Who is Cassie-Lou?

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I was born on a Thursday. I’m a Scorpio born in the year of the dragon. I’m rational, spiritual, and constantly questioning.

I am a survivor. Of abuse. Of mental illness. Of physical illness. Of faulty & flawed systems. Of violence.

I am a flawed and fallible human, whose life consists of endless dichotomies. I try to embrace a dialectic approach to holistic care. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but I am an excellent peer support worker, and I care so much.

I love reading and writing. I love being outdoors. I love sensations and alternative forms of care. I love learning, and wish I could go to school forever. I love sharing knowledge. I am committed to unlearning & growth.

I am a single parent, polyamorous, pansexual femme. I live with disability.

You will find here writings about mental health, sexual & gender-based violence, sexual freedom, kink & more. I will not go back into the closet.

 

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Love in the time of hookups – one does not preclude the other

I’ve always been the type that is hard pressed to keep my hands off of myself. Ever since I was young, my fingers roamed seeking sensations, finding pleasure.

It took me what felt like forever to find that pleasure with others. Looking back, I’d been going about finding it wrong. Their touches, fumbling and empty. Their hands not eager for my flesh as I was eager for their touch. I was an experience, and my enthusiasm usually made me a good one. I read a lot of books about how tactile pleasure works, and how humans bodies work. I learned how to touch myself, then I learned how to touch girl bits, and a couple years later, the boys came along.

I’ve spent so many years now feeding my skin hunger. I’ll tell ya, it’s like pouring sand through a sieve.

Throughout my dating and fucking life, I’ve been likened to a succubus on more than one occasion. I know how to use my touch to create feelings, sensations. I can often push away my emotions and thoughts if I can just put my skin on yours. We don’t have to think, let’s just touch, and feel. I grow stronger as I kiss deeper. I glow when I’m being used. Almost as if being sexual, and sensual is what I was built for.

Beyond the purely physical, I discovered ethical non-monogamy. This was a missing puzzle piece in my world. I think that a lot of my sexual proficiency comes from a strong desire to please, and an abundance of love. I can love you without being IN love with you. I can love you, and the fact that you exist in the world without wanting to fuck you. I can fuck you, and love you, and still be okay if I never hear from you again. I can fall in love with you, think about you every day, and only see you twice a year. Each relationship is different, but my love doesn’t change.

What am I looking for at this point in time?

I don’t want to have to stifle my love or follow arbitrary rules that have no logic to why they’re in place (3 date rule, anyone?). I want to share a connection, gush at you, touch your face, rub your back, kiss your skin, and maybe even love you. I am struggling with being so openly gushy with people who do not know me well. I am worried they will misinterpret it to be more than it is.

I want to be vulnerable and express my appreciation and profound joy for these unique experiences that I am privileged to have with individuals who encompass so many of the good qualities that make the world a better place. I want them to feel as amazing as I think they are. But at the same time, I don’t need them to be my partners, or to be in relationships with them. So I guess I just worry.

Loving you doesn’t mean that we need to get married and have babies. Far from it. I am committed to myself, to my daughter, to my future, to my excellence, and potential. But part of that future is tearing down structures designed to instill shame on people for having bodies, using bodies, and sharing bodies. We need to smash that shit. So what will I do?

I will fall in love, over and over. I will share my life with my partners and friends. I will welcome them into my heart and offer my love freely while demanding respect and compassion in return. I will work on modeling the behaviours I want to receive. I want to know boundaries, hopes, dreams, expectations, needs and wants. Knowing the difference between these can only improve communication and satisfaction within whatever relationship structure we develop.

I will inevitably get my heart broken. But as my heart is still mending from my last relationship’s end, I can tell you, that loving them was worth every second of pain I’ve endured losing them.

A heart in a box is not vulnerable

Sometimes keeping one’s heart in a box can seem like a good idea. It can make you think you are protecting yourself. It can help to create feelings of security, and comfort.

My heart jumps in and out of its box endlessly. I keep trying to stuff it down, swallow those feelings. It is a slippery little fucker though, and it wiggles and squirms its way out of my grasp. It flip-flops all over the place as if it were a ball of jelly riding a roller coaster.

Every time I catch it again, and try to shove it back in the box, in the dark where I think it belongs, bits of gooey heart fall away, sticking to various people and things. My heart goo is stuck on you. And I wish it wasn’t.

Or do I?

I think what I want the most is to be safe in my vulnerability. I want to be able to rip open my rib cage and bare my heart, burn it’s box and never hide it again.

I want to love freely. I want to let the goo take over and not be ashamed of the mess.

I want to forgive people, and I want to forgive myself.

I would really like to be vulnerable. And sometimes I think I do it well, and other times I wonder if my perceived vulnerability is a well-crafted illusion to make myself seem more appealing or real to others.

I don’t think I am as nice as people think I am. I can be quite a jerk. I can be very snobby and conceited at times. Sometimes I look down at people and tell myself that I am better than they are. Sometimes I hurt people on purpose because I think they are better than me.

So really, am I being vulnerable, or am I just doing what I think I am supposed to?

How does one truly be vulnerable?

Case study: Unlearning Heteronormativity through ‘shipping Olympians

Summary: If subconscious heteronormative and internalized misogyny is suspected, treat with information and a renewed committment to unlearning and self-compassion.

If you dont know who Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are, I recommend you take 5 minutes out of your busy life to watch the most mesmerizing and skillful ice dances I have ever seen – which they recently won a gold medal for.

You can even do it now! I’ll wait.

YouTube Olympics Gold Medal Performance February 2017
Skating Nationals January 2018

That dance though…The utter control over every inch and movement of their body. It’s beautiful, synchronized, skillful and poised. Their music selection brings me directly back to the ninth grade – and I’m here for every moment of those ice dances.

One of the first things I wondered, was if they were banging.

I was not alone in this query, and there are already memes about their relationship status all over the internet:

Then I saw this series of 10 Tweets, and the take made me pause and think about my biases for a second, internal and external. re: heteronormative culture

⏫click this and read ten tweets⏫

(Also check out xer othet tweets! Some pretty great content.)

The point of this is just a reminder to myself and now others, that heteronormativity and misogyny are the foundation of (m)an(y) entire culture(s) and that it’s normal to hold a lot of unconscious beliefs about the world around you. It is healing for me to see those untruths come into my mind’s light and burn to dust like a vamp in the sunlight. Those lies are part of myself, it stings knowing I am wrong, as it should. We can learn from guilt (I’ve done bad).

However, if I got stuck in the swamp of shame (I am bad) every time I attempted to learn an important lesson or unlearn something harmful a few things would happen.

  1. I would be a very soggy and pruned human.
  2. I would feel pretty damn crappy and it would make unlearning a painful and harrowing experience. Sometimes it is – but it doesn’t always have to be.
  3. I would be feeding a mental pathway connecting feelings of pain and shame with the natural discomfort that accompanies learning/unlearning.

I aim to take every opportunity I can to make space in my mental attic. Generations of baggage banging around up there, maybe even some real gems under the dust and cobwebs! There are also PILES of junk that is no longer serving me.

I try to observe & describe painful situations while noticing any judgment or shame. Accept the present and if I see areas where growth can happen, I try to fuel those spots with information. Then I fail. And try again. And fail better.

And you. You reading this.

Know that you are fucking POWERFUL. You are. You are still here. You’re alive and maybe everything is garbage, but we can start to make it better, even if only for ourselves.

As TiaVision’s anthro prof likes to say:

“you all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you”
– Tumblr user @tiavision ‘s anthro prof

Additional credits to Brené Brown for the terminology/concept of how to compare guilt and shame.

5 Harmful Actions I’m Working to Eliminate From My Life

As a business student, our teachers are constantly encouraging self-evaluation. As an entrepreneur, we are to evaluate ourselves critically and endlessly on loop.

If I want to succeed in making sustainable change and developing solid community based initiatives, I need to continue modeling the behaviour I want to see in the world. Small, sustainble changes are the best ways to develop habits.

I’m zoning in on areas that have been barriers to communication, confidence, credibility, compassion, and composure.

“Vulnerability is the antidote to shame.” – Brené Brown

I will stop:

  1. Making excuses for bad behaviour instead of sitting with the discomfort of being wrong. I’m going to mess up. I’m going to hurt people. I’m going to disappoint people. You might as well. Learning to sit with discomfort & own our errors is humbling, but I think it usually leads towards humility and growth.
  2. Using ableist language – particularly when vilifying mental illnesses & contributing to the stigma. If you aren’t a doctor who is treating someone & being paid to diagnose a human, don’t ascribe clinical disorders when you mean to infer bad behaviour. Examples include but are not limited to: crazy bitch, sociopath, psychopath, OCD.
  3. Wishing harm on people. Sometimes humans fuck up. We are all fallible. The less you think you are at risk for perpetrating abuse, the bigger your blindspot becomes. I want to learn to show compassion & empathy for those who cause harm. I know it’s not always possible, but wishing violence & assault on the perpetrator of assault – while a valid feeling to have – is extremely problematic. It adds to a culture of toxicity and violence insted of harm reduction and elimination of violence.
  4. Lying. Primarily for me with regard to meeting deadlines, sending emails, and returning phone calls when I say I will. I try not to think of it as lying, but actually, when I say I’ll do something and I don’t, I’m lying, breaking foundational trust and reliability usually with people I care a lot about. I could attribute much of it to mental health, or even being “busy” but…see #1.
  5. Overcommitting. I want to do all the things. As a 29 year old who never envisioned life past 20, this is hard, I often feel like if I don’t do the thing immeditely I will die, or someone else will die, or the building will burn down, or…see? Dysregulated brain doing dyregulated things! This is one area I’ve made vast improvements on in my life. I have significantly reduced my committments, and have ample time budgeted for solo reflection, writing and other forms of self care. This has been a priority to me, and it’s paying off.

I’m full of imperfections, but perfection is not what I strive for. I strive for excellence, care, and compassion. Inwards & out.

Anyone who knows me well will have heard me whine “I just want people to stop treating people crappy.”

So I’m starting from the inside, and working my way out. If we all work together, I think we could some day eliminate violence. Maybe not in my lifetime. But I’m already ten yers ahead of where I ever thought I’d be so…who knows?

 

An open apology to femmes everywhere.

“I’m not like other girls.”

“I’m one of the guys.”

“I hate hanging out with most girls because there is always so much drama.”

Internalized Misogyny: Distancing and belittling women because you feel your sex is inferior.

I am guilty of this much more than I am comfortable admitting. But this isn’t about being comfortable.

I am sorry to every woman I’ve snarked about because I was jealous. I feel ashamed for looking down my nose at others because I felt inferior.

I want to be able to celebrate the beauty of others instead of coveting it for myself.

You and your beauty and uniqueness are not a threat to me and my personhood. I am not less beautiful because you are also beautiful.

I am sorry to anyone who I have made to feel bad because I was insecure.

I want to work harder on lifting people up because of their special features, instead of putting them down because I want to have similar features.

I want to be someone that inspires others to treat themselves and others well. I need to do this by taking my own advice and treating myself, and others well.

So, to all you femmes out there, keep being fucking amazing and don’t let ANYONE put you down because you are fucking special.

Six Months of Bullet Journalling (part one)

…and how it helped make me a more effective, organized, and successful human…

I first heard about Bullet Journalling from a friend on facebook. I looked it up on Google and found the original concept site: http://bulletjournal.com/ and was instantly overwhelmed.

I’ve never been an organized person. Never. Both my parents were hoarders with various mental health issues and addictions, so I never really learned basic skills for functioning as an effective human being who gets shit done. I am an intelligent person, but I never knew how to take notes in class, and all the beautiful fancy agendas I had were well used for a week before being abandoned for the rest of the calendar year. Countless bare pages and mountains of shame and feeling like there was something wrong with me.

I joined a community on facebook called “Bullet Journal Junkies” for inspiration. I lurked watching people post for over six months, thinking I am not artistic, I could never do that. These people are so organized and artistic and talented and brilliant and I am just…Me. Doomed to be disorganized forever.

DSC_0331
Before Bullet Journalling…

Continue reading “Six Months of Bullet Journalling (part one)”