Posts Tagged ‘inner voice’


Friday, July 25th, 2014

Sometimes, I remember what it was like to let someone who knew me hold me. Conjugated, wordless.

Someone who watched me churn and struggle with you and cry so hard I choked on myself. Cry so hard my face felt like it was going to fill and burst with blood and fall off.

Sometimes, I remember what it was like to keep someone who knew me as more than my fight with you inside with me. Someone who helped me fathom hope and victory.

Someone who helped soothe me away from you, who offered me moments of solace, a temporary haven from the war.

Sometimes I remember that haven, and the bitterness of it being gone feels like choking all over again, the tears frozen behind the caverns of my face.

You’ve taken all of them from me. All of them. Wanted me for yourself, left no room, no choice, no rules or structure around it. No matter how I have tried to keep them it always comes back to down to you, and me.

You have me now. All to yourself.

You can scream at me, you can rip my insides out, beat me down, and I won’t call on him to help take it away. I won’t drink illusion and migraines to transport myself and make your blows hurt less. I won’t coax another soul down my throat to satiate you and help me forget and remember at the same time.

It’s just you, and me. Like you wanted.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if you have me alone, if you isolate me, you will win. You’re thinking you will again rule us, you will consume me, wear me down, and I will stop resisting, I will stop looking for a better way. I will stop pushing through, stop seeking. I will stop changing.

I thought that, once, too.

But there’s something I suspect you didn’t think through, as you cackle and rise and celebrate, filling my head with pain. Something you’re forgetting, demon, while you loft and billow and pound at your puffed up chest. Fighting and sneering and looming, clouding over my mind. Hurting me. Hurting me. Slashing at me with your jagged viciousness, my fists futilely covering my head.

I’ve taken away the places you had to hide.

And I’m coming for you.

Coffee and Milk by Lora Zombie

Monday, August 26th, 2013

I wanna be able to make watercolor pictures and I wanna be able to make pretty ones that look awesome without having to learn how or practice I just wanna be able to do it all amazinglike the first time when I’ve never tried before and CLEARLY I AM A FAILURE FOR NOT BEING CAPABLE OF DOING SO even though I’ve never really tried to so I might actually be completely fucking great at it and not even know it yet WAAAHH WOE IS ME I’M AN ARTIST SO TORTURED AND PERPETUALLY FALLING SHORT FEEL SORRY FOR ME SHMEWWWW.


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

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

“There should be stars for great wars like ours.” – Sandra Cisneros

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” – Peggy O’ Mara

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

“If seeking resolution with someone who’s hurt you, wait until you can respond to them with the civility in having omitted your defense missels from your approach. Connection is risky enough, why risk the waste of energy and collateral damage in fighting off their return arsenal before tapping into their empathy for you?” – Courtnee Papastathis

Inspiring voices

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I, probably like you, have an inner voice. I sense it more than I hear it, and I know it’s my inner voice because I don’t ever “hear” it telling me anything, I just “know” what it’s saying. Usually, it keeps me full up on self deprecating chatter, razor sharp and often hilarious judgements, and that everlasting reminder that as hard as I work at everything I do I’ll never be enough.

I’d always figured that when I got around to hearing actual voices, they would be the Smeagol sorts of voices that encouraged me to press someone’s head into a belt sander, fuck a dead animal, or chop off my own foot because it itched.

As it turns out, it seems that I have taken to hearing the voices of people around me complimenting me.

It’s happened twice in the last week, and I pretended not to hear it. I’ll be in the kitchen and think I just overheard part of a personal conversation in the living room that I wasn’t supposed to be privy to.

I started wondering if these things were actually happening, just had a little bit of a sense about it you know? Like in dreams, my name is never used. And it’s a one-liner type thing, something that can be interpreted as being about how awesome I am but isn’t blatant, such as “I love doing this with her”. And at one time, in 2001 or so, I would dream so vividly about it being the day I was transitioning into sleep from that I would think conversations I’d dreamed that night were real the day after.

It took a little while (and a boatload of minerals, honestly) to ask someone who could tell me if these things were actually being said aloud. They weren’t, but asking did open up a lovely conversation about the possibility of thought transference and the concept that I might be picking up on them. I think that’s possible and I’ve had experiences that caused me to wonder if I have a keen sense in the past, but that would ultimately really surprise me.

What wouldn’t surprise me, is if I feel on some level that I need to externalize self-focused positive thoughts, being as uncomfortable with thinking well of myself as I am.

Worse yet is my discomfort in assuming anyone else thinks well of me, and that’s the trick I seem to be playing on myself, which in my deviant little world makes perfect sense.

There’s also the age old (for me) threesome factor, as both of these situations involved two people conversing together in agreement of how much they appreciate me.

Maybe this is how self esteem shows up for me? Or maybe it’s happening because validation and acceptance from the important people in my life is so important to me and so hard to articulate or ask for, letalone truly accept.

Or maybe all this self love over feeding myself good food and resting and focusing on my health shorted my brain out, like that one time in 1999 when I was high on E and I heard groups of people whispering praises to me as I wandered around the club.

I suspect this is something akin to the time period in 2008 when I would wake from a vivid dream, sit up, see both my dream and my actual surroundings, and lose the dream image only when I tried to touch it and shattered my depth perception. My brain is pretty.. well.. awesome, and keeps me entertained, and finds amazing ways to cope with stress and trauma, which I had in spades in 2008 and now.

In all honesty, I would be a lot more comfortable with being able to read minds than I am at the thought of projecting fake compliments onto myself. Telling another human being I thought I might be doing that was not easy. And if my life has taught me fucking anything about this internal examination shit, it’s that the least comfortable option is probably it, sadly.

I guess I’ll continue to ignore the lottery for now.

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

IV: “Oh holy good god shit I’m gonna fucking di– .. Oh yeah. Beets.”