Posts Tagged ‘health’

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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.

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.

My Last Spoon

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Inner Voice 1, immediately after taking the first pull in weeks from ther dab rig: “She AGREED to it! How is this NOT her fault?”

Inner Voice 2: “You mean it ISN’T our fault all this happened?”

Inner Voice 1: “Dude. You warned her about what the fucking cat needed. You told her she was indoor/outdoor and you were worried about CJ only having the balcony. You told her the cat hadn’t been around toddlers so you didn’t know what to expect, but that the cat doesn’t respond well to being alone for long stretches of time either so the family environment might balance shit out.”

Inner Voice 1: “AND you even fucking gave her time with the cat before we packed up and fuckin left as a trial run, and she said she absolutely wanted to keep her knowing you’d be gone AT LEAST A YEAR.”

Inner Voices into the mirror: “A FREAKIN YEAR!”

Inner Voice 3: “You even told her that you had noticed that she tended toward men, when it seemed like CJ wasn’t taking to her immediately but loved her husband and son.”

Inner Voice 1: “And not even a weeks time later when we’re already hundreds of miles away she fuckin’ says she can’t hack it, and then dumps the cat off on someone who lives in an urban condo, works super long hours, and is MTF HRT. On top of that all that. That was HER fault.”

Inner Voice 2: “But I still feel so bad. I feel like feeling bad means being in the middle of this now has got to be my fault somehow.”

Inner Voice 3: “It’s because we didn’t speak up about the situation not seeming like a good fit because the person taking CJ in was trans. We didn’t say a lot of what we needed to say because of that, specifically, not wanting to rock the boat or hurt their feelings after being considered. We let this happen because we didn’t want to deal with looking like a bigot or being questioned about why. Even though we had so many other reasons to say no, it is our fault because we’re fucking transphobic!!!”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok now I feel even worse.”

Inner Voice 4: “It’s our fault because we expected someone else to take on the expense of having CJ but let us retain ‘ownership’ and be able to maybe take her back whenever we got home and could have a cat again. It’s our fault because we’re a hypocrite capitalist financial fucking leech and neverending pit of needs and a horrible burden on everyone around us.”

Inner Voice 1: “It’s our fault because our anxiety and fear and scarcity made it impossible to find CJ a home remotely. It would have been hard and finding this person took weeks of exhausting work already but we barely even tried to find her another one once we were on the road! It’s our fault CJ ended up in an even worse position from the sounds of it.”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok jesus fuck now I feel really, really worse and I don’t think I ever even DESERVED a cat. Or money or help or friends or anything nice ever.”

(WEED, having blossomed far enough to intervene, waves a “Sleep” hand like the aliens in Dark City.)

(All the voices, including the ones who were just listening in, curl to the ground comfortably)

(Collective sigh)

Me, calmly petting a large green cat: “As you all know, we have shit to get done, today. Super, super, reasonable, shit. Shit that we are totally capable of doing. Y’all have been at this with one another long enough, driving this bus.”

(Me puts out ther cigarette, only two drags in, like usual)

Me: “We aren’t gonna spend another day on facebook complaining about our feelings and being all caught up in how we’re not a perfect person. We aren’t gonna spend another day procrastinating, reading Everyday Feminism and The Establishment, posting links about personal development and how hard it is to be single and what a garbage fire the world is. And we are NOT going to continue getting into fights with people on the internet for pointing out that they too are also not a perfect person, either.”

(Flat Starvation Stomach growls, writhing uncomfortably. The two raw eggs and glass of OJ are processed. The familiarity of hunger returns. The smell of days of body odor lofts into the room for a moment, then disappears.)

Me: “…while in utter fucking depletion, no less. We are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

With the voices no longer drowning out my commands, my body proceeds to begin responding to my direct requests. I decide I will start by taking care of packaging the things I need to return to Amazon, some of which are in front of me on my friends kitchen table, along with the return labels another friend printed off as a favor for me yesterday — one they probably don’t know helped me as much as it did. I even have the boxes I need. The other things, like getting food, seem too big. Start small. We’ll start small.

I am slow and forgetful, but I am moving. I walk across the living room four times while leaving to head to the van.

Oop, the keys: On the table. Oop, left the kitchen light on, switch all the way across the room. Wait, we need those printouts for the packages. Wait, before we take the boxes outside, is there packing tape in here?: Check the drawer across the room. Nope, not here, ok let’s get down the stairs, fuck my steps are loud in these shoes. Wait, I just had the keys, where the fuck?: Walk across the room 1.75 times until they’re found. Clip, clap. Clip, clap.

Me: “This is ok. There is nothing wrong here. It is just taking us time and effort to track things because we are coming out of an intense depressive phase. It’s just like any other time when we are sick. This is normal. This is what happens when we are sick. Keep Going.”

Downstairs is the same experience of tracking, fumbling, forgetting, and dropping things out of my head. Tracking the steps of packing and taping and labeling a box is like trying to catch a handful of thrown bouncyballs in my cupped hands all at once. Without moving my hands. Because they are sore, and exhausted, and frozen cold clear through.

As were all the steps of all the tasks in all the world before this one, it would seem. I under stand the sickness. From the sheer stress being noted in my body, that I had been screaming over so I couldn’t hear.

Me: “No Facebook. No laptop. No phone. No worrying. No watching, no learning, no empathizing. Remember your last spoon. This is our spoon and no one else’s spoon. We are gonna use this spoon and we are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

The van is a different type of challenge, because it’s a van that I live in, and currently a total sty. The packing tape could be any number of places which need to be unveiled by pulling other milk crates and tools out. And now that I am home rather than in a friends house, I am swimming through a jumble of task after distracting task piled up after a weeks long depression while trying to accomplish… tasks.

But it’s a little better. I am outside. Just being outside, is getting shit done. I open up all the van doors. The temperature is nice, and there is a cooling breeze and it’s almost a little bit too cold for perfect when I am not in the sun. I keep my scarf and hat on so I can feel just a little sweaty. I’ve been greasy and unkept for days, but this sheen, feels productive.

I realize that the replacement cheap knockoff drivers side mirror is just as shaky as my newish cheap knockoff drivers side mirror and remember that buying cheap shit that is going to break is a familiar part of my existence, an annoyance which is offset by the fact that now I don’t have to dig out my new toolkit (Thanks Dad!!) from the back of the van and swap out the mirrors. I just have to put this new mirror back in its box.

Inner Voice 1: “You know what would be nice right now? Music.”

Inner Voice 2, projecting an image of Me with ther iPhone headphones in: “WANT! But we said no phone. :(((((“

Inner Voice 4: “Wait. Ancient Sacramento Friend who Works In Tech just spent a ridiculously uncomfortable $847.74 on gifting us that car stereo that took like 5 hours to get installed. Why don’t we use that?”

Inner Voice 2: “I usually don’t like to bother other people with my noise. I want to feel small and invisible and safe and secure and I am better off alon–

(WEED scooches closer to Inner Voice 2 and leans in a little, rubbing at her shoulder with its face. WEED slowly morfs into the shape of the large green cat)

Inner Voice 2, as projection of image of Me with iPhone headphones starts flickering away: “You know what, that’s bullshit. No, I don’t. I don’t want to be invisible! I’m afraid to take up too much space and being seen is scary sometimes but being perpetually unseen does not make me feel safe! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 3: “I usually don’t want to use it because of the van running and the carbon footprint and the resources and the battery drain if the van isn’t running I mean..”

(The Green Cat rubs at the shins of Inner Voice 3 while sauntering by)

Inner Voice 3: “.. but hey, this is a good place to test my fear of the battery dying. I have no idea if the radio will actually drain enough to justify how much I have been worrying. We can test it! It would be easy to ask a neighbor to jump start the van. This is our hood! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 1: “I don’t care how, just want music.”

Me: “Ok then. Let’s use the radio. Nice work everyone.”

It takes me less time this time to find my keys. There is a slight spring in my step now as I walk to the side of the van which is getting sun. I remember how cute I look when I am dressed this way, in a tank top with a hat and a scarf and my utility belt — which I just pulled my keys out of which means I just remembered to put them into — around my waist.

I imagine how cute I am opening up my door, putting my keys in the ignition, and turning on the radio of my big white van with paint peeling off and stickers on the back. KEXP is playing Love Buzz, a song that reminds me of a time in my life when I used to play Bleach on repeat for days on end, maybe as long as that last depression was, even.

Inner Voice 4 begins to question the link between how the superficial teachings of a white supremacist herteropatriarchy may have dug a trench that links my feeling pretty with liking myself and begins wondering whether it is feminist of Me to allow that process to happen without examining and critiquing it immediately, right now, and doing it publicly where we can be at the risk of being criticized, bruised and battered emotional body be damned.

The Green Cat meows, distracting them before they can say anything to ignite the others.

I smile a little at the rotten terror of a teenager I used to be and remember for a moment that I actually like a lot about who I am. Because of who she is, still, in me, even; The voice who got shit done when I needed my mama and someone holding me. The voice who convinced Me to take a spoon yesterday when I was 200 miles away from friends and out of them.

Inner Voice 1 side eyes all of Me, the actionable thief. For a moment he looks like a macro image of a spider’s eyes. I love spiders. The Green Cat stuffs itself into ther mouth before he can say anything to ignite the others, as they both wander away to contemplate quietly.

I notice my spoon in my vans drink holder, and how tight the end to Love Buzz sounds.

The other voices, satisfied for now, wander away into the background, to do what it is they do.

It takes me 12 minutes, to package two of three return boxes. I feel just a tiny bit more capable, in general. Almost done!

I stop to take an hour to write this post, because I am a fucking artist. And a narcissist. And mentally ill. The Green Therapy Cat handles the voices who want to dissect it all. I write for myself, truly, for the first time since I updated this blog.

Me: “Remember right now that we are sick. Keep Going. Just get the shit done. Do what needs to be done to get shit done. No more perfect.”

No more perfect.

It takes me 4 minutes to package the last box. I only have to walk back into the house once, before I locked the door, to get the box I needed from the garage.

When I return to the van looking for the tape, I find that I’d actually put it away again before I came back inside to write this.

Now my packages are waiting in my van for me to drop them off later today, on my way to class. Before I come back inside, I think to grab the sachet for the borrowed photography lenses that are sitting on the table, waiting to be returned. I stuff it in a pocket of my utility belt, confident I will remember I put it there.

As I run through my post edits, an email comes in: It’s the translation of the instruction sheet I asked for, for the portion of class I’m teaching tonight about the auto-populating time sheets I created for the organization.

It occurs to me that I should probably start feeding and hydrating myself, to be ready for that. I feel like maybe I have what it takes now to get that done. One more edit. Another hour has gone by.

Now I am actionable hungry. I stand up while I type the end out.

More shit to get done.

NEXT!

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.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“How we call down judgment upon ourselves is simultaneously the most horrific and the most beautiful thing about us.” — Zadie Smith

In Process Experiment: Walk a Day

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The challenge: Get up at the same time every day to walk around the block (.3 miles)
The duration: 8 weeks

Explanation: I have never been a creature of morning routine. However, for most of my life, when I’ve noticed that, I’ve felt sorry for myself. Like I am missing out, and failing myself somehow. Like I just don’t have it in me to take that 30 minutes a morning to care about myself, in that tough love parenting sort of way, but if I did, it would be sorta like magic.

I suspect deep down that a disciplined, automatic routine in the mornings would do awesome things for me, both physically and in my sense of myself as a productive, capable person.

As well, it would align me further with my integrity, as I teach my clients routines to do in the mornings and see them enjoy consistent progress when they follow my advice.

Yet, I’ve done very little to support myself in doing what I advise and know to work for others. It’s just felt too big. I’d much rather lay in bed until the last possible moment, most of the time.

So, this challenge is about starting small, and cultivating my discipline one baby step at a time. Every morning, at 8am, rain or shine, mostly asleep or already awake, I will get up and take my bedhead morning breath ass to the pavement for a walk around the block.

Perhaps I will come home, and fall right back into bed. Perhaps I will start my day at that time. What I do after this doesn’t matter. How body aware and zen about it I am while doing it doesn’t matter. What matters, is that when my alarm goes off, I get out of bed, put my shoes on, and walk.

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

Slimed

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Cue struggle/recovery phase in which I am frequently brain accosted with the image of being penetrated by a greedy indiscriminate budging phallus slicked with primordial snot and covered in an oppressively thick layer of tiny diseased insects frantically climbing over one another.

I am haunted by images like this; Not only was I incapable of consent to the sexual activity in itself due to being ranting breakdown drunk, we ‘negotiated’ foregoing my long-established boundary that we always use protection without my having the knowledge that he’d been fucking someone else without it for months.

When that visual strikes me, I feel marked. I feel slimed and profoundly disgusted. My legs close tighter, and my guts fold over themselves like I have been invaded by an evil opportunistic disease. Occupied by lies and self serving opportunity. Like my body, and to a degree my trust, simply isn’t mine, anymore.

Oftentimes I respond involuntarily with coughing and deep gagging. I stop and wretch periodically, for seemingly no reason, to the outside world.

When this started happening with me a few days ago, I slowly realized that I was also plagued with another issue: My throat has felt constricted and closed off, as if I were being physically strangled by tiny ghosts.

After a little noticing, I realized it was because I felt like being vocal at all about how what happened is manifesting in me, and being honest that it fucked me up and continues to be something I am struggling with in the back of my mind and in my body, is somehow a burden, or too raw, or too.. something. Like my experience wasn’t violent or malicious or horrible enough for me to deserve to be seen about it.

I wondered if owning that it was textbook second degree rape made me the bad one somehow, and maybe I felt self stifled because I should stop using that awful triggery word in favor of contriving something more poetic and approving.

I wondered if my trepidation regarding my concern that any person I approach with vulnerability about this will dub my response as unjustified, or choose to empathize with the poor guy who chose to rape me and violate some of my most important personal boundaries, was stronger than the rest of me. If I really believed I would just feel more alone and fucked up about it than I did in my silence.

After about two days of this, I shared these visuals with someone, to work my way out of that shame and tinyness. And it was a good choice; He was empathetic and right there with me, wretching a little bit himself. It was an important step, and it helped us know one another better.

Seriously. Fuck that shame and tinyiness. I was taken advantage of by someone who chose to be a self serving opportunist and betrayed the depth of his continued disrespect for my established boundaries as well my personal well being. I was raped by this person and it fucking sucks and it feels horrible and I’m responding exactly as any sane visual processor artist type person would.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life…….”
― Akshay Dubey

These visions are good for me. They are healthy. Being appalled and self protective is healthy. Feeling violated is healthy. I know this, because I know what an unhealthy response looks like. And I think, having known only that coping before, it just took me some time to get used to who I am now.

So who am I now?

I am, in fact, not armoring up about it, staying enraged, going on a revenge rampage, trying to complicate his life or hurt him out of spite or a need to get back at him for anything, like part of me still expects I should.

Instead, I am taking care of myself, continuing to live my life, investing in my own future, and feeling things other than this fucked up creepy stuff. I am taking worthwhile emotional risks in my friendships, setting healthy boundaries, and trusting in fewer and fewer people; only those who have genuinely earned and continue to earn that trust.

I am not internalizing the bad behavior I am allowing myself to be feeling the effects of (BRAVELY, MIGHT I ADD; SUPER HARD FOR ME KTHNX) by acknowledging the reality of what that is looking like. And I am not being a bad person by having the stones and the desire to share my story with others.

Most importantly, and probably most uncomfortably, I am not making excuses for what this person did. I am not compassion baiting myself, shaming myself for not spending more of my effort feeling sorry for him, or spending my precious energy trying to see things his way. I have no interest in being a part of his recovery or his life. And I am not feeling as though I can’t move on from him or the trauma without reconciling, or making my trust being violated by his choices my fault.

Acknowledging is not the same as wallowing. I am far from comfortable; but I actually think I’m doing pretty fucking well, all considering.

*shudder* ick.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Still contemplating whether I’m going to act in Minor. I think, maybe, I might be done with that type of acting, and sometimes I wonder if maybe it would be just the right shade of amazing to at least go through the process of auditioning some younger girls for it.

I guess the plan is just to keep working on my own stuff, and when the show has simmered enough, I’ll know. But I think it’ll be a while before I work up to where I have the energy to bring that shit what it needs.

I kinda can’t imagine feeling that good, at the moment actually. Body’s been hurty lately. Zzzz..

For the love of

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

What happens when an overworked artist gives herself food poisoning a few days before the gig that she’d planned to rehearse primarily in the days leading up to the event?

Well, it means that you do all the rehearsal you’d planned in the afternoon before the evening gig – and this is what it looks like when both costumes have open knees.

The part where I was processing the tail end of the bacterial onslaught, literally, before and between performances, was an extra special bonus.

Yeah. It sounds super dramatic, but really wasn’t all that derailing – just a little loosey-goosey in the rear and didn’t stay for the party after. Think twice before eating that old floppy broccoli, though.

Currently icing my back, stretching my shoulder, and have my knees treated and bandaged. Drinking herbal tea, about to eat some protein, and crash like a sack of smashed assholes. Zzzrr…

I still rocked it, btw.

Winning Streak

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Until today, it had been 27 days since I had seen a streak on my toilet paper. Today, that incredible record, was broken. It was broken, after a month or so of eating mostly salads, roasted veggies, meat, and fruit – by eating at a Mexican restaurant (Matador in W Sea).

As it stands, they were both single wipers an hour or so after eating food that was too spicy.

This seems right with the world to me. I can accept this. In fact, I would have been concerned were this not the case, as I would have assumed that I had some sort of weird poop sliming virus and started freaking out about whatever kind of colon cancer or somesuch thing I must have contracted.

Welcome to my new standard of health.

Also, speaking of figuring out things with my body: During my underwater photoshoot tonight (HOLY SHIT GUYS) I realized that my giant horrible sinus infection gone crazy kicked in after that string of underwater shoots in 2010. It’s not much, but I take what I can get figuring this stuff out.

So this time, I flushed my sinuses with distilled water. They’re already completely filled with pool water, it could only help. I also flushed my eyes and dried my ear canals (rubbing alcohol) and sat up for quite a while draining. So if I don’t get sick it’s because I fixed it, not cause my instinct about the correlation was wrong. Ha. Suck on that, world!

BTW, does everyone get water up their nose when they swim? Like, unless I’m plugging, it happens to me the second I stop actively blowing the shit out of my air. Sucks.

SEAF 2013

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Disclaimer: After a long week on my feet, I am a bit fried mentally, more than a bit exhausted physically, and yet still rather awake and energetic. My creativity is in the shitter, though, so if you’re hoping for poetry unfortunately I doubt you’ll find much this time. You will, however, find a blog entry about my experience performance directing for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this year, and a little bit of a backstory as to why that’s kind of a Big Deal for me. Also; I speak only for myself on this blog, and do not represent any official stance of the FSPC or SEAF directorial committee here. Enjoy.

Well, that was really something!

This year’s Seattle Erotic Art Festival had us returning to one of my favorite festival venues – the Showbox Sodo – which, at the time of our last occupation in 2007, was the Fenix. The Showbox had the best facilities and friendliest staff of any venue I’ve worked in, ever. They were wonderful and contributed highly to my enjoyment this weekend.

After many years of vastness and what became a disproportionate focus on spectacle performance art and dance parties, it feels to me now that SEAF has again embraced its roots as an *ART* festival. Though the event wasn’t perfect (um, we seriously need to strike those walkway tables after 10pm next year – great when there’s 100 people, not so much when there’s more.), I would be hard pressed to be more pleased with the results of our hard work this year.

Up until 11pm, patrons could browse, hold a conversation, ask about the artwork and purchase pieces without being interrupted, or having to scream over loud thumping music. During our after-parties when we’d raised the volume some, patrons never had the lights illuminating the artwork shut off on them and were still capable of browsing and buying, and were never forced to pay attention to anything they didn’t want to.

The artwork was the best I’ve ever seen at the festival, which is including the catalogues from previous years in which I did not attend. Most of the pieces that weren’t really my style had a clear validity and seemed to belong in the festival regardless of my personal preferences. I think I only truly disliked perhaps two. The film exhibition, which I unfortunately had absolutely no personal experience with due to it being offsite (I’d like to see the films onsite, or staggered next year with the visual art festival on another weekend), was spoken of incredibly highly and sold very well.

My absolute favorite parts?

In addition to this, I directed a suite of beautifully organic and diverse performances that included many shapes, sizes, and colors that complimented the art, captivated our audience and helped maintain a dignified, elegant and erotic atmosphere.

My team was impressive, I had an excellent stage manager, and every single one of my performers made me look really fucking good.

In addition to that, my workload was reasonable enough that I got to have a lot of fun at the festival, both during my tenor as a director and after my performances were finished. The vibe in the venue was positive, and everywhere I looked patrons were smiling and happily chatting. I even spent a bit of time at the bootblacking station overseeing most of the venue, smiling, watching people slowly pour in through the cash doors.

And boy do I fucking love being on a headset!

These are only my vanity pictures. To see the other amazing pictures of the festival check out SEAF’s flickr stream and be sure to log in to see the ‘adult’ ones with buttcrack and boob.

SEAF for me carries a long backstory with many deep layers, in regards to my individual growth in sexuality, as an event director/performer, and in terms of healing from an abusive relationship. I was first involved in the festival as a model in an accepted piece in 2003, and nearly every year since then.

From 2005-2008 I contributed to SEAF directly as a performer, patron and director. After the 2008 festival, in which I had directed aerial performances and performed, I stepped away from SEAF during a bad breakup with the Performance Director at the time, who had eyes on directing the Festival.

When we split up, we were both heavily involved in SEAF and the Little Red Studio together. In the separation, though we never officially divided things, I basically got LRS, and in turn got Obsidian (If you don’t know about that show, you probably should.), and he got SEAF, and with that, the Director title he’d wanted, eventually.

I was angry, hurting, mentally dismantled, and felt left out by cutting myself off. I was also busy with my own creative endeavors, and really, I had no choice but to leave given the circumstances.

Over the years, I heard through the grapevine of the changes being made to the festival, how it had become bigger, more glitzy, more stage show, bigger, bigger, bigger, and less focused on the artwork or feeling like an art festival.

In 2011, I submitted artwork, a performance proposal and returned in a limited capacity under the direction of Eva Luna as an ambient performance artist, with my most estranged year away being 2012 in which I strenuously returned to having no involvement.

I had no idea how much I missed SEAF, in part due to these changes I didn’t agree with and my bitterness toward the person making them, until I was capable of returning in a directorial capacity when my ex left on bad terms in December. I wrote after being invited to the first planning meeting I’d been to in 5 years;

It’s funny, when something is simply off the table, how disconnected with missing being involved in it you can be. – http://blog.neevita.net/archives/13498

I had forgotten that SEAF, when available to me, is one of the few places I absolutely, without doubt or apology, belong.

My reentry has been validating, satisfying and very fruitful after a rough start in preproduction earlier this year. I can attest with no hesitation that we pulled off a miracle given the circumstances and logistical/administrative turbulence we all went through.

One of my favorite things to do right now is marvel at how impressively all the people who remained involved stepped up and gave this event everything they had. We worked together naturally and without any pettiness, arguments or personal difficulty that I could see. Everyone was amazing at their jobs and awesome to work with.

I am so thrilled that I stuck with this through my storm of concerns over the last few months. I have learned a lot in the past 6 weeks and grown as an event director as well as personally through this experience. I really just can’t express in words how lovely it is to be back, or how proud I am of what the festival has become/returned to being.

As the smoke clears I can see that the occurrences which lead me away for a while had also saved me from the corrosive aspect of the learning experiences the org went through during the time my ex was in charge, and for that I’m thankful. Had I still been working on SEAF since 2009, regardless of my personal feelings regarding him, knowing myself as I do, I suspect I would have been worn of it and have moved on by now, just as it’s getting good again.

Instead, I get the best of both worlds – I didn’t have to continue working with him, didn’t have to be around him, I got to take a break and focus on my own work and artistry, put on some amazing shows, created an arts nonprofit, nurtured my massage and gallery business, and now I have the ability to reap the benefits of his work and what was learned from his mistakes regardless. Thanks, dude!

Now Extrovert Entertainer Whip-cracking Chatty Me fades into the background, and Tender Introverted Drained Me begins her recovery from intense connection fatigue and activity of the last few days. I connected with a LOT of people in profound and significant ways, my feet are killing me, and I am very, very tired.

For now, I will be behind the scenes again for a while, tending to myself, my personal creative work, and processing through the emotional impact of a very big few days – which includes being rather elated and prideful of my accomplishments, and planning my strategy for next year.

It feels good to be back to what was my element for a long time, and to again embrace it as a keen expression of who I am and who I want to be in the world.

Nail documentation

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Figured it was about time to document my awesome nails, which are soon to be dispensed of in the name of my vocation.

Back in child and young adulthood, my nails were so thin and fragile that I could only get them about half this long before they tore off. Even the length I did have was rather useless, because they would bend when I applied pressure to them, and be so delicate when wet it was downright stressful.

This is all the growth (on my right hand, my left, save for my thumb, are still short for instrument playing) from my trip minus the small amount of length I lost when I shaped them in NYC, and they have proven to be much more sustainable than previous attempts to keep my fingernails.

I have gotten an exorbitant amount of pleasure in having them for all sorts of reasons, including how they look, how useful they are, and how they indicate that I have grown healthier over the years.

I will miss them when they are gone.

Meeting Stockholm

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

In the airport feeling sad and disconnected, so I bought myself a new friend.

One of the stewardesses on my flight asked me if I’d named her yet, and when I said I hadn’t, she declared that her name is Nalle, which is Swedish for “teddy”. For some reason I was really touched by that. Once the stewardess had moved on, I petted Nalle’s head and cried quietly for a little bit.

It seems, having traveled internationally now a few times, that my body tends to freak out a little on these long flights. Maybe planes tend to fly higher for longer trips or the amount of time I am in the air matters, but for both my Ireland and Sweden flights I’ve had weird shit happen to me physically.

This time, after an hour or so in the air, I felt nauseous and had the salivation indicative of impending vomit. I noticed I was incredibly sensitive to the loo chemicals and was getting waves of discomfort every time someone opened the lavatory doors a few rows behind me.

Based off my experience after eating the (delicious tasting) airline food last time, I skipped dinner this time around, and thankfully I wasn’t very hungry anyway having eaten before the flight. My stomach was sour and I couldn’t escape the discomfort, so I went to the lavatory to stick my head closer to the chemicals that seemed to be contributing to the feeling and try to throw up.

About a half dozen dry heaves later, I realized that wasn’t going to do anything for me either, and decided to sit back down. I never lost consciousness like I did last time, but I did fold in half and rest my head on Nalle and the tray table, periodically falling into a deep strange sleep that felt like a heavy energetic vortex.

It was like I was tapping into a river running under my conscious brain which then sucked me down into sleep. It felt sourceful and calming despite what I appeared to be having to go through to get to it. Notably, I haven’t felt the hopeless alien sadness that I’d been battling, fairly consistently from the beginning of my trip, since. It was like I reconnected with myself a little.

Periodically, I’d wake up in a haze, having to burp up giant amounts of gas, both folded over and then urgently having to sit up to let more out or risk choking on it. Then I’d get more light headed again, feel the river, get sucked back down, and fall asleep for another hour or two.

Eventually my body stabilized, with no cold wet sweats or voided bladders. Later on in the flight, about an hour before landing, my sinuses and teeth ached but also balanced out, and thankfully none of my descents have resulted in ear pain or uncontrollable pressure which is very common for me.

I was glad to have Nalle for the rough parts, and the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. I tried to watch the new Cirque movie, but found myself completely bored, so settled on the Bill Murray film “Hyde Park on Hudson” which I related to in ways I wasn’t expecting. Customs was a breeze, and Per was waiting for me at the airport.

Per explained to me on the ride home in no uncertain terms that my trip to Sweden was his gift to me, which included my food, our shared outings, and necessities like a transit and bike pass. The way he presented these facts left me totally at ease and immediately feeling lighter for not anticipating nickel and dimeing myself and continuing to skip meals to save money, which I kinda hadn’t realized I’d been doing this whole time already.

And then I saw the house. Shit on me this place is fucking adorable. Tinyhouse inspirations everywhere, including their incredibly compact bathroom and exceptionally comfortable stripy fold out loveseat.

I’ve said more than once that, god forbid they both die in a plane crash or something, I’ll totally take the condo, and I’m up for house sitting with enough notice to get back here.

Their cat, Bosse (boo-sah), is super chill and largely keeps to himself but gives a little cat dudenod when you give him some attention.

Per is on an extended vacation right now, and up for adventure, or lazing around, or both, which we are doing all of in spades. Ingrid, his supercool wife, will also be on vacation next week, and I’m really excited to have girl time with her getting facials and shit. She’s on the quieter side, so Per and I are doing the social things, like Karaoke, after she goes to sleep (which is early).

We’re authoring a list of stuff we’re all interested in doing together which includes some neat museums, walking through a massive graveyard, a flea market, some schmancy food (you’ve never had OYSTERS? BLASPHEMEY!), and checking out a 16th century warship.

Thus far we are gelling nicely and they basically think I’m the best houseguest ever. I’m sleeping a fuckton, letting them feed me and doing dishes. I feel as though coming here is really cementing an already genuine and long term friendship and adding to my membership of chosen family. It feels good, especially to have another strong woman in the fold that I connect well with.

I had hoped this trip would feel more breezy and vacation-y once I left America, and I am glad that is what came to pass. It’s been rainy and cold here, too, but the sun came out today, and will on other days, and really the periodic rain is a good cue for me to take the day to chill out and rest. Now that I’m finally doing that and don’t seem to be so chewed up inside I don’t mind it very much.

As the three of us wandered through a small portion of Stockholm looking at antique shops and hitting up a cafe for fika and shrimp sandwiches, I was reminded again of one of the reasons I think it takes transplanting myself into different cultures to relax; Being in a place where I can’t read the signs produces a calm something like being in nature, in that it is impossible for me to be accosted by advertisements and media like I am at home and as I wander, I’m not really paying all that much attention. There is a sense of calm and belonging, and everyone here speaks English, so I’m managing to get around really well even without being able to read anything – best of both worlds.

England wasn’t quite so effective at this advertising cushioning effect, as the large American corporations have a fairly big presence there, and I remember being somewhat disappointed by that. But as I recall Ireland, Amsterdam, France, and most of all Sweden are rather untouched by the tendrils of American corporate greed and indications of their existence here are few and far between. So far, the only US company I am seeing here in Stockholm is 7-11, which for some reason isn’t really bothering me.

The more I learn about how things work around here (Per is super talented at explaining things and likes to talk aloud a lot) the more I like the thought of immigration. The economy is solid, in part because Sweden resisted the Euro, and their politics are very progressive and supportive of the humanities, even more than Amsterdam, which also sounded pretty fucking good. In the 50’s this place was just as sexist as America was, but they’ve really worked to get their shit together about it, and the benefits of being employed here are fucking staggering, including paid leave for fathers as well as mothers. It’s also expensive, and white, as fuck.

Still, every time I come over to this area of the world, something in my tectonic plates gets set right, and I wonder what the fuck I am doing in the United States. I am so fatigued and tired of watching the US fuck everything up, starving for basic human rights like health care and mental support, scraping at the bottom of the barrel and feeling subhuman because I care about shit that’s actually important in life when the culture around me doesn’t.

You can’t judge a place by a vacation in it, and I know that. But, no matter what I was doing for work, so much of what I constantly stress over in my daily life would be alleviated if I were just doing it here, and the more of the world I see the less I believe I belong where I am. Even if I don’t wind up in Sweden, I can’t help but think maybe it’s time to actually listen to what travel is telling me and make some long term plans that enable me to do something about this.

For now, I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here, have met a few people already (we went to karaoke upon being invited by a shopkeeper today when Per mentioned to her that I am a singer) and am looking forward to continuing my explorations. I’m slowly figuring out the subway and where I am staying geographically in reference to the different areas of interest around the city, and figure I’ll be ready for extended solo walkabouts by the middle of next week.

I’d like to take this moment to extend my gratitude again to Per and Ingrid for their fucking amazing gift, as well as to the others in my life who have supported my ability to have experienced more of this world.

Friday, March 15th, 2013

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as an escape.” — Bell Hooks

Rise

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

When I was contemplating what I might call the most recent incarnation of my signature aerial act, (“Zita Begins” doesn’t really fit, now that I simply perform as myself without a persona) I thought about what the act represents for me at its core more than anything.

These are the things I realized (and a lot of it probably won’t make much sense unless you’ve seen the piece):

Over the years, though the details of them have changed, the representation of the clothing I’ve worn as I begin this act has not. The clothes are always an elegantly dark shroud looming on me, silently weighing me down with their familiar dormant comforts. They are like hibernation, or a warm comfy bed during a depression.

The silks, however, have represented something different every time I’ve done this performance and often shift when I just envision what I’m trying to convey with the piece. Relationships, people, salvation, my sexuality, hope, the future, my common sense – all things the silks have been for me. And that’s just for this one act I do – or, as I’m starting to view it, the music I perform to.

I came to realize when I was thinking about this that I only do this piece every year or two because that’s only as often as I’ve been meant to perform it. The opportunity to present the act (which is rare because this country is stupid and I happen to use nudity to convey the raw vulnerability of the performance) usually comes along on the tail end of a great transformation in my psyche, usually from life transitions or times of trauma.

I chose “Rise” for the working title, having had no recollection of the last relatively awful Batman film being named “Dark Knight Rises” (I perform this act to the Batman Begins score) due to this recognition: I don’t own this silks piece. If anything, it owns me – We are each other. It ascends as I ascend.

After the show, I received many wonderful compliments about the act from guests and peers, and feedback from staff about how the audience reacted to it, both as I performed, (they were stunned, and a lot of them were in tears) and as guests were leaving the venue talking about it, (she said they “raved”, actually. figure out how to stop diminishing your compliments you boob.)

Seems I have a hard time talking about myself lovingly even when it’s the words of others. I think maybe I have a problem with that.

For now I will say that my sense is that it was as good for the audience as it was for me.

What a fucking performance! That felt awesome. It was real!

And it was real. That act is my rite of passage ritual. Whenever I perform it, it represents something real that’s happening for me in my tiny yet somehow epic life. Something big. Something hard. Something soft.

The rehearsal process is almost non-existent, I don’t run through it full on, ever. It’s like a scaffolding for my personal growth that I fill in that night while on stage with the audience.

Each time I’ve done this act before, I knew it as powerful; I saw it that way because of how vulnerable I was, how sad and small and struggling, like beating my tiny fists into a fresh, 3 foot thick wall of marshmallow. Telling myself the same story over and over again, trying to wake myself up. I saw it that way largely because of the massive waves of debilitating emotion that would crash over me after I finished, shaking and sobbing in the green room.

Those performances map like flights of stairs I climbed when I look at the timeline from a wide lens. And they were. In those performances when I went back to the silks, my perception made a stair – I looked directly cross the stage at them eye level, watched my hands clasp around them in front of my face and then looked up the silks to reach for the final climb.

This time, my eyelines made the shape of a plane taking off. My vision swept up the silks to the goal above as I walked to them and for the first time ever I knew what it was I was climbing to.

This performance was powerful, because I am powerful. Both sides of me, both brains, both personality genders. I was imperfectly flawless. I had just the right amount planned and just the right amount not planned. I did a few simple changes that I haven’t done before that I will probably not do the same again, and I picked up some things I definitely want to keep. A few things even went wrong in just the right way.

And I learned about myself, by how it felt. By how IN it I had to be in part due to blocking changes and lighting. How I was so in my body, noticing how moving felt, connected to the silks like an avatar, and that one moment I took to just hang and watch the ground as I spun up there in my footlock and BE in the air just sitting with the wowness of it. It was really something.

I was under a warm but bright white light that was unable to be turned off, the most exposed and raw I’ve done this piece. I’ve gone from using active lighting changes and colors to always on – and it was brilliant, at least this once.

Even more, through this process of training and restructuring my relationship with fitness, aerial, and how much my body can take, I know what aerial is to me now, why I find a way to stick around it even when I’m not performing as opposed to my other artforms that I drop in and out of obsessions with.

As the images betray; the silks are my muse. I have a relationship with them, a trust in them. They are an important part of my life and my progression as an artist AND as a human being.

They challenge me to improve my self care, both understanding my bodies limits and attributes in my interactions with them, and how to keep from hurting myself while becoming stronger. They allowed me to show my softness and to emote with this artform when the spectacle of rope had ravaged my body as much as I could allow it to.

And what better teacher than the silks, really? Even the way I eventually came to them after hating them years into aerial at one of the most stressful times in my life (when Josh died).

I know this probably sounds totally loony, but honestly, I just don’t give a good god damn if it does. When I look in my chest, I see a circuit of numerous stray wires that got completed last night. Something that was searching for closure feels quiet and at rest.

Was a really good night. I am deeply grateful to everyone who made it possible and all the lovely things that were said to me because of it.

Level Up: Complete.
courtnee@localhost ~ $

Photography from the “Red Room Masquerade”, a fund raiser for the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, by Adam Harrison

Stampede

Monday, February 18th, 2013

I’ve been thinking lately about my decision to, though currently saving for a house, and recently leaving one of my part time jobs, simultaneously agree to increase my office rent by about 75% for the next year in order to add a second room for an art studio.

In some ways, and surely on the paper itself, the decision seems ludicrous. It’ll take all the money I make from my various forms of work to pay my rents and provide basic things for myself, like food and bus fare – and it’s not even for the huge gorgeous mountain view office I REALLY wanted (which was $1410 a month – over twice what my new office is). Still, it’s entirely possible and I am preparing for the reality that I will be eating ramen for months in order to make this change in my life.

And yet, the move seems completely worth it. I have some concerns but they are being overridden by my connection with myself and what I want in my life. This is the right step for me right now – and that dream office I can’t afford seems like a good goal for my future.

In the past when I have had a space to make art, it’s been inconvenient somehow – like a shared space I couldn’t leave my work in, or a cold dirty partially finished basement that made me sneeze. I made the most of these solutions and they were great stepping stones while I learned about myself.

But more of that at this point in my life won’t fuel me and propel me through forward motion like I want. It won’t address the challenges I now face as opposed to the challenges I faced years ago.

To the degree I am currently capable, I have accepted and embodied the reality of my being fundamentally artistic human being. My deepest wish for myself, and my adult-life struggle, has centered around how to truly create an abundant life in which my artistic pursuits are the focus. I need my own space for that.

In the time since I came to this awareness I have yet to meet an artist I consider successful who does not have a dedicated physical space to work. Whether it’s aerial, or visual art, or massage, or writing, a true artist to me is someone who values their work enough to create a space in physical time to pursue it – and made that space their own, as well.

Over the years I’ve nagged at myself that I need a studio and yet have not made one happen. I’ve been waiting to succeed before rewarding myself with the freedom to express and create and experiment. I’ve been waiting to prove to myself that I am worth the same efforts that the successful people around me have seen themselves as being worth. I’ve been waiting for someone else to see the value in me and make it happen. I’ve been waiting to give up, sign my soul and energy away to a social machine that doesn’t speak to my life values in order to afford an art space I wouldn’t have the time or substance left in me to use.

No matter what the story or visual, the constant in my view of my life is that I’ve seen through a perpetual state of deficiency, trying to make space for myself when I felt I didn’t have the resources to take ownership of any. I’ve been doing this (to lesser and lesser degrees) for years and it hasn’t been working. It’s time to set another big suitcase full of baggage down.

With this new office, I will have a place to create, that is not attached to my living space or who I am as a person. This dovetails very well with an emerging perspective of artwork as being something I make, something I produce under the guidance of my Self, which is sometimes an intense and extremely vulnerable expression of that self (I.E., my aerial act), but doesn’t have to ONLY be that kind of art for that purpose.

I want to make art because I saw a cool tutorial on youtube and I want to try a new painting style. I want to make art because it’s cute, or funny, or because I feel like experiencing blue on canvas, or because I want to cover my fists in paint and throw myself against something. I want to make crap. Lots and lots of crap. I want to let myself practice things.

I also want to make art because I have to, because it’s the only way I can create glimpse of what I am experiencing as a human being in this world. I want to make art because I have a new dress that I feel sexy wearing, I want to make art because I discovered a new way to pose my body. I just want to MAKE. ART.

Having this new space supports that vision of myself, and I believe that vision of myself will support me in paying for this new space. Now that I have a second room in which to otherwise be productive, I have the opportunity to be more disciplined in my work, which is an aspect of the success of my mentors I have had a lot of difficulty mimicking in the past.

I can now hold business hours in which I am present, working on art, in addition to offering massages. I can now separate my work from my home life and self care, rather than having half of it jumbled into one big gob of a thing. Now, I can accept walk-in’s and last minute bookings, whereas before I could not manage time effectively enough to offer that to my clients.

Additionally, having this space allows me to expand and collaborate with more people who are doing things in this world that I want to support and be a part of.

Yes, it’s a risk. It’s all a risk, no matter what I choose to do, or if I choose to change nothing. But with this decision, even if I utterly fail, default on my lease, and completely knob the whole thing up – even if the voice in my head that suggests I’m too crappy an artist to have a studio, that even if I have time set aside and a space to create that I won’t ever get any better, that I’m too enslaved by my moods and inspirations to be consistent enough to make this decision work, that the furniture isn’t all going to fit, that I just can’t do it, is right – I will emerge from this choice changed for the better by the experience and I will learn from trusting in myself to handle this challenge of taking more responsibility for my life.

So fuck that tiny little voice. Fuck that I don’t have myself entirely positioned over a safety net. Fuck that I have questions, that I don’t know all the answers, that I’m not certain how this will all pan out. I’m doing it anyway. It’s a no brainer, and whatever happens, I can handle it.

Even if what happens, is wild stampeding success.

Bitter Soda

Monday, December 17th, 2012

One of the things I have taken very seriously since having become suicidally depressed last month is my relationship with drugs and alcohol. Particularly alcohol, which has by far been the most destructive of my coping mechanisms in my life.

Of late, I have partaken rarely, usually in very small amounts when I have, and never when I have been significantly distressed. It has been important to me in my decision to surrender to the difficult feelings I have been having to do it with my eyes open.

I believe it has been about 6 weeks now, the amount of time they say it takes to develop a habit, since I began doing this exclusively when I went to bars – So I think it’s safe to say my official drink is now soda water and bitters.

Bitters are aromatic botanicals in an alcohol base and, technically, alcoholic, but in my experience they are pretty much like shooting yourself in the throat with breath spray when it comes to any effect one will feel from the few dashes that are needed to flavor a drink.

It’s actually quite fun, and encourages me not only to save money and remain sober, but to also hang out in the kinds of places I truly enjoy being at. Angostura bitters taste nice enough and are a standard I enjoy (as opposed to well alcohol which tastes like shit) but the opportunities beyond can be endless depending on where I go.

A good bartender will enjoy creating a special drink for me, include me in the process and let me see and handle all their cool little bottles. I am learning about different kinds of bitters and the types of flavors I like and getting inside scoops on where to buy from.

Self care can be hard, especially around alcohol and attempts to remain social particularly when avoiding it. Of the many changes toward health and happiness I have experienced in my life, this has been one of the easiest small, yet significant, adjustments I have made. And I really love simply letting a bartender surprise me without having the concern of ending up Gin or Jager drunk – which, let’s be honest, no one wants to see. :P

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

As of today I have graduated from cold smoothies to hot soups. Loving my Blendtech.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

A clove of crushed garlic and some turmeric at the bottom of a cup of hot water makes the liquid surprisingly awesome tasting after it’s had a chance to steep for a while. I just timed the steep with how long it took for the water to cool down while I breathed the vapors in. Stupid sinuses.

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Brainstorming my forthcoming garden. :) it will have KALE. Oh yes, yes it will.

Back to basics: The glory of the Smoothie

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Some may be aware that I’ve gone on a health kick recently, as seems to be the case every summer when the weather around here allows for biking and all the good food goes in season.

What makes sticking with this all the time hard?

I am by no means a Standard American Diet type, but I do fall into pits of unhealth now and again, even if it’s eating organic bread and raw cheese for dinner every night (which, if you’re not sure, is still bad.).

When I am stressed out and/or busy, it can be very easy to fall into fuckit mode, and gravitate toward takeout and cheap food that is full of Bad Things. Depressive episodes often trigger and contribute to this, and having just gone through one that lasted a month or so my eating and activity routines had been pretty disrupted.

This last depressive bought, I returned to my Taco Bell roots a few times a week for a good month. Horrifying, really, now that I am where I am rather than being where I was. But thankfully, a couple days of real food knocks out the cravings for the junk almost completely and effortlessly, since I come from a good baseline now.

Some background information:

Aside from my statistical updates regarding this current smoothiefest, there isn’t a ton of new information I have to give in regards to the best ways I’ve found to restabilize food-wise, but I did want to point out a new tag — diet eliminations — which talks about my experiences eliminating food from my diet in 2010, 2011 and 2012. This year it’s dairy (oh dairy, you sticky bastard..), and processed food.

I’ve done a lot more than these things listed under the new tag over the years to have gone from a hard core fast food junkie who lived off plastic liters of vodka and a half pack of Marlboro Reds a day to the eater I am now. Most of the posts under the elimination tag have other tags going for them that will help you find more if you’re interested.

2012 Smoothiefest, Day 10:

As for now, I’ve been doing the smoothie thing as most of my food for about 10 days, and frankly I haven’t needed much food. Currently, I am 119 lbs, down from 125, and I look and feel great — not because I needed to lose any weight, but because those few pounds I have gotten rid of seem to have consisted of water, gas, bloat, and shit. I wouldn’t want to get any lower than this, though, and expect as my legs beef up from biking and I settle into more meals that I will hover around 123/125 again soon.

Because of what I’ve been eating, I’ve had great/sustained energy lately, but now I’m starting to get tired out, and it’s clear I will need to eat more of the same type of stuff. If I plan on biking 14 miles to and from work (which consists of massage and/or aerial classes/training) I will need more fuel than I am currently getting now that I’m all cleaned out.

Smoothies, the most awesome thing ever:

It’s so easy in this day and age to go days or even weeks barely eating anything that’s actually ALIVE (Hint: the slice of ancient tomato on a cheesy ham bagel really doesn’t count.). You can’t really beat a smoothie-rich food intake for making sure you get enough whole fruits and veggies in a day, which I have found makes a world of difference in my life. It’s been fucking awesome. I sleep WAY better now, too.

SMOOTHIE RULES:

  1. All food is fresh. No frozen or prepackaged. Once winter hits, that will change.
  2. All food whose skins I eat are organic. I generally slack on things like avocado and banana.
  3. I use the pits and cores of the whole food as well unless otherwise noted.
  4. Smoothies are RAW – I cook other stuff.
  5. I try to equalize fruits vs. veggie content. A fruit-only smoothie is an occasional treat.
  6. I chew/swish mouthfuls of smoothie for a few seconds, so the amylase from my saliva has a chance to do its job and start breaking down my food, the process of which usually happens while chewing on whole pieces of it. NOTE: To effectively allow this breakdown process to happen, the pieces of solid food you’re eating should be chewed beyond recognition before swallowing. If you have digestive problems and aren’t chewing your food to this degree, try it. Cue “The more you know” song.

MY TYPICAL SMOOTHIE

  • Filtered Water
  • Strawberries (with tops)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apple (with seeds and core. Cyanide concerns: this way please)
  • Celery
  • Avocado (Sans rind, but with the pit for soluble fiber)
  • Yellow Corn (raw, shaved off the core)
  • Carrot
  • Beet
  • Greens (Kale, Spinach, Chard, Beet — whatever I have handy, sometimes a mix.)
  • Citrus (Lime or Orange or Meyer Lemon, with rind peeled off with veggie peeler, keeping as much white as possible)
  • Mint
  • Cilantro

I swap different things in and out for diet variety, but this is a pretty good example of what I am sticking to lately. I often skip the herbs, and it’s been interesting to figure out how much of each thing I can fit in my blender.

I do not use milk or alternative milks for my smoothies. Water works just fine and is better for me.

Since I am cooking for two, often I will blend a full fruit smoothie and a full veggie smoothie and mix/store them for a day or two. Sometimes they thicken overnight, and in that case I just add a little water and shake. I won’t eat smoothie that has spent more than two full days in the fridge, cause by then, it’s pretty dead, IMO.

A word about the pits:

In addition to the avocado pit, I generally only use one pit or core per smoothie, which lasts two people a day, to avoid the possibility of overdoing them. A little goes a long way.

Meals, Snacks and Eating Out:

The days I’ve done two meals and added whole food snacks I think have been the sweet spot. Those meals consist of cooked greens, eggs, fish, chicken, and occasionally quinoa or brown rice for a grain, though I’m not eating many grains and I really like it. Grains can grog me down and puff me up and generally just kinda suck, especially processed grains like chips (even the healthy organic baked ones).

A good smoothie cleanse of real food and no dairy really brings what a difference food makes back into focus. I felt better within 2 days of doing this, and frankly, it was fucking easy as hell — and smoothies are convenient to my lifestyle, too. But that’s not all I’m eating, since I’m not doing this for weight loss or disease control.

I’m also snacking on things like carrots and hummus, olives, whole fruits and very occasionally some toasted rosemary bread with herbed butter. Bread is working a lot better for me now than it used to, but I still limit it to a slice couple times a week at most, and generally with a meal that has a bunch of other good stuff.

If I eat out, it’s either generally sushi or thai (tom kah and fresh rolls). Though, I’m getting about ready for a nice organic grass fed fuckin’ slab of redass bloody meat. Gnar.

The one-rule for better eating:

Essentially, the way I am looking at food, is if nature made it, I want it — and if nature didn’t, I don’t, unless I’m treating myself infrequently. If a human did much more than pick it/kill it, it’s suspect. Examples (in order of severity):

Whole orange = yes

  • Prepacked orange slices = no
  • Orange juice = no
  • Orange flavored anything = no

Raw corn = yes

  • Canned cooked corn = no
  • Tortillas = no
  • Corn syrup = BIG NO

Wild Salmon = yes

  • Farmed salmon = no
  • Canned Salmon = no
  • Salmon jerky/smoked salmon = no

So, that’s what I’m up to lately. You get the idea.

This is working well for me, my body, my attitude and my life. It’s a lot of work at first to get into the groove, especially if you’ve never eaten this way before, and there are still occasions in which I will have some OJ or a couple spoonfulls of yogurt, or even a spoon of cookie dough at midnight — but it’s so fucking worth it. And holy shit, is it exciting to open a frige full of fresh, fragrant, poison free LIVE food.

I may forget these things and fall off the wagon a few times a year, but I imagine I will always come back to this way of life and living, and I hope that as I age and get better at prioritizing my world around being healthy and happy that each cycle will be longer, and easier to revert back into.

Take care of you,
-nee