Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

That one time rape made me racist

Friday, December 26th, 2014

When I was in my early-20’s, I spent some time as an escort. In that time, I had many lovely experiences, some weird experiences, some forgettable experiences, and some gross experiences; three particular gross experiences with Asian clients, which seemed a notable pattern, and one awful one (which ended my career) wherein an Asian man attempted to rape me.

I was doing sensual bodysurfing stuff (and didn’t offer sex as a service), so when he physically attempted to force himself in me, one of the things I recognized immediately was that I had hundreds of dollars of expensiveass equipment with me — and was trapped in the guys house.

My response was to coo redirections at him over and over with a pained ‘we cant do that’ face and pet him and still get him off, while he continued multiple other physical attempts to force me back on top of him. It was like some kind of fucking surreal fake mating dance with a psycho, who belonged to a demographic I’d already begun to experience as high maintenance in my extremely dangerous (and lovely) and vulnerable (and empowering) work.

As soon as I was out the door I was utterly sick to myself. I hated, hated, hated how weak and accommodating I had been. I hated how afraid I had been that if I had been more forceful he would give me a bad review. I hated how all the smart verification hoops I made prospective clients jump through before they were able to see me didn’t protect me from this guy. I hated how if I had been more forceful he may have turned (more) violent.

No sooner had I stepped out that fucking door, I started in on myself. Ruthlessly. I couldn’t even let myself be hurt or afraid because he hadn’t actually managed to rape me (ladies, take note: this is what internalized misogyny looks like), all I could think about was what a fucking doormat whore I had acted like.

Part of me wished I had fought, so that at least I would have had my dignity even if he butchered me. Part of me wished he’d butchered me so I could have torn his fucking face off his skull. I toiled over and over about the things I must have done wrong. My instinct had taken over, and I am sure now it served me well. But back then? Fuck was I mad. At me. Stupid whore.

For years after, I proudly and loudly expressed to my friends that I wasn’t racist, but I hated Asian men. And I had reasons. By George I had reasons. The stories were funny and engaging, too. News of my distaste spread like fire ants through my group of friends and soon none of them could think of an Asian man without remembering my horror stories of lizard kissing and smegma plugs stuck to my back. It was a grand old time.

Funny how I mostly avoided telling that rape story, though.

The truth is, I never hated Asian men. I had trauma associated with experience and used an accepted avenue: racism, to vent it.

Because vulnerability wasn’t as kosher as racism was.

It wasn’t safe to talk about how trapped and helpless and fucking violated I felt, it wasn’t worth the potential silencing, being mishandled, to open myself up and express my frustration and regret in how my autopilot maneuvered my shock and being in danger.

There wasn’t a place, with my friends or in me, for the truth of my feelings. That I was hurt, that I was injured, and that I had lost faith in doing a kind of healing work that I valued and had been truly gifted at. 

Racism was how I coped.

Even after I had my big racism get and I was fiercely tackling my automatic neuroassumptions about Black people, I hung onto my distrust of Asian men. I backed it up with cultural criticism of how they treat women ‘over there’, I made myself feel all smart and rationalized about it, and for a while, I even dropped the “I’m not racist” for “I know I am racist.” and kept on keeping on like that for a bit. For real.

What allowed me to begin to heal my prejudice around Asian men (I say begin because I am still on constant alert for it, though it looks very different now when it shows up – like a toilet bowl in need of a new blue bleach cake thing after lotsa flushes) wasn’t even race related: it was addressing my internalized misogyny, including how I devalued and shamed myself for being a sex worker, by healing my issues with my mother.

Of many things that were passed down through my parents, my mother passed internalized misogyny down to me, and then behaved in a manner that allowed me to corroborate why all women were hateful deceitful lying abandoning bitches (my dad helped). The hurt wasn’t about race, it was about my response to being violated by someone else’s choices being to, frankly, hate myself for it.

Of course it wasn’t only from my parents that I developed these tactics and beliefs – we are all steeped in it as a culture – however, when I got to the place in my healing work where I started working on my family of origin stuff, the murk in my race water cleared drastically. It was the combination of absorbing, listening and learning about the struggles of Black women, and being in my own therapy, that did it.

And this brings me to the thought I want to leave you with; I want you to consider that not only are you racist, (Spoiler alert: You are.), but I want you to consider that you are racist because of trauma.

I want you to consider that racism in and of itself is derived from pain and hurt and heartache that’s been buried and mutated – whether by direct experience like mine with Asian men, or by osmosis like the Black and Brown racism that I inherited from people around me, or potentially by something that may have absolutely nothing to do with race at all.

I want you to consider that racism as a systemic civil structure (and as a climate you learned to cope within) is also perpetuated and sustained by our inability and unwillingness to process our traumatic experiences. To believe we are superior than weak people who need that kind of help and guidance.

And I want you to consider that perhaps one way to transform your confusion and frustration and guilt, to rise above the status quo, is to split off a thread or two, and invest in healing yourself, for real.

V

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Sometimes, I remember what it was like to let someone who knew me hold me. Conjugated, wordless.

Someone who watched me churn and struggle with you and cry so hard I choked on myself. Cry so hard my face felt like it was going to fill and burst with blood and fall off.

Sometimes, I remember what it was like to keep someone who knew me as more than my fight with you inside with me. Someone who helped me fathom hope and victory.

Someone who helped soothe me away from you, who offered me moments of solace, a temporary haven from the war.

Sometimes I remember that haven, and the bitterness of it being gone feels like choking all over again, the tears frozen behind the caverns of my face.

You’ve taken all of them from me. All of them. Wanted me for yourself, left no room, no choice, no rules or structure around it. No matter how I have tried to keep them it always comes back to down to you, and me.

You have me now. All to yourself.

You can scream at me, you can rip my insides out, beat me down, and I won’t call on him to help take it away. I won’t drink illusion and migraines to transport myself and make your blows hurt less. I won’t coax another soul down my throat to satiate you and help me forget and remember at the same time.

It’s just you, and me. Like you wanted.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if you have me alone, if you isolate me, you will win. You’re thinking you will again rule us, you will consume me, wear me down, and I will stop resisting, I will stop looking for a better way. I will stop pushing through, stop seeking. I will stop changing.

I thought that, once, too.

But there’s something I suspect you didn’t think through, as you cackle and rise and celebrate, filling my head with pain. Something you’re forgetting, demon, while you loft and billow and pound at your puffed up chest. Fighting and sneering and looming, clouding over my mind. Hurting me. Hurting me. Slashing at me with your jagged viciousness, my fists futilely covering my head.

I’ve taken away the places you had to hide.

And I’m coming for you.

What’s in a name?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Identity. So, everything, basically.

Yesterday I started the transition of my identity from Courtnee Fallon Papastathis to Courtnee Fallon Rex.

I tried this name on briefly a while back when I was messing around with choosing one that left me harder to search for but also somewhat easy to recognize.

Interestingly, the email account I use only for domain registrations still had Courtnee Rex as the name when I logged into it to purchase domains today.

I like how Courtnee Fallon Rex sounds and flows. It’s badass. I like that Rex means Mighty counselor-ruler, King. I like that it’s a masculine name traditionally given to boys. I like that it reminds me of the big king dinosaur who also can’t pick his own nose.

Formidable and fallible. That’s me.

I like it for other, deeper reasons as well.

And suddenly, I am strangely, pleasantly, lighter.

Birthrights: An exploration of Transition

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Photograph by Scott Steffy, 2013

Introduction

I have an idea for a studio photo series which would be different than anything I’ve done before, involving taking images of (LOTS OF OTHER) people, who have given birth. I’m curious if my mother friends would be interested in being a part of realizing it.

Synopsis

Here are the particulars as I’ve brainstormed them thus far, with the concept and nuances still developing:

I’d like to create a series of images depicting the objectification of the area of the body most visually effected by your pregnancy, somewhat similar to this one.

As part of the image creation, I would like to interview you regarding the first thought that went through your mind when you awoke that first day, with a baby. By exploring this moment in your past we will agree upon a short phrase, in your words, to either paint on your body or caption in some other fashion (I have yet to decide), before shooting your image.

This project will include nudity; always tasteful, often implied. Depending on your situation, it may not be required that you be naked during the shoot, however it is my goal to not have any clothing showing in the pictures to express the vulnerability and rawness of the psychological component of the work. Similarly, it is unlikely that your face or identifying features will be present in the photographs.

Examples of my photographic work can be found at http://neevita.net/category/visual-art/photography/.

 

Scope of the project

Birthrights is a personal pet for now, I will not be paying models, who will be required to sign a model release and provide a copy of their photo identification.

If the concept proves successful my intention is to show the work in exhibitions, and the work may be submitted to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. I also consider the potential of creating a coffee table book or other forms of media if the scope of the project warrants it.

 

Available Shoot dates

I will be shooting for this project in my Pioneer Square studio in Seattle, WA. I currently have the following dates open:

Noon, Saturday February 15th
Noon, Saturday February 22nd

 

FAQ

Q: How long will my photoshoot and interview take?
A: About an hour, give or take.

Q: I am [insert age here] and it’s been [insert years here] since I gave birth; Would you want me for your project?
A: Yes.

Q: Should I wear makeup to the shoot?
A: Not required, but if you’re more comfortable in it, by all means. I will not be using MUA for this project.

Q: I’ve had multiple children. Are you interested in my participation?
A: Yes, though we will focus on the experience of your giving birth to your first child.

Q: My body isn’t really all that obviously different from before now that I’ve given birth; Do you want me for your project?
A: Maybe. The idea here is to express transition in both visual and emotional/mental ways that are abstractly relatable and thought provoking, hence the objectification of your body and the distillation of your waking experience to a few choice words. If your perception of part of your body changed significantly due to having been pregnant/given birth, it may qualify, even if physically there isn’t much of a visual difference.

 

Submit to participate

If you’re interested in participating in this project please email courtnee@neevita.net with the following:

The present past

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I’m conflicted about publishing this. It’s long been hidden in the drafts section of neevita, offline since phuqed.org slipped quietly into the night, like most of the stuff I wrote about back then. There are rape triggers and erotic elements. It’s difficult subject matter and I expect that isn’t limited to how I am reacting to finding it again, and it will probably bother people.

However, it’s timely. As our social media begins to question and speak out about rape culture I’ve been thankful that I hadn’t ever been taken advantage of like the young women I’ve been reading about, many who died of suicide later.

The stories I’m reading are horrible. But, it doesn’t take the extreme of being video taped and physically abused by men who then brag about their deeds to cause real damage. I would argue that few rapes are so cut and dry and easy to identify. Mine wasn’t.

One of the main points I am hearing that I wholely agree with, is the lack of education surrounding what rape is, and how to recognize it.

Mostly, I hear this being called out as needing to be explained to men. And clearly, that’s true – the facts and actions of the perpetrators of recent crimes like the Steubenville rape show that, and most of the literature and advice surrounding preventing rape lies in the hands of the women.

But there are so many women who limp, injured and violated, for years, without understanding why, or what it is that happened. There are so many people who don’t understand coercion, manipulation, bargaining, or what consent means, or even if they’ve given it or not. Don’t understand that curling up in a ball and being pestered by someone to fuck them while they’re half drunk isn’t ok, isn’t their fault, and isn’t the way it’s supposed to work, no matter who you are.

In fact, though I’m incredibly connected to the results of the transformation that came about from this experience, which I had when I was 16, I’d completely fucking forgotten about the actual incident. For a long time afterwards when I did remember it, I was an apologist for my own rapist. Feeling for him was more natural than feeling for myself. Because my rapist wasn’t a monster. He didn’t stalk and hunt and tie me down and beat me up and hold a knife to my throat like I was taught rapists do.

I wrote this nearly 10 years after the incident, once I had finally discovered psychotherapy, and began to recognize that the manner in which I had weaponized and harnessed my sexuality was hurting people I cared about – and also damaging me. I wrote because I’d found where my sexuality had shifted from seeking intimacy and caring to a wielding of power and a hatred, from exploration and connection to a deep subconscious violence.

Maybe there is another kind of rape, that we aren’t talking about as much when we warn people about bad touching and fighting back. The kind that’s learned like abusive tendencies that continue as unconscious obliviousness and corrode and damage us. The kind that encourages us not to see or be seen like any other subtle form of abuse.

Even 10 years later, I still couldn’t see what had happened to me as rape. Even now, I struggle to call it what it obviously was. Because that means I will have to look at it.

That means I will have to stand in the possibility that rape can be something unconscious, something that sometimes, people don’t even realize is happening. The possibility that rape could be faultless and subtle. It means I will have to look at what all the other times were. All those other times I laid silently, feeling deadened inside, skin flushing in heat and anxiety, paralyzed, hiding, responding by staying limp and quiet, hoping they would notice..

and stop.

What if I told you I was awake
Written by courtnee on June 9, 2006

Note: I created a playlist which accompanied this time in my life. You can listen via flash here.

I can tell something’s wrong. You won’t look at me, your face is sour, you’re slouching more than normal and that vein on your head is real obvious. If I had the fucking balls to stand up for myself, I’d confront you right here and now. Right here in the train station. If I had the balls I would pin you down and make you admit what you did to me. Make you apologize. Make you fucking suffer.

But I don’t have the balls. In fact, I’m such a fucking doormat that I feel sorry for YOU and what a horrible fuck you must feel like. I’m afraid that if I stand up for myself you will leave. My best friend. My only close friend.

I go home and think about what I will say to you when you get back on IRC. How will I approach it? Should I scream at you, be angry? Am I supposed to be sad and afraid? Am I supposed to call the cops?

I know I am supposed to do something. And I know it’s supposed to be something strong and amazing and smart like everyone says I am.

But all I can do is mourn the loss of our friendship and pine for things to be the way they were before I woke up from a dead sleep to feel your hand down my pants. Before I felt the hot flash of adrenaline course through my body and paralyze me with fear and disbelief. Before the thought of stopping you flashed through my head but dissipated instantly when I considered how badly and pathetically you would react. Before I heard you whisper ‘grow’ while you clutched my breast. Before I thanked fucking god I had a tampon in.

I ache for the person I once knew, who was into books and parks and speed walking who didn’t like to be touched. The person who used to love when I would play guitar and sing, whose piano playing amazed me, the person who had tasted my tears after brushing them from my cheeks with his finger. The person who was so disgusted with human contact I thought I would never have to fear him like I did others. I ache for his regret, his pains, and that he has to live with what he’s now become forever.

I know I should hate you for what you are now. I know I should want to kill you, hurt you somehow, and sometimes I can manage enough anger from other places to pretend, but I just don’t. I am so sad for you, so scared for you, and still posses so much love. It makes me feel weak and powerless, and I find in you another reason to hate myself.

When you finally come online I waste no time setting the stage. You were odd today, is anything wrong. Did something happen last night. What’s bothering you. Slowly my questions descend into very obvious implications that I know what I’m looking for, yet you still deny. Over and over, you deny.

I don’t want to give up what feels like my only leverage. I don’t want to negate my power position by letting you know that I just fucking laid there petrified and let you fucking touch me and breathe on me and fondle my tits and who knows what else before I woke up. But I am a creature of gratification, and I simply can’t allow this to die without your confession.

What would you say if I told you I were awake?

The same.

How?

Because I have to.

You leave. For months you go away to be head shrunk and cured. You tell your family you raped me, and they don’t believe you. I don’t believe you. Your therapist doesn’t believe you. It was something else. You couldn’t have raped me because I still want your friendship, because you didn’t force your cock in me.

I am waiting for you to come back so we can mend things and go back to the way things were, talking on IRC for hours upon hours about everything and nothing. I don’t realize it, but another brick in the wall is set by your abandonment.

I suddenly come into the habit of thinking about you when I masturbate. I’d done it once or twice before to see how it would feel, but it was awkward and without climax. But now, it’s different. Now I’m angry. Now I am pissed the fuck off. And now I know how to satisfy it.

We are at your parents house in Santa Rosa watching a movie. You’re on the couch, I’m on the floor kneeling in front of you. You tell me no. I don’t listen. Neither does your crotch. I pull all my best moves as you protest between extended periods of paralyzed submission in which you’re too terrified to move. I groan that you wanted this while breathing hot through your pants. Your head falls back onto the back of the couch as you let out a devastated whine before beginning to silently cry.

The way your tears stream silently into your hair is exactly how I cried while at the dentists office with a raging jaw infection that threatened my life after spreading to the back of my neck. After getting a root canal in which the dentist rested his hand on my infection-gorged jaw the entire procedure, I had become entranced from the pain.

There was no motion, no sobbing, no resistance. I laid in that dentists chair while tears silently whispered from the corners of my eyes into my soaked hair in defeated silence while I went through the most painful event of my life. In reward for my will my bottom lip was eventually pulled away from my jaw so a scalpel could be jammed into my chin and tablespoon after tablespoon of yellow cottage cheese was massaged from my face and neck into my mouth and throat while I choked. I have never experienced pain to that degree of transcendence in my life since.

And here you are. Crying like I was that day. For me.

Your tears incite no mercy. Once snaked through your zipper I immediately mount and force you into me, glaring at you. You whisper for me to please stop. Please don’t. I hold your shoulders to the back of the couch and start systematically drilling down, pulling up. You wanted this. You wanted this so bad you decided to take it without asking. You’ll get what you want. And you’ll never want it again.

As your orgasm mounts you fight back more aggressively, like a man being drowned in a body of water, gripping at my face under my jaw trying to push me away from you. I continually outsmart you and pin your hands. Eventually the distraction gets the better of you and you relent to your fate, whimpering and sobbing as I feel you come inside my fantasy as I come in reality.

I feel a surge of power rush through me. It outweighs my hate, my love, my fears, my guilt, my confusion. It outweighs everything. It feels amazing. I feel amazing. I am amazing. And you, are ruined. Ruined forever like I was supposed to be ruined by you.

I don’t feel right about the fantasy. About the hate. But it feels so good to fuck myself thinking of forcing myself on you, I don’t stop. It becomes my staple sexual outlet, and perhaps the way I cope with your absence as well as your deeds.

Your return is confusing, upsetting, distant. You don’t want much to do with me. I feel like I’ve done something wrong, and try to tell you that I forgive you. I don’t care what happened, and over the course of your stay I’ve realized that it was bound to no matter what based on our relationship dynamic. It was no ones fault. Please take me back. So good to see you. I’ve missed you so much. So glad it’s over.

But my friend is gone. What was left of my innocence is gone. I am left with only change, disappointment, and a newfound hate for my always-apparent sensuality and appeal.

My hopeless romance, my quest for someone to love me, my openness and honesty about wanting that, wanting affection, and hoping that some day I will find someone to take my sex and do right by it, already battered and broken from others before you, withers and dies.

My fantasies of entangled limbs, soft kisses, gentle thrusts and whisperings of sweet nothings no longer excite me. Thoughts of being made love to, being brought to orgasm, gone down upon with tender care, are dry and fruitless. Now I have a cock. Sometimes I make myself suck it. Sometimes I fuck dead girls with it. Sometimes I let the object of my affection borrow it so I can feel him come for me, in me, on me.

The power in surrender and trust is gone. I now understand that sex doesn’t have to sadden me, make me feel used, be abusive, be scary, be submissive, force me to allow anyone inside any part of me ever again. My sex is power, my sex is no longer a shameful burden or a curse that makes me feel inappropriate, haunted, exposed. Harnessing it makes me the most powerful person on earth.

Now I have taken control.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

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

Gatekeeper covering Lisa

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Holy shit. It’s Liddell.

I don’t know if anyone else can hear it but me. She started taking over at 1:30, and letting go around 3:45.

Though it was seamless and natural while I did it, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard to something I’ve recorded before in my life as I realized what had happened while listening to it.

Holy shit.

I so feel for her but god she fucks up my life. She’s my muse and my tormentor. Fuck.

At least she’s talking again.

Or, at least I can hear her now.

Or whatever the fuck this is.
Fuck.