Posts Tagged ‘wow’

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.

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

ANNIVERSARY: Name Day

Friday, June 26th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

BAM.

Full Circle Zita

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

My signature (nude) aerial silks piece started as a homage to sexual relationship, to not giving up on loving someone, even when you get bucked off. The act began as a physical illustration of the struggle to shed the defenses that bind us, finding strength in being vulnerable, and how sex can contribute to the art of self discovery.

This character is established earlier in the show as someone who is timid and quiet – until they find themselves seemingly alone with their obsession.

The piece morfed meaning, and genders (I now know I am non-binary) over the years as I performed it, representing first a specific relationship, then love and connection as a whole, and then my relationships within, including the one I have with my sexuality, and lastly the one I have with my darkness — which I performed on black silks rather than red.

When I first started performing the piece, and for quite some time thereafter, I had to get to the green room right away when I came off the silks, because the wave of what I now know as grief was so strong I would convulse and sob uncontrollably.

Often the deep sobbing would start while I was still curled up inside the silks, and I’d come down as quickly as I could, choking down a river. When I was safe I would completely loose my shit, and something totally overwhelming would rip through my body like a hurricane, and last for extended periods of time.

Sometimes, when I was lucky, there would be a puzzled someone or two there to hold me.

Though I’d come to many theories about it, and over time that response softened, I had no real idea why it was happening.

Due in part to this reaction, I didn’t perform the piece often, perhaps once a year or two. The opportunities to perform it always coincided with a big level up in my personal growth, often cauterizing what had been a long psychic process.

Each time I performed it, the dramatic swell into my big drop felt angry, and forceful, and nearly always, sexual. It represented for me both what I valued about my personality and what I felt deeply ashamed of. That inevitable struggle for power that would result in me being batted away and hurting.

Now I know why. Now I see what I was trying to tell myself.

The following video cannot do this act justice. People who saw this in person were transformed along with me, and due in part to the nudity, the opportunity was rare. Zita was something special, this act was something special, and I am honored to have had the courage and the support to have done this in my life.

Performed June 9, 2010, four years before I wrote about my epiphanies regarding rape culture, for “There must be something in the Air”, a benefit for Versatile Arts, the aerial gym I call home.

The music is from the Batman Begins soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Video footage courtesy of Block My Eye Films, which I edited over one insomniatic night.

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

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.

The path to Enwhitenment

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

This is one of the most brilliantly written, keenly observed social criticisms I’ve ever read.

It rings in part for just about every spiritual white person I’ve ever met, including myself; I both mirror my own misguided aspects of it, and fiercely recognize this as a set of core ideals in SO many people I’ve known in my life;

Known, and deeply, deeply disliked.

I wish I had had this to send them, to articulate my stance for me, back when I still put up with them, and people who choose to be like them.

Behold, the path of #Enwhitenment http://enwhitenment.wordpress.com/

The infirmary

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Injured, fed, home. Playing the walking dead game, sitting in the perception that there are worse imaginable things I could be going through, like it were a mental stitz bath.

This has let me feel something, other than my mental anguish, my how the fuck could they, my I can’t believe this happened, my why is this all happening now, for the first time in a week.

When the sensations come in my guts I stop to hear them and experience them arise and pass away, and that calms my mind down. There’s no room if I just focus on the roller coaster in my gut without thinking things to go along with them. Just focus on what my body is saying.

Not how disgusted I am at person one. Not how utterly gutted and horrified and crestfallen I am about person two. Not how focused and guarded and exhausted I am.

Being able to tune that out to see deeper now brings me hope. I’ll heal. I know how to now. I can feel myself doing it. I’ll be stronger after this. I’m already stronger after this.

Perfect clarity helps with that; I am so. Fucking. OVER, weak men.

The biggest part of the reason I am in this place now is the people who have shown me allyship. The ones who allowed me to be in my experience while I’ve processed this without judging me, expecting me to rise above it, or inserting themselves into it.

To be able to hold space for someone in true crisis like that is a virtue, and I’m glad I have people around me who can do it better than I can most of the time.

Without those people, and my courage in finally opening up to them, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to trust anyone again to really turn to or talk about it with.

This experience has been such an eye opener. Such a lesson in rape culture and shame and utter betrayal and loss and stunning confounded amazement.

If I were to describe it, I’d say it feels like someone stumbling down an ally who just got buckshot in the gut, but isn’t dying.

It didn’t even occur to me not to spend this weekend alone until someone on my tiny person list really saw me and asked me over to be with them. Being with people has helped.

I’m a zombie. I’m in shock. I can’t do a lot right now and I locked myself out of my house accidentally. At best, I can stomach about half a meal in a day. I cried at a directors meeting. I’m a wreck.

And that’s what I’d expect I’d be, and that’s probably what I’m gonna be for a little bit longer. Not too long. But at least until my art and music stuff is out of that house and back with me, and I no longer have any ties remaining with either of them.

I’ve had a spoken word piece materializing as I learn this lesson and write the closing chapters of a long, long story in my life. The story of a rapist I’ve known since I was a kid and how their voice has effected me. I expect when I return to open mic, that is what I will have to bring.

I made new art today with Jim Wilkinson modeling for his SEAF project this year. I’ll see if I can post the pictures of me after the festival.

Time to go cry a little more now, and try to draw.

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

A few years ago my dear friend Matt Lewis once mused during lunch about “What you could accomplish if someone just wrote you a check”. I fantasized for a moment, and quickly snickered. Like that would ever happen.

Fast forward to now, when I’ve just had one of the most interesting conversations of my life. It seems as though I have my first bona fide art patron. As in, a person who wishes to arrange a reasonably significant monthly recurring sponsorship toward my ability to make my work, without a required result.

When I told him about my Patreon page, he said he had seen it, but he just wanted to give me the money, without making me “dance like a monkey” for it. :D

I reiterated that patreon is the way I truly want to go right now. Joining the site is about more than the money, though that of course is the main draw – it’s also about encouraging me to keep producing and to gain self confidence in workshopping more of my ideas.

Patreon for me is also about the possibility of finally having found an online place where both commerce and the human relationship around art are balanced in a way that works for and excites me. I really feel that I am making a positive step by doing this.

We figured out the amount through Patreon that worked out to what he wanted to give me monthly assuming I reach my self-set goals of creating four completed works a month, and he signed up immediately.

In addition to this being my third and most generous patron since joining (I haven’t even finished one thing, yet, though admittedly I am behind right now), it marks the first time I have been supported in this manner for my potential in the arts, rather than a specific project or action regarding them.

Though settled on something a little bit different in the end, this is literally a life dream of mine coming true – Someone out there offering, wanting, willing, and able, to pay me money simply to be who I am. I am a bit stunned and inexplicably grateful. And also in shock.

Thank you, Bob Darlington, for believing in me. At this moment, it means the world, and a significant milestone in my life.

It’s true, resource in art is a game changer. I am pleased to say that Matt’s hypothetical future seems like maybe it doesn’t have to be hypothetical forever, today.

Thank you, from the bottom of my black little frankenheart, to everyone who has pledged to my Patreon campaign thus far; Todd, Eric and Bob. Let’s make some good fuckin’ art, eh?

Join us yourself here, read about how patreon works here.

Solidarity

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

I had a get last night. A pretty big one. A few of them really, but one in particular that brought about a bit of an ‘ugh’ along with the ‘ah ha!’.

It came about while reading the rather surprisingly amazing comments on this post, about a female artist who creates a series of self portraits while on an acid trip.

In a nutshell, I suspect that, though it often helped me to care a little bit less about what a weirdo I was, my choice to use psychedelics heavily during the intensely depressed and forlorn periods of my life actually trained my brain to stay in those places.

I think that constantly exploring those parts of my psyche so deeply as my mind was still growing evolved me into the person who has struggled so much to resurface and keep my head above water since then.

Generally, when I think or talk about my drug related past, it is to ruminate about being an extreme meth abuser through years of suicidal tendencies and having somehow lived. Or, it’s to illustrate how the experience of pot changed for me over the years – I absolutely hated it when I was younger, and felt very alien and paranoid when I did it, but now, it’s calming and enjoyable for me. I haven’t really spoken in depth about my past psychedelics use, specifically, very much (Though I do occasionally write here after smoking pot, and it’s pretty awesome, allbeit slow going).

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

My teenage psychedelic use (speaking of mainly acid, which I did an amazing amount of) was both deeply blissful and fucking horrifying. I rarely prepared my psyche for it, and almost always did at least twice the dose as would have been appropriate. I had some of the worst trips, the most horrendous visions, sinking horrible anxious torrents of emotional torture, and often was transported into a special brand of hell catered just for me when I dropped acid, the images and fears of which lingered with me long after the effects wore off.

I also found sanctuary, beauty, and joy through other trips, particularly E, when I was a bit older, which was starkly contrasted by a reality where I was nearly exclusively incapable of seeing those things.

Especially in those less frequently positive instances, tripping helped me discover and revisit a well of immense emotional intelligence (not to be confused with emotional maturity, which I’ve only recently developed). But they were atypical of my experiences in total, which were usually laced with anxiety and tension, even if I was having some fun/learning too, and the good trips still had difficult comedowns.

Rarities as they were, positive drug experiences opened doors to profound compassion and understanding for the human condition, and connection with other people, when I otherwise felt an incredible isolation from other human beings that constantly crushed me from the inside.

Like sex and probably other things, though I rightly appeared on the surface to be capable, knowledgable and deeply educated due to my experience, drugs were a responsibility I was not prepared, or even remotely ready for when I had adopted them heavily into my life.

My relationship with drugs was abusive, unstable, obsessive, and an utter codependent roller coaster – like all my intimate relationships were.

I honestly believe that I didn’t know of any better way to deal with what I was going through, and I feel compassion for my past self who was in the position to be making those kinds of decisions – the ones where you look between oblivion and burning alive and have to choose. I had a lot of those, and I did the best that I could.

Visiting all this hindsight caused me to wonder what it might be like to revisit using psychedelics again, now that I’m a lot better off and have healed from much of the self abuse I inflicted. Perhaps they could help repair the damage that perhaps they helped me inflict. I don’t feel the need to jump into anything, but the idea of trying proper doses of a few things to explore what they may have to offer me is appealing.

My psyche shifting into stronger foundations has been a big part of my life lately as I’ve charged bravely though another encompassing wave of progress in therapy. This is the main reason I would consider possibly maybe thinking about the potential of doing this now, after inhaling far more than any number of human’s fair share of drugs in the past. For the first time ever I am enjoying the emergence of a psychic foundation that is stable, expanding, and wholly mine.

I’ve been longing to write about these progressions, but been waiting for it to flow naturally. It’s taken a long time by my standards, even though I’ve used the drafts feature on here more in the last year than I’ve ever done – the concept of letting a post mature into a complete thing rather than S.O.C. writing is a relatively new one since v3.3 – but I like it.

At any rate, this line of thought is a great segue into finally posting about something I’ve had circulating in my drafts for the last few weeks. Yay, drugs (and art!)

Lately I have noticed this fracture in my personality, like I have managed to mostly dismantle my identification with the pain in my past. Where it used to be subconscious and simply immediately true and acted upon, now I sometimes hear the learned behaviors from the abuse speaking as if it weren’t actually me. It’s like I am in third person watching a kid version of myself that looks like an adult version of me saying/thinking disturbing shit. I saw that lost little girl a lot last night. Sorta heavy today.- Facebook Oct 26 2013

As previously mentioned, I’ve been in a pretty good groove as far as that whole personal progress shtick lately, illustrated in the Facebook update above as my increasingly natural ability to observe myself with curiosity and nonreaction/nonjudgement.

The development of my inner world into a multi-leveled compound, the discovery of the children in my underworld, and allowing my personality splits to flesh into characters has been very fruitful. So many things make sense when I view myself this way, and for the most part, I am impressed and fascinated with how my mind protected itself all those years ago. I admit, it’s pretty fucking weird, though.

I think, due in part to my personality being splintered, I generally will have a very specific type of overwhelming physical and emotional reactions to intensely connecting with another person sexually (and also things like very intense/vulnerable performances).

When thrust into that sort of extreme emotional vulnerability, I can immediately retreat deep into often inarticulateable recesses of my psyche to attempt to return to myself as a reaction to it. It’s a common response after opening and allowing another person inside me and, more importantly, deep into my emotional world. I shake and cry and blubber things I don’t remember saying. In the past I’ve sometimes needed to detach physically from the other person in order to regain myself and calm down.

This is one of the reasons I am so very selective as to the people I pursue long lasting sexual relationships with. I, rightly, don’t trust a lot of people to be a successful container for that, even though it only happens a handful of times a year.

I had a breakthrough on Halloween which, incidentally, occurred while I was stoned (I also saw Liddell for the first time while stoned), directly after having very intense and connective sex. My experience was that I had just finished having a universe-hopping orgasm that essentially transported me into myself, and while I was there, my perspective changed.

Suddenly I was viewing through a holographic-like perception of a person I wasn’t familiar with. Sort of like when the optometrist swaps out those monocle-looking lenses to test your eyes – except it also manifested translucently in my spirit and my being, not just my vision. It was like my eyeballs had been magically swapped out for ones that saw a different (or additional, as it turned out) spectrum, and I felt a deep sadness I couldn’t explain.

It wasn’t that I became someone else. I was aware of myself and who I was and was conscious. But I wasn’t.. here, either. It was confusing. I was discombobulated and thrown off. I started to cry, and began searching for someone familiar inside me to direct my awareness to. I found Liddell, and started talking aloud to her (I don’t really do that very much..) repeating “It’s ok. It’s ok. We’re going to be ok. We’re in this together.” while I clutched my chest, crying, searching around in confusion, still on top of my lover.

At the time, I came to the conclusion that one of my shadow personalities on my upper level, the advisor level where the adults are, one of the ones I am aware of and can see a vague outline of but haven’t met yet, was now gone. I felt space where there wasn’t space before, the outline had changed from being solid and gray and having substance to its center to being whispy and white and open in the middle.

At the same time, there is nowhere else for this figment to go but within me – so, it seemed at the time that one split personality had fused with another. I thought Liddell, since she was the available one, and I lived under the assumption for about a week that Liddell had somehow sucked up another chunk of my personality like a little highlander.

A week or so later, I talked with my therapist about the experience. After explaining as best I could and being pretty befuddled about it she says to me, essentially, that if an absorption is what happened, it’s kind of the point of all this work.

The theory we currently work under is that consistent formative trauma split me up, but I didn’t go full MPD (now referred to as Dissociative Personality Disorder), probably because my dad stayed around. While he was his own brand of crazy and damaged, he was consistently there, and he fought hard to be that person in my life.

Though I have personally splits, and a history of dissociating into them, I also have threads that interconnect me to them all, and I don’t experience time loss or amnesia inherent in a true Multiple Personality Disorder.

I haven’t dissociated in months, really, save one time, and when it happens, it’s much easier to control and observe. I recognize that something that feels awful (it took a while to figure out what that feeling even was, or that it was a bad touch I could do something about) is controlling what I am saying/doing, usually in aggressive/standoffish text messages with my primary lover, and it takes me much less time to overpower the primate, apologize and begin interacting reasonably again.

Apparently as I heal psychically, eventually, they will all be reabsorbed somehow. I took the next week processing through the images and shifts in perceiving myself as having miraculously fused pieces of my mind together, as well as being a little put off by the idea of my Liddell being more beefy. I mean, she’s kind of a tunnelvisioned brute who caused me an awful lot of trouble.

I went back into my next therapy session wanting to talk about my experience sitting with the space that was created when it happened. How that space sometimes felt like an articulated single bubble in the intestinal caverns of my mind, and other times that space felt like the bubbles in carbonated soda, diffuse and impossible to hold. It was shifting and nebulous and I hadn’t put my finger on it.

Been feeling really good and focused and productive in my personal goals lately, in general. Lots of art progress as well as personal stuff, and my relationships with other people feel a lot more stable and safe. I am also periodically sad and kinda weepy right now.  After an entire life of extreme moods and feeling like about 20 fractured people, I only just became aware of the core personalities that have been motivating me a few months ago, and when I did, so many things about me started to actually make sense. It was sort of weird but also a tremendous relief to find my underground. – Pt. 1 of Failed Facebook update, saved in this draft version

I also talked about my various emotional reactions, which included a sense of sadness and abandonment. I’ve only just begun meeting these parts of me, and already, they are leaving? I’m so fucking disposable that even the voices in my head that I haven’t met yet go away?

And if the point of all this work is to get rid of them all.. where does that leave me, a person who knows nothing else but fractures and inner tensions stretching my mind and feelings to their conclusions? Despite enjoying frequent moments, and now a very quiet, subtle and lingering sense of a wholeness, I can’t even IMAGINE my inner world being one whole. I can’t even imagine it. It’s all I’ve ever known, even before I knew what it was – *I* don’t even possess the ability to *IMAGINE* being an entity without those inner pulls and conflicts. The fuck.

I’m up for this and will face it head on and it also feels like no sooner did I make those strides to meet these little people in there, they’re leaving. I mean, I want to, but I am also scared and really don’t have any idea what the fuck I’m doing. Since I became ready to find my mom almost a year ago now, all this stuff has really accelerated, and sometimes I kinda feel like, hey, slow the fuck down, dude. – Pt. 2 Failed Facebook Update

After confiding this, my therapist asked if perhaps I could say goodbye to this ‘lost’ personality, to complete what had happened. I thought about it for a while and replied that though my emotional reaction told me that it would be a worthwhile process, I wasn’t able to because I could not visualize, either literally or in a figurative manner, who or what went away. Until I could do that, I wouldn’t be ready for the closure of a goodbye.

So she asked me to tell her about them. Look around and see if I could sense together what this personality had been about. I cleared my mind and waited. And waited. It seemed like a mile of blank, and I remember thinking how impatient and annoyed I would have been not long ago, and how I would have given up looking and changed the subject before the length of time I had already been waiting.

Not long after that, a visual flash hit me – a cartoon of a small, smooth, round, bubbly shaped, tiny little monster, peering part of his head around a corner, and immediately hiding again. He was jet black, with huge all-black marble eyes that both made him adorable and creepy. He purred and clicked when he moved.

He reminded me a little of Stitch, in his mannerisms and in that he was utterly alone. No one else like him, anywhere. Alien. So lonely, terrified of being discovered, dissected and tortured. Constantly hiding, curling up in tiny corners and shoving himself into little nooks that were so tight he couldn’t move his little body. Not a cell of violence in him, and not a cell of confidence either. Tender, agonizingly vulnerable, and completely afraid.

I spent a long while after that recalling just how lonely and small I felt growing up. I was too intelligent and insightful to tolerate my insufferable peers, too morbid and dark to fit in with the adults, extremely sexual very early in my life, and was just a weird messed up kid. I was also clearly being traumatized, hence forcing much of any perceptive adult to feeling immediately uncomfortable and helpless and often confused around me, which I of course sensed and internalized.

(Also of significance, he was a he – only the second male I’ve discovered thus far, the first being a small child who, until about a month ago, subconsciously bared the burden of serving as a conduit for the totality of the flow of my emotions. That was a hell of a therapy session, and I somewhat wish I’d written about it when it happened since I don’t much recall the details now, however I processed that by talking with my loved ones about it, so I’m ok with it. Maybe that one will come out a bit later. This is already a lot.)

As I described this little black alien cartoon I’d just discovered, I noticed behind where he had poked his head out for a moment was a hallway, propped in heavy slate grey walls of smoothish rock. Not machine smoothed, but worn smoothed, like the side of a mountain under a waterfall, but dry. As part of that wall of rock, I saw the space – a perfect outline of his little body.

This post is called Solidarity because when I began drafting it, I thought I had fused. Instead, it seems I have learned that my hider was an ethereal massless alien shape shifter; And, I can see him, now.

For some reason, the title still seems to fit.

I really need to get a selfie fisting money into my bloody mouth for economical posts like this…

Monday, October 21st, 2013

”If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
~B. Lester

Why We Bleed Art by Satyros Phil Brucato

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

My talented author friend wrote this article about the plight of true artistry. I have vivid memories of reading it a few years ago, and when it comes along my newsfeed, I don’t re-read it very often. It’s powerful stuff, and sometimes I don’t want to cry and feel all torn open and understood. But if that’s where you are today, if you’re an artist wondering why you bother or what drives you to continue slamming your face into the cement to live your life on your terms, and you’d like someone who has been there to blow your fucking doors off, this is the article for you.

Why We Bleed Art

Carefree with a side of Silence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Tonight I belted out the fastest, most upbeat original piano waltz from I don’t know where (I do, but I also don’t), as part of the suite of musical pieces I am creating with only a vague understanding of what it is they will be used for.

The piece transcended anything I’ve ever done musically, had major chord progressions, and flew out of me at full speed with minimal mistakes out of thin air.

It was directly influenced by my experience learning the Liquid Spear Waltz, a sort of song I’d never tried to play before, and was inspired by the many piano artists I’ve been hearing over and over again the last year on my massage Pandora station at the office.

Though a definite shift began during my experience creating and performing Embodied, I have truly leapt forward in skill and breadth in the last few months, and it is showing boldly.

Thank you, XP-30, for your sacrifice. Every time I see your skeleton leaning up against the wall in my office, two white keys still clinging to your industrial ribs, I nod to myself inside with the knowledge that your death was not in vain.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

“Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.” – Iris Murdoch

Violence and Silence: Jackson Katz, Ph.D

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Everything about this video is Good Shit. Everything.

Meeting the maker

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

I’m pretty sure I’m at another one of those places in my life where a big internal shift is about to click into place after multiple weeks of limping around funny, like when every step hurts your ankle because the bones aren’t lining up quite right.

I am transforming. It is intense and embarrassing and lonely and hard.

Any minute now I’m going to start those ankle circles again and this time, on maybe the second or third one, something is gonna snap and suddenly my leg will fizzle in relief and come back to life.

As part of this multifaceted, uncomfortable time, I am finding that the internet — which has been my line for social interaction for most of my life — especially in times like these, doesn’t seen to really work for me anymore. The interactions I do have online nowadays are weak and hollow feeling when all is said and done, like a fancy dinner you drive away from in a fancy car, but it’s in exchange for your soul and your health which are far more valuable. My relatedness with technology and the internet tastes like cheap chemical candy once the bulk of it has melted in my mouth.

Which brings me to the other piece of my skewed anklebone puzzle; My anger, which I often focused through online tirades, isn’t working for me anymore, either.

And dammit, I fucking like my anger! I didn’t run an early 00’s “Courtnee’s Hate Mail” column on stileproject for fuckin nothing!

The upshot is that my perspective has deepened to the point that I am uable to blast that adolescent, fiery hate without being distracted by the tender underbelly and potential consequences of slashing at it. As such, I don’t rant like I used to, as often as I used to, and for Previous Me that was a major stress outlet for a long time (not to mention a source of endless amusement).

I think the best example of this movement in my life, at least the most shattering one, would be an experience I had recently where I met a celebrity that I had previously foam-mouthed ranted about online, in person.

Not only did I meet this person, who I never imagined I would meet, I met them in the context of my massage practice. They had come to me for healing and support.

In that moment that I received the email reservation request, I thought maybe my friends were fucking with me. Kinda wanted that to be the case, but, I think I knew it wasn’t. I began the process of soul searching to determine how I would respond to it, every shitty, petty, mean thing I had said in my rant neutralized — Simply at the thought of potentially interacting with them face to face, things I had written in a vacuum, things I actually believed and meant at the time, vanished.

It was then that I remembered the little uncertain voice that had been whispering at me while I was writing, the one that caused me to take the rant down a day later. The one that tells me that the way I historically harness and point my anger isn’t working anymore. The one that tells me I have to go back to work and level up, again.

*sigh* again.

And I knew that this person contacting me was no joke, and no accident. I knew that I needed to step into the opportunity to take responsibility for what I had said, why I had said it, and to approach this client with integrity. And I had about a half hour to figure out how I was going to do it.

When Amanda Palmer arrived, I said there was something we needed to talk through, and I told her that I needed her to know that I had said some pretty shitty things about her on the internet.

I explained that while I had had some true disagreements with her, what I said was bullshit. Mostly, it was uncalled for vitriol from all sorts of places in my life that I had projected onto her image as a celebrity – and that was why I had said the things I had said.

I confided that I needed for her to know that about me before I could be comfortable sharing an intimate energetic connection, such as having my hands all over her. And I said I was sorry. Because I was.

The response to my emotional risk was overwhelming. Tears, relief, and “I was supposed to meet you today” kind of overwhelming. The massage was magical, as was the massage I gave Neil after working on Amanda.

After they had left my massage studio, I checked out Amanda’s blog, to gain some kind of insight into why she thought meeting me that day was kismet. I was taken aback by how powerful the experience had been for me, and as someone who is generally on the other side of the coin, invoking transformations and shifts for others, I was interested in what made this situation uniquely mutually beneficial.

I found a lot of similarity and relatedness there.

This person had come to me from a very vulnerable, familiar place, and we had deeply connected. That would not have happened had I not had the courage and insight to risk myself, cop to having been an asshole, and opened myself to the possibility of rawly connecting with the real person who had presented to me, as the real person I also am.

The night before I met Amanda, I was falling asleep on my office floor to a flimsy cocktail of a few pills on top of champagne. I had just sold a painting and been taken to an amazing meal, yet I was on my floor crying, fantasizing that by some miraculous fluke the chemicals might align just right and I wouldn’t wake up.

Clearly, the universe had other plans.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

“I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

Friday, February 8th, 2013

“Our fear is the measure of our absence.” – David Whyte

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.

Jack Gilbert 1925 – 2012

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

This reminds my of how my mind works if I let words happen without grooming them first.

I am glad Jack lived a long life.

“How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.”

— The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart, Jack Gilbert 1925 – 2012

Women in Art

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Amazing.

Women In Art from Philip Scott Johnson on Vimeo.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

“Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a God, and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn’t got one.” – Bruce Robinson

I, Anonymous

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

You Should Have Bought a Lottery Ticket
by ANONYMOUS

My sin was asking you not to cut in front of my son and me, and the other 10 people in the membership line, at Costco. You blew up and challenged me to a fight in front of my 3-year-old son. For the record: I am six feet and 220 pounds of sinewy MMA-trained whup-ass ready to spring. You are an overweight fiftysomething living the Joe Pesci Goodfellas dream. My wife asked me not to beat up any more guys like you, even if you insult my child and me by telling us we stink like the rest of our kind. I knew you wanted it, you fucked up, aged-out Zimmerman clone. I could tell by the way you kept reaching in your pocket, fingering the trigger of your gun while you followed me around the store, confronting me three times. Did you feel good intimidating my son to the point where he started screaming at you to “Shut up” over and over? The people of this city were so confused, they couldn’t understand why the fit black man was asking the staff for help with a fat, balding chump like you. They aren’t trained to see the gun you were carrying. I am. You’re lucky the Costco employees intervened, because I am not that far removed from my old life—one where a phone call would have had a squad of highly trained, armed young men and women waiting for you and the gunfight you were challenging me to outside. With your small pocket gun and your Charles Bronson/Bernhard Goetz complex, you would have never stood a chance. Didn’t you wonder why I never called the police? We know they won’t help. They won’t protect us. We read the papers and watch the news. Next time you threaten someone and feel secure because of your gun, realize this: We are young, armed, and smart. We are not afraid. We are educated and rational. We know the law and our constitutional rights. We are “liberals” who support the NRA for one reason: So when assholes like you present yourselves, we can protect ourselves. We train for this as a community. You were right about me—I am dangerous. You felt it in my energy, saw it in my eyes. But you are lucky—lucky I embrace the positive aspects of this city and its people, lucky my wife saved me from myself five years ago. But most of all, you are lucky because I want my sons to be free from the anger that consumed my young adulthood, to never struggle with these same demons that haunt me. You should have bought a lottery ticket, you punk. It really was your lucky day.

—Anonymous

Now, and then.

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

From notapplicable.org, circa 2002.

i sing
most of the time when i record or play something, its to sing more than anything else. although singing just wouldnt be the same without my own accompaniment, its still my favorite part of the whole process. my voice is my main instrument, as i hope will always be the case in my music.

i play piano/synth
when i was much younger i played some piano, now ive graduated to synthesizers. i am not a very good player technically, but my ear helps me along more so with a keyboard than with guitar strings. i find that i am happier with the results i get when using keyboards, even if i do play rather slowly.

i play guitar
well, i used to play guitar. every once in a while i will pick one of my four guitars up and start plunking with it, realizing why they all collect so much dust. i really am not very good at it, but if you’d like to heard some of my guitar stylings i would suggest checking out my covers section of the music page.. i use my guitars very little in the recording process of my original works.

i record:
THEN: (Point of Origin, Cover songs)

to make my first album, i pumped my Roland Juno 106 synth to the line-in of my Ensoniq PCI card and recorded the base music that way. when i wanted to record vocals or other instruments, i would have to muck with cabling and volumes as i only had one input to the computer.

to record my vocals, i would copy the base music file to a second machine (a slackware 4 machine called ‘deroda’, whom has since died) and play it through headphones. as i listened, i would record improvised vocals through a cheap $4 computer microphone into anya and effect the vocals after the fact in sound forge. if i tried to play the file and record on the same machine, the audio would meld together and i would get bleeding music in the recorded vocal track.

i then mixed all the pieces together in a single .wav file, using sound forges ‘mix’ command. this was all done by ear, as i would pause the needle indicator where i felt i wanted a certain sound to mix into the track.

in 1996 when i recorded my first cover songs.. i used the same technique, only i didnt have a synth and i played guitar through the cheap ass microphone as well as singing through it. i also encoded at a much lower quality, because at the time i was more concerned about the file size than about the quality of the sound. (i was on dialup) i used the famed l3enc program to encode those files.

NOW: Sepulture, and whatever lies ahead.

my production technique (if one would like to call it that) has not changed much in the past years. i now have a multiple input mixer so i dont need to get behind my computer as often as i used to, and effects processors to sing through.. but all in all its mostly the same. i have a professional microphone and no longer use a second computer, but i still listen to the base music to improvise vocals. i also still use the one wave method of mixing in sound forge, as well.. though i think i am finally ready to try a sequencer.

minimal is my key. i like the way i do things, it is hard for me to complicate my setup. gradually, with pressure from others, i am becoming a more proficient and fickle producer.. the result of which i believe can be heard over the course of my musical history.

biography:
I began creating, recording, and distributing music online in 1995. I started with rudimentary and quite terrible quality covers, and distributed those through my personal website and friends via IRC.

In 1997, I joined mp3.com as a means of cataloging and distributing my music. In October of 1999, I produced and recorded my first song, “Infinite Reality”, in about 7 hours from nothing to finished. It became considerably popular in it’s genre on mp3.com, and made way for the songs which eventually comprised my first album, “Point of Origin”, which received rave reviews within the mp3.com community and occasionally outside it as well. All of the songs I created during that time materialized in hours.

During most of 2000, the acceptance and success from my music was almost overwhelming. By my standards, being as I was simply a lonely untrained musician whaling sad things into a $10 computer microphone, I was astounded at the response I got from my fellow musicians and music lovers.

I nearly immediately released a follow-up album, “Altercations”, to showcase the amazing collection of re-mixes done by other mp3.com artists, which had been lovingly presented to me unsolicited. Very few of my albums were ever produced to CD, as they were made-to-order, and both of my original albums are out of print. I suppose that means if anyone ‘important’ knows who I am, they are collectors items now. :)

Since my beginnings on mp3.com, I have been asked to be part of many projects, films, college assignments, musical compilations and various media streams. During this time I was also periodically solicited in regards to recording contracts, all of which I turned down. I produce my music in solitude, on my own terms and through my own avenues, that is part of how I am able to create what I do, and I have no current intention of commercializing it.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

“There are no starving artists. You’re starving because you’re bad at art.” -Tosh