Posts Tagged ‘progress’

#hotline

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Lately, I have been very raw and sensitive and emotionally reactive. Being that way comes with effects, which include being oversensitive to damaging others. Things like feeling really gutted for days if I unintentionally hurt someones feelings, and digging too hard into myself to look for subconscious sinister motivation, when I forget or misconstrue boundaries and tolerances (we should do this as recovering abusers, as I am, but I get relentless and shameful in it when triggered or emotionally fatigued — I go back to the habit of digging for the molten core of awful I must be to be capable of being so shitty).

Generally when that happens is when I reach a tipping point where I go into isolation to avoid people. That, I have discovered, is when I usually fall into the pit.

I have been noticing this, and noticing that I have needed to talk numerous times in order to mobilize myself to be functional in the last few days, and even after scrolling over my lists, short and long and public and private, I find I have no one I feel I can talk to in those moments.

This is all self talk, shame, depression, and insecurity. I am blessed with SO MANY people I can talk to. Perhaps they might not understand, and perhaps they might not be the people who are immediately around me. But I can speak without logical fear of retribution to many people in my life. Yet I don’t, or if I do, I am so clumsy and desperate and self critial that I feel bad about it afterwards; I didnt ask well enough for proper consent before talking about something potentially triggering, I took up too much time uming and stumbling to get my words out, and so on.

And well, writing here is triggering more often than it isn’t, to be perfectly honest with y’all.

So I called the hotline again today, while I was stuck managing the anxiety of going to a place I work where someone who violated my boundaries and emotionally abused me also frequents, still vibrating from #metoo triggering. 1 (800) 273-8255. I talked to a person who has already given consent to hear whatever it is I need to say, who is not my friend thus also not my long term emotional responsibility, who can also hear the details of that assault without potentially having personal investment in protecting the asshole who treated me like shit.

1 (800) 273-8255

1 (800) 273-8255

1 (800) 273-8255

A little poop on the stigma, and a glimpse of what a suicide prevention hotine actually looks like:

“I got into this field because when I was a teenager, I was also trying to kill myself on a monthly basis, or cutting myself, or ending up in the ER,” she says. “I finally met a therapist who said, ‘Well of course you want to kill yourself. Your life is terrible.’ And the moment she said this, I thought, ‘OK, now I can fix my life.’ Because before I had been so busy trying to prove to people that my life was bad, and once someone believed me, I could go do something about that.”

That’s why, according to PM, traditionally trained clinicians are not always the best crisis counselors — they first have to unlearn a lot of what they were taught.

“Most counselors and social workers are profoundly uneducated about suicide prevention techniques,” she says. “This can lead to a lot of frustration or even panic.”

On the other hand, “at one of my hotline jobs I worked with a guy who, on paper, looked like a terrible candidate,” she continues. “His last job was manufacturing, and before that he’d been a bouncer at a couple of different strip clubs. But … he was the most sensitive person ever, and he knew how to approach a call. ‘It sounds like you’re thinking of suicide.’ Totally non-judgmental, but puts the topic out in the open so we can talk about it more freely. When he’d hear a person talk about why they wanted to die, he’d be compassionate. ‘Given all that, I understand why you’d think about killing yourself.’ That may sound like a really bad idea, but it’s actually been proven to be really effective: You’re actually hearing them, which makes them feel more open to talking. Then you can circle back to reasons to live.”

Source, with All The Trigger Warnings: http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2338-5-disturbing-things-i-learned-working-at-suicide-hotline.html

#triggerwarning #mentalhealth

Monday, June 19th, 2017

#triggerwarning #mentalhealth

I’ve been struggling badly with my mental health since last fall. It’s been pretty awful in general, and then the small shred of resource and sanity I felt I had — my van/house/freedom — did what vanhousefreedom things do when they have 204,000 miles on them, and started breaking things.

Expensive things. While I was 3000, 1400, and 800 miles from ‘home’, which is a place I don’t really identify much with anymore, that I can’t afford to stay in, but is the most familiar to me.

I’m broke, in quite a bit of credit card debt, which is rising as I’m trying to take care of my body, which is also really pissed, and enjoyed a ratio of playing shows that leaned toward the ‘really sad empty dive bar’ sorts of ways far, far too often for my tender worrysome heart.

I’ve got pals and a warm place to sleep, which is helping me not completely lose my shit. I’m also spending most of my time manically making slapdash art, or sobbing and paralyzed and thinking about how easy it would be to clip an aertery and be done with this shit.

Every day, though, I do something meaningful to get better. I’m seeing a chiropractor to take care of my spine. I got that horrible inflammatory IUD pulled out, and acknowledged my gratitude for the ten years of effective birth control that little angry shit provided me. I’m on antibiotics for an infection I’ve likely had for about 8 months. And for now, I am living somewhere I can actually stand up in.

For a while, I was taking classes to get my massage license back before recognizing the returns were not sustainable (and, let’s face it, I’d be much better off making sandwiches 8 hours a day than going back into the job of touching people). But I enjoyed the classes and I learned things. That’s what you take classes for, right?

I’m also working edges like usual, one of which being to get better at letting go of money when I spend it, rather than being attached to the notion that everything I spend money on be some sort of investment.

I’m having a particularly hard time working up the nerve to get back into therapy, though, and to get on meds, which I’ve recognized it’s time for me to do. Like, actually do, and go through with, this time. I have an appointment with my primary care person in July to talk about it, but frankly, I’m really worried I’m not going to make it that far.

I’ve attempted multiple times before when it’s gotten this bad, and self harm is becoming a regular thing to deal with the sobbing fits, like the one I am stuck in right now while attempting to get ready for the one damn thing I committed to doing today.

I spend so much effort holding in a wall of sadness behind my face, and when the dam breaks, relief doesn’t come with it. Just more pressure and exhaustion. I think about doing the morning walk-in freeforall at the clinic, or going to the ER, usually multiple times a day. But I don’t.

I’ve been trying to figure out why, after so many years of being capable of getting help after how hard I worked to get there, I’m so stuck now.

I feel like my spirit is broken and no one can help me.

I’m consumed with fear that hopping on a medication rollar coaster will make it worse, and I don’t think I can handle anything more.

It seems I’d rather smack at myself qnd bruise my own face to feel relief than walk outside and pull weeds out of the ground (and risk fucking up my back again, I say to myself. Oh, my back went out while putting my pants on a half hour before a band rehearsal about a month ago. Did I forget to tell you that? Probably).

It’s hard to remember a time I’ve felt so alone.

But even moreso, I am finding that I am deeply mistrusting of the health field now. The last two therapists I had (out of four) had pretty shit boundaries.

Both relationships were helpful in ways, but ultimately the situations were very messy and consisted of a lot of loss, especially the last one, which was long term and complicated and multifaceted and ended traumatically.

There are quite a few things I used to be interested in/enjoy that I no longer enjoy after realizing I had to get out of that relationship. And getting out at all kicked up so many self criticisms I have about my limitations in maintaining close connections, and so often being the one suffocated and scrambling to get away.

When that relationship broke, so did my last frayed ties to the ‘healing community’, my trust in it, and my trust in my abilities as someone who was once a teacher in that realm. It broke my confidence in my worthiness to continue to be any type of healing guide or mentor, too. For the best, maybe, but disorienting all the same.

Of course, as I have created distance, I have recognized where being in unethical ‘healer’ relationships enabled me to be unethical and damaging to others myself in my care practice.
For the bulk of my time in the scene, I was surrounded by and looking up to healers and mentors providing therapy to people they were fucking, providing therapy to people they then started fucking, providing therapy to friends who didn’t ask for therapy, incepting their own notions and beliefs into vulnerable people looking for their help, having unintegral boundries and phasing in and out of roles without communicating or garnering consent.. the list just went on and on. And I belonged there. That’s the kind of shit I did, too. I think about some of the things I chose to do now and cringe so god damn hard.

It was a shitshow and I’m glad to be out, but, I’ve not found an alternative for the positives being in those communities allowed me to receive. The modalities, when respected in safe containers, were very powerful and helpful to me.

My trust in writing, which in the past has brought me a lot of connection and relief in the absence of stable relationships, has also faded. I no longer feel empowered by posting vulnerable shit like this and writing about my mental health struggles here. Or anywhere really.

I no longer feel fueled or that I am ‘helping’ anyone by sharing my stories, after a lifetime relying on that to make finite connections while constantly growing and transforming and leaving people behind who were important in my life but wanted me to stay the same when I needed to move on.

I simultaneously feel like such a loud obnoxious burden, and that I’ve forgotten how to take up space.

I feel like a complete sticky fucked up projectile mess, and also like I’m so constricted I can barely breathe.

But maybe broaching the subject now that I’m onto this will shift something. I’ve got shit to do, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let today be another fucking day I beat myself in the head to stop crying long enough to get it done.

P.S. if you are like I’ve been in the past and have become again and are hurting yourself to deal with your overwhelming emotions, this might help you feel like a little less of a freak about it. It helped me to remember how normal this all is, for all of 5 minutes, anyway.

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.

I think.

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

If love is wishing for others what you would wish for yourself, if it is protecting others how you would protect yourself, then love is what I am likely to give in most of my moments, and what I have regarded most with in the past.

If do unto others is the basis of love, then the idea of love being any particular quality — that it is only kindness and light, that it is forgiveness, that it is acceptence, that its bones could be universally recognized in behavior observed from outside me — cannot be held authentically in that same space as autonomy.

There was arguably little humanity in how I learned to view my self, my needs, my emotional body. But there is NO fucking humanity in ‘elevated’ New Cage love.

Even Gandhi was a rape apologist and a misogynist.

Stop telling people they can only ever love others once they ‘learn’ to ‘love’ themselves.

Stop disconnecting further by perpetuating the bullshit myth that loving others is possible only once you don’t have any more personal issues with yourself.

I am love.
For better and for worse.

I am love.

Fuck you.


I need my teeth cleaned, a physical, to figure out why it seems I’m always cramping, see what I’ve got for birth control options after this IUD expires.. which might be why the cramping.

Hell, I need a massage, and more safe enjoyable cuddles, too. And I need to relax. I’m so tired all the time.

This place (Seattle/Home) has a tendency to suck me up. I got back here in May for the purpose of healing up, and it is basically October and I’ve done none of the stuff I’d planned to do the minute I got here.

It took me almost 6 months of occasionally irrational, fearful procrastinating just to make an OB/GYN appointment which is now scheduled for the middle of November.

I’ve tried to relax in significant ways, two “vacation” trips so far, and each attempt has brought expressly traumatic experiences resulting in mental and emotional breakdowns, and unexpected labor/expense.

I’ve been doing other important things, and the work I am doing now is expressly healing without me being as a professional healer. My experiences in between these mess vacations has been pretty fucking good.

But hanging out in the dirt cleaning up our human mess with good people isn’t enough. I am hoping my subconscious has been setting me up for a good nest, because that’s all I can figure has been going in this last season, with how much resistance and distraction I’ve had from going in and looking at the state of my shit.

Do you know why you enter into relationships?

Over the last year, I’ve found that my explosion into my deepened relationship with social justice marked another wall I have built up around myself. In isolation I once again have become to me a person of such deplorable character that I do not deserve the care I require to function.

Doing unpaid, emotionally intensive social justice work, which has involved a lot of painful personal dismantling and centering of others, has significantly contributed to my current state of being.

And I think I did it, to myself, on purpose. Because I’ve done so much work resurrecting things from my subconscious, apparently I have this idea that I have some sort of control over it, or something. As though having the tenacity to do that to myself again and again illustrates the instinct and the muse that drive me being fully fledged in this dimension.

But I’m pretty sure I’m still a ghost puppet and that’s not how things actually work.

“Some people need to create a nightmare far worse than the one they came from before they will go back and heal their early wounds. We see this in trauma survivors all the time. They pile hell upon hell, until they have only two choices – die, or heal the wounds they are fleeing.

I used to find this confusing, but I no longer do. Sometimes the first hell was so bloody bad that it takes a far worse hell to uncover it. Bows to those who choose to heal their hells, after so many years on the run. Bows to those trauma survivors who give reality a try before they have any evidence that it will serve them. If that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.” —Jeff Brown

I wrote at some point perhaps a year or two ago, during Year of the Nee I think, recognizing that I’d begun embracing the work I’d been working to do in my romantic relationships on a world scale.

At the time I still identified as a healer and was in private practice, I was still on what seemed to be the front lines of hashtag activism, and it was still serving to open eyes and create dialogue among my circle. My friends were coming with me where my lovers had failed to walk, and I set out to built a new model for what my relationships looked like.

I’d also recognized somewhere around that same time, that while I do not identify as them, the diagnoses I’ve collected over the years served to assist in addressing behavioral symptoms. But it wasn’t until I entered into PTSD therapy after walking myself into a crisis center that I really began to understand the underlying cause that those diagnosis didn’t seem to be touching quite right.

Those days of blossoms of Social Justice Me from buds of Social Critic Me are pretty long gone, though. More and more I am shown and reminded that my work there is done and that flower has wilted, decayed, and died (happy fall btw). The conversation I was challenging people around me to engage with is happening now, and there are so many activists out there who are more skilled, effective, knowledgable, and deserving of platform than I am.

And yet, I still go to that place to preach and hide, to dwindling response. We are all tired of that, believe me. I don’t want to fucking yell about shit any more. I want to make art, and I want to create public protest performaces, and I want to make music and sell paintings and maybe some day get into a relationship again with someone I want to fuck.

I want all those things and yet my social media presence has turned into the adult version of phuqed.org. It is too often my new version of skinless, toolless, teen angst me pointing and complaining about the state of the world without actually doing what needs to be done for myself.

“Even though I know better, even though I can sometimes see it when it happens elsewhere (IE, Jian Ghomeshi getting the drop on the narrative first), even though I have been shown over, and over, and over, and over again that I can’t trust the narrator, my first instinct is to protect the person being held accountable for their abuse. To spend my emotional labor helping them save face, rather than protect myself by staying the fuck out of it.
This has shown up over and over again in my life. So often I can even name abuse, see it happening, see them doing it TO ME, and I walk right into it, thinking my familiarity with it makes me impervious. Makes me smarter than they are.

It’s true that the level of abuse I’ve suffered in my life has made me incredibly sensitive to the presence of emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and subversive power plays. It is true that I am well versed in these areas myself and I’ve used the tactics both unconsciously and consciously in my life and in my relationships. Knowing that about myself is how I rationalize WHY my first instinct is to put my boots on, go in there, and ultimately, protect abusers.

I say to myself that this is a chance to use my skills to say “l see what you did there”, to hold them accountable, and to get involved in the movement to stop this fucking shit from being what’s normal in our society. And then I DON’T DO THAT. My sensitivity is there, but my sensitivity is often like a rolling compass. My brain works, and it works well, but it does not work when the person who is abusing is someone I view as being in a position of greater social capital than me.

I choke. I get freaked out. I go into compliance. I protect their feelings. I talk myself out of saying things I need to say because they are harsh, because they reflect things I’ve done, because I’m ashamed of having done those things myself.

I give myself credit for having critical thought I don’t have access to in these situations. The work I’ve done has not made me the person I thought it made me. Sometimes I can behave like that person. When I see someone as being on a level playing field as me, I can be that person. But that’s rare. It’s a lot more rare than I’ve let on.

It is true that part of the reason I don’t have better access to this skill I sometimes have is because I have been conditioned and oppressed my entire life, and part of that is having been told that I cannot trust my instincts. It is true that I have patently been victimized by this cultural reality.

It is also true that I do not have access to this critical thought because I am still using these tactics myself. I am still controlling the narrative and running from being accountable for the things I’ve done in my life. I am still using toxic masculinity to protect myself and garner power.

This has become more and more clear in the last year as I’ve stepped into my nonbinary gender identity. When I did that, all of a sudden the sexist femm degrading slurs started creeping back, like a fucking tick. I’ve imagined it feeling like tourettes, though I have no actual frame of reference to assume that. I only know that when I am angry, stressed, or triggered, I feel like I HAVE to say them, like I will fucking explode inside if I don’t say them.
The anger started coming back more often, too, and the association with my masculinity being violence and guns and militant appearances resurfaced.

I am a person who was forged in a way that I have to get ok with the expectation that I will always have to be managing this shit. I am an abuser who was raised breathing and eating and drinking abuse. While I have experienced times in my life when this was not as apparent as other times, this is something that I’ve never fully accepted and embraced about myself.

I am learning that I don’t have the luxury of being the idealist I’ve been trying to be. I expect I can’t be living on a shoe string, floating around in a van, alone, without emotional or intimate support, resources, or even a therapist, and live to the level of integrity that I need to live by in order to be ok with myself and who I show up as.

I’ve tried to name what I’ve been noticing about my personality shifting and recognizing that I’m experiencing setbacks. Many long posts written and deleted, acknowledging that I’ve been slipping. I haven’t really known how to approach it and all of the posts have felt like I’ve been making some kind of announcement as a perceived social justice leader, like ‘here I am, being an example’ and that just didn’t fucking sit right. It felt good, but it didn’t sit right.

I have to find a way to do better.”

I’ve noticed that while my mental diagnosis’s over the years (Bipolar disorder, Attachment disorder, CPTSD, Depression, Anxiety Disorder) have not painted the entire picture, incrementally addressing their symptoms has brought me into better alignment with myself, relieved some of the burdens of keeping myself alive, and given me insight into the deeper and more complex elements at work in my psyche.

In my seeking, I’ve been wanting to move into some sort of somatic therapy, ultimately in an effort to reacquaint myself with my sexuality and safe touch. I am tired of being isolated and touch starved. I want to learn how to allow touch and sex and tenderness and cuddling back into my life in an authentic, whole hearted way.

“I still believe if I go back far enough, if I heal hard enough, if I dig deep enough, I will come to the place in my life that I can remember being.. Not this. The time in my first tiny memories before it all started showing. Before the behavior problems happened. Before people started shunning me because I was violent and reactive and weird, or embracing me because I was a 6 year old adult. Before the suicidal/I wish I was never born thoughts. Before I started running.

I was tiny and there are so few of those memories, but I have them. I’ve believed in them like most people believe in things they hold dear enough to ignore facts: like the one that tells us that memories are unreliable as shit.
But even if I give myself the benefit of mine being accurate, these tiny faded senses of what I was Before, they don’t matter. I can never dig myself back there. What was installed after them was firmware that I can’t roll back, can’t even dig through.

Who I fundamentally am includes a dozen versions later than where I have been trying to go.

I will never have the peace I’ve been searching for.”

Black and White Image: Foggy ocean horizon

Liminality

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold”[2] between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

Experiencing this In Between, where I still notice and attract familiar interlocking wounds with people, but recognize my instincts and veer away before I’ve done the sort of damage I’ve identified with relationships, has been very, very educational. And frankly: Rewarding, in that awful way of people like me who are always moving.

“I understand it now. I know what the compulsive development drive is. I know when I will feel satisfied with who I am as a person.

I am working now to become someone with the resilience and the knowledge and the discipline and the alignment and the tools to stand accountable for the atrocities I committed while being a fucking insecure terror for most of my life.

I want to be able to see anyone from my past at any time and know in my gut of guts that I will survive whatever I have coming to me, and I will hold presence with it in a way that will not cause me more harm, and if it does, not in a way that will ripple out to others.

I don’t know if this is any more reasonable a goal as digging out my psyche to once again experience the perception of my lost innocence but there it is all the same.”

Thus far, I’ve engaged in therapeutic efforts to address all of the diagnosis’s I’ve been given, except one: Borderline Personality Disorder. The impact of accepting this diagnosis as reflective of my personality is devastating to my self image. I’ve done just about every fucking mental gymnastic I’ve been able to do in order to avoid addressing it.

The stigma associated with people who have BPD (a ‘womans’ mental health issue, too, btw, diagnosed 3x more often in women than men) is suffocating. It’s like fucking hysteria was in 1900. Like Sociopathy and Psychopathy, both of which Social Justice Me has been desperately trying to dismantle my prejudice about and stop using as pejorative insults, people labeled with BPD are often viewed as lost causes to be emotionally abandoned by anyone with their head screwed on straight. They are seen as self serving emotional vampires with no hope of being anything else. I don’t see positive comments on the internet about people who have Borderline Personality. From the looks of it even their friends talk shit.

Are my friends talking shit?

I have struggled intensely with the ableism I embody toward mental illnesses such as these. I am afraid of what’s ‘wrong’ with me.

I cannot show up as the person I want to be until I address myself. And I am tired of trying to be someone I am not yet, or the someone I was before and can never be again, while setting myself up to externalize what needs to be my inner work.

I cannot continue failing in this.

I will not continue to make my suffering and profound feeling of hopeless disconnection an integral part of addressing my privilege in society. I release that coping strategy as the waste product it is and look forward to the fertilizer I’m gonna have a year from now when I’ve long forgotten what I wrote here.

I will not continue to abandon myself in response to seeing how our culture has abandoned others. To do so will continue to create an atmosphere where I feel martyred, unseen, and unsupported in the communities I interact with. It is up to me to find my place in relation to those communities, not make one for myself within them.

I will not continue to ignore my warning signs and put off constructing my life around taking fucking care of my mental health. I see that life is pushing me in that direction, anyway, even as I try to resist the change.

So, I am back on the blog. Back on the therapy and accountability track, finally doing what I came back to Seattle, limping and licking wounds, to do.

Right on schedule, I guess, when you think about what my falls and winters are generally like. But I think this metamorphosis will be a big one. I think that perhaps if I am successful, it will be so successful that one might not recognized it’s happened at all.

I am ready.
… I think.

Fuck I am tired.

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.

ROAD UPDATE: Fort Walton Beach

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Originally posted to my Patrons at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4470079

Right now I am hanging out in the van with the side door open, out of the wind but in the sun from my waist down. The temperature is perfect like this, mid 60’s and cloudless, and I still have lots of time left in my day to do fuckall before heading to a show to see Hank and Cupcakes tonight.

My days right now consist of mostly resting, reading fantasy, practicing music, working my grumpy back with a theracane and racketballs, eating, my return to self care rituals/smudging/affirmations, and walking along white sand beach barefoot while wrapped in a blankie.

And the internets, of course.

I am finding it possible to kill time here easily without spending money, which I desperately need for a couple of months to recover from NOLA. People in general don’t bother me unless I approach them, I haven’t been getting hassled or hit up on the regular, and the beaches are damn near deserted, which are all immensely relieving changes.

I am having periodic moments of clarity and stillness in and around the water, which is proving to be wonderfully cold, and which is reminding me that while I am skilled and familiar with managing abrupt transitions, I am often much more satisfied and less triggered by taking my time.

Yap, it’s true — the earth is changing, we’re all dying, and everything is fucked — but it’s ok. I am having vivid, cinematic, meaningful and encouraging archetypal dreams that are aligning with other indications that I may have, finally, cleared through some major shit in terms of my recent cocooning, and I feel much more willing and able to be myself — which resembles Kali and Akhilandeshvari catfighting in a steel box — again.

Giant silver alligator blocking a doorway. I have a broom. The silver alligator pike eel thing can jump very high. Large blonde viking lady appears as I fight, eventually remarking that she hasn’t seen me in thousands of years, around the same time I find out her alligator thingie has jurrasic park gill wings that can cause it to hover in the air for a few moments. We’re both good natured and somewhat natural but I don’t trust her cause her pet is trying to eat me and I dislike that she thinks she knows shit about me when I’m god damn 37 and I’ve never met her before. Silver gilled pike eel alligator thingie is slow and predictable but does eventually take my broom, which viking lady then rides, along with him, and I grumble that she’s a fuckin witch. We stop fighting and discuss things. She insists that I have to cook a small chunk of what looks like top ramen soup, pour it into a bowl with what looks like grated cheese (probably wood pulp and cellulose, according to a recent scandal!) and ‘choose some’ to, what I instinctively expect, turn into allies of some sort for whatever stupid side quest journey I have to go on next. We talk about items I need and call another person, someone who I sense is a man, and discuss pickup times. It turns out that the day she wants is better for him to drop off, and as I am realizing the van has gotten too warm in the sun and am waking up I hear her tell him a drop off address in Manhattan, reminding me of Blair Hopkins . My last pull from the dream is endearment and excitement at spending some time doing things with viking lady for the next few days.

I’ve also made some significant strides in processing a few emotionally and mentally violent interactions I had with a couple of former friends, which I found had been blocking me from pursuing anything spiritual, healing or ‘magic’ related in my self care based upon unconscious associations with occult and groupthink community I’d maintained in response to their behavior.

I’ve also loosened the social justice noose I’d placed around my neck when I decided, also unconsciously, that I wouldn’t have been raped and betrayed by my lovers two years ago had I been a nicer person, a more open person, a more tolerant person, a more perfect person. Social evolution is still at the core of my interests and passions, but not in the unsustainable, violent, and self destructive way I had been going about it since all that happened.

Things are good here.

How are you?

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

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.

ANNIVERSARY: Name Day

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Simultaneously like yesterday, yet longer ago than it seems, I was about two months into Year of the Nee, my official year of celibacy and no intoxicants.

I’d come to embark upon that decision in large part due to my romantic relationships and the patterns I had seen in them, one of those patterns being a tendency to put my life and direction on hold to ‘be’ with someone who I had immediate visceral doubt about, but who wanted me, which I had historically found to be more important.

In my solitude, I traced that pattern all the way back into my childhood, back to the first instance of being presented with the illusion of a choice I never really had, and did not have the capacity to make in the first place.

I recognized in that moment, that all of my life, since before I can even remember, I had belonged, in one form or another, to a man — beginning in the form of taking ones name as a toddler — and I could see, finally, how that experience and the nature of that relationship had helped to shape the whole of my teenage and adult experiences with other males as well.

As of tomorrow, I have been Courtnee Fallon Rex for one full year. And I am still drug free, alcohol free, and free to love myself in whatever ways I deem fit.

BAM.

bobbing cork in a bucket

Monday, March 30th, 2015

On one hand, my ‘fuck the bucket’ epiphany (and artistic ritual) was really valuable to align myself with a deeper knowledge.

Taking into account that myself, crabs who snip at my heels, and the crabs whose heels I am compelled to snip, were never meant to be in a fucking bucket in the first place really blew the doors off my views of the socioeconomic and interpersonal warfare I witness and am actively resisting.

It also really fucking crushed the shit out of my spirit, I am finding. It wasn’t apparent at first, but I am finding now that it was around that time that the little precursors to my epic nosedive, which I am still exhausted and recovering from, began manifesting.

It was around that time I started becoming quietly overwhelmed by the vast uncertainty in my life. Everything, from income, to vocation, to housing, to location, to intimacy, to resources, are in flux. It’s a time in my life where things I thought were stable are dying, where things I thought I needed are shedding. Things I invested years in maintaining are ending their life cycles, too. Everything is changing.

A friend described himself this morning as ‘Hanging in there. Like a cork on the ocean.’

Man. Do I feel that. Disorienting. Lonely. A little freeing, maybe? A cork on the ocean needs only to continue to do what it does; float. I relate to the frustrating simplicity in the circumstances of a tiny seabound cork. And I rather liked the implication of the impossibility of his drowning in them.

I won’t drown, either. Right?

Right.

Also I want some answers goddamnit. Any time now.

Perhaps they will come later this month, as I bob like a cork in the actual ocean.

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.

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.

mainhttp://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/main-404x348.jpg 404w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

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.

Full Circle

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take. The fucking. Doughnuts.

In black and white.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

As some of you may know, part of my Year of the Nee (my year of celibacy and no intoxicants) that I began in May (Half way!! WOOO!) included seeking out a more formalized psychotherapy approach.

In doing so, I ended up at the Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress unit at Harborview with a diagnosis, finally, of clinical PTSD, engaging in Cognitive Process Therapy since June. (They are amazing, and I highly recommend them).

I’ve filled out many surveys, usually every couple of weeks, tracking my PTSD, Anxiety and Depression symptoms. I’ve completed many worksheets and modules, made improvements, and things were kind of clicking, but it wasn’t quite.. complete, seeming. I still felt like my wheels were spinning for some reason, and even with all my supplemental healing strategies, I was water logged.

In my third post in my series about rape culture on Medium (the one that goes into how I am healing from it), I talk a little bit about having to be willing to be lonely. To be willing to cut people out of my life who don’t align with what I’m discovering are my core values.

I’ve had to do this multiple times — when I quit doing drugs was one of the biggest, because at that time in my life, my friend base was based on basing. I had to start over, and it was fucking scary. But.. I found new friends. Good friends. People who are still my friends, after many a transformation since.

What you’re seeing above is my depressive symptom graph. The spike is the sprint time period in which I was desperately attempting to keep engaged with the last of the rape culture intimates in my life. The last throes of my incredulousness as to where he stood. The drop is when I finally picked up my jacket, walked away, and didn’t look back.

Not everyone has the gift of this kind of visual feedback in their process. Even as I’ve felt my fog lift, even as I’ve settled into my sense of self that I have, even with how clear I have been about being done with that relationship, seeing this visually was incredibly profound.

Maybe you’re in a struggle right now. Maybe you’re trying to find your way out of something, surrounded by people you know aren’t good for you, people whose positive traits you’re weighing over your own needs, people you know in your soul are bringing you down and holding you back.

For you, and for those like you, I wanted to post this, in black and white.

You are worth dropping the cement blocks that keep dragging your face under the water.

You are worth that.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

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

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

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

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

“Wounds are the means by which we enter each others hearts. Healing is the means by which we remain there.” – Courtnee Fallon Rex

Monday, July 7th, 2014

“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave, you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.” ― Caitlyn Siehl

Listening: The Secondary Trauma.

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“If you are a man who is becoming upset/depressed/overwhelmed/hopeless/defensive when you listen to the women in the world/your life talk about their experiences, you need to talk about it. With another man.

I really, really mean this. You absolutely need to talk to another guy. A guy you are friends with and who you trust is ideal.

If you don’t have that kind of guy in your life- and, seriously, you are not alone in that area- then you have the very hard, critical work of figuring out how to make that kind of friendship ahead of you. If you are feeling a restless helplessness over all of this, that can be your challenge.

And if you are a guy who has already figured this out- if you’ve already figured out the circle thing and the male friendship and intimacy thing and how to be supportive of women thing- then my personal challenge to you is to go and find the guys in your world who haven’t totally made this connection, and pull them into your circle. Mentor them. Teach them how to do what you’ve figured out to do.

Seriously, I can’t do that. Your girlfriends and lady friends and moms and sisters and classmates and bosses can’t do that. But you can, and that is absolutely invaluable.

Women need men to learn how to be emotionally connected to other men. We need men to learn how to draw emotional support and nurturing from other men. Not to do that in absence of us, but in addition to us. Because men being isolated and lonely- it really, really is killing us.

Men and women, it is really killing us.”

Notallmen/Yesallwomen, secondary trauma and relearning everything for the sake of not killing each other

Brenè Brown: A Video Walkthrough.

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.” -Brené Brown

I shared this 2010 TED speech long ago, and longer still before that, and I will keep periodically sharing and adding new talks as Brenè continues in her incredible work.

Her follow-up from 2012 is awesome, too, and reminds me of many, many things I’ve talked about here for nearly 20 years on neevita.

“If you’re not also in the arena getting the shit kicked out of you, I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brenè Brown

And even still, she continues to expand her message, her knowledge and her biting insights into showing up, being seen, and getting the shit kicked out of you for it.

“What I do is enough.” – Joan Halifax

I was in the audience for this longform interview with Chase Jarvis and Brenè back in April, and had the opportunity to meet her afterwards to discuss the education certification that is offered based upon her work. I was truly honored.

“(only) Share with the people who have earned the right to hear your story.” – Brenè Brown

I’m incredibly grateful that Brenè is out there doing what she is doing the way she is doing it. Her willingness to share her own story of evolution and cultivating self worth as she researches a universal human condition is a combination I find endlessly inspiring. I am always moved by her presentations and feel with her sharing a gust of wind at my own back.

As far as I am concerned, her evolving messages are required consumption for anyone who values facing the world with integrity, as well as those who struggle to both discover, as well as learn to be, who they really are.

IMG_4292http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_4292-460x348.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_4292-688x520.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_4292.jpg 799w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

Road Trip Cancelled. Plan of Action: Engaged

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

I have, roughly, $6000 in unappropriated savings, at current.

I also have, roughly, 3 months left at my less-than-market living situation.

This has incited an exceptionally stressful dichotomy of needs; and a sobering wakeup call to how unbelievably fucking expensive it’s gotten to live out here.

I gave up the studio this month to slice my office rent, and started taking on more clients, 5 days a week. Exhausting, but working, too, I think.

The problem I’ve been most running up against, is that I don’t have anywhere viable to go, and I don’t have the savings required to buy or build my tiny house on wheels.

The secondary problem, is that the family whose property I have intended to live on has also been anticipating another year or two of time to prepare for me.

We’re all a wee bit stressed out.

I’ve run numbers on getting just a house shell on a trailer with no services or furnishings to crash in like a bum in a train car while simultaneously building the rest out as much as I can with whatever extra cash I can put into it over the summer.

I’ve run numbers on getting a shipping container and insulating it and welding a hole in the ceiling to build out the loft space for my bed, also no furnishings or services.

I’ve run the numbers on getting an enclosed cargo trailer high enough to put a loft in. Again, no furnishings or services.

All of these options provide me with no comforts, require me to pay to store everything I own, require that I find a place where I can build and weld with no building experience and an accelerated timeline, and cost ~$10k to do it right.

So, I’ve made the decision that I will be getting an RV to live in.

I want a tiny house, yes. I want a lot of things. But the bottom line is that I have managed to save up $6000 bucks toward freedom housing, and I need a place to live that CJ and I can move into in August. RV’s are where that’s at.

At this point in my life, more than needing things to be pretty and cute and designed perfectly, I need a place that is mine, that I can afford, that I can modify and count on, and that I can take with me; which was the root of what the tiny house project was meant to accomplish.

So, that means my road trip is cancelled. I’ll be flying directly to and from Palm Springs (I have a second room in my suite, would welcome sharing the cost with someone, and the airfare round trip from Seattle was a paltry $220; so if you think you might want to take your own Palm Springs vacation from June 12 to 17th, hit me up) to get my certification in grief recovery and come back immediately – to work, and search, and hopefully, find home.

It also means I’m selling nearly all of my stuff and furniture, which works out well since I’d like to manage a couple more grand over the next few months to get a nicer trailer with more to work with.

And lastly, it means I’m looking for a place to park and hook up; Land ho!

I’m pretty excited, and feeling ok about how things are shifting; If everything works out, having a home will be way better than a motorcycle vacation would have been.

Like, way better.

In defense of the men

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Lately, I’ve been observing a few racial and feminist activists on twitter complaining about white people and men (especially white men) butting into their conversations about their experiences of oppression. It’s been an interesting ride.

I mirror a number of the sentiments and questions those white people have posed to black activists, and very much dislike the judgement focused on ‘all whites’ in response to them asking.

At the same time, I absolutely want to be more educated and more empathetic to the oppression that surrounds me, because as a white-cis female, in many respects I have had the opportunity not to have to look at it.

I want to look at it. So I can reduce the ways I unconsciously encourage the status quo of dehumanizing people of color and QUILTBAG‘s. Because fuck that. I worked through my distaste for how white people I identified with were being railroaded and vilified and kept watching.

Ultimately I learned a fuckton developing an understanding of what it means to be an ‘ally’, and where best my voice fits in the social justice chorus (hint: It isn’t in the conversations of black women feminists).

One of the many indirect things I have learned from having looked deeper at this, is that sometimes the reason men insert themselves into feminist conversations is not because they don’t see feminism as viable or because they don’t recognize that something is wrong; it is because they do not feel they have voice on the issues of their own sexual and physical abuse.

They see women speaking of their own oppression in the patriarchy and want to let them know, in that completely inappropriate moment, that men suffer physical and sexual abuse as well. They want to be recognized as going through the same things as women are.

In many ways, this is an exercise of their privilege and power to make yet another conversation about them, and it’s not ok to do that. Which is why, for the most part, men will find that this is not an effective way to be heard.

I recognized the need for men to have more safe places to talk about their stigmatized life experiences, even though they like, own everything and everyone and have all the stupid power and all that. Just as I need safe places to talk about my issues even though I’m like, white and cis and pretty and all that.

So a few weeks ago I started a conversation on Facebook inviting the men in my life to discuss their abuse stories, and immediately, the first thing a dear friend of mine feared, was that I was being sarcastic and insincere.

My opening a space for him had triggered his lifetime experience of abuse and subsequent neglect and dehumanization.

This, too, is rape culture, people.

We don’t talk enough about sexual assault against males (or other identified genders besides men and women, for that matter).

I know it happens because this study Slate talked about says so, and also because I’ve unconsciously sexually assaulted men in my past.

If you are a man who thinks they may struggle with the remanence of abuse experiences in his life, 1in6.org is a nonprofit specifically for men, offering tools for thinking about childhood or teenage sexual experiences that may have caused or contributed to current problems.

The site exists as a safe haven for men in specific, and the information here is humanly universal. The depth and quality of it is priceless, and I am very, very glad it exists.

Sadly, it is not enough that this wonderful site exists. We also don’t talk enough about lack of resources for men who are victims of domestic abuse or the realities of the anti-male bias in our court systems.

Plenty of options and resources are openly available for women suffering from physical domestic violence, but for men, as told in this piece published by the also amazing website The Good Men Project, the situation is all too often hopeless and bleak (and utterly heartbreaking).

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/brand-what-do-you-do-when-a-girl-hits-you

This story indirectly mirrors my own teenage experiences, in which I would periodically break down in rage and hit my boyfriend. Many times this would happen in front of others, often at parties. I would be held back, and he would be encouraged not to hit me.

This went on for years, until one day, he pinned me down and beat the shit out of me.

When that happened, most of our friends rallied, I was granted a restraining order from him, and the court system prescribed mandatory therapy and kicked him out of the state.

Over the years as I’ve healed, become more aware, able to better control rage when it comes (much more rarely than before), and moved away from behaving like this, I consistently see the effect this double standard has on our society.

Most recently, it showed up in the form of a male lover, when, after being told I was violently triggered for the first time in years and isolating myself because I feared I would potentially hit him, said “That would be ok.”.

No. That would not have been ok.

Years ago I experienced a breakup in which violence was not a concern from me (the other woman, however, had assaulted him and was having fantasies about beating and knifing him.. but I digress); I wanted nothing to do with him under any circumstances.

However, that person chose to file a restraining order against me which disavowed even the existence of the other women, letalone her presence during the confrontation surrounding his infidelity in which he claimed I did what she did.

Though it was a dick move from a calculated self-serving lying jackass, had he actually been in danger, very few people would have believed him over me. Simply because he was a he. And that’s not ok.

Patriarchy is fucking *everyone*. Tear it down.

We need more safe spaces for men to be heard and understood about their experiences with abuse.

We need more education, dialogue and awareness of this problem and the needs of men and boys in abusive situations.

We need more awareness of female violence and resources to help women who hit people as coping mechanisms.

Shame needs secrecy, silence and judgement to exist.

It cannot survive being spoken and recognized.

Note: For another look at the machine of patriarchy, rape culture, of women needing to be the gatekeepers of sex, of the commonality of acceptance of rape in our society, and the reactions to sexual scarcity that I’ve been writing about lately, check out my friend’s thoughtful fairy tale version from an imaginary male child perspective: Rape: A Fairy Tale

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” – Brenè Brown

Monday, April 28th, 2014

“Don’t argue with someone who chooses to remain foolish. Some people want to remain fools, only because the truth requires change.” Tony A. Gaskins Jr

I’m over it now.

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

I’d stopped really writing here for a while.

I did it because someone who was formerly influential to me in my life, who is historically by far the most damaging and hurtful person I’ve ever experienced a relationship with, shamed and mocked me for it, and for my artwork, and basically said a lot of really fucked up cruel shit to me.

This reenactment a few months ago spawned a wave of child devastation that I am still struggling through but haven’t written about.

Whether I choose to write about the actual incident here, I have not decided.

What I have decided is that I don’t care what she thinks.

So in case you haven’t noticed, I’m back.