I created a profile for an online photography community. It’s sometimes hard for me to describe where I’ve landed as an artist & human being, here on October 14, 2022. That will change radically, or slowly, or organically, or tragically. More organic, less tragedy please. #NotMyCircus
Here’s what I came up with:
My main studio is C Todd Creations, focused on headshots, performing arts events + digital art rooted in photography. I like to dabble in many things, and stay away from others. I love working with drag performers, dancers & show choirs. I love nature, macro photography and digital creations that start with one or more images of my own. This is my primary professional brand @CToddCreations. Welcome!
My speciality studio is C Todd Dudeoir focused on photography for men + art that is body positive and inclusive. How I see my art in this space evolves with each conversation & understanding. ‘As I heal, I create; as I create, I heal.’ I love to explore art that pushes the edge of gender expression & identity. I create best in a collaborative setting so I work well with other artists, models & performers. I finding an intersection with sex positive communities, including leather, BDSM, cosplay and fem boy to name a few. “Never yuck on someone else’s yum!” “I’ll shoot anything twice, more if I like it!” This is my speciality studio @CToddDudeoir. Welcome!
As an artist, I explore art as therapy with an emphasis on stigma & shame, flipped and rescripted to reclaim its grip on my identity and self-confidence. Yea, mental health shit. This shows up in the form of artivism, a concept a read about when I discovered Through Positive Eyes. It inspired and informed my creative introduction to artivism with #CelebrateUU, in parallel to learning about art therapy as a tool for mental health & trauma informed living using harm reduction. This shows up in fine art projects, community art and artivism tied to my main studio @CToddCreations, under the emerging educator/performer persona Professor Peacock and under the pen blog CToddBeNow.net. Welcome!
Artist’s Profile, October 2022
I use a 70/20/10 rule of thumb that is aspirational or intentional. I have less control than I wish but accept that on most days. I’ve learned to just go along for the ride! Abide by The Four Agreements as best one can on any given day. Live for and in today.
At this phase in life, I think my work is 10/70/20 across C Todd Creations, Artivism, and C Todd Dudeoir. Again. Aspirational subject to change depending on what the Universe sets before me and the choices I make thereof 😉
Thanks for listening. This was really more for me. (Is anyone listening?)
Keep tellin’ the story.
Professor C Todd Peacock III Community Artivist, Connector, Storyteller & Healer
Reminds me of a story one of my friends loves to tell about a night behind stage at a drag show back in the 1980’s. It’s catty, edgy, back-stabbing humor. Older GWM at our best.
And our worst.
They do call it a stereotype for a reason, girlfriend. (HT to JT for that one. That and a couple other racist remarks lands your firm with a class-action lawsuit. Then the Club Owners collude to keep YOU happy so you don’t pop the Rainbow bubble they’ve helped build. That’s right, GIRLFRIEND!).
TICK TICK BOOM!
So I’ll spare you the off-color humor. (Hmmm. Did you notice that?)
Is it really off-color, or have we all become too sensitive?
Too sensitive I guess. That is what they told ME as a little boy wonder, shaming the feelings out of my broken, little boy heart.
I’m sad when I hear some cis White male queer peers from my generation or one older as we talk quietly over a coffee or a cocktail. We are careful not to say too much, lest we lose our spotlight. We self-righteously cling to our gay lineage, our homosexual agenda – not realizing the lesson we were just served by Mr. Floyd’s legacy is: the very world we cling to is steeped in White supremacy, fueled by our own unresolved Velvet Rage.
As GWM “of a certain age,” we fear losing the very things “we” fought for (really? just us? hmmm…). What power and fear we hold over other human beings, many of whom actually earned our saggy White asses that very seat at the bar. At the Sportsman. In rural Indiana.
That’s what I’ve learned in the oak-lined Boardrooms of our capitalist healthcare industry – corporate, non-profit, religious – same cloth, different kilt. The people, yes – they care. Tremendously. And work for shit. All of them. They are NOT the enemy.
That’s why I’ve learned
But, the institutions themselves.
Capitalist, cis-male White Lockerooms and Jock Clubs. A legacy of wealth and disregard for those different than us.
But I digress.
What IS the punch line?
Who doesn’t find that funny.
What does that tell us about why we find that funny?
The power of a question.
That’s what I’ve learned.
Time to move on.
Tell Me Why
Yes, I worked a Bronski Beat reference into this story. Every movie has a soundtrack, every one of my 2D5D C4ABCD blogs do.
Because in this case, I say so.
Sermons aren’t inherently bad. It’s easier to think of them as just stories.
And Jesus is just a prophet. Like the rest of them. Even the comedians. ESPECIALLY the comedians.
So why do I think you ask? That’s a good question. That’s a very good question, as my friend Mike Mather once said it in a sermon that changed my life.
See that biting humor? It hides the pain. Just saying.
Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’m getting to the answer.
Because we like to tear other people down.
It’s the dark side of our humanity.
Scarcity. Ego. Competition. Small dicks.
But, I’ve also learned we need the shadows to bring out the light.
Here’s the sad thing.
We do it to our own people.
Even ones in our own community.
The tail end of the spectrum.
You know who.
The ones we don’t understand.
Of course, when WE were young, they told us we had a preference instead of an orientation. It was a choice, not a gift.
And yet here we are again.
Allowing our elected officials to legislate people to pick a side.
Maybe They MEANT for us to be on a spectrum? Or spectra? (What IS the plural? Spectrums?)
Lessons from Inside a Pandemic
Some of us have been here before. Like Alice Langford. Some of us joined lately. Some of us are watching us from beyond. But we’ve been here before.
This ain’t our first virus.
Lest ye forget.
We forgive you if you did. Admitting you did is the first step. (HT to Pastor Aaron for leading with that truth for reconciliation).
And no Carol, you can’t get HIV from sharing the damn communion cup.
Yep. She said that too.
I think the part she couldn’t accept most is I was an no longer reborn like her. I lost my way. I was an ex-gay.
Thankfully, Groh and Blanche set her straight. Can’t wait to visit them all in Hatboro. I never got that closure because of her legacy. Her brother. Their hate).
And THAT’S how I got the working title of my piece! Come see it in April. I’m terribly excited.
As my readers probably recall, I have been living out my artistical sabbatical since June of last year, give or take a spell.
This choice led me along a spiritual journey and through some painful parts of my story. It’s a privileged White boy’s story, as my warrior friend Harold taught me.
Some times I feel you make yourself difficult to be told something you don’t know.
And he was right.
That’s why I included “Lord” in my title. I own my whole story, and my father’s story, and my mother’s story, and so on, and so on.
But it doesn’t have to define how I show up today. Unless I choose to let it.
Easier said than done.
And, judging from my old journals I took down off the shelf during our honeymoon, I’ve been here before too! (spoiler alert: do NOT take your childhood journals on your honeymoon. It’s not a therapy retreat. Consummate deary, consummate )
Compartmentalize. There IS a time for that masculine trait. When it’s time to show up.
That’s what I’ve learned.
Confused in love. Telling myself I have to make a choice.
Really? How’s that worked out before?
20/20 Hindsight. 2020 Hindsight.
I’ve learned the power of 20/20 hindsight again and again. And like that Steve Jobs quote about moments in life, I can see a pattern. Three data points make a trend. We can’t improve what we don’t observe.
It does not make it True but it doesn’t make it go away.
That, as they say, is where the rubber hits the road. (It’s ok – I’m not skinning any salient beings. Or is that sentient? I always mix those up. Like committment. I can never spell it correctly. Maybe that should have been my first clue. Hmm. Data point. But it doesn’t have to be a trend. Just saying).
And here we are.
Left and right side co-existing, all the voices in stereophonic 5D.
Back to that lesson.
With COVID, we’ve all shared the same stigma, shame, fear, loss, loneliness, confusion, scarcity, sadness. Every human being on this planet. Every sentient being. Every soul. Every spirit. Every source. Every alien.
When we look at it from THAT telescope (Hubbel or Hubbel 2.0), our collective EQ as a planet just got a shot in the arm.
Think of this latest vaccine as a booster of collective Empathy Quotient for Earth. A reboot. (Yes, another movie reference. Borrowed the concept, so HT to whoever you find on page 1 of your Google search. Attribute always. Good-ishly.)
Magic and Miracle: Two Sides of the Same Coin
There is magic unfolding here, elevating our global connectedness.
Call it the Rapture if that works for you.
Or Zombie Worlds.
Or Battlestar Galactica.
As my friend Stewart Huff likes to remind us, Mother Nature can be a bitch!
Whoops. Family show.
Oh wait, this isn’t a family show. This is my show.
All politics is local, so hear me out. I hope you’ll stick around. If something I say offends you, come talk with me. Let me ask you some questions. Ask me some questions. I bet you we aren’t THAT far off. Really.
But, if nudity offends you or sexuality makes you uncomfortable, you are forewarned. But, I would recommend staying out of churches in Europe. Just saying. (HT to Thom Rouse for that nugget of Living the Artistic Life). #BigMagic
Did I mention I think I’m on the spectrum? Thanks for that nugget of insight Jasper, and for my walk with Susan who helped me accept that Truth.
But hold that thought for now.
Or as we say, stick a pin it.
Religion, Spirituality and the Arts – Oh my!
So along this magical path, I was invited to be part of community art intervention called Religion, Spirituality & the Arts. Our cohort first met last Summer-ish. And I’ve only seen them all on Zoom. Ah, the stories for our grandpups…
As we are coming to the conclusion of the project, I’m in reflecting mode. Trying to capture my thoughts, feelings, lessons learned from this experience.
Soul Print Moment
This is one of those Soul Print moments. (HT to my friend Terry Bateman and his gift of Buddha and the Bad Ass).
What HAVE I learned?
Shame and stigma are hard to tell apart. Some might say they are two sides of the same coin. Others may flip that coin. Others will take that coin.
Make it sacred.
Trust, but verify.
Swim with the dolphins. Stay with your penguin. Love your koala bear.
Everyone deserves a second chance. And a second second chance.
Three data points make a trend. But people can change. Even with a trend.
Be humble and kind.
Be more, do less.
Have more romance in friendships, and more friendships in marriage.
Talk about sex.
Get a couple’s therapist now. At the start, not the end.
Start with three questions:
What are we? What do we want to be? Is this healthy?
Tony Law, creator of The Paper Crane Diaries
Being single is ok.
Get a dog. Or a plant.
It’s hard in a mask. I know. Frontline workers and healthcares know.
God grant them the wisdom to trust science, the courage to love another.
That’s one lesson from my romantical RSA journey, somewhere between session 1 and 5.
It’s all art.
I’m an artist. A performing artist.
And I already knew that. Sang that. Danced that. Lived that.
Loving my unstoried self
Layer of skin shed, I’m able to see a new blob on the artistical and spiritiaul horizon. Art is my therapy. Music and playlists are the score. Life is the stage.
Carpe Diem. Dead Poet’s Society. Culture Club.
It’s all the same hymn, the same pain, the same joy, the same love, the same loss.
5D Artivism is Born
The idea of paying attention to the sound around me while I’m creating changed the entire way I experience and create art. With all of my senses.
Like this. At Roben’s studio (cue hyperlink).
A new pair of glasses.
Another cliché, but that’s what happens when your stone is Rolled away Struck Lifted
In closing, I’m learning to ask:
How can I or my network solve your biggest problem?
Attributed to Bryan Walsh
Try me out. Ask me.
I don’t bite. Unless we have consent.
I’ll add the playlist later. I’m tired. And it’s 4:20pm.
No, I’m not stoned.
No Grass Today.
Attributed to AJR
Thanks for listening,
Keep Tellin’ the Story,
The Right Reverend Lord Christopher Todd Peacock III
Note: My words for the year are Be, Feel, Create, Learn, Grow. I will make mistakes, find better ways to share my Truth, pick myself up and move on. For now, I’m in this moment. I’ve arrived home. Again.
“To remember your trusting vantage is to remember life is in your favor, you are in your favor. It is to remember there are no wrong choices and that all is conspiring to bring you into love.” ~Sarah Blondin
12 years ago tomorrow, I left early from work to come home to my empty house in Greenfield, IN. I was recently single, and my life was spiraling out of control. I had a regular buddy over to get stoned and high and fuck. He was younger than me, and we had hung out several times. I had a crush. He was using me for the drugs. And I was ok with that at the time.
In the weeks and months leading up to December 21, 2009, I struggled with my demons. I often left myself voice recordings in the dark of night. I knew I’d either get help or die. (Spoiler alert: I lived.)
It took another 9 years before I started to love myself enough to finally put down the pipe. At 50, I was still using people, places & things to find validation. Today, I still use people, place & things to find validation. But, more and more, I see my own beauty, my value, my purpose. I started looking inward for answers, largely because so many other people, places and things had let me down. In searching, I found my own Truth. I know. More clichés. And I’m ok with that.
Trauma, Severed Relationships & Attachment Styles
Last year, a dear friend challenged me to ask “why did I pick up in the first place?” I put my therapist on notice and we dug deeper. We started digging more into trauma, attachment styles and my fears around sex & intimacy.
I’ve come to understand that a lot of my attachment issues stem from early childhood. I was bullied as a young kid because I was different. I stuttered. I sounded like a girl until I hit puberty late in 9th grade. I rode a short bus to a gifted and talented program. I liked to dress up but had no fashion sense – so I got doubly-teased for that.
When I was 10, my dad got a third job transfer – this time to Canada. So I was moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana – where I was born and raised – to Sarnia, Ontario, with my southern accent and stunted development. I was teased so much that one of the teachers Mr. Rogers took me under his wing. He had me help out keeping stats for the basketball team. He helped me fit in.
When we moved to Canada, it was only supposed to be for 2 years – then we were moving back to Baton Rouge to the house where I grew up. I didn’t say good-bye to my childhood friends – just “see you later.”
Two other things happened to me in Sarnia that traumatized me further.
First, our house in Baton Rouge caught fire the first winter we were away. The house was gutted. My parents were gutted. They decided for us, as parents do, that we were not moving back to Louisiana. Quite literally, my first friendships as a young boy were cut off. Severed.
That old line “This is not a good-bye, but a see you soon” wore thin as I grew older. This was probably the first trauma I can recall. Like a snowball rolling down hill, more and more piled on, contributing to what I now understand to be complex PTSD.
Second, I became more of an outlier and runt. I was testing out of 6th grade english and maths. So the powers that be – teachers, counselors, parents – decided it would be best for me to skip a grade. Intellectually, great idea. Socially, not so much.
I left for my first Summer break in Canada having completed 6th grade and ready for 7th grade — but started back in the Fall as an 8th grader. My initial friendships as a young boy were cut off. Not as severely. But, it was socially awkward to say the least. A Gemini June-baby, I was already small for my grade. Now I was really a runt.
Compensating with Accomplishments
I compensated by throwing myself into my studies & extracurricular activities. I found self-worth in my accomplishments. We moved to New Jersey for my high school years. The first year I was there, I got the lead in Oliver!, the musical. Looking back, I know I got it because I was a runt and hadn’t yet hit puberty, so I could hit the high notes of “Where is love?” I knew then I was gay, even though I didn’t have words for it. I knew that love would be hard to come by, even at the young age.
This year, I’ve come to understand that these experiences, along with many others as I grew into my mid-20’s, would leave me with an avoidant attachment style. That kernel of insight and self-knowledge has already started me on a path to more secure relationship styles. But more on that later.
Remembering Trust. Choosing How to Live.
I try not to dwell too much on the past 9 years. I feel like I wasted time with bad choices – unhealthy choices – choices that took me further away from self, from love.
This meditation from Sarah Blondin has become an anchor this year, helping me to trust a different Truth. My younger self has been making choices to protect himself, out of love for himself. Even when that involved drugs, sex and prostitution – I was trying desperately to heal the severed relationships, grieve the losses, and live with greater integrity, connection & abundance.
For each step, each movement and action will come together to create the beautiful paradox that is life.
We compound our suffering by looking too closely at the thing that is causing us pain. We forget that soon a revelation will come from this very place – that these painful spots and choices are often where growth comes to break us open into something larger – something more loving, more purposeful in being in body.
If you have lost hope, if you feel you have landed yourself in a landscape of ravaged earth and drought, where you are sure your heart has left your chest – please just rest and hush now. You have but try again. Just choose again. Choose anything but remaining complacent in your pain. Choose anything other than running from your moments and your self.
When we escape ourselves, it is because we feel too ashamed, too broken, to look in our own eyes — too with the unraveling of all that we hold as dear. We are so afraid of the thunder and lightening clapping at our heels that we keep running from ourself. When really, the storm has come to wash us clean – come to quench the drought – come to feed our earth.