Telly from Sesame Street

Telly from Sesame Street, remember? Most people don’t. He was the purple monster (I think I learned in later years — our tv was black and white) who worried all the time. He walked around like a muttering animated fur covered ulcer feeling awful, guilty, and worried about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. He was constantly being talked down from ledges and explained to that everything was going to be ok.

Telly was my favorite, even though I hated his scenes.

I really felt him. I understood those overpowering huge feelings — unquenchable terribleness concerning anything and everything — in my little two and a half foot tall body. On the inside I was more often than not like Telly as a kid. I don’t think I’ve outgrown him, but the Telly inside me and I are better friends than we used to be.

Inside me there are settings that look very black and white. Yet I don’t believe in such dichotomies. The dimmer switch doesn’t work that well, it jumps around turning the lights on and off jarringly. Life is complex and even though we are constantly trying to hold on to some sort of “truth” to keep the fear of hopelessness and meaninglessness at bay, we are also lunging forward every day with mistakes and experiments. Our animal selves are reaching out to connect with one another in the most meaningful and inappropriate ways, and our brains are making rational decisions irrationally based off a chart of “acceptable ethics” we didn’t each actually internally create.

When I’m emotionally strong and feeling well I celebrate my feral deeds with hedonistic campfires and the barbaric yawp of an animal in heat, victorious in my fuckall war against repression — crystal clear about the effigy burnt up made of shame. When I am low, depressed, shaky, or weak inside, out come the tears and quivers, begging forgiveness for what I have done, thought, or risked, infected with remorse and self loathing at my counter-understanding of the the world, different from what I’ve been taught… Fear bleeds and creeps under my skin and I lie awake terrorized at who I might be: in fact who I am. What I’ve done for the freedom of my soul and the pleasure of my skin, I wring hands over moments later awash in guilt and shame. The concept that I should ever become an anybody terrifies me when I realize I might be crushed under the weight of facing this monster publicly who is me…

Neither of these, of course, represents truth. My mind ravages my body, my body in turn continually finds time to overpower my mind. Each of these moments an ultimatum for my heart, poor beatup civilian in the middle, to take sides. My stomach seethes and rebels, trying to shut the whole system down, while my head chatters incessantly allowing me no repair and no rest, so my heart (Maria or Gordan in this story), searches for the answer to this chaos, the understanding which will bring meaning to each of these feelings, mellowing out to find the line I can live with somewhere in between. Inside there are many wars being raged every day.

Why, even as a young child, did I perseverate so deeply, disquietly questioning the very basic impetus to remain tethered within my own skin? Why such intense and early connection to guilt and shame. I had (have) a ton of it.

When I found out about the concept of reincarnation I was appalled and depressed for days. I worried that there was any truth to it because “WHO THE FUCK WANTS TO DO THIS AGAIN?!?!?!!!!” I was staunchly aware that I didn’t. Life was not weight which should be borne again and again, one time was enough! Maybe even too much. To imagine rediscovering all the pain that emotions bring, again and again, even once, seemed too much for my young mind. Later on in High School I read Camus and learned his theory of the “Theater of the Absurd”: nothing was, nor ever will be again, this window of living is but an absurd moment in chaos. Theater. I was finally pacified, satisfied, and hopeful about my eventual nothingness.

I’ve gotten older though and I want to travel the world outside of storybooks, and I doubt I’ll be able to see as much as I desire. I probably won’t build that house with my own hands. I don’t think I’ll have children. There is a growing list of professions and experiences I’d like to have which I never shall wrap my hands around, a list of mouths I’ll never kiss, stages I’ll never touch, levels of ecstasy I’ll never reach, plateaus of peace I’ll never find…

In this life I’m living I’ve repeatedly made mistakes, gone too far, felt remorse, cut myself off, pushed boundaries I felt were important to push, trusted my instincts, fallen on my face, picked myself back up better skilled, and championed the challenge. I am teasing free this ball of twisty knotted line and it is chaos theory, way way bigger than only me. The older I get the more easily I recognize the cycle of it all too. I can, from further and further distances away, observe my moments of burning high flight before the fall. I recognize myself bottoming out. I know I am not in truthful territory during these highs and lows. But there’s Art there. Struggle is integral to seeing complexity and finding undiscovered degrees of perspective. I connect with ideas that are beyond me, larger than the sum of of my experiences, feelings I could not follow were I not here now in the middle of the up and down agony of… whatever it is I’m flying and crashing about right now.

The up and down agony of reality. Nothing about our lives is ultimately controllable, yet without our struggle to organize, life is not energetically sustainable.

So I come to my theory of perfect tension. The meaning of life is, I think, to find proper tension. Adjusting constantly, tendrils snaking out to each body one is connected to, keeping time with the cyclical humming we are all a part of/immersed in. Now tighter, now loosening up, now hold it firmly and breathe, breathe together, let go slowly, don’t fall if you can help it… We’re balancing in our separate corners with the million lines to one another continually supporting and threatening each other as we go. I am feral. I want to be loved. I am perverse and sexual. I want no shame within my vulnerability. I must trust. There are walls. No one will catch me but me. Autonomy. Interconnectedness. It is a mess to be born of atoms, and a challenging blessed practice to be.

Does it matter that I cheated on my vocab test in second grade? I was a wreck for weeks. I didn’t tell anyone until now. Really. The shame of being a disappointment to my parents. Whispered promises to a god I don’t believe in begging for some peace from this feeling of inner decay. I begged to that anonymous bigger thing in high school too, worried so deeply, hoping I’d start to bleed. I find myself there in adulthood about saying the wrong words to people I love, or afraid I’ll have a heart attack from eating the wrong recreational thing, or when worried I’ll find myself exploited for my mistakes which might look like tresspasses to the people not inside me… Of course I do better on my strong days, a purring lion-faerie riding dandelion seeds on the wind. On those days nothing can harm me, for I believe above all in my reasons for doing what I have done, in my own intentions and decisive jumps. Still, moments, weeks, years, decades later I can locate each rotted gut feeling, tendril upon tendril of tension wracked with guilt and disharmony carried alongside me still, worried I did the wrong thing. It is a messy gaping bag of cancer I haven’t figured out how yet to set free.

This is the struggle of humanity. Born alone, dying alone, with all of these others that we feel around us — so deeply, so tenderly, so savagely, so cuttingly, so movingly (for better and worse) — in between.

I’ve been told more than once that I’m a path cutter, wielding my machete and hacking into wilderness, looking for the more that there is. Covered in scrapes and bruises, falls, twisted ankles, yet also sitting in wonder at the solitude and beauty I find when the moon is just right and the animals and insects around breathe with me.

I make mistakes, I’ll never stop. I try things I’ve been told not to and creep toward being a better more understanding animal. I stand up for my beliefs and hold a tense line when I must in the face of judgemental reproach. And I am weary some days. I am wrong now and again. I get crazy ideas and start racing head down into the unknown future: danger be damned! This is ultimately all I know how to do, and yes, I know it ain’t pretty… But when I stop and listen: “Human child” I hear my heart say, “there is no other way it is possible to be”.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Adult Playground

Still from “NO SHAME”. Photo by Jennifer Bennett

I’m in the middle of an East Coast tour performing my solo show, NO SHAME, I’m appearing in a few other shows, and teaching workshops along the way to help pay for food, gas and expenses. Like this blog, my message across mediums is about finding and owning one’s self. NO SHAME is a shapeshifting half-hour event where I tackle stereotypes, the metamorphosis of one’s character and identity over time, what it’s like to be institutionally afraid to be out in the world, and the intersection of these experiences with the power of thought and the force one’s words. The piece is essentially about the will to be.

Today more than any time in my life I think, the words that we dare to use, artist’s messages from all over, having conversations about taboo subjects, and the willingness of individuals to claim their space and speak up against oppression, against repression, and against the narrowing of ideas into boxes easily manipulated and controlled by the elite (political and/or wealthy), are enormously important. We must feed ourselves, as we would be further starved by the system. Continuing to gather reliable and objective intelligence, community building through acknowledgement of need and actioning to provide, choosing observation and action over despair or overwhelm, cultivating openness to new and different POVs, and the use of questioning instead of attack: these are tools for change, vital in this historical moment we are sinking into like the swamp of sadness… We must move our blood. We must speak, exercise, be!

I am teaching workshops in kink skills — a smattering of rope classes, my “Radical Gender Theater” curriculum, and an intro to various types of kink play pertaining to sensation manipulation. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching groups as well as privates; the classes are meant to empower people to better communicate with one another, and help navigate through the vulnerability that desire requires through fun, curiosity, challenge, and skilled playfulness. This “adult playground” we have matured into having control over (our bodies, emotions, and minds), is a gift we get only one chance to live well within.

Human animals are capable of far more than we recognise or are taught. Having been enculturated as a female person, and eventually finding kink — rough body play, needles, bites, whip marks, and scratches — has proven to me over and over again that my body is resilient and capable of processing pain and healing from damaging activity in a way my perceived gender is institutionally protected from finding or knowing. Having been surrounded by the sensitivities and open expression of emotions, pains, fears, and lostness of those enculturated within the masculine lie proves to me too that us animals are whole underneath. It is the powers that be, not the world which would have us be lesser than our true potential strengths and understandings.

I love my art. I love my audience and my students. When I act out or speak up, I learn so much about what people see and feel in response. I want to be an affecting force. I want to help people reach their inner truths and desires against the powers that be. I want to exercise this animal body, this universal intellect, this natural heart to their purposes while I live.

Play On My Friends,
~ Karin

If you like my blog, please check out my Patreon Page and support me. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist

~Thank you.

National Abortion Coming Out Day

I finally figured out what lipstick is for. Photo by Karin Webb

One of the things that contributes to healthy BDSM and Kink is the clear understanding that we own ourselves regardless of what is going on. This primary acknowledgement is what allows us to give control over to others and to take responsibility for our actions. We can consent to being used and to use, to find limits, experiment, and celebrate our flesh and our fantasies together. Without first owning ourselves, we can not give or take back freely and safely; we end up looking to another for permission or to know what is right. It is important and radical to know yourself, to own yourself, to fight for that one thing you were born with: your body. Today I write about a topic I feel deeply about:

HAPPY 44th ANNIVERSARY OF ROE V WADE!!!!! It has been 44 years since the half of the population who can get pregnant has had protected legal access to abortion and to the choice of how to govern their own bodies in the United States of America. Safe and accessible abortion is not, though, easy for much of our population to get to, afford, or feel safe accessing, and every day groups work to take this medical privilege away. In honor of choice and bodily autonomy being preserved, respected, and improved, I move to name today January 22: “National Abortion Coming Out Day”. The idea has been on my mind for a very long time, and I think this is the year that I can no longer put my thoughts off until tomorrow. Today is the day.

National Abortion Coming Out Day is about creating space for people who have had abortions, who have had partners who have had abortions, people who’ve supported someone getting an abortion, or who love and care for people who have had abortions to openly speak their truths. Open discourse about this topic has been suppressed and controlled through fear, violence, abuse, and an ensuing silent void. Take a moment and think about your history with abortion. How has it impacted your life? How has it impacted the lives of people you care for? How does the issue of abortion impact the lives of people less privileged than yourself? What questions do you have about abortion?

Share something about what you find with your community. Be willing and open to have conversations about what it means to own your body and your life. If you want to connect to a community with resources and support, check out the 3 in 1 Campaign, they’re great!

People have been having abortions, inducing miscarriages, and controlling their fertility since the beginning of knowing how to do it. You are not alone or unloved for choosing what to do with your body or your life. If you choose to carry a pregnancy to term, good for you! If you choose to terminate your pregnancy for any reason, congratulations on taking care of yourself, and good for you too! Our options stand on the shoulders of the fertile people and those helping them who have come before us, for thousands of years in study, wisdom, and developing practice. Medical people, Midwives, Doulas, Shamans, Witches, Doctors, Nurses, Veterinarians, Herbalists, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, even neighbors, lay people, and activists have had a hand in making abortion accessible and safe.

I had an abortion when I was 17, and I’m really glad I had access to it. I was supported emotionally, materially, familially; and I had the help of a partner with a car, and time to schedule it and heal before getting back to my high school classes. My life would be very different if I had a 21 year old right now, and that’s not the life I chose for myself. I don’t regret having that abortion one tiny little bit, I am grateful for it. It was safely performed in a hospital in Bangor, ME, and I was lucky that there were no complications. Since that time I’ve taken Plan B a couple times when condoms broke and the timing was bad, and I educate myself about aborcienifant herbs, tinctures, my fertility cycle, and natural methods of inducing miscarriage or starting a sluggish menstrual flow. There have been times I’ve taken herbs to jumpstart a late period when I was worried pregnancy was a possibility. I don’t have sex with people who are anti-abortion and anti-bodily-sovereignty. I have a right to my body and my bodily functions. So do we all.

Handsome devil with a uterus at your service… Photo by Karin Webb

So why are you sporting a mustache and binding in the photographs?

  • Shapeshifting to understand myself more deeply is a part of who I am as an individual and as an artist. I perform drag (across many gender constructs); I have since I wrote my first monologue at age 11. I enjoy binding in my daily life and wearing facial hair sometimes. Those are two ways I express myself.
  • I am gender fluid identified and use a few gender labels to explain my identity.
  • I think assumptions about gender in conversations about healthcare further alienate and put in danger people who aren’t men or women. Transmen, Intersex individuals, and people who don’t identify as women get to make choices about their fertility too.
  • I can’t post a photo of my breasts on most social media sites, so binding fits — there are only so many times you can grab yourself on camera to avoid areola exposure and not get bored with the results. It’s also an opportune moment to point out sex-based discrimination.
  • Culturally when we think of “ownership”, we most often associate the concept with masculinity. How has that affected the historical and present conversations about bodily autonomy when we consider fertility and offspring?
  • I think this photo says something about the entire concept of owning one’s body in our society. I had to break a lot of rules to even conceive of it.

Who gets to own bodies? Historically? Religiously? In relationships? In families? In hospitals? In bed? Over time? In prison? In poverty? Out dancing? In different cultures? In resistance? In public? In art? At school? In dangerous situations? At any moment someone else feels uncomfortable? Under the influence of various substances? At work? Within the constructs of privilege? …

Play On My Friends,
~ Karin

If you like my blog, please check out my Patreon Page and consider supporting me, or just click here: Support the Artist

~Thank you.

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