Posts Tagged ‘integrity’

Full Circle

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take. The fucking. Doughnuts.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” – Carl Jung

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

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

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“Healing wounds requires a strong enough sense of self to be able to accept the crap we have pulled in service to them.” – Nekole Malia Shapiro

Integration Phase: Thoughts on Rape Culture and the existence of Lady Privilege.

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

As my rape culture post has circulated on Medium, and the conversation has continued, I’ve found myself annoyed. The men who are talking, nearly invariably, debate. They argue the definition of consent, they argue the definition of rape, they tell me I’m being too hard on myself and others, they worry about the definition of rape being too broad, they dominate the conversations with their resistance, their confusion, and their privilege.

Not all. Most. Overwhelmingly most.

I’ve found myself seeing patriarchy, seeing questioning as confrontation, seeing a culture who does not want to give up its rape not wanting to give up its rape. I’ve found myself caught between wanting to be heard by the power population who has the most weight to throw around, and being utterly fucking exhausted by including them.

More than a few times I’ve caught myself demonizing a friend in my head because they are a man who is asking me to clarify myself. And more than a few times I’ve responded internally to the support and the bravery of women who identify with what I’ve said, claiming their own rape culture transgressions and vowing to cease them, with ‘why the fuck aren’t more men doing this?’.

Especially when I know, personally, multiple men who I strongly, strongly suspect relate with my stance on this issue, and aren’t speaking up. *Yes I’m looking at you.*

I think one reason more men aren’t coming forward in support of this idea is that it’s unbelievably tricky for men to voluntarily be accountable for violence. Of any kind, but especially of this kind.

When, in my life, I’ve taken accountability for being an abuser, for being violent, and now for being a rapist, I’ve overwhelmingly been called a fucking superhero. Though I feel a bit like I’m flapping in the wind and it’s not even close to easy to be putting myself out there the way that I am, in this way, I have it easy here, and I know it.

I have rarely seen that happen for men who have done so, or more to the point, who are struggling to do so and are stumbling through it. I think it’s important to weigh this, as we move through this conversation. To consider that, in our culture, it is more ok for us as women to stumble through taking ownership of our violence.

Yes, we are discussing an indoctrinated violence that begat violence that was perpetuated by patriarchy and we are part of a rape culture which severely effects us as women. In the existence of rape culture, it is men who have the privilege. When I see women taking this on and speaking out about newly seeing themselves as having raped others, part of me is scowling. Why the fuck is it that the underprivileged rape culture population is the one that seems to be showing the most contrition for the existence of it in ourselves?

Well, I wonder if it’s in part because in transforming views on rape culture by blowing the lid off of its pervasiveness and paving the way for a different view of common behaviors by calling ourselves out for having them, it’s us that actually has some privilege.

I wonder if, actually, in the cause of exposing how pervasive rape culture is in our lives, and how much of a HUMAN issue it is, I just really wonder right now if we as women, with our vulnerability and courage, are in fact the ones who have the most weight to throw around to tip this god damn thing over.

Experiment: 1000 words

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Challenge: Relegate my targetedly offensive language (against women, mentally ill, etc).
Duration: Ongoing

Compendious Result: The road, she is long.

I’m exploring how my language use reflects in the social consideration I’ve been developing the last few years. I rather automatically say a lot of things that bother myself now, after discovering that everything I historically thought was funny, isn’t.

Looking at this closely and exploring new words is how I’m re-establishing a sense of humor. The things we say matter. Basically what I am going for – in general, but not necessarily with this exercise specifically – is cultivating the skill of expressing rage in a way that respects my emotions AND other people.

I REALLY don’t want to give up motherfucker! Or bastard. Or bitches. Or bitchery. Or douchebag. I will very much miss cuntary too. Such a classic. I dropped ‘pussy’ years ago, because calling someone that is fucking stupid. ‘Wuss” or ‘fucking twit” is way better.

But what’s been seen can’t be unseen. I want shit to fucking change, and if I as one dedicated person can’t consider ways to make fun of someone without insulting their single mother, insulting the lovers of mothers or their fucking feminine hygiene, what god damn hope does the world have.

I’ll be keeping my blasphemy, though, thank you very much.

How it’s going..

I have been racking my brain for a long time trying to come up with a quippy fun insult like ‘bitchez!’ or “motherfuckers!’ that isn’t a) Degrading of femininity and/or b) culturally appropriated, since I can’t say either of those things anymore without feeling like a fuckass. And “fuckasses!” doesn’t ring.

I’m also working my way out of calling shit retarded, since battling mental health stigma is important to me. That one is hella hard. ‘retard’ and ‘fucktard’ and ‘lactard’ and ‘glutard’ — all those ‘tard’s — are where I slip up the most. Currently the frontrunner replacement is “lobedonor”.

I posed this conundrum to facebook and got a lot of good response. “Shit for brains”, “fools”, “wankers”. I am rather partial to “Knuckle Draggers” and “punkass”.

Also considering “suckers”, but wanna say it suckahs, which brings up the appropriation aspect. I like ‘homies’ but I’m white as your 6000 thread count fucking sheets, and save for a slip up a couple days ago when calling EBT grocery shopping ‘ghetto shopping’ I’ve dropped ‘ghetto’ too.

I’ve been leaning on ‘shit’ for my cussing a lot more of late, and “Meatbags” is a pretty solid staple of mine. For more direct insults, I quite like using “prolapse” to get my point across.

Interestingly enough, ‘bitchez’, which is what spawned this whole examination, gets to stay:

Alright. I have done my due diligence. I have explored my intentions, my stances and my sensitivity. I have searched far and wide for a manner of expressing that feels as right or as gleeful and I have found mostly self censorship and confusion. I have walked the path and searched the soul and hence forth it is written: I am keeping ‘bitchez.’

YEAH BITCHEZ!!

Funny, how things work out.

Meeting the maker

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

I’m pretty sure I’m at another one of those places in my life where a big internal shift is about to click into place after multiple weeks of limping around funny, like when every step hurts your ankle because the bones aren’t lining up quite right.

I am transforming. It is intense and embarrassing and lonely and hard.

Any minute now I’m going to start those ankle circles again and this time, on maybe the second or third one, something is gonna snap and suddenly my leg will fizzle in relief and come back to life.

As part of this multifaceted, uncomfortable time, I am finding that the internet — which has been my line for social interaction for most of my life — especially in times like these, doesn’t seen to really work for me anymore. The interactions I do have online nowadays are weak and hollow feeling when all is said and done, like a fancy dinner you drive away from in a fancy car, but it’s in exchange for your soul and your health which are far more valuable. My relatedness with technology and the internet tastes like cheap chemical candy once the bulk of it has melted in my mouth.

Which brings me to the other piece of my skewed anklebone puzzle; My anger, which I often focused through online tirades, isn’t working for me anymore, either.

And dammit, I fucking like my anger! I didn’t run an early 00’s “Courtnee’s Hate Mail” column on stileproject for fuckin nothing!

The upshot is that my perspective has deepened to the point that I am uable to blast that adolescent, fiery hate without being distracted by the tender underbelly and potential consequences of slashing at it. As such, I don’t rant like I used to, as often as I used to, and for Previous Me that was a major stress outlet for a long time (not to mention a source of endless amusement).

I think the best example of this movement in my life, at least the most shattering one, would be an experience I had recently where I met a celebrity that I had previously foam-mouthed ranted about online, in person.

Not only did I meet this person, who I never imagined I would meet, I met them in the context of my massage practice. They had come to me for healing and support.

In that moment that I received the email reservation request, I thought maybe my friends were fucking with me. Kinda wanted that to be the case, but, I think I knew it wasn’t. I began the process of soul searching to determine how I would respond to it, every shitty, petty, mean thing I had said in my rant neutralized — Simply at the thought of potentially interacting with them face to face, things I had written in a vacuum, things I actually believed and meant at the time, vanished.

It was then that I remembered the little uncertain voice that had been whispering at me while I was writing, the one that caused me to take the rant down a day later. The one that tells me that the way I historically harness and point my anger isn’t working anymore. The one that tells me I have to go back to work and level up, again.

*sigh* again.

And I knew that this person contacting me was no joke, and no accident. I knew that I needed to step into the opportunity to take responsibility for what I had said, why I had said it, and to approach this client with integrity. And I had about a half hour to figure out how I was going to do it.

When Amanda Palmer arrived, I said there was something we needed to talk through, and I told her that I needed her to know that I had said some pretty shitty things about her on the internet.

I explained that while I had had some true disagreements with her, what I said was bullshit. Mostly, it was uncalled for vitriol from all sorts of places in my life that I had projected onto her image as a celebrity – and that was why I had said the things I had said.

I confided that I needed for her to know that about me before I could be comfortable sharing an intimate energetic connection, such as having my hands all over her. And I said I was sorry. Because I was.

The response to my emotional risk was overwhelming. Tears, relief, and “I was supposed to meet you today” kind of overwhelming. The massage was magical, as was the massage I gave Neil after working on Amanda.

After they had left my massage studio, I checked out Amanda’s blog, to gain some kind of insight into why she thought meeting me that day was kismet. I was taken aback by how powerful the experience had been for me, and as someone who is generally on the other side of the coin, invoking transformations and shifts for others, I was interested in what made this situation uniquely mutually beneficial.

I found a lot of similarity and relatedness there.

This person had come to me from a very vulnerable, familiar place, and we had deeply connected. That would not have happened had I not had the courage and insight to risk myself, cop to having been an asshole, and opened myself to the possibility of rawly connecting with the real person who had presented to me, as the real person I also am.

The night before I met Amanda, I was falling asleep on my office floor to a flimsy cocktail of a few pills on top of champagne. I had just sold a painting and been taken to an amazing meal, yet I was on my floor crying, fantasizing that by some miraculous fluke the chemicals might align just right and I wouldn’t wake up.

Clearly, the universe had other plans.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Yesterday, I believed I never would have done, what I did today.