adult male rape, Images, Recovery, trauma
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INTIMATE FRONTIERS

 

One of the final frontiers left on my trauma recovery trail is intimacy without thoughts of chemical crutches. Through my adventures I have come to fully appreciate, embrace, understand and honor the impact trauma has had on my sexual unraveling. As I continue to mend the last of my obscure life interruptions. My approach has remained sensitive yet expeditious to right what feels wrong within. 

Sex and intimacy are two subjects that have been increasingly seeking attention within my mending psyche. Like all matters of internal importance, when the time arrives for me to heal and release them. I experience what I describe as an electrical itch or a soft urgency. Overtime I’ve “plugged” into my own inner clatter of sub-current speak. I do my best to listen and react knowing that my higher self has prepared me to move onward. 

I then begin a sensitive and respectful process of analyzation. Followed by my spiritual and human work, whatever feels right at the time. Before I know it issues begin to dissolve and release. Once the wheels are in motion matters mend rather fast. Through this wonderful mashed up journey of mine. I have been afforded the gift of heightened personal awareness. Along with a desire to take ownership and action of what many of us call our “personal truth”. What was once a process based on fearful hesitation is now rooted in joyful anticipation. I mend most issues fairly swiftly these days. Rather than pushing them off onto endless task lists. No longer do I treat my life as a chore, I am excited to experience change. I am now a participant in my own life, no longer a by-stander. 

Since the experience of my rape in 2011. Intimacy without chemicals has been a seemingly impossible situation to conquer. I have abstained from sex for just over six months now. Living in fear of flesh, sex and slamming is not a life time solution. It is what I choose to do for this period of time. 

Sex for the time being is not worth the price of admission. Not if the cost of entry is possible death by meth. I am not against the use of drugs, let me make this clear. I am not the moral police, I think drugs can be a hell of a lot of fun. Or…

Speaking only for myself, rape and crystal meth addiction took me to the darkest of spaces. They nearly took everything from me, they both left me for dead. My body mind and spirt felt like a peasant beaten in the dark of night by authorities in a third world country. Bloody, cold, unvalued, forgotten, not even a statistic… Just another discarded gutter fag. 

CURRENT TRUTH
Messages of intimacy continue to erupt around me. In my thoughts, my art, dialogues, writings and meditations. At a gallery opening this Saturday past, the subject of rape was a topic shared in private between several woman and I. As they asked questions about my photography and the subject matter. The images are a reflection of my mending experience after my gang rape. The images specifically encapsulate the “middle space” of my healing process, post darkness. When light begins to re-enter ones life. They are about the comfort of being SAFE. The tears flowed from a few of the women’s eyes. As they shared with me their own intimate tales of assault. One woman spoke of her experience for the very first time. 

An earthy sophisticate in her early 70’s described a terrified and obviously determined 10 year old girl. She had kept locked deep within safe from family, authorities and monsters. A fragile child never allowed to be speak for all these years. I was deeply honored that she felt SAFE to share her story. I stood with her as she held my hand I shared some of my accumulated perspectives. Along with a few tools that have helped me on my path. She had no tools 60 years past in rural Indiana. “He did the crime, I received the life sentence” she confided. For me this marked the beginning of the end of a long drawn awareness cycle. Or the opening to the closing of my intimacy release.  

CONTINUED OPENING TO A CLOSE
The following evening while on a rare venture to a club here in Chicago. I was busy doing my usual hoof and shuffle. Through thud and base while gagging on “fog juice.” I was approached by an extremely good looking and sexually aggressive young man. Although I declined his repeated advances. Intimacy triggers sparked through the epicenter of my pulsing brain. In general I do not “hook up” with folks I meet in clubs. This evening was no exception, I performed my usual twirl, cocktail and escape.

Not being able to figure out my emotions of the moment. I climbed from basement dance-hall in search of cab or sub-rail to destination home. That is when I had a snap second of desire. The desire was not sex, meat to hole. Although I had a nano-nag thought about companionship. Triggered by the handsome Mr. Generation next. My side saddle urge was to score a “teen” of  little wicked Tina. Then pop a rocket into my vein, this was not about getting high. This was about the demolition of fear and emotional retardation. I thank GAG (God Angels and Guides) for awareness, this is the key to all growth and recovery to all situations in my life. Ooh, sweet golden awareness, how I love thee.

Many men I know use crystal meth to take a sexual experience to a level of epic distortions. This was not my goal, my hope was to drop my own barrier walls. To be comfortable enough to allow another man to touch me, breath on and or in me. Most importantly to allow myself to reach out and be sensually connected. “Formal” sex was not a part of my conscious check list. My other objective was to be high enough to drop my sarcasm and humor. Often my defense mechanism when uncomfortable. 

This all sounds pretty basic, right? Passionate, tender heated, embracing, verbal one on one love. Love and communication without fear, free of hesitation void of calculated actions. Not so easy at this stage of recovery, difficult enough in daily life. Nearly impossible when rank and raw. I am getting there, patience is the other golden gift. 

This is not about body parts or geometry. This is about heart, head, flesh compassion and intuition. This formula use to be a part of my core approach to connective communication. Actually, it is still a part of who I am, it always will be. I proudly own this nugget of my personality. No matter how dormant it may be during this period of my semi-muffled sexual resurrection.

None of this is new, it is all part of the life detour recovery game. I am not special with this one, millions of us do it everyday. Anyone who is a champion in this accelerated course of Trauma 101 understands these various stages or repair. We all have our own pace and our own ways of making it through. I feel the shift, I see the horizon, I feel that this current veil has almost lifted.

Many I know in formal recovery programs would react to the very thought of sex and meth as a red flag. Naturally for many it probably should be, thats not my story. For me it was a 5 second cause to pause. It reenforced all that has been coming to the surface as I continue to move through these final frontiers. I realize now how much I have restored in my life. Just how much of me has come home to this temple of flesh no longer in decay. Recovery of any form in my eyes has zero timelines. It requires love, patients and personal sensitivity. It takes as many moments as needed to pause and shift up the game plan. Write your own rules or co-author with someone you trust not with someone you are suppose to trust.

All of our stories are important just as our lives are. We share our stories so we may heal. We also share our stories because this is how we help another human being in their journey. We each have a profoundly unique message and gifts in this lifetime. We each have our own platforms to use our voice. It may not be a lecture hall filled with Ted Talks fans, a blog, or big media presentations. It may be listing to your neighbor, being sensitive to a stranger on the street. Or finally being brave enough to let down our guard and be authentic with your partner a friend or even a family member. In these days of electronics that I adore, lets not forget the magic and power each of us harness.

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

 

Intimate Frontiers

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adult male rape, Images, Selfportraits, Uncategorized

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Artist Intent:

To invite the viewer to experience the intimate process of self-renewal. A moment captured here within these layered images. As layered as the emotions and the process itself. Where the foundation of the moment is based on openness, willingness and a seeking spirit. After a gang rape that took place in New York City in November of 2011, the artist finds himself safe at last in his home of current refuge. Images shot between the floor boards and box springs of his bedroom. Are symbolic of a safe shelter where once a similar setting of contrasting events took place 24 inches above.

This murky event birthed a nightmare of denial, addiction, and a full social shutdown. Distrust, loss of all hope, material goods and above all love of self and others. These same experiences also gave birth to grand opportunities to embrace spiritual, creative and emotional life change. These photos capture flashes of those moments.

Alone he is safe to explore his desires with little fear, no judgement or limits. A sense of vulnerability is unavoidable in this instant of self-love and passion. During these intimate moments he must earn even his own trust. As he literally makes love with his bed frame, the object he once held onto to save his life. Unable to embrace another man at this stage of healing. Without the crutch of chemicals from spike to vein. He companionship entangled in his own arms. Unavoidable looks of question, hesitation and fear rise to the surface of his face. Eventually comfort is found in the knowledge that all is ok…

This is not about the dark of the journey nor the light of the discovery. This is the the story of the in-between, the passionate self rediscovery of a life still unfolding and a soul healing. This is a love undone: the story of one.

Transitional Leap:
At this mid point between ages of 52 and 53. I have made a huge artistic transitional leap. Out of the 10,000 plus images I have created over the last few years. I have taken the steps and printed my first creative works in large scale. Professionally mounted and framed with purpose, care and love. This is the first I have ever seen or ever touched my own work. Which may sound strange, pieces I have sold have gone directly to the buyer. Never passing my final critical eye.

On Saturday January 30th 2016 I will participate in my first group show. My message remains the same and I never mind repeating. It is never to late evolve, shift your story should you choose and change. Never let go of your dreams and trust me when I say your words, your thoughts and your life all hold dynamic powers.

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

A LOVE UNDONE / A STORY of ONE

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adult male rape, Recovery, trauma, Uncategorized, Video

This conversation continues, based on my perspectives and experiences through rape and recovery. My intention with these conversations is to encourage an understanding of what the act of rape actually is like for many of us. More importantly the process of recovery and living an abundant better and brighter life through the process.

No rape or trauma experience is the same, yet there are many similierties in the after effects and after care. Within the soft walls of these talks I share my concepts of love and recovery.

This particular talk is designed for those who may be supporting a loved loved one on the mend. And finding it difficult to understand the emotional shut downs or “triggers” behind a projected emotional illusional exterior.

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

A BRIGHTER UNDERSTANDING PART II

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Images, Peace, Selfportraits

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Wishing everyone SAFE-TRUST-LOVE layered with an abundance of good fortune. My seasonal wish is for all to continue to embrace their own personal understanding of truth and limitless possibilities of life discovery.

May all of us love uncontrollably, as we fuse the seams of 2015 with 2016. Casting away the salvage scraps of 12 months past. Always a new horizon, always a new frontier-Sweet Luscious Cheers!

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

Fuseing the Seams

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Images, Selfportraits

A YARN STORY
Is just what it implies, a pile of found fibers and a half knitted cap. My story as most know doesn’t sway far from my common theme. Beauty is where you find it, life is what you choose to make of it. The magic is everywhere, beneath the grit you shall find your glit’ and gold.

Recently I came across an expansive bag of discarded knitted carnage and puffed woolen floss. My friends and colleagues questioned where I would like it to be disposed of and how quick. My neck twist in the direction of my current thrill. Eyes popped with conceptual lust with an expected response. Beauty is where you find it. Please set all aside for me, this bag is a a must!

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

A YARN STORY

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adult male rape, Recovery, trauma
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A RETURN of PUNK ROCOCO

THE RETURN of PUNK ROCOCO and THE SWISH MAN
Material goods do matter to each of us, I suppose. In various volumes, intervals and sizes.

This week I rewarded myself, with what I consider to be an insanely delicious find. Falling perfectly within the spectrum of my palette of 10,000 shades of taste. A sweet gold rimmed, floral dusted 60 piece plus antique dinnerware set. Including traditional borscht size bowls and all the service pieces. With storage bags and custom cut protectors for creamer, sugar bowl, butter plates, relish dishes, pie servers and such. Offered up at a generous price, wrapped with tender loving care. As if I where any other customer at my place of employment. For the first time in years I felt like a “norm” member of functioning society.

Oddly, I emotionally tripped out for a few days in a entirely new way. “Poor me,” I caught myself in a cloud of old thought splatters. “I have no storage to store these pieces, when will I ever have a place to call my own home again?” “Poor me, boo-hoo” the conversation continued within. “I have no one to cook for and no kitchen to cook in with no presentable space to serve”. …

Reality check dude, gentle calm comes as the rivers of progress and light flow. Showers of gratitude relax the mind and soul. This is no longer a trip of baggage or drudgery. Although this mini expenditure commanded four trips of escort to see this snappy-set back to the abode where I stay. After all this was a labor of reward and love.

One more time, as often the case. I breathed in a breath and exhaled slow, accessing the truth of my current state. It was time for one of my progress inventory self evaluations to put things in perspective. This always gives me clarity and confidence. Allowing me to return to my core determination, without force or friction. I then began to visualize the future, bathed in glorious possibilities.

I remind myself, it really does not matter how many pauses there may be on the road tween now and forever. Forward motion is an action of many movements. Sometimes part of action arrives in the form of a pause. Even periodic steps of reverse movement, a concept I have become understanding of over time. Momentary backward steps are where I have learned my most valued lessons. I have become grateful for any periodic hick-ups.

Life need not be difficult, but awareness sometimes arrives through the struggle of figuring “it” out. As the mind, spirit and core-self stretches it functions much like a muscle, in the body becoming stronger and expansive.

Throughout all these motions of learning I try my best remain aware. That there is continuous, mass life magic unfolding around me. I remind myself to always be sensitive to this fact. Each day I thank the forces that I engage with. Also I have learned to take time to thank myself for both the large and little steps along the way.

NO SNATCH
It can be easy to slip into the travesty of re-victimization of ones past. For myself, trauma at times has left me feeling as if everything in my life could be snatched away at any given moment. This is a lie, permeated deep into my nervous system, mind and flesh. From past events that no longer need be my truth. That moment has past, ownership of the present and future now rest proudly within my own palms.

The on and off again retraining of heart and head can be kick ass fun. As the blanket of lies of previous beliefs unravel. Powerful new truths are spun and revealed throughout each day. What I love, and what I have learned along my rape and trauma recovery trip is. I do not ever have to live as I have post-trauma or even pre-trauma again. I can live a life WAY BETTER than the life I had ever known at ANY TIME in my PAST. From birth through my tomorrows-

The true beauty of my life catastrophe, is it has stripped me naked of every illusion of learned living. I have decided to refinish my life and re-stain it the way I see fit. I have decided to Re-master and re-mix the livin’ cluck out of it. And that is pretty fricking awesome. I am still laying down the tracks, like all of this life it is a work in progress. I am slowly nailing it with a loving heart and at times an uncertain mind.

MURK-SKID
Now when my head slips into murky thought. I find myself on the mend, swift and quick after each dark dip. The plunges are shorter, darkness is lighter and the length of less frequent trips has contracted. These days I catch myself before I hit any deep trenches. If I do hit a what feels like and oncoming dark skid. I find them to be nothing compared to the hells of past detours. I actually giggle a bit when a pop flash moment passes over me with it’s dark soul sap. Now it feels much more like a cleansing rain in comparison to the past pain experiences. These moments now tend to last seconds, minutes or an evening, tops. Mad applause, mad progress and nods of acknowledgment to the forces above, around and within as always.

This morning I felt a need to snap a few shots of my new fancy-ass dinnerware. To prime my mind with inspiration and remember that I have options in life. Once more I may return to the days of “PUNK ROCOCO” and dine in service. In the early 90’s, my urban cabin rocked from floorboards to rooftop. With a decor of vibrance and whim, often wanted I’ve lusted refine and re-explore this this side of my nesting visions. But I have been to scattered, to afraid and filled with self doubt. Now I am finally free to redesign all segments of living body, spirit and house. To entertain seems like nothing to some, after living in fear of people for the past four years or longer this is a massive goal. I am now ready to open the eventual doors of home now that the shutters of my heart are unshackled once more.

The greatest gift of my queer “SWISH” heritage (terms of my choosing). Is being proud of slapping together a mash up of razor sharp living with no apologies. Dripping with gold leaf, flounce and fleur de lis, along with crisp clean lines or whatever design collisions rock my trousers on any given day.

I now understand that I/we/anyone can live the best life possible. Unstoppable are we, nothing is unreachable, yes perhaps proper time may be needed. But our dreams, desires, and determinations are all in the works with our chosen intentions in motion. With our best interest at universal heart. We can live our highest truth and achieve our perspective joy.

At work I don’t believe anyone knows my full story, that is probably best. Only bits, chips and a few word droppings… not many in my “real” life know the full spun tail either, perhaps to much to digest for some. The mind gags with what it can not digest, as always I understand we are only human. I don’t think many can possibly understand. When a man looses everything, simple gestures of fulfillment can fill voids unexpectedly. (gratitude reflective smile)

Even I did not know how much one set of silly frilly dishes could mean to one boy. Who now uses the word man more than I ever thought I would. My grannie dishes symbolize more than a material purchase. Eventually filling a cabinet or being a beautiful presentation piece for a home spun feast. They are a represent progress, hope, recovery, discovery, and symbolic marker of rebirth and a return to a higher self.

Funny, suddenly I have a strong desire to serve salmon. With a side dish salad sound track of Edward Scissor hands, Berlioz, Richard Hell, Sex Pistols and Miss Patsy Cline. Along with a guest list of many for a dinner divine.

Through this experience I humbly have a greater understanding of the importance of my job. A not for profit resale shop. Helping the HIV and queer/trans community here in this City of Wind. A place I may not have normally visualized myself employed at. In a city I normally would not have chosen to return to. If not for the circumstance of a soul implosion.   I do believe there is a reason for everything, always with my choice to opt in or out.

For our clients and self as well, what may seem to be a simple and unimportant purchases. Really can give a lift, shift and roll to an individuals perspective on life and self value. When you have lost dignity, spirit, home, health, body, self worth and mind just to name a few. A bushel of dishes and a kind gesture can go a long way.

NO SHAME GAME
Some shame the need or desire for material goods. I feel there is nothing wrong with decor or a frock uplifting a spirit or boosting ones worth. Actually I no longer believe in most forms of shame. I do agree with many who feel it is the decadence and sole reliance on only the material. That leeds to spiritual, emotional and social debt. These are the track marks of imbalance up the decaying arm of society. Leaving one greedy not quenched, hooked and always needing more. I am quenched and I wish to fill many a goblet-cheers and may we all pass a gift along. Of spirit, coin or deed.

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

A RETURN of PUNK ROCOCO and THE SWISH MAN

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Selfportraits, Uncategorized
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Some wonder why… I bla to the bla, about my two to four year shock and yammer. My mellowing roar weaving on and off for so long now. There have been many clicks to my trip switch flipping me on and off. There are triggers, like anything else. This issue connected to loss and trauma is bigger than all the rest. loosing my home, loosing New York is the one rip snatcher I have yet to master. Sex, drugs and rock roll are rarely and issue for me these days. Loss of everything else can still be a stinger-

Today I watched a video play, it caught me by delight and murk. It was of a lil ruffle hopper, a sweet lil young sweet thang. I assume of age five or six, I have never done well with the age game. Innocent with blonde locks at the Bedford “L” stop in Brooklyn. Stomping to some local sounds. Banjo plucks, just having a good old time. The way they carry on in the city of glitter and grime. Just one of the many random examples of why my heart sang each day when I was not numbed by trauma and meth. After the “Main Event” that took place November of 2011-God I hate to say it one more time. That dang gang rape I guess it will be part of conversations till the end of this or perhaps the next lifetime.

Many a New Yorker take daily doses of these magic occurrences for granted. For myself as life situations shift, and exits occur. Moments of reflection repeatedly arise in my heart. As I view from the outside glancing back at the wonder of the world that I had left through delusions, panic and fear. Now equally the beauty resonates 20/20 clear.

Sometimes I wonder if I can ever forgive myself, even for what I have nothing to forgive myself for. Regret is a vicious weapon, ignited by street scenes on television each night as I open my back door after a long days work beat and frazzled. Eyes locked on a shot of some pizza place on Sullivan Street that flashes before me in traditional sitcom fashion. Mid town police dramas send shivers of memories lost. A shot of Parsons School of Design during Project Runway every can destroy not like it did a year ago. A year ago I would be suicidal for 2 weeks or more.. Every frame, scene, commercial can catch me off guard. This is what the video today was like for me. It was a regret crash back – 

Crushing me quickly in the vat of regressive therapeutic hell. Soon it is flash backs and mini meth cravings and all is not well. It is back to spiritual boot camp, I’ve done this all before. I shout within my head “I shall never give up” and weep in silence. It’s only TV what the hell. I fear the 11 men that rape me less than I fear “Broad City” or a vintage capture of “Rhoda”. Sometimes but not always when I think I am doing just fine. I feel the cold steel blades of regret slash. Just then the loss rips from soul to hole. Everything I lost and abandoned from blood to money pulses through my memory banks. And the salty rivers begin to flow blackness lingers until the sun once more rises and I heart regenerates..

HEAVY-all progress seems to have only been and illusion. I know this is a temporary myth soon to lift. Yes at this stage I know it all will last a few hours and I will move forth stronger than before. Huge props and self acknowledgment for the power of love, the power of growth and the power to be ok taking a brief detour to the internal city of shitty…I just don’t want to stay to long.

As new day sun rises the world is right again. I tell myself, it is ok my friend. Healing Heart Healing Hands so little time and so much healing has been done. Stay the course, you can make it home once more. YOU can make it home, you are NOT alone this time.

No longer a fractured man, no longer a prisoner of flesh, no longer a prisoner of chemicals, aggression, rape or home. Gentle journeys are worth the time. Often tears scrape down the inside of my cheeks. Hidden from the outer world. Chapped and dry are the emotional silent cries no one shall hear as I scream looking directly at you with a awkward manufactured smile. Yet spirt’s light and spark fires powerful and true. There is ALWAYS LOVE there is ALWAYS HOPE always love and hope. As Champions and Warriors, we live on our daily fuel we have no an option to tire.

For now, I choose to enjoy and reflect. So many wonderful gems to remember in the image albums of my mind. For now I keep fresh the vision of this young young miss. She is both electric and safe as sounds strum near Bedford tracks. While love frolics around her as parents and strangers join in her dance. I have many choice, I choose to stay the course.

I have gained many things I am appreciative of this. Sanity, love, and spirit. Perhaps someday I will return home, until then I am a fool in love. Until then my tube is unplugged.

Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt

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