I am astounded by the number of people I talk with who honestly believe that the road to ‘all one’ equality doesn’t necessitate the work of actually acknowleding and addressing the ways in which our societal structures have created unequal circumstances.
^^^^ This is what waking up clean, in a clean bed, that I can stretch out in, looks like. Thank you SO MUCH to my pals Michael and Jill for gifting me with a hotel room last night. I needed it. Lemmie tell ya why:
I’ve been coming to a clearing for a while, since I left Seattle of course, noticing the significance of the experiences I’ve been having. Playing a demigod version of myself possessed by a tormented 3000 year old genius intersex two spirit character for two solid months, for instance.
But I’ve really been feeling the true madness of it, since descending upon New Orleans.
I wrote my ex while there (agh fer fucks sake). And for a while, I thought my preoccupation with him meant many things, which maybe, they did. However, the process was moving so quickly that by the time I put a finger on it, what he represented for me had shifted again.
At the end of it, when I once again came to the conclusion that I’m not in any place to have any contact with that guy at all ever, I also realized that while I was healing and regaining traction after we split up, I had focused almost entirely on releasing — what did not belong to me, what did belong to me but was not serving me, on flushing out toxic shit and giving back positively in my wake, including a ritual burning of his letters and cards, which was focused on returning his soul to him so we could both move on.
I hadn’t considered that perhaps there was cause for me to take back fruits that belonged to ME. Things I needed, that could be fueling me were I to take ownership of them again.
I also hadn’t considered, yet, that maybe he wasn’t the person I needed to take those things back from. That maybe, the atonement or apology or recognition or even an actual conversation in the same god damn language I’d been harboring a deep desire for in those first weeks in New Orleans, seemingly to complete something with him, didn’t have anything to do with him at all.
Today I head to the beach to rekindle my connection with self care ritual and constellating. I am experiencing a lot of resistance, both in emotional response and in things like forgetfulness and confusion tracking simple steps. I recognize this is a time I need to work through that and loosen up whatever is binding me. I also recognize that I have never actually had any practices like this that weren’t bolstered by consistent communal support and in-person witness before. It (falsely) feels like I have no fucking idea what I am doing by myself and that is combining with my usual level of self consciousness and paralyzing me.
When my bestie dumped me just before leaving Seattle, it coincided with her plummet into a sex-positive magic and witchcraft cult-looking thing along with her husband, adding to her years-long allegiance with a healing community which had always felt alienating and inaccessible to me (based on the cost of their training, their jargon, and my persistent creeped out feeling about their leadership).
She also, years ago, began seeing my former psychotherapist (at my referral), which became a feeling of inaccessibility and betrayal for me as our friendship strained and ended.
This combined with my years of willingness and sharing of therapy concepts, my practice, my healing space, and encouraging her healing and growth for over a decade left me feeling bitter and used and discarded and, in response to the content of her Dear John letter to me, blamed for it.
Along with less accessibility to guidance and comforts like bath tubs which for many years was my main source of regeneration, this was a major part of what I closed myself off from after finding out what this person really thought of me — my interest and abilities in healing modalities.
That relationship falling away coincided with taking the break I needed after burning out in my practice, however the betrayals and most importantly my judgements surrounding all of that happening have been significantly blocking me from returning to my own practices.
Thoughts and good juju while I dig through that pile of shit are appreciated today.
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I wrote that 4 days ago, and that day was magnificent.
I went to that beach, walked the white sands, collecting shells that spoke to me as my feet went cleansed, and slightly numb.
I chose representatives, or rather they showed themselves, for parts of me I didn’t even understand, and parts of me that I knew immediately. Representative for what belongs to others, that I’ve held on to needlessly — one for the darkness, one for the light. Representative for my judgement, the hard, complete shell that kept me from allowing these things to move, kept me from doing any of this stuff for myself for as long as I’ve been resisting it.
From the moment I got to that beach, the mantra was clear: My healing belongs to me.
My healing belongs to me.
My healing belongs to me.
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I took those shells and I set them up as an alter in the bowels of Bella Stinkbutt and I smudged the living fuck out of myself, my van, my psyche.
I gonged my Tibetan singing bowl, rich with its own intense and growing story, and rejoiced in memories of my safe, comfortable healing space that always smelled so good, that always provided me a safe haven to break the fuck down. The space I held that also served others.
I sat on the dunes where the ocean met the sand, creating a perfect shelf where I could sit in inches of calm, yet reconstituting water, until I was acclimated and ready to swim. My skin lit up in crisp sparkles as I rinsed months worth of head to toe fucking bullshit, exfoliated and swept away by the salt of the sea, while a few confused old white people in sweatshirts looked on.
And I cooked myself some nourishing, tasty food, after a good week of having been eating garbage because while I was shopping for food I’d bought garbage.
The sun went down. I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I felt the significance and subtlety of the shifts that had happened by reconnecting with myself. I felt my body alive with ache I’d been previously unaware of, or ignoring. Again with my right side. Again with the masculine, with severity.
I made more good food. I smudged a bit more. I saw some great music.
I’m at The Green Door in Fort Walton listening to a space jam that reminds me of my favorite band: Archive. Nik Flagstar can fuckin own some drums! Rad shit happening here.
I slept. I dreamed. I woke. I nourished myself. I walked the beach. I worked my aching back and arm periodically with my theracane and racketballs. I got dressed up in my I Poop On Rape Culture leggings, and wore The Key necklace for the first time in a couple weeks, not really thinking about the significance of either. I went to see Hank and Cupcakes play at The Green Door here in Fort Walton, where I will also play tonight.
And then, it came. Waves. Crashing.
First, I was profoundly triggered when I saw someone who reminded me very much of the former friend of mine who molested me in my sleep in my teens. I left the show, immediately, pacing and crying outside the venue before retreating to the van. I do not have memory of ever seeing a person, certainly not in the last 20 years or so, that caused me to return to that place like I had just then. It was overpowering and demanding of my full attention.
The story of this person was the one I most recently read my writing about and had to take a long, hard pause. I wasn’t taken aback by the events, per say — I am very familiar with them — but I was taken aback by my writing. How I had viewed it, when I wrote it, and how differently I view myself now. How painful it was to see part of me that responded to that happening to me with behaviors that hurt so, so many people.
It was also the story that, while working through what came up for me in revisiting it, brought clarity to the fact that the book project is about my healing, and virtually nothing else.
And once I worked through that trigger, literally coughing and dry heaving up what was presenting visually to me as black, sooty tendrils, what rose like oil on water was the layer of understanding that I had done, when that friend violated me at a time I was so vulnerable, what my ex had done when I had been raped.
I sympathized with him. Empathized with him. More than I did myself.
I refused to believe what he’d done was really that bad.
I voiced outrage, but in my cockles, I thought it was my fault. For being desirable. For being powerful. For being enticing, and asleep.
I felt conflicting emotions, but ultimately, I was convinced I wanted nothing more than I wanted for things to go back to the way they had been.
I pleaded with him to come back when he rightfully withdrew from me.
I was so desperate not to lose my friend, I refused to acknowledge he had already been lost.
I was so desperate for control, I refused to acknowledge that loss wasn’t my fault.
The dry heaves gave way. And under them, This:
It’s fairly universally frowned upon, at least in terms of people whose opinions I have tended to value on these sorts of matters, to dehumanize those who have hurt you with their behavior.
I struggle with this especially in terms of intimate relationships gone bad.
But personally, I’m developing an appreciation for my compulsion to do this. Part of me fucking hates humanizing, relating to people who have done some heinousass shit. Because while the draw is still there, while I’m still attached enough to be converting that attachment into anger, I am doing it out of protection.
The moment they are human to me again, rather than a one-dimensional fucking maliciously meatheaded hurtful fucking weasel, I am at great risk of also opening up again. Because that attachment still exists, and is still a strong force in the forefront of my psyche, which is fraught with decades of conditioning from abandonment, mental abuse, and scarcity.
Those moments of foreshadowing forgiveness, of understanding, of relating and humility so often open me up just enough to give them the opportunity to remind me in vivid, gory detail that they are, in fact, not fucking humane, at all.
My severity conceals and protects the level of mercy I am capable of.
Then, the next day, I discovered a message in my ‘you don’t actually wanna fuck wid dis’ folder on my facebook, from a creep statutory rapist I dated in my teens, whose account should have been fucking blocked, who still, twenty one god damn years later, periodically sends shit to me that starts like this:
“Hi there, person I thought would never turn on me. Do you still hate me for loving you? Giving you space after you dumped my ass? Taking the time to track you down now and then?”
This person, I’d all but forgotten about, until David Bowie died, and suddenly, people were finally keen on talking about the Lori Maddox interview that had been published for months. Even then, it was simply a recognition that my perceptions of that interview were colored by personal experience that I had not yet folded into my evolving definition of rape, or consent.
With my rekindled connection with myself, the support of people in my community who are familiar with the methods I use to process surfacing traumas and triggers, and the floodgates I opened by letting some of my walls move, these things passed. And once they had passed, mostly what was left was the feeling of being in sync, again.
In synch. A thing that I’ve felt like a privileged, entitled asshole at the thought of being in touch with in part as a side effect of the ways in which I have engaged in social justice the last few years. It took me disengaging from that cult of personality to be able to connect with this part of me again, a part of me that I had become ashamed of for having the resources to develop when others around me, who are just as deserving and worthy of that resource as me, do not.
Woke up from dreams because of the sense of welling up to cry. I was feeling the metaphysical experience of letting go of something in a line of more something’s. I woke up to a perpetually long face, needing to poop and pee, with a desperate sense of needing to get to the beach. Here now. Oof.
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All this writhing, scrambling, sadness, defeat. All this expectation, impatience, discomfort. All this hope for belonging, wishing away my skin in an attempt to really feel. All this sanding off my edges, quieting my voice, stifling my role as a leader in an effort to know what it feels to fit inside your contours, your communities, your group thinking. All that shit.
Fuck that shit.
It takes a lifetime, to know yourself. But I know enough right now to understand that I am doing just fucking fine.
Originally posted to my Patrons at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4470079
Right now I am hanging out in the van with the side door open, out of the wind but in the sun from my waist down. The temperature is perfect like this, mid 60’s and cloudless, and I still have lots of time left in my day to do fuckall before heading to a show to see Hank and Cupcakes tonight.
My days right now consist of mostly resting, reading fantasy, practicing music, working my grumpy back with a theracane and racketballs, eating, my return to self care rituals/smudging/affirmations, and walking along white sand beach barefoot while wrapped in a blankie.
And the internets, of course.
I am finding it possible to kill time here easily without spending money, which I desperately need for a couple of months to recover from NOLA. People in general don’t bother me unless I approach them, I haven’t been getting hassled or hit up on the regular, and the beaches are damn near deserted, which are all immensely relieving changes.
I am having periodic moments of clarity and stillness in and around the water, which is proving to be wonderfully cold, and which is reminding me that while I am skilled and familiar with managing abrupt transitions, I am often much more satisfied and less triggered by taking my time.
Yap, it’s true — the earth is changing, we’re all dying, and everything is fucked — but it’s ok. I am having vivid, cinematic, meaningful and encouraging archetypal dreams that are aligning with other indications that I may have, finally, cleared through some major shit in terms of my recent cocooning, and I feel much more willing and able to be myself — which resembles Kali and Akhilandeshvari catfighting in a steel box — again.
Giant silver alligator blocking a doorway. I have a broom. The silver alligator pike eel thing can jump very high. Large blonde viking lady appears as I fight, eventually remarking that she hasn’t seen me in thousands of years, around the same time I find out her alligator thingie has jurrasic park gill wings that can cause it to hover in the air for a few moments. We’re both good natured and somewhat natural but I don’t trust her cause her pet is trying to eat me and I dislike that she thinks she knows shit about me when I’m god damn 37 and I’ve never met her before. Silver gilled pike eel alligator thingie is slow and predictable but does eventually take my broom, which viking lady then rides, along with him, and I grumble that she’s a fuckin witch. We stop fighting and discuss things. She insists that I have to cook a small chunk of what looks like top ramen soup, pour it into a bowl with what looks like grated cheese (probably wood pulp and cellulose, according to a recent scandal!) and ‘choose some’ to, what I instinctively expect, turn into allies of some sort for whatever stupid side quest journey I have to go on next. We talk about items I need and call another person, someone who I sense is a man, and discuss pickup times. It turns out that the day she wants is better for him to drop off, and as I am realizing the van has gotten too warm in the sun and am waking up I hear her tell him a drop off address in Manhattan, reminding me of Blair Hopkins . My last pull from the dream is endearment and excitement at spending some time doing things with viking lady for the next few days.
I’ve also made some significant strides in processing a few emotionally and mentally violent interactions I had with a couple of former friends, which I found had been blocking me from pursuing anything spiritual, healing or ‘magic’ related in my self care based upon unconscious associations with occult and groupthink community I’d maintained in response to their behavior.
I’ve also loosened the social justice noose I’d placed around my neck when I decided, also unconsciously, that I wouldn’t have been raped and betrayed by my lovers two years ago had I been a nicer person, a more open person, a more tolerant person, a more perfect person. Social evolution is still at the core of my interests and passions, but not in the unsustainable, violent, and self destructive way I had been going about it since all that happened.
Things are good here.
How are you?
Originally posted to my Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4413008
Mississippi: OH EM GEE you’re heeeeere omg yay! Here, have a welcome center with all kinda free camping with picnic benches and spigots and shit and a FUCKING NASA SPACE CENTER!!
Alabama: Fuck you. Welcome center closed.
Florida: Fuck you. Show us your vegetables. Then welcome center, maybe. Also toll roads. Also palm trees. Also fuck you. — Facebook
The above selfie was taken in the divey bathroom at The Handlebar last night in Pensacola, where I played an impromptu show for a tiny, tiny audience in a mostly empty bar. I got a nice fueling practice in and made my beer money back.
New Orleans shaped me as a musician. It is different now; stronger. More solid. More joy in it. Truly beginning to embrace and simultaneously transmute the darkness. Thank you for that. I like being a performer. I just needed to figure out what kind of performer I am. It’s taking a while, but I think I am well on my way, now.
Here are some amazing pictures of me doing my thing, taken by an amazing man: http://neevita.net/louis-maistros-lower-decatur-street-new-orleans/
And here is some soul healing no nonsense darkness for anyone who might be feeling the pitch lonely creeping in today, or know someone who is: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/14927
I plan to be in Florida playing and enjoying the weather/beach for a bit, then moving up northish. I’ve shifted my long term plan, and will be back in WA state this summer rather than heading all the way up to the NE. I need to see a doctor about a few things and get my motorcycle sold.
Keep Going is a year old today. It is an album I released last valentines day about healing, heartbreak, patriarchy, sexism and rape culture, which is surprisingly soothing and, if I may say so, well-crafted. It’s well suited for the day particularly if valentines gives you the intense desire to side eye the fuck out of everything.
In a somewhat fitting turn of events, on the same day as Keep Going’s first birthday, Wounded was played on That Indie Thing with Rob on sinwebradio.com! As far as I know, this is my first radio play from the album. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1182534628424252
Also, Reverbnation keeps sending me emails complaining that my ranks are slipping. So, this seems like a good time to mention that there’s a pretty decent sampling of original music up there including most of my originals from Keep Going and a couple of my old ambient electronic tracks. It is representative but also not too long. If you wanna go stream ’em and give RN something happy to mail me about I wouldn’t mind. :)
I’ll be picking from my Feb 14th random pool of $15 a month and above potential art receivers and notifying the winner today. $5 and above Patrons: Also look for another Seven Deadly Days of Naked (SDDN) post in a few minutes.
Glad you’re all here with me,
So back in the day, in 2004 or so, when I was married to a Microsoft guy and still had snazzy health care, I finally went to a butt specialist doctorguy to find out why it had bled and hurt every time I took a shit since I was a teenager.
It had taken me about 10 years to realize that it wasn’t actually normal to go blind with pain when taking a shit, but if I am honest, back then, I really just wanted my prolapses looked at because they were embarrassing and messing up my slut groove. I wanted to know why I was developing flowery little bulbs on my asshole and get them snipped off.
I had been misdiagnosed countless times by gynecologists who told me I had hemorrhoids, but once I went to the ButtMan I found out that what I had was an anal fissure; a tear in my rectum that kept breaking open and hadn’t healed for a decade.
I made jokes for a few years after getting the surgery, a lateral internal sphincterotomy, in which part of the internal anal musculature is shaved off to deal with overzealous tension, that my problem was just that I was a tight ass.
And that was, literally, my problem. After years of pain and consistent constipation I had taken to both squeezing and pushing at the same time. It was a weird, futile attempt to both squeeze down the giant unforgiving logs I was passing and attempt not to rip myself open again. It never worked. And periodically, usually from a hangover or the aftermath of a massive meth binge, I’d get buttvomit that seemed to irritate things even more. It was, in a word, prettyfuckingawful.
I remember the first poop I took after the surgery, and how afraid I was that it was going to hurt even more. I was told to stay relaxed at all costs but I was petrified at how much it might hurt. I literally cried when it actually slid out pain free. I couldn’t remember ever having that feeling before. It was magic. It was such a fucking relief. I didn’t even know it could be like that.
Keeping the possibility of pain free shitting in my life was one of the catalysts for the massive undertaking which ended up being years of focused food experimentation and figuring out what actually fueled my body. Part of the reason I wasn’t in agony that day was based on my post-surgery diet.
It also was one of the catalysts for getting into psychotherapy the year after, leading down the lifelong path of ultimately addressing and acknowledging the years, and I now realize, centuries, of collective trauma that I had been trying to shut out with the drug and alcohol binges.
Eventually, my conventional therapy experience along with ‘alternative’ indigenous and grief related work ended up bringing me to where pooping is actually a release meditation for me. I release what no longer serves me through it. I visualize what I want to release or connect metaphysically with it, or choose a symbol to represent what I am ready to let go of and I literally shit it out of my body.
This was a practice that came to me organically (haha), ended up being how I kept my sanity after David raped me before testing positive for HPV and I was having dreams of thick primordial slime dripping off his insect-swarmed dick. I shit those infectious fuckers out every day, sometimes twice a day. My poop was my ally when both of the men in my life had fallen beyond short. It was glorious.
My poop is still my ally, but it’s telling me things I don’t want to hear right now. It’s been a month since I haven’t bled, I’m going every 4 days maybe, and it’s been since the shed that I was consistently regular. It doesn’t matter how much water I drink or how many fucking apples I eat, it’s like passing stones through a fucking esophagus every time right now. Because I am stressed, on the move and transitionary all the time. Like literally all the fucking time.
So here’s the thing. I get that I’m not the most happy go lucky person basically ever, and that right now I’m voicing a lot of the shit that’s really grating on me about the world. There are a lot of people who actually know me/have met me and recognize that the Facebook thing isn’t the totality of my existence, but a lot of you probably don’t understand that not only is this my venting space, it’s also my main source of superficial social interaction and release. I spend a lot of time alone, on here, or with people I don’t actually know. I spend a lot of time stressing and driving around. I spend a lot of time thinking really fucking hard about how I could possibly ever maneuver my privileges, my values, my talents, my passions and my needs with integrity in a world that often seems hellbent on molding me into something I’m not. And, lately, I spend a lot of time how I’m not pooping.
And like some of you who’ve mentioned lately, and thank you for that, what I am doing is not fucking easy. It’s not glamorous. It’s not stable. Freedom isn’t fucking free. There’s a reason so many people never break out of the status quo to explore the truth of themselves or the possibility of embodying something different.
Seriously man I just wanna fuckin’ poop right.
I will be the first person to caution fantastical daydreamers that I have not chosen an easy life, and I didn’t fit myself into a van on a whim, but after over a decade of culling and evolution. Even then the transition wasn’t simple or painless.
I had a couple breakthroughs the last two days: not only did I finally get my electro music set up semi-permanently, I also figured out how to get my makeshift dresser under the platform rather than in front of it while still being able to access the crates in the back.
I can do situps and downward dogs indoors now. It has been taking an impressive amount of time (6 months) and a lot of seemingly wasted days sitting with the van torn apart thinking really hard about how to get another square foot of usable space out of each culling, to get this far.
Not gonna lie; I cried a little. — and heartfelt gratitude for all of my patrons, without whom none of this would be possible. (Join us at http://patreon.com/courtnee)
But I get to plan my cooking around when the sun shines.
I have the satisfaction that, even with how gratingly fucking annoying the ridiculous, inhumane factions of society are to me, the direction of my life is firmly aligned and pointing in the direction of my integrity.
I find joy to the point of tears in that first night sleeping on clean, fresh sheets.
I astound myself with being able to get by, even rather comfortably, using very few resources.
I am relieved to be living in a way that I do not rely on my relationship with one person or the employment of one company to sustain me.
I am amazed at how rarely I actually honestly need a shower.
I amuse myself with my creativity and ingenuity, even if the results of it don’t look very flashy or fancy most of the time.
I’m happy that when I am called to move on from a place, I can leave.
I am happy that when I am called to stay put, I have a place of my own where I can do that.
I am grateful for the perspectives I am shedding and gaining about comfort, about need, about boundaries and solitude.
I am pleased at how many people I am meeting and visiting that I would normally not get to meet or see.
I am impressed that, though my productivity isn’t exactly where I’d like it, I am still creating and performing art while transforming the way I live.
I am tickled by how simplifying has brought me closer to each of my needs and processes, from sleep to food to pooping in plastic bags.
I am proud of how often I accomplish the ability to do something I once took for granted, and how often I think to myself “hot damn, I think I might actually be getting the hang of this.”
I’ve spent a fair amount of effort over the last few years both examining and actively resisting the teachings of patriarchy, both in a larger social setting and in my personal interactions within my life.
Being rooted in thousands of years of our conditioning, so much so that it’s largely invisible (even though obnoxious examples of it are everywhere) has made this a daunting, longwinded task.
I have found that misogyny, in particular, is the basis for most of our insult humor and one-upmanship, along with ableism, transphobia, racism and a lot of other really fucked up stuff… and that’s something I continue to work to change about how I interact with other people, as well as what I will tolerate from those around me.
As anyone who has had a longtime friend change their name (or gender!) would probably attest, changing our normalized language is a slog, especially doing it against the grain of contemporary society. It is work to challenge the familiar degrading elements of the language we use, the roots of that degradation, and to consider the deeper origins that are meant when we say things like gay and pussy and bitch to put someone else down.
If you’re doing it right, examining and experimenting with this will separate you in some ways from who you’ve identified as being, as well as the people who you identify with through that shared language. Not only are you losing what has likely become an unconscious method of self-amusing expression, the words themselves don’t often stop being funny, convenient, or sounding right for a damn long time.
It’s a learning process, a long-term practice, and honey, you *will* fuck it up.
Here are a few pointers I have based on my personal adventures in shedding normalized language of internalized misogyny:
1) Speak more slowly and think of alternatives. I found that part of the struggle is the expectation to be as quick and witty and snappy and concise. I want to be as sharp as I was when shit just fell out of my mouth, while simultaneously deconstructing my entire identification with humor, anger, and its superficial language usages. In order to honestly examine my habits, I had to slow down.
It may be helpful to name and acknowledge this: By transforming your language in this way, you’re working on converting your unconscious oppressive behaviors in terms of the words, hierarchal value assumptions, and coping mechanisms you’ve probably used for a very long time.
It’s going to take effort and experimentation and practice to find a voice that reflects the new layer of who you want to be in the world, if you even quite know what that is yet.
Also? Real life isn’t an Aaron Sorkin series, and you don’t have to converse like you’re starring in one. So give yourself a beat in face to face conversation before blurting something out. Give yourself 30 seconds to think of a different word than ‘pussy’ online, even if it doesn’t sound as flashy or feel as edgy. And give yourself the right to remain silent. It’s counter intuitive, and will take discipline, and may seem risky; however, you might find that people appreciate your pause and consideration, rather than having to hear, yet again, how degrading and awful it supposedly is to be female.
2) Recognize that giving up offensive, othering verbiage is a vulnerable position to be in. All of a sudden, you are being faced with saying what you, or something closer to what you, *actually mean*, rather than leveraging posturing slang as a barrier.
This is especially true if you are coming out of the ‘I don’t agree with the language of misogyny but I still use that language to stick it to people who honestly believe that shit’ phase of cognitive dissonance assbuttness (more on my experience with this phase here: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/19931).
Generally, when you look at what you’re actually trying to condemn in a person by calling them a pussy, the truth isn’t much prettier. That’s some shit, right there. And when people around you are questioning lazy, painful use of language, consider that what they’re asking for is your courage to be more authentic with them.
For me, I found it beneficial to be authentic first and foremost about how clumsy and unpracticed I am at treating people with respect. Cause as ugly as that is, the truth is that it’s new for me and often times it doesn’t come naturally, especially when I am super pissed off or feeling threatened.
3) Give yourself a break. If you are catching yourself upon re-read, catching yourself upon call-in/out, or are getting that cannonball gut when you hear the word slip out of your mouth, you are on the right track. Own that track, respectfully, when you’ve slipped up. And remember that other people are responsible for their reactions to things, but they also aren’t required to give you a metal for recognizing that what you just said was some tired, oppressiveass shit.
And the people who do congratulate and encourage your newfound awareness? KEEP THOSE PEOPLE.
4) Keep going. Know what’s also oppressive, shaming, and corrosive compliance to a profoundly traumatizing, sexuality stigmatizing, dehumanizing gender ideal?
Calling someone a dick.
Once you get the hang of chilling out on the feminine-degrading insults, or even maybe before, think about whether it’s worth it to you to give the toxic-masculine ones a shot also. Because at the end of the day, they are two sides of the same coin, and body shaming, gender binaural, dehumanizing patriarchy is hurting everyone. In an age where we are learning how vast and various gender and sexuality really are, my goal, personally, is to stop using our sexual organs as insults all together.
Wish me luck!
“I am starting to tire of these memes and these standards. I am beginning to feel as though the stringent ‘enlightened’ perfectionism in what ‘relationship’ is supposed to look like and what love is supposed to look like is just as damaging as other dehumanizing expectations inherent in society. I look at these standards and I wonder where the hell the person is, and where the social environment comes into play. Who the fuck talks without intention? What even is that? If I wanted to approach life like an unattached non-structured ghost shell I would go be a fuckin monk in a vacuum where I might actually be able to accomplish reducing myself to that. Otherwise, I no longer see these ideals as attainable or even remotely empowering. I especially dislike these supposed values when they are placed in expectation upon women, who are historically supposed to somehow be whole people, but also be the empty containers of infinitely flexible nurturance for all of society. For whatever reasons and because of wherever I am at, this really rubbed me the wrong way.
And by ‘starting to tire’ I actually mean I am so fucking done.
Like seriously fuck this meme.” — Facebook
I’ve been contemplating my strengths lately.
Which is different from what I am usually doing, which is attempting to bolster and improve upon my deficiencies — enough so that I’d actually come to view the incessant practice of striving toward the improvement of my flaws as my core strength (it’s not).
You’d think, with how long and hard the road has been, and how many backslides I’ve experienced, that perhaps I wasn’t really designed for loving. And I’ve said/accepted as much, before, usually as a way to make myself feel like shit.
But funny, how I’ve not really come to terms with this objectively, in regards to what ‘love’ actually even MEANS.
When I am honest with myself, it is clear as day; To most anyone’s standards, including my own, I’ve never, ever ‘loved’ anyone. Not a single fucking person.
And yet, I’ve told people I loved them.
Whatever the hell that meant at the time…
And until now, I’d maintained that I had been in love, while also maintaining that I do not know how to love.
I spent most of my young life putting up with shit from people who I knew didn’t meet my standards. Then I spent a chunk of my adult life markedly alone trying to calibrate my radar to detect even one person I could love with unconditional acceptance. So I could finally prove to myself and to all of you and to the people who’ve ditched me in my life for not being good enough that I had learned to ‘love’ the ‘right’ way, the enlightened selfless malleable accepting unattached spiritual perfection way everyone tells me, and themselves, is the correct way to do it.
Well, I am done with that horseshit. I’m done trying to do it your way.
My love is god damn fucking conditional. In fact, my love is downright fucking finicky. My love doesn’t look like the bosom of squishy motherly space making sacrifice that many people, including myself, seem to want love to look like.
My love doesn’t look like the fantasy love your mommy never gave you, and *it’s never fucking going to*.
My love looks like I give a fuck about you when generally I don’t bother with most people.
My love looks like I am intimately encouraging and engaged with you when I am not that for the rest of the fucking world.
My love looks like being invested in your growth.
My love looks like the truth when you wanna hear some kind of placating watered down bullshit.
My love looks like having your phone number saved in my phone for longer than a minute.
My love looks like dropping everything to help you when you’re fucked sideways or stranded somewhere.
My love looks like I actually reach out to you myself sometimes.
My love is for sale.
My love comes and goes, and at any point in time, you might be the direct recipient, or you might not.
My love doesn’t mean I set myself aside for you, or that my space is always your space. My love doesn’t mean I won’t swipe at you when you’re acting like a fucking asshat or playing out oppression dynamics on me. My love doesn’t mean I’m going to meld my everything with your everything and be attached to your hip. My love isn’t reserved to be focused in one way or in one direction. My love is a droplet of silkspun supermoon primordial spit trickling out of a unicorns cunt, not blasting like a fucking firehose 24/7 for your fucking convenience.
That’s what my love fucking looks like.
But in actuality, I’m also done with calling any of that ‘love’. Because that fucking word has caused me more interpersonal grief than any other word in our entire fucking language.
That word has been used against me to punish me for not loving right, completely enough, fast enough, long enough, for not doing what YOU wanted me to do.
That word is a fucking un-fileable non-entity with the weight of the entire fucking universe attached to it, and I ain’t got time for it.
I’ve used that word to project unrealistic and subconscious expectations on others. And myself. HOLY SHIT myself. I’ve used peoples inability to live up to my evershifting concept of that word as justification for punishing people who didn’t do things my way. And I have had the same done to me.
Aside from the impressive number of people who have used their ‘love’ for me as rationalization for doing shit like raping me, gaslighting me, lying to me, manipulating me, dumping me on my ass, stringing me along — or the impressive number of people for whom my ‘love’ has meant all of that and a sense of possession or resent-laden self sacrifice or both — when I say that word, there is an exceptionally high probability that whoever I am saying it to won’t actually know what the fuck I am talking about anyway.
They will instantly decide what my love means in a vacuum in their own heads. They will decide it means they’ve found a fantasy others never gave them or relate it in comparison to what other people who are nothing like me project love to look like and then punish themselves and me for not living the fuck up to it.
Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the fuck I am talking about when I say it. Sometimes I say I love you to explain away, cop out, or to make my emotions or actions someone else’s problem to figure out. Cause ‘love’, a word that speaks of mental state, emotion, action, intention, and a whole clusterfuck of other intersecting ideals and performative concepts, is just something that’s supposed to be understood, somehow. Even though it doesn’t fucking MEAN anything concrete or directly referencable and it shows up differently in everyone.
And in my experience, even when the meanings behind ‘love’ are intentionally explored, that equates to fuckall in reality. Because all that unconscious heavy overrated fantasy crosscrossing shit that word holds uniquely for each person is engaged in their consciousness already, instantly, filtering, and selectively deciding how to fill in the rest.
So no more “I love you”s. No more of that lazy confusingass shit. I may not be great at ‘loving’ the right way but I AM great at expressing and articulating my emotions in terms that actually make fucking sense, mean something tangible, and don’t open a spring loaded door into my fucking face.
I need just one catchall word in my vocabulary, that can speak to a great many number of various things and bring me a constant stream of emphasis, expression and amusement. That glorious word, is fuck.
So that’s my current language exercise, now. No more “I love”. Instead, I am working on describing in detail, in words that illustrate actual things, what it is I actually mean.
In so many ways, we were profoundly comfortable and well suited. And you were so nice to me. Affectionate, generous, caring. Dedicated. Loving. Available. Consistent.But too consistent. Frozen in carbonate consistent. Unwilling, if it meant loosening your utter strangle hold, the compulsive denial, the tamping down of your darkness, that actually ran the show.
You implied that you were imperfect, occasionally, with a heaviness that illustrated the shame you carry. Alluded once or maybe twice that you had vague flaws and sinister qualities. But save for superficial, polite faux paus, not once did you ever admit to one. Ever. Not once did you have that courage.
But I felt them. I knew they were there. They hurt me sometimes, but that never changed how I cared for you. You may think that because I am gone now they scared me, but they didn’t. You saw mine, also, and it never changed how you cared for me, either.
But the difference was that I acknowledged myself. You couldn’t give yourself that with me. So we couldn’t share in it together. The vulnerability and effort in that imperative bond only went one way.
That’s what scared me. That’s what ultimately became my decision to be whole with myself, rather than fractioned, and forever reaching, for you.
I’ve been on the road for over 6 months now. Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned.
- The single most important aspect of traveling long term in a vehicle is having a comfortable place to sleep.
- People as a whole are simultaneously much cooler in general, and occasionally also much more fucked in the face, than a settled familiarity might have you believe.
- Unscented baby wipes, while not entirely sustainable/earth friendly, are one of those industrial world things I am not going to give up. When dried out, theym ake great firestarters. Also: ALWAYS keep your extra napkins.
- A spray bottle of lightly fragranced water within reach is a godsend when you live in a van with no amenities or air conditioning, and are a great substitute for running-water showering. When it’s extra hot, like when I was working outdoors in Austin Texas in the dead of summer, adding about 20% alcohol to a bottle of water makes the cooling effect more pronounced.
- Trapping a sweatshirt in a rolled up window and driving around a bit does, in fact, do wonders for getting rid of the smell of smoke from ones clothing.
- A tiny bottle of lightly scented hand sanitizer works great for smelly arm pits between spraybottle showers, and has allowed me to use cancer stick deodorant very sparingly, generally only during ‘that time’ of the month when even two showers a day wouldn’t fend off the pitfunk.
- Keep every zip-lock bag that comes with anything you buy. Not only are they absolutely essential to making your first human poop pickup a bearable experience by giving you a method of hermetically sealing the doobag until you find a trash can somewhere, they are great for stinkyfood trash, storage, and keeping things dry in your ice chest.
- Have an ice chest.
- Keep grocery bags, too. They are good for trash, the aforementioned poop scooping incident, and also keeping the neverending trickle of things you realize you don’t actually need/want to give away organized. I have about half the crap I started my trip with.
- If you are a woman/penilely challenged, get yourself a pstyle. Changed my entire world.
- Thermos. You need one. Make it a good one.
- The dead of night is the best time to get shit done. Also night shift waitresses in 24 hour diners really appreciate people who are not being drunk assholes and sometimes offer to fill your thermos with road coffee for you.
- Hiking pack > Rolling suitcase.
- Grocery store > Fast food.
- Wherever you go, there you are.
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” — Audre Lorde
I woke up this morning missing my bed. I’d had that bed for 14 years and loved it that entire time. It had been a bed lifted off the floor with various frames and posts and it had been a mattress on the ground and in those and in all the incarnations in between it was still perfect. It was soft but not too soft and thick but not too thick. It was the perfect size for me and small enough that not only could I manage to fit it most anywhere I moved to, I rarely invited anyone into it hastily. Along with my bed I miss my cats, both feline and human, who so often spent time in it with me. It was ripped and stained but still fresh and lovely after all that time. I miss my my ancient pale gold and olive green striped heavy comforter that I’d gotten when I bought that bed, that had once been stuffed with fluff but that I’d ripped open and sewn into just a blanket a few summers later. That bed was my last link to a lover and supporter of mine, who has loaned me the money to buy it when I got my first apartment of my own, and later let me pay them back via design work. I miss the sun and the lighting that so often surrounded my bed, even when I lived in flooding basements. I miss the countless throw pillows and blankets I’d accessorized my bed with over all those years. I miss how that bed was always there for me.
That bed was my friend.
I’m used to racist rando’s coming on my facebook page to preach their ignorant self-involved crap, but every once in a while an actual friend does it and I really just can’t even.
The concept that racism is only about choosing to behave like a “racist” is a convenient fallacy. As is the belief that the political issues facing our country don’t rely on racism to exist. In my ‘healing via a smack upside the head’ fashion, the stone cold truth here is that your butthurt over the reality that as a white person your life game setting is set to ‘mega fucking easy’ AT THE EXPENSE OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD is inconsequential to me.
Why, Nee, you ask? We’ve drank together, I’ve bought you dinner, we are pals, therefore why, everwhy have you forsaken my injured sensibilities, you ask?
Did you know that the median net worth for a white family in 2010 was $134,000, but the median net worth for a Hispanic family was $14,000, and for a Black family it was $11,000? That the median wealth for a single white woman has been measured at $41,000, while for Hispanic women it was $140, and for Black women, $120? Did you know that? Do you know what that’s called? Systemic Racism, and yes, it’s really a thing.
Did you know that no matter what else is going on in America, year in and year out for the last 60 years, Black unemployment is always about twice as high as white unemployment? And even if you just look at Black college graduates, they’re still almost twice as likely to be unemployed as white college graduates? And if you just apply for a job with a white sounding name, you’re 50% more likely to get a callback than with a Black sounding name?
And if you HAVE noticed that, have you found yourself rationalizing that it’s just because those people are lazy or stupid or somehow inferior to you? Welcome to the exact reason why systemic racism is so insidious — it masks and rationalizes racism to the point that even someone who jumps to obviously racist conclusions like this can actually walk around believing that they’re not racist. Because systemic racism is on your side, every day, ‘proving’ to you and those who nod in agreement with you how white people are just better and more deserving.
What would you call it if lifetimes of legal segregation followed by decades of pervasive racist housing policies still, to this day, disadvantage Black people in almost every aspect of life, because where you live can decide everything from how safe you are, to what food you eat, to the quality of your health care to the quality of your job, to the quality of your children’s education? (Also known as living in a ‘good’ AKA ‘white’ neighborhood, and the gentrification of ‘bad’ neighborhoods being synonymous with making that area more ‘white’.).
Did you know that out of every 100,000 Americans about 700 are incarcerated, but out of every 100,000 Black men over 4,000 are incarcerated? And one of the many effects of that trend is that combined with felony disenfranchisement laws, it means 13% of Black American men are denied their right to vote? (This is called the Prison Industrial Complex which is fed by the school to prison pipeline that targets Black and Brown children for disproportionate punishments for the same petty crimes/insubordination as white people — read about it in the book The New Jim Crow)
Have you ever wondered why, even though undocumented people come to the US from all over the world, the face of undocumented persons is always assumed to be from Central America or South America? And our heavy-handed enforcement policies, that ruin lives and tear families apart every day, are focused almost entirely on the Southern US border, and the Hispanic people of color who cross that border?
Oh, and also, having just COME from Mexico, have you ever wondered why all you ever hear about the place is how supposedly dangerous it is? Two months I spent there, traveling alone for most of it, barely knowing the language, and not once did I feel unsafe. Not in Michoacan, not in Mexico City, never. I felt safer in central Mexico during a fucking tenseass government transition than I do in most places in the US.
Why exactly do you suppose it behooves the media to paint such an ugly picture of places populated by Black and Brown people? Why do you suppose our narrative about Black and Brown populations is that they are insane, blood hungry terrorists who threaten our way of life? Why do you suppose that as an American who has never been to Africa all the imagery I’ve been pumped with is of a dirty, technology bereft wasteland of nearly naked Black people with their junk hanging out?
It’s because of racism you fuckin ninnies — and racism is way bigger than your bruised pride or your identification with having survived your game of life thus far on nightmare mode. Until you at least begin to recognize the fallacy of that shit and how it’s colored your view of the world, I can’t help you.
So, friend, buddy, pal — quit bitching your petulant ignorance to me about your hurtass fucking feelings, and get to waking the fuck up already.
For the last 6 months or so, my self mantra has been “I love myself”.
I say it to me randomly, I say it to me when I realize it’s been a while since I said it, I say it to me when I’m sick or feeling badly, I say it out loud in the mirror sometimes.
It works well for dealing with depression, too — I still feel tired and need rest and recovery, but being depressed is not an experience in being hopelessly sad as it once was, and I credit my self talk with that.
I also credit that new self talk with my recent experiences of basically never tearing myself down when I’ve made a mistake, the most notable incident being when I wiped my own blog database.
I’ve noticed lately a new mantra emerging. Not to replace this one (I’m keeping it) but to add to it. And it’s a doozy, for me, one that has taken a lot of growth to come to, and has been almost as hard to learn to say — for different reasons, including embarrassment, social conditioning and a deep sense of identity.
It is: “I am not poor.”
Because I’m not. And I never actually have been, actually, poor.
I’ve had to make hard decisions about what my money was going to pay for, and I’ve had to go without things, some of which many people view as integral to a basic life.
But I’ve never been so poor that I couldn’t maintain a bank account, and got caught up in the circular scam of high fee check cashing joints and payday loans.
I’ve never been so poor that I didn’t have ID.
I’ve never been so poor that I starved.
I’ve never been so poor that I didn’t have some form of transportation, be it public or a bicycle or a car or a motorcycle.
I’ve never been so poor that I couldn’t get at least a small line of credit, and I’ve never been so strapped that I had to get marred in using that line of credit for basic life needs for more than a small amount of time.
Part of why I’ve never been in those situations is because I’ve had help in those time periods where without support I would have needed to resort to those things, many of which are choices that are incredibly difficult to come back from. Much of that support until last year stemmed from my romantic relationships.
But when I am honest with myself, those situations were a matter of choice, no matter how limited in my options I may have felt at the time. Just like moving into the van and leaving Seattle was a choice, as much as it felt like the entire world was rejecting me and spitting me out of the city.
I was in the position to lean into the support of others to sustain my life not as a need, but as a privilege. A means to live my life the way I am compelled to live it and to contribute to larger society in the ways I discover I am best suited, which often fall outside of the normality of a financial structure that’s become a matter of course for most everyone else I know.
And that has not been easy, by any stretch, to accomplish, or to receive, or to ask for, or to maneuver. I do not live a comfortable life by many, many standards.
But what it really comes down to is that I’ve been lying to myself for a long time, about my situation, about my opportunities, and about my lot in life. Because all that time, from when I was 5 years old and understood but couldn’t hold my dad’s fears of being evicted, his constant struggle with earning and leveraging money, I’ve identified as being poor, as being class oppressed.
I’ve seen and read and experienced some of what poverty really, honestly, looks like. In real life, rather than just on paper as an arbitrary number.
I am not poor.
And I never was poor.
And that’s really just the truth of it.
“Letting go of a relationship is letting go of a form. It occurs when the love that you are cannot be expressed in the container of the relationship, in the form that it is in. For as your heart has continued to grow and expand, you may find that the current form of your relationship does not allow you to express all the love that you are. When this happens, your soul will find ways to free you, to help you build a new form. Wether it is you or the other person who physically draws away, it is always because the relationship has been a success and all the love that you can express has been expressed, and there now needs to be a new form for you to express all the love that you are now capable of giving. The purpose of every relationship is to open your heart, to allow you to become more loving to yourself and to others. Think now of how you have become more loving since you started this relationship… Congratulate yourself on the expansion of your heart, on your greater capacity to love. The ‘you’ that is even more open now, more loving, more kind, more gentle, more open, more understanding.” -Orin
Todays wisdom: Sometimes, I am not given the chance to improve a situation because it is not in the interest of the other party for the situation to be improved.
Sometimes what I am to others is a mirror that reflects their light, and other times what I am to others is the mirror that shows their shadow.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever get fully used to the sting of it, or the hurtful and sometimes vindictive behaviors people adopt in response to it, but I am definitely learning how to let what is theirs be theirs, what is mine be mine, and to let the petty shit go.
In fact, before I used my perception of my shits as meditation to visualize and release what no longer served me, I used people.
Kinda like what someone used me for, today.
“If you want something badly enough, you make arrangements.
If you don’t want it badly enough, you make excuses.” — Hanif Kureishi
“Twenty years ago, if you had told me I would be doing what I’m doing now I would have said you’re crazy. There is no way I would have believed you.
We each walk a path that is our own. It isn’t always pretty. It can be painful. Messy. Destructive. And we experience things that shape us for better or for worse. I fought my path tooth and nail for a good chunk of my life. I tried to fill it with things that hurt me. Because I was hurting. I made choices that hurt people. I made choices that hurt myself.
Like many out there, I’ve survived terrible things. Seen things I shouldn’t have. Witnessed atrocious behavior and didn’t speak up.
Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to be happy and live a life I could be proud of. I wanted more than being a martyr or victim or to suffer in silence. It was lonely and very difficult. Many times I wanted to give up. I don’t know how I made it sometimes.
Experiencing hardship and challenges is what makes many of us more compassionate and accepting. It did me. And it showed me what I didn’t want in my life.
In my culture we call this kind of idea “ciillanguarteq”. To become aware or conscious of the world around us. We have many awakenings like that in our lifetime. It’s up to us to choose how we process and use those awakenings. It’s up to us to continue to evolve or to fight them.
One of the things I promised myself when I was younger and experiencing hardship was that I would become adept at being able to do as much as I could. Enhance the definition of our Yup’ik word: “cavesratuli”-Somebody who knows how to work on everything. I promised myself I would become an expert in as many things and types of work as I could so I would never be without a job or a way to support myself. That desire came from having nothing.
Another thing I promised myself was I would constantly work at being a better person. Learn. Grow. Change. Because I knew that who I wanted to be wasn’t who I was. That’s the difficult part. It means you have to be able to look at yourself critically and see what needs work. You have to admit your weaknesses. To yourself. And sometimes to others. It means you make the things that don’t work in your life obsolete.
What’s really hard about that, is that sometimes…it means you’ll be alone. If you’ve ever changed while others around you stayed the same, you know it’s a lonely thing to do.
I’m glad I chose the things I did. Even the mistakes.” — Estelle Thomson
“It never ceases to amaze me how authors in this field write the wisdoms they most need to read. I write about groundedness, because I have an ungrounded tendency. Many write about being in the now, because they have a tendency to dissociate. Others write about the containment of the ego, because their egos have run amok. Still others write about embodiment, because they can’t get out of their heads. We are not great knowers. We are merely travel agents for the particular trip we need to go on” — Jeff Brown
As you start to walk on the way, the way appears. – Rumi
“Beware of people whose spiritual credentials come from “study.” Look to (don’t follow) the ones who are figuring it out through their experiences, not the experiences of others. These people are born leaders, who probably reject the role of leadership. These people know suffering. They know courage. They have seen battle and survived.
Look to the ones who say “I don’t know.” Look to the ones with the scars on their faces. Look to the limping, not the shiny and new. Don’t look to the gurus who got to the top of the mountain by helicopter. Look to the ones who are climbing, dirty and exhausted. They are the ones who know the value of the journey. They are the ones carving a stairway from which they cannot benefit.” — Alison Nappi
“You torment yourself wondering how they could not love your burning heart; the answer is, darling, you are not the star you thought you were. You are the fucking universe, and not everyone is an astronaut.”
“One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.” ― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
For most of my life, it has seemed like the people who have claimed to love me have loved what were ultimately illusions.
Some loved my masks, my performance personas, the art I’ve made from the ashes of my self-discovery.
Some loved my blossoms when in bloom but quickly became confused and withdrawn when I went into hibernation.
Some loved my dark quiet roots but were threatened when the fragrant, colorful seasons came.
Some loved my looks, how I moved, how I fucked.
Still others loved the hologram they projected onto my skin, loved the fantasy of what could be were I to contort permanently into their self serving visions.
Many have loved the reflections of themselves they saw in my mirror, or were drawn like familiar magnets via our interlocking patterns motivated by deep, unconscious wounds.
I am not proud to say that it took me a long time to choose to forgive them for those abandonments I felt, when I found I could no longer ignore what I, when honest, had known all along: that their love wasn’t directed at my actual, existing self.
I am even less proud to admit how much work it still is, sometimes, to do that. How much work it likely will be again.
But my time alone and in my own unfettered integrity has helped me see that none of those disappointments were the failure of anyone else to truly love me. They were the result of my loves having valued the same particular aspects about me that I was actively acquainting my own self with during different stages of my ever-expanding life.
“Love” falling away from me has had nothing to do with losing others; It has had everything to do with gaining my Self.
“You torment yourself wondering how they could not love your burning heart; the answer is, darling, you are not the star you thought you were. You are the fucking universe, and not everyone is an astronaut.”
My time alone and in my own unfettered integrity has also helped me see that there’s nothing that’s gonna make the highs celebrated or the hurts bearable like knowing you’ve got your own back.
Knowing, not just in your brain and in intellectual obviousness, if you’ve made it that far yet; but also in the intangible experiential knowing of literally holding yourself. Of treating you how you treat someone you give a fuck about.
Washing your own scalp, purposefully, like you’d touch a kindred.
Kissing your own shoulder while you’re curled up in a ball crying. Or not crying.
Stroking your own hair while you struggle to fall asleep.
In my origins of self loathing and a learned emotional neglect that stood like a monolith in front of everything I tried to take in for the first 25 years of my life, the most horrible truth of all truths to me was knowing that I, in all my previously wretched worthlessness, am all I’ve REALLY got.
It’s literally impossible for us to see and feel and hear outside of our own perspectives, the way these stupid soul-vessel machines are designed.
So if it’s literally impossible for us to see and hear and experience outside of our own embodied perspectives, how the fuck will you know the first thing about what it feels like to be loved if you’ve never honestly and truthfully focused that attention on yourself?
Not sexualized or aggrandized or tough love pushy inner voice bullshit attention. Not even allyship and cheerleading when tough decisions need to be made attention. But tenderness. Space holding. Understanding.
Cradling and carefully rubbing your own belly when you’re sick and cramping diarrhea into the toilet.
Adding a fresh raspberry to your own water.
How is it that you could know the first thing about truly receiving love, or what your own love looks like; how much worth and power it has, how precious and unique and empowering that love is, how gracious it is to give, if you’ve never once felt it, yourself.
At one point in my life, about 10 years ago now, I noticed a little distinction about myself that I commonly re-forget and remember a lot in my fumbling upwards — there was very little difference between being an actual hater, and the person who just strategically and cleverly used the language of haters that I considered myself to be.
The distinction hit me while riding as a passenger in my friends car. As we passed through Skagit county, I noticed the sign, and started saying it out loud.
“SKAGIT. HA. sounds like a bad word. ‘FUCKING SKAGIT’.” and repeated it a few more times.
This friend of mine had just ‘decided’ he was gay a year or three earlier, while we were, effectively, dating one another. I’d managed to bag him ONCE before this announcement, and for quite a while after that I was pretty well scorn, and feeling rejected.
Part of that rejection, I now understand, was my friends retreat into safe spaces where he could explore his identity and subculture with his boyfriend, whom I had introduced him to. I was, it seemed to me, rarely invited, and it pissed me off. That wasn’t so much true as that I did not belong and I did not fit in where my friend was going.
I saw my friend rejecting things I identified with, took his expressions of that personally, and that pissed me off too. I tried generating power in the situation by using ‘their’ insults, knowing that my history with my friend would mean I could get away with it even though they weren’t mine to use. I tried making jokes that I ‘turned’ him gay, centering myself in his journey and only half joking because I didn’t know shit about what the process of confirming ones gender identification is actually like, at the time.
It was one of the most memorable moments in my life that I’ve experienced that gutbomb — you probably know it — that feeling when something comes out of your mouth that unexpectedly turns your stomach inside out. It was when I realized “Skagit” sounded like a bad word to me because it sounded like “Faggot”. And that I was repeating it mockingly in the car with a gay person I supposedly loved.
I didn’t -really- understand how I was responsible for how that was fucked up, I externalized the rationale that swiftly came after the rush, that I probably looked like a real asshole to him even tho I of course was not actually an asshole.
I of course thought, long before I stopped using homophobic insults, that I was not homophobic.
I just recognized, you know, the proper way of things, the way the world just ‘was’. I just recognized that being gay wasn’t as good as being other things cuz ‘society’ — but not to ME, mind you. “Other” people. “Other” people who have power and are in charge of shit so it’s probably best to just confirm with and mimic them sometimes in order to maneuver.
So even after I recognized that I wanted to examine the preconceived notions I may have held under the surface about what would eventually evolve into the concept of gender non-conformance, I hid behind ‘language’ that ‘everybody’ uses, that I had and continued to use.
For a while, my excuses for not doing the work were numerous and made sense.
One in particular was tough to shake, and it settled in well with my view of what I was in the world to do — cause people to feel deeply. In communicating with other people, it stands to reason that you’d use language that will effect and resonate with them to make a point. Right? I mean, if you wanna insult someone, really make em FEEL it, wouldn’t you wanna use their bigotry or whatever against them?
So, yeah, dudebro: You’re a fuckin’ pussy, fucking fag. I’m a 20something white feminist with a close friend who newly came out and I’m insulting you with feminine devaluing homophobic language but that’s not on ME really. That’s on *gestures* everyone else who makes the language so EFFECTIVE.
I could feel my hold and importance in his life slip away, over the years, despite my firm belief in my lack of homophobeness, and my slow but sure improvement in my quality of personhood. I am sure there are lots of reasons for that, both that had to do with me and most that didn’t.
But it stuck with me, that car ride.
It took me a long time to begin to articulate what that gutbomb in Skagit country signified in me — it was probably 12 years ago now and this is the first I’ve written about it and I’m still not sure it’s complete.
But when I think now about the people I see who insist they’re not racist, or homophobic, or misogynist, but use the language of those oppressive, hateful populations to express themselves and interact with others, I think about that moment as a snapshot of who I was back then.
Whether I was saying what I was saying because I honestly hated my friend or not, whether I was cracking racist jokes back then because I honestly wanted to harm anyone with them or not, whether I was remaining ignorant to the lived experience of my friend out of malice or not, what I was doing was a cop out that perpetuated and strengthened the collective hate that I claimed to be against.
And by doing it that way, I was letting myself off a hook that I now recognize as being pretty much the absolute least I could have done to show up, and be a friend.