Posts Tagged ‘making a difference’

Life in the Fast Lane: A Thanksgiving invitation for my experimental/sociopolitically-motivated friends:

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Howdy facebook. How’s it hanging. As y’all surely know, it’s Thanksgiving in the U. S. this week. And if you’ve been around here much in the past, you might remember a little bit about what I think of Thanksgiving. :poop emoji:

I’m taking a bit of a different track this year, and I wanna share about it and invite you to consider my words or even join me.

First, a babbly history: I grew up celebrating “pilgrims and indians” thanksgiving like most suburban white kids with their turkey hand drawings in the 80’s. With a tense and often bickering family environment, Thanksgiving was so quickly a soulless tradition or annoying obligation (how ameri-white can you get eh?). I don’t really recall having a genuine connection with it after childhood, other than a convenient excuse to force myself to connect with chosen family.

Over the years I have boycotted, half-heartedly participated, hosted orphans, and increasingly shared my dissent as I’ve learned more of the authentic origins of the holiday and how continuing to celebrate it harms people I have spent a lot of therapy money and cognitive effort as an oblivious privileged white person learning to actually care about.

My M.O. since radicalizing in 2014ish or so has generally been to water fast on Thanksgiving and fill my social media feeds with trauma porn about the origins of the feasting and how fucked up it is that we do it. You’ll be glad to know I’m (mostly) over that now, in part due to actually dipping my toe into legitimate advocacy by working with orgs like Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training – DIRT Corps and recognizing how deeply impactful the various Native therapies I’ve experienced have been to my personal life as well as my work.

Another big factor in letting go of that rage-stance has been my exploration of my gender identity (they/them), and how getting real about the origin of my binary brainwashing being centered in whiteness has allowed me to authentically connect with the ideals in Native culture in a personal way. Without that connection, all I felt entitled to interact with was the shameful anger of the bloodshed inflicted by my ancestors, so that’s what I signal boosted.

As a developing activist advocating indigenous rights and human person adopting basic indigenous principles into my anti-racism, someone who has worked with the Duwamish and learned from native healers, and someone who is privileged to celebrate my connections any day I chose, I feel it’s important for me to reject the holiday outright in my actions as well as my public talk.

Fasting may seem pointless, and I’ve wondered sometimes what greater good lied in my time during Thanksgiving while hanging out in a van alone and starving myself; whether it was simply selfish and personal or more than that or just self destructive.

As a political/community artist, I understand the value of documenting personal praxis in a performative way. One of the things that I write about in The Book are my personal experiments and what makes them legitimate artwork and not just self-help advice: Year of the Nee in 2014 (of which I spent a year weening from romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, and sex), W.A.S.T.E. in 2009 (in which I kept my recycling in my living space with me for months), etc.

My Thanksgiving fasts have been this sort of art for me, and I do think, when presented in conjunction with others, they are valid outside of myself. While I think it may be best to stop fasting as a means of reverence because I’ve developed such disordered eating in my last year of vanlife that it’s much more risky for my health now, I’m proud of those years in which I fasted, talked about fasting on social media, and sat with and communicated with my hunger as a means to process the reality of Thanksgiving. This year, perhaps for the last time (?), I’d like to fast again.

Which brings me to my invitation: Wanna fast with me this Thanksgiving? There are multiple elements to my approach, which I expect to expand annually if I get other people on board:

1) Water fast for the day of Thanksgiving (this is the “accountability” commitment) – Including peer-based aftercare support for the fasting to help ourselves as a group continue to healthy eating habits after going a day without food (I will personally need this from my community to continue Thanksgiving fasting in a way that does not endanger my health)

2) Funnel the money I would have spent on Thanksgiving food into a one-time donation directly to my local Duwamish and Puyallup tribes (even if it’s just a couple bucks).

3) If I’m active on social media at the time, post at least 2 local call-to-action Native advocacy resources on each of my social media accounts on Thanksgiving day. Post historical and cultural educational content about those tribes as well.

4) If a local group forms (I’m based in Tacoma now), work to create a meetup event in nature for next year, and include resources used in social media posts as lit for meatspace gatherings.

I am considering creating a group of some sort, preferably NOT using facebook, for event planning and information sharing. My idea for this is to include a national online element as well as a local in person one, though this year I expect I’m approaching this too late for a local gathering.

I anticipate most participants to be white because that’s my lane and this is our work, however anyone who is interested is welcome to participate.

If you’d like to be looped into the development of this project, comment here with the word DECOLONIZE and I’ll make sure to include you in whatever list/group/discord/slack channel or whatever the fuck it ends up being. And if you wanna participate virtually in some way this Thursday, let m know how.

Thanks for taking the long read. Also note that I have a post pinned to my artist page right now to a fabulous writeup if you want to delve in more, and many links supplied in the comments if you’re interested in supporting Natives this week.

National Day of Mourning is nearly upon us, and CHRISTINE NOBISS of www.seedingsovereignty.org has done a great service to those of us seeking to resist the colonial gaslighting that is Thanksgiving. https://www.bustle.com/p/thanksgiving-promotes-whitewashed-history-so-i-organized-truthsgiving-instead-13154470

NON-LOCAL ADVOCACY: If food justice is your thing (For instance, if you were enraged by the new SNAP benefit changes and think people on food assistance deserve fresh food), then you should know about food availability on reservations and what Queer Appalachia and @ndn.o are up to: https://www.facebook.com/QueersnAppalachia/posts/2060243613997313

EDUCATION: THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG
To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970

http://www.uaine.org/suppressed_speech.htm

EDUCATION: The Duwamish people of the inside still exist. You can visit their longhouse, attend events, sign up to their mailing list, among other things at https://www.duwamishtribe.org/

And here is their wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duwamish_people

EDUCATION: REAL CHANGE, a publication that I support whenever I have cash in my pocket (and I hope you will too), published this about the Duwamish in 2016 https://www.realchangenews.org/2016/11/09/duwamish-tribe-continues-160-year-fight-federal-recognition

DONATIONS: The Duwamish tribe has created http://realrentduwamish.org as a pathway for Seattlites and other supporters to pay reparations, and is a way you can impact the lives of those whose land we settled despite the federal government’s 160 years of refusing the tribe their rights. I pay real rent myself and encourage every Seattlite to do so as well.

DIRECT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION: DIRT CORPS, a restoration training program I worked with in 2016/2017, works closely with the Duwamish tribe while restoring wetlands in Georgetown, White Center and South Park; areas most impacted by industrialization and training local communities, and they are regularly in search of volunteers.

https://www.urbansystemsdesign.com/dirt-corps-program

THE ORIGINS OF MY FAVORITE SALT –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Salish
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Salish
https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/indian-tribes/coast-salish.htm

On minimization as patriarchal reflex

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

To follow up on that post about at least starting to learn about something that is painfully obvious to women: patriarchy inflicts the stress of constant bodily vigilance at best and acute terror at worse:

All the comments were amazing. So many stood out, like those that reported on strategies for increasing safety in taxis. Jesus.

One genre of comments sent me down a rabbit hole. The commenter would start with congratulations that I could be sensitive to this kind of thing, because the commenter commonly interacts with men who simply think they’re irrational, neurotic, angry or bitter.

But I could feel instantly that such a compliment was undeserved, because I know in my bones what minimizing the other feels like.

I’m an expert at minimizing, and I’ve used it with female partners in ways, often subtle, for most of my adult life, and I’ve only recently begun to listen to the call-outs on it, mainly from my partner, and also others.

My minimizing reflex is mobilized in an instant. The speed is a clue. My partner gives me feedback. Whatever the content is I instantly reframe it so I can feel like it’s either personal attack on me, or — and this is harder to see – as a problem that I am now responsible for, on behalf of someone who I instantly tell myself is overreacting. Both reframes are designed to render the incoming data dismissible. That data could be about real blindspots I have and real harm I’m causing, but I’m skilled at lumping it in with things I claim are insignificant, or flipping it into a character judgment on my partner.

It all happens automatically. Changing it can feel like changing the way I breathe. This is part of the reason why, I believe, men can be so insulted by descriptions of this stuff. We’re being asked to deconstruct something that feels essential to the way we are in the world. What would be left if those defenses were taken away?
How does that moment feel? Like I’ve been invaded and have to push out or strike back. My neck gets stiff with narcissism: I can’t let the other person have a legitimate problem without making it about me. I have to react instantly. I can’t pause, take it in, nod, reflect, try to differentiate the other’s feelings from my own. I can’t let it be, without fixing it, which really means casting it aside.
What do I do? Below the threshold of open conflict, I never do anything that I couldn’t justify according to some arbitrary spectrum of “normal emotional responses”. Maybe a little exasperated sigh, a tiny smirk that no-one but a partner would pick up on (so it’s even worse), an eye-roll. Maybe I change the subject too quickly. I might squint my eyes and shake my head. If I get going a little, my voice becomes irritated or more emphatic. This all happens within the realm of being able to pretend to be innocent. At least according to me. The net effect of all of these gestures, not to mention the verbal deflections I’m working up to, is to say that the problem my partner is bringing to me is hers alone. Past the conflict threshold, these things become more obvious.

What I’m getting at here is that the explicit minimizations I can verbalize are grounded in countless somatic reflexes that have been trained into me. I believe that before gaslighting becomes an institutional strategy, it is a nervous response. A lot of the vibrant discussion out there focuses on changing behaviors, and that’s as it should be. I’m trying to look into what drives the behavior.

I can hardly think of any men that I have these hair-trigger responses around (but more on that below); it’s a problem that comes up much more often in my relationships with partners. And if I track it to my immediately wider circle here and now, it’s of a piece with what the men at the community centre gym do when they talk about women.

The locker-room comments amongst my middle-aged cohort aren’t as sexually objectifying as they are gender-objectifying. When a woman partner is mentioned, there’s a general groan. There’s an expectation that a story of nagging or craziness is about to unfold. I get on edge when I feel this happen, because it’s hard to point to anything distinct to call out or in. If I’m feeling up for at least pretending to do ally work that day, the most I can say is “Well maybe she feels like x, because of y,” referring to some aspect of patriarchy that wouldn’t otherwise get discussed. This is always awkward, because I’m interrupting not only a discharge, but veering out of a well-worn groove.

I might feel superior about it in the sauna, but I’m no better. I know that groove from all-boys Catholic school, where it was hard-wired into me. It’s more like a drone, really, an underlying hum of misogyny, and it begins with belittling. Girls can be cute, but they’re not serious human beings. They waste their time with needlessly complex thoughts over petty concerns. They’re weak, neurotic, and will try to control you through seduction and emotional manipulation, which is all they have talent for. In other words, going to an all-boys Catholic school is like growing up in a politer, more disciplined or militarized version of a 4chan board. All these MRM losers these days are total lightweights in comparison. We made misogyny look good. Hell, we could even make it look liberal.

So the legacy confers an underlying, subconscious reflex to equate a woman’s (insert “gay man’s” or ‘transperson’s”) voice or ideas with irrationality, anxiousness, or lack of understanding the real issues of life. This is the baseline emotional reality of heteronormative men that the #metoo movement is charging at on the open field.

It’s a vicious feedback loop. Dehumanization escalates to outright rape, and minimization – the most socially-acceptable dehumanization tool – neutralizes the call-out of injustice. At the microlevel, when my partner suggests I take a cab at 3:30am, my ingrained response is to feel she’s infringing on my space. There are elements of personal and familial psychology at play for me here – some of them reasonable. But misogyny has hardwired me to belittle her concern, so that I can own more space.
In an instant, my response provides cover for rape culture: With a simple eye-roll, it says: “It really can’t be that bad. You’re exaggerating. I don’t believe you.”
I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?

(Likewise, I don’t have to commit overtly racist acts to participate in the structures of racism. Have you heard about those studies that show white doctors consistently underestimate the levels of pain that POC are in, and therefore undermedicate them? Same type of minimization.)

Where does it all come from? I don’t know, but I chant this famous bell hooks quote like a mantra (not saying I know much at all about her work):

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”
Why do I feel hooks is about 1000% right here? Because there’s only one other person in the world I know I have the reflex to belittle, who is not or has not been a female partner.

It’s my son, who turns five tomorrow.

When he gets the big emotions, something in my body wants him to stop, wants him to get over it, ignore it, shake it off, stop crying. It’s an ancient response. It goes back to Abraham and Isaac. I learned it from movie heroes, priests, music teachers, sports coaches, yoga teachers.

Then, it’s amazing how quickly needing my boy to stuff it down slides into offering strategies for sublimating it. Barely consciously, I think: “You could learn to use those feelings to express power, instead of vulnerability.”

Some days it’s like climbing a mountain to stop this reflex, to even begin to hold whatever he’s feeling, without trying to minimize or dismiss it. Or tell him he should use it for something else.

If I wasn’t climbing that mountain, I could easily wreck my relationship with him by the time he was ten. In place of listening, and counterbalancing his mother’s gifts, I might give him the armour and belligerence that I learned to carry and wield as defences against my own feelings, until I got lucky in this relationship, that therapy, this work.

I have to climb a mountain, forty years high, to look a little boy in the eye and tell him it’s okay to feel his pain and sorrow. To tell him it’s a good thing, actually. That it will help him learn to listen, and listening will help him let other people have their feelings as well.” — Matthew Remski

“I don’t have to assault [people] to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?”

I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with a woman while reading this, wherein the person immediately responded to a third-party abuse allegation by minimizing the accuser. It was textbook minimization, to the core, complete with gaslighting by claiming that it wasn’t that, a classic “I don’t wanna sound like I’m victim blaming….” . I observed myself immediately fall in line — I observed myself not calling it out, not saying anything about how uncomfortable I was with their response, and even agreeing and coming up with my own versions of character minimization to chime in with. I became part of the problem I didn’t have the spoons to name.

I did it to get through to the other side of the conversation, to preserve the existing relationship, and to preserve my own energy. I did this because oftentimes, even when I recognize it happening to me in the moment, gaslighting WORKS to reduce the likelihood that blatant victim blaming will be called out, in part by making what already requires bravery require even more explanation, confrontation, and emotional labor to name — there is a reason why it is such an incredibly common (and often automatic) defense mechanism. I did it because I felt awkward, out of place, and had opened a pandoras box I wasn’t prepared for. I did it for lots of reasons.

But the main one I am chewing on the most still, days out, is that I did this ultimately because I am practiced in doing this. Doing this is my default. I am practiced at minimizing abuse, my own and that of others. I am practiced at reducing emotional responses, wishing them away, and prioritizing dissipating immediate uncomfortable feelings over long-term harm reduction; and when challenged on this particular day, I chose the flow that was the path of least resistance. I chose the flow that I know to work to get the result I wanted: out of that conversation, and on with our day.

My soul deeply dislikes this, and I am working it out. Part of that process is acknowledging the idea that I can simply flip a switch and be perfectly on, all the time, and the fallacy that simple awareness of a learned behavior while remaining in the same environment is enough to change that response permanently, come into play regularly when examining and correcting this shit. I am so tired of holding myself and the people around me to this ridiculous standard, of being so afraid of fucking up I burn up half my fuel before I’ve even taxi’d the runway. I fucked up. I lived. I will continue to do and be better.

I don’t think we talk enough about the fact that unlearning oppressive behaviors and internalized oppression, particularly while remaining steeped in the culture that imparted them, is a life long commitment that never really ends.

I don’t think we talk enough about what accountability looks like in those terms, what to do when we stumble and fail in our work and say or do something shitty. I don’t think we talk enough about the distinction between integration and divorce. There will be times for all of us when we witness things that we don’t respond correctly to in the moment, and can only internalize after we’ve made that mistake.

Thankfully, this happened with a friend that I can return to about our conversation and clean at least some of it up, let her know what we said wasn’t cool and work to repair the harm that I perpetuated in how I chose to manuever our conversation — and I think that this is a good lesson to take away, a lesson I learned in another conversation a while back about race, gentrification, and social responsibility — sometimes that white hot urgent feeling moment is not the right moment to push back.

Sometimes it’s important to trust in our relationships and friendships, to utilize what seems like cowardice to sit with overwhelm and return to the subject with them another day. We do this consistently in other areas of our interpersonal lives, but in terms of social justice, I notice an intense pressure to be immediate, reactive, relentless. I notice an intense burden of being perfectly reflexive. That pressure is mainly what has driven me into the social evolutionary ground over the past few years, contributing to my exhaustion, inefficiency, and frankly, loneliness. None of us can take it all on, all the time.

But let’s also get really clear here — we do this to one another, my ladypeople. This subversive, dismantling shit. And sometimes when we do this to each other, our histories and collective understanding of the harm we’ve been subjected to serves as a scapegoat for holding ourselves accountable for reanimating our abuse. We adopted these mindsets as a means of gaining a semblance of control in this atmosphere, and when we pretend as though we are immune to the toxic teachings of patriarchy, when we pretend we aren’t conditioned to mimic them amongst ourselves, when we pretend we are not vulnerable to taking a lead down these deeply entrenched roads, we do a massive disservice to ourselves, and the people we are becoming.

We are and have been complicit in abuse culture, in rape culture, in racism, in ableism, and though the work looks different for us, the work, too, is ours to do.

Every time I go to bat against the curve balls of patriarchy under the lifetime conditioning of binary, cis-centric language and thinking, the tiny, quiet actuality of me shrivels and cries. I notice that when I address y’all from the position of my oppression as a woman, a small fetal me shudders from my peripheral vision, waiting for big me to care enough to stop the yelling and help them get warm.

Perhaps it is time to spend more of my efforts building up my Self — a solidly nonbinary person who has been socialized and perceived as a woman and thusly has experienced the impacts of that oppression — rather than continue stepping into the role of of a cis feminist woman because it seems ‘easier’, because it’s the way I’m perceived, because it seems strategic like it will make a bigger ‘difference’ for ‘society’ to ride the waves of cisfeminist groupthink and fall in line.

Perhaps it is time to address rather than simply continue to acknowledge my deep fear of further alienation; that I am not queer enough, not weird enough, not oppressed enough, not kind enough, not enough, to find a home for the person I truly am in any community.

Perhaps it is time to get real with myself about what actions accompany my realization that I do not belong where I have continued to orient myself. That perhaps I might be more effective, more secure, and stronger in my base while I push and resist and attempt to influence from the stances I take, if I were to make that effort, for myself.

Perhaps it is time to go to bat for the me that I am rather than atoning for the me that I’ve been told I was; to embrace the actuality of the causes that effect the deepest soul of me, rather than continue to animate the dynamics of patriarchy, sexism and abuse culture that I’ve come to see as significant in the bulk of the interpersonal and relational hardships I’ve endured in my weird little life.

Perhaps it is time to consider what might have been had I been raised to own my gender for myself, now that I’ve spent such a notable amount of time considering, embodying, and fighting againt what being socialized in the binary has done to me.

Maybe it’s time to really walk my talk, and say, fuck society, fuck the way y’all are doing this, fuck the scaffolding I’ve been handed, fuck the place I’ve been told by others I belong, and once again forge into the unknown, and figure out how to do it my way.

Maybe it’s time I stand up for myself, rather than standing for the damage and inflated sense of responsibility I carry for the consequences of being told by others what that was.

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main obstacles I face in dismantling my harmful binary thinking is the attachment I have to how I own my oppression as a woman under patriarchy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of the key factors in how massively I am triggered by accounts of abuse, and how difficult it is to maneuver the constant, relentless reminders of the disrespect, the entitlement, the dangers I face and the abuse I’ve experienced because of how the world perceives me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this methodology stunts my growth, diminishes my spirit, and prevents me from the further dismantling of my unearned privilege.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that the damage to me from the bullshit I’ve put up with from men pales in comparison to the quiet corrosion I do to myself when I present as a cis woman in response to it.

The damage to me from patriarchy pales in comparison to what I choose to put myself though every day that I abandon myself to the identity that I think you’ll best respond to in order to convince you to address your position of power in your own fucking violence.

Fuck this ‘well, I’ve suffered like a woman, you see me as a woman, so a woman is what I must be’ horse shit, and fuck focusing on y’alls actions, y’alls motivations, y’alls work. Fuck your shitty dynamics and fuck me blaming them while simultaneously molding to their demands of what I am supposed to be.

I will remind myself of this again, and again, probably forever: I am through existing for the purpose of evolving men. I am as through as I know how to be with centering you, centering your impacts on my past, centering your improvement in response to the fucking shit y’all have put me through, and I will continue to learn how to more effectively be through with it. Fuck y’all. Fuck your mistakes, fuck your selfishness, fuck your willful ignorance, fuck your recovery, and fuck making you better. If you wanna be better men, if you wanna heal your toxic masculinity, if you wanna shed your internalized misogyny, you can learn a tip or two by fucking watching me do it for myself — if you’re lucky enough to be privy to my examples.

When I’ve been in therapy (I’m not, again, btw, for those following along — psyche wasn’t hip to placing me on meds and social worker was a low level sounding board/not particularly effective for my talk therapy needs. That’s why hotlines for now, and still stumbling along as an under-overdiagnosed self medicating pothead wierdo.) I have historically been irritated with the direction my therapists would generally go with things — my mother.

“I am having trouble with my boyfriend”
‘Hmm, I wonder about the commonalities here with your mother’

“I got cut off on the freeway today” ‘mmm, reminds me of your mother’

“I took a really awesome shit yesterday”
‘Mother.’

The relentless nature of the mother track in therapy is often the butt of jokes regarding the field, and for many years (and still sometimes even) it really fucking annoyed me. But it’s inarguable how deeply family of origin experiences shape the way we view the world, and shape our social tides as well. Everyone talks about how we need to teach the babies differently, and yet we resist challenging the identities we still manuever around conclusions we came to as them.

Imperfect and in some ways evoking of my new-cage skepticism, this is still one of the important poop-on-patriarchy links I keep handy for reshares and link drops. It focuses not on the masculine work at hand, but repairing our feminized relationships as daughters, which of course stem from… mother.

http://www.womboflight.com/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/

Revisiting The Rape Song

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I’m tired of pretending what you did wasn’t rape
I’m tired of making creepy shit be ok
With me
So I’m writing this song
Calling you out
I’m calling you out
I’ve been hoping too long
You’d get some help
Some psychological help
Cause fucking me while I was so drunk I couldn’t stand up
Negotiate no condom on a boundary I’d held steadfast for a year
That’s rape
Push your way inside of me I’m so dry disinterested
I’m curled in a fetal pose I’m glassy eyed and silent
That’s rape
Yeah, that’s rape
OH! Finger me while I’m asleep but never even asking
If it was ok with me
Well honey, there’s a word for that.
It’s rape.
Fuckin’ rape.
See it took me far too long to figure this out
Been so full of doubts
How we’re playing, it’s fucked up
And I’m calling you out
Calling you out.
So just in case you’re not pickin up what I’m puttin down I’m done with all you Rapey McRaperson rapers who rape
Nah. It’s not a date.
Yech.
No thanks
I wont pussyfoot around it I’m angry and fed up with softening my language around this shit fuck it it’s rape
The veil is raised
What I’m saying is I’m done helping you out
By keeping my mouth
Shut (Full)
Don’t believe me? look it up for yourself
Look it up for yourself
(Wow they actually wrote that down somewhere?) YEAH!
RCW
9a
.44
.050
Never. Again.

I wrote that song over three years ago, but I never, really, called him out. The glassy-eyed and fingering verses are references to periodic experiences I’ve had with many sexual partners in my life – starting with this one. The song, though motivated by certain incident, is not solely about him.

I said his common first name a few times #onhere, where I know virtually no one follows anymore. This blog, that isn’t indexed by search engines anymore, that I link to a handful of times a year, usually from my Patreon of 50 supporters, most of whom I’m pretty sure don’t actually read my posts. That was me ‘calling’ him out.

I am tired of protecting his identity and beating around the bush when I talk about the shit he pulled on me and how that effcted my life. I am tired of being what I claim to abhor; someone who protects predators in the sex positive community.

I am tired of carrying it in my guts, with me, I am tired of concerning myself with backlash by calling him out; because he is nice and charming, because he is a lawyer, because he didn’t come to my office that night maliciously intending to rape me, because I sucked it up and performed a house show for y’all with him days later, because I refused to focus my energy on reporting or prosecuting him rather than focusing on healing my own damn self.

I also didn’t trust the community to listen to me after Clayton Hibbert, who I experienced as being a selfish, vindictive, predatory, abusive, manipulating, intentionally deceitful, cheating, gaslighting, malicious, horrible excuse for a human being; Way worse than the guy I wrote this song about, frankly, and a lot more dangerous, too. But communities don’t really care all that much about that, and cared even less in 2007 when that shit happened.

But I am tired of refraining because what David did wasn’t as bad, as prolonged, as devastating as what other people have done. I am tired of avoiding validating any other women who experience similar with him because of the pain I still feel from people who were supposed to, I thought, stick the fuck up for me and didn’t.

I am tired of believing the apologist bullshit other people fucking said to me in order for them to avoid facing and dealing with what the fuck he did.

I am tired of being cagey out of fear that shitty things I’ve done in previous relationships will surface in retort; Which is fucking ridiculous, because one of the most challenging steps I took in my recovery included writing a god damn screed about it that’s been read tens of thousands of times. https://medium.com/@courtnee/i-dont-like-being-raped-4fcd0320dd5d#.fwpmkndt0

I am tired of holding this, insulting my own soul, and being a fucking coward. It’s high time I walked my talk of no longer viewing to rape victims as mothers and daughters and honestly calling out the men who have raped us as fathers and sons. And friends.

As of 2014, David Cohen was a serial boundary pusher toward me who eventually crossed over to date rapist. We had many conversations about his unsettling behavior over the years we dated, in which the pattern was his enthusiastic appreciation for the feedback, because he didn’t want to ‘be that guy’, gobbling up advice on alternative actions to take to replace the hurtful ones, and then going back to the same fucking thing again.

In addition to that seemingly well-meaning density, he confided in coercing an unsure women into having sex with him at an out of state blues dance convention (and questioned after the fact if she might have been a virgin because the sex sucked) and it literally made my skin crawl. There were other stories he shared that caused me discomfort, but that’s the one I really, truly remember, because it was toward the end of my relationship.

After he raped me without a condom while I was in hysterical emotional crisis, shitfaced stumbling drunk and suddenly saying I didn’t care about protection, he proceeded to make each of the few conversations we had about the incident thereafter a coredump about how awful he felt. This included the conversation in which he violated me again by contacting me after I’d told him not to, in order to tell me, for the third time, how badly he wanted to stay friends (we dont even have to keep having sex!) and how important it was, to him, to be a trusted fixture of my recovery… from him.

Oh, and I found out only after he’d raped me, that he’d stopped using protection with another partner months before. Cherry on top!

When I caught up with one of his friends months later, whom he had lived with for a notable amount of time, their reaction to the news when they asked me about him was a nod and a comment about having observed his ‘selfishness’ in that area (in-fucking-furiating). I, thusly, know at least some of y’all close to him have seen it.

Perhaps a year later, David was claiming to just not understand what he did to upset me, or why I won’t have anything the fuck to do with him now, to a mutual friend he was attempting to have sex with. She mentioned to me then that he still seemed upset and confused about me cutting him off.

How the fuck that man could possibly tell anyone he did not know? I left my primary partner over their tone policing of my angry, pointed, bitingly truthful, scathing fucking explanation of what an underhanded fucking asshole I thought he had been, how fucking infuriated I was at him contacting me. I emailed him a final email explaining why he would never hear from me again. I removed him from the show I was producing and avoided and ignored him when he showed up to that festival anyway like a selfish fucking weasel. He had been apologizing profusely and centering the living shit out of how bad he felt about what he’d done, but then he was playing the dumb butthurt victim while trying to get into my friends pants?

That is a simply fucking inexcusable and a flat out predatory Sanford frat boy rapist-level fucking lie. Surprise! Guess who went to Stanford?

This was my experience with someone who has been historically active in Seattle’s sex positive and social dance communities, and who in my both personal and professional option did not show promise of improving these harmful and unacceptable behaviors while we were still in contact.

David is intelligent, well liked, generous, well known, teaches dance. Regardless of those qualities we all appreciate about him, these are the memories that linger for me from that relationship. It was impressively traumatizing, subversive, and difficult to pin down or call out, even while I intuited that he was doing this shit with other people by the stories he would tell me.

If you have a feeling about him being dangerous for you now, it might be because David Cohen is a rapist. I encourage you, to heed it.

Fight

Friday, November 25th, 2016

As I sit here speed dialing the fucking government as a last ditch harm reduction and pressure tactic I am thinking a lot about how much our methods for protecting and advocating for the vulnerable are going to have to change. And I am thinking of how long that’s actually been the case.

I will not ‘wait and see’.

I will not ‘give him a chance to lead’.

I will not fall in line with this latest example of our normalized fucking insanity, or the compulsion to pretend what is about to happen isn’t what is happening.

Make art that feels fucking scary.

Make time and space for your people.

Brush up on CPR, first aid, de-escalation, self defense — then use those skills to help others.

Revisit basic survival techniques, and things like how to change a tire — then use those skills to help others.

Fund immigration, LBGT, health care, and anti-racist orgs.

Utilize encrypted, decentralized communication methods.

Pay attention to POC organizers and activists. Contribute, and follow their lead.

Protest.

Ignore the attacker; be present with the victim. Most times, this will be enough. Be prepared, for the times it may not be.

Divest from relying on the militarized police state to help you or keep you safe.

Rest. Whenever. You can. Be creative; Snatched moments are better than nothing.

Google alert your local representatives, and CALL THEM to hold them accountable.

Do the inner work you need to do to support yourself through the discomfort and fear. Prioritize this highly. Have your own back.

I fight with my pen, my phone calls, my local political involvement.
I fight in the street with my fist in the air and tending to wounded.
I fight with my freely given cigarettes and my freely given skills and my freely given knowledge.
I fight by taking care of myself.
I fight with my solidarity and my travels and my artistry and by putting my future and my body on the line to resist this impending holocaust.

If you can’t stomach doing all that yourself, THAT IS OK; support the living fuck out of those of us who can.

There is a lot of judgement floating around regarding how best to show up for this time in history. Fact is: We need our quiet ones (not to be confused with silent), too. We need our funders and our snitches and our safehouses and our people who remain under the radar.

Bottom line: this shit is here, now, and a goal without a plan is just a wish. Resist the confusion. Resist the ‘I wish I knew’ and ‘I wish I could’ or ‘I wish I were brave like ____’. You belong here, now, in fucking reality.

We need you. Sharpen what you have, and fucking use it.

Thanks for giving: a shit. 

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Third rockin’ass orgasm of the day. Enjoying the hell out of my solo day-long water fast. Fuck your oppressive shitass holidays. — https://instagram.com/p/BNNjpf5hffd/

Water fasting as of midnight last night. Had no idea when I decided to do this a year ago, take the next step in personally divesting from the lies and the cognitive dissonance, how apropos it would be as I closely follow Standing Rock.

This is the thing about trying to figure out how to meld my art with activism. I fasted today as a self care and development experience because I believe we must decolonize ourselves, and that includes, perhaps most importantly, the means and motivations for our connecting with each other. So we can stop passing up connecting with real friends to complain about being “alone”.

I could have made it into art, I could have organized people who wanted to do it together and bare witness in a collective. We could have decided to have made it disruptive and done it in the street, or in a plaza, or quietly somewhere for the groups healing and told our actual friends about it. Part of the reason I didn’t do any of those things, is because I didn’t realize this was art until now.

Art is how I sneak up on myself. It’s how I tell me my own story, and I warn myself of things, and the fucking CURSE of it (and also what makes it work?) is that most of the time I can’t see it until I’ve experienced my own fucking art! It’s like Westworld, I look at the poem or I sketch the choreography or I sew my own mouth shut in watercolor and I go ‘meh. doesn’t look like anything to me’. Until one day it does look like something, and I laugh at myself for not seeing it then.

Developing ourselves is art.

The world needs more art.

Make more art.

Serendipitous gifts

Friday, August 5th, 2016

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
James Baldwin

Just now, I texted everyone I have a current iMessage conversation with “Thank you for being human with me”. It is because I associate those people with the ones I maintain the closest friendships to because we share our phones messaging app between devices.

This is, invariably, a false equivalency, though it became more balanced when I changed my phone number and worked through (am still working through) who to tell.

The truth is there are many filters that would leave deserving people out of the loop about this mass, and yet personal, messaging spree I just went on, but what alarms me is to discover that the selection process is not as intentional as I’d like to think it is.

It’s not even a selection, really. It’s laziness, lack of awareness, automation, which causes me to turn to iMessage. The fucking automation. The fucking machine that plugs my supposed need for that kind of connectivity and false belonging to sell me unethical products that are not meant to last.

Look. There are people I will never talk to again who deserve to hear me say “Thank you for being human with me”. Every single person I’ve ever met deserves this recognition. And I deserve that recognition from all of you. And I think it’s fair to say that it seems pretty universal that we have all been unconsciously programmed not to acknowledge one another in this way, but to pretend that we do. Like the quotes in Embodied said on the walls of Fred Wildlife Refuge,

“I am the collective effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Apart from never being able to truly trust anyone, I wasn’t a hacker, or a bone fide hardware geek. I appreciated that stuff, but I was drawn to hackers because I was a *communicator*, and I could relate to hackers. I like being clever and sneaky and destroying shit as much as I like creating it.

For a long time, being a part of the hacker community — and later the little red studio, specifically, had me feeling very special. I felt popular, I could say whatever the fuck I wanted, I threw weird parties, and I had a community with which to be creative.

In both those instances I’d locked societal woundings with whole communities, and the learning was fertile and priceless. We were communicators who wanted to build our own god damn platforms, to cultivate relationships with our expression forms, and with technology, that mattered.

Well, as far as I can tell, most of us still want to do that. But where the fuck are we? What the fuck are we doing? We are on facebook, and google, and twitter, and none of us trust these fuckers with the soul we give to them.

How is it that we got to the point that your fucking words, your thoughts, your fucking anniversaries, your fears, your personality scores, your rants, your sorrows, your calls for justice AREN’T YOURS, AREN’T OWNED BY YOU, instead being fucking manipulated and distilled and romanticized for profit.

What the fuck.

My space. My fucking space.

That’s fucking better.

I have a deep desire to be in structured school, with a goal, challenges, variation, and letters after my name. So many of us do, I think; we crave knowledge, a safe space to explore not already knowing, guidance, and we crave our own continued understanding. We crave the idea of education that the educational system abandoned in order to survive civilization.

For people like us, right now the best we can be doing is learning by teaching what we know to our communities, but more importantly to each other, our fellow activists; especially those of us who recognize that without drinking water, without being able to be naked outside in the sun, without food, without air, without the ancient peat bogs and rainforests holding so much carbon for us, we are fucking lost. Those of us waiting for the cleansing fire. The birth to the destruction to the birth.

It’s people like us that need to be learning from people like us who are focused on different parts of The Thing.

Start hosting workshops to teach the shit you know. Start risking your ego to make a difference, to open yourself up to learning by empowering others. Make that shit happen, and do it with fucking integrity. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make money off the backs of those society deems yours. Admit you don’t know it all. Explore. Let them come to you, and when they do; Teach.

Teach.

Y’all want fucking revolution? Then let’s use our fucking skills to prove it, and create one.

One day at a time, one habit at a time, ween yourself and take responsibility for your own shit.

Stop fucking leaning on the systems you recognize are corroding your fucking soul.

Learn what it is to nurture and toil the food you eat before you eat it. Learn what it means to be have less stuff. Explore options of supporting yourself that don’t rely solely on the internet, or invisible slave labor. Invite a friend over to your house to chat. Share your mentors with the people you love. And ffs stop fucking maneuvering your most precious relationships via fucking text messages, ya fearfulass Previous Me insufferable text-dumping asshole.

I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, but when I really sit with what it feels like to give facebook and even instagram the product of my mind, I feel a gross sense of self betrayal inside. I’ve grappled with it a long time, but I think I’ve made good headway lately.

And I’m fucking watching you, Patreon. Every greedy fuckshit mistake you make by us, I’m holding your asses accountable and taking fucking notes. You have to earn the shit out of my trust. The shit out of it. Do better.

The Notebook

I am noticing one of the blockages I experience around my writing, is that I rarely write. I type. And that’s different.

I have also noticed that my organization of ideas is scattered as shit. Self sent text messages, voice memos, emails to myself, google spreadsheets, soundcloud, patreon, my blog, the notes app on my phone, and hardcopy notebooks — all house my fractions, experiments, and prose. Ideas for my current album, Cold Front, span all of these mediums. Even if I wanted to work on it, just going through my fucking notes is like looking into a shattered mirror.

While I excel during projects when I allow the process to be messy, and I do best while fragmented and having multiple, different projects in the fire at once, I recognize that I lose myself in obsessive tracking and procrastination when I do not start those projects from a place of organization, grounding and levity.

It is time to carry a notebook. Everywhere. And to utilize technology as a backup, a failsafe should something happen to it, rather than.. Whatever the fuck it is I have been doing. Amusingly, I was just gifted one by a new pal.

I made him sign it. Oh, the pressure I put upon y’all.

One of the people who passed through my life at one time is a very famous, beloved author. He understands the value of a hand written page. I am thinking about him as I make this commitment to myself, and my work, to intentionally try things just a little bit differently, now.

Besides. I know how the brain works, at least in regards to how it processes information in the context of expression methods. I learned this as a student at Brian Utting. Writing, with my hands, on paper, making marks, will download the essence of what I want to capture into a place that is very unlikely to be taken away from me, even if something happens to my notebook.

And when I was out in the woods, exhausted, overwhelmed, spread to the breaking point while literally holding up another human being, losing my own mind and breaking my own heart and remembering what really fucking matters; the safe, private notes I drew to myself kept me going.

Keep Going.

I trust me, and my mind, which god damn fucking WORKS, to level up about the kind of care, thought, and and attention that goes into my functioning effectively. Efficiently. Conservation, restoration, nutrients; they are not just for the world around me, and not just applicable in the literal senses I am learning these skills via.

I trust me to fucking take care of myself, even though I have spent, and will still spend, effort and time struggling, and making mistakes, in that department.

I am ready to take another step towards strengthening me, so I can hold what it means to be bigger. Braver. More. Less.

Funny, how significant, this dumb little shit can be.

I’m Courtnee Fallon Rex, and this is only barely scratching the surface of what kind of writer, activist, teacher, and human being I can be when I am fulfilled in my work, selective with my friends, appreciative of my fans, careful how I spend my energy (and why), have the means to support and nurture myself, bathe, farm and harvest my own food, am seen, and paid, and create and perform my music on my terms for fans who truly appreciate my. Fucking. Work.

So thank you, for being human with me. I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not alone in my frustrations, my desire to see more empowerment outside of the constrained, incompetent systems that are all we’ve ever been truly encouraged to know ourselves by. In every career path I’ve taken, I’ve been the one standing up and asking: Why? Why are we bowing? Why do we immediately attempt to contort under these strains, these fucking invented, arbitrary oppressions? When the fuck are we going to stand up?

We are. It’s just.. slow. And I am going to keep doing what I need to do, respecting the influences, the tides, and the sheer fucking magnitude that is the task of standing up. Over, and over, and over again.

I am angry, at society. Today, and to some degree, every day. Today I also accept the possibility that this will not change.

Returning home has been a long, steady, breakthrough; a return on previous investments. Level: up.

Next challenge: learning how to respect my opponents.

Ugh.

A Cart for Your Invisible Horse

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I started really chewing on class accessibility issues in my work about 6 months after I moved from the Medical Dental Building downtown, to the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square.

For those who don’t understand Seattle, that’s basically from the hoity toity business and shopping district to the historic bar crawl and stadium area where all the human resources, walk in clinics and homeless shelters are.

For a while, I was my typical entitled self that I was back then, avoiding the beggars on the street, feeling unsafe and deeply inconvenienced by their presence.

Over the course of the years I had my practice in that area, though, I transformed as a person. Some of y’all witnessed that, and know how profound it was.

The last two years I had Artful Touch, one of the biggest road blocks for me was that I wanted my work to be accessible to the types of people who were sleeping on benches in front of my office, not only the types of people who were supporting my businesses existence with their money.

I hadn’t found a way by the time I couldn’t afford, even with help from friends in terms of living situations, to stay in business in Seattle any longer (which, amusingly, coincided with the first year I finally grossed $20k, a long-time goal of mine).

And without my business, I couldn’t afford the office I’d been half living in already, so there went my last semblance of housing as well.

A year ago, almost to the day, was when I packed into the van I’d spent 1/2 of my savings on and left. I’ve spent the last year doing this:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=1Fz43w54SqRabmekWCnNyq4JRY0Y

Before that, I’d spent 6 months living in a friends backyard shed — which, frankly, turned out to be one of the best living situations I’ve ever had.

That year on the road has shown me what a fool I was. And I fear, that in most cases, people tend to remain foolish about this until it or something similar to it happens to them. It’s why it can be so easy to dismiss someone who is houseless for not behaving properly, for not having more than they do.

But I know better now. I know it is virtually impossible to function without shelter, without a place to bathe, without a way to shit. Not just function in terms of being capable and receptive to the type of exploration, trauma recovery and deep work I offered at AT, but just to fucking get the basics covered. Just to make a meal and clean up after yourself. Just to shit into the plastic bag without making a mess in your living room.

I learned this when, after being on the road 6 months or so, and not even actually hurting for industrialized comforts much via couch surfing and guest rooms and room and board via summer job, I understood how much my production rate would have to change now that I did not have a stable housing situation anymore.

I realized I couldn’t belt out the paintings and the albums and the performances like I had been able to in the past. That I needed a lot more sleep, I needed more down time that wasn’t sleep, and I had been too hard on myself for not producing as much or excelling as quickly as I wanted.

And this was BEFORE I started really living in that van, really experiencing what it was like to wake up with a start at 3 in the morning HAVING to shit and having nowhere to do it but hanging my ass out the side of my house and picking up my turd from the side walk. Experiencing the dichotomy of wanting to use sustainable methods of handling my period but having no running water. Having most of my entire world revolving around how to manage the blood when the days came. Sleeping in layers and layers of clothing and not being able to stand upright.

And this was while I HAD a place to retreat to, that was mine, and relatively safe, and warm when I wanted to put in the effort.

I am understanding another layer of this now that I am in a stationary room again for a while, and noticing how I am EXPLODING with patreon updates, the amount of energy I have now, how much less I stress about managing basic tasks, how much less time it takes to accomplish things when I don’t have to set up and tear down hunched over in a living space the size of a couch every time.

I was a fool, thinking that my desire to work with the homeless and addicted represented for me anything much more than the guilt I felt by participating in the offering of classist, privileged healing work.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can transcend a persons need for shelter and food in order to contribute to their development as people.

I get that the houseless don’t need massages or hugs or one of my cow chip cookies to thrive as human beings again. That’s the shit I needed to feel better about what I had that they did not.

It’s not just the social stigma the houseless face, the little cuts of every clumsy swishypants white girl that tries to see them as people but fails, that keep them from overcoming their traumatic circumstances. I mean, I knew that. But now I KNOW that.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can swoop in and create a magical illusionary container of safety for people who have none. Especially as someone who barely has that container for themselves. The houseless need fucking *houses*.

Now, I wonder more about what little thing I could start to do, about that.

ROAD UPDATE: Pensacola

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Originally posted to my Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4413008

Mississippi: OH EM GEE you’re heeeeere omg yay! Here, have a welcome center with all kinda free camping with picnic benches and spigots and shit and a FUCKING NASA SPACE CENTER!!

Alabama: Fuck you. Welcome center closed.

Florida: Fuck you. Show us your vegetables. Then welcome center, maybe. Also toll roads. Also palm trees. Also fuck you. — Facebook

The above selfie was taken in the divey bathroom at The Handlebar last night in ‪Pensacola, where I played an impromptu show for a tiny, tiny audience in a mostly empty bar. I got a nice fueling practice in and made my beer money back.

New Orleans shaped me as a musician. It is different now; stronger. More solid. More joy in it. Truly beginning to embrace and simultaneously transmute the darkness. Thank you for that. I like being a performer. I just needed to figure out what kind of performer I am. It’s taking a while, but I think I am well on my way, now.

Here are some amazing pictures of me doing my thing, taken by an amazing man: http://neevita.net/louis-maistros-lower-decatur-street-new-orleans/

And here is some soul healing no nonsense darkness for anyone who might be feeling the pitch lonely creeping in today, or know someone who is: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/14927

I plan to be in Florida playing and enjoying the weather/beach for a bit, then moving up northish. I’ve shifted my long term plan, and will be back in WA state this summer rather than heading all the way up to the NE. I need to see a doctor about a few things and get my motorcycle sold.

Keep Going is a year old today. It is an album I released last valentines day about healing, heartbreak, patriarchy, sexism and rape culture, which is surprisingly soothing and, if I may say so, well-crafted. It’s well suited for the day particularly if valentines gives you the intense desire to side eye the fuck out of everything.

Http://courtneefallonrex.net

In a somewhat fitting turn of events, on the same day as Keep Going’s first birthday, Wounded was played on That Indie Thing with Rob on sinwebradio.com! As far as I know, this is my first radio play from the album. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1182534628424252

Also, Reverbnation keeps sending me emails complaining that my ranks are slipping. So, this seems like a good time to mention that there’s a pretty decent sampling of original music up there including most of my originals from Keep Going and a couple of my old ambient electronic tracks. It is representative but also not too long. If you wanna go stream ’em and give RN something happy to mail me about I wouldn’t mind. :)

I’ll be picking from my Feb 14th random pool of $15 a month and above potential art receivers and notifying the winner today. $5 and above Patrons: Also look for another Seven Deadly Days of Naked (SDDN) post in a few minutes.

Glad you’re all here with me,
-nee

Next up: The Bosque Village

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

The conversations have been had, the mutual admiration has been expressed, the values and goals are well aligned, the time is right, the action item list is soft drafted. I’ve the plane ticket and the passport renewal submitted in plenty of time (presuming no catastrophic postal issues) and am thus ready to let the population at large know what my patrons have been hearing for a while now – after having Brian Fey and his amazing project on my radar for many years, my next adventure begins in September, in Mexico, at the Bosque Village.

A good page to familiarize ones self with what the Bosque is: https://www.quora.com/Mexico/What-is-the-Bosque-Village/answer/Brian-Fey?share=1

The Bosque facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bosqueforest

Patrons will continue to get my personal experience and musings/updates about my travels. $5 a month at http://patreon.com/courtnee gets you all the updates and the opportunity to support what I am doing, directly. Sign up, and spread the word if you would. My goal is to break 35 patrons before I depart in September.

A large part of my contribution to the Bosque will include video production, process documentation and social media, in addition to faciltating music, art, movement programs and of course, hands on learning about sustainable forest living.
Between my personal projects, philosophical musings, and the work I will be doing to contribute to the Bosque specifically, I expect to enjoy a very rich and busy rest of 2015.

BAM.

Belonging

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

I used to think I would never find a place I belonged.

The lonliness filled me to the point that for a long time I didn’t even have the energy to wander anymore, looking for it, literally or figuratively.

I’d talk myself out of going anywhere I felt I might find my place before the possibility could take shape.

I talked myself out of distancing from people who I could feel saw me as projections of their fractured selves and believed they were smarter, better, and more worthy than me.

I struggled against a rising tide to stay where I was, even as it became clear while the life I’d built for myself fell away piece by piece that it was time.

For years, opportunity and the damn near limitless directions I could take overwhelmed and paralyzed me. And it seemed as though no matter where I went in the world, no matter how well my skills or personality fit into a certain group of other humans, I would never be free of that feeling; I don’t belong. Anywhere.

So in a way, it didn’t matter what the fuck I did. But I had to do something.

So I decided to belong to myself, even though I only felt it part way.

I decided before I was ready, before I really believed, that I had to figure out a way to believe that the possibility of belonging was someplace other than where I was told it was, where I had been encourage to look for it.

I decided to give up most of what I know the majority of the people in my life to work their entire existence stabilizing. I let go of things that I know friends of mine lose sleep over getting, having, and keeping.

I gave away massive amounts of expensive possessions, one of a kind art, things that had defined me for decades.

I flew the nest I’d spent 17 years building and tending as it smoldered behind me, wrought from the merciless determination of a universe demanding transformation, and I left.

One thing I’m quickly learning after doing that, one thing that keeps coming up for me as I look around Texas and camp and experience myself in this environment, is that I don’t actually ‘belong’ any more here and now than I have in any other time of my life.

Yes, it’s true, this camp is strangely well suited for my natural theatrical gifts. And yes, it’s true, the recycling mentality in Texas makes me actually cry sometimes. It’s a mixed bag. Seattle was a mixed bag, too.

But the path to belonging, that feeling I thought meant I was so close to having belonging for myself for so long, was actually control, and dominance. I felt I belonged when I was in charge, when I was leading, when I was on display, and when I was in power.

I learned a long time ago that sort of ‘belonging’ was not only fleeting, high maintenance, and high anxiety — but that I didn’t feel very good about myself once I was dethroned, either. The mist that rationalized the oppressive nature of my height and status, and the grief of having worn mask after mask to maintain the facade that I enjoyed it, once gone, paved a view of someone I was deeply ashamed of.

Belonging is something I now know as a learning.

It’s something that helps me grow, expand, and something I take with me in my soul when I move on.

It’s not popularity in high school, it’s not being the better half of a beguiling power couple, it’s not running a nonprofit — belonging is a muscle I work, that gets stronger and stronger when I am where I should be, experiencing and connecting in ways that feed my soul.

So much has changed in my life. Almost everything. But those changes aren’t why I belong where I ended up.

What’s changed is me.

I belong with me.

Weakness: My pet peeve

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I’ve been in an on-again, off-again conversation with a friend regarding ‘weakness’, of vulnerability =ing weakness in terms of technology, and in terms of societal structuring/social justice.

That conversation has helped clarify something for me: Though I’ve largely stopped doing it anyway, I am flat out through using the word weak to describe human beings.

Weakness, to me, is a word/concept reserved for one dimensional, single threaded notions and objects. Having a weakness for chocolate. Having a weak knee. Noting a structural weakness in the pillar of a bridge. All single dimensional uses of the word, all super fucking clear. Usually, I use the word integrity, instead, for this.

But to say, refer to the poor as also weak? Fuck that.

For starters, a triggery hogepodge of this shit is what I am expressing, when I use the word ‘weak’ to describe a person or class of people, or proclaim a persons ‘weakness’ somehow.

weak
adjective, weaker, weakest.
1. not strong; liable to yield, break, or collapse under pressure or strain; fragile; frail:
a weak fortress; a weak spot in armor.
2. lacking in bodily strength or healthy vigor, as from age or sickness; feeble; infirm:
a weak old man; weak eyes.
3. not having much political strength, governing power, or authority:
a weak nation; a weak ruler.
4. lacking in force, potency, or efficacy; impotent, ineffectual, or inadequate:
weak sunlight; a weak wind.
5. lacking in rhetorical or creative force or effectiveness:
a weak reply to the charges; one of the author’s weakest novels.
6. lacking in logical or legal force or soundness:
a weak argument.
7. deficient in mental power, intelligence, or judgment:
a weak mind.

There are so many other poignant, focused words I can use to express all of these things that weakness defines above, without enacting the structural discouraging punch down guiltfest that ‘weakness’ incites in terms of emotions and human experience.

Even the clearest definitions which are the least offensive to me, like a weak strategic position politically because of class oppression, have far better and more descriptive words for them in terms of people, that do not leverage the pervasive societal teaching that a lack of privilege or opportunity equates to character weakness.

Disadvantageous. Underrepresented. Marginalized. Detrimental. Problematic. Unfortunate. Adverse. Rigged. Unfavorable.

All of those words speak to the situation rather than potentially the constitution of the person/people, which so often ‘weak’ does. All of those words speak to the situation without sapping the power out of how one describes the oppressed population.

Which brings us to vulnerable:

vulnerable
adjective
1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:
a vulnerable part of the body.
2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:
an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend:
a vulnerable bridge.

I see vulnerability equating to weakness in only two situations:

1) When the vulnerability is advantageous for someone to deem such to rationalize. Usually to manipulate, use, pity, or otherwise abuse or leverage its opening. Protip: Way too many of us do this to OURSELVES. And it still doesn’t make it true. Openness in human beings is not fucking weakness. It is the opposite.

2) When the vulnerability is of such a character that the entire or majority use/purpose of the entity is compromised: As in vulnerabilities in defense-related tech, and structural weaknesses in things like bridges and buildings.

People are not tea. People are not firewalls. People are not their defenses. People are not their handicaps. People are not their mental illnesses. People are not their broken limbs. People are not their social statuses. People are not their hardships. People are human beings.

And humans, being, are NOT, weak.

Friday, March 6th, 2015

“Psychological patriarchy is the dynamic between those qualities deemed masculine and feminine in which half of our human traits are exalted while the other half is devalued. Both men and women participate in this tortured value system. Psychological patriarchy is a dance of contempt, a perverse form of connection that replaces true intimacy with complex, covert layers of dominance and submission, collusion and manipulation. It is the unacknowledged paradigm of relationships that has suffused Western civilization generation after generation, deforming both sexes, and destroying the passionate bond between them.” — Terrence Real

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A fight for ‘equality’ does not rely on disavowing systemic oppression to rationalize ones idea of justice. A fight for ‘vengeance’ does.

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

“Money is the biggest driver of illness in our human world. It’s gotten so bad that upper-class people do not have normal mammalian responses to others suffering.” -Mariamma Jones

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

“The evil was not in bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.” – Admiral Ben Moreell

Stay Focused. Keep Going.

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Been trying to narrow roots down lately. You know, to save my sanity. Been thinking on this a bit, and I’ve come to the conclusion currently that all the shit I’m mad about and think needs changing leads back to two things: Capitalism and Patriarchy.

So, if considering the main sources of our current social problems can be traced back to Capitalism (classism, ablism, racism, production-based human worth) and Patriarchy (sexism, rape culture, devaluing of bodily sovereignty, feminine ideals, and care work), would it then suppose that the root of what we must shed and transmute in our social evolution is simply: Toxic Masculinity (supremacy, domination, control, emotional disconnection, and power based upon fear of that wide spectrum of physical and emotional violence)?

And how is it that people generally wake to their realities of these issues, even when they’ve already known they are against the patriarchy and or capitalist ways of operating?; They then suffer a period of deeply adopting toxic masculinity themselves to manifest the ‘power’ needed to stand in their resistance without being annihilated while in transition. And some will never make that transition.

Ghandi was a sexist rape apologist. Mother Teresa was against violence unless that violence attacked the sovereignty of women’s bodies. The toxic masculinity permeated these people as well, people who vastly and fundamentally inspired and changed the world and are widely considered saints, superhuman. But organized religion, the cause of which so many wars and so many saints have rallied behind, in and of itself is based upon what? Toxic masculinity, that’s what.

And here we still are, dealing with the deep rooted tendrils of the same old shit.

Every once in a while we erupt in toxic masculine (and deeply cathartic) violence, making a tiny baby step by forcing the patriarchal empire into changing the rules a little in order to make that toxic masculine a little less obvious (see: The civil rights movement). But it, that toxicity, is always here – piled over our grief, stuffed in the corners of our coping mechanisms, whitewashed away by the lies of our generally accepted history. For centuries of conditioning and ancestry, it is deeply, fundamentally, here.

I wonder that toxic masculinity is a game that is subconsciously perceived as must being played in order to survive this world, much less overcome and thrive. For all people, including children.

And I wonder that this here is the impetus, the toxic masculine that goes beyond patriarchy which centers around gender and seniority of male lineage, beyond capitalism which leverages these teachings for the gain of few at the expense of many, rather than simply another symptom, of why we’re all so royally fucked.

Revenge: A feminist manifesto

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Patriarchy. I am so fucking angry with you, sometimes I just can’t even.

Angry for me. Angry for them. Angry for what I’ve endured because of how you’ve emotionally lobotomized them. Angry for them because of how you taught to me to push them to be big but force them to stay small. Angry for all of us because of what we’ve done to each other because of what you’ve done to us. Angry. I am fucking angry.

Mostly, I am angry because I don’t know how to be angry with you, and not also with them, yet.

And I’m angry because you fucking taught me that, too.

But I full on fucking see you, patriarchy. I am learning.

And I’m a fast fucking bulldog thrashing typhoon of a fucking learner.

My days of being confused and misdirected by your conditioning are dwindling. One by one your patterns in me are shattering.

And I am coming for you.

With all my moxie and my fury and my cleverness and deviousness and getshitdoneness and my huge broken battered swollenass fucking heart and everything I’ve ever fucking learned from fighting, from watching, every day of my life, I am fucking coming for you.

I’m coming to avenge my pain, to avenge my loneliness, to avenge the safeness I have never had the opportunity to feel because of what you’ve broken in every single person I’ve ever fucking met.

I am coming to avenge the men I’ve loved and fought so hard to help heal from you while being myself encased in your unending dry heaving treachery.

I’m coming to avenge my failures.

I’m coming to avenge him.

And I’ve got people, patriarchy. I’m healing in community, where I am seen, and I spread. All around me, in tiny electrical impulses, I’m helping other people wake the fuck up, laying down the synapses, supporting more people than I’ll ever fucking know in moving beyond your brainwashing.

I’m barreling on a crash course up your fucking ass, patriarchy; dragging mines.

And when I get there, I am going to spend the rest of my fucking life ripping your motherfucking guts out.

Beauty in the Breakdown

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

I had come to the title for this piece while it was in progress a couple weeks ago.

It’s fitting that I finally finished it today, which was largely spent processing through a complex and incredibly irrational emotional trigger.

I figured it out, and figured a few side notes out, too. Like that my ex now represents abandonment for me rather than my mother — he shows up when my little is feeling desperate and lonely — and no matter how grown up I get or how professional I act or how ‘correct’ the response is, it hurts and is deeply scary as fuck when someone I care about doesn’t seem to care too much about losing access to our intimacy.

While I was finishing this watercolor, I sobbed and wept a lot, and I sipped through the last of the discontinued tea that marked intense bonding and sense memories from my last romantic relationship. It felt like the right time to officially complete that part of my life.

These hideous and beautiful and incredibly uncomfortable processes helped me figure out what was happening with me today, and what needed to be done to balance it. Hint: I’d forgotten an important step in completing a grief transition.

Always comes down to that, doesn’t it.

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FuckYouDelete

Friday, January 16th, 2015

It’s become so amazing to me how much commonly-accepted forms of dialogue are just flat out silencing, erasing, entitled fucking bullshit.

Not long ago I would feel ‘irrationally’ slighted over it, and blame my ‘damage’ for my ‘sensitivity’ and wonder what was wrong with me.

Fuck that noise. I ain’t internalizing that manipulative crap anymore.

“Grow some balls and smile” while I systematically minimize and belittle you, little girl… unless of course I am appreciating how hot I think you are. FuckYouDelete

“Feel free to delete this patronizing, uninformed comment” that I as a complete stranger have left on your accessible facebook post about feminism, which I see as my right as an entitled white guy rather than a courtesy you offer. (I did).

“Notice now how I’m coming in here to point out something completely irrelevant which paints you as a naive overemotional idiot so I can talk about this thing I think is more important. Also I didn’t read the article this conversation is linked to” FuckYouDelete

Y’all. These are just some of the silencing, minimizing tactics used on me this week. It’s rather incredible how utterly common this shit is. But in particular, here’s my thing lately:

“You should be helping more caustic abusive men because they’re just wounded, not calling out the privilege and misogynist sexism which keeps them from seeking help for themselves in the first place”. Mmmm. Right.

I have a soft spot for these privileged, wounded geek males who are whining about how mean girls are being to them by insisting they wake the fuck up and level the playing field by, I dunno — unlearning their ridiculous fucking programing and not treating women like subservient magic objects that are supposed to make your life worth living for you, maybe.

I grew up with them, and in a lot of cases, they’re still basically exactly where they were back then, stuck in their same old patterns, which basically look like: ‘your poontang would save me if you’d just give it up more/differently/better/easier/whatthefuckever’ or ‘your poontang scares me’ plus ‘and that’s your fault somehow’, even though I’m so immature and emotionally stunted all I really have to consistently offer is paying for shit and standing around impotently when life hits the fan and you actually need real loving support and some fucking backup.

Hearing their tales of misguided blame and agony is sad. Even though 5000 years of women being treated as livestock and sexual property is immensely sadder than the plight of these nerdlords who still think they’re being oppressed by society into the bowels of their parents basements, I recognize that they are fucking trapped, and I’m all about doing what I can, safely, and within my scope of skills and ability, to combat the consequences of the capitalist patriarchal conditioning that’s causing these guys (and ME) so much pain.

AND: It is not feminisms, or women’s, job, to heal the men who make feminism needed right now. It is the job of feminism to work toward equity by raising up and supporting the people who are systematically beat down by the existing structure of inequality (women: US. WOMEN.), and to point out how the privilege of that structure is hindering the powerful from healing themselves (and one another) so they can address the power dynamic they perpetuate among themselves.

The idea that a feminist should shift to focusing on healing men is simply another symptom of the patriarchal ideal that women are supposed to sit around taking this shit and ultimately focus their efforts on feeling Stockholm syndrome for, and going out of their way to ‘help’, their oppressors.

And most importantly; no one, woman or otherwise, can help a person who doesn’t want help. No woman with any sense of self preservation will willingly engage in ‘trying’ to heal a person who a) hates them and b) isn’t asking for help.

“An overwhelming majority of us come from dysfunctional families in which we were taught we were not okay, where we were shamed, verbally and/or physically abused, and emotionally neglected even as we were also taught to believe that we were loved. For most folks it is just too threatening to embrace a definition of love that would no longer enable us to see love as present in our families. Too many of us need to cling to a notion of love that either makes abuse acceptable or at least makes it seem that whatever happened was not that bad.”
—All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

What men are suffering from is the same fucking childhood traumas we all suffer from PLUS the dark side of their supremacist status in patriarchy. I truly hope you break free some day. To do that, ‘men’ need to step up to the plate to heal themselves, and then one another. Men need to learn how to do that, rather than insisting that the ‘women’ they benefit from collectively (and often subconsciously) erasing and raping and blaming step up to help them fucking do their god damn work for them.

pa·tri·arch·y
ˈpātrēˌärkē
noun
a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

The nature of this sad state of affairs that none of us signed up for is: This is your fucking supremacist shitshow. Without your active engagement as the empowered group, we all stay fucked in this soup of fuckary. You are the ones who need to use YOUR fucking resources to pull your shit together and then help US pull this bullshit paradigm apart. Use the fucking money you’re making to get some fucking therapy, use the power your voice inherently has to influence others as you learn, stop trying to suck your healing from us for free using your fucking sideways patriarchal shitbaggary against us. Grow some fucking integrity.

If you want help to heal, I will fucking walk with you through burning pillars of dog shit to do it. I will bare compassionate witness with you through your patterns worst petty death throes. I will stand firm while I get hit with the ripples of your previously unfelt agony. I will hold a safe, intentional container for you while you lose your fucking mind and everything you thought you knew about yourself dissolves into a shadow. I will teach you every fucking thing I know about overcoming that shadow. I will fucking remind you over and over again how brave and powerful and strong and viable and good you are even when you make mistakes. And I will call you on those mistakes so that we can work together to ensure you have what you need to do better next time. I will blow your fucking mind by being the best teacher and champion you’ve ever had, if you want (and pay) me to do that for you. To HELP you, support you, guide you, as YOU make the effort to work through YOUR OWN fucking shit.

What I will not do is cater to those who presume I should spend even one more moment of my life martyring myself for stubborn, privileged men who deeply, profoundly, subconsciously fucking hate me AND WANT TO KEEP HATING ME.

What I will not do is ever, ever be in an intimate relationship, professional or otherwise, with another person like that, ever, the fuck, again.

What I will not do is spend another fucking moment of my life making the pain of wounded manchildren with their fingers dug into their fucking ears more important than the devastating impact their sickness has on me.

What I will not do is pretend that these unwoke guys don’t sit on thrones with fistfulls of cake while insisting that women set aside their fight for their own sovereignty and female equality to bring them fuckers more fucking cake. Often so that said cake can be thrown back in our pretty painted faces for us not being capable of magically chewing it and swallowing it for them, as well.

What I will not fucking do is spend even another second of my life ‘trying’ to do your fucking work for you so you can sit around fat and happy and fucking ignorant, syphoning the energy I generate.

If going back to doing any of that is what it is you think I am good for, if that’s what you think I should be doing with my life and my work and my social justice efforts: FUCK YOU.

Truly. Fucking fuck you. I been through way too much growing and pain and subversive fucking abuse to fuck around with y’all. Not even a little. Block, delete, go fuck yourself, byebye.

Say Something

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

“Some are quick to use the crabs in a bucket trope, but it’s important to remember that crabs were never meant to be piled in a bucket.” – Ryan Dalton

Fuck your fucking bucket. Fuck your fucking fear. Fuck you for trying to keep me in it with you. Fuck you for trying to hold me down and stop me from climbing out. Fuck you for trying to erase me and minimize me and manipulate me away from my truth. Fuck you for giving me no other choice but to leave you behind.

Fuck you for not coming with me.

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Related: Rock Lobster: Finding Home.

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Thursday, January 1st, 2015

“I would like to be remembered as somebody who made the path a little easier for somebody behind me” – Heather Flemming

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

“I’m not interested in a world where men really want to watch porn but resist because we’ve been shamed; I’m interested in a world where men are raised from birth with such an unshakable understanding of women as living human beings that we are incapable of being aroused by their exploitation.”

Finding Amanda: An internet love story

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Amanda Palmer and Courtnee Fallon Rex Photographed by Steve Kuhn The Art of Asking Book Tour. Sat, November 22, 2014. First Unitarian Church – Los Angeles

When I was young, I thought I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I knew the problems, the deeper causes of the things I was seeing in people, that needed answering.

And I thought, since I seemed to be the only one who really *saw* what the problems were, saw them and felt them in my guts and talked about seeing them and feeling them in my guts, I was naturally responsible for fixing them, too.

All of them. Everywhere.

That turned out to be a bit of a problem for me. One I’ve since largely solved in my growth, accepting my role as a healer, an activist, and learning about boundaries.

Back then, I kept wishing I had been born earlier, so I could have been a part of the uprising in the 60’s, when “shit mattered”, when the ambient rage against this profoundly sick world order had a focus and a voice.
Now, I really really miss the 90’s.

I did my best to rebel and find my own way, but internalized a contempt for my own perspective and an intense hate for my sensitivity.

As a tiny girl I had started cussing and spewing sexist racist shit like a motherfucking truck driving military sailor, and I basically hated everyone. I lied about my age (when I was 11 I was 14) and hung out with older boys. I started smoking when I was 9, drinking when I was 10. I stole shit and resold it at school. I experimented with drugs.

In middle school I had found my niche as a leader of a small group of nerdy weirdos. I, like most middles schoolers, was bullied and pushed around, once by a large group in my own front yard.

I was the girl who peed her pants laughing, daily, at lunch. I was the girl who responded to being given flowers by immediately eating them. I was the girl who stayed at school until 6pm hanging out with the uncool teachers because they cared about me and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house and I secretly loved and adored them even though that wasn’t cool and I don’t think I ever told them how much they meant to me and I wish I had now (Thank you Mr. Pericone, Mr. Ebi and Mrs. Wollard).

By the time I was 15 I was so acutely aware that the system was a sham, I was going insane. I saw so clearly the dynamic of perpetrated violence in society, and in my life. I saw the pain hiding in peoples eyes, but I didn’t have the support to find my ground to stand against it. Everywhere I looked what I saw was how we were killing each other, and how I unconsciously contributed to that cycle.

I hated High School, even though I barely attended, and once I went there, I immediately fell deeply into drugs. I’m talking deep. Few know how bad it was. I quickly dropped out to join the workforce with a fast food job, so I could go on USEnet and use my minimum wage to buy Nirvana bootlegs, and more drugs.

I had no direct examples of self-supporting ways to cope with the cruelty of the world, and if I did come across them indirectly, they weren’t cool or appealing anyway because they weren’t ‘powerful’ like domination and violence seemed to be.

Emotionally, I was broken open and rawly empathic, connected with attrition and the damage we inherently do to one another simply by existing, and enraged at my impotence in fixing it. Physically, I was, frankly, killing myself.

I hadn’t lived enough then, well enough, to have the decades of varied experience and intense healing it would turn out I’d need in order to break out of my patriarchal conditioning and trust the instincts I was trying to snuff out. I was going crazy in part because that’s what I believed I was.

A new (digital) hope

In early 1995, in Sacramento California, from a commodore 8088 connected to a shell account with crl.com on a screechy modem with an actual WIRE, my dad showed me how to get on this Internet Relay Chat thing he’d told me about.

CRL’s root .ircrc file had a bunch of dead servers referenced in it, and I’d spent likely not nearly as long as it felt like I had being suicidally-frustrated with trying to figure out how to get the fuck online. Dad swooped in, figured out there was a /server command, and my life thus changed forever.

There were words on a screen attached to real-yet-fantasy humans who, when they weren’t talking about overthrowing governments and anal rape, were telling me I was not alone. That the social system we inherited was fucked and we were going to unfuck it by fucking it. There was a space, suddenly, to tell people what I saw.

There were vulnerable conversations about emotion and loss and pain where the ‘real’, world had been about image and learning how to be an expert on being fake. I’d found people who weren’t afraid to talk about the despair we all felt, through a medium that protected us better than any person had.

That was where, I thought, I found salvation. And for a while, I suppose I did. I wasn’t a sad sack high school nerd druggie statistic everyone fucking picked on, I was a social engineer in the thick of a god damn underground hacker revolution that only some people picked on.

My social life was with criminals on IRC, where I could explore my rage, screw the man, and say whatever the fuck kind of offensive abusive shit I wanted. I spent my time on meth and anything else I could find, listening to The Prodigy, chain smoking reds, fucking around with linux and waiting for the years to cycle to the next DEFCON.

I started maintaining my own web pages, gnashing my teeth about the worlds fuckedupedness (and how it caused me to feel), in 1995. I was one of the first webcams on the internet. I had my own irc channel (#nee). I had fans.

People emailed me often to tell me they’d found my site and how much what I was writing mattered to them. That my words mattered to them. I kept expecting waves of hate. They sent me fan art. They shared their stories. They told me I had saved their lives and that my spews of misery and hopelessness gave them hope. They told me I helped them feel less alone.

The first time someone told me I should write a book of my life I had been alive 15 years. I was a social advocate without really knowing it, a musician without accepting it, a community leader without being responsible for it, a digital artist. A flawed and miserable human being, with an intimate community online that fueled and supported me, nodding, saying; I see what you see, thank you for saying it.

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As a musician I had a bit of a business on the original mp3.com in 1999/2000, but had started recording cover songs long before. I went by the name Not Applicable, and I insisted, vehemently, proudly, that my music would always, always be available for free, on my site.

But things change, and so did all that.

The RIAA destroyed mp3.com, and with it, my faith in the world supporting my niche-y emo-enya never-gonna-sell-shit-for-sony music. I went from identifying as an empowered independent artist with a support structure that validated me, from being featured and interviewed by ABC news (and my cam images being used in the original piece as well) regarding the success of the movement I was a part of, to feeling displaced and bullied and utterly rejected, with my dreams in flames at my feet.

With the fall of mp3.com, I also went from being a part of a community of artists and musicians who were, once again, revolutionary, by collaborating worldwide via audio files online, to drifting alone in space. I was always in the top 3 of the ambient electronic charts, and many people sent me remixes of my work and collaborated with me by finding me there, including one of the trance musician idols I’d had at the time, and lots of unknowns who are still unknown.

We were a creative artist economy birthing cross-pollinated artwork existing inside the payback for playback and DAM CD models for making money. It wasn’t going to make us all filthy rich, but it was a god damn fucking internet revolution utopia all the same.

I shrugged it off and didn’t let myself think about losing that community part all that much. I spewed anger at how unfair mp3.com’s demise was, and suddenly focused on the money, the wopping $2700 I’d made in a year, because of course it was just weak and selfish and shitty to want support and connection and love from people.

It had taken such immense courage for me to share my deeply personal and vulnerable music, music that made me cry from being so good and double over in pain for being so raw, music that rose out of me from a dark place I didn’t understand. I kept waiting for the hate to come, especially after I joined the mp3.com community from sharing my songs by DCC sending to friends in my IRC channel.

mp3.com was my taste of vitality as an artist. It was the first place I was confronted with irrefutable proof from strangers that my music was good. It was my bridge, back when I was still the only Courtnee on the internet, and the internet was all the connection with the human race I had that fucking mattered to me. It was a community that I’ve never found a comparable replacement for.

The hate never did come. Perhaps because it never had the chance to. For my efforts, for my courage, I received virtually nothing but waves of acceptance and love, feature after feature on the site praising my work even though I was a screwed up crazy hermit making weird whiney sad music that would never end up on the radio.

Losing that relevance changed me, reconfirmed my doubts in myself. I utterly loathed the music industry, threw up at the thought of playing shows. With mp3.com, I had let myself open up, and feel some hope. The loss of this flow of connection for me was staggering. And because of it I hardened.

I turned to the other revolution I was a part of for comfort and belonging while grieving my artistic self, to find it wasn’t there anymore, either. The geeks, the remaining foothold of my revolutionary home base, are no longer the underdog freedom fighters, and they haven’t been for a very long time. They’re the ruling class in the same system we despised.

It hurts to see your revolution become the system. Maybe even more than it hurts to see the revolution get flat out crushed by it. It’s a fucking betrayal I can only barely wrap my head around, but I feel it in my body. It’s a fucking betrayal I keep seeing over and over again in my life. Seeing the entropy, seeing the fear, seeing how the people who are doing what is most needed in this world are getting fucked and assimilated.

It got under my skin when the powers that be managed to napalm the countryside we were beginning to settle with mp3.com. Feeling like I almost had it, like I was almost valid — and then I closed my eyes and covered my head while the power in the world which already had way more than it needed clubbed me, and when I opened them again everything was different.

I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting. Not until Amanda walked into my office.

I can articulate now, after a lot of processing, and galvanizing our connection a few weeks ago by performing for her and her fans in Los Angeles, I hated Amanda Palmer because she represented for me the person I was who died with mp3.com and the internet as I had known it. Died “because” I didn’t have what Amanda Palmer had — a stream of fanbase supporting her when her conventional link to them [a record label], which I knew would have fucked me, fucked her, too.

She represented who I could be now if I hadn’t divorced from my core and spent years of my life chasing money and stability betraying myself in the tech industry before finding my way back to myself.

She represented for me the damage I did to my soul by choosing to take that path, for going through the motions while shutting down who I really was, for taking the RIAA attacking the home I’d found in mp3.com so unbelievably personally.

She represented the pain in becoming even more isolated and quiet as a musician, my most vulnerable and profound form of art, the paralyzation of being introverted and insecure and losing my foothold.

She represented the reality of only knowing how to be a solo musician making music in the safety of my dark little cave and posting it on the internet.

Healing is a pretty important aspect of being a revolutionary. It’s hard to cheer someone on who breaks through the glass ceiling you’re still concussed from smashing into and weakening for them.

In the rise of the digital music revolution, the unsigned artists of mp3.com got royally fucking fucked. As we grew in closer path alignment over the years, Amanda served as a screen for me to project that disembodied grief.

I had it first. I was there first, I had it, I had the following, I had the waves of love, I had the future, I WAS the future, I was AHEAD, and then I fucking wasn’t. In utter projective emotional simplicity that makes little logical sense, I was an Amanda Palmer before Amanda Palmer.

And then I wasn’t.

In the decade after the blow of mp3.com, and countless other events that knocked my fragile sense of self around back in those days, I am finally beginning to feel and trust in the ripples of reward for the tremendous amount of exertion and surgical accountability it’s taken to come back to where I am ready to step into myself again. Into my seeing, into my caring, into my vulnerability, into the vivid authenticity that steams off of me as a performer and a music maker and a singer, into my talents, and into my contributions.

It’s been a long decade.

Finding that I was still so emotionally fucked up over a website going down a decade before was an embarrassing reality to resign to in order to write this, but it’s just the honest truth of things. The impact to fragile hiding 22 year old me, losing mp3.com and what it represented in my life, at that time and at that point in my delicate career, caused a painful rift between me and myself that has taken a long time to sew back up.

Thank you for helping me heal it, Amanda. Thank you for helping that part of me come back.

A little birdie told me to Keep Going

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Photography by Chris Clark
Post Processing by Courtnee Fallon Rex
Ink by Mike of All Star Tattoo, Tacoma

Thank you Cafe Brosseau!

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Thank you Tacoma, and my Seattle friends new and old for making last night a really fucking great show. I felt so loved and supported and I am ecstatic to have heard from everyone how much they enjoyed themselves.

Set list:

Write What You Know – Courtnee Fallon Rex
Pretend it Never Happened
Black as Night – Melody Gardot
Forgiveness
Please Don’t – Courtnee Fallon Rex
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Hey You – Pink Floyd
Wounded – Courtnee Fallon Rex (debut)
House of the Rising Sun – Animals
Meeting the Maker
In My Mind – Amanda Palmer
The Greater You

As per request I’ll be recording and releasing versions of the songs I played on my Bandcamp in the coming weeks.

As for supporting me, being privy to new music, and behind the scenes access, please sign up to my Patreon account! A good example of the kinds of things Patrons get – they heard a version of “Wounded” (as yet unreleased) two days ago. ;)

Cafe Brosseau Artist Reception: December 6 2014