Thursday, April 4, 2024


Tangled (CAI 2019)

There is not a direction my mind turns that isn't laced with worry. I think every person I care about has reasons I worry for them, from close to distant, to the world as a whole. I reach around in my mind and I can't settle on anyone who is just doing well. There is no safe haven for my thoughts, no space in which I feel secure in good feelings, not even sleep anymore. My painting is filled with angst, my writing is stalled by inadequacy, most of my days are filled with repetitive maintenance trying to stave off erosion, and I'm tired and in pain most of the time. Too many of the people in the world seem to be in a self-destructive thrall that is more and more threatening to just general peaceful coexistence. I feel like my voice is unhearable, I am invisible, and only platitudes ever even try to assail that sense.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Contextualizing a lifetime


Account (Midjourney-generated 2023)

This is the download today, rough-hewn and unedited as I have NO TIME FOR THIS:

The Body and Spirit require several layers of translation as their comprehension of reality is very different. Body has Mind and Spirit has Wisdom. Generally speaking, Spirit only decides about important things, consulting Wisdom, which is bringing the knowledge of mind, body, and experience to a place Spirit can begin to understand and act upon. For most of our lives, Mind and Body make most decisions, overseen and nudged by Wisdom. 

Mind and Wisdom can speak directly about some things. Body and Spirit can speak directly about some things, and decide without Wisdom or Mind at all. Spirit can listen to Mind without the input of Wisdom, especially if Body is in favor, and act rashly or decisively (judged by our relation to the outcome). But generally, Spirit decides based on Wisdom, Body decides based on Mind, and their own whims of being. 

In each decade, the Spirit is at a stage or cycle of the lifetime, which then translates itself into the being to inform and guide choices and decisions that come most often during those periods. Body similarly informs Spirit, translating through Mind to Wisdom, which can affect how Spirit responds. 

If we are lucky we get 8 or maybe 9 periods of our lives, often measured by decades.


Body - gestating (evacuating)

Mind - developing (stunting)

Wisdom - building (distorting)

Spirit - noticing (tuning out)

1st 10 years

Body - developing  (stunting)  

Mind - building (distorting)

Wisdom - noticing (tuning out)

Spirit - open (protective)


Body - building  (distorting)

Mind - noticing (tuning out)  

Wisdom - open (protective)

Spirit - asserting (insisting)


Body - noticing  (tuning out)

Mind - open (protective)

Wisdom - asserting (insisting)

Spirit - expressing (doing)


Body - open  (protective)

Mind - asserting (insisting) 

Wisdom - expressing (doing)

Spirit - evaluating (coasting)


Body - asserting (insisting)

Mind - expressing (doing)

Wisdom - evaluating (coasting)

Spirit - integrating (ignoring)


Body - expressing (doing) 

Mind - evaluating (coasting)

Wisdom - integrating (ignoring)

Spirit - attending (suppressing)  


Body - evaluating (coasting)   

Mind -integrating (ignoring)

Wisdom - attending (suppressing)  

Spirit - honouring (dismissing)


Body - integrating (ignoring)

Mind - attending (suppressing)

Wisdom - honouring (dismissing)

Spirit - deepening (disengaging)


Body - attending (suppressing)  

Mind - honouring (dismissing)

Wisdom - deepening (disengaging)

Spirit - focusing (limiting)


Body - honouring (dismissing)

Mind - deepening (disengaging)

Wisdom- focusing (limiting)

Spirit - preparing (avoiding)


Body - deepening (disengaging)

Mind - focusing (limiting)

Wisdom - preparing (avoiding)

Spirit - ready (afraid)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

I am not for you

Over Shadow

I am not for you.

My talents are not for entertaining you.

My works are not for you to consume.

My love is not yours to have,

My time is not yours to claim.

But, I may give those to you anyway, for love, for fame, for fun

as a good host will offer her best pastries to the guest.

I am for Earth. I am for Peace. I am for Myself and my Family 4 and Our 

Good Life. 

We may intersect, support, help, enjoy

that's my joy

We may decide to hold cause in common

that's my passion

We may choose to share intimate understanding

that is my life's breath


I am not here for you.

We may choose to stay out of each other's repellent field

or disinterested way

and that is my loss, to not be for you, as I am, as you need.

But I am here, dealing too late with the weight of denials

hoping to shed some pounds and maybe lighten the uphill load for my last days of chances

to be here for a reason, after all.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Hope's like that

(CAI 2023)

Sometimes a wave of hopeful certainty washes over me 
like a sun-warm current brushing by in the lake, like 
 a warm breeze catching my cheek 
 on a cool day; like a loving ghost 
and I realize that this feeling is the closest I have come to peace 
so I savour it and I ask my spirit and body  to memorize it 
how it tastes and smells and tingles through 
how it swells and lightens too 
a glimpse to recall later when I need it most.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Coping. Hoping.

Hope to Cope (CAI 2023)

 I think we often lose sight of the point of this game. 

Peace. Peace on Earth. A happiness resort. An enjoyment park. Earth, the life-giving planet, a place to experience Heaven on Earth.

So why are we building Hell?

It's a choice. The 8 people in charge of the world could, together, use their billions, their power, their so-called genius, to force the world into a Heavenly state. Or a place where life matters, at least. Where we care about each life as the precious, one-time experience that it is. 

I cope. I cope by regular reset. I just got here. Just now. Everything I know, remember, feel, is Back Story to this avatar I inhabit. It feels so real. But it's only immediate, it only exists in my programming, in my character. And these people around me, most of them are NPC's - non-player characters. They are not even aware that they are in the game. But some of them, everywhere, there are people who are also me, also the same player I am, but playing thousands, millions of us, at once. So some of us are me. And some of us are the Other Players. Figuring out who is who would be a lot of work, so I just play. I look for a reason to love you. I look for a reason to show you me, to work our purposes together into something helpful to Peace. The goal. The only point. Peace on Earth. A beautiful celebration of life, every life. Not in the lifetime of this character, for sure, but since that's the focus of my play, what can this character do, from here? Maybe 20-30 years left, in a body going downhill. What will I do with this play? How many Karma Points will I earn for my Entity, my Team? How much experience will I add to the pool of Being that Being is Doing by Doing this form of Being?

I cope. I hope. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Daily cry

Grief's Tender Hold (CAI 2023)

Every day I cry.

For a short time, in a controlled way, in a private space 

I let myself feel 

all the things about all the things

I lower the shields, allow

confusion, anguish, frustration, futility


the straightjacket free-fall of life on earth

lava-burning tributaries searing through me

roiling and boiling over into moans and groans and whimpers and growls

and tears

facing the state of hate and fear of the world

seeing a future of pain unfurl, knowing

inside me is just too small to contain it all

without killing me.

I make time and space to move it through, expel what I can

because you know what they say:

better out than in

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The taste of medicine

Power is as Power does (CAI & Midjourney, 2023)

I never promised I'd be sweet.

Maybe I am the taste of your own medicine
dosed by the universe today 
through the play on words that is our exchange
your experience of me
is what you asked for, what you need
and I am just a tool of your subconscious evocation
the me you see not real at all
not even me, you see, not at all
just what you called, what you need someone to be
right now
If I've allowed a confrontation
what a gift! what a cost to me. 

You're welcome. 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Working through something

Early Days (CAI 2023)

When words are as exhausted as I am
When even paintings seem too verbose
When the people with the most understanding misunderstand substantially 
and like their version better
Does it even make sense to express? 
So it must be for me, I guess
I must want to for me or I wouldn't be here, typing
I wouldn't be here, trying 
when trying hasn't gotten me as far as one might expect. 
I'm working through something, that has nothing to do with anything
but my own experience, my own gut, my own integrity 
in a body of limited lifespan on a planet at a moment of history 
in a place I've chosen
cloaked and hidden in my warren
expressing through the illusion 
my own little versions of truth
Not for you, but maybe for you
if you're here, if the universe sent you.

Out loud is the price of my privilege to speak. 

Monday, September 4, 2023


Negative Space (CAI + Midjourney)

Disappearing seems to require

some kind of announcement 

because it's not about disappearing

it's about our absence



Sunday, August 27, 2023


A perfect day as envisioned by Midjourney
and also my nightmare

I never re-read what I write. You know my aversion to backwards. 

But I imagine if you happen here unexpectedly
for no reason I can think of but Chance 
you might wonder at my wallowing
which makes sense, after all
this is where I wallow 
Wallow and push. Wallow and push. 
Like Labour, which taught me more than just how much pain I can take, like

anything is possible 
achievement comes at cost
with grief and loss and gain
everything ends 
but it's just a change of the same
pain comes in waves
relief demands sacrifice but commits to no promises 
just dangled potential that glimmers in and out of focus.
dignity is impossible.
having literally no choice is the best driver when 
what I am doesn't cut it and
who I expected is still a stone's throw away
but now is happening today and everything is nothing
like I thought and I couldn't have guessed what I would do
until it's done. And that's what I did. 

Here is where I bite and tear and chew and swallow and expel
leaving behind
the breadcrumbs and excrement of my cored self
in case they are ever helpful for you. 

Listen to Happy Rhodes. Here's a familiar song to get you started: https://youtu.be/WoNGpa9tJkg?si=azfqeWSjVT4nhV1n

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Advice to the young and to myself

Ya Comin'?

What I try to tell my kids

what I wish I could tell myself, is this:

pay attention to the glimmers where you feel most free to be

where you draw yourself in, what you're doing when

you forget the day the week the planet and just do it

the thing you're doing - that's it, that's something

you can learn to see

like a formula or constellation

build your life around them 

center them and focus from that hub

learn the landscape of others on your hunt

don't be deterred because you can't see what job will own you

don't be deterred when doubted by your friends

don't be deterred by skipping common milestones 

don't be deterred because you can't see around the bend

just centre what calls you, what you melt into, what feels like purpose

get curious, play, learn the soft edges and sharp curves 

imbibe what it takes to embolden your nerve

find and learn the tools that let you shape and express back

into the world. 

and if you can avoid the longing for things you might never have wanted if you knew what it cost to get them

and focus on staying with what matters to your heart

a living will follow the art you inevitably build through 

focus and 

practice and 

pure curious intent

a living as secure as, and maybe more secure than, an eroding traditional path

and a life, oh, a life that's full of what you love most, most of the time;

if you must strive, strive for sublime.

Friday, August 11, 2023

An Open Letter to Michelle Visage

Dear Pretty Lady,

In all the hype you are probably one of the smaller parts of the Drag Race machine but for me, from the first moment, you're the biggest. I love you because I found you so weirdly pretentiously annoying until, like a veil lifted, I saw you DOING you, and you do you so precisely. I love you because you go from inscrutably icy to suddenly vulnerable and back again in a blink, so quick most people probably miss it and have no idea why they love you. I love you because you are blunt and scary but not scary because you are never, never unkind, and your words are gifts you give even when it's hard. But mostly I love you because from the moment I saw you I thought I saw HER again, my best-friend-on-our-way-back-again, until she died from a deadly combination of bipolar and the patriarchy's hatred for "the crazy bitch." She's been gone for two years and I still don't believe she left me here. But now, there's you - the way you hold your mouth, your brash vulgarity, your gorgeously knowing how gorgeous you are, your next-to-brutal honesty that feels like a rough caress, your several laughs, your bold gestures, your affection, your flattered smile. You embody so much of what made her, her. You conjure her. You help me conjure her back, for a moment, as if she made it to where she could have been, if only, just where you are. 

Thank you for showing up out loud, and giving me a taste of who you are that wafts a scent of her my way. I painted a painting for you, if you want, I hope you're one of the 8000 people in the world who might like it. I think she would have gotten it too. 

with love and gratitude. 


CM Simard 1971-2021

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Just be logical

The Inbetween (CAI)

If you just look at it logically, leaving feelings aside - 

leaving feelings aside? 

just look at the ground, ignore the sky?

Feelings are a huge part of who we are. Separating from our instincts, looking only at logic and not valuing the information of feeling, is what prevented us from making decisions that would benefit all life on the planet at every step through every generation that tried it, to the tip of destruction, yet we still worship at the alter of logic, or instead, ignore logic to worship at the alter of feelings; either way we fail fail fail fail to see the ground and the sky and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN WHICH IS WHERE WE LIVE. 

But then, I see it, so you see it, so everyone sees it and still here in the inbetween we are told look up or look down but don't see what's in front of our eyes. 

It's time to take the gun out of life - Badly Drawn Boy https://youtu.be/qYdLoCt3tRs

Monday, August 7, 2023

Helping Hands

Help Yourself (CAI with Midjourney 2023)

When a person offers help it's natural they

imagine they know what will help;

imagine what the person receiving help  will feel when they are properly


and from that deceiving entitlement

to a nebulous outcome they may feel

terribly affronted

by any deviant end to their well-intentioned, oh-so-generous


Monday, July 31, 2023

You have so much potential!

Raw Potential (CAI 2023)

Why not tap into your greatness?

What do you fear?

That's clear. I am afraid

that opening myself to what's in me

will break my heart with impossibility

rendering life an intolerable 


the resulting explosion maiming all those around me

leaving them broken; leaving me 

with nothing at all.

It's not small, this fear

It's not nothing and it doesn't lie

I know all too well how truly committing to I

explodes the world. 

Wretches Gone Awry (CAI 2021)

(ps. potential has a shelf life - CAI)

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

An Open Letter to Martha Wainwright

Martha Wainwright, 2023 Northern Lights Festival

Dear Martha,

I keep thinking about how I let myself not meet you, and now we never met. 

How I didn't consider that meeting me wasn't just for me, it was for you, too. That if I had nothing else to give I could have given you my stone

that my heart-sister brought from Vancouver Island when she improbably came to renew me, the stone

that I carried when I travelled alone for the first time since
my body failed me, no cane, triumphant to the heart of America where I swore I wouldn't go

to attend a show that I thought would never happen, the stone

that I gripped when the airplane stifled, the stone

that I held warming in my hand through Happy's every song, gift after gift, my tears streaming I never thought I would see her live her music changed me and still unlocks my soul, holding the stone

that I thought I had lost at the airport

but found again at the bottom of the bag that holds my horizon and grounds me home;

and you probably wouldn't have thought I was some deranged stranger handing you a rock from the ground and wanting it to be special

you probably would have understood that I was giving you a thousand songs

and the heart of my musical heart

you probably would have been very glad to meet me, after all. 

But I held that back from you. I played small. 

Twenty feet away and I let myself  be washed out with the crowd into the mundane nextness of the day after you sang your soul away to a mediocre crowd with your family and your wholeness and even still I didn't make myself known, I didn't offer you my service or my smile

I thought I was shy but I was nervous and playing myself like a quiet instrument that doesn't deserve to be heard 

by someone who has made themselves you. You. As if Me is no one at all. 

It's my habit, to seem small, nothing special, pre-empt the presumption I'm not worth the time I'm taking. 

Still, and all

I want a second chance to let you know me, take what is here in me that's for you, to agree that I can be of value too, to you, as you have been to me. Your music and movement set something free. Maybe something in me could have done that for you, if I'd stepped up, come through, if I'd passed the test, been there for you

who knows but even so, I want to give you my stone 

that stone, and my promise that you are not alone

while I'm here. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023


Running through Life (CAI & Midjourney, 2023)

To say I walked into the world unprepared

would assume there was a way to prepare me

to prevent me from mistaking me

for human

from expecting me to be like them, and 

- the true blind side -

expecting them to be like me;

that there might have been a way for me 

to hide; 

to spare me 

from reducing me to please;

from pulling my skin to pieces trying to make it fit better

for the ease and comfort of literally

anyone else but me;

that I could have been more ready to face them

to face me, even thrive if I'd gone in expecting

knowing and prepared, to be

an alien in human skin

playing to stay alive,

trying to have some fun

a million to one.

(Listen to Happy Rhodes: One Alien )

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Stepping carefully


Watch where you step!

In the field my giant feet wreak havoc

each step trampling more unseen life than I can count

be accountable to

accountable for

more than I could ever pay


So I give more care in how I go

place heel to toe, nice and slow

apologizing as I go

giving everyone plenty of time

to get out of my way.

And, hey, isn’t that just how I live?

I’d sure love to play 

in your meadows

running roughshod with the glee of being me

with you

but I’d trample your tender wings before you even had a chance to fly

so I try to be careful

I try.

Friday, May 26, 2023

In case you wondered what the hell they're thinking

People are animals with a temperament to match so we shouldn't be surprised that they behave in ways we don't like. However, there is the expectation of those engaged in the "civil societies" of humanity that we learn, develop, grow, strengthen, and exercise a certain level of self-control, of restraint, to maintain peaceful co-existence. Some people really resent that expectation. They see any request about learning or strengthening or growing their self-discipline as a direct attack on their humanity and their preference that they be allowed to react and behave just as they feel, authentically, in line with their temperaments. It feels like an attack on self to be asked to hold oneself in check. They already resent that they are expected to be polite to the bumbling cashier, not shout at the annoying children, choose more careful words when addressing some people, put aside their distaste for others and act like everyone is equal. When they do begrudgingly try to conform to the constrictions of "civil society" they are told it's not enough, more is required, ongoing learning and developing and growth and exercise, more restraint across more categories. They feel overwhelmed, attacked, unvalued, and afraid, because if they can't live up to the required level of "civility" that keeps shifting and moving further from comfort, they may face social consequences, and we are trapped in the social systems in which we live without alternative, with those systems increasingly controlling and starving us. So they go on the attack. They demand their right to be just as they are, human in temperament, and act just how they feel, and be accepted without any work or modification on their part to accommodate people whom, when they are truly honest about it, they don't really care about and in fact, disdain for needing "special treatment" and resent for highlighting yet another way that civil society can demand a constriction and a growth. So they forget, in all that, who they really are, what love looks and feel like in their hearts, and empathy is banished unless it applies to them and their own. And from that context they believe and act in the only ways that make sense in that context, and cling to that context because it encompasses their identity, now, and is required to allow them to feel okay. 

But people do better when they are not in scarcity and fear. That is what needs to be tackled first. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Right Here

CAI (a self-portrait with Midjourney)

So much of love is proximity

would you love me

if I were closer
if I were right there
would you care to know
me deeply truly madly as I am?
Would you see what no one sees and
be mine?
Or pass me by as too familiar
not quite special
close to home?
Is it me or opportunity that keeps us so unknown when we both contain the multitudes of being in our bones and it's calling calling calling us to join hands and walk home
What if I were right there?
Would you love me then?
Here I am. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Too much

Filled past full, overflowing a dance between nothing and over the top, a constant ensmalling, perpetual dousing, ongoing constricting, trying so hard to be enough but not ever please never 

too much


Monday, February 6, 2023

Pretty enough

My Mirror (CAI with Midjourney)

The body I got is a middling model, nothing special. Normal. Pretty enough to stand out in a room with only a few pretty girls, but overlookable if there's a beauty or two around. Prettier than plain. So I spent the first half of my life feeling average, not unattractive but nothing special, imperfect in unattractive ways, while at the same time, finding out I was still pretty enough to attract the unexpected and unwanted attention of Men. Not the prettiest girl in the room, but maybe the prettiest one he thinks he can get somewhere with. Or, a colleague who suddenly notices I'm prettier than he thought, and changes how he sees me to sexualize me. I felt like hiding whatever beauty I did have, so it wouldn't be dangerous, while simultaneously wishing to feel desirable, beautiful, attracted to. Being young really sucked my life force in so many ways in a woman's body.

Now I am not young, not pretty. I'm beautiful in a way that shocks me in the mirror. Not because I am more beautiful now than I was, when I was young and pretty enough, but because I am better at seeing beauty, my beauty. Better than most people. I can see it, now. I'm startling to myself. I see myself like I see a photograph - the humanity, the unique structure, the expression. My eyes meet my eyes. 

Maybe I feel the safety of the cloak of age and imperfection - for most men, I have strayed beyond comparisons of female beauty or sexualization into a neutered territory of aunt, teacher, "older lady." Maybe I am not as afraid to be "maturely beautiful" as I was to be pretty, because I know most people won't even see me at all. 

Maybe I just stopped feeling like other people's opinions had any relevance at some point. Maybe I shifted my standards, shifted my view from my deviations from the beauty standard to just seeing what's there. And what's there is more than enough. 

Pretty enough for me. 

The Universal desperately wants to know itself through life. That's the purpose of life. As me, as you, as them, as grass, as molecules, as bacteria, as dogs. Desperate isn't the right word - passionately? encompassingly? yearningly? The Universal is being itself. We are cells in that body. 

The Universal takes joy in knowing itself by being. 

The Universal takes joy in knowing itself by being
from Midjourney

Earth is a tender morsel, a tiny delight that fills the mouth.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

god knows

(Inside - from Midjourney AI)

You are meat and bone and sinew, tenuous

tenacious glued parts and pieces

receiving direction

from god knows where

Friday, October 7, 2022

Spending time


Time contains a life (CAI with Midjourney AI)

Time is the only currency of our lives

one of the only things we spend 

without knowing how much we have. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ordinary Magic (A Maverick Missive)

Lacey Decorations (CAI)

 He asks me, 

is this world's ordinary not extraordinary enough

for you?

how would one miracle more be a cure for your incessant longing?

it's true,

but in that sneery way he has of always being right

so right away I turn away

unwilling to quite accept his flayed refrain

its insult contained in the idea that I could 

- like taking some kind of potion -

that I should

twist my heart and mind and notions

refine myself until I feel

- actually feel - 

complete and joyously ecstatic, 

bearing witness

to only ordinary magic. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Life's funny that way

All is light (CAI 2019)

 We live in a system that has co-opted all of the world's resources into the game of capitalism, to the harm of the planet and the unwellness of the majority of the world's living, conscious creatures. Shifting that system towards wellness requires significant re-thinking of the relationships among governments, service organizations, for-profit organizations, citizens, and resources. The people in charge have no incentive to rethink those relationships, except one: self-interest. And so they do think constantly about reshaping those relationships, to the further detriment of Earth and all life here, while we just live our lives, not wanting to think about all those hard things, while they dismantle the bits of progress that have been made and put a stop to any movement in the right directions, while actively changing our systems to suit the top 1% regardless of the harm to anyone else. The majority of people being harmed would fight tooth and nail to keep it this way. That is the nature of the planet on which I stand. That is the nature of the creatures I live among. It's baffling, and it's terrifying. Everything is made of energy. None of this exists. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The taste of love

We serve our love with the flavour of our maturity. 

Some of us taste like blue cheese 

Maturity (CAI)

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

An Open Letter to The Kids in the Hall

The view from the cheap seats

Dear Kids in the Hall,

Things I wish I had a chance to say to you on Friday night:

My awe is rarely inspired, and here I am, standing on my front lawn, with awe all over my face. No, I wouldn't ever say that out loud. My kids would just CRINGE!

Kevin McDonald is actually my second-favourite. No, I can't say that, it begs too many questions with no easy answers. But he is my only celebrity sighting in real life. 

Jennifer Whalen, where is more Baroness Von Sketch? Where is more of you? No, that's not about you guys. But seriously!

Guys - let Jennifer moderate! 

Dave Foley, you totally missed us in the crowd. We were the only family who were all wearing Kids in the Hall T-Shirts. Parent fans AND teen fans. The holy grail. I had your face on my chest, even! You came two rows behind, then, gone. Instead, we the audience got two-part questions and weird vendettas, plus people who put their hands up that they've dreamed about you guys when it's not a dream, exactly, but... WE would have said nice things about the new season and asked something fun. Your loss, my friend. But my gain, because if I'd tried to talk my kids would have died of mortification. Anyway, you should have let Jennifer do that part and maybe screen the questions...   No, strike all of that, it sounds so whiny and lame. Notice me! Notice me! You didn't notice me!

My 15yo and I watched the new season together and it was amazing for them to see your bodies as comedic instruments. Plus, the more full-frontal they see, the less mystique there is. It's an education.  Eesh, I can't say that!

I was really anxious when I heard you were doing another season. I was afraid you'd fall into the traps. Now, that sounds like I didn't have faith in you! I had high hopes but tried to keep my expectations low. I didn't need to. You blew them away.  Who am I to have expectations? Sitting here in my cheap seats beneath anyone's notice? 

This new work is a progression, a deepening, an achievement.  As if my opinion matters at all to these big stars, all tanned and content and aging well! Like, oooh, this random middle-aged woman with frizzy hair thinks our work is a progression! What a relief!

Hey, guys. Big fan since day one. Huge impact on my life. Love your work. Thanks.

Okay, that stands. But is it really worth saying?

Better not raise my hand. 




Addendum Sept 18

Since you guys have been so much on my mind, after years of not having any space there at all, it's not surprising that I did, in fact, have a dream. In my dream I had just woken up from a dream and I went into the kitchen area of a B&B, where I guess I was staying with my in-laws, who were having breakfast, and I came in and said, I just had the weirdest dream...and before I could finish, Mark walked in, in a bathrobe, to get breakfast. This made sense to me. I exclaimed, hey, it's so weird you're here, I was just about to tell them that I had a dream about you! I was about to say, I had a dream about Mark McKinney and he said I wasn't funny!

Mind you, I don't remember actually having that dream, that's just the dream the dream me remembered having. I dreamed that I dreamed that Mark McKinney told me I wasn't funny, and then I told Mark McKinney about that dream. It wouldn't have made for a very coherent story, in any case. :) 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Futile flailing

As above so below (CAI a long time ago)

When I read The Time Traveller's Wife (which I hated, btw), the thing that struck me about all those miscarriages is that she kept trying. I had one miscarriage and it devastated me in a visceral way. It kept me from letitng myself feel ready to love another pregnancy until it was at a point where it might live on its own. I was lucky, my next two pregnancies produced two amazing humans that I am honoured to be raising. But if I'd had another one, I think there's no way I'd keep trying. I would reconcile myself to a childless life before going through that again. 

But I may be wrong, based on how I live my life. Because when it comes to my creative birth, all I have are a series of miscarriages - projects began with love, holding such promise and my heart, but unable to make it past the first trimester because of money (mostly), time (also mostly) and energy (see time and money). I had a stillbirth project, nurtured and loved over a dozen years, taken to the brink of birth, only to die off due to lack of oxygen. Or, money, time, and energy. Or, Covid. I grieve.

Now I have a new project struggling in the first trimester, and I can't help but notice, I'm exactly where I've been for 15 years. I changed every single thing about my life, but somehow all the fundamentals are exactly the same, and I am in precisely the same place even though it looks completely different. No closer. Further off, because I don't have the joy or hope of a new project, just the drudge-dread feeling that I've been here too many times and I know how this story peters off and lets me down. My hope starts sounding hollow to myself. I can't even bring myself to talk with people about my project with excitement; in fact, I sound a little dejected, as though I'm embarrassed to be seen with it, as though it's already failed. Like what I'm trying to do is too big and also, no one will even get it, and anyway, I will probably never finish it or even get it past prototype. So. 

And the weird thing is, I am still fucking writing it. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Silent Agreement

Community (CAI 2021)

In relationship, chosen or imposed, we encounter difficulties and irritation with other people. Some personalities simply don't work well together, and for the most part, we choose to build relationships with people where that isn't the case. But we all have plenty of relationships, between work, neighbourhoods, and family, where our lives are entwined with people who have personalities that we find difficult, or who don't like us. 

When difficulties and irritation arise, there are two groups of responses - to address, or to ignore. 

If we choose to address, we risk conflict, so we often choose to ignore. 

If we ignore, we are responsible to LET IT GO. If we ignore and do not let it go, but instead add it to the Pile of Resentments, the pile will grow until it is too big to ignore. It is an important step of maturity to learn to Let It Go. For real. Truly. Not pretending to, not being the bigger person but secretly holding the resentment, not telling yourself you've let it go when really, you're still holding on. It involves self reflection. It involves employing empathy and compassion. It involves curiosity about the other person and caring about them. It's work. Work we do when we are in relationship with someone.

When we are stuck entwined with people we aren't well matched to, where it's hard to get along, we can assume a silent agreement between us, to use the years we will be entwined to better know each other so we can find more parts to respect and like; to use a thought-filter that gives the person affection and compassion; to actively look to build empathy for that person's experience; to give that person space to be themselves even when it's uncomfortable; to recognize where we're imposing expectations on that person and creating our own disappointment; and on, and on. Relationship happens over a long period of time. We will have many opportunities to practice these things, stumbling together with the trust that we are building relationship. Many chances of difficulty or irritation are bound to arise. We are bound to each other, so we must face them together. 

If our silent agreement is in place, the decision to address or ignore is made in that context. I may ignore a lot of things, and let them go as best I can, over time, and try to keep my resentment pile from growing. I may address important things, so that we can talk about what I'm feeling and what might help, risking offense, risking conflict, because the relationship is important enough to be worth working through conflict, with the silently agreed-to goal of mutual understanding and the silently-agreed rules.  I can actively try not to blame them, to look more fairly at my own part, be willing to deal with that. 

But what I can't do, what a relationship can't withstand, is Ignoring AND Holding On. Because that is a breach of the silent agreement. That is a failure to apply the rules of mutual understanding to the situation. It's a failure to keep the resentment pile from growing, and it will lead to Big C Conflict instead of the small conflict that could have prevented it, because the Conflict will contain all our resentment, everything we failed to Let Go because we failed to do our own work in the relationship by working on our own thinking. 

I think the silence of the agreement is the first part of the issue.


Friday, April 29, 2022

This wokening snowflake has boundaries and won't be gaslighted.

I’ve been horrified to see how the quickly the bully culture co-opts and destroys language before it can be useful in people’s growth and healing. The victims finally have a language and the bullies don’t like it. 

When I was growing up I didn’t have the words for how I was bullied - gaslighting! Now I have a word that captures the sinking feeling of being shown how wrong your very instincts must be, again, to feel that you’re being harmed in any way when the person you admire, even love, is telling you that it’s all in your head, that what you remember didn’t happen, that what you know isn’t true. Gaslighting. That’s a thing, it’s not my imagination, there’s a word for that! What a relief, to have a way to name it quickly, that nebulous, slippery set of symptoms that don’t quite add up to something you can prove and put a stop to. Thank you. Now I can see it, name it, recognize it, consider it and not dismiss my inner knowing. 

Think about all the insults - Snowflake! Liberal! Woke! 

Like considering yourself unique and special is laughable. Like being open minded to new ideas is despicable. Like paying attention to the experiences of other people means you’re not authentic. 

We had those words, finally, a way to shorthand very important, key learnings on a journey of personal growth, and they have turned them to insults, actions to be avoided. While we, ever the victims, put our heads down and tried to avoid their fists.

The bullies are doing to our language what they do to everything we love about ourselves. They belittle and sneer. They turn our words into weapons of shame, just like they do our differences, because they are bullies. They use whatever weakness they see to get an upper hand, feel strong, and sway the stupid, following sidekicks to do the same. Whatever reasons, whatever work they’ve done in their lives to grow up so this manifests in more socially acceptable ways (such as controlling a conversation, talking over someone, belittling their experience, teasing them about their stutter or appearance, laughing when they make a mistake, telling people not to be so sensitive and it’s just a joke), at the end of they day they have a bullying personality. So they will bully. They will look for weakness and poke at it, and they will look for strength and try to take it, turn it to weakness, weaponize it against us. To feel in control. For whatever fucked up reasons have fucked up their minds, hearts, and spirits that has NOTHING TO DO WITH US. For these reasons they don’t even know, they have successfully been stealing the words we use to describe how their behaviour affects us. Ooooh, whiny snowflake, did someone step on your BOUNDARIES and then try to GASLIGHT YOU? Boo hooooo hoooooo. They are silencing our voices, or worse, getting us to pre-emptively silence ourselves. They are undermining our ability to describe our experience. 

Anyone who sneers at another person who is trying to describe their experience is an asshole. Even if we love them. So don’t mind if I don’t let them decide what words I use to describe my experience.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Ein offener Brief an die Fab Fünf (Queer Eye Deutschland)

Ich wünschte, ich könnte das auf Deutsch schreiben. Ich hoffe, Google Translate ist entweder genau oder lustig. (Englisch folgt)

Fab Fünf,
Ich bin in dem Moment auf Ihre Show gestoßen, in dem ich eine Queer-Eye-Intervention benötigte. So behandle ich die Serie, als ob ich mir, wenn ich genug Folgen hintereinander anschaue, irgendwie ein Leben auf der anderen Seite vorstellen kann, in dem ich all die Dinge realisiere, die ich realisieren muss, und all die Dinge auf magische Weise beende, die ich nie beendet habe. Ich benutze es wie ein Aspirin gegen die Flachheit, wie unmöglich es sich anfühlt, dass ich meine Arbeit jemals zu etwas Substanziellem bringen werde, ganz zu schweigen davon, meine Küche in Ordnung zu bringen und wieder mit dem Training zu beginnen. Es gab keine neuen amerikanischen Folgen, und dann tauchten Sie in meinem Feed auf. Ich hatte nicht erwartet, durch Untertitel eine solche Vertrautheit und Verbindung zu spüren, aber wow. Ihr! Beeindruckend.

Ich fange an, Ihre Stimmen auf Deutsch zu hören, die ich nicht verstehe, aber in meiner Vorstellung weiß ich genau, was Sie sagen. Wenn ich verzweifle, lächelt Ayan und sagt, selbst eine kleine Änderung kann einen großen Unterschied machen. Das nächste, was ich weiß, ist, dass ich meine winzigen, abstrakten Gemälde auf die Küchenrückwand klebe, und es stimmt, es ist klein, aber es ist groß. Jeden Tag schaue ich mir meine Stücke an und spüre meine volle Bedeutung. Ich fühle mich inspiriert, meine Kunst in meinen Raum zu integrieren.

Als ich die Plackerei spüre, die Mahlzeiten zuzubereiten, erinnert mich Aljosha daran, was ich bereits weiß – was ich mit schlampigem Groll tue, könnte ich mit Sorgfalt und Aufmerksamkeit tun, und diese kleine Veränderung könnte einen größeren Nutzen in meinem Leben haben. Es stimmt, und irgendwie wirkt Gemüse ansprechender, wenn es für Fajitas ausgelegt wird. Er macht die Musik an und wir tanzen in der Küche, wenn niemand da ist.

Als ich langsam den Kontakt zu meiner Sinnlichkeit verliere, erinnert mich Leni daran, dass Bewegung nicht anstrengend sein muss. Sie führt mich zu meinen Matten, wählt meine Musik aus und fragt mich, was sich jetzt gut anfühlen würde? Sie zieht mit mir nach Happy Rhodes. Ich lasse meinen Körper sich bewegen und meinen Geist zur Ruhe kommen, und ich erinnere mich, wie es sich anfühlt, sich besser zu fühlen. Wir sprechen über Dinge, die ich hier nicht schreiben werde, über meine engsten Beziehungen, die alle auf meiner Beziehung zu mir selbst beruhen. Über Leben und Verlust und Sinn. Ich verändere mich für mich.

Als es mich nicht mehr so ​​sehr interessiert, dass ich jeden Tag die gleichen 4 Hemden und 2 Hosen trage, nur um nicht darüber nachzudenken, durchwühlt Jan-Henrik meinen Schrank und fragt mich, warum ich bestimmte Teile gekauft habe, wie ich mich fühle und was ich wann gemacht habe Ich habe sie getragen, wie das im Vergleich dazu ist, wie ich mich fühlen möchte. Er bemerkt, dass mein Kleiderschrank 4 Größen umfasst und ich meine lebenslangen Körperveränderungen nicht erklären muss. Er findet die Stücke, die ich ausstehen kann und die es noch besser machen, und bringt mich sogar dazu, eines zu tragen. Er reißt jedes Mal ein paar mehr, um sie loszuwerden, zu verschenken. Für ihn versuche ich, kleine Änderungen vorzunehmen, um mich stilvoller zu fühlen. An manchen Tagen wähle ich sogar die besser sitzende Weste. Er wünscht, ich würde zustimmen, etwas hineinzustecken oder einen BH zu tragen, und ermutigt mich, eine bessere Lösung zu finden als die Tanktops, die ich derzeit ertrage. Vielleicht werde ich. Er hört zu und kümmert sich, wenn ich versuche zu erklären, wie es ist, ständig die Reizung durch Kleidung zu spüren und mit chronischen Schmerzen zu leben – wie sich jedes zusätzliche Unbehagen unüberwindbar anfühlt. Keine Lösung, meine Vorstellungskraft reicht nicht aus, aber er kümmert sich darum. Früher hat sich niemand darum gekümmert.

Und Avi, für dich habe ich einen Lipgloss hinzugefügt, weil ich dich liebe und ich weiß, dass ich schön aussehe, wenn ich ein wenig Farbe hinzufüge. Ich möchte Sie erfreuen, indem ich meine Schönheit hervorhebe, obwohl ich an diesem Punkt meines Lebens nicht geneigt bin, mehr als 5 Minuten mit meinem Aussehen zu verbringen. Wir haben Gespräche darüber, warum das so ist – meine Erfahrung mit Geschlecht, Sexualität, Gewicht, Altern. Was Schönheit bedeutet und wie sie gefährlich sein kann. Du bringst mich dazu, Dinge zu sagen, die ich mir selbst nicht sagen wollte, und wenn ich dich umarme, denke ich, wenn ich mit deinem Arm um mich auf dem Sofa sitzen könnte, einfach ein paar Minuten still sitzen könnte, würde ich mich innerlich ganz fühlen.

Jeder Tag wird schwer, mit Schmerz und Verantwortung und die Zeit vergeht zu schnell, um sich auf das Wesentliche einzustellen. Also, jeden Tag, wenn ich mich von Ihren Stimmen inspirieren lasse, kann ich Sie alle vor aufgeregtem Stolz für mich schreien hören, als hätten Sie die ganze Zeit für mich gewurzelt, als ich einen Schritt auf mich zu machte. Mit deiner Kameradschaft kann ich mich auf meinem Weg belohnen, anstatt mich dafür zu bestrafen, dass ich nicht weiter bin.

Wussten Sie, dass Vorstellungskraft die gleichen Teile des Gehirns anregt wie Erfahrung? Ich habe eine super Vorstellungskraft.

Ich weiß, dass du weißt, dass du Menschen hilfst, aber du wusstest nicht, dass du mir hilfst. 
Danke aus Kanada. 

I wish I could write this in German. 

I came across your show at the moment I needed a Queer Eye intervention. That's how I treat the series, like if I watch enough episodes in a row, somehow I can imagine myself into a life on the other side of realizing all the things I need to realize and magically finishing all the things I never finished. I use it like taking an aspirin against the flatness of how impossible it feels that I will ever see my work through to something of substance, let alone get my kitchen in order and start working out again. There were no new American episodes, and then you showed up in my feed. I didn't expect to feel such a familiarity and connection through subtitles, but wow. You guys! Wow. 

I start hearing your voices speaking German, which I do not understand, but in my imagination I know exactly what you are saying. When I despair, Ayan twinkles his smile and says, even one little change can make a big difference. The next thing I know, I'm gluing my tiny, abstract paintings to the kitchen backsplash, and it's true, it's little but it's big. Every day I look at my pieces and feel my full meaning. I feel inspired to integrate my art with my space. 

When I feel the drudgery of making the meals, Aljosha reminds me what I already know - what I do with sloppy resentment, I could do with care and attention, and that little shift might have wider benefit in my life. It's true, and somehow vegetables seem more appealing when they are laid out for fajitas. He puts on the music and we dance in the kitchen when no one's around. 

When I start losing touch with my sensuality, Leni reminds me that movement doesn't have to be demanding. She guides me to my mats, selects my music, and asks me, what would feel good to do right now? She moves with me to Happy Rhodes. I let my body move and my spirit settle, and I remember what it feels like to feel better. We talk about things I won't write here, about my closest relationships, which are all founded on my relationship with myself. About life and loss and purpose. I shift. 

When I stop caring enough that I wear the same 4 shirts and 2 pants every single day just to avoid thinking about it, Jan-Henrik rifles through my closet, asking me why I bought certain pieces, how I felt and what I was doing when I wore them, how that compares to how I want to feel. He notes that my closet spans 4 sizes, and I don't have to explain my lifelong body transitions. He finds the pieces I can stand that take it up a notch, and even gets me to wear one. He yanks a few more each time to get rid of, give away. For him, I try to make tiny changes towards feeling more stylish. Some days I even choose the more fitted vest. He wishes I would consent to tuck something in or wear a bra, and encourages me to find a better solution than the tank tops I currently endure. Maybe I will. He listens and cares when I try to explain what it's like to feel the irritation of clothing, all the time, and to live with chronic pain - how any additional discomfort feels insurmountable. No solution, my imagination falls short, but he cares. No one has ever cared about that before. 

And Avi, for you I have added a lip-coloured lip gloss, because I love you, and I know I look beautiful when I add a little colour. I want to please you by highlighting my beauty, even though, at this point in my life, I'm not inclined to spend more than 5 minutes on my appearance. We have conversations about why that is - my experience of gender, sexuality, weight, aging. What beauty means and how it can be dangerous. You let me tell myself things I haven't been willing to tell myself, and when I hug myself, I think, if I could sit on the sofa with your arm around me, just sitting there quietly for a few minutes, it would complete something inside me. 

Every day gets heavy, with pain and responsibility and time moving too fast to fit in what matters. So, every day when I inspire myself with your voices, I can hear you all squeal with pride for me, like you were rooting for me all along, when I take a step towards myself. I can reward myself with your commaraderie on my journey, instead of punishing myself that I'm not further along. 

Did you know imagination sparks the same parts of the brain as experience? I have a super imagination. 

I know you know you help people, but you didn't know that you help me. Thanks from Canada. - CAI

Happy Rhodes today's pick Baby Don't Go https://youtu.be/_pHIp1pTKBQ