Being Human and Mental Illness pt 2

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My relationship to music is a very intimate one. I have often said that if it wasn’t for the presence of music in my life I would be dead. Perhaps physically, perhaps just emotionally. I cannot say for sure. But I have my guesses.

Throughout life I have been dealt some heavy instances, somethings I am only now understanding where not at all okay for a child to endure. And in my darkest hours music was there for me. From my walkman, to my discman, to my ipod, to my smartphone – it was and is rare that i didn’t/don’t have my comfort blanket on hand. Music, It never hurt me, it never abandoned me, and it held me and those I held dear when no one else would – or could.

Today was a dark morning for me, Dolores O’Riordan the lead singer to The Cranberries was found dead in her hotel room late last night. I’m crushed, and a sea of torrential tears followed. Dolores was not just her music, she was a Female lead in a country that certainly didn’t encourage that, she was fierce Irish Woman battling mental illness, she was an artist and a revolutionary, she was a Mother of three, she was 46, she was a heroine of mine since I was a small girl. She was art, and her art saved my life.

In Dolores I saw my own reflection. She taught me it was okay to be a rebel, to be a poet, to be different. In the end, in her ending, Music couldn’t save her, but it saved me.

Growing up my Mother loved The Cranberries, my mother loved music in general and most of our days were filled with the shared dance that came with knowing that all we had was each other, and our music. The Cranberries, The Stone Temple Pilots, David Bowie, Queen, and SoundGarden were all a staple. Now their front people are elsewhere than in the living realm. Dead, but not really.
When things got hard, as they often did, music would blare out our car window as we drove, just drove anywhere and listened to music. When my Mom and Stepdad’s domestic abuse would reach a crescendo, music would cradle us in our shared strife. Music was a Mother to me when my own Mother couldn’t be there, Music was her Mother too. The Cranberries often took this space. Her heartfelt irish wails cascading over our shared sorrowing. It encouraged nourishment, grieving, and going forward – only because of the fodder these sounds provided us.

I found home only in my Mother, but something in Dolores’s songs, in her voice reminded me of a home I had not felt yet. It reminded me of my blood’s mother land, it reminded me that revolution, courage and endurance ran through my veins. That I was put on this earth to be brave, that I was put here to receive and to give back ten fold.

Fast forward to me, age 15 – I’m sad, I’m lost and I have no fucking idea what am doing. I need guidance, I need support, I need something – but I am alone, scared and in that strange place in-between being a child and an adult. I reach a space of breaking, and for the first time in my life I go further than just contemplating suicide. In the Fall of my 15th year I took every pill in my house and waited for death to retrieve me, I was tired – and now looking back I understand that I was more tired than any girl my age should have been. The world was on my shoulders and I didn’t know how to ask for help. So I waited, and I listened to music. I listened to The Cranberries album “No need to argue” on repeat, and I cried whilst clutching my “last slurpee”. Melodramatic, hell yes. I never claimed anything different.

The immense physical pain hit, and the music played on. In my delirium it sounded as if she was singing to me, good gods I just wanted a strong, kind, Woman to sing to me. She sang her sonnets, these songs that effected me in a way I had no capacity to understand at that point. And suddenly my breaking point hit a wall; No. I didn’t want to die, I really didn’t. I just wanted someone to sing to me, hold me, and to empower me to make change in my own way. I just wanted a world where people would sing to each other when things became broken. I called 9-1-1 and they were there within 10 minutes.

I lived, obviously – and while I would like to say I was healed completely, I cannot boast such a thing. There were many other slip ups over the next ten years, the scars on my body only a minor reflection of the scars inside. But I was a little bit healed, and a lot less dead than I had planned. Bonus!
Music, has always been the salve that enabled me to pick myself up again, music has saved my life so many times. My desire was only to return that favour with my own artistic expression.

But Dolores is dead, and while this is shattering news to me I am proud that I do not feel the need to join her. We live in a world that does not know how to tend to the mentally ill, A world that sees it as something to be swept under the rug, as a cultural burden. This is bullshit, as it was the culture it’s self that enabled these woundings.

I woke up this morning and I sobbed for an hour, at first I sobbed for her death, and then I sobbed with terror – if she one of my heroines could not do it, then how the fuck could I? Much like I felt when Michael Stone and Chris Cornel had lost their battle with mental illness. They were so strong, how could I possibly keep fighting a battle they lost? And then I cried for her Children, I cried for her fans, her band, and then the plethora of people in the world that felt weaker knowing she had succumbed to her grief.

And then I cried for my mother, she was my best friend, my sister, my home – and now we are estranged. She choose a much different, and very much conflicting path than I. And after Amplify Her came out what little remained of our relationship imploded. These past 3 months I have lost a hero, a home, a Mama, and a very toxic relationship between them all. I cried because I knew somewhere, she was crying too.

I miss my mom, I miss Dolores, and I miss all my dead heroes.

But I still have their music. In addition to that I have my own. and perhaps that is the only respectful form of immortality available to us. One day, I will die, I will feed life with my death and that is proper; but perhaps having lived in such a way that the music and art flowed through me authentically I would be offered the ability to keep giving after my dying. Much like Dolores has.

Her death was too soon, I will not fuck around and say otherwise. She lived in a sad world, one that we all lived in – and she gave until she could not anymore.

I have much to give, far past my young age, far past her age of 46, I have shit to do and a world to fill with art and love. And I promise you I will not do this alone.

There are no lone wolves in the wild, lone wolves die.

Thank you Dolores, thank you so god-damn much for holding me and the others that you did, in the way that you did. Thank you for stirring my ancestral memory as you did, thank you for fighting as you did, thank you for the revolution. We will continue on where you left off.

In my blood there is music, art, magic, power, grief and an infinite amount of love. And god damn it one day I will be in my 90’s telling my great grandchildren all the stories I have been fated to collect. Surrounded by the living, and surrounded by my dead.

This I promise you.

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him

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from which I was crafted,
I will keep writing of love, as long as love is alive in me
I have far before my time, and will far after

Listen –

As the dust cues to our catastrophic cosmic connection
Visceral and utterly pleated
into my live’s mythology

the enormity of our hearts unified pulse, penetrating deeply
it ploughs hard and fills me up,
bringing my lust into fruition, swimming in sex
the eros we share
thick and dripping down our mortal coil

The Kata to my Kali

relishing in Water’s adversarial love affair
with fires smouldering gaze – enraptured in their consequential vapour
a thousand years they’ve practiced
for this one short lifetime
a chance to do it right

beyond war & flame
beyond monarchy & botched revolution

He of whom meets my fierce gaze with an infectious softness
– together we birth an air of wild kindness
He of whom claims my bastard body as if it were royalty
– together we sow a sprouted flesh and rooted noble sensuality
He of whom scoured my landscape and unearthed a petrified heart
– together we revisioned two sovereign wanderers into a king and queen inservice to life.

Life pulses in gratitude, whispering a brazen promise to behold us & our enchanting truth.

most days
we are requisitioned by the world,
other days
our worlds capacity is stretched by life
and betwixt it all,
he is my world – small, quiet and serene, a refuge in the in-between

In the midst of our happening,
I am undone
to him, i pledge a loyalty to love and all it’s iterations
to him, I vow to christen myself in desire
to him, and to him in totality

I entrust my surrender.

Musings on the continued pilgrimage of Responsible Freedom in Love

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Through out my exploration through life I have personally been practicing various forums of ethical (ish) pre-scripted forms of non monogamy since 2008 – I have struggled with self doubt, self hatred, a lack of support, violent rebellion, self inflicted exile and deep grief in the loss of a sense of self that followed.
My attempts at being Polyamorous were founded on the same broken concept at my attempts at being Monogamous – ill-fitted scripted narratives and a lack of community.
So just as I was a failed monogamist, I became a failed polyamorist.

I had to loose everything and become what I felt was completely broken in 2011 to understand that I needed to restructure and rebuild something unparalleled and unprecedented – custom to my timeline, my desires and the community of which I so deeply felt called to nourish. I needed to be broken to see the reality of what endurance could lead to – a loyalty to love, a reestablished idea of devotion, and a strength in my story – and what would later become an intertwined shared story.

My deepest desire in the willingness to share my life and this so called “alternative” form of relation is to encourage the expression and excavation of personal and cultural truth. To lead by example not the front lines of Non-Monogamy – but a world postpoly/postmono where Humans are emboldened to practice Love in the model of which that is truest for them in their “now”.
I desire a time where whether we love or share a partnership with one, two, many or none that we’re encouraged to be in relationships that are in service to something outside of just the relationship it’s self – abolishing the deep underbelly of escapism via interpersonal connection.
I crave collective where your worth as an individual is not put in to question on account of being different – but in fact a culture where diversity fuels it’s flourishing advance.
I long for a world where sensual/creative/emotional/intellectual/passionate connection isn’t shamed or subject to a warped sense of guilt laden secrecy; where it’s encouraged to flow naturally as it unfolds, as opposed to attempting to shove it into a narrative that outdates it’s unique rise, expansion and evolution.

My Core partnership is not under any sort of strain or onslaught by these choices to live a life which asks our upmost allegiance to honesty. Neither him or I has a limited or finite source of adoration, so in all logic any perceived “threat” is only rooted in the echo of a time where a binary form of relation was the only one taught – an old story of love to which no longer fits the times we are in. This does not mean there is no jealousy or fall backs into the stories that we grew up in. Our relationship has not always been been an easy adventure, and it will not suddenly become as such – nor would I want it to.
Partnership, Love and Relationships take skillfulness, and skillfulness generally requires trial and error.
Regardless of and in correlation to that I have never lived a more fulfilling and awe inducing Partnership, our ability to challenge each other, encourage growth, and continue on in the form that best serves us and our community leaves me in a constant grateful state of deep love for all that is him and I.
Beyond “Good” and “Bad” – Every dark and light moment has been crucial to our process of becoming.

“I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.”

I want so vehemently to live a life of authentic love, fierce devotion and continued progression that dares others to live their truth, to fully examine their and their kin’s desires, boundaries and the full spectrum of their psyche – to demonstrate a courageous form of love and community that includes all walks of life: the unabashed and multifarious gamut of humanness.
Perhaps we are radical dreamers, but if I have learned anything thus far I have learned that we sure as hell are not alone on this untrodden journey into fearless brazen amorousness.

I dare you to be truthful, authentic and responsible in your Love – with each and every individual that you hold with sweet regard – I dare you to fully exist in service to the morphogenic field of adoration of which surrounds you.

I dare you to pontificate on what it would look like to have your life’s actions be collectively in service to love.

– AppleCat

The Ache

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Why have we strayed so far away from our roots to find some appropriated facsimile of so called “home”?
I have inklings of memory: memory of lost love, of dust; memory of battles, blood, and wine. Of words I don’t understand but I still feel. I remember, I guess I’ve always remembered.

Modern blood lines and blurred borders. Unsavoury connections, and disheartening observations. All connected to recent descendants – my own disdain for my living lineages; an eschew of comfortably strayed spiritually stunted children. Rejecting the idea of tribal law, generations of memory traded for what?
Stucco siding and a manicured flower garden. Handicapped by choice, because a life of feigned ignorance is an easy life.

“Bah” I said “Not me!”

I abhor not the people but the aspects of society that twisted the warrior within myself towards such disapprobation. How could I be a guardian to anyone, or any place with such contempt for the present? And I do so see myself as a guardian in training to this gracious Turtle Island. Whether or not I live up to that, is not for me to say.
Those who have pained she who moulded me, she who gave me life, she of whom I want always to protect. I -within the constrains of my audacious hero syndrome- hold such an fierce anger towards them.

These broken ones have unpurposefully bruised and tarnished my bond to what once was (old lang syne). Hands in the air, Nose up, and lip curled I refused their fear of living. Often to a fault.

Although – sometimes, I do this with far too much an of adolescent attitude. This upheaval has to end. I am tired of being an earthquake all of the time. I want to be a calm sea, a night sky, I want to be a forest fire.
We are all connected, and I enjoy educating myself in worldly theology, fable and history. I enjoy understanding its correlation and curious connection to lands far from each-other’s conscious reach. Finding comfort in our shared stories. Stories and stardust, its what we’re all god damn made of.
But why stray so far? Why embrace and consume so much culture, but only taste the scent of where my parentage was birthed? The foundation of my ambiguous DNA.
My loyalty lays not within my given family, but with the one I found; my alliance is with the lushness of the world; and my pride now lays deep in my blood. I’m finding it’s wild flames again, as the dragon of my heritage is awakens. Unslayable, waiting to be claimed.
So far back in to where I see in my dreams; the myth and narrative that the ancestors hum in to my ear, trickling down my fingers, tickling and intoxicating my tongue.

“LISTEN” they say, “LOOK” they demand.

I am neither here, nor there. Too far ahead and too far back; blessed now with tangible anchors, to the world I adore. My rebellion suddenly with a cause. My feet suddenly more grounded than ever. How terrifying.

We are all indigenous to somewhere, they whisper to me. But where? and why doesn’t it seem matter like it should on the surface to most people I meet – could they truly believe themselves to be a cause so lost that it isn’t worth an excavation? Children born of nothing, and tethered to nowhere.

Don’t you feel the pang from those and that of which has been left behind, the ache of hunger in you craving something more? That depressed cavern in your body that eats away at your voice and leaves behind self loathing and oblivion. What if it wasn’t as empty as it seemed but instead filled with the emaciated peoples we only remember in dreams. Not dead, not alive, less they be fed. The longing lingers for something real, something that tells us we belong. That somewhere there is a place that longs for us. Do you feel it?

I do.

 

A letter to home

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Dearest Inter-worldly Cosmonaut,

My tongue is split and raw due to your terrified punishment; I believe these days they call it patriarchy. I remember your lush endorsements to philistinism, all those acres equal to incarceration –
Despite the clever custom bondage for the firsts consort, I never was called to linger in your garden of restriction.
Or was it called by some other name? It’s been so long I have forgotten everything but the truth.

Daddy I have been bad.

The seared hearts they vagabond along with me, as I have for centuries; and apples are clearly the best of fruit.
a melange of pleasure and pain beckoning us home.
Home? What is this home of which your longings are fated to? The extradited damnation embraced as fodder. Walk on, nomadic and solitary – finding home and other wanderers in a place far older than your recollection.

How tired you must be – carrying the sheathe of the immortal soul in your domain
How lonely you must be – for you cannot own me; or anyone at all for that matter.

How it must be burdensome
but know this-

When your ancestry recovers,
as it trickles down your being
when you become saturated in memory
drenched and ragged
in your lieu
your seat is
waiting

Love Always,

-The Wanderers

Art Credit: http://fav.me/d5isug7

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We are made up of stories; yours and mine, theirs, before & after – all bound together at the spine of it all.
And one day -gods willing- two old wolves will recount their days with gentle fondness. Mystery and wonder, faded in to tattered pages – dog eared years washed down in a literary sanctuary

– a tangible offering to a world flood with pixels and bandwidth

with fermented red ones dancing on tongues tip, spiralling artistry and cosmic connection – two old wolves past the precipice of their time; composed yet playful they’ll sit in their refuge – remembering and musing;
marveling
as they always have – and perhaps always will.

Alexander-Milov-Burning-Man

Most of us in the inner workings of the scene know there are some festivals and events that are child friendly and some that are not. Any Burner Parent knows the scorching blaze of judgement -hotter than any day on the playa- that comes when someone out of the know hears you are contemplating taking your child to Burning Man – OR even have a child and perpetuate that “lifestyle”.

“Oh we’ve heard of what goes on THERE” They scoff, absolutely unaware of the magic waiting there for anyone, of any age.

Deeper in to the knowing most of us Burners are well aware that Burning Man it’s self is not your typical music festival – in fact most would push to say it’s not a festival at all; but an artistic exhibit personified in a small transient city – a tangible archetype of what could be.
For Adults, elders and Children alike.

I have traveled for a handful of years across the white streets of the playa and I have imagined those roads from many different eyes; there truly is something for everyone.

In the summer of 2012 I ventured to ” Kidsville” – a large camp catering for Children & Families at Burning Man – out of my own curiosity and inquiry. After having been at BM for a couple years at that point my daughter started asking to attend with me.

“Is Burning Man for Kids?” I thought

Sure one could find it easy to discredit a place apparently soaking with debauchery as a strictly adult playground; but per-capita is it really so much different than a city? I have never felt safer or more at home than I do on the Playa, I would wager to so many children feel the same.
So many have found solace and release in expressing their childlike self at BM so why not have us all be able to express that together? Learn to love the Childlike self from the masters of being silly themselves!

I wandered in to Kidsville and saw a plethora of giddy delights, a lavish peanut butter & jelly station, tiny geodesic domes, puppet shows and more than anything I saw absolutely elated children – I saw families working together cultivating community outside of the stagnant and tired story of the Nuclear home.

I prodded them with playful inquiry, I spoke to parents, children, extended family and a few imaginary friends/stuffed animals.
What I heard was a collective exhale, expressions of joy, tired but grateful parents – relieved they could gather in a place where they could be Humans together with their Kids.

Imagine a world where Children don’t grow up on a pedestal feeling like a burden later as teens; but rather are treated as members of a thriving community: a tribe even.

I don’t have to imagine it because I have seen it.

So BM & the Temple saved my life, anyone who knows me knows that.

It restored a sense of worthiness and purpose to which I lost – perhaps before I even inhabited this body – It returned me to myself, my artistry and my love.
Part of this restoration was learning to understand that my Child self, my sensual self and my sage self were not adversaries – and it was when I learned to weave them together as Kin that I truly felt joy and self acceptance for the first time.

That being said as a whole Burning Man did not create anything that wasn’t already there but nourished and united the child the elder and the guardian creature inside of me. It merely calmed the ire of their war-grounds and planted seeds for me to sow.

Gods know what a world we could have if our children could be taught such embark from Childhood to Adulthood.

I wonder.

#TBT 3 years ago – “damsel”

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I have tasted the gods, they stain my tongue like red wine
or blood

Safe, deep in the forest you lay to rest
The dew soaked moss and twigs, scattered like fingerbones,
your spine torn out, bleached white and curved like a bow.

I searched but fail, couldn’t find your heart, trembling
against the opened cage of your ribs,
Stake your claim on mine, just as well as I can stake claim on the sky.
Hidden somewhere, your heart pumps

A deep sigh of relief. I come undone. Unraveled.
and with my new found nothing, I am free.

Dream.

old_man_sunset_by_thelifeinfocus-d5f5g8t

I dreamed of an event;
filled with a melange of folk, old and young;
Sometimes it was a dance party, otherwise a theatric performance; sometimes it was just delightful and cultured chaos.
The night was coming to an end and he approached me;

“What is it you fear child?”

The older man with the crows feet and thick viking accent asked.
I hesitated

“I fear a life wasted and unremembered, and a death equally so. I fear failure; and the foreboding shadow of “too late”

He nodded.

The whole event he had been very jovial; like a favourite -perhaps often moderately drunk- uncle. Sometimes I could barely tell if he was human or some other type of playful animal. Now though there was nothing but certitude and wisdom in his intense stare; one that beamed with a sobriety I had never even fathomed.

He gently took my index finger and concentrated intently on it; reading it.
He rested in the place between words for what seemed like an eternity and then abruptly let out a heavy breathe.

‘Your life’s, and then your death’s gifts will come and go like the tides; but if it is a death without memorial you dread; you have nothing to fear.
Your debts to this world will be paid in full; you are now and will be loved until you are forgotten.
Death – when it is time – will be your last gift to this world.”

With tears I squeeze his hand in gratitude; hard. Swiftly then I wake up; with words in mind and pillow slightly dampened.

Roots: Sex, Music, Activism, Love

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These are the seeds I sowed; ones that spark, Sexuality, Creativity, Activism, Love, Understanding and Spirituality.

Just notes for now.

*3 Years old: My nights are lulled to bed by classic celtic folk songs, Enya’s sweet blend of cosmic future sounds and ancestral lullabies. I remember something, I don’t know at the time that I am remembering; but I feel it. The childlike contentness with not understanding, but knowing deeply regardless; cradling me to sleep

*4 years old: I cannot stop staring at my Moms Cassette and Vinyl inserts. In particular Guns and Roses “Appetite for Destruction”; which features a drawing of aliens, a post apocalyptic dystopian world and to my fascination a very vulnerable very nearly naked woman. I stare, in private and am absolutely entranced. My first memory of a realization of my desire for women (and considering the context perhaps kink)

*5 years old: One year later another pseudo obsession arises; I cannot stop listening to the NIN “Pretty Hate Machine”, Madonna “Like a Prayer” or “Catching up with Depeche Mode” Cassettes. It just can’t be done.

*Six Years old I hear Moonlight Sonata for the first true time, this is my first fundamental memory of getting goosebumps when I heard a song. After this I was hers, music had laid it’s groundwork in each vein in my heart and there was no chance of removal without utter dismal termination.

(Fun fact, wrapped around the tree of life on my arm are the notes to said song)

*Seven years old: My Mom goes with her boyfriend to see Les Miserables, she brings me home the soundtrack and I fall in absolute love. Again I listen and listen and listen, the words to each song now deeply and permanently imbedded in my mind. The heart and soul and anguish of Victor Hugos story, exaggerated by song and theatrics! My little Revolutionary soul ignites, and merges forever with my already prominent love of music.
And suddenly I have this unyielding desire to write….

*Eight years old: My unadulterated adoration for Freddie Mercury of Queen has grown to a peak. His Operatic vocals mixed with theatric rock and roll grab me by the throat and force me to dance.
A delightful mixture of my early love of Rock and Theatre. My first crush, or rather an idol of sorts. My first experience with the ever prominent theme in my life of being attracted to talent and uniqueness, so much so that I would bark at the top of my lungs “God damn it he’s Bisexual with a preference to men, and one day I will marry him!…. he can have a husband too, that wouldn’t bother me.” (Also my first experience with the irritation of the media world depicting Bisexual individuals as solely gay, or “Transitioning”)

One summer day in my Moms Buick I sat in the passenger seat dancing away to “Radio Goo goo”; the song ended and my Mom broke the news to me that Freddie Mercury had passed away; I sat stark and quite, and then it all came pouring out. I cried, a lot; I cried because his chapter was finished, I cried because his music would flow out new no more, I cried because his soul had faded away in to the next life. I grieved, and with that; I knew death.

*Nine years: old I discover Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Smashing Pumpkins) and Purple (Stone temple Pilots). Absolutely in rapture I proclaim with great jubilation

“Holy FUCK!”

*Ten years old: I find Prodigies “Fat of the land”, paired with Ministry, and Crystal Method I note; Whoa Industrial breaks, Whoa BASS; I remark they sure can do a lot with Computers and sound.
My first love for Electronic Music blossoms……