Point the rage at the system

Doesn’t have to be now. Blame all the third party voters you want, if finding a soft target to blame is worth further disrupting what little fucking unity and coalescence we have.

We are all being manipulated.

We are all oppressed in some form of indentured slavery.

If you still believe in this system; that it actually represents us, that our votes were counted accurately, that the candidacy we were forced to choose from was presented to us honestly, then I simply don’t know how to relate to you. Please just go away. No hard feelings. It’s just, I know my time is finite.

But if you’re sick of this crooked harmfulass shit, I just have one word for you:

Divest.

It’s like choosing to love someone. It’s like forgiving. It’s like a habit. Everywhere you can, divest. Pull away. Stop buying shit you don’t need. Get off the grid a little; get a fucking cistern. Learn survival, medical skills, first aid. Keep a fucking herb garden. Consider your choices. Damn near all your choices.

This is the price we must pay for living in this future. Start small. Most of you already have. Most of you think about what napkins you buy and have at least one single food you won’t eat on principle. Expand that. Forever.

You don’t have to know how. Just DO it. START, again and again. Because the things worth doing are the things we commit to without knowing exactly how to get there yet. The things we might not be sure if we have the capacity to do. The things we know we may never live to complete. Those are the things that make this fucking shitshow experience worthwhile.

We have to divest to save our future. From consumption. From corruption. From a societal contract smothered to the brink of mass extinction by domination, control, and hierarchies designed to devalue life and pedistalize fear. From the sickness of supremacy that has told us we only matter if we can do it instantly, by ourself.

This is the fault of the people who put Trump where he never belonged in the first place and that includes those who voted for him. It does not include the people writhing under a fucked up system trying to do right.

Today, I blame the system. The people: they are all doing what they think they have to do. Some of them will have more to answer to later, but in the end, the system we are all invested in, the abusive relationships we’re too close to to see out of, those are what are to blame for tonight.

There is no denying the world we live in now. What next?

It is our turn to sacrifice for the future.

Divest.

One decision at a time.

Keep Going.

Point the rage at the system.

Point the change at you.

Tell the apocalype to go fuck itself. 

Homeless people have the internet in their pockets. Does that seem odd to you? Hollow connectivity think catheter vs… Shelter? Or heat?

How did slipping into this ever make sense to ANYone?

Oh right. Because those creative, and brave, and pissed off enough to fucking take anything status quo like that on, are traumatized and systemically shit on to the point that we’re dysfunctional. To the point that we have to spend so many of our cycles caring for ourselves and licking our wounds and keeping our guns out of our mouths there’s barely any time to do a fraction of our fucking work in the world.

People with significant intersectional privilege, I’m looking at us here. Our comforts come at the cost of our humanity. None of us seem to actually know jack shit about how to fucking relate to each other.

I am also sick of walking down the street and being interacted with in ways that make my fucking ovaries dart up into my lungs it’s so vile and fucking disgusting and debasing. And rapey and sickening and sad. And that angers. Me.

I go out in what used to be my Seattle I feel that icy numb stabbing in my chest at least once, nearly always more. The one that slices like a dream where I’m walking through mud and I can’t react until they’re already gone.

Being intentionally transported to that place without my fucking consent simply for existing down the fucking street angers. Me. Too.

I think it was also intentional to have been conditioned this way, to have these conveniently invisible personality handicaps. I am angry at the oppression I experience and I am furious at the oppressions I have perpetuated by taking so much of what I was handed at face value. 

I think the system of civilization is rigged from every conceivable angle and I don’t know who I am mad at but I am fucking. mad.

Soon, I will start swinging. I will start losing my shit and vibrating vowels and contorted spittlerage in their fucking bugeyed boozeflushed faces.

I am done, trying to be ‘good’. I am done being afraid of my power because I won’t ever wield it perfectly.

Where my people at. Show yourselves. How will you support this? What are you going to do?

We need to take the fucking internet, and our interpersonal artistry, back. We need to figure out how to coelesque NATURALLY through this technology, adjust to its massive scale, instead of this cherry picked gaslighting algorithm garbage, or we need to give it the fuck up and walk away. 

We need to keep examining and resisting our internalized culture around relationships and connection and consider how our partner and kinships not only need to change in regard to abuse culture and harm reduction, but in relation to the changes in technology and how that is effecting us as well.

We need to keep working together and strengthening our bonds and upping our games and finding our kin and digging our species out of this fuckshit hole full of corpses and bloodmoney. 

Sift a fistfull of earth through your clenched fingers. Practice until you know where to put your line in the sand.

We are no longer crabs cruelly resigned to the bucket.
We are frogs in a slowly boiling kettle.
We need to take our risks.

We need to keep disengaging our chains, tendril by suckered tendril.

We need. To wake. The fuck. Up.

I think.

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

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

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

Even Gandhi was a rape apologist and a misogynist.

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

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

I am love.
For better and for worse.

I am love.

Fuck you.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know why you enter into relationships?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have to find a way to do better.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black and White Image: Foggy ocean horizon

Liminality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are my friends talking shit?

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

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

I cannot continue failing in this.

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

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

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

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

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

I am ready.
… I think.

Fuck I am tired.

My Last Spoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Collective sigh)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No more perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More shit to get done.

NEXT!

“I’m not sad, but the boys who are looking for sad girls always find me. I’m not a girl anymore and I’m not sad anymore. You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” — Warsan Shire

Serendipitous gifts

“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.

Sometimes I get the urge to talk to you
Then I remember
That you’re a different person now.
I know, because I was the storm
That swept
Who you were pretending you were
Away

ANNIVERSARY: NAME DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Road Update: Summer in the PNW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#bloated

I notice my body changing.

It happened in my 20’s also, in a specific shift, when I went from being sedentary to active.

This time, it’s the other way around. Things are softer and they are settling. I have begun to show my age. I notice it, especially, during the times in my cycle when I’m bloated and retaining water.

I’m so fucking thankful that I reached this stage in my life having done the work I needed to do not to be crushed by this hyperawareness. Long ago, I thought not being young and pretty would have been just about one of the most soul crushing things imaginable.

I rarely use mirrors anymore, and I am also the most well adjusted I’ve ever been.

The number of lives I’ve lead, even just so far, staggers me sometimes.

I don’t rant on here much anymore…

But here’s a gif to remember me by.

https://media.giphy.com/media/l41YecXPPEdGazmWk/giphy.gif

Revisiting pencil

Going a layer deeper in my pencil skills. I feel as though I used to have this down pretty well when I was younger, but I need different drugs now or something. These are both within the last few days.

The framed piece on the right will be given away next month. $15 and above patrons who are signed up by Monday 5/30 get their names in the hat for this one. Good luck! She’s a stunner.

Pies

Huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheeses around the crusts!!

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

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

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

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

Sweet potato and kale, fried egg on top.

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

Privates

I totally painted myself up and made homegrown weirdo solo porn vids last night and its mine mine mine and you don’t get to have it because my body and my sexuality and my dorky performative fantasies are mine, mine, mine.

They exist and they’re Mine.

Put that in your hole and fuck it.

In other news: I don’t normally begrudge people for thinking of me as female. A lot of the time I think of myself that way and I know a lot of us including myself recognize how difficult it is to change our thinking around such stigmatized and deeply engrained topics as assuming someones gender. But this pissed me off.

A mother interrupted my craigslist transaction today as I was selling my motorcycle rack, to inform me that her child, who she was pushing in a stroller down the sidewalk, is learning about gender stereotypes.

Her kid had assumed, because my hair is buzzed, that I was a boy. But, their mother informed them that because of my voice, I was obviously a girl.

She interrupted me to inform me of this. Obviously, I’m a girl. She waited expectantly beside her kids stroller for me to confirm her observation of my girlness and thusly conclude her childs lesson on gender stereotypes and why they are bad, mmmkay.

So I informed her with a smile that I am nonbinary, actually. Though my online accounts and as many paper forms as possible reflect this, it is the first time I’ve declared to a stranger in meatspace.

She shifted on her feet a moment and then dismissed me by saying that concept was ‘too advanced’ for her kid to understand.

I really wanted to say that I disagreed with that.

I really wanted to say that it’s only too ‘advanced’ for children who are treated as though they can’t discern more than one thing or another at a time.

I really wanted to point out that there are all sorts of examples of other things that are not one or the other that her child obviously understands already — like colors, for instance, and types of food.

And I really wanted to express to this person that their perceived convenience is not more important than my identity. That it’s just as easy to teach her kid not to assume anyones gender than it was for her to declare mine to me and then resist me when I corrected her.

I wanted to express all those things about 20 minutes after she wandered away and I’d snarkily snickered to the person buying my rack that that mother could keep her crappy gender binary.

That for some stupid reason this person felt so damn entitled they randomly drug a person (who was busy with something else) on the street into a conversation about their fucking gender in an effort to assist in their idea of parenting.

That she hid behind her kid to express her own narrow mindedness and unwillingness to actually explore the topic of the gender stereotyping. Just.. seriously.

One thing this exchange is definitely illuminating for me is something I’ve been tracking for a while, in this case a focus I have on parents parenting better, rather than interacting with children myself. It’s a lot like wanting to punish bullies rather than support and protect the people they victimize.

I’ve been having fantasies of talking to her kid directly and telling them it’s ok not to be a boy or a girl or to be either or to be in between and talking to THEM and just going around the mother. All I needed to do was lean down and tell that kid it’s best just not to assume anyone else’s gender without asking and this would have felt like a win.

If I’d not been in a completely different headspace working with wrenches and shit I mighta. But I doubt it. But maybe.

Instead I just feel kinda.. anticlimactic. I was disappointed in myself for not reacting differently. It was such a perfect opportunity to do some real fucking boots on the ground educating. Had a hard time letting go of it for a while. When I did, there was a bunch of swirly shit underneith.

It didn’t really feel big when it happened, but as I thought about it I got kinda, queasy.

I don’t want to give up my normity, maybe.

But I’m not so different or flagrant that I feel like I really belong to this group I’m starting to claim.

I’m afraid of being and feeling even more alienated and weird in society.

But it really just.. came the fuck out of my mouth. I barely even thought of my response to her, just a blip of hesitation. I just thought it would be accepted with a nod, really, most of me thought that anyway.

I think, in that way, facebook actually really spoiled me. Ugh. Dear god.

A Cart for Your Invisible Horse

I started really chewing on class accessibility issues in my work about 6 months after I moved from the Medical Dental Building downtown, to the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square.

For those who don’t understand Seattle, that’s basically from the hoity toity business and shopping district to the historic bar crawl and stadium area where all the human resources, walk in clinics and homeless shelters are.

For a while, I was my typical entitled self that I was back then, avoiding the beggars on the street, feeling unsafe and deeply inconvenienced by their presence.

Over the course of the years I had my practice in that area, though, I transformed as a person. Some of y’all witnessed that, and know how profound it was.

The last two years I had Artful Touch, one of the biggest road blocks for me was that I wanted my work to be accessible to the types of people who were sleeping on benches in front of my office, not only the types of people who were supporting my businesses existence with their money.

I hadn’t found a way by the time I couldn’t afford, even with help from friends in terms of living situations, to stay in business in Seattle any longer (which, amusingly, coincided with the first year I finally grossed $20k, a long-time goal of mine).

And without my business, I couldn’t afford the office I’d been half living in already, so there went my last semblance of housing as well.

A year ago, almost to the day, was when I packed into the van I’d spent 1/2 of my savings on and left. I’ve spent the last year doing this:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=1Fz43w54SqRabmekWCnNyq4JRY0Y

Before that, I’d spent 6 months living in a friends backyard shed — which, frankly, turned out to be one of the best living situations I’ve ever had.

That year on the road has shown me what a fool I was. And I fear, that in most cases, people tend to remain foolish about this until it or something similar to it happens to them. It’s why it can be so easy to dismiss someone who is houseless for not behaving properly, for not having more than they do.

But I know better now. I know it is virtually impossible to function without shelter, without a place to bathe, without a way to shit. Not just function in terms of being capable and receptive to the type of exploration, trauma recovery and deep work I offered at AT, but just to fucking get the basics covered. Just to make a meal and clean up after yourself. Just to shit into the plastic bag without making a mess in your living room.

I learned this when, after being on the road 6 months or so, and not even actually hurting for industrialized comforts much via couch surfing and guest rooms and room and board via summer job, I understood how much my production rate would have to change now that I did not have a stable housing situation anymore.

I realized I couldn’t belt out the paintings and the albums and the performances like I had been able to in the past. That I needed a lot more sleep, I needed more down time that wasn’t sleep, and I had been too hard on myself for not producing as much or excelling as quickly as I wanted.

And this was BEFORE I started really living in that van, really experiencing what it was like to wake up with a start at 3 in the morning HAVING to shit and having nowhere to do it but hanging my ass out the side of my house and picking up my turd from the side walk. Experiencing the dichotomy of wanting to use sustainable methods of handling my period but having no running water. Having most of my entire world revolving around how to manage the blood when the days came. Sleeping in layers and layers of clothing and not being able to stand upright.

And this was while I HAD a place to retreat to, that was mine, and relatively safe, and warm when I wanted to put in the effort.

I am understanding another layer of this now that I am in a stationary room again for a while, and noticing how I am EXPLODING with patreon updates, the amount of energy I have now, how much less I stress about managing basic tasks, how much less time it takes to accomplish things when I don’t have to set up and tear down hunched over in a living space the size of a couch every time.

I was a fool, thinking that my desire to work with the homeless and addicted represented for me anything much more than the guilt I felt by participating in the offering of classist, privileged healing work.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can transcend a persons need for shelter and food in order to contribute to their development as people.

I get that the houseless don’t need massages or hugs or one of my cow chip cookies to thrive as human beings again. That’s the shit I needed to feel better about what I had that they did not.

It’s not just the social stigma the houseless face, the little cuts of every clumsy swishypants white girl that tries to see them as people but fails, that keep them from overcoming their traumatic circumstances. I mean, I knew that. But now I KNOW that.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can swoop in and create a magical illusionary container of safety for people who have none. Especially as someone who barely has that container for themselves. The houseless need fucking *houses*.

Now, I wonder more about what little thing I could start to do, about that.

The fucks I no longer give

Sometimes, people who hold power over you behave like selfish, entitled, manipulative, thieving assholes, and there just isn’t a god damn fucking thing you can do about it.

If being mostly-away from Facebook has taught me anything, it’s the danger and the psychological impact of masturbatory propaganda.

Especially the kind that says what you wanna hear and caters to ones sense of superiority and righteousness, caters to ones desire for an uprising, backlash or official stand.

So many of the memes circulated here are catharsis rooted in misinformation, I just don’t believe any of them any more unless it’s worth it to me to research the incident or official statement.

Facebook is full of these polished turds masquerading as progressions in social justice, encouraging people to believe their ‘side’ is ‘winning’. If you took everything else away you’d still have detailed outlines of them, corn kernels and everything.

It’s a constant battle of balancing my emotions, intuition, needs and passions with knowing that by its very nature, right down to the bone, everything I’m shown here is linked to someone else’s agenda. And it’s a battle I’m grateful to not be fighting as much any more.

Would putting Decatur up on youtube be worth the time investment in terms of actual album sales and show attendance in my real lived-long life? Or would it just, at best, expand the amount of free consumption and give me ‘followers’.

I don’t think I want ‘followers’ anymore.

But if I had more of them, someone would have pirated my damn album already and done the work for me so I didn’t have to.

Who succeeds at this? Who?

Every time I think I see someone who has, I look close enough and there are the telltale signs that they might have even less idea what the fuck they are doing than me. Or, they have about a million people on staff to help. Or both. Usually both.

And I really wouldn’t want to trade my problems for anyone else’s. Really, I wouldn’t.

I just.. don’t know how much to give, anymore. I guess a good way to describe it, is I miss how simple it was, how little I had to think about it before. That when I was done with something I created, or maybe even not done yet, I posted it and that was it. It was out, and it was circulated, and that was it.

I miss when it was in DCC on IRC and among friends, people who knew one another and hung out and would show the fuck up. In communities. I miss having a core group of people I sent my music to.

Never made a living that way, though.

—-

It’s really not perfect. There are things in some episodes that have caused me to consider not continuing to watch the show. Powerpuff girls I never even saw because I heard about the transphobic unicorn/buttercup episode and just decided fuck it. Same with Xfiles reboot — Mulder is a sexist stuck up pice of shit. I want to like Stephen Universe but I can’t get over the presentation, the fast seizure inducing animation and the squeaky voices. It’s not perfect, but I am allowing myself to have Bobs Burgers. Bobs Burgers I like. I like how that family interacts and has conflicts. I like Tina. Louise reminds me of me when I was smaller. And I like that the episodes have tons of different themes and directors and ways of telling stories. It’s one of the few shows that I don’t watch and see characters saturated in rape culture/violence against women, or this:

This comic about Bart Simpson and Chris Griffin in therapy will make you cry

So much of what so many people ingest as entertainment is just so fucking horrifying to me.

I struggle with relationships with people, and the species as a whole. But when I’m tested, I’m always the person running toward the crash I just witnessed, ready to help.

That’s the thing about some of us who just want to see the world burn, I guess. It’s the quiet and bonding that’s left afterward that we actually want.

Also dig on the less people part. There’s too many of us and we kinda suck.

Corners Turned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck yes am I ready for that shit.

This made me laugh.

I have been gifted the opportunity to revisit home I’d not fully claimed for myself.

Today is a good day.

Gratitude post

Appreciating my community today. I’m connected with some damn fine people. Here’s to you all, the strong vulnerable women, the writers, the musicians, the weirdos, the men whose souls I’ve stolen, or want to steal, the supporters, the appreciators, the activists, the carers, the empathic warriors who see what the fuck is going on. We will find our place somewhere. In the meantime, I am glad that you exist.

There is Nowhere

Just south of Green River, Wyoming

One thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: There is nowhere.

There is nowhere to go. There is nowhere to outrun patriarchy. There is nowhere to outrun capitalism. Nowhere to feel safe. Nowhere to feel comfortable. It’s gone, along with my blissful ignorance. Anywhere I go will be touched by it, if not in any other way than by my being present there.

Another thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: It is damn near fucking impossible for a person to understand something when their survival depends on them not understanding it.

This is why reform of capitalism won’t work. This is why people don’t see how bad their relationships are until they leave. This is why you can’t dismantle a system which pays your salary. This is why making a difference “from the inside” is ultimately a bunch of tyrannical horseshit. This is why there can be good in people, but there are no “good” cops or judges or politicians.

Y’all tell yourselves what you need to in order to deal with it, tell yourselves you’re somehow starting a revolution by playing the same fucking game you’ve always played. You and I always will be fooling ourselves to some degree, as long as we’re inside the machine.

As long as I’m using money, as long as I smile and thank that server who is obviously treating me differently because I’m fuckable in their eyes, as long as I’m alive and interacting with this society, so too will I be telling myself that somehow my participation is warranted and benevolent and different than everyone else’s. That for some reason my reluctance, my anger, my squeezing myself dry to avoid as much as I can changes the impact of my acts of compliance.

I shopped at Walmart today because they have the cheapest price on motor oil, which my van burns like a chain smoking gangster.

I put gas in my house twice today, and twice yesterday, blazing across Wyoming to beat a looming snow storm.

I paid my taxes. On time. But only because I fear being hunted.

These are the choices I have made, the things I hold onto in order to survive turncoating on the tech industry, on rape culture, on romance supremacy, to resist couples privilege, being kept.

There is nowhere.

The only way actually out of this mess is to stop going along with things that insult your fucking soul.

All The Things.

And that’s a life’s thankless, lonely fucking work, right there. Chipping away.

A whole life’s work, at least, planting seeds for more life’s works in the future. Slamming your head into the ceiling.

Existing is so fucking expensive

and so, fucking, exhausting.

Full moon in Scorpio

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

I don’t know about all that.

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

My hair, for one. Bzzzt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am tired of giving EVERYTHING I have away online.

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

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

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

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

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

This seemed like the right thing.

 

A meditation: New Cage 

The door to the original Pony Express Station, Gothenburg Nebraska.

Bipolar disorder, Attachment disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Serious Depression are all diagnosis I’ve received at various times in my life. 

They all added up symptomatically at the time, but there was always something under the surface that wasn’t touched by those theories. I presumed, for most of my life, that was an unattainable evil core deep inside me that simultaneously responded to, and created, the painful circumstances I kept repeating.

Medication didn’t make sense for me, mostly (I tried Zoloft for a couple months after a horrible breakup, with no intention of staying on it longer than it took to break out of the suicidal phase, and it made my brain spasm and was super fucking creepy).

Like most everything in my life, my mental problems weren’t consistent, and for me, I am so very thankful I faced what I did without getting caught up in the medication cycle. Two years later, I’d find suddenly that I had some other disease that was causing my misery. I can’t imagine what a fucking rodeo trying to medicate me would have been.

What was actually happening for me, I came to find, and which exactly zero psychologists pointed out, was that as I healed and became honestly self aware (as opposed to debilitatingly self critical and constantly trying to dig out the evil black core of me and stab it in the throat until it died) the outward and internal symptoms of my traumas changed flavor.

I thought I was a lost cause, a lot of the time, but what I was experiencing was progress. My anecdotal and professional observation is that trauma, especially for people who have formed in many types of it, seems like it should all feel the same, trigger the same set of responses in a nice tidy list (protip: there are no nice tidy lists). But each experience is locked away, and responded to, uniquely.

I really got clear about this in my bodywork practice and with my interactions with clients: If we’re doing it right, the pain moves. It changes once the shoulder girdle is attended to, moves into the ribs, the hips, knees, or maybe the neck. The quality adjusts, the locations shift, and once one thing is addressed another takes the opportunity to ask for attention.

It’s the same with mental and emotional struggle, and we don’t give ourselves room for that enough. Knowing this gives me mixed, conflicting feelings about the mental health industry. Long term, and as my only form of psychic hygiene when I first decided to get help, I found nothing more enabling of my caustic personal vendetta with myself than the brutal, over-intellectualized Western model of psychological therapy.

I am critical of its resistance to acknowledging the disembodied grief we share as a species and a collective, as well.

I had many, many levels to slog through before I got to an actual clearing in my personal work. I ran around in self defeating circles for years, it seemed. Sometimes I still do. Sometimes it’s all I can do. But not all the time, anymore. And that really counts for something when hurting myself was all I used to have.

It all came down to, rather than this cocktail of mental illnesses I supposedly had to blame, an inability to process and complete grief. Grief recovery skills (I talk about it here: http://artfultouch.info/grief-recovery/) and PTSD-specific therapy for the consequences of knowing nothing but misinformation about it for so long, were the key elements that a lot of other very valuable, helpful patchwork experiences were missing.

And still, I struggle. I want to say that having these tools gave me a happily ever after, and sometimes it even does feel that way for a while. But I am an empath, and our species is dying. I am sensitive, and I’ve rarely had a chance to heal from one trauma before another has come. I experience glimpses of comfort which fade, or less ideally, explode in my face.

Sometimes progress is taking a few steps back into the fire after walking into a dead end; a feeling I know all too well. Sometimes progress is never making it to an end goal. Sometimes progress is just surviving a whole entire life.

Stop telling people that no one will love them until they love themselves. That they are broken or inferior or somehow bereft of human connection until such time as their issues are resolved. 

Stop planting the idea in peoples heads that they are unworthy of love due to their struggles.
Stop holding ‘love’ up as the be all end all standard of human existance at the expense of being awake, taking in and processing a whole other spectrum of emotional wisdom. 

Stop listening to these out of touch, privileged assholes

But more importantly, and this is what I am finally feeling some relief from recently; stop saying that shit to yourself about you. 

Stop holding yourself and others to the inherently abusive concept of perfection.

Being incapable of being loved is not the same thing as being incapable of receiving love. 

You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.

You are allowed to be both profoundly lovable and profoundly unable to receive that love in its fullness, at the same time.

Love means so many things, looks like so many things, and is so often passed off as things it really isn’t

Learn what love means to you. Accept that can be a life-long task for people like us. As you go, learn to treat yourself with that love

Along the way, others can and will share with you, and direct their concepts of love toward you; for better, and for worse.

There are infinite definitions, and infinite applications of love; You are lovable just the way you are, whether you are content with being that way, or not.

These dreams go on

At times in my life (historically when I’ve been very cyclicly stressed and/or surfacing a trauma or transformation), my dreams hang on after I’ve woken up. Along with lucid and recurring dreaming, there have been times I will wake from a dream, open my eyes, sit up, and still be seeing the dream scene as a transparent holograph in the room I’m in.

Like when you trick your own depth perception looking at a mesh ceiling to make it appear very close to you, I am able to hold the image easily. The actual experience is disorienting and gets uncomfortable, though. I want reality, to touch it. Usually, I break the dream fairly quickly by reaching my hand out in front of my face, obstructing my depth perception, and the dream scene will fade off and disappear.

I’d all but forgotten that I’ve been doing this over the last year, until my super weird night last night (proceeding a pretty fucking dark and intense week), which I will only talk in detail about one on one because it was that god damn strange. It involved salt, nearly a decade of cumulated synchronicity, feeling wind that was not actually there, two days of cleansing fire, draining a psychic wound, being stung by a wasp, and the quiet support of my new friend: The spider that lives in the bathroom of this dusty, haunted cabin.

I’ve been completely enamored with her in a way I have not felt attached to spiders before, and rarely feel attached in general. I talk with her when I see her and call her a pretty girl and take pictures of her. She is my friend, and I care for her deeply. It took over a week of this for me to remember; A few times a month, I’d say, and often in successions over the course of days, I will wake up in the van, looking at a spider.

Sometimes she is in my bed. Other times, just floating. I wake up, and I feel her there. I feel she is a she. I can see her through my eyelids, sitting on whatever it is I am facing, or, if nothing is close enough to me for her to be perched on, floating in front of my face.

She, and my surroundings, become more clear as I move from sleep to wake. I know when I open my eyes I will still see her. I open them and I see her — AND I see my surroundings accurately, just like I knew I would before I opened my eyes. The folds in my blanket are correct, or the view of my keyboard covered in a towel and piled with things I should have put away by now is correct. She is solid and also partially transparent. I know she is not “real”.

Over the course of a few beats, I am smiling inside as she fades away.

These are the days I wake, feeling seen.

me, Clayton, rape.

me, Clayton, rape.

It wasn’t rape because that’s what he growled at me the first time he overwhelmed and coerced me when I’d just said I wanted to wait before we started having sex together.
It wasn’t rape because he’d only gone down on me and fingered me and heroically resisted sticking his cock in my body.
It wasn’t rape because when he walked out without fucking me, saying “That’s all I wanted”, licking his lips at my door, I smirked.

It wasn’t rape because if it had been rape it wouldn’t have signified the start of a long term relationship.
It wasn’t rape because I came so many times, every time.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to do things I’d said I was uncomfortable with after he said over and over that he needed them.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to try things I was scared of and it would be my fault he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.
It wasn’t rape because we were “the power couple”
It wasn’t rape because he was the “top”

It wasn’t rape because I tried to leave him 7 fucking times and kept going back.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected I was with a sex addict and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was a sociopath and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape, because he was cheating, and it has to be one or the other.
It wasn’t rape because gaslighting.
It wasn’t rape because manipulation.
It wasn’t rape because power struggle.

It wasn’t rape because ‘his sexual needs’
It wasn’t rape because I became accustomed to never not having sex when we were together.
It wasn’t rape because he made sure I got off before he did.
It wasn’t rape because any critique of his treatment of me was immediately escalated to my accusing him of it and rape is a bad, bad word.

It wasn’t rape because I’d done the same toward others and couldn’t face it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew I’d ‘met my match’ in him.
It wasn’t rape because I was trying to be less controlling — surrendering was the whole point.
It wasn’t rape because we were ‘sex positive’

It wasn’t rape because I was already damaged.
It wasn’t rape because I had to be Good, Giving and Game
It wasn’t rape because I was learning.
It wasn’t rape because I was getting what I deserved.
It wasn’t rape because love is hard.

It wasn’t rape because my life revolved around being good at sex.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was in love with Zita, and not me.
It wasn’t rape because he bought me dinners and marathon texted.
It wasn’t rape because he invited me to meet his family.
It wasn’t rape because there was something wrong with me.

It wasn’t rape because losing my mind in that relationship was my fault.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who screamed and yelled
It wasn’t rape because I could see the scared little redhead boy he kept trying to cover up
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to make babies with him
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to marry him

It wasn’t rape because I let him get away with it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew no one would take my side.
It wasn’t rape because I’m not supposed to have to need anyone to take my side if I’m telling the truth.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to be in love with a rapist.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to have been a rapist.

It wasn’t rape because what about the theater we worked at together.
It wasn’t rape because it was my fault his ex’s wouldn’t talk with me about him
It wasn’t rape because all those other girls are just jealous of you, Courtnee.
It wasn’t rape because I was the dangerous one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the evil one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the powerful one.

It wasn’t rape because fighting for my sanity was exciting.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who was so fucked up I’d get suicidal
It wasn’t rape because when it all came crashing down, I was the one the ‘sex positive’ community ditched.
It wasn’t rape because he succeeded at peopling and I failed.

It wasn’t rape because the Judge clearly hated me and sided with him.
It wasn’t rape because his pretty ex girlfriend made amends with him just in time to show up in court by his side.
It wasn’t rape because the other woman he raped and then pretended didn’t exist ran and hung me out to dry.
It wasn’t rape because I needed to burn the shit he had given me and that’s just crazy.

me, Clayton, rape.

So I watched Jessica Jones on binge a few months ago. Alone.

I shouldn’t have been alone for something like that, but I didn’t expect for it to bother me so terribly.

It bothered me so. Fucking. Much. I hated her so. Fucking. Much. I spent the second half of that show vehemently wishing she would kill herself. I kept wanting to see her kill herself and when she did it I would have woken the neighborhood celebrating. I fucking hated her fucking dramatic drinking and her stupid decisions and I fucking hated how fucking weak and pathetic she was. I wanted to see her die.

I knew when I was watching it it was bringing up some massive shit, but I couldn’t figure out from where. It couldn’t have been from David. David was a fucking meatheaded boundary pushing fucking emotional moron who finally went too fucking far, not a god damn Major of Psychological Warfare like Killgrave.

So what the fuck was it? What the fuck was triggering me so badly?

Yeah. OH.

How did I write this, without seeing ^^^^^^ this ^^^^^^? I don’t know. I’m not supposed to know everything. But I’m going to Keep Going. I am, perhaps naively, looking forward to a time in my life when my gnashy, suicidal trauma surfacings don’t revolve around figuring out/remembering who in my distant past fucking raped me. This broken record shit is getting really, really old.

The one thing, I think, that’s saved my life most consistently, was learning that it will pass. Like really getting that. Doing the work to change how I talk to myself when I start feeling unlivable, that I won’t get through. And it’s always those quiet times, isn’t it, when those notions kick in. I swear, when I’m curled in bed in the ear piercing silent, locked in epic struggle with my self, what really saves me and keeps me hanging on through it, is the idea that some day soon I might have to rise up, and own the fuck out of a situation that most people who don’t deal with what I deal with imagine as deathfear worthy. I welcome that fucking strife. It gets me out of the place that’s actually dangerous.