Posts Tagged ‘self care’

On minimization as patriarchal reflex

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s my son, who turns five tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#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

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Friday, August 18th, 2017

I’ve been observably manic since last week, and my appointment with my social worker was canceled this week. I’ve fallen into the online social justice trap after a successful march on Sunday where I stepped into the opportunity to utilize my skills and street medic, expecting that I would have the aftercare of a therapy session the next day. So often, these small victories in actionable social justice incite me to return to old habits and guilt fueled hubris if I don’t take care of myself properly. I tell myself I cannot stop, because it feels righteous. I tell myself I cannot take a break, because those below me in oppression hierarchy cannot take one. I note others moments of rhetoric to convince myself that no one I am fighting for has any respite, no one I am fighting for ever takes a bath, or a meal, or laughs about the good things in life with friends. With dwindling reserves and increased isolation I maneuver traumatizing, triggering subject matter and personal pain for The Cause, whichever flag it is I wave at that moment, with an unspoken urgency that I must do it all myself, that I must be the one to stand loud and naked and public and brave and triggered, and that what little I am doing by putting myself through these things in the gaze and at the mercy of others matters more than it does. My nearly-lifelong addiction to social media is insidious, and once again I face the maddening dichotomy of what fuels this addiction, so I can dig in my heels and stop before the tide turns, and I find myself latched to 1’s and 0’s when I crash, to once again find I am alone, in the dark, and in real fucking trouble.

#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.

My Last Spoon

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Inner Voice 1, immediately after taking the first pull in weeks from ther dab rig: “She AGREED to it! How is this NOT her fault?”

Inner Voice 2: “You mean it ISN’T our fault all this happened?”

Inner Voice 1: “Dude. You warned her about what the fucking cat needed. You told her she was indoor/outdoor and you were worried about CJ only having the balcony. You told her the cat hadn’t been around toddlers so you didn’t know what to expect, but that the cat doesn’t respond well to being alone for long stretches of time either so the family environment might balance shit out.”

Inner Voice 1: “AND you even fucking gave her time with the cat before we packed up and fuckin left as a trial run, and she said she absolutely wanted to keep her knowing you’d be gone AT LEAST A YEAR.”

Inner Voices into the mirror: “A FREAKIN YEAR!”

Inner Voice 3: “You even told her that you had noticed that she tended toward men, when it seemed like CJ wasn’t taking to her immediately but loved her husband and son.”

Inner Voice 1: “And not even a weeks time later when we’re already hundreds of miles away she fuckin’ says she can’t hack it, and then dumps the cat off on someone who lives in an urban condo, works super long hours, and is MTF HRT. On top of that all that. That was HER fault.”

Inner Voice 2: “But I still feel so bad. I feel like feeling bad means being in the middle of this now has got to be my fault somehow.”

Inner Voice 3: “It’s because we didn’t speak up about the situation not seeming like a good fit because the person taking CJ in was trans. We didn’t say a lot of what we needed to say because of that, specifically, not wanting to rock the boat or hurt their feelings after being considered. We let this happen because we didn’t want to deal with looking like a bigot or being questioned about why. Even though we had so many other reasons to say no, it is our fault because we’re fucking transphobic!!!”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok now I feel even worse.”

Inner Voice 4: “It’s our fault because we expected someone else to take on the expense of having CJ but let us retain ‘ownership’ and be able to maybe take her back whenever we got home and could have a cat again. It’s our fault because we’re a hypocrite capitalist financial fucking leech and neverending pit of needs and a horrible burden on everyone around us.”

Inner Voice 1: “It’s our fault because our anxiety and fear and scarcity made it impossible to find CJ a home remotely. It would have been hard and finding this person took weeks of exhausting work already but we barely even tried to find her another one once we were on the road! It’s our fault CJ ended up in an even worse position from the sounds of it.”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok jesus fuck now I feel really, really worse and I don’t think I ever even DESERVED a cat. Or money or help or friends or anything nice ever.”

(WEED, having blossomed far enough to intervene, waves a “Sleep” hand like the aliens in Dark City.)

(All the voices, including the ones who were just listening in, curl to the ground comfortably)

(Collective sigh)

Me, calmly petting a large green cat: “As you all know, we have shit to get done, today. Super, super, reasonable, shit. Shit that we are totally capable of doing. Y’all have been at this with one another long enough, driving this bus.”

(Me puts out ther cigarette, only two drags in, like usual)

Me: “We aren’t gonna spend another day on facebook complaining about our feelings and being all caught up in how we’re not a perfect person. We aren’t gonna spend another day procrastinating, reading Everyday Feminism and The Establishment, posting links about personal development and how hard it is to be single and what a garbage fire the world is. And we are NOT going to continue getting into fights with people on the internet for pointing out that they too are also not a perfect person, either.”

(Flat Starvation Stomach growls, writhing uncomfortably. The two raw eggs and glass of OJ are processed. The familiarity of hunger returns. The smell of days of body odor lofts into the room for a moment, then disappears.)

Me: “…while in utter fucking depletion, no less. We are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

With the voices no longer drowning out my commands, my body proceeds to begin responding to my direct requests. I decide I will start by taking care of packaging the things I need to return to Amazon, some of which are in front of me on my friends kitchen table, along with the return labels another friend printed off as a favor for me yesterday — one they probably don’t know helped me as much as it did. I even have the boxes I need. The other things, like getting food, seem too big. Start small. We’ll start small.

I am slow and forgetful, but I am moving. I walk across the living room four times while leaving to head to the van.

Oop, the keys: On the table. Oop, left the kitchen light on, switch all the way across the room. Wait, we need those printouts for the packages. Wait, before we take the boxes outside, is there packing tape in here?: Check the drawer across the room. Nope, not here, ok let’s get down the stairs, fuck my steps are loud in these shoes. Wait, I just had the keys, where the fuck?: Walk across the room 1.75 times until they’re found. Clip, clap. Clip, clap.

Me: “This is ok. There is nothing wrong here. It is just taking us time and effort to track things because we are coming out of an intense depressive phase. It’s just like any other time when we are sick. This is normal. This is what happens when we are sick. Keep Going.”

Downstairs is the same experience of tracking, fumbling, forgetting, and dropping things out of my head. Tracking the steps of packing and taping and labeling a box is like trying to catch a handful of thrown bouncyballs in my cupped hands all at once. Without moving my hands. Because they are sore, and exhausted, and frozen cold clear through.

As were all the steps of all the tasks in all the world before this one, it would seem. I under stand the sickness. From the sheer stress being noted in my body, that I had been screaming over so I couldn’t hear.

Me: “No Facebook. No laptop. No phone. No worrying. No watching, no learning, no empathizing. Remember your last spoon. This is our spoon and no one else’s spoon. We are gonna use this spoon and we are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

The van is a different type of challenge, because it’s a van that I live in, and currently a total sty. The packing tape could be any number of places which need to be unveiled by pulling other milk crates and tools out. And now that I am home rather than in a friends house, I am swimming through a jumble of task after distracting task piled up after a weeks long depression while trying to accomplish… tasks.

But it’s a little better. I am outside. Just being outside, is getting shit done. I open up all the van doors. The temperature is nice, and there is a cooling breeze and it’s almost a little bit too cold for perfect when I am not in the sun. I keep my scarf and hat on so I can feel just a little sweaty. I’ve been greasy and unkept for days, but this sheen, feels productive.

I realize that the replacement cheap knockoff drivers side mirror is just as shaky as my newish cheap knockoff drivers side mirror and remember that buying cheap shit that is going to break is a familiar part of my existence, an annoyance which is offset by the fact that now I don’t have to dig out my new toolkit (Thanks Dad!!) from the back of the van and swap out the mirrors. I just have to put this new mirror back in its box.

Inner Voice 1: “You know what would be nice right now? Music.”

Inner Voice 2, projecting an image of Me with ther iPhone headphones in: “WANT! But we said no phone. :(((((“

Inner Voice 4: “Wait. Ancient Sacramento Friend who Works In Tech just spent a ridiculously uncomfortable $847.74 on gifting us that car stereo that took like 5 hours to get installed. Why don’t we use that?”

Inner Voice 2: “I usually don’t like to bother other people with my noise. I want to feel small and invisible and safe and secure and I am better off alon–

(WEED scooches closer to Inner Voice 2 and leans in a little, rubbing at her shoulder with its face. WEED slowly morfs into the shape of the large green cat)

Inner Voice 2, as projection of image of Me with iPhone headphones starts flickering away: “You know what, that’s bullshit. No, I don’t. I don’t want to be invisible! I’m afraid to take up too much space and being seen is scary sometimes but being perpetually unseen does not make me feel safe! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 3: “I usually don’t want to use it because of the van running and the carbon footprint and the resources and the battery drain if the van isn’t running I mean..”

(The Green Cat rubs at the shins of Inner Voice 3 while sauntering by)

Inner Voice 3: “.. but hey, this is a good place to test my fear of the battery dying. I have no idea if the radio will actually drain enough to justify how much I have been worrying. We can test it! It would be easy to ask a neighbor to jump start the van. This is our hood! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 1: “I don’t care how, just want music.”

Me: “Ok then. Let’s use the radio. Nice work everyone.”

It takes me less time this time to find my keys. There is a slight spring in my step now as I walk to the side of the van which is getting sun. I remember how cute I look when I am dressed this way, in a tank top with a hat and a scarf and my utility belt — which I just pulled my keys out of which means I just remembered to put them into — around my waist.

I imagine how cute I am opening up my door, putting my keys in the ignition, and turning on the radio of my big white van with paint peeling off and stickers on the back. KEXP is playing Love Buzz, a song that reminds me of a time in my life when I used to play Bleach on repeat for days on end, maybe as long as that last depression was, even.

Inner Voice 4 begins to question the link between how the superficial teachings of a white supremacist herteropatriarchy may have dug a trench that links my feeling pretty with liking myself and begins wondering whether it is feminist of Me to allow that process to happen without examining and critiquing it immediately, right now, and doing it publicly where we can be at the risk of being criticized, bruised and battered emotional body be damned.

The Green Cat meows, distracting them before they can say anything to ignite the others.

I smile a little at the rotten terror of a teenager I used to be and remember for a moment that I actually like a lot about who I am. Because of who she is, still, in me, even; The voice who got shit done when I needed my mama and someone holding me. The voice who convinced Me to take a spoon yesterday when I was 200 miles away from friends and out of them.

Inner Voice 1 side eyes all of Me, the actionable thief. For a moment he looks like a macro image of a spider’s eyes. I love spiders. The Green Cat stuffs itself into ther mouth before he can say anything to ignite the others, as they both wander away to contemplate quietly.

I notice my spoon in my vans drink holder, and how tight the end to Love Buzz sounds.

The other voices, satisfied for now, wander away into the background, to do what it is they do.

It takes me 12 minutes, to package two of three return boxes. I feel just a tiny bit more capable, in general. Almost done!

I stop to take an hour to write this post, because I am a fucking artist. And a narcissist. And mentally ill. The Green Therapy Cat handles the voices who want to dissect it all. I write for myself, truly, for the first time since I updated this blog.

Me: “Remember right now that we are sick. Keep Going. Just get the shit done. Do what needs to be done to get shit done. No more perfect.”

No more perfect.

It takes me 4 minutes to package the last box. I only have to walk back into the house once, before I locked the door, to get the box I needed from the garage.

When I return to the van looking for the tape, I find that I’d actually put it away again before I came back inside to write this.

Now my packages are waiting in my van for me to drop them off later today, on my way to class. Before I come back inside, I think to grab the sachet for the borrowed photography lenses that are sitting on the table, waiting to be returned. I stuff it in a pocket of my utility belt, confident I will remember I put it there.

As I run through my post edits, an email comes in: It’s the translation of the instruction sheet I asked for, for the portion of class I’m teaching tonight about the auto-populating time sheets I created for the organization.

It occurs to me that I should probably start feeding and hydrating myself, to be ready for that. I feel like maybe I have what it takes now to get that done. One more edit. Another hour has gone by.

Now I am actionable hungry. I stand up while I type the end out.

More shit to get done.

NEXT!

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.

ANNIVERSARY: NAME DAY

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Every year, google calendar reminds me that June 27th is my Name Day.

Unlike my birthday, which is a passive obligation based in celebrating something I had very little to do with, my name day brings me a sense of pride and reverence for myself and the work I have done to actualize my own personhood and stand firmly within my own integrity.

Two years ago, early in my Year of the Nee, a year of celibacy, therapy, teetotaling and self focus, I became Courtnee Fallon Rex.

My drivers license picture is of me beaming from that day. My most vivid memories are of walking downtown after taking myself to the market, glowing, because something about me had broken open. Something that flourished and gasped gratefully in the raw, rushing air. A seed so sealed and protected, only the tire fire that was my life at the time could have set it free.

I won’t go so far as to say everything changed that day I simultaneously released myself and claimed my masculine royalty. That would be an offensively simplified version of the events that lead to and preceded that particular June 27th. But, I am able to think of very little of my life that has remained the same since.

Now, after that dense year I dedicated to only myself, Name Day is the lingering milestone. An appreciation for what has come, gone, been gained, and lost. I still think about the many casualties of that fire. I am grateful for their sacrifice as I continue to refine; into my Self, into my vision, into my senses, and into my appreciation for who I, so uniquely and messily and strangely and passionately, am.



** As I continue to fine-tune the edit I notice that this piece appears to be about my transformations over the last two years, specifically illustrating the experience of music as a catalyst for moving forward, while existing in a world which most of the time I clearly do not belong.

This weird little project was made possible by my supporters at http://patreon.com/courtnee

Road Update: Summer in the PNW

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

I’m back in the Seattle area for a few months over the summer, recovering and enjoying being able to stand upright in my house again.

Interestingly, the room I had rented from a friend for almost 3 years was available when I arrived, so I am back in my old house, with some of my old furniture, even.

I’d had reservations about spending a lot of time here, given the reminders and ghosts around, but it seems as though perhaps I have indeed adopted some emotional recovery skills over the years, and it’s been more soothing and reclaiming than painful overall.

I’m working outside a few days a week, with a training program called DIRTcorps, Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training. It’s a unique and vibrant program in which people from the underserviced and largely disadvantaged South end of Seattle learn contracting and landscaping skills while actively reclaiming the Duwamish waterways and wetlands via their learning projects.

Last Saturday we did a ton of great work on a project I took a small lead role in — drilling lots of holes into 1/4″ steel poles — which will eventually be part of the largest green screen in Seattle. That’s my grinning mug on the job site above, along with Fedora (who introduced me to the program), and our crew.

I spend time both in restoration and construction as well as on an educational farm, which I get to eat some of the food from! I’m weeding and mulching and weeding and aerating soil and weeding and harvesting and weeding and digging holes and weeding and weeding and weeding.

This, along with being generously offered my old stomping ground again, have been very restorative experiences for me. And, I am FINALLY moving my body, after two years away from aerial, which was tough at first but so relieving once I got going.

Pies

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Huh.

Baking pies is fucking messy. Like seriously, the oven is a battlefield. Guts dripped everywhere.

It’s a strawberry and rhubarb. Strawberry and rhubarb that I helped harvest today at the farm, and then came home and made a fucking pie out of it. For the filling I used brown sugar, lemon zest/juice, cinnamon, a little flour and fresh lemon balm (also from the farm).

I NEED a crust recipe. I like flake, and salt, and butter, and almost a smoked cream kind of finish to pie crust. How do I do that? SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO DO THAT. OMG.

I am so excited for the blueberries we’re going to have later this season. I was wondering what I might pair them with in a pie. Probably Meyer lemon and thyme, or tarragon.

But I’d use orange zest, instead of lemon like this pie, and maybe crush a bit of black sea salt on a dollop of vanilla whip. I’d probably try a warm sour cream drizzle with a raspberry and maybe a slice of dark chocolate on top also to see if I liked that better.

Bone broth and roasted vegetable pot pie. With sage and a tiny sprinkle of gruyere browned in the edges of the crust.

Cheeses around the crusts!!

omgomg I feel like I’m blowing my own mind right now. !!! The ideas keep flooding in.

Apple, maybe Braeburn, with sweet onion and basil in the filling, and browned cheddar around the edge of the crust.

Garbanzo bean and spinach filling, lots of herbs and spices, sliced avocado on top.

Roasted radish, parsnip, garlic, leek. Garnished with parsley, maybe rosemary and some mixed olive tapenade.

Sweet potato and kale, fried egg on top.

When I have access to awesome food, fucking magic happens. What a fucking rewarding, badass summer I’m gonna have. Two in a row now. Shitchea.

Corners Turned

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck yes am I ready for that shit.

Full moon in Scorpio

Monday, April 25th, 2016

They say the full moon in Scorpio signifies transformation. In particular, they say it will illuminate things that need to be released and let go. They also mention that it probably won’t feel very good.

I don’t know about all that.

But I do know that I’ve felt like massive shit lately. Like, really, really fucking bad.  A few things have come up in the last couple days that I am recognizing it’s high time I left behind me.

My hair, for one. Bzzzt.

The IUD I got inserted 9 years ago, when I was still in full-psycho trauma mode from the worst fucking relationship I’ve ever had, for another.

And I’m also noticing new details about my dysphoria in regards to my identity.

Ideas as to why it’s so horrifying to me to not know who I am, to probably never know that, when over and over again I prove to myself that that’s the entire point.

That’s what I’ve always been as far as I’ve been able to put a finger on it; A person who changes too fast to settle into any solid basis of knowing, and who is too varied to be stable or predictable.

So why have I spent most of my life desperately trying to immortalize myself?

Why do I have 21 years of art, writing, pictures, stories, stored on my websites, dragging me back into what I used to be?

Why do I spend damn near every waking fucking minute of my life trying to show virtual fucking strangers on social media who I am in the moment?

Why am I constantly deleting my posts, constantly fighting with myself to achieve equilibrium between being blown wide open and being socially extinct?

Well, I guess I don’t know about that, either.

But, I am off the social media shitshow, in order to find out. Twitter, facebook, tumblr, G+, done for. I’ve kept patreon, instagram, and the blog.

I am tired of spending the majority of my life compulsively documenting myself.

I am tired of giving EVERYTHING I have away online.

I am tired of doing that on myopic platforms that manipulate what I and others see.

I am tired of feeding gluttonous companies that make me sick.

I am tired of wave after wave of overwhelming advertising and propaganda.

I am tired. After over 20 years of living my life this way, compulsively, addictively, I am tired.

There has to be something more. I don’t know what it is. I hope the result is that I can say whatever it is I am trying to say in a way that doesn’t crush my fucking soul and invent limitless amounts of work for me to do. But all I know for now is that I have to try something different.

This seemed like the right thing.

 

HEALING UPDATE: When I am ready, I do NOT fuck around.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

^^^^ This is what waking up clean, in a clean bed, that I can stretch out in, looks like. Thank you SO MUCH to my pals Michael and Jill for gifting me with a hotel room last night. I needed it. Lemmie tell ya why:

I’ve been coming to a clearing for a while, since I left Seattle of course, noticing the significance of the experiences I’ve been having. Playing a demigod version of myself possessed by a tormented 3000 year old genius intersex two spirit character for two solid months, for instance.

But I’ve really been feeling the true madness of it, since descending upon New Orleans.

I wrote my ex while there (agh fer fucks sake). And for a while, I thought my preoccupation with him meant many things, which maybe, they did. However, the process was moving so quickly that by the time I put a finger on it, what he represented for me had shifted again.

At the end of it, when I once again came to the conclusion that I’m not in any place to have any contact with that guy at all ever, I also realized that while I was healing and regaining traction after we split up, I had focused almost entirely on releasing — what did not belong to me, what did belong to me but was not serving me, on flushing out toxic shit and giving back positively in my wake, including a ritual burning of his letters and cards, which was focused on returning his soul to him so we could both move on.

I hadn’t considered that perhaps there was cause for me to take back fruits that belonged to ME. Things I needed, that could be fueling me were I to take ownership of them again.

I also hadn’t considered, yet, that maybe he wasn’t the person I needed to take those things back from. That maybe, the atonement or apology or recognition or even an actual conversation in the same god damn language I’d been harboring a deep desire for in those first weeks in New Orleans, seemingly to complete something with him, didn’t have anything to do with him at all.

Today I head to the beach to rekindle my connection with self care ritual and constellating. I am experiencing a lot of resistance, both in emotional response and in things like forgetfulness and confusion tracking simple steps. I recognize this is a time I need to work through that and loosen up whatever is binding me. I also recognize that I have never actually had any practices like this that weren’t bolstered by consistent communal support and in-person witness before. It (falsely) feels like I have no fucking idea what I am doing by myself and that is combining with my usual level of self consciousness and paralyzing me.

When my bestie dumped me just before leaving Seattle, it coincided with her plummet into a sex-positive magic and witchcraft cult-looking thing along with her husband, adding to her years-long allegiance with a healing community which had always felt alienating and inaccessible to me (based on the cost of their training, their jargon, and my persistent creeped out feeling about their leadership).

She also, years ago, began seeing my former psychotherapist (at my referral), which became a feeling of inaccessibility and betrayal for me as our friendship strained and ended.

This combined with my years of willingness and sharing of therapy concepts, my practice, my healing space, and encouraging her healing and growth for over a decade left me feeling bitter and used and discarded and, in response to the content of her Dear John letter to me, blamed for it.

Along with less accessibility to guidance and comforts like bath tubs which for many years was my main source of regeneration, this was a major part of what I closed myself off from after finding out what this person really thought of me — my interest and abilities in healing modalities.

That relationship falling away coincided with taking the break I needed after burning out in my practice, however the betrayals and most importantly my judgements surrounding all of that happening have been significantly blocking me from returning to my own practices.

Thoughts and good juju while I dig through that pile of shit are appreciated today.

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I wrote that 4 days ago, and that day was magnificent.

I went to that beach, walked the white sands, collecting shells that spoke to me as my feet went cleansed, and slightly numb.

I chose representatives, or rather they showed themselves, for parts of me I didn’t even understand, and parts of me that I knew immediately. Representative for what belongs to others, that I’ve held on to needlessly — one for the darkness, one for the light. Representative for my judgement, the hard, complete shell that kept me from allowing these things to move, kept me from doing any of this stuff for myself for as long as I’ve been resisting it.

From the moment I got to that beach, the mantra was clear: My healing belongs to me.

My healing belongs to me.

My healing belongs to me.

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I took those shells and I set them up as an alter in the bowels of Bella Stinkbutt and I smudged the living fuck out of myself, my van, my psyche.

I gonged my Tibetan singing bowl, rich with its own intense and growing story, and rejoiced in memories of my safe, comfortable healing space that always smelled so good, that always provided me a safe haven to break the fuck down. The space I held that also served others.

I sat on the dunes where the ocean met the sand, creating a perfect shelf where I could sit in inches of calm, yet reconstituting water, until I was acclimated and ready to swim. My skin lit up in crisp sparkles as I rinsed months worth of head to toe fucking bullshit, exfoliated and swept away by the salt of the sea, while a few confused old white people in sweatshirts looked on.

The ocean
Is cold
In February

*bows*

And I cooked myself some nourishing, tasty food, after a good week of having been eating garbage because while I was shopping for food I’d bought garbage.

The sun went down. I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I felt the significance and subtlety of the shifts that had happened by reconnecting with myself. I felt my body alive with ache I’d been previously unaware of, or ignoring. Again with my right side. Again with the masculine, with severity.

I made more good food. I smudged a bit more. I saw some great music.

I’m at The Green Door in Fort Walton listening to a space jam that reminds me of my favorite band: Archive. Nik Flagstar can fuckin own some drums! Rad shit happening here.

I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I nourished myself. I walked the beach. I worked my aching back and arm periodically with my theracane and racketballs. I got dressed up in my I Poop On Rape Culture leggings, and wore The Key necklace for the first time in a couple weeks, not really thinking about the significance of either. I went to see Hank and Cupcakes play at The Green Door here in Fort Walton, where I will also play tonight.

And then, it came. Waves. Crashing.

First, I was profoundly triggered when I saw someone who reminded me very much of the former friend of mine who molested me in my sleep in my teens. I left the show, immediately, pacing and crying outside the venue before retreating to the van. I do not have memory of ever seeing a person, certainly not in the last 20 years or so, that caused me to return to that place like I had just then. It was overpowering and demanding of my full attention.

The story of this person was the one I most recently read my writing about and had to take a long, hard pause. I wasn’t taken aback by the events, per say — I am very familiar with them — but I was taken aback by my writing. How I had viewed it, when I wrote it, and how differently I view myself now. How painful it was to see part of me that responded to that happening to me with behaviors that hurt so, so many people.

It was also the story that, while working through what came up for me in revisiting it, brought clarity to the fact that the book project is about my healing, and virtually nothing else.

And once I worked through that trigger, literally coughing and dry heaving up what was presenting visually to me as black, sooty tendrils, what rose like oil on water was the layer of understanding that I had done, when that friend violated me at a time I was so vulnerable, what my ex had done when I had been raped.

I sympathized with him. Empathized with him. More than I did myself.
I refused to believe what he’d done was really that bad.
I voiced outrage, but in my cockles, I thought it was my fault. For being desirable. For being powerful. For being enticing, and asleep.
I felt conflicting emotions, but ultimately, I was convinced I wanted nothing more than I wanted for things to go back to the way they had been.
I pleaded with him to come back when he rightfully withdrew from me.
I was so desperate not to lose my friend, I refused to acknowledge he had already been lost.
I was so desperate for control, I refused to acknowledge that loss wasn’t my fault.

The dry heaves gave way. And under them, This:

It’s fairly universally frowned upon, at least in terms of people whose opinions I have tended to value on these sorts of matters, to dehumanize those who have hurt you with their behavior.

I struggle with this especially in terms of intimate relationships gone bad.

But personally, I’m developing an appreciation for my compulsion to do this. Part of me fucking hates humanizing, relating to people who have done some heinousass shit. Because while the draw is still there, while I’m still attached enough to be converting that attachment into anger, I am doing it out of protection.

The moment they are human to me again, rather than a one-dimensional fucking maliciously meatheaded hurtful fucking weasel, I am at great risk of also opening up again. Because that attachment still exists, and is still a strong force in the forefront of my psyche, which is fraught with decades of conditioning from abandonment, mental abuse, and scarcity.

Those moments of foreshadowing forgiveness, of understanding, of relating and humility so often open me up just enough to give them the opportunity to remind me in vivid, gory detail that they are, in fact, not fucking humane, at all.

My severity conceals and protects the level of mercy I am capable of.

Then, the next day, I discovered a message in my ‘you don’t actually wanna fuck wid dis’ folder on my facebook, from a creep statutory rapist I dated in my teens, whose account should have been fucking blocked, who still, twenty one god damn years later, periodically sends shit to me that starts like this:

“Hi there, person I thought would never turn on me. Do you still hate me for loving you? Giving you space after you dumped my ass? Taking the time to track you down now and then?”

This person, I’d all but forgotten about, until David Bowie died, and suddenly, people were finally keen on talking about the Lori Maddox interview that had been published for months. Even then, it was simply a recognition that my perceptions of that interview were colored by personal experience that I had not yet folded into my evolving definition of rape, or consent.

With my rekindled connection with myself, the support of people in my community who are familiar with the methods I use to process surfacing traumas and triggers, and the floodgates I opened by letting some of my walls move, these things passed. And once they had passed, mostly what was left was the feeling of being in sync, again.

In synch. A thing that I’ve felt like a privileged, entitled asshole at the thought of being in touch with in part as a side effect of the ways in which I have engaged in social justice the last few years. It took me disengaging from that cult of personality to be able to connect with this part of me again, a part of me that I had become ashamed of for having the resources to develop when others around me, who are just as deserving and worthy of that resource as me, do not.

I slept.

Woke up from dreams because of the sense of welling up to cry. I was feeling the metaphysical experience of letting go of something in a line of more something’s. I woke up to a perpetually long face, needing to poop and pee, with a desperate sense of needing to get to the beach. Here now. Oof.

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All this writhing, scrambling, sadness, defeat. All this expectation, impatience, discomfort. All this hope for belonging, wishing away my skin in an attempt to really feel. All this sanding off my edges, quieting my voice, stifling my role as a leader in an effort to know what it feels to fit inside your contours, your communities, your group thinking. All that shit.

Fuck that shit.

It takes a lifetime, to know yourself. But I know enough right now to understand that I am doing just fucking fine.

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?

Friday, August 28th, 2015

“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself” ― Simone de Beauvoir

Next up: The Bosque Village

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

BAM.

For Kirsten

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

I told you so

There is nothing
So precious
As a sisterhood
That softly cautions
Of ones ability
To disregard
Our profound knowing
Instead, to fill
His jagged caverns
Brimmed in untapped dark
With the naive light
Of our hopeful
Imagination

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.

Maui 2015

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Back in April, with a little help from my friends, I returned to Maui for a week, where I was expertly whisked directly from the airport to Baldwin beach.

OH GOD THE WATER SO GOOD SO GOOD OH GOD OH GOD SHO GHOOOOOOOD OH GHAAAAAD — Facebook

Mostly, I spent my time sleeping, reading (the Percy Jackson books, to prepare for Camp), learning some basic archery, and swimming about a zillion times a day whenever I needed to cool off (or felt crabby, which usually meant I needed to cool off).

I also ate lots of cake, drank lots of water, cooked breakfasts, shared shaved ice and fresh coconuts, enjoyed the jungle, hiked small cliffs, and swam with turtles off the coast where I was staying.

I returned to Little Beach, shaved my head again, got naked a lot, rescued an umbrella from a tree after a split second wind storm, and it was a good week had by all — even when the van overheated, dumping its transmission fluid, and we needed to be towed a zillion miles on the road to Hana. I also added a bird and a branch to my sleeve tattoo (reminding me of the importance of rest) on my last day.

Here are some pieces of photographic evidence of my downtime, taken by Shawn Jezerinac. Thank you especially to Shawn, for offering to share his fortune of a place to stay on the island, and Cliff, for helping me get there.

The few photos I took are on neevita.net

Beauty in the Breakdown

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Always comes down to that, doesn’t it.

IMG_5547http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-550x760.jpg 550w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-252x348.jpg 252w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_5547-688x951.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 741px) 100vw, 741px" />

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

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

Slimed

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Cue struggle/recovery phase in which I am frequently brain accosted with the image of being penetrated by a greedy indiscriminate budging phallus slicked with primordial snot and covered in an oppressively thick layer of tiny diseased insects frantically climbing over one another.

I am haunted by images like this; Not only was I incapable of consent to the sexual activity in itself due to being ranting breakdown drunk, we ‘negotiated’ foregoing my long-established boundary that we always use protection without my having the knowledge that he’d been fucking someone else without it for months.

When that visual strikes me, I feel marked. I feel slimed and profoundly disgusted. My legs close tighter, and my guts fold over themselves like I have been invaded by an evil opportunistic disease. Occupied by lies and self serving opportunity. Like my body, and to a degree my trust, simply isn’t mine, anymore.

Oftentimes I respond involuntarily with coughing and deep gagging. I stop and wretch periodically, for seemingly no reason, to the outside world.

When this started happening with me a few days ago, I slowly realized that I was also plagued with another issue: My throat has felt constricted and closed off, as if I were being physically strangled by tiny ghosts.

After a little noticing, I realized it was because I felt like being vocal at all about how what happened is manifesting in me, and being honest that it fucked me up and continues to be something I am struggling with in the back of my mind and in my body, is somehow a burden, or too raw, or too.. something. Like my experience wasn’t violent or malicious or horrible enough for me to deserve to be seen about it.

I wondered if owning that it was textbook second degree rape made me the bad one somehow, and maybe I felt self stifled because I should stop using that awful triggery word in favor of contriving something more poetic and approving.

I wondered if my trepidation regarding my concern that any person I approach with vulnerability about this will dub my response as unjustified, or choose to empathize with the poor guy who chose to rape me and violate some of my most important personal boundaries, was stronger than the rest of me. If I really believed I would just feel more alone and fucked up about it than I did in my silence.

After about two days of this, I shared these visuals with someone, to work my way out of that shame and tinyness. And it was a good choice; He was empathetic and right there with me, wretching a little bit himself. It was an important step, and it helped us know one another better.

Seriously. Fuck that shame and tinyiness. I was taken advantage of by someone who chose to be a self serving opportunist and betrayed the depth of his continued disrespect for my established boundaries as well my personal well being. I was raped by this person and it fucking sucks and it feels horrible and I’m responding exactly as any sane visual processor artist type person would.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life…….”
― Akshay Dubey

These visions are good for me. They are healthy. Being appalled and self protective is healthy. Feeling violated is healthy. I know this, because I know what an unhealthy response looks like. And I think, having known only that coping before, it just took me some time to get used to who I am now.

So who am I now?

I am, in fact, not armoring up about it, staying enraged, going on a revenge rampage, trying to complicate his life or hurt him out of spite or a need to get back at him for anything, like part of me still expects I should.

Instead, I am taking care of myself, continuing to live my life, investing in my own future, and feeling things other than this fucked up creepy stuff. I am taking worthwhile emotional risks in my friendships, setting healthy boundaries, and trusting in fewer and fewer people; only those who have genuinely earned and continue to earn that trust.

I am not internalizing the bad behavior I am allowing myself to be feeling the effects of (BRAVELY, MIGHT I ADD; SUPER HARD FOR ME KTHNX) by acknowledging the reality of what that is looking like. And I am not being a bad person by having the stones and the desire to share my story with others.

Most importantly, and probably most uncomfortably, I am not making excuses for what this person did. I am not compassion baiting myself, shaming myself for not spending more of my effort feeling sorry for him, or spending my precious energy trying to see things his way. I have no interest in being a part of his recovery or his life. And I am not feeling as though I can’t move on from him or the trauma without reconciling, or making my trust being violated by his choices my fault.

Acknowledging is not the same as wallowing. I am far from comfortable; but I actually think I’m doing pretty fucking well, all considering.

*shudder* ick.