Posts Tagged ‘insecurity’

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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.

WIP: I Hate The Fucking Internet Today

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

I’m working on a maxi-single for I Hate The Fucking Internet Today while simultaneously fleshing out the lyrics (WIP = Work In Progress, afterall).

It will be 5 songs I think, 4 of them versions of this one, and I think I’m gonna tack on What Kind Of Asshole Are You. I have a fast/cute solo ukulele version, a piano version, a guitar/looper version, and an Not Applicable version.

Been mucking around with the song this eve. Like, for long enough. But I had this urge to practice it again, even though now is the right time to stop.

While I was sitting there thinking about whether to push myself, I realized that my motivation to do that is out of fear that I will lose the mojo unless I force it down my own throat to exhaustion.

Like I actually have the story in my head that I will forget how to work the looper patch I’m setting up and practicing on, the foot dance I am literally fucking choreographing for myself around a song I’ve been chewing on for months.

I’m not really sure if this is actually how I learn, but I am pretty certain that the impulse comes from a deep insecurity and lack of confidence in myself in part because, get this: I find it so exhausting and strenuous to learn shit.

Like what the actual fuck.

#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.

Corners Turned

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck yes am I ready for that shit.

EMFUCKINGBODIED

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

I swear I just saw myself for the first time

I told myself in the mirror

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

“You are..

An amazing woman.

And you will ALWAYS be
An amazing woman.

No matter what
Anyone else thinks.

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

Because you
were in it.”

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

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

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

Solidarity

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

I had a get last night. A pretty big one. A few of them really, but one in particular that brought about a bit of an ‘ugh’ along with the ‘ah ha!’.

It came about while reading the rather surprisingly amazing comments on this post, about a female artist who creates a series of self portraits while on an acid trip.

In a nutshell, I suspect that, though it often helped me to care a little bit less about what a weirdo I was, my choice to use psychedelics heavily during the intensely depressed and forlorn periods of my life actually trained my brain to stay in those places.

I think that constantly exploring those parts of my psyche so deeply as my mind was still growing evolved me into the person who has struggled so much to resurface and keep my head above water since then.

Generally, when I think or talk about my drug related past, it is to ruminate about being an extreme meth abuser through years of suicidal tendencies and having somehow lived. Or, it’s to illustrate how the experience of pot changed for me over the years – I absolutely hated it when I was younger, and felt very alien and paranoid when I did it, but now, it’s calming and enjoyable for me. I haven’t really spoken in depth about my past psychedelics use, specifically, very much (Though I do occasionally write here after smoking pot, and it’s pretty awesome, allbeit slow going).

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

My teenage psychedelic use (speaking of mainly acid, which I did an amazing amount of) was both deeply blissful and fucking horrifying. I rarely prepared my psyche for it, and almost always did at least twice the dose as would have been appropriate. I had some of the worst trips, the most horrendous visions, sinking horrible anxious torrents of emotional torture, and often was transported into a special brand of hell catered just for me when I dropped acid, the images and fears of which lingered with me long after the effects wore off.

I also found sanctuary, beauty, and joy through other trips, particularly E, when I was a bit older, which was starkly contrasted by a reality where I was nearly exclusively incapable of seeing those things.

Especially in those less frequently positive instances, tripping helped me discover and revisit a well of immense emotional intelligence (not to be confused with emotional maturity, which I’ve only recently developed). But they were atypical of my experiences in total, which were usually laced with anxiety and tension, even if I was having some fun/learning too, and the good trips still had difficult comedowns.

Rarities as they were, positive drug experiences opened doors to profound compassion and understanding for the human condition, and connection with other people, when I otherwise felt an incredible isolation from other human beings that constantly crushed me from the inside.

Like sex and probably other things, though I rightly appeared on the surface to be capable, knowledgable and deeply educated due to my experience, drugs were a responsibility I was not prepared, or even remotely ready for when I had adopted them heavily into my life.

My relationship with drugs was abusive, unstable, obsessive, and an utter codependent roller coaster – like all my intimate relationships were.

I honestly believe that I didn’t know of any better way to deal with what I was going through, and I feel compassion for my past self who was in the position to be making those kinds of decisions – the ones where you look between oblivion and burning alive and have to choose. I had a lot of those, and I did the best that I could.

Visiting all this hindsight caused me to wonder what it might be like to revisit using psychedelics again, now that I’m a lot better off and have healed from much of the self abuse I inflicted. Perhaps they could help repair the damage that perhaps they helped me inflict. I don’t feel the need to jump into anything, but the idea of trying proper doses of a few things to explore what they may have to offer me is appealing.

My psyche shifting into stronger foundations has been a big part of my life lately as I’ve charged bravely though another encompassing wave of progress in therapy. This is the main reason I would consider possibly maybe thinking about the potential of doing this now, after inhaling far more than any number of human’s fair share of drugs in the past. For the first time ever I am enjoying the emergence of a psychic foundation that is stable, expanding, and wholly mine.

I’ve been longing to write about these progressions, but been waiting for it to flow naturally. It’s taken a long time by my standards, even though I’ve used the drafts feature on here more in the last year than I’ve ever done – the concept of letting a post mature into a complete thing rather than S.O.C. writing is a relatively new one since v3.3 – but I like it.

At any rate, this line of thought is a great segue into finally posting about something I’ve had circulating in my drafts for the last few weeks. Yay, drugs (and art!)

Lately I have noticed this fracture in my personality, like I have managed to mostly dismantle my identification with the pain in my past. Where it used to be subconscious and simply immediately true and acted upon, now I sometimes hear the learned behaviors from the abuse speaking as if it weren’t actually me. It’s like I am in third person watching a kid version of myself that looks like an adult version of me saying/thinking disturbing shit. I saw that lost little girl a lot last night. Sorta heavy today.- Facebook Oct 26 2013

As previously mentioned, I’ve been in a pretty good groove as far as that whole personal progress shtick lately, illustrated in the Facebook update above as my increasingly natural ability to observe myself with curiosity and nonreaction/nonjudgement.

The development of my inner world into a multi-leveled compound, the discovery of the children in my underworld, and allowing my personality splits to flesh into characters has been very fruitful. So many things make sense when I view myself this way, and for the most part, I am impressed and fascinated with how my mind protected itself all those years ago. I admit, it’s pretty fucking weird, though.

I think, due in part to my personality being splintered, I generally will have a very specific type of overwhelming physical and emotional reactions to intensely connecting with another person sexually (and also things like very intense/vulnerable performances).

When thrust into that sort of extreme emotional vulnerability, I can immediately retreat deep into often inarticulateable recesses of my psyche to attempt to return to myself as a reaction to it. It’s a common response after opening and allowing another person inside me and, more importantly, deep into my emotional world. I shake and cry and blubber things I don’t remember saying. In the past I’ve sometimes needed to detach physically from the other person in order to regain myself and calm down.

This is one of the reasons I am so very selective as to the people I pursue long lasting sexual relationships with. I, rightly, don’t trust a lot of people to be a successful container for that, even though it only happens a handful of times a year.

I had a breakthrough on Halloween which, incidentally, occurred while I was stoned (I also saw Liddell for the first time while stoned), directly after having very intense and connective sex. My experience was that I had just finished having a universe-hopping orgasm that essentially transported me into myself, and while I was there, my perspective changed.

Suddenly I was viewing through a holographic-like perception of a person I wasn’t familiar with. Sort of like when the optometrist swaps out those monocle-looking lenses to test your eyes – except it also manifested translucently in my spirit and my being, not just my vision. It was like my eyeballs had been magically swapped out for ones that saw a different (or additional, as it turned out) spectrum, and I felt a deep sadness I couldn’t explain.

It wasn’t that I became someone else. I was aware of myself and who I was and was conscious. But I wasn’t.. here, either. It was confusing. I was discombobulated and thrown off. I started to cry, and began searching for someone familiar inside me to direct my awareness to. I found Liddell, and started talking aloud to her (I don’t really do that very much..) repeating “It’s ok. It’s ok. We’re going to be ok. We’re in this together.” while I clutched my chest, crying, searching around in confusion, still on top of my lover.

At the time, I came to the conclusion that one of my shadow personalities on my upper level, the advisor level where the adults are, one of the ones I am aware of and can see a vague outline of but haven’t met yet, was now gone. I felt space where there wasn’t space before, the outline had changed from being solid and gray and having substance to its center to being whispy and white and open in the middle.

At the same time, there is nowhere else for this figment to go but within me – so, it seemed at the time that one split personality had fused with another. I thought Liddell, since she was the available one, and I lived under the assumption for about a week that Liddell had somehow sucked up another chunk of my personality like a little highlander.

A week or so later, I talked with my therapist about the experience. After explaining as best I could and being pretty befuddled about it she says to me, essentially, that if an absorption is what happened, it’s kind of the point of all this work.

The theory we currently work under is that consistent formative trauma split me up, but I didn’t go full MPD (now referred to as Dissociative Personality Disorder), probably because my dad stayed around. While he was his own brand of crazy and damaged, he was consistently there, and he fought hard to be that person in my life.

Though I have personally splits, and a history of dissociating into them, I also have threads that interconnect me to them all, and I don’t experience time loss or amnesia inherent in a true Multiple Personality Disorder.

I haven’t dissociated in months, really, save one time, and when it happens, it’s much easier to control and observe. I recognize that something that feels awful (it took a while to figure out what that feeling even was, or that it was a bad touch I could do something about) is controlling what I am saying/doing, usually in aggressive/standoffish text messages with my primary lover, and it takes me much less time to overpower the primate, apologize and begin interacting reasonably again.

Apparently as I heal psychically, eventually, they will all be reabsorbed somehow. I took the next week processing through the images and shifts in perceiving myself as having miraculously fused pieces of my mind together, as well as being a little put off by the idea of my Liddell being more beefy. I mean, she’s kind of a tunnelvisioned brute who caused me an awful lot of trouble.

I went back into my next therapy session wanting to talk about my experience sitting with the space that was created when it happened. How that space sometimes felt like an articulated single bubble in the intestinal caverns of my mind, and other times that space felt like the bubbles in carbonated soda, diffuse and impossible to hold. It was shifting and nebulous and I hadn’t put my finger on it.

Been feeling really good and focused and productive in my personal goals lately, in general. Lots of art progress as well as personal stuff, and my relationships with other people feel a lot more stable and safe. I am also periodically sad and kinda weepy right now.  After an entire life of extreme moods and feeling like about 20 fractured people, I only just became aware of the core personalities that have been motivating me a few months ago, and when I did, so many things about me started to actually make sense. It was sort of weird but also a tremendous relief to find my underground. – Pt. 1 of Failed Facebook update, saved in this draft version

I also talked about my various emotional reactions, which included a sense of sadness and abandonment. I’ve only just begun meeting these parts of me, and already, they are leaving? I’m so fucking disposable that even the voices in my head that I haven’t met yet go away?

And if the point of all this work is to get rid of them all.. where does that leave me, a person who knows nothing else but fractures and inner tensions stretching my mind and feelings to their conclusions? Despite enjoying frequent moments, and now a very quiet, subtle and lingering sense of a wholeness, I can’t even IMAGINE my inner world being one whole. I can’t even imagine it. It’s all I’ve ever known, even before I knew what it was – *I* don’t even possess the ability to *IMAGINE* being an entity without those inner pulls and conflicts. The fuck.

I’m up for this and will face it head on and it also feels like no sooner did I make those strides to meet these little people in there, they’re leaving. I mean, I want to, but I am also scared and really don’t have any idea what the fuck I’m doing. Since I became ready to find my mom almost a year ago now, all this stuff has really accelerated, and sometimes I kinda feel like, hey, slow the fuck down, dude. – Pt. 2 Failed Facebook Update

After confiding this, my therapist asked if perhaps I could say goodbye to this ‘lost’ personality, to complete what had happened. I thought about it for a while and replied that though my emotional reaction told me that it would be a worthwhile process, I wasn’t able to because I could not visualize, either literally or in a figurative manner, who or what went away. Until I could do that, I wouldn’t be ready for the closure of a goodbye.

So she asked me to tell her about them. Look around and see if I could sense together what this personality had been about. I cleared my mind and waited. And waited. It seemed like a mile of blank, and I remember thinking how impatient and annoyed I would have been not long ago, and how I would have given up looking and changed the subject before the length of time I had already been waiting.

Not long after that, a visual flash hit me – a cartoon of a small, smooth, round, bubbly shaped, tiny little monster, peering part of his head around a corner, and immediately hiding again. He was jet black, with huge all-black marble eyes that both made him adorable and creepy. He purred and clicked when he moved.

He reminded me a little of Stitch, in his mannerisms and in that he was utterly alone. No one else like him, anywhere. Alien. So lonely, terrified of being discovered, dissected and tortured. Constantly hiding, curling up in tiny corners and shoving himself into little nooks that were so tight he couldn’t move his little body. Not a cell of violence in him, and not a cell of confidence either. Tender, agonizingly vulnerable, and completely afraid.

I spent a long while after that recalling just how lonely and small I felt growing up. I was too intelligent and insightful to tolerate my insufferable peers, too morbid and dark to fit in with the adults, extremely sexual very early in my life, and was just a weird messed up kid. I was also clearly being traumatized, hence forcing much of any perceptive adult to feeling immediately uncomfortable and helpless and often confused around me, which I of course sensed and internalized.

(Also of significance, he was a he – only the second male I’ve discovered thus far, the first being a small child who, until about a month ago, subconsciously bared the burden of serving as a conduit for the totality of the flow of my emotions. That was a hell of a therapy session, and I somewhat wish I’d written about it when it happened since I don’t much recall the details now, however I processed that by talking with my loved ones about it, so I’m ok with it. Maybe that one will come out a bit later. This is already a lot.)

As I described this little black alien cartoon I’d just discovered, I noticed behind where he had poked his head out for a moment was a hallway, propped in heavy slate grey walls of smoothish rock. Not machine smoothed, but worn smoothed, like the side of a mountain under a waterfall, but dry. As part of that wall of rock, I saw the space – a perfect outline of his little body.

This post is called Solidarity because when I began drafting it, I thought I had fused. Instead, it seems I have learned that my hider was an ethereal massless alien shape shifter; And, I can see him, now.

For some reason, the title still seems to fit.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

“I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing” – Neil Gaiman, Stardust

If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

“For in that city there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.” ― Evelyn Waugh

The New York subway has its own distinctive scent, like a cocktail of black tar and metal shavings, that I immediately find familiar and comforting every time I retun. You’d think it would mostly smell like pee and refuse, but for the most part it doesn’t.

I was periodically thankful for having that sense memory, and generally a lot of time, the half dozen or so instances I took the train in the wrong direction during the week I was visiting; also a bit of a staple experience for me here.

In the first day I was back, I remembered one of the reasons I considered moving to New York City – all the free stuff on the streets! Within a few blocks of walking a neighborhood, there’s always some motley crew plethora of building materials, toys, electronics, old furniture (much of it antique) and, of course, actual trash laying around. I remember fantasizing about having to purchase nearly nothing for my shoebox apartment should I have moved, back in 2005.

I also remembered one of the reasons why I decided not to move to New York City; There’s, uh, fucking trash everywhere. And with trash, comes vermin, which is also everywhere, including squashed on the streets and scurrying across all manner of floors, sometimes even near my stuff. Humph.

Slow Start

For various reasons, including working my way through the antibiotics I started in Sacramento and actually getting a ton of shit done in between, I spent a couple entire days in PJ’s (or rather, the clothes I slept in, because I didn’t really bring PJ’s) without going out or eating much of anything. With the exception of a few days in which I had plans already, I found that I didn’t have the motivation to do much, and was rather steadily depressed with a few spikes of life in between.

Sitting alone in a small, tidy NYC diner. A white nondescript plate of steaming corned beef hash that most certainly came from a can sits half eaten in front of me, its ridiculous portion blanketed in eggs over medium. I’m listening to Dido seeping from the ceiling, remembering my trip to Toronto when I listened to her a lot. The cold, mostly, and the alone time on the vibrating street cars. My heart is lighter than yesterday, allowing for sweet sadness to spread to my throat and the furrow of my brow. A small wise smile finishes the edges of my lips that feels like a gate to the knowing field. Everybody seems to want to ask me about myself. Perhaps it’s because they know, too. I’ll stay here until the plate is clear. Two more rest periods, I’ll bet. – June 7, 2013

It rained as much as it was nice while here, complete with the signature humidity of an NYC summer, but thankfully it never got agonizingly hot. On the few days it never stopped raining I pretty much hung out in bed with Bejeweled, which I had played for the first time on the plane ride out.

That said, there were plenty of standout times, starting with seeing my friend Rob Paravonian (for the first time in like 6 years) opening and MCing for his friend Liam McEneane’s live show taping at Union Hall in Brooklyn, the day after I arrived. They’re both funny as shit and super sweet – buy their stuff.

Saturday

On Saturday I went to FIGMENT NYC with Donia, my friend from Seattle whom I originally learned fire spinning from, and my host in NYC. FIGMENT is a giant not for profit public collective interactive free-for-all art event on Governors Island, an amazing retired military base converted into a public park, complete with dozens of huge, gorgeous Victorian era houses and lots of green hilly things. The weather, thankfully, was perfect for it.

The day before FIGMENT (a Friday that was lost to the rain and the comfort of Donia’s guest bed), after looking over the website and really liking what I saw, I sent a little introduction mail through their contact form explaining a small portion of my background in the arts and non-profit work and expressing my interest in putting on a FIGMENT event in Seattle. To my surprise, I was quickly responded to by the Executive Producer and given contact information to be utilized when I arrived.

Within about 3 hours of meeting, wandering, philosophizing and effectively interviewing one another, I was given a nametag, shirt, and was being introduced as “working on Seattle”. Suddenly, I had plans to return for the second day to attend the producers brunch in the morning, which I did, and it was pretty glorious too. One of the things that traveling to the east cost illuminates is just how fucking passive aggressive and flakey people in Seattle are. It’s a wonder anything ever gets the fuck done.

I feel confident that there is intense possibility here, though. Many more things need to fall into place before I know exactly where I fit into the Seattle plans with FIGMENT, however, it’s safe to assume based off my experience with the organizations core assets and many representatives from other areas, including Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, and even Australia, that it’s rather likely I will be involved in some sort of leadership role in the process. (Unless, of course, I decide to stay in Sweden.)

Hack tha planet, bitchez

After my first day of FIGMENT, and discovering my notable sunburn, I stopped by a place in midtown for some Summercon afterdrinking with my hacker boys, and to pick up the convention badge I never ended up using. I had supposed to attend con and meet up the night before but I simply didn’t feel well enough yet.

I did, however, show up eventually. In turn I got to visit with a few of my favorite people in the world, many of which I hadn’t expected to see, and got a little bit of my drink on.

I was met almost immediately with a pretty awesome exchange with my longtime friend and hobbiest photographer Weld, who happened to notice some time ago that I borrow the SLR camera I often use. He also happens to have a Canon 40D he is not using, and happens to think I need to be taking WAY more pictures. What can I say, the man’s a problem solver – He offered his old camera to me, and I’ll have a 40D of my very own shortly after I settle from my trip. I live a charmed existence indeed.

I invited my distant ex to join us as part of our shenanigans and we ended up having an awesomely entertaining and rather public series of heart to hearts, in which we aired out a lot of the crazy shit we’d pulled on one another, sometimes for the first time since it had happened, and recounted some pretty awesome memories in there as well.

There was a lot of laughing, from both us as well as the people around us who were listening to these tragically hilarious recountings, and a lot of recognition between us. Much Good Stuff was had from our interactions, especially for him, as he’d been slower to process and grow out of the place we were back then and had apparently been holding on to a lot of stuff I’d put down some time ago.

It felt really good, and I was aglow with the familiar feeling of having contributed profoundly to another persons inner world by being generous with mine, though I never stop being surprised when that happens. Nothing we talked about triggered me and I felt a lot of gratitude and connection about it all. It’s sort of amazing how healing admitting to your ex you were kinda happy when you saw he got fat can be.

I ended up spending a night in Manhattan which consisted of very little sleep, not enough dancing, and long awaited connections of multiple types. It was a welcome contrast to the work emails, event coordination mode, recovering from infection, actual work, etc. I got to just be myself for a while, say what came to my mind and be with people who’ve seen it all and stuck around anyway. It really felt great.

Sunday

Spent some time at MOMA in NYC yesterday, mostly mouth agape at the ridiculous piles of shit that the elite seem to think constitutes as artwork. A few things stood out for me, including an antique slideshowing depicting horrific facial deformities, many appearing to be the result of bombings and shootings to the face in the world wars. Some of them were so brutalized it was difficult to imagine how they continued to exist, missing large portions of their bone structure. Something about it captured me but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I realized this morning that the exhibit spoke to my experiences regarding the uncertainty of the results of healing. I expect a scarless, flawless result from mine, particularly when addressing emotional and spiritual injuries. But sometimes, no matter how much more you fiddle with and stretch your skin over the giant hole collapsing your face in, there comes a time to accept that it’s just always going to be tender and unsightly. Disturbing.

I have decided that most Modern art is a bunch of fucking bullshit, and the Museum of Modern Art kinda sicked me out. It’s almost impossible not to compare my work to the work that’s displayed, and so much of it is SO BAD it’s just unbelievable.

Indecipherable pencil scribbles on torn pages of newsprint? Horrifying greenscreened clunky dancers in garish bedazzled zentai suits on video, chunks of which are invisible because the colors of the costumes matched the screen too closely? Chunky paper with strands of human hair swirled sloppily on its surface and put in a frame? Duct tape squares on fucking cardboard?

It seems that any old piece of trash is modern art as long as you make it a series. Who the fuck decides to put this shit in a museum, anyway – cause I’ve got a pile of my crap smeared to a 2×4 to fucking sell the pretentious fucker.

The one thing we were actually there for, the Rain Room, was an hour and a half wait when the exhibit closed in an hour and 15 minutes. No pictures in the Rain Room for Will and I on Sunday. We decided to try later in the week. BLECH.

A Case of the Mondays

Low energy and fairly uncomfortable, strumming the uke without much direction. I’m traveling, taking antibiotics and have pooped twice all week. Help a sista out and suggest some songs you’d like to hear me cover. If any of them work out well I’ll post the progress to soundcloud.

Once that eventful and potentially life altering weekend was over, New York City spent another solid day raining. The last time I was around these parts for this kind of weather, I spectacularly wrecked on the NJ turnpike with my ex after hydroplaning over a temporary lake I couldn’t see.

That was about 16 years ago now and the sound still shoots me up with adrenaline, but that’s about the only thing that remains in me from our ridiculously abusive (both self, drugs and one another) history, for both of us now, I think, and I found the weather to be almost communicative, like a final nod goodbye to all that fucked up victim bullshit. I found myself wondering if I would still periodically panic when I heard hydroplaning anymore.

Monday also happened to be the day that I traveled farther east in Brooklyn to meet with Dese’Rae Stage of the Live Through This Project (for those who know NYC, I was staying on Atlantic Ave near the Nostrand stop on the A, and went to Saraghina off the Utica stop for my meeting) to talk about life after an adolescence wrought to the core with suicide attempts.

When I had originally contacted Dese’Rae after discovering her project, I was in a pretty solid mindstate. I offered to talk about my experiences because I felt I had a lot of encouraging words and insights that could help people who weren’t feeling that life was very worth living, or were questioning if it was all worth it. I’d been there and done that and was proof that it got better.

Of course, when it came time to actually talk to Dese’Rae, I felt like total fucking shit. I was worn down again, tired, sad, alien, weird, alone. My trip wasn’t freeing and energizing like I was expecting, the time off felt like an emotional prison plagued by sickness and conflict, all these fucked up emotions kept surfacing and for much of the weeks leading up to this commitment I’d been stifling tears and avoiding feeling what was calling them out.

As I sat at the table with her chatting and occasionally advising about the administrative challenges of her project, what felt most real to me as my time to speak and be recorded loomed in the distance was how hard it still is. How hard it is at least a portion of almost every single day of my life. How hope for living is a constant battle, a constant struggle to remember that year that gets farther and farther in the past where I didn’t see suicide as an option, or a concept that was just at my fingertips, at the ready, waiting for me to slide down far enough to have nothing but it to cling to. How hard it is to remember the tiny strands of that reality, to remember when I feel bad that it is possible for me to feel better, for what felt like a long time, and maybe some day if I work hard enough I might feel that way again.

So, that, and ideas and insights surrounding that, was what I talked about, once I got through the basics of my history, which took a while in and of itself. I’ll be interested in seeing what she chooses to include in my story on the projects website, which as far as I can figure is about 6 months off from being published. I’m glad I did it, and I know I will be touched by what comes out of it. For now, though, I am comforted by the fact that I’m likely to forget about it entirely in the meantime.

The Final Act

This vacation, thus far, has turned into a lot of work, very little movement/exploration, and laptop forearms. Considering unplugging entirely while in Sweden.

The last few days in NYC were pretty typical. I slept a bit, scheduled a shoot in Sweden for the 17th, checked a lot of email and took Donia for Indian food as a thank you for letting me crash at her place.

Will and I did get some good pictures in the Rain Room exhibit first thing in the morning the day I left, and I was reintroduced to SnapSeed, which I had tried but didn’t really get into before, for post processing arty images.

Up at 7am preparing for a second crack at getting into the MOMA rain room exhibit to have some pictures taken of me. After that, a final couple of hours in NYC which are likely to include central park and stopping by the piano stores I noticed in the neighborhood last time. Then back to Brooklyn to pack up, and the long flight to Sweden.

I had the opportunity to play a Yamaha C7 grand piano at the recommendation of my friend and musical collaborator Aaron Marshall, who suggested I try a Yamaha after reading about my experience with Steinways. We hit up Central Park for a walk and some ice cream and had a ridiculous lunch at a place called the Jekyll and Hyde club in Times Square. It was good to see Will again, it had been since 2005 that I had, and he is what one might call Good People.

The plan is to return to New York for FIGMENT next year. We shall see. I have a lot of travel, still, this year, and next year might need to be a year that I stay home and tend to my various businesses. Especially considering a majority of my commitments in the near future include SEAF and FIGMENT which are volunteer. I really need to figure out how to get paid for this shit.

Packing up and soon to be out of communication until July. If you’re planning on having any big news or have something to say to me before then now’s the time to speak up. Otherwise, see you on the flip side.

Given my penchant for spiraling into the social networking abyss, I will be offline apart from updating my blog until I return from my trip.

The present past

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I’m conflicted about publishing this. It’s long been hidden in the drafts section of neevita, offline since phuqed.org slipped quietly into the night, like most of the stuff I wrote about back then. There are rape triggers and erotic elements. It’s difficult subject matter and I expect that isn’t limited to how I am reacting to finding it again, and it will probably bother people.

However, it’s timely. As our social media begins to question and speak out about rape culture I’ve been thankful that I hadn’t ever been taken advantage of like the young women I’ve been reading about, many who died of suicide later.

The stories I’m reading are horrible. But, it doesn’t take the extreme of being video taped and physically abused by men who then brag about their deeds to cause real damage. I would argue that few rapes are so cut and dry and easy to identify. Mine wasn’t.

One of the main points I am hearing that I wholely agree with, is the lack of education surrounding what rape is, and how to recognize it.

Mostly, I hear this being called out as needing to be explained to men. And clearly, that’s true – the facts and actions of the perpetrators of recent crimes like the Steubenville rape show that, and most of the literature and advice surrounding preventing rape lies in the hands of the women.

But there are so many women who limp, injured and violated, for years, without understanding why, or what it is that happened. There are so many people who don’t understand coercion, manipulation, bargaining, or what consent means, or even if they’ve given it or not. Don’t understand that curling up in a ball and being pestered by someone to fuck them while they’re half drunk isn’t ok, isn’t their fault, and isn’t the way it’s supposed to work, no matter who you are.

In fact, though I’m incredibly connected to the results of the transformation that came about from this experience, which I had when I was 16, I’d completely fucking forgotten about the actual incident. For a long time afterwards when I did remember it, I was an apologist for my own rapist. Feeling for him was more natural than feeling for myself. Because my rapist wasn’t a monster. He didn’t stalk and hunt and tie me down and beat me up and hold a knife to my throat like I was taught rapists do.

I wrote this nearly 10 years after the incident, once I had finally discovered psychotherapy, and began to recognize that the manner in which I had weaponized and harnessed my sexuality was hurting people I cared about – and also damaging me. I wrote because I’d found where my sexuality had shifted from seeking intimacy and caring to a wielding of power and a hatred, from exploration and connection to a deep subconscious violence.

Maybe there is another kind of rape, that we aren’t talking about as much when we warn people about bad touching and fighting back. The kind that’s learned like abusive tendencies that continue as unconscious obliviousness and corrode and damage us. The kind that encourages us not to see or be seen like any other subtle form of abuse.

Even 10 years later, I still couldn’t see what had happened to me as rape. Even now, I struggle to call it what it obviously was. Because that means I will have to look at it.

That means I will have to stand in the possibility that rape can be something unconscious, something that sometimes, people don’t even realize is happening. The possibility that rape could be faultless and subtle. It means I will have to look at what all the other times were. All those other times I laid silently, feeling deadened inside, skin flushing in heat and anxiety, paralyzed, hiding, responding by staying limp and quiet, hoping they would notice..

and stop.

What if I told you I was awake
Written by courtnee on June 9, 2006

Note: I created a playlist which accompanied this time in my life. You can listen via flash here.

I can tell something’s wrong. You won’t look at me, your face is sour, you’re slouching more than normal and that vein on your head is real obvious. If I had the fucking balls to stand up for myself, I’d confront you right here and now. Right here in the train station. If I had the balls I would pin you down and make you admit what you did to me. Make you apologize. Make you fucking suffer.

But I don’t have the balls. In fact, I’m such a fucking doormat that I feel sorry for YOU and what a horrible fuck you must feel like. I’m afraid that if I stand up for myself you will leave. My best friend. My only close friend.

I go home and think about what I will say to you when you get back on IRC. How will I approach it? Should I scream at you, be angry? Am I supposed to be sad and afraid? Am I supposed to call the cops?

I know I am supposed to do something. And I know it’s supposed to be something strong and amazing and smart like everyone says I am.

But all I can do is mourn the loss of our friendship and pine for things to be the way they were before I woke up from a dead sleep to feel your hand down my pants. Before I felt the hot flash of adrenaline course through my body and paralyze me with fear and disbelief. Before the thought of stopping you flashed through my head but dissipated instantly when I considered how badly and pathetically you would react. Before I heard you whisper ‘grow’ while you clutched my breast. Before I thanked fucking god I had a tampon in.

I ache for the person I once knew, who was into books and parks and speed walking who didn’t like to be touched. The person who used to love when I would play guitar and sing, whose piano playing amazed me, the person who had tasted my tears after brushing them from my cheeks with his finger. The person who was so disgusted with human contact I thought I would never have to fear him like I did others. I ache for his regret, his pains, and that he has to live with what he’s now become forever.

I know I should hate you for what you are now. I know I should want to kill you, hurt you somehow, and sometimes I can manage enough anger from other places to pretend, but I just don’t. I am so sad for you, so scared for you, and still posses so much love. It makes me feel weak and powerless, and I find in you another reason to hate myself.

When you finally come online I waste no time setting the stage. You were odd today, is anything wrong. Did something happen last night. What’s bothering you. Slowly my questions descend into very obvious implications that I know what I’m looking for, yet you still deny. Over and over, you deny.

I don’t want to give up what feels like my only leverage. I don’t want to negate my power position by letting you know that I just fucking laid there petrified and let you fucking touch me and breathe on me and fondle my tits and who knows what else before I woke up. But I am a creature of gratification, and I simply can’t allow this to die without your confession.

What would you say if I told you I were awake?

The same.

How?

Because I have to.

You leave. For months you go away to be head shrunk and cured. You tell your family you raped me, and they don’t believe you. I don’t believe you. Your therapist doesn’t believe you. It was something else. You couldn’t have raped me because I still want your friendship, because you didn’t force your cock in me.

I am waiting for you to come back so we can mend things and go back to the way things were, talking on IRC for hours upon hours about everything and nothing. I don’t realize it, but another brick in the wall is set by your abandonment.

I suddenly come into the habit of thinking about you when I masturbate. I’d done it once or twice before to see how it would feel, but it was awkward and without climax. But now, it’s different. Now I’m angry. Now I am pissed the fuck off. And now I know how to satisfy it.

We are at your parents house in Santa Rosa watching a movie. You’re on the couch, I’m on the floor kneeling in front of you. You tell me no. I don’t listen. Neither does your crotch. I pull all my best moves as you protest between extended periods of paralyzed submission in which you’re too terrified to move. I groan that you wanted this while breathing hot through your pants. Your head falls back onto the back of the couch as you let out a devastated whine before beginning to silently cry.

The way your tears stream silently into your hair is exactly how I cried while at the dentists office with a raging jaw infection that threatened my life after spreading to the back of my neck. After getting a root canal in which the dentist rested his hand on my infection-gorged jaw the entire procedure, I had become entranced from the pain.

There was no motion, no sobbing, no resistance. I laid in that dentists chair while tears silently whispered from the corners of my eyes into my soaked hair in defeated silence while I went through the most painful event of my life. In reward for my will my bottom lip was eventually pulled away from my jaw so a scalpel could be jammed into my chin and tablespoon after tablespoon of yellow cottage cheese was massaged from my face and neck into my mouth and throat while I choked. I have never experienced pain to that degree of transcendence in my life since.

And here you are. Crying like I was that day. For me.

Your tears incite no mercy. Once snaked through your zipper I immediately mount and force you into me, glaring at you. You whisper for me to please stop. Please don’t. I hold your shoulders to the back of the couch and start systematically drilling down, pulling up. You wanted this. You wanted this so bad you decided to take it without asking. You’ll get what you want. And you’ll never want it again.

As your orgasm mounts you fight back more aggressively, like a man being drowned in a body of water, gripping at my face under my jaw trying to push me away from you. I continually outsmart you and pin your hands. Eventually the distraction gets the better of you and you relent to your fate, whimpering and sobbing as I feel you come inside my fantasy as I come in reality.

I feel a surge of power rush through me. It outweighs my hate, my love, my fears, my guilt, my confusion. It outweighs everything. It feels amazing. I feel amazing. I am amazing. And you, are ruined. Ruined forever like I was supposed to be ruined by you.

I don’t feel right about the fantasy. About the hate. But it feels so good to fuck myself thinking of forcing myself on you, I don’t stop. It becomes my staple sexual outlet, and perhaps the way I cope with your absence as well as your deeds.

Your return is confusing, upsetting, distant. You don’t want much to do with me. I feel like I’ve done something wrong, and try to tell you that I forgive you. I don’t care what happened, and over the course of your stay I’ve realized that it was bound to no matter what based on our relationship dynamic. It was no ones fault. Please take me back. So good to see you. I’ve missed you so much. So glad it’s over.

But my friend is gone. What was left of my innocence is gone. I am left with only change, disappointment, and a newfound hate for my always-apparent sensuality and appeal.

My hopeless romance, my quest for someone to love me, my openness and honesty about wanting that, wanting affection, and hoping that some day I will find someone to take my sex and do right by it, already battered and broken from others before you, withers and dies.

My fantasies of entangled limbs, soft kisses, gentle thrusts and whisperings of sweet nothings no longer excite me. Thoughts of being made love to, being brought to orgasm, gone down upon with tender care, are dry and fruitless. Now I have a cock. Sometimes I make myself suck it. Sometimes I fuck dead girls with it. Sometimes I let the object of my affection borrow it so I can feel him come for me, in me, on me.

The power in surrender and trust is gone. I now understand that sex doesn’t have to sadden me, make me feel used, be abusive, be scary, be submissive, force me to allow anyone inside any part of me ever again. My sex is power, my sex is no longer a shameful burden or a curse that makes me feel inappropriate, haunted, exposed. Harnessing it makes me the most powerful person on earth.

Now I have taken control.

Thrashing

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I feel like I’m thrashing around emotionally, after emerging from a long stretch of intense computer-focused work. In the last month, including my massage, teaching and metrix jobs, I’ve released three albums (Autochthon, Embodied, and Embodied Limited Edition), finished 95% of a DVD, all with cover art and sound mixing/video editing that I’ve done, and redesigned four websites (neevita.net, blog.neevita.net, fakehair.net, notapplicable.org). I don’t even want to know how many full days and nights I’ve spent sitting on the computer filling out forms, rendering shit, uploading shit, editing images..

I’m pretty worn out, and now I find myself wildly ambivalent about these projects. Earlier today as I listened to the “world” release of Embodied (which will only be available in the US on physical CD because I can’t justify another $400 to license the fucking covers for anything more than that) through a nice stereo, I felt proud and accomplished and hopeful, like I’d produced a damn fine album and at some point the right person is going to notice the damn thing and maybe something will come of this stupid expensive hobby that I periodically vomit my soul at.

A half day and a few hours of online researching later, I’m discouraged and want to give up, and I remember that all along, always, knowing my music is good is painful. The thought of managing the licensing for Embodied for the scale of release that might get me anywhere is depressing and daunting, and every time I imagine someone buying the album, I get a knot in my gut about the unfinished ends regarding it. I feel like I can’t truly seek the attention I want the music to have because I’m fucking broke.

Once I let Embodied aggregate, I have no way to control how many times a station plays which song, or how many people stream the songs from other websites. And even if I did manage to license 500 streams or whatever, I’m terrified that one of the songs will take off and I’ll get busted for not having the proper licensing in place already. Which is stupid because that’s not actually going to happen.

Conflictingly, part of me really must feel that if the right people just HEARD this shit my style would find a wide audience. I was thinking about open mic’s again and maybe going to one and what songs I should prepare. I was getting excited about the nervous silence there would be as I started playing, knwoing it would be intense but I could handle it, with my mind racing behind my squint trying to feel out what people were thinking but not being able to look at anyone, and then imagining the one person in the bar/coffeshop/whatever who would approach me after the show and talk with me and give me feedback, and how good that would feel and how alive that would make me and what a big step that would be for me to take and maybe if I did it a few times it wouldn’t feel so scary and I could gain some confidence playing for unknown audiences in environments I’m not in control of and play shows around here and have people actually hear what I’m doing and it would all snowball and I’d start having fun with it finally, finally finally and over a short time I could solve all my fucking musical problems.

But for open mic, the cover songs make more sense than the originals, and are what people would actually react to/identify with, and I can do many of them on portable instruments but I don’t have original music I want to share on those instruments and then I think about how much of a pain in the ass my synth rig would be to set up for a tiny open mic and how annoyed people would be at me for taking time to set up and then it turns into a nightmare where everyone in the place wants me off stage before I even start singing my whining weird pussygoth crap and the audience just sits there wondering who this high pitched whining bitch is and they sit there in silent protest until I pack my shit up and leave with nothing but a sense of how cold and unforgiving the room was, knowing I was too awkward and nervous and insecure to ingratiate myself to the audience and win them over, just like the second night of Embodied where I played nearly an entire show to silence and timid applause even though the audience was full of people who know and love and support me and I remember how uncomfortable and failed that felt and how I’ve questioned it ever since the show and how I should have learned from that and never fucking gone to that stupid bar in the first place and how I should just go throw myself in traffic or find a way to drop my synth on my stupid tiny worthless head.

And, once again, I think about going to an open mic for less than a minute before I’ve talked myself out of doing it for some reason.

It’s kind of amazing how convinced I am that if I perform someone elses song now some men in black will approach me in 15 years when anyone knows who the fuck I am, wagging their fingers and suing me. And even though I make the songs mine, it just doesn’t feel right in my heart and I know it’s not right to profit from a song someone wrote without them seeing something from it. I know how fucking pissed off I would be if I saw someone selling an album with my unlicensed song on it. I wish the world worked differently and I could just fucking paypal the artist $20 to let me use their damn song and call it good. That’s how it was happening on mp3.com when I was being approached by film makers and shit. That shit makes sense to me.

Getting on Pandora is apparently hard now, and requires a subscription service to Amazon just to apply. I signed up for the Amazon account today, as well as to SoundExchange (they collect royaltiest for recording copyright holders), who was apparently aware of one of my songs (Preterition) already. Then I started looking into BMI/ASCAP or SESAC (they collect royalties for publishers and songwriters) as which publishing rights company to go with and just felt overwhelmed.

Even just trying to figure out what fucking GENRE my music fits into in while filling out all these forms and shit makes me fucking face palm. I swear every form I’ve filled out for Embodied has a different genre, each company has their own list of possibilities and none of them are consistent and even if they were the only genre I’ve fully agreed with is “Live performance” and that doesn’t say anything about what the music SOUNDS like.

Since the release, I’ve sold three digital copies of Autochthon, and one physical CD. I’ve even sold a Limited Edition version of Embodied (and gave a lot of them away). I should be excited, I know. Instead, what I see is either the mountain of work I still have ahead — including finishing the fucking DVD for the Embodied LE I sold –, or the mountain of work I’ve already left behind. I feel like it’s an uphill battle that I’m fighting without any weapons, trying to relive my past, fighting to get something back that I stumbled upon 10 fucking years ago when the world was different, and then gave away shortly after.

I’ve been a wreck ever since I took on the Embodied album and decided to get formal about music. Clearly, I need help, or I need to fucking give this shit up. I feel like I need someone who understands the business and wants to invest in my music, deal with all these fucking forms and jargon and rights issues, look over what I’ve already done and see if I’m fucking things up, and get me heard, who I can also trust.

But I don’t fucking trust anyone, and I don’t know anyone in music who gives a shit about the kind of music I make, and after 10 years of being a self published hermit, I don’t know where to start even if I wanted to challenge that mistrust and take a leap to try to find someone who does, and I’m pretty fucking sure that I won’t find them in Seattle.

Is it only in my world that “progress” is so sad and frustrating and fucking hopeless feeling? Because I feel unbelievably alone in this.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Art is freeing and also the most rigid stifling cage imaginable.

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

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

Stay small

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I remember some time a few years ago, I heard part of an interview with Coldplay in which one of the band members was asked if bad reviews and the vicious comments that are made about them hurt. He said yes, and I was both impressed with his vulnerable honesty and saddened in how much I related to where the guy was coming from.

I’m not sure who this kid is, but I was very touched by this video.

I’ve tried to google hate on myself during low points in my life. I think I might have even done it using AltaVista once. Honestly, if ever there was a time that the rare unsolicited comment was made about me online, it’s certainly long over. Which is just as well, being that I too am a person who has always wished to be the type who doesn’t care what people think of them, and who probably just isn’t.

I never did find what I was looking for when I’d search for “courtnee papastathis sucks” and various other versions of the same sentiment — and honestly, I’m glad. During depressions, I am bulldog enough about insisting I’m a total waste of mucous without the confirmation of random people who don’t actually know the first thing about me or the real reasons I might suck. Though I can scrap on EFnet with the best of them, the irrational wave of hatred that inevitably ends up directed at the people who ‘make it’ as a performer is, I’m certain, one of the founding reasons I struggle with the prospect of any reasonably inarguable amount of success.

I think about places to contact about showing my art and then never call them. I think about press package designs and never print them. I think about going to open mic’s and I don’t go. I rarely practice, and when I do it helps to have a drink or three in me. I don’t take classes. I walk away from disciplines for months, sometimes years, before picking them up again. I have to re-learn my own songs every time I perform.

I don’t want to even imagine how hard it could become to maneuver my emotional landscape — my stage fright, my writers blocks, my mediocrity — if more people with less investment were paying attention. I cringe at the thought of engaging in conversations with every person who leaves a comment on my Model Mayhem and Deviant Art accounts, let alone being under the scrutiny of a typical celebrity fan base.

I’ve improved greatly at recognizing when I’m in my own way, and pushing through when I feel down about my work: And still, I think I might die before I figure out how to truly stop hiding from it.

I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be loved.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I’ve noticed recently that I tend to put an invisible wall up when I see strangers carrying musical instruments on the street or public transit. I think it’s out of a kind of shame for being such a shitty musician; I don’t want to get trapped in a conversation about the instruments I “play”.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

‎”grief is what we call it when we have experienced love.” – Sophia Sky

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Singing my FUCKING FOOL GRUMPY SCORN ASS OFF

Vashon Daytrip

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I’ve been struggling emotionally the last few days. I’ve been longing and sad, and it’s been frustrating that after 7 months of being separated I’ll still backslide and get emotional about not having my ex in my life in some of the ways he used to be.

Depending on how things are going, instead of art, my creative power cycle is sometimes used to think a lot. While the experience brought a great many positive things, in some ways, having sex with someone new was an emotional gamble that I lost. I understand in more acute detail than usual lately why it is that people tend to wait until they absolutely can’t fucking stand one another to break up.

I realized, while taking this picture of a crow at the Montlake bus stop, that it had been a while since I’d flown off somewhere with myself, just me and me. I remembered that this was the feeling I had had enough of when I spontaneously booked tickets to Europe. So I cleared my Saturday afternoon and Sunday calendar and decided to take a ferry and my bike someplace I hadn’t been before, someplace remote and quieter. I decided on Vashon Island.

The plan was to go out there in the early evening Saturday after I wrapped up my massages and meetings, sleep on the beach and spend Sunday exploring. The weather has been great for that and I figure around here, it’s best to get it while the gettings good. So I left my phone at home, hopped the bus to the ferry terminal straight from the office, with packed food, some extra layers and my travel journal.

Even from the beginning, the trip felt like travel. In the sense that I didn’t really mind that the ferry was almost an hour late, I wasn’t rushed or focused on any particular goal, and I already felt better just at arriving to the water at Fauntleroy.

I passed the time waiting for the boat chatting with a man playing with his dog, a Belgian Malinois named Kai, who favored a stick longer than he was which was so girthy he could barely manage to fit it in his jaw. Kai is about 8 months old and still being trained to handle his emotions, of which there were many it seemed about this particular stick. He would frequently get so riled up and excited over it being tossed into the water again so he could chase it down that it seemed his little heart may burst. Before I left, I had been invited to beers and evening Barbecue. Only in West Seattle, I said to myself.

The ferry ride was shorter than I expected, as I’ve only been to Brainbridge and Victoria before and those are both a bit of a trek. I felt lucky in finding an electrical outlet to charge my camera battery, which seems to go from perfectly fine to dead and nothing in between, while I ate some food and prepared to bike the length of an island and back over the course of a day and a half. I’d forgotten how nice ferry rides can be when the weather is good.

I felt some kind of privilege being the first to embark and disembark on the ferry, since I was a walk-on and most people bring their cars. I’m not sure why, but there was just something nice about it, and something inherently cool about being passed by a fleet of motorcycles and scooters directly after getting off.

The first thing I found out about Vashon is that only completely fucking batshit insane people bring their bikes there. Immediately upon getting off the boat, I was greeted with a hill twice the size of the 23rd/24th monstrosity in Seattle and enjoyed the ignorance of not knowing, or being able to see so, based on the windiness of the road. At the top, a half hour and two stops later, I was in a heap in a woodsy area occasionally uttering some kind of ‘what the FUCK?’ type notion, staring at the flawless sky, waiting for my heart to stop trying to punch me in the face. After that, I figured out how to bungee my backpack to my bookrack so I didn’t have to wear it.

I spent the rest of the daylight biking my ass off, which is why I don’t have a lot of pictures, though I did stop when I found things particularly interesting. This GMC truck was apparently being well guarded by horseflies, whose aggressiveness I had conveniently forgotten about since living in the country when I was a kid. I biked in silence, often listening to the wind rushing past my ears. I biked hard. Real hard. And occasionally, I slowed down to look around, like when I rode through the tiny town, which was mostly closed up for the day.

This little house was next to some kind of nursery shop, though I couldn’t find it unless I was actually looking at it and didn’t know it. The top floor is for rent. I spent a good 10 minutes standing on the side of the road, looking at this house and fantasizing about what it would be like to dump my life and move there. This place reminded me of the victorian house my wusband, who predates my current ex by quite a few years and is one of my most trusted friends, and I rented in the central district, a house which I miss to this day. I’ve felt the constant, subtle magnetic pull of country and nature as far as residency since returning from Europe. It wouldn’t surprise me if I move out of the city in the next couple of years.

Right around dinner time, I finally passed by a place I was drawn to enter – Quartermasters Inn and restaurant. The sounds of Billy Holiday and polite eating lofted from the outside deck. If the place had smelled, it would have been of basil. I had plenty of food, but I also brought a little money, and really the only way to experience a new place for me is to eat there. So, I locked up to a sign, mostly so the bike wouldn’t fall over, and went in.

I ordered my first glass of Rose since France. It seemed fitting and it was awesome tasting – not to mention effective. I got some muscles and clams which arrived shortly after the guitarist had begun playing. The volume was low and reasonable, like background music should be, and it was thought provoking for me to watch a person perform while intentionally being in the background. I’m not like that, and don’t particularly want to do gigs that are like that, but being how I’ve been contemplating bands and open mics, it was good reconnaissance and prep work for me.

I had a lot of exercise in my immediate future, and the next day off, so I tossed my food intolerance out the window and just ate what I wanted. While eating the two desserts (chocolate cake and bread pudding) I ordered, and a glass of port, one of the people from the table across from me asked what I was celebrating. It was somewhat interesting, when I thought of the answer to his question. I was just as easily celebrating myself as I was wallowing in an entire quart of rocky road. The only difference was my perspective and approach to doing so. I went with celebrating me.

I didn’t talk too much with people, but somehow still managed to get three different offers of company and/or lodging in the time I spent at Quartermaster. The person who’d asked about my desserts offered his address as camping grounds. The owner of the restaurant offered his sailboat, and the apparent boyfriend of the musician that was playing told me where the hostel was and who to ask for to get properly taken care of. I found the islanders to be hospitable and friendly, but I’d decided about halfway through dinner that I wanted to head home. If I got sidetracked or found a perfect place to rest, so be it, but I missed my guitar and felt satisfied with my travel dose overall. It was also only 8pm and already I’d put on my sweatshirt.

Before heading back, I shot this video of the water just south of Quartermasters. I rode back breathing hard and pumping fast, listening to my most recent playlist, and then to songs of leaving. I’ve rarely listened to my own music while doing something active like biking. It was surprisingly inspiring.

I reached the ferry just in time to hop on as it left, hopped the 54 downtown, and biked another 5 miles home in the dark. Milage total is ~22 miles, same as my last long biking day, but the terrain was much more demanding. I am quite sore and lethargic today, and woke up VERY glad I did not sleep on the ground last night. My back is totally wrecked – I think it’s time to pay the $100 for a pro fitting.

I had a lot of metime to think about stuff in a different way then I tend to laying alone in a cold bed or trying to fill my day up with things that help me avoid the computer. I have notes on song ideas, a new perfume I want, and realized I want to take guitar lessons. I’m contemplating a new tattoo.

I was able to articulate and accept that I don’t feel right in the world without knowing exactly who I’d move heaven and earth to demise with were it ending. Sometimes, that means I’d run toward someone long after it’s reasonable or dignified to feel that way. This happens to be one of them.

So, yay. Life goes on, and for the time being, life is pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully, the one thing you can count on is change. I’m waiting.

Thanks, Vashon.

It took all the man in me, to be the thug you wanted me to be

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about attraction, sexuality, and what tends to drive mine, lately. Since putting out an ad and having sex with someone for very different reasons than I’ve generally had sex before, I’ve come to articulate some really interesting aspects of what drives my fucking that formerly only showed themselves as atmospheric and intangible.

After my excursion last week, and noticing a lack of lingering hot thoughts that I normally associate with having a sexcapade, I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m becoming disenchanted with cock. Sex really is like pizza. Most of it is mediocre.

Mostly, though, I think that’s in contrast to my lifelong connection and presumed understanding about cocks, and the desire to have one myself. But I’m definitely broadening my perception on the subject.

(more…)

Isolation

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Just found the original, had lost the digital copy when I wiped out my drive a year or so ago.

“Isolation” – Acrylic on paper, 2004.

Nailed

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

So many years ago it pains me to say, because it means just that much life has passed my way already, I was a guitar player. I came into the world of original music through synth, and my first instrument was piano taught by my mother as a child, but I started out expressing my personality on guitar.

It was a frustrating time. I could pick up other peoples songs in minutes, but my original works always found me with a scowl on my face and a knot in my gut and were quickly thrown away. I hated how shrill and girly I sounded, how sad and painfully child like my voice was. I wanted to be a rock star, with driving Marshall stacks behind me, screaming to the world the rage that I held in my guts day, after day, after day. But my voice was “angelic”, and well, I hated it.

I stuck mainly with covers in guitar work, though there was a guitar song on Altercations. My method of covering on synth is to deconstruct, essentially distill what I internalized from the music I honor in others, and for that part I really enjoyed covering songs on guitar. But the lack of originals caused excessive feelings of failure and hackery. I didn’t feel I was remotely a ‘musician’ until I started producing original work. And well, even then… even now, I have my doubts that I really consider myself that.

Then came the performances of that work. It pained me to be present when someone listened to my music. Though I pushed myself otherwise on rare occasion, I hid behind the protection of the Internet so I never had to see any ones reactions in the flesh to it. I knew it was haunting and striking and that it had a tendency to peel down into the center of peoples melancholy. I liked that, I like invoking depth in people in most everything I express in my life. But I couldn’t handle the praise, and I felt embarrassed to the point of physical discomfort when I heard my own voice. Slowly, starting with that first show for my friends and coworkers in my living room 6 years ago, I have worked toward overcoming my stage fright, my self deprecation, and learning to be comfortable with my unique powers as an artist and musician.

It has been an extremely painful, fulfilling, almost mystic practice in my life.

I’ve since learned why it was, that I struggled so much with owning my music to other people. It always conflicted me, to know that my music was good, that I had something special, but to assume that it had to be bad because sharing it caused me feel so awful. It was the child in me crying out. Unsupported, alone, afraid, unsure. She needed me, cried out for me, and I wasn’t really there. Listening to my own music was like being in a locked cell, listening to the frantic and desperate cries of the greatest love in your life as they’re tortured down the hall. I had abandoned her, just like long ago, when I had needed someone who wasn’t there for me. And when I showed myself like that to people, it was shame and regret I felt. I didn’t understand how to help her. I was hoping they could.

I understand now. And it shows.

Last night, I covered three of the most influential guitar songs of my youth with the grace, poise, and dignity. I faced my audience with appreciation, warmth, and a genuine truth and strength that I have never shown any audience, ever. I gazed around the room at people while I sang and strummed and bore my very soul, cradling her and holding her aloft proudly. She was no longer cold, shivering, hidden, alone, being displayed like a fearful caged animal, with my eyes squinted shut to drown out the magnitude of her cries. God, I wish I had pictures.

Symbolically to this, and not by accident, I was not alone, either. I had a special guest, a new and dear friend, an amazing guitarist and vocalist, Andrew Cardillo, with me – cradling me, holding me aloft proudly, supporting my vision for these songs and trusting me as an artist to do him proud in our first collaboration together. I’ve so often sought that, so often wanted a connection with another musician that I could hold, someone geographically close enough to perform with, someone trustworthy.

For now, I seem to have found that person, that spark to ignite this deep well of potential I’ve flirted with for years in my online collaborations. Someone with similar sensibility to explore new frontiers with, to exercise my musical limits with, to add dimension to what I’ve already been doing, to have fun with, to support in his endeavors as well.

Thank you so much. To my friends who have supported my music, to my fans who have brought me so much warmth and jaw-slacking praises over the years, even when I had no idea what to do with them but argue. To my audience who never fails to share with me the deep stirring movement I invoke in them when I perform. To my supporters at Little Red Studio for believing in my abilities, their unyielding support and guidance, to the wonderful artists of all vocations and styles who have welcomed me into their worlds over the years, to the people behind the scenes that make it all happen.

Thank you to the universe for its infinite possibility and clever, cunning manner in teaching and keeping me on my feet. To teh int0rnetz, to mp3.com, to all the other musicians out there who inspire and continue to inspire people like me to have tried my hand at being as brave as they are. To my Dad for buying me my first guitar, to my ex husband and lifetime confidant for his everpresent support. To Scott, Stu, and Dan, for their particularly focused efforts in helping me lay the groundwork all those years ago. To my Mother. I know you did your best.

To my lovers, and to my enemies, and especially my lovers turned enemies, for giving me so, so much to write about. To Jamie, my brooklyn born drummer and incredible friend. To Chrissy and her unending pool of tranquil, loving support, and her beautiful voice, for finally pouring past my barriers and giving me a cause to open my music to others. To Andrew, my Scorpio kindred with so much left to show me. To Kimba, for letting me straight into his beautiful heart. To Jeff – You are so very dear to me.

And to Clayton. Nothing I could say here would be sufficient. You know how I feel about you.

Thank you for all of it. And so much more. I hadn’t meant to make this a long stream of thank you’s – but, there you go. I know I’m missing people.

I accomplished a dream last night, one that had always felt just out of reach. I hold this in my hands now, in awe, and I’m moved to a silent flush of tears. It’s one of the the most beautiful things I’ve ever felt. Thank you for sharing it with me. I’m brimming. Magnetic. Glowing. Thank you Thank you Thank you. And thank fucking god for yoga! I am so pleased to have discovered it again.

There is so much more to say, but I will leave this now.

Take care of each other,
-nee