Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

In so many ways, we were profoundly comfortable and well suited. And you were so nice to me. Affectionate, generous, caring. Dedicated. Loving. Available. Consistent.But too consistent. Frozen in carbonate consistent. Unwilling, if it meant loosening your utter strangle hold, the compulsive denial, the tamping down of your darkness, that actually ran the show.

You implied that you were imperfect, occasionally, with a heaviness that illustrated the shame you carry. Alluded once or maybe twice that you had vague flaws and sinister qualities. But save for superficial, polite faux paus, not once did you ever admit to one. Ever. Not once did you have that courage.

But I felt them. I knew they were there. They hurt me sometimes, but that never changed how I cared for you. You may think that because I am gone now they scared me, but they didn’t. You saw mine, also, and it never changed how you cared for me, either.

But the difference was that I acknowledged myself. You couldn’t give yourself that with me. So we couldn’t share in it together. The vulnerability and effort in that imperative bond only went one way.

That’s what scared me. That’s what ultimately became my decision to be whole with myself, rather than fractioned, and forever reaching, for you.

For Zita

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

New mix tape; revisiting the music I’ve performed to as Zita the Aerialist.

http://neevita.net/performance-gallery/

http://neevita.net/category/events/

Thank you, Zita. You saved my life.

(if player doesn’t load, please install/update flash)

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Mixed in Mono

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Before the Tomb and the Womb and Covering Lisa, there was Mixed in Mono.

Mixed in Mono is a primitive recording I made by layering multiple vocals into a single track with Goldwave circa 1996, using the Windows sound recorder.

It was discovering the music of Dead Can Dance during a time in which everything revolved around alternative rock, which I enjoyed but had a hard time integrating with as an artist, that caused something important to click.

After finding them I had a thought – Maybe if I kept at music, I might eventually find a way to express myself through it that felt like something other than a ripoff or just plain whining needy crap.

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Living lean: cleaning out clutter in my life.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about my house, and how I got to this place of being EXCITED to live in ~200sft, from where I was when I was younger.

At one point when I was about 15, I realized that I’d never be able to run away from home unless I figured out what of my belongings, only enough that could be stuffed into my acoustic guitar case, were actually important to me. There was something beautiful about the fantasy of having only what I carried with me.

That year I went from having a closet full of notes, papers, stubs, and random shit that reminded me of things, to one giant box. Over the next 16 years the giant memory box morfed to a smaller box that morfed info a small shoe box, and now no longer exists.

I think of my memory box as being symbolic for the rest of my life which has gotten smaller and lighter, too.

Though often exhilarating, getting rid of my material bloat wasn’t always easy, and it took a long time. The v2.0 me never would have believed it, but I am far, far happier, with less.

A few people in my life are coming to the first steps of working through organizing and minimalizing theirs, which has incited me to think about how it was that I did it over the years.

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far


1: I Made a Mess

Transition is messy, and when I am doing it right, paring down is messy. It means emptying out all the drawers of my dresser and putting my clothes into piles all over my bed (3 of them – keep, give/donate, trash) that sometimes take a while to address.

It means emptying boxes out onto the middle of the floor and dealing with the disaster. It means being ok with dishevelment in order to have the opportunity to see the big picture.

And it also means being dedicated and determined enough not to give up and just leave shit like that.

Trying to be tidy and doing things like taking out each dresser drawer individually and looking through the folded things inside doesn’t give me a real sense of what I have. And I have found the existing organization, itself, when trying to think in a new way, becomes a limiting perspective.

I am far less likely to be real about how many 3ft USB cables I need (hint: not 5) when I am sitting there staring at how they fit perfectly all coiled up where they are.

2: I Got help

I am naturally organized, good at packing, and creative with storage, but if you aren’t, get help from someone who is! And even if you are, get help from someone who is!

It can be really nice to have a person to bounce things off of, joke around with, help run loads out of my sight, for emotional support if I needed it while going through things that may trigger memories, for accountability, and to celebrate with when the task was done. When I was first starting purging, I really needed the accountability and boost of energy having help brought.

3: I scheduled it.

I usually go through my less-used cupboards and boxes a couple times a year to take inventory and get rid of things I just don’t need anymore. I put it on my calendar, have a reasonable goal, and give myself the entire day to achieve it.

There is simply no substitute for making the time to clean out my closet and my life.

4: I (probably) only need one

Ok, yes, it makes sense to have a selection of teas, and a few different mustards, because HELLO, MUSTARD IS AWESOME. It makes sense to have more than one glass, so I can entertain. But seriously, do I need 3 colanders?

No. No, I do not need 3 colanders. Not even a little bit.

5: I made mistakes.

Mistakes are ok. I’ve gotten rid of art supplies and musical instruments that I wish I hadn’t. There are a few letters I no longer have that I would have liked to have read again. But I learned that mistakes are ok most recognizably when I wiped the wrong hard drive and I lost all my memories and photos and original files for my art/music for a few years.

I was paralyzed with fear and remorse the moment I realized what I’d done – a feeling I remember well when first attempting to change how I viewed my stuff. I survived it, and now come to a place of ease much more quickly when similar losses happen.

Attrition and destruction are a natural part of existing, even if they come from a mistake you’ve made. When deciding whether to let go of things I am often reminded that the world will not end if I realize a week later that I would have liked to have worn a shirt I gave away or I end up having to procure another USB mouse because I hastily got rid of mine thinking I wouldn’t need it again.

In reality, there are very, very few things that I own that would actually impact my life if I did not have anymore. It took testing and experience to differentiate a self destructive impulse to purge from a life affirming one. By doing this I am able to handle my mistakes gracefully.

Not only has that realization freed me of a lot of the pressure I used to feel when tasking myself to pare down, it’s also given me a more keen sense of appreciation for what I do choose to keep.

6: I let go

A big part of letting go of attachment to a lot of my material things has stemmed from learning in my personal growth that there is an inherent value in memories fading over time.

Memories are designed to fade. They are supposed to muddle and eventually go away, mostly. It’s how we grow and move on. Realizing that, at first, incited an intense feeling of loss and about a week long grief period. After that, though, it made getting rid of most of my nostalgic belongings relatively easy.

Accepting the value the statute of limitations of human memory has also significantly shortened the amount of time I needed to keep stuff around before I was ready to be without it, and helped me to reorganize my perspective around momentos.

Now, I keep things that remind me of an atmospheric time in my life more than I keep reminders of specific memories. This meant I could keep the best letter I got in middle school as opposed to 50 little things from that time like I had done in the past.

7: I Embraced Technology

Digitizing things is awesome. If a piece of paper is around to remind me of something, I put it in a spreadsheet or on my calendar instead.

If a picture of a sculpture that’s taking up 2sqft of counter space would make a good substitute, I take the picture and re-gift or sell the sculpture.

Some people would probably find scanning documents to be helpful too, but I haven’t gotten into it – takes way too much time. Perhaps that will be an element of Courtnee v3.4.

8: Bonus round: Clothes

From Kurt Cobain lookalike to kept Microsoft trophy wife with a walk in closet the size my house will be, and back again, my approach to clothes is this:

If I haven’t worn it in a while and I know someone who will love it, I give it to them.
If I haven’t worn it in a while and it’s worth money, I sell it.
If I haven’t worn it in a while and neither of the previous things are relevant, I donate it.
If I haven’t worn it in a while but I feel a deep electrical pain in my heart when I think of being without it, I keep it.
If I HAVE been wearing it, but I look at it and go “bleh”, I get rid of it.

Combined with “I only need one”, I have found this method works well.


My shift from being a pack rat to nearly everything I own fitting into a 10 foot truck happened fairly organically, and is attached to my growth into my life over the last 18 years. That doesn’t by any means imply that the process was always easy, or always pleasurable.

When I am purging, I am pressing up against my unconscious identifications with my stuff, my identifications with scarcity and poverty, my resistance to change, and my fears of not being or having enough. I think to some extend we all have our shit around our stuff, and that it’s generally some big shit to take on, taking courage to approach.

It took repetition and practice for the panic impulses to dissipate when I got rid of things. Some of my belongings are truly precious and fueling for me, but I found over time that my attachment to most things was fearful, more often than not, and that identifying with the stuff I owned was creating a monster that owned me.

It’s funny to me how much easier it is to let things go now that I have so much less. How much more I value and cherish what it is I have, now that I’m no longer attempting to fill a perceived void in myself with a bunch of insignificant shit. The process and questioning myself has been incredibly educational and enriching.

Maybe that’s not your story, but nonetheless, I hope that sharing what I’ve learned helps you along your way.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

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

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Was in the bath again, thinking about times in my life I’ve fallen deep, and started looking to my relationship with music.

Nirvana. Portishead. Dead Can Dance. Donnie Darko. Batman Begins. Amnesiac. Archive. Hula. The Fountain. Alice: Madness Returns.

All music I’ve lived, sunk deep into, invited into a certain significant flow of my life, lapping over the edges of my work in addition to welling up inside my spirit, have been the soundtracks for the times in my life, I find later, that I had been transforming my view of myself.

I never understood why my connection with music deepens and fades as I live my life until now.

In other news, I found myself considering that, perhaps, I am in my core simply too dynamic and shifting a person for a contemporary type of partnering to endure, and the trick, as it turns out, is finding a way to make that ok.

#differentwaystolookatdyingoldandalone (It’s not hashtag. It’s pound.)

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” ― Mary Oliver

R.I.P. Zita the Aerialist, 2004-2012

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

This year, more than most and less than some, has been a year of letting things go and allowing new things in. In that vein, it seems another identifying aspect of my life has come to a close.

Once first recognizing mixed feelings regarding how to credit my aerial acts in “Embodied”, and after months of knowing the time was drawing closer, I have decided to retire Zita the Aerialist, and allow the domain (which now redirects here) to expire.

There is an air of sadness and loss here, alongside a sense that this is the right thing to do. The persona and the theatrically engineered aspect of what Zita has represented for me, along with the dreams I once had of sharing her with the world, performing in a circus or ongoing show like Zinzanni, has run its course. I know those things are not in the cards for me. It’s time to leave that game, officially, to the people who actually play it.

Courtnee – There's Something in the Air from Paul Hawxhurst on Vimeo.

Instead, I want to continue to work and focus through the sense of failure to the other side; The side which allows me to integrate aerial into my life with no pressures or expectations, and see what happens. Keeping Zita around, having the website around with no one calling for years, was like a thorn in my sole, a reminder of what I wanted her to be, irritating and distracting me.

But Zita, it turns out, was the mask that allowed for me to be, well, me.

I still teach aerial, more than I ever have in the past really, and consider aerial to be a big part of my life. I may also occasionally perform one-off aerial acts like the level 1 demonstration I did for the “Show and Tell” event at Versatile Arts, or a party now and then, though I don’t know what will come of my signature act. I suppose, honestly, with how few opportunities I’ve managed to create to perform it since the Little Red Studio dissolved, it doesn’t really matter very much.

Zita, you were great to me. At one time, I thought we might see the world together. I thought you might flesh out into your own little person, your own character. I thought maybe you’d be my ticket out of this country and to a place where we’d be appreciated more. Regardless of the thinness of your veil, you helped me find my strength when I thought I had none left. You allowed for me to express myself in ways that would have been hopelessly difficult to have achieved without your shield as I bled in the air for our audiences.

Thank you for being there for me.

I can do it myself, now.

Rest in Power, Zita.

You may have seen Zita at:

I have trained with the following teachers and institutions:

  • Versatile Arts (Silks, Rope, Trapeze, Sling, Duo Trapeze and Duo Silks)
  • School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (Everything!)
  • Bobby Hedglin-taylor (Silks)
  • The Toronto School of Circus Arts (Static trapeze, Silks, Corde Lisse)
  • The Cabiri (Fire eating, Character Portrayal, Static Trapeze, Aerial Sling)
  • Trapezius (Corde Lisse, Static Trapeze, Aerial Hoop, Silks)
  • The UMO Ensemble (Aerial Hoop, Low Flying Trapeze)
  • Donia Love, formally of Ignis Devoco (Fire Spinning)

Hula: Pop me a Pill

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Hula – Pop me a pill (mp3 file)

Got to find something
To smile about
So when I see you
I look happy

Except for all the drinking,
I’m healthy.

Pop me a pill
Oooh baby
I will even front you
The money

For making you feel better all over

There’s no fuckin reason to cry
But you’re such a lady
A lady

Don’t you know what people are saying?