trip, I think some of my film maker friends really need to make a horror movie about sand herpes, because there is just no way. It’s everywhere. It sticks. I am sure I will end up bringing some home with me.

Rip tides are pretty fun; Fuckers drag you right off the beach if you let em. And I really like having a wet suit. It feels safer to be more floaty.

The sea was a little too expressive to go near the reef or to bring the underwater camera, apparently from the stormfront that’s currently out in the pacific, as yesterday it was calm. Though knocked around a bit, I made it out of the fight unscathed; A particularly husky wave made off with David’s snorkel mask, however.

Sadly, the snorkeling wasn’t worth the loss really – no visibility until you got about 30ft out, then sand bottom and high visibility but not a lot to look at. It was neat to see the bottom move and dust up from the waves in conjunction to how we were moving back and forth in the water, and we happened by a bit of coral with some fish around it. What we really wanted to see – the dolphins – were farther out than I wanted to go, so we only saw them from land. Something about empty, deep, clear tropical water just sings “when you do see something, it’s gonna want to eat you” to me.

Also; The ocean tastes like fucking ASS. Ugh.

Not a lot of trip blogging happening right now, but we are getting some nice pictures and fun little stories. I think I’ll likely be spending my xmas editing photos and writing.

Aloha!

Facebook, December 21, 2013

Well, honestly, the little stories and memories of this trip are far better suited for in person banter, and wouldn’t really come across in blogform, at least with the effort I am willing to put into explaining them after spending all day laying on the couch processing pictures. But I do have tons of those, (mostly photographed by David Cohen, some snapped by me, and all post processed by me) to document the trip and fun things. There’s even a picture of my boobs in there somewhere.

So enjoy those, and like I said, if you haven’t done the Hawaii.. there is a reason people save their entire lives to go there. Unlimited forever thanks to David for sharing his trip with me so I didn’t have to do it that way.

EMFUCKINGBODIED

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

I swear I just saw myself for the first time

I told myself in the mirror

As I cried after connecting so incredibly profoundly with multiple people (And once again meeting another incredible man I can’t have in my life like I would prefer, god damn stupid growth opportunities)

“You are..

An amazing woman.

And you will ALWAYS be
An amazing woman.

No matter what
Anyone else thinks.

And when you die,
The world will be a better place

Because you
were in it.”

I am an artist.
And I am fucking amazing
And I am going to get what I want for myself.

Because I am worth it.
And there is no worthier cause than my happiness.

Thank you for showing me what is possible.
And thank you for believing in me.

“Finished” sketches

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

These drawings represent a few milestones for me artistically.

Firstly, it is while creating these tiny sketches (2×3″) in my sketchbook yesterday that I was able to draw, for the first time in memory, a recognizable likeness on purpose. And then I did it again, multiple times!

Secondly, as to my emerging cartoon style, I am getting more comfortable with the crosshatch shading that I am drawn to, and experimenting with adding elements to create a sense of motion and accessory.

I am really digging these, so I completed the concepts by editing them digitally and creating a set of them.

All drawings are in ballpoint pen, drawn in my 2×3″ sketchbook.

Yay!

Patrons, be on the lookout for scanned, printable versions of these next month!