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

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Reaching for the pot from the fry pan

CAI & CDG, sometime ago

My guardian, my pimp, you left me here to navigate this plane alone, and I may never forgive you. 

I already have. You never left. 

Far enough to let me breathe becomes too far to keep me whole. Oscillation drags us down.

What is left? Left to do, now, what can be done, what will doing do, now? Left is right. Can we right what's left now?

When will you lift the heavy you use to hold me down? You say, that is death. You may be right. I may be left here yet. I've waited for the time and the time passed without coming. I've waited for the means but that means I'm always waiting. 

What do I want, anyway? A quite life, to waste away the days breathing life and playing? Yes. Yes. Yes. And loving and making. Not doing. Not doing and taking and doing some more. But don't we all? Want that? Doesn't everyone want peace?

Why should I have heaven while others live here in hell? How can I make my peace while the world burns?

Listen to Happy Rhodes. https://youtu.be/kCu5rPSQdDE