Posts Tagged ‘Year of the Nee’

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

Belonging

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

I used to think I would never find a place I belonged.

The lonliness filled me to the point that for a long time I didn’t even have the energy to wander anymore, looking for it, literally or figuratively.

I’d talk myself out of going anywhere I felt I might find my place before the possibility could take shape.

I talked myself out of distancing from people who I could feel saw me as projections of their fractured selves and believed they were smarter, better, and more worthy than me.

I struggled against a rising tide to stay where I was, even as it became clear while the life I’d built for myself fell away piece by piece that it was time.

For years, opportunity and the damn near limitless directions I could take overwhelmed and paralyzed me. And it seemed as though no matter where I went in the world, no matter how well my skills or personality fit into a certain group of other humans, I would never be free of that feeling; I don’t belong. Anywhere.

So in a way, it didn’t matter what the fuck I did. But I had to do something.

So I decided to belong to myself, even though I only felt it part way.

I decided before I was ready, before I really believed, that I had to figure out a way to believe that the possibility of belonging was someplace other than where I was told it was, where I had been encourage to look for it.

I decided to give up most of what I know the majority of the people in my life to work their entire existence stabilizing. I let go of things that I know friends of mine lose sleep over getting, having, and keeping.

I gave away massive amounts of expensive possessions, one of a kind art, things that had defined me for decades.

I flew the nest I’d spent 17 years building and tending as it smoldered behind me, wrought from the merciless determination of a universe demanding transformation, and I left.

One thing I’m quickly learning after doing that, one thing that keeps coming up for me as I look around Texas and camp and experience myself in this environment, is that I don’t actually ‘belong’ any more here and now than I have in any other time of my life.

Yes, it’s true, this camp is strangely well suited for my natural theatrical gifts. And yes, it’s true, the recycling mentality in Texas makes me actually cry sometimes. It’s a mixed bag. Seattle was a mixed bag, too.

But the path to belonging, that feeling I thought meant I was so close to having belonging for myself for so long, was actually control, and dominance. I felt I belonged when I was in charge, when I was leading, when I was on display, and when I was in power.

I learned a long time ago that sort of ‘belonging’ was not only fleeting, high maintenance, and high anxiety — but that I didn’t feel very good about myself once I was dethroned, either. The mist that rationalized the oppressive nature of my height and status, and the grief of having worn mask after mask to maintain the facade that I enjoyed it, once gone, paved a view of someone I was deeply ashamed of.

Belonging is something I now know as a learning.

It’s something that helps me grow, expand, and something I take with me in my soul when I move on.

It’s not popularity in high school, it’s not being the better half of a beguiling power couple, it’s not running a nonprofit — belonging is a muscle I work, that gets stronger and stronger when I am where I should be, experiencing and connecting in ways that feed my soul.

So much has changed in my life. Almost everything. But those changes aren’t why I belong where I ended up.

What’s changed is me.

I belong with me.

ANNIVERSARY: Name Day

Friday, June 26th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

BAM.

Achievement Unlocked: Year of the Nee

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Commonly, upon achieving some sort of long term goal, a leader is supposed to have some sort of rousing speech full of pithy insights and inspiring prose.

But what of long-term goals that ultimately involve only the leader? Who are those speeches really for, anyway?

In short: I don’t have a speech or a big post to commemorate the last year I have spent celibate, without intoxicants, focused on my own health and what ended up being yet another extensive series of transformations within transformations.

I don’t have a lot to say about the lessons, the experiences, the challenges, the tests, the few times I faltered and righted myself just in time.

I don’t have a lot to say about the subtle fueling clarity of being sober, how much I like it, or how avoiding bonding sexually did not in fact serve to keep me from breaking my own heart open on others’ moats lined with jagged backbiting rocks.

I imagine at some point when I have easy access to a computer again I will go back and read through my YotN posts, to reflect on all the journey has taught and shown me, much of which I wrote very little about.

I might also observe how the changes in my life which I adopted as part of YotN supported me in the massive internal shifts that had been so long coming and still continue to come. How challenging my most deeply embedded patterns of self avoidance accelerated me to the point that, sometimes, I actually felt my skin ballooning from my bones and whipping off.

I might have more rousing speeches in me, then. Maybe.

For now, I’ll let something my dad randomly said at lunch today speak for me:

“You’ve really become a free spirit, haven’t you?”

‘I guess that depends on what your definition of a free spirit is?’ (Expecting some gripe about what a vandwelling hippie I am about to be)

“You’re not bogged down in an 8 to 5. And, when you want to change something, you… Change it.”

Yeah.

Yeah, I fucking do.

Fluid

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Identity. It’s ideally supposed to be fluid, but not too fluid. Stable, but not stagnant. A means of psychic survival, context, and reference. A way to form and rationalize our routines and habits.

A way to garner an illusion of a security and control in ones experience, and view of, life.

Part of my approach to that illusion of security has depended on figuring out, identifying, who the fuck, I, consistently, am. Or so it has been that I have told myself.

Thing is, I would think that someone who has spent the kind of effort and energy and focus scrutinizing themselves, changing shit, and showing the world exactly what they’re fucking made of, would have a bit better concept of who they are and what they’re about in their core than I seem to.

Instead, I have spent as long as I can remember struggling with shaping my identity, and in many ways resisting against the natural fluidity of my personality in the face of attempting to establish one.

One example of how I have struggled with identity is having seen my tendency for picking up the mannerisms, gestures, and accents of the people I admire as immature and shameful. As childish indication that I don’t know who I am, can’t be trusted to hold to my convictions, and don’t know how to be my own person already.

Another example is seeing my propensity for diving, passionate and headlong, into activities, communities, relationships, and cultures, as proof that I am not strong enough to maintain a selfhood of my own free from the frivolous influence of others.

Yet another example has been seeing the impermanence of these dives as being a fault I can work away somehow, a problem with my personality that needs to be solved.

And, worse, I have seen these sorts of things as confirmation that I just leech my messy hodgepodge selfhood off other people.

Which is sort of a fucked up way of looking at things since that’s how people.. you know. Grow. Which is sorta my thing, I think, maybe.

And yet on the flip side, I periodically ignore what I *have* come to know about myself.

For instance, I do things like experimenting with attempting to form myself into a person of routine and habit when I have never in my entire fucking life accomplished having the same fucking morning twice. As if that isn’t really me, I just, what.. haven’t found the right habits, yet? Am not disciplined enough, yet?

Sure. The person who kicked heroin, meth, cigarettes, and has transformed their existence on multiple levels multiple lives over with no end to the rebirth in sight just hasn’t picked up the *right fucking habits* to be a person who functions on a basis of reliable morning routine?

The fuck outta here.

I have yet to come to a balance between what I know myself to be, and what I expect to be able to convert of myself, with enough effort to ‘grow’ as a person. My self-dar in this way is broken.

Currently, I am in the midst of a deep personal transition, probably the most core and uncomfortable, uncertain one I’ve ever experienced.

In picking apart what I’m going through, limping along as this half-mutated caterpillar sprouting butterfly limbs thing with no fucking shelter to speak of as the life I built over the last 17 years crumbles away, I’ve started coming to a bit of clarity about this. A bit of clarity as to my hopelessness in attachments and love, and in my hot/cold fear complex that virtually guarantees the continuous re-enactment of abandonment in my life.

I’ve come to think I’ve been stuck, and resisted a lot of my self-knowing in this way, because I believe somewhere deep that it’s the reliable, steady ones who are, ultimately, deserving of love and longterm devotion.

Which sort of explains why I’ve always kinda hated people like that, the lazy stagnant self-avoiding fuckers.

I think it’s true, though — in my subfloor belief system, it’s the stable ones, who don’t move around much, don’t shift much, have a consistent manner, can be trusted to do the same things the same ways, who are the deserving ones.

Because somehow (kidding — I know exactly how.) I picked up the notion that it’s those people, the ones who stay forever, the ones who can be counted upon to be there, stationary, prepared to reflect that dedication back; Those people deserve love.

People who are me do not.

So I went along my merry way, thinking, I expect, that if I can just figure out what I am, consistently, and represent that accurately to others, I’ll finally be worthy and capable of lasting love, and finally be drawing people who appreciate and can joyfully roll with those things about me, to me. Right?

Except what happens when what you keep finding out about yourself is that you’re not conventionally consistent at fucking ALL?

What happens when you equate a fixed, resilient identity with personhood and worth, while simultaneously being of a personality that is a constant rolling boil of introspective challenge, experimentation, movement, transformation, and change?

I won’t bother describing it. Imagine it for yourself. If your stomach drops into your asshole and you feel like you have to cry, chances are you’re my people. Sup. *fistbump*

Ultimately, what I am finding is that identity is a piss poor reflection of personhood.

Regardless of what I identify myself as, whether it be a drug abuser, an artist, or a ‘healer’, or snarky, or someone without a racist bone in their body, at any moment that identification, if I’m paying any fucking attention at all to the world around me, can be utterly shattered.

And it’s been my experience that if I am at all actually living my life, my identity is shattered in that way often.

I guess even my identification with identity wasn’t safe from my bulldozer personality.

Good.

Tiny dreams hit the road

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

As part of Year of the Nee, I’ve recognized a few things about myself that I’d discovered at one time and then lost again. Things like an affinity for dinosaurs, and reading fantasy and sci-fi books.

I’ve also gotten back to music by making a very focused album (the whole thing is about patriarchy) in a way that I haven’t approached creating albums before.

I’ve come to accept that I miss performing, particularly after performing in Los Angeles during Amanda Palmer’s ‘Art of Asking’ tour, and that I want to do a lot more of it somehow. I periodically miss Little Red Studio, theater which laughs in the face of the fourth wall, and being part of a troupe.

I’ve also come to accept that I need, desperately need, to relearn how to have fun again. I’ve been saying that, but I’m getting it now – I am fucking dying over here without that shit. YotN showed me how imperative it is that I relearn how to relax for the joy of it, not because I am in an isolated burnout from the weight of the world. One avenue toward that is to reconnect with my skills as a performance artist in a way that also helps people — like what I had set out to do when I created Vita, but with way less weight and responsibility.

And I really, really need to be out in nature, more. Less media. Less internet. Less fucking ‘stuff’. More rest. More air. More dirt. My hatred of capitalism, my horror at the declining state of the world, following politics, following activist movements, trying to fit in with this fucking society.. it hurts. I gotta get rooted in the basics, get grounded with being an actual part of this living rock rather than an earth raping meatsack alien invading it, or I’m going to lose my fucking mind — and I need all the practice at that I can get.

All these things have been swirling around as I’ve been working within the status quo I’d created for myself around making a living and maintaining a private healing practice in the heart of a gentrifying city.

I’ve been wondering how to put it all together, melding past and present interests, sticking as close to my ideals and what I want to support in life as I can and still manage to eat. At the same time, I have become aware of how fatigued I am of doing it all myself — maintaining my own office, putting on and producing my own shows, etc.

It seems this summer, I may be getting a little taste of what all that might look like — just as I was finally, finally letting this life of mine as it stands now, go (and completely fucking freaking out about it, frankly).

It all started when I put some ‘home’ savings, which I’ve been clinging to for a year now, where my mouth has been, and bought a friends van to live and travel in. Nothing particularly hospitable for that purpose, mind you, but something with enough room to carry my gear and art supplies around, small enough to park anywhere, big enough to crash in.

That set in motion the desire to set something, anything concrete really, to actually travel toward. I’ve been planning to leave the area near the end of May, when Shedlyfe has run its course, but hadn’t had a specific destination in mind. I had ideas of what I want to be doing (busking, sleeping, playing open mics, visiting old friends, meeting new people, checking out healing and arts communities), but not where. Mostly I’ve been kinda suspended in this super uncomfortable what the fuck am I doing freakout place without actually having a vehicle to do any of this stuff in.

One thing lead to another, and I found myself planning to visit a couple friends in Austin, TX as part of my trip. As circumstance would have it, no sooner had I pinged my friend about when would be good for her, she asked if I would want to hang out in Austin to do a job.

For two months of the summer.
At an immersive literary theater camp.
For creative, booklovin’ kids.
Where I would play a 3000 year old androgynous storytelling singer poet.
With a story outline, and tons of improvisational interaction.
In a realm created in a series of fantasy books for 6th graders.
Which is rooted in greek mythology.
Wherein the 12 year old protagonist is dyslexic and has ADHD (both of which indicate that you might be a demigod).
In a state park.
For money.

Um. Yes.

Yes the fuck I would.

Sweltering heat be damned: Camp Half-Blood, here I come.

http://kylekurlick.blogspot.com/2009/10/camp-half-blood.html

The support of my patrons at Patreon is how I am getting to Texas to do this (and eating, and filling the van with gas, and basically living, period): Thank you.

bobbing cork in a bucket

Monday, March 30th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

I won’t drown, either. Right?

Right.

Also I want some answers goddamnit. Any time now.

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

Valentines 2015

Saturday, February 14th, 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

This Year of the Nee valentines day, I am celebrating myself, my accomplishments, my efforts, and the fruits of those efforts.

Most pointedly, I am celebrating my album release, my release party performance (which was fucking amazing.), and having finally, finally learned, deeply in my guts, the profound difference between woundmates and soulmates.

Say Something

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

“Some are quick to use the crabs in a bucket trope, but it’s important to remember that crabs were never meant to be piled in a bucket.” – Ryan Dalton

Fuck your fucking bucket. Fuck your fucking fear. Fuck you for trying to keep me in it with you. Fuck you for trying to hold me down and stop me from climbing out. Fuck you for trying to erase me and minimize me and manipulate me away from my truth. Fuck you for giving me no other choice but to leave you behind.

Fuck you for not coming with me.

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Related: Rock Lobster: Finding Home.

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Monday, January 5th, 2015

“Love is challenging in all its forms. Familial love, love in friendship, love in romance. Love in our relationships with ourselves. There are all sorts of definitions for love, all sorts of ideas about what love is. In All About Love, bell hooks talks about love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”. I like that definition, it sounds right. And simple enough in the way a definition of love off simple.

Only it isn’t simple at all. Because in order to extend one’s self for anyone’s spiritual growth, including one’s own, one has to first be capable of extending one’s self, and then be willing to choose to do so.

And extending oneself, for the purpose of anything, let alone love, is really fucking scary.” — Mia McKenzie

Finding Amanda: An internet love story

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Amanda Palmer and Courtnee Fallon Rex Photographed by Steve Kuhn The Art of Asking Book Tour. Sat, November 22, 2014. First Unitarian Church – Los Angeles

When I was young, I thought I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I knew the problems, the deeper causes of the things I was seeing in people, that needed answering.

And I thought, since I seemed to be the only one who really *saw* what the problems were, saw them and felt them in my guts and talked about seeing them and feeling them in my guts, I was naturally responsible for fixing them, too.

All of them. Everywhere.

That turned out to be a bit of a problem for me. One I’ve since largely solved in my growth, accepting my role as a healer, an activist, and learning about boundaries.

Back then, I kept wishing I had been born earlier, so I could have been a part of the uprising in the 60’s, when “shit mattered”, when the ambient rage against this profoundly sick world order had a focus and a voice.
Now, I really really miss the 90’s.

I did my best to rebel and find my own way, but internalized a contempt for my own perspective and an intense hate for my sensitivity.

As a tiny girl I had started cussing and spewing sexist racist shit like a motherfucking truck driving military sailor, and I basically hated everyone. I lied about my age (when I was 11 I was 14) and hung out with older boys. I started smoking when I was 9, drinking when I was 10. I stole shit and resold it at school. I experimented with drugs.

In middle school I had found my niche as a leader of a small group of nerdy weirdos. I, like most middles schoolers, was bullied and pushed around, once by a large group in my own front yard.

I was the girl who peed her pants laughing, daily, at lunch. I was the girl who responded to being given flowers by immediately eating them. I was the girl who stayed at school until 6pm hanging out with the uncool teachers because they cared about me and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house and I secretly loved and adored them even though that wasn’t cool and I don’t think I ever told them how much they meant to me and I wish I had now (Thank you Mr. Pericone, Mr. Ebi and Mrs. Wollard).

By the time I was 15 I was so acutely aware that the system was a sham, I was going insane. I saw so clearly the dynamic of perpetrated violence in society, and in my life. I saw the pain hiding in peoples eyes, but I didn’t have the support to find my ground to stand against it. Everywhere I looked what I saw was how we were killing each other, and how I unconsciously contributed to that cycle.

I hated High School, even though I barely attended, and once I went there, I immediately fell deeply into drugs. I’m talking deep. Few know how bad it was. I quickly dropped out to join the workforce with a fast food job, so I could go on USEnet and use my minimum wage to buy Nirvana bootlegs, and more drugs.

I had no direct examples of self-supporting ways to cope with the cruelty of the world, and if I did come across them indirectly, they weren’t cool or appealing anyway because they weren’t ‘powerful’ like domination and violence seemed to be.

Emotionally, I was broken open and rawly empathic, connected with attrition and the damage we inherently do to one another simply by existing, and enraged at my impotence in fixing it. Physically, I was, frankly, killing myself.

I hadn’t lived enough then, well enough, to have the decades of varied experience and intense healing it would turn out I’d need in order to break out of my patriarchal conditioning and trust the instincts I was trying to snuff out. I was going crazy in part because that’s what I believed I was.

A new (digital) hope

In early 1995, in Sacramento California, from a commodore 8088 connected to a shell account with crl.com on a screechy modem with an actual WIRE, my dad showed me how to get on this Internet Relay Chat thing he’d told me about.

CRL’s root .ircrc file had a bunch of dead servers referenced in it, and I’d spent likely not nearly as long as it felt like I had being suicidally-frustrated with trying to figure out how to get the fuck online. Dad swooped in, figured out there was a /server command, and my life thus changed forever.

There were words on a screen attached to real-yet-fantasy humans who, when they weren’t talking about overthrowing governments and anal rape, were telling me I was not alone. That the social system we inherited was fucked and we were going to unfuck it by fucking it. There was a space, suddenly, to tell people what I saw.

There were vulnerable conversations about emotion and loss and pain where the ‘real’, world had been about image and learning how to be an expert on being fake. I’d found people who weren’t afraid to talk about the despair we all felt, through a medium that protected us better than any person had.

That was where, I thought, I found salvation. And for a while, I suppose I did. I wasn’t a sad sack high school nerd druggie statistic everyone fucking picked on, I was a social engineer in the thick of a god damn underground hacker revolution that only some people picked on.

My social life was with criminals on IRC, where I could explore my rage, screw the man, and say whatever the fuck kind of offensive abusive shit I wanted. I spent my time on meth and anything else I could find, listening to The Prodigy, chain smoking reds, fucking around with linux and waiting for the years to cycle to the next DEFCON.

I started maintaining my own web pages, gnashing my teeth about the worlds fuckedupedness (and how it caused me to feel), in 1995. I was one of the first webcams on the internet. I had my own irc channel (#nee). I had fans.

People emailed me often to tell me they’d found my site and how much what I was writing mattered to them. That my words mattered to them. I kept expecting waves of hate. They sent me fan art. They shared their stories. They told me I had saved their lives and that my spews of misery and hopelessness gave them hope. They told me I helped them feel less alone.

The first time someone told me I should write a book of my life I had been alive 15 years. I was a social advocate without really knowing it, a musician without accepting it, a community leader without being responsible for it, a digital artist. A flawed and miserable human being, with an intimate community online that fueled and supported me, nodding, saying; I see what you see, thank you for saying it.

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As a musician I had a bit of a business on the original mp3.com in 1999/2000, but had started recording cover songs long before. I went by the name Not Applicable, and I insisted, vehemently, proudly, that my music would always, always be available for free, on my site.

But things change, and so did all that.

The RIAA destroyed mp3.com, and with it, my faith in the world supporting my niche-y emo-enya never-gonna-sell-shit-for-sony music. I went from identifying as an empowered independent artist with a support structure that validated me, from being featured and interviewed by ABC news (and my cam images being used in the original piece as well) regarding the success of the movement I was a part of, to feeling displaced and bullied and utterly rejected, with my dreams in flames at my feet.

With the fall of mp3.com, I also went from being a part of a community of artists and musicians who were, once again, revolutionary, by collaborating worldwide via audio files online, to drifting alone in space. I was always in the top 3 of the ambient electronic charts, and many people sent me remixes of my work and collaborated with me by finding me there, including one of the trance musician idols I’d had at the time, and lots of unknowns who are still unknown.

We were a creative artist economy birthing cross-pollinated artwork existing inside the payback for playback and DAM CD models for making money. It wasn’t going to make us all filthy rich, but it was a god damn fucking internet revolution utopia all the same.

I shrugged it off and didn’t let myself think about losing that community part all that much. I spewed anger at how unfair mp3.com’s demise was, and suddenly focused on the money, the wopping $2700 I’d made in a year, because of course it was just weak and selfish and shitty to want support and connection and love from people.

It had taken such immense courage for me to share my deeply personal and vulnerable music, music that made me cry from being so good and double over in pain for being so raw, music that rose out of me from a dark place I didn’t understand. I kept waiting for the hate to come, especially after I joined the mp3.com community from sharing my songs by DCC sending to friends in my IRC channel.

mp3.com was my taste of vitality as an artist. It was the first place I was confronted with irrefutable proof from strangers that my music was good. It was my bridge, back when I was still the only Courtnee on the internet, and the internet was all the connection with the human race I had that fucking mattered to me. It was a community that I’ve never found a comparable replacement for.

The hate never did come. Perhaps because it never had the chance to. For my efforts, for my courage, I received virtually nothing but waves of acceptance and love, feature after feature on the site praising my work even though I was a screwed up crazy hermit making weird whiney sad music that would never end up on the radio.

Losing that relevance changed me, reconfirmed my doubts in myself. I utterly loathed the music industry, threw up at the thought of playing shows. With mp3.com, I had let myself open up, and feel some hope. The loss of this flow of connection for me was staggering. And because of it I hardened.

I turned to the other revolution I was a part of for comfort and belonging while grieving my artistic self, to find it wasn’t there anymore, either. The geeks, the remaining foothold of my revolutionary home base, are no longer the underdog freedom fighters, and they haven’t been for a very long time. They’re the ruling class in the same system we despised.

It hurts to see your revolution become the system. Maybe even more than it hurts to see the revolution get flat out crushed by it. It’s a fucking betrayal I can only barely wrap my head around, but I feel it in my body. It’s a fucking betrayal I keep seeing over and over again in my life. Seeing the entropy, seeing the fear, seeing how the people who are doing what is most needed in this world are getting fucked and assimilated.

It got under my skin when the powers that be managed to napalm the countryside we were beginning to settle with mp3.com. Feeling like I almost had it, like I was almost valid — and then I closed my eyes and covered my head while the power in the world which already had way more than it needed clubbed me, and when I opened them again everything was different.

I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting. Not until Amanda walked into my office.

I can articulate now, after a lot of processing, and galvanizing our connection a few weeks ago by performing for her and her fans in Los Angeles, I hated Amanda Palmer because she represented for me the person I was who died with mp3.com and the internet as I had known it. Died “because” I didn’t have what Amanda Palmer had — a stream of fanbase supporting her when her conventional link to them [a record label], which I knew would have fucked me, fucked her, too.

She represented who I could be now if I hadn’t divorced from my core and spent years of my life chasing money and stability betraying myself in the tech industry before finding my way back to myself.

She represented for me the damage I did to my soul by choosing to take that path, for going through the motions while shutting down who I really was, for taking the RIAA attacking the home I’d found in mp3.com so unbelievably personally.

She represented the pain in becoming even more isolated and quiet as a musician, my most vulnerable and profound form of art, the paralyzation of being introverted and insecure and losing my foothold.

She represented the reality of only knowing how to be a solo musician making music in the safety of my dark little cave and posting it on the internet.

Healing is a pretty important aspect of being a revolutionary. It’s hard to cheer someone on who breaks through the glass ceiling you’re still concussed from smashing into and weakening for them.

In the rise of the digital music revolution, the unsigned artists of mp3.com got royally fucking fucked. As we grew in closer path alignment over the years, Amanda served as a screen for me to project that disembodied grief.

I had it first. I was there first, I had it, I had the following, I had the waves of love, I had the future, I WAS the future, I was AHEAD, and then I fucking wasn’t. In utter projective emotional simplicity that makes little logical sense, I was an Amanda Palmer before Amanda Palmer.

And then I wasn’t.

In the decade after the blow of mp3.com, and countless other events that knocked my fragile sense of self around back in those days, I am finally beginning to feel and trust in the ripples of reward for the tremendous amount of exertion and surgical accountability it’s taken to come back to where I am ready to step into myself again. Into my seeing, into my caring, into my vulnerability, into the vivid authenticity that steams off of me as a performer and a music maker and a singer, into my talents, and into my contributions.

It’s been a long decade.

Finding that I was still so emotionally fucked up over a website going down a decade before was an embarrassing reality to resign to in order to write this, but it’s just the honest truth of things. The impact to fragile hiding 22 year old me, losing mp3.com and what it represented in my life, at that time and at that point in my delicate career, caused a painful rift between me and myself that has taken a long time to sew back up.

Thank you for helping me heal it, Amanda. Thank you for helping that part of me come back.

Bad/failed relationships? READ THIS.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Oof.

This AMAZING article is saying all the stuff I’m living but hadn’t articulated yet.

Preparing us for marriage is, ideally, an educational task that falls on culture as a whole. We have stopped believing in dynastic marriages. We are starting to see the drawbacks of Romantic marriages. Now comes the time for psychological marriages.

http://www.thebookoflife.org/how-we-end-up-marrying-the-wrong-people/

PTSD no moe

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

EXPERIMENT: Cognitive Process Therapy to address nearly 30 years of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Fin.

Here are the results.

In black and white.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are worth that.

I own a bladder full of dead people

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

So I have this solar plexus that usually has a big black tar knot in it. Rarely in my life have I not had that knot, and the times it’s seemed to have melted off were times of extreme gladness — new relationships, summer vacations, purring warmly on the beach — of intimacy and of acceptance that has, of course, never lasted.

As I have grown into my understanding of this experience of being, I’ve intuited more and more that this solar plexus place holds a powerful connection for me, some sort of tether to a knowing field I can’t really explain.

For a long time, I’ve expected that to be my soul, or perhaps rather, where my connection with ‘source’ lives. Which is why, as I’ve healed and come to know that soul part of me, building it up and feeding it, determining and embodying the things that are important to me — compassion, teaching, healing, kindness — and as that soul of me has strengthened and come to a place of ease and of being finally seen, my solar plexus with its big black tar knot has grown to concern me.

That black tar ball space in my guts has periodically felt empty since I started my year alone. It’s a weird stretched out psychic ache feeling, which has been so utterly unsettling, once I’ve felt it, it usually only took a few moments before I tried to fill it with something. Like the collective grief of the world. Or the cancer in the person I was touching. Or the responsibility of someone else’s “Aha!” moment.

Now I am to the point where I can mostly catch myself before I draw things in, especially in person. I have been practicing letting that space be empty for the time being and it’s been more lonely than I can express. To get here, I have had to really work that little barf muscle, to get rid again and again and again of things that aren’t mine, random shit that doesn’t even fit in there just to have SOMEthing in that hungry place.

I’ve learned I have to insulate myself from people who invite me to hold their shit for them, people who deflect from their own inner work by watching me do mine. And at times, I’ve needed a lot of releasing help to let go of shit that doesn’t belong to me. It’s been an interesting balance of solitude and intense intimacy with the right people.

What we worked this weekend in our constellation healing circles is ancestry; a concept which I have historically had NO fucking relationship with. I have been, in my deepest knowing parts, an orphan alien loner, who truly has no one, belongs no where, and isn’t meant to ever stay in one place, isn’t meant to be accepted and loved, but instead, is meant to set something cosmic and transformative in motion, and then get the fuck out of the way — hopefully before what I just catalyzed barrels me the fuck over like a dump truck.

It’s been lonely and heart breaky and it’s really sucked to feel that way all my life, and is also the big reason I kept my attention on romance and intimacy rather than healing myself. I kept trying to prove myself wrong and I kept failing at it.

Now that I’ve stopped that cycle, and I pushed through the transition of learning to be for myself rather than for others, I am getting this deep sense of lineage emerging. A knowing sense of how I am the product of hundreds of thousands of years of human experience, and that some of that experience is wise and whole and healthy.

I’ve been tapping in to that well of knowledge periodically in meditations and constellations and visualizing — one example is visualizing a crowd or a long line of my ancestors behind me when I’m say, driving my car. Another is to sense into what it might feel like to already know how to do something I am learning how to do, like being patient and compassionate toward people who are challenging me and triggering my trauma patterns.

“The knowing field is sparking like static against my skin today. I am in the eye of my own storm, drawing electric up through my roots, piercing precision kintsugi out my hands. Aligning.
Level up.” — Facebook

This weekend I had the revelation that this connection with my ancestry, this sense of being unconditionally supported, is what belongs in my solar plexus space. I started imagining my ancestor energy filling it like a trickle into a bowl, but I wasn’t really grokking how I was gonna USE that.

I was expecting this post to be a bit different, to be returning to my monthly challenges of adopting a habit of some sort during Year of the Nee. The challenge for November was going to be practicing a daily ritual in some form which connected me to the wisdom of my ancestry, experimenting with what my trigger word or phrase or physical gesture or visualization might be to signify tapping into that solar plexus space, that bowl full of the sense of knowing and support I’m so recently becoming aware of.

Due to a scheduling fuck up, my half of a bodywork trade I was expecting a couple weeks ago happened today instead, which turned out to be basically perfect. While she touched my belly, the tar ball, which I hadn’t even been aware of, grumbled and groaned and then it fucking BURST, and tingly energy moved through my intestines and branched out eventually to my limbs.

As I felt into that completely new experience, I realized the wisdom of my ancestors isn’t a stationary bowl. It’s an unlimited FUCKING MORPHINE DRIP. All I have to do is imagine a squeeze of the bladder to release that shit whenever I need it, and through me it will flow, like ink in water.

The arc of evolving consciousness is long. We are moments breaking the patterns of centuries. I have needed all the help I can get, and still, it’s seemed I had never found it, and I despaired that I never would.

I find that notion highly questionable, now. I believe I may have perhaps finally found a faith of some sort. I believe in where I came from, those wise loving sources buried under so many centuries of violence, supremacy and hate. I believe in myself, and my ability to ultimately connect with that knowing.

Not sure I need much more to believe in, than that.

Experiment: Daily Post-it challenge

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Challenge: A post-it sketch in ballpoint for every day in August.
Duration: One month

Compendious Result: Fine for 8 days, then trainwreck failure — and I’m ok with that.

This was one of many, many production challenges I’ve given myself over the years, none of which I’ve completed fully.

It is said in most circles that ‘real’ artists art every day. Perhaps that may be so, but I don’t work that way. I go in spurts and phases between my various art forms, and always have. I am inspired and proud for my artist friends who bust out a sketch a day and stick with it, but that just ain’t me.

While the idea of a more structured and disciplined life appeals to me, with more focus and mastery of less, I doubt it will ever show up as rigidity in how I create and practice my artwork.

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.

Year Of The Nee: 2.5 months

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Today, I experienced that moment, when you find out you have unlimited mental health visits.

There were tears.

Today, I also experienced the facilitation of my first Grief Recovery Method practice group, an 8 week course I began teaching this evening. I was really stunned at how knowledgable I am about the realities of grief (and the things we need to look at that are in the way of recovering from it), my tempered but genuine passion for the work, my ability to naturally connect with the participants energetically, and how easily I slipped into my own style and groove with delivering the concepts the method is based on.

Yesterday, I began a 6 week self defense class, which was incredibly empowering, and I recommend it to every single woman I know. Due to that first session, I am learning in an experiential sense that the single most detrimental thing I have done to compromise my personal safety (which includes my emotional well being) has been to unconsciously presume that announcing my intuitions that something wasn’t right would be an adequate defense.

The next most detrimental thing has been to take others at their word when they told me that intuition was wrong. Others who often insisted they were trustworthy and yet utilized the subtle behaviors of a predator, behaviors I knew were fishy but I ignored and made excuses for.

I am angry in those classes, but it’s the right kind of angry, the result of having removed the veil of smiley floweriness I once used to disguise my deep anxiety for my bodily safety while walking down a public street alone.

Also, I am learning how to beat the fuck out of people, if I have to, and letting off some bag-slamming “I. *BAM* DON’T. *SLAM* FUCKING. *POW* THINK SO. *BANG*” steam. It’s pretty fucking great.

The day before that, I wallowed, puzzled and pathetic and sad, on the tail end of a rough Saturday, in which I was mortifyingly reminded that even the best of us sometimes catch ourselves having hoped to see a fish climb a tree. When that fish simply continued being the fish it is, I didn’t exactly take it very well.

Being in mourning is frustrating and draining. In this case I managed not to isolate, or apologize for having feelings, and I’m really proud of that.

Before all that nonsense went down, I spent some time after my second Saturday yoga therapy session out of 5 contemplating the distinction between pain and suffering, surmising that one is an inevitable part of existing, and the other, is not.

The day before that, I returned from a 5 day vacation in the bay area with a long-time lady friend of mine, a trip taken in homage to our deep life transitions which parallel in timing.

We drank iced teas, ate desserts, ordered room service, and read a tremendous amount. I frequently played the baby grand piano, sat in the sauna, and got the first massage I’ve had since February after my motorcycle crash. It was an incredible gift that I am deeply grateful for.

Currently, I am doing Yoga therapy sessions, self defense class, Cognitive Process Therapy, and mime lessons every week. I am constantly learning on both a physical and mental level, about myself, my strengths and my potential, by doing things that are new for me on a bunch of different spectrums.

Most of these activities materialized in trades and cosmic circumstances, and though I often feel lost and sad and confused in my child psyche while I maneuver a life that doesn’t include filling the space in my thorax with the wants of (or the [un]conscious search for) someone else, it is clear that right now, I am exponentially supported.

Tomorrow morning, at 8am, I will awaken to Kenny Loggins serenading me into the Danger Zone. And, should I need to, I will face the book with my new-to-me Paperwhite Kindle, which arrived today complete with a badass case, and temporary my little pony tattoos, handed down to me by one of my favorite people to stalk on twitter.

I am, for lack of a better word, blessed.

Experiment: The June of Noncomplaint

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The challenge: Stop complaining
The duration: A whole month

Compendious Result: Moderate success! I complain less, have an idea of the difference between social/productive complaints and the sticky grumpymaking kind, and am generally content to not only think less caustic-denouncingly, but express less of it too.

Yep. My goal, was to not complain for a month.

Keep laughing. It’s ok.

There are too many reasons why this was a good idea to list out. The most applicable one here, is that I think fighting fair, which is something I’ve discovered I am still rather abysmal at, starts with the little things, and the things I say to myself, which are mostly, frankly, still pretty awful.

The beginning

I’d like to say that I hit the ground running with my first month-long personal experiment as part of Year of the Nee and did really well with it. Boy, did that really not happen. At first.

The first few days of this challenge were awful; at every turn, I saw myself failing. I’d say, if I were to guess, about 75% of my unmanaged thoughts in the first week of June were complaints of some sort.

Mostly things like the stupid fuckers behind my apartment fighting, or something on my computer not working. My food not being warm enough. Stupid shit. Useless shit.

And roughly 20% of those, I wanted to post online. It was nearly a physical struggle to stop myself. Because my complaints are WITTY and BITING and FUNNY and SNARKY and BUUUURRRNN.

The first step was not to do that, to let the complaints come and go without honoring them by immortalizing and spreading them. But that wasn’t tempering the frequency that they were occurring as much as I wanted.

I realized I needed some help to succeed in this. So I adopted an oldie but goodie, and started documenting three good things that happened every day.

The conclusion

Documenting Three Things and Why helped me focus (and also observe that on particularly bad days I had to stop myself for backhand complaining even then..), and I think was integral to my success, in that it anchored me and helped me get through the hard part.

My goal is to continue to stick with this awareness, reverting to daily “3 things” documentation when required, to maintain a better relationship with complaining, and avoiding using it as a past time too automatically.

New Holiday: June 27, name day

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Seared scallops, roasted garlic, crispy kale, heirloom tomatoes and avocado slices in a miso and butter broth with fresh lemon.

Created by me, for me, to celebrate a day I became more me.

Also; I had an ice cream cone. :D

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.

Year of the Nee: 1 down, 11 to go.

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

It’s been just over a month since I began my year of celibacy and no intoxicants, coupled with the lesser goals of avoiding sugar and not cutting my hair, for the purpose of supporting and providing a foundation to integrate the metaphysical growth spurt I am going through.

The celibacy and lack of substances has been so natural I’ve barely noticed a change, other than to smile a little when I think about how much money I save by not having a drink when I eat out, which has only happened a couple times since I’m saving for a trailer and didn’t make ‘not obliviously starving myself’ a priority this time around.

Another observation I’ve had is the overwhelmingly positive response of people when I have occasion to share about this – usually when I’m being offered weed or a beer. They offer, or ask if I drink/smoke, and I say yes, that I do, but I’m a month into my year off. They invariably respond with pleasant surprise, immediate acceptance, and sometimes praise and pensiveness and questions.

Which is funny, since I had imagined being cajoled or mocked most of the time.

People aren’t doing that. They are interested and impressed and respectful. That in and of itself has felt very healing and grounding. And it’s been nice for my faith in humanity; It appears perhaps I am not the only one who has grown up some.

I will just mention briefly that I’m very glad not to be putting this aspect of things to the test regarding sex, and simply removing the option from my life has been ideal for me.

The hair cutting thing didn’t go as well, which is fine, because a) I cut my hair myself b) I left part of it the length it was and c) it looks completely awesome.

This will come as a shock to.. probably nobody. But it’s been unsettling for me, after 34 years of manufacturing identity reliant on the opposite. I am starting to get that I am, fundamentally, a really fucking genuinely nice person.

Like, painfully caring.

Perhaps it’s not so much that I’m only just now getting that; It’s likely more that I am starting to finally accept it.

Like, really accept it.

In my guts and in my cells and in my felt senses, rather than just carrying my squish around in the back of my head to fuel my general distaste for dumbfucks and mean people.

I am starting to experience with acute awareness and observation how the things I’ve come to automatically do to protect myself, like blame, and pick arguments, and being verbally abusive, have corroded my integrity and my ethics; I’ve moved beyond simply philosophizing and mentalizing about them to stewing in it — not wallowing, but stewing. Feeling it. Feeling what it really means and does to me to be that way.

Here’s the tip of what I’ve learned:

I value compassion and kindness more now than I used to. I’ve been seeing it in the people around me. In how I’ve suddenly become intolerant to witnessing anger and aggression, even justified anger and aggression, yet have been caught in the reality that I default to being that way myself if I’m not really careful.

I’ve been really fucking tormented by it. Really screaming about it and pushy and compassion baiting and disgusted with people, but struggling to accept my anger and own capacity for cruelty.

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel

I can admit that deep down I want everyone to be ok and for everyone to be harmonious; I can admit that my desire to blow up every fuckass government and financial facility full of fuckass government and financial people in the country is a wish rooted in the desire to do better for the world I live in.

However my sense of self hasn’t caught up to that. I am still in a deep state of transition and identity dysphoria (Ok well to be fair when am I not really THANKS MENTAL ILLNESS THANKS A LOT).

The problem is that while my admiration is shifting, and has been shifting for a very long time, and I’ve made strides in that direction, I still too often value my own intelligence and biting wit more than my kindness.

I’ve as yet been unwilling, and truthfully, unable, to give up and let go of my biting intellectual bratty truth teller call-you-on-your-shit tough love ‘fuck most everyone except you of course’ identity.

Plus, as with all significant personal transformations, most of the people in my life also identify me in that way, and largely unconsciously encourage me to stay there.

Moving further toward the balance point I am seeking there (the snark is staying, mmmkay.) has helped me see how this inner turmoil presented itself in my life; I’ve equated that need for harmony, with wanting people to like me.

Unpacking that has been a real bitch.

I’ve discovered that at the heart of this, I, the person in the room who most often says what others are thinking, who calls out the shit and the elephants, who asks the hard questions and gives the hard answers, absolutely hates confrontation (“Which is funny, since I had imagined being cajoled or mocked most of the time.”).

Yes. I do. I hate it. My face gets hot. My voice cracks and wavers. I shake and feel like I might cry. I feel as though I’m on a chopping block or in front of a firing squad. My guts knot up and I feel prone to attack and rejection and death. My legs shake. I want the ground to open my up and swallow me. It feels fucking horrible.

And I do it anyway. It’s part of who I am and it’s part of what I value about myself. At my best I stand up for myself and for other people and am the person who first says “This is wrong.”

Yet even asking a person to stop rudely yelling on their cellphone in the open lobby of my office building gives me a flowering anxiety deep in my guts, as though I were attempting to tweeze a chunk of corn from between a rabid demon lion’s teeth. With my face. With loaded guns pointed at my head.

Though I call it to me dozens of times in a day, and berate myself when I don’t engage in it (I kicked myself for weeks for not confronting a teenager who hit her dog in front of me; which I didn’t do because I would have been fucking batshit at her about it), I hate confrontation so much that I constantly prepare for it when it isn’t there.

Like the diarrhea inducing anxiety waves I ignored for years when I’d be putting on my face and armor to go out clubbing, a classic example of invented confrontation that I’ve since overcome by accepting myself as an introvert, I’ve known this for some time, but avoided really feeling it.

Ok. This moment, like the last few thousand moments today, might be a confrontation. So let’s armor up. Big breath, suck it down, be commanding, be rigid, be no bullshit, walk fierce and scowl a little, tell them to stop, stand up for yourself, what the fuck is that shaking in your voice, what kind of weakling are you anyway, why are you so afraid of some dumb stranger, you’re in the right, they’re annoying everyone else too you just have the balls to say something, you’re always the one who has the balls to say something, you’re the strong one why don’t you fucking feel like it, see it’s over now but you’re still freaked out, but nothing happened, but you’re still freaked out like 10 minutes after, you won! You’re a FUCKING LEADER! What the hell is wrong with you?

I know what’s wrong with me; Though I’ve cultivated esteem and self caring over the years, and yes, I am a natural leader, I’ve yet to master in myself the art of fighting fair.

And for me, as someone who has a lot of fucking fight in them, that is an absolutely vital foundation to have. And I DO NOT HAVE IT.

I’ve the skills, and knowledge, the drive, and I’ve done a lot of work here; but what I’ve been missing is consistent practice. Only in my direct work with clients, and in very important, long thought personal confrontations, or in rare-ish charmed instances when access to that toolkit was quick and easy, have I consistently actually incorporated my knowledge of compassionate asskicking.

So, confrontation — of any kind or scope — most often feels like an untamed wild card that could explode at any moment. Because I often handle it like an untamed wild card that could explode at any moment, and I desperately want for the person I am confronting to manage that for me; By liking me. And oftentimes I approach that by being, basically, as unlikable as possible.

“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.” – Byron Katie

Now that I’m settled into YotN a bit, the experiments can begin. Each month I am going to try to root something new and specific by going to an extreme of some sort. For June, my goal is to not complain for a month.

Yep. My goal, is to not complain for a month. Keep laughing. It’s ok.

There are too many reasons why this is a good idea to list out. The most applicable one here, is that I think fighting fair starts with the little things, and the things I say to myself, which are mostly, frankly, still pretty awful.

And, I don’t really know how to limit my complaining to doing so effectively. I mean, I do, I just.. don’t.

I’m doomed to repeat this pattern as long as the fight in my head stays the way it is; biting, judgmental, self righteous, intolerant, offensive, aggressive, dehumanizing, self-pitying, belittling, alienating and superior. So it’s time for a bath.

Approaching fighting with compassion and fairness is a life long practice. I will never be perfect at it and I don’t expect myself to be. I choose to live an intense life; I will devolve sometimes, understandably, and that’s ok.

But I have seen this as a hurdle to jump over all my life. In this quiet, in my healing cocoon nest space I’m evoking, I see it as a hurdle I can topple over, and start stomping on, instead.

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

“The reason I’m stronger is that I’ve done the work.” – nee

Brenè Brown: A Video Walkthrough.

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

“What I do is enough.” – Joan Halifax

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

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

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

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

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May Day, official start date of YotN

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Interestingly enough, I chose May 1st as the official start date of “Year of the Nee” basically a whim. It made sense to start at the beginning of a month, and I wanted to give myself a couple days to get in any last drinks I wanted to (turns out I didn’t need that, after all).

It seems that May 1 is a pretty fitting day for this – It’s the beginning of the National Mental Health Month, International Masturbation Month, Global Love Day, and May Day.

This day marks the beginning of my year of self intention. I am ready to listen, learn what I really needed out of my former relationships, out of searching for someone to take care of me, out of being so vulnerable and needing of validation from virtual strangers, and how to give those things to myself.

I intend learn to honestly hear the wounded child I so often neglect, and learn how to protect myself from more unnecessary harm and heartache like the shitstorm I’ve been processing lately.

In creating a supportive state for myself in doing this, I will be:

Remaining celibate
Abstaining from all intoxicants

Secondarily, I’ll be avoiding sugar, and intend to not cut my hair until May 1 2015.

You may notice that I’ve removed all comments and commenting ability from this website. To anyone who has followed the site, that might be sort of strange, as I’ve previously asked for validation and responses in comments here (thank you, so much, to those who have given them to me when I’ve asked).

This is in part to support YotN, and also simply a change I intend to maintain in my online life, to help support my work and my self esteem, and to allow me to expand and show up here with even more courage, honesty and bravery.

I came to this conclusion after seeing both this amazing video, as well as meeting Brenè Brown in person last month.

Thing is; Unless you have constructive feedback for me, are in the arena fighting also, or are one of the 8 people on my list I carry with me in my wallet of humans whose opinion of me profoundly matters, I’m not particularly interested in your feedback on the work I am doing.

If you are one of those people, or you have something of significance to say to me that offers me something about yourself and your fight, I imagine you know how to contact me, and I will be happy to hear from you.

The sun is shining and I’ve spent most of my day in bed writing. It’s going great, so far! :P