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.
Today I’m grateful for life itself, for this day – the shortest day of the year. 12 years ago today, I was going to end my life because of the deep shame I felt at my core for who I was. Decades of societal and religious messaging that being gay is an abomination, a sin, a brokenness that needed to be healed. I also realize now I had some deep unresolved trauma from my adolescent and young adult years.
In 1990, I moved to Indy for a job at Lilly after graduating from University of Michigan. I was largely closeted at first, living in fear of being found out. I ran from myself, pouring my energy into my career. I sold my soul to the devil of money, status, material wealth. I did well for the most part – but sacrificed intimacy, community and connection for the corporate ladder. Eventually the strain of living a compartmentalized existence caught up with me.
At 33, I started using drugs because the alcohol was no longer sufficient to numb the pain. Over the course of the 8 years, I became addicted to crystal meth. In the last year or two, I was using every day – sometimes even smoking at work on breaks in the restroom. I was a functional meth addict until I could function no more. I had become irritable and aggressive at work, stemming from my using, lack of sleep and depression.
On December 21, 2009, I decided to take enough meth to burst my heart by sticking a large quantity up my butt. Whether or not that would have worked is immaterial. In my mind, I wanted to die.
In a moment of clarity, I decided that wasn’t the answer. I knew I wanted help, but all attempts in the past had failed. I called 911 and reported a failed suicide by lethal ingestion of meth. I wanted to put into motion a plan that I couldn’t stop. I also called my pastor Mike Mather who brought a small contingent of reinforcements to be there with me. They met me at Greenfield ER and took me to Fairbanks for treatment. That act of presence is one I’ll never forget.
It would be another 8 years before I finally put the pipe down in 2018. In those 8 years, I wrestled with my demons. I also went through a series of losses. I was fired from my 19 year career at Lilly in 2010 because I was arrested based on what the police found that night I called 911. I blew a plea bargain and ended up with two felonies on my record in 2011. I was diagnosed with HIV In 2012. I lost my mom to a heart attack stemming from her untreated alcoholism in 2013. I was sexually assaulted once and robbed twice in 2014.
Looking back, that’s when I started rebuilding my life. Therapy has helped me deal with the shame and trauma, the isolation, the inability to feel anything other than loss and shame. I reconnected with my photography, and have fully embraced the artist and artivist in me.
In these past 12-18 months, I have found the three most important things I was missing: identity, purpose and connection.
Today I remember my roommate from Fairbanks who died from this disease. I remember my friend Graham Karwath who died from this disease. I know too many gay men who are addicted to meth. We don’t talk about it. We offer them black and white solutions that push them away. I was judged and ostracized when I relapsed. But I was also shown love, compassion, and grace.
If you or someone you know is struggling, tell them to hold on. Tell them you love them. Love them without condition or strings or expectations. Love them where they are at.