Monday, December 11, 2017

Letting Go Of Bullshit Attachments

Ahhhh Monday morning! Unlike a good portion of the working population, I quite like Mondays. Mind you, I am fortunate enough to do something I really enjoy, and I generally work from the comfort of my own home. Working in my pajamas is something I try really hard not to take for granted because there was a time, roughly about 2 and a half years ago when I used to drag myself to my interior design job and ask myself over and over again "Why am I still here?"

The reason was fear of losing my so-called life because I had formed attachments to a bunch of stuff within it. After all, working a 9-5 for an established company afforded me financial stability to do all that adult shit we're "supposed" to be doing like getting a mortgage, having a family, owning a car etc. It's an ideal so ingrained into North American culture, that if we don't acquire these things by the time we're 30, we've been programmed to feel like we've failed in some spectacular way. The reality of it is, it's all fucking bullshit! The house, the car, the picture perfect family is all an illusion of happiness. I can say that as someone who briefly succumbed to following the status quo rather than her dreams.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Even the family?" Hell yeah, even the family! When you have a family, it's not something you possess, it's 2 or more relationships in very close quarters that require a significant emotional investment for decades of your life. In the case of children, it's a very one-sided relationship with a rapidly changing human that you may or may not be compatible with. Not to mention you're morally and legally responsible for this ungrateful developing person for at least 18 years. The bottom line is that family relationships are hard work and not the picture perfect Hallmark card-Anne Geddes baby-HGTV bullshit we've all been fed our entire lives. Anyway, I digress...The point is, that none of that stuff will bring happiness or satisfaction unless you have already learned to be content on your own and without any assets to your name.

I know it to be true because the happiest moment of my life was 12 years ago shortly after I left my first husband. I had nothing. I let him keep all the stuff. I was living well below the poverty line in a modest rental house with my mom and 3-year-old son. By all North American societal standards I was a failure. Except I wasn't, because I was still me. In fact, after letting go of all my attachments, I was more me than I had ever been before. It was in that moment that I began to paint again. This painting you see below is what I painted. 9 more followed and became the series known as Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles.


Then I dusted off my guitar that I hadn't touched in years and began to write music and lyrics again. That place of zero attachment was where I gave birth to Borg Queen. Letting go of all that other bullshit left me with just myself. I had to learn to be ok with just myself, flaws and all. I had to accept my situation and not allow myself to feel entitled to a so-called "better situation." I had to learn to live in the present and work with the resources within myself.

I'm not saying that all that adult stuff like a house, a car and family is a bad thing or makes a person less enlightened in any way. I'm older now, and I have accumulated some adult stuff along the way like a house, car and family. I'm grateful for what I do have, but those things do not make me a success. In fact, I have to be very wary not to form attachments to them. If I use them as a measuring stick to determine my worth, I lose sight of the place within myself which is where my true value and happiness lies.

I learned to be content in my current situation, whatever it may be. I have to carry that lesson around with me and remember to be grateful for what I do have, whether it be a little or a lot. Currently the fact that I'm sitting here writing this in my pajamas and afterwards I get to work on some new music for my upcoming EP after I go swimming, is a helluva a lot to be grateful for. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Art Is My Bitch

"I am the artist equivalent of a controlling spouse"




It's been a whirlwind of activity for me as of late. I've had 3 projects on the go, a short film called 'Triggered', building props for 'Arrow' and working on my upcoming EP of course. On top of it all I've been trying to take better care of myself by engaging in a daily physical self-care routine of yoga, weight lifting and swimming. Taking care of myself has been harder for me than I care to admit. This is due to the fact that I don't like to admit that there's anything wrong with me that would require me to take time away from my creative pursuits. I am after all, addicted to being busy.

Unfortunately this constant productivity isn't sustainable because as much as I hate to admit it, I am not a machine, I am a human being, and a somewhat physically frail one at that. I have fibromyalgia, and if I don't take the time to manage it's symptoms through proper diet, adequate sleep, exercise and relaxation techniques, it will flare up to the point where I will be literally bed ridden for days at a time. Coming to terms with this over the past few years has been difficult lesson in humility. However, it's also helped me grow as person and realize that there's no shame in acknowledging my limitations and asking for help.

I am by nature independent and work best alone. It's not that I don't enjoy the company of other people, I just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that I get from working on something that's 'just mine.' I'm the artist's equivalent of a controlling spouse who needs to know that I'm "the one" when it comes to my relationship with my art.

A relationship is what really boils down to when I look at the role creating art plays in my life. It's my companion, a source of entertainment, it gives me a sense of purpose and pride. It provides a psychological, emotional and physical release that is sometimes extremely sexually driven. It's a relationship that is constantly evolving and eventually will serve as my legacy. You could say that creating art is in many ways like having a spouse and children.

The problem is that for me I have sacrificed other critical areas of my life for this relationship. It's the same principle as when someone neglects themselves to care for a spouse or their children and doesn't take any "me" time for themselves. It's an unhealthy relationship situation and I'm starting to realize it.

After going on a solo vacation this past November and letting go of a lot of attachments I've resolved to take better care of myself and lead a more balanced lifestyle when it comes to my relationship with my art. I'm still going to work hard and continue to nurture my craft, but you could say that me and my art have decided to have an open relationship. I'll be allowing more people into my creative process and hopefully collaborating more with other artists on other projects. Most importantly though, I'm going to continue to put my physical and mental well being first.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Killer Remix!!!! HEDONIST

A while ago I put out my feelers to see if anyone wanted to remix my song Hedonist. I got a couple nibbles and I wanted to share with you this amazing version of it done by metal producer and guitarist Blaize Caverly of Axon Rise. I'm really diggin' their stuff and I highly recommend taking a moment to discover more of their catalogue on You Tube.

I really love this arrangement of the song and the dynamics are fantastic. Listen for yourself.

If you dig it, it is available as a free download if you're on my email list. If you haven't already signed up you can do so here 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fuck You!

This "fuck you" goes out to the three people who 1 year ago through their actions and inaction destroyed a rather large piece of me. I just got back from my therapy session and while my plan was to work on some vocal editing for my new EP, I've decided to confront the 3 people who were instrumental in facilitating the loss of my sexual autonomy.

First of all, I just want to say "Fuck you Chris!" How dare you use your position as a massage therapy student to get me naked and touch me in a context that under ordinary circumstances I would never consent to. You knew that I would never go for a guy like you, so you saw your chance to get a piece of me and took it. Not only that, but you tried to hide behind a veil of ignorance despite the fact that I uncovered your sexual motivations and you admitted them to me during and after the fact. Did you think you could trick me? Did you think that I was that stupid or naive to believe that you were simply touching me in a medically therapeutic way? Fuck you! You're the worst kind of perpetrator. You're the kind that says they're an ally of feminist causes. Someone who claims to stand up against misogyny, but when you violate a woman's sexual autonomy, instead of taking responsibility, you deflect it and try to justify your actions.

Fuck you for contacting my mother and trying to garner her sympathy. How dare you try to manipulate her into thinking that it was a simple misunderstanding. Just because you got suspended from school for a week while they were deciding your professional fate DOES NOT MAKE YOU THE VICTIM. How dare you try to make people feel sorry for you! You're just as bad as every other rapist and sex offender who denies what they did and blames the victim.
Fuck you, you fucking coward!!!

Fuck you Shauna! You're just as culpable as Chris. You were his instructor and you even walked in on what was happening. You were fully aware that Chris had violated professional boundaries. You were apologetic enough to make me feel like you were on my side, but I now realize that you were just doing your due diligence to protect the school from any legal repercussions. You lied when you told me that the school was taking this seriously. Had they taken it seriously Chris would have been expelled. He wasn't, and removing him from the student clinic for a week and providing him with "additional education" is hardly a "serious repercussion." You know what was a serious repercussion though? Slipping into such a horrible depression that I was seriously contemplating suicide this time last year. I fought to live, though and now I'm here to tell you...FUCK YOU!

Fuck you Constable Weise! I'm not entirely confident that you deserve the "fuck you," but since I as a victim have to take one for a justice system that's set up so that we don't condemn the innocent, you're gonna have to take this "fuck you" on behalf of the same justice system that allows victims to be re-victimized. Maybe you did your job to the best of your ability? After all it's the Crown that approves charges, right? Well, you represent the Crown in this case, so you know what? FUCK YOU!!! How much fucking evidence do you need? There was a witness and I even provided you with text messages from Chris where he clearly indicated his sexual intentions! Did you not take this seriously because his penis never penetrated my body? Was it just not worth prosecuting using public funds because it wasn't a violent rape? I can tell you as someone who has been raped that I feel just as violated by this. My sexual autonomy was violated. Period. Maybe you're one of the few lucky women who can't say #MeToo but as far as I'm concerned you are an instrumental cog in the machine that protects sex offenders and allows them to go free while their victims have to live with the aftermath.

To all three of you. My life has been in shambles the past year. My ability to earn an income has been greatly affected due to the impact this has had on my mental and physical health. I've missed a lot of work and work opportunities as a result. This has affected my ability to pay bills and put a significant financial strain on my family. The anxiety and depression I've experienced as a result of this debacle has aggravated my fibromyalgia and caused me to have flare ups that are excruciatingly painful. Every day I'm in agony, and I'm too freaked out now to go see a massage therapist to help me with my physical discomfort.

The loss of sexual confidence I've experienced has made navigating intimate relationships a nightmare. Sex, which was literally the ultimate high for me on a physical, psychological and emotional level, has all but been destroyed. I get no thrill out of it anymore. I've tried doing things to "spice it up" but since you stripped my sexual confidence away, I no longer feel sexually empowered. I feel like an insecure girl in puberty, unsure of herself, sexually frustrated and timid. The worst part is that I'm fully aware of what I've lost and I don't know how I can get it back.

I know this wasn't really post about my music or my art, but what happened to me has impacted me on such a profound level that it does spill into my creative life. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. It depends on the day and if I'm able to overcome the pain and fatigue I feel every morning. So, you know what? I'm going to say "fuck you" on more time. Fuck you pain. Fuck you depression. Fuck you anxiety. Fuck you fibromyalgia. Fuck you lack of sexual confidence. Fuck you criminal justice system. Fuck you sexual perpetrators and your enablers. Fuck you everyone and everything that get in the way of living my life to it's fullest potential!

I feel slightly better now, so I'm gonna go finish up editing a song I wrote when my sexual confidence was still intact. You can preview it here if you want. Peace out.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

If YOU Had A Billion Dollars?


A wise man once said, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." I wanted to learn more about the audience who supports me as an artist. I wanted to delve deep inside their hearts and discover their core values, so I asked them a question through Facebook and email:

"If someone gave you a billion dollars, how would you allocate the funds?"


I figured the way they allocated their treasure would indicate what they valued the most in life and reveal the contents of their hearts.
After reading all of the responses I noticed that what people valued most fell into 5 basic categories.

1. Self
2. Family and Loved Ones(close relationships)
3. Community
4. Purpose and Passion
5. The Greater Good


Self

These people aren't necessarily selfish just because they would take care of themselves first. The people who put themselves first, are realistic and practical. They understand the importance of taking care of themselves so that they can help those around them. Most of the respondents said that after taking care of themselves they'd help others.


Relationships

The people who gave their money to help loved ones are relationship oriented and value their family above everything else. By family, I don't necessarily mean relatives, but those closest to them. Relationship oriented people are incredibly loyal. They possess tremendous amount of gratitude for the people in their lives and as a result want to give back. These people are the best friends you could ever have.






Community

This one was interesting to me and I asked some of the people to elaborate. The need to belong and the sense of identity and pride that people gain from being part of a community is the core value here. These people are relationship oriented but on a broader scale. They love supporting those within their community even though they may not have a super close relationship with the individual. These people are generally take charge types and are great leaders and organizers.

 Debra's answer intrigued me and I wanted to know more about her "tribe."


 Douglas' answer warmed my heart and when you read that he's a white guy born in Mexico it goes to show that culture is way more about community than ethnicity.


 Just a bit of context on the next one...Raven is a huge supporter of independent artists  like myself, Ray Grieco of Genius of Nefarious and Tommy T of Diverje. He also runs my Borg Queen Facebook Group and several other groups within the industrial music community.


Purpose and Passion

As an artist this is one I can identify with very strongly. It's probably easier for a creative person to find purpose within their artistic craft than most occupations. People generally don't get into an art career for the money, they do it because they are passionate and feel like they can serve a higher purpose with their art. A couple people who are great examples of this are actor-screenwriter Kristof Le Jeune and screenwriter-propmaster Ken Hawryliw. I've had the great pleasure of working with and getting to know both these guys.

Ken Hawryliw someone who has an established career in the arts and has worked as a writer and in the props department for film and notable TV shows like Arrow, Battlestar Galactica and The X-Files.

The Greater Good

The people in this category are idealists. They look at big picture issues and tend to have a great sense of social responsibility. They also for better or worse subscribe themselves to a more rigid moral code. These are the people who spread ideas and push for social change. They are philosophers by nature and seek to change the world. I fall into this category for sure.




So what would you do with your billion dollars?

The reality is that nobody who responded has anywhere near a billion dollars, or do they? The truth is that each and everyone of us has something worth way more than a billion dollars. We have the capacity to love ourselves, our family and friends,our community, our passion and humanity in general. Not one of these categories is more important than the other. We as a society need people who place value in all of these categories. 

SELF: We need practical people who see the importance in taking care of themselves so they can help others. 

CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS: Everyone can benefit from having a generous, compassionate, appreciative person as their most loyal friend. 

COMMUNITY: We need the community oriented individuals who take action and make things happen. 

PASSION AND PURPOSE: We need people who are passionate and have discovered their purpose to inspire us to become a better version of ourselves. 

THE GREATER GOOD: We need the idealists to remind us that we are part of a bigger picture, and give us hope that we can build a better tomorrow.

What about actual currency?

If you did have a few spare dollars and wanted to get involved in my passion and purpose, I'd love to have you join me on Pledge Music. A $5 pledge gets you a pre-order of my upcoming EP plus exclusive EP updates and previews only available to pledgers.


JOIN ME ON PLEDGE MUSIC!













Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Audio-visual Process For 'Blood Sweat Tears'

People ask me what I do all the time, and never really have a succinct answer that doesn't make me sound a. Horribly pretentious or b. Completely unfocused. I always end up explaining to them the entirety of what I do within the project 'Borg Queen' which usually goes something like this...

"I have a multidisciplinary art project where I write and record songs, but for each song that I write I do a painting to visually convey the concept behind the song. I also make music videos and I use the painting as the visual inspiration for the imagery in the video. I'm also a dancer with a background in theatre so for my live performances I like to do a theatrically driven show that incorporates other performers, choreography, props and FX." 

It's usually followed by me showing them pictures on my phone of my paintings, music videos and the behind the scenes shots of the process.

So why work in so many mediums to simply express an idea? The short answer is because I can. The long answer is because some people are more inclined to process audio information effectively and others are more visually inclined. Also, there are layers and complexities within a concept that lend themselves better to audio and some that can only be expressed visually. One of the more common questions that I get asked is:

Do I work on the audio or visual aspect of idea first?

For my previous album it was sometimes the image came first. Sometimes the lyrics were the first thing to pop into me head, but for a couple of the songs I definitely wrote the music before anything else based on the overall idea I wanted to express.
For my upcoming EP 'Blood Sweat Tears' my process has been more formulated, not on purpose, but there's definitely been an order to the way I've been working.

First I wrote the lyrics.

This EP is me venting emotionally, mentally, socially, physically and sexually. There was a lot of sadness, rage, regret and anxiety I was bottling up inside much to my psychological detriment, and finally last August I had a nervous breakdown. I fell apart on every level of existence. I was having a recurring nightmare about being a serial killer who was on the run. I finally figured out that the dream was symbolic of me killing my emotions and burying them. So I decided to do something for my mental health, and I started writing down all of the dark thoughts that I had been concealing deep within my psyche.

Next I wrote the music.

I didn't want to over think it, so I kept it pretty simple as far as the song structures went and I avoided second guessing myself. I figured if I don't like it, I can always delete the file and start over again. I wrote, produced and recorded the songs within the span of about 2 weeks. In those two weeks that I was belting out my vocals, I felt a release and the recurring serial killer nightmare ended.

Currently I'm working on the artwork.

Right now I'm working on the visual development for the EP. I'm currently sketching full color thumbnails for the paintings each song will have. Eventually the paintings will serve as the visual framework on which I base the music videos.

My process so far in the visual development will be for me to sit down and start writing the lyrics. As I write the lyrics down, visuals will pop into my head. It almost like having several frames from a video in random order flip through my minds eye. I take a mental screenshot of the images I feel are the most powerful and then recall them as I start sketching. Next I add color and this is a really important step as the palette I use in the painting will determine the palette used in the videos. For all of the visuals in this EP the palette is representative of blood, sweat and tears. I'm using red for blood, flesh tone for sweat and blue for tears.
This is the thumbnail and lyrics for 'Sexorcism'

I'm taking a more literal approach with the actual paintings and adding my own blood, sweat and tears into the medium. I'm currently posting videos of my process on my Pledge Music campaign for the EP. Anyone who wants to join me in my artistic journey creating the EP gets an access pass to the exclusive videos and regular updates that I'll be posting along the way.

I made my first Pledge Music video update from the bath showing pledgers my process for extracting the sweat that I am using in the paintings. If you join me on Pledge Music, you get access to my often very bizarre creative process. 

 So far it's been a really fun collaborative effort and I've loved communicating with my pledgers throughout the process so far. The feedback has been overwhelmingly encouraging and I'm so grateful that platforms like Pledge Music exist for me to connect on a very intimate artistic level with my fans.

The next step.

After the EP is completed and released, I will be turning my attention to making a music video for each and every one of the songs on the EP. The videos will all transition seamlessly from one to another telling the story behind the demise of my psyche in 2016 and how I got it back by confessing to being a "Serial Killer."

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Perfect Mate

I grew up like most western kids. I grew up watching Disney movies, so the idea of the fairytale has been deeply entrenched in my psyche from a very early age. We're bombarded with stories of happy endings in literature, TV and movies to the point that it's what we've come to expect from life, and particularly romantic relationships. The fairytale romance is an ideal that we strive to make a reality. Just look at how obsessed we are with finding love. Love is a multibillion dollar industry. From dating sites, singles event clubs, weddings, engagement photos, romance novels, movies, jewelry, greeting cards, candy, you name it, we're so obsessed with finding love that everyone is cashing in on our desire to find the perfect mate.

There's just one problem with finding the perfect mate. They only exist in fairytales. No human is perfect so there can be no such thing as the perfect mate. Despite that logic, most of us still strive to achieve that ideal. The thing is, that we all fail in various stages along the way and it leaves up empty, angry, depressed and questioning our value.

Some of us never experience that "fairytale romance" and society, the media and pop culture unfortunately makes those people feel like losers. I have some good news though for those people. Even if you get to experience a "fairytale romance," it will inevitably end leaving the parties involved feeling like heartbroken losers. So, no one truly finds their "happily ever after" and I'll tell you why. Fairytale romance stories only focus on the hook up. The fairytale ends when the two parties get together after overcoming some kind of obstacle. Happily ever after is a lie.

Even the most solid relationships that last for decades are faced with extreme challenges that cause heartbreak and sorrow. No person is immune to suffering in life, and when you share your life with someone, you share your suffering. Death, loss, illness, financial concerns, family issues, mental health problems are all challenges that we face in life, and when you have a partner they bear those burdens with you as well. These stresses can change us and reveal a darker side to our personalities that most people don't get to see. When you have an intimate partner, they inevitably get to see that shadow side.

My new EP explores the idea of what happens in an intimate relationship after the fairytale ends. What happens when both partners begin to devolve into their shadow selves? This is the story I'm going to tell is how they cope with each others' dark side. This is based off my own personal life, and it goes to some really bizarre places.

My shadow self used a variety of different coping mechanisms, some healthy and some not so healthy to deal with having to live with my partners' shadow self. I organized the coping mechanisms into 3 different categories represented in the title of the EP, 'Blood Sweat Tears.' Each category symbolizes different aspects of indulgences that I used to deal with stress, pain and loss.

1. Blood

Blood symbolizes life, death, intimacy, pain and violent sex. I'm not gonna go into too much detail because I'm gonna let the lyrics speak for themselves.

2. Sweat

Sweat symbolizes work & sex. I tend to get overly obsessed with both. One of the new songs 'Control Room Fantasy' is a perfect example of it because it's literally a string of sexual innuendo derived from technical audio engineering terms.

3. Tears

Tears represent loss, sorrow, grief and strong emotion in general. I found myself suppressing strong emotion in general to the point where I couldn't cry. So writing this EP was my way of "crying."

What I learned from writing this EP was that while there is no perfect partner or relationship, a healthy, functional, long-term relationship is completely achievable. It just requires both parties to take an honest inventory of themselves and work otherwise known as 'blood, sweat & tears.'

Pre-orders for Blood Sweat Tears are available through my Pledge Music campaign. 



I hope that you join me on this exciting creative journey. My target date for release is March 2018, but pledgers will get their copy of the album 2 months prior to release. I urge you to go visit my campaign page and check out what I'm offering.

PRE ORDER 'BLOOD SWEAT TEARS'