Musical Temperance: Like a River Runs

BannerLike a River Runs

When I fall asleep I can see your face
What I lost in you I will not replace
And I could run away, I could let them down
And I know you’re gone but still I will remember your light

I will remember
And if you see me in the darkness
I hope you know I’m not alone
I carry you with every breath I take
I won’t let up, I won’t let up
Until the wind is gone


Growing up, death was a rarely discussed topic in my family. I was five when both of my Grandpas passed away, a few months of each other, and the only lasting memories I have of that point in my life is the unfamiliar image of seeing my parents cry. Back then I was too young to understand death’s unparalleled force or the vast hole it leaves in each person’s life. For the longest time, I thought of it as some unknown entity scary enough to make adults cry like children.

Grandma Kaneshiro
Grandma Kaneshiro

In the last year, parts of my childhood have been falling away. I’ve said goodbye to both of my Grandmas (who were my only remaining grandparents), two of my best friends from high school each lost a parent, Tinkerbell and Kaile (family pets who represented two significant stages of growing up) passed away, and most recently I sold the Honda.

I know as an adult, death and loss will become more commonplace, but these are strange reminders of how removed I am from my youth. I sometimes don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I feel like I’m changing without my own consent, as if parts of me are unintentionally disappearing as I unravel.

A few weeks ago, I heard the Bleachers’ Like a River Runs EP on Spotify. The last track was titled “Dreams Aren’t Random,” which turned out to be an interview with singer Jack Antonoff and his therapist about the inspiration behind the album. He explained that the title track “Like a River Runs” refers to a recurring dream about his sister, who passed away when he was 18. He recounted how they’re not doing anything specific in it, but there’s a vague feeling everything is okay. “There’s this period of time […] where it’s probably, in reality, only five seconds, but it feels like a thousand years. Right as I’m leaving the dream and right as I’m fully becoming conscious that I’m in reality and in that five seconds […], I’m in reality, but she’s not dead. And it’s the most powerful experience ever.”

There are significant moments in our lives that define us. Whenever I do something, whether it’s playing the guitar or even drinking a glass of water, I do so as someone who has lost their Grandmas. This feature, Antonoff also explains, is as permanently defining as something like ethnicity. “And in those split five seconds in my dream, I’m not that,” he adds. “So it’s like I’m literally a completely different person.” His therapist explains that in these dreams, he’s transporting himself back into this moment where she’s still alive and he’s traveling back to who he was before her death defined him. As a kid, I also moved through the world with a lightness in my step. My sadness was often situational and short lasting, like the single colored disappointment of being called inside for dinner while I was mid-bike ride in the neighborhood.

In the weeks after Grandma Kaneshiro passed away, I used to see her in my dreams. A few months ago, she started visiting me again. I remember one dream where I was running through a big field in order to meet someone nearby. There was an adjacent building where people began filing out and walking through the field to get back to their cars. They traveled in pairs and groups, swept up in their conversations as if everyone had just come out from seeing the same movie. I zig zagged through the crowd and spotted my Grandma ahead walking with another woman. She must have said something funny because my Grandma was mid-laugh by the time I reached her. In this moment, my Grandma was still alive. I was bouncing around, excited for my plans, and leapt forward to surprise her when she spotted me. The interaction was quick, as if we had plans later. She told me, “Hi, Kristel!” in that same way she always does and I responded with “Hi, Grandma! I’ll see you later!” as I ran through.

I know my grief has changed me and that the people who meet me now will never know the person I was before my Grandmas passed away. Recently, I had a conversation with my mom about the strangeness of our lives now. She told me, “It’s like life appears the same on the outside, but the base fell out.”

The question I find myself asking these days is one I have no answer for yet: how do we re-define ourselves when we’ve experienced loss?

Some think grieving is a process that has a distinct beginning and end, as if our lives are suddenly resumed when we decide it’s time to move on. The experience, however, adheres to no neat timeline. Nothing quite prepares you for it and no one can really tell you how to move through it, and yet it’s a universal experience.

The other day I showed a friend of mine a picture of Grandma Yoneda from the 1940s and she said I had her smile. I suddenly remembered how people used to tell me we looked alike when I was growing up. There’s an old picture of us on my fridge and I never realized until now how the curve of my chubby cheeked half-smile reflects hers. Now when I look in the mirror, I see her too. When my Grandmas make appearances in my dreams now, I try to hold onto that distinct feeling of being with them.

Grief is a cavernous and transformative process, but it also illuminates, in time, the unexpected ways we remain tethered to those we’ve loved and lost. Our dreamspace allows us to process the parts we have difficulty accessing in our waking lives. It opens us up to the possibility of being connected in places we can and cannot see, with the hope we’ll one day recognize these unique and beautifully permanent imprints within ourselves.

Grandma Yoneda
Grandma Yoneda

This week’s playlist is about our journeys and those we carry with us through our lives. Grandma Kaneshiro and Yoneda, please visit again soon.


Kristel is a sometimes angsty writer from Hawaii who now lives in Los Angeles, CA. She claims she’s a Marketing Director at web design agency, but she spends most of her day in front of the computer while wearing pajamas.

Musical Temperance is her small attempt at creating the perfect soundtrack to help her survive an extended quarter-life crisis. Additional musings and playlists can be found at

COM|PASSionate Events

Morning, REVOLUTIONARIES! We’ve been meditating on what it means to stand our ground…

{Image Credit:}
{Image Credit:}

We’ve had some wonderful community connections recently. We’ve been networking with one another, checking in with past contacts, and reaching out to folks that have hovered nearby but that we’ve never actually had a reason to interact with.

Reaching out to folks and finding connection has given us this amazing sense of abundance in community. It’s made us think about all those times it felt like we weren’t being seen and all those times when it felt like as hard as we looked we couldn’t find reflection anywhere. The hardest thing it brought up was memories of those moments that made us question who we (inherently) are… the moments when it seemed like it would be easier to chop off our magical queer unicorn horns and make our way amongst the ponies. It’s a sad thought that we could have changed course, toned down our colors, and hidden ourselves so well that other unicorns might not recognize us when they ran into us!

So set your most fierce stance, hand on hip, don your most epic fucking flannel, tallest heels, and most dapper bow tie, and raise your eyebrow challengingly over the top of your sunglasses at a world that would have you be any different!

Oh, and, huzzah for marriage equality! There’s still a lot more to do but let’s congratulate the country for getting it’s shit together and continue to stand our ground. No wait….

…let’s fucking runway stomp our path to get there!


Get out, take care of yourself and heal in community!


Don’t forget there’s lots of upcoming ways to get involved!

  • Gender Spectrum is coming up in July! “Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.” They run an annual conference in Berkeley, CA for youth, families and professionals! Go check them out! Registration is now open! They are also looking for volunteers!
  • You’ve done plenty of volunteering and advocacy this year! How about you do something for your queer kinky unicorn heart and run away to Amorous Revolt? Amorous Revolt is queer kinky camping, “To celebrate our bold love, our brilliant spirits, our playful (and sometimes serious) sex, our creative relationships, our radical interdependence, our perfect bodies, and our unstoppable power and agency.”
  • Hey younger COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES looking for something fun to do this summer?? How about Brave Trails— a leadership summer camp for LGBTQ Youth & Allies?! Folks that are our age or older– we know what you’re thinking– where was this camp when we were in high school?? Well, you can still go help out by being a camp counselor or leading a workshop! Go check them out!
  • All of these internet shenanigans too much? Need to digitally detox? How about checking out Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults! CA camp is over but you can still take a road trip to hit the North Carolina camp in August!


For all of our dirty hippy healing talk, many of us this way are also admittedly smitten with queer fashion. Partly, because our queer community is adorable and perfect but also because outward expressions of our internal identities is a powerful act! For a community that struggles with being told we’re not who we are, shouldn’t be addressed the way want, can’t love the way we do, and sometimes have difficulty seeing and being seen– presentation and performance can offer a much needed sense of agency! Here are some fun places on the interwebs that celebrate this:

House of Alexzander







The COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community<3


*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

****Have your own story about healing or thoughts on healing? Are you a queer vegan healer? Want to talk to your community about ways you’re living consciously and connected? Do you want your blog, org, or event to be featured on one of our running series or want to do an interview introducing yourself to the COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community? Are you a unicorn in a pony world disguising your magickal star dust sprinkling mane to live amongst the commoners?

Pitch us a blog series or interview idea!! Contact us at!


There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Isn’t it Queer: Early Signs You Would Eventually Become… Yourself


I am a slut for words.I have a bizarre kinky affection for Audre Lorde and Shakespeare.  Finding a word that describes a feeling you’ve had but could never describe, is liking finding out vegan milkshakes exist.

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{Image Credit:}

Today I was inspired by:


n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world—who your baby sister would become, what your friends would end up doing, where your choices would lead you, exactly when you’d lose the people you took for granted—which is priceless intel that you instinctively want to share with anybody who hadn’t already made the journey, as if there was some part of you who had volunteered to stay behind, who was still stationed at a forgotten outpost somewhere in the past, still eagerly awaiting news from the front. {}

This word moves me because I have often flirted with the sorrow of not being able to let my 16-year-old-self, know that there is so much more to the world than the isolation and humiliation of public high school (see “monochopsis”). If I had known that the glorious, chaotic, noisy world of city life, queer community, kink, polyamory, and art existed, and with such vibrancy, I can’t even imagine what I would have been capable of then. Which brings me to one of my favorite topics: early signs you should have seen, that you would become yourself.

One of my favorite questions to ask the amazing humans that I work with at the dungeon is, “Growing up, did you see any signs that you would become kinky?” Their answers are never less than fantastic. One dominatrix told me the story of her taking turns “kidnapping” her siblings and tying them up to chairs and blindfolding them. Who knew that she would one day get paid to do that to people? One of the submissives described to me a game she played in highschool with friends that involved competitively smacking each other on the face as punishment for losing the game they called, “rock-paper-scissors-slap.” Just little hints that they would perhaps one day become proud purveyors of kink and sadomasochism.

{Image Credit:}
{Image Credit:}

This question is also fun to adapt to queer communities and alternative lifestyle communities. I often ask, “Did you ever see early indicators that you would be queer or gay?” or “Did you have polyamorous habits as a kid?”  At a party of non-monogamous individuals, I listened to one individual describe that at their preschool they had managed to acquire two boy-friends and one girl-friend and that the little radical collective would gather in the sandbox and make each other mud-cakes to celebrate their group love. They said laughing, “I should have known at that point that I was going to try non-monogamy, and I am still baffled that it took me so long to figure out that I liked men.”

{Image Credit:}
{Image Credit:}

I personally like to laugh at myself, as I answer the question, “Were there early signs that I would identify as genderqueer?” I recall making my college boyfriend dress me in his clothes, brown corduroy trousers, a black band t-shirt and a charcoal grey newspaper boy cap. I looked up at him in the mirror and said, “Oh my god, this is so hot! I make such a sexy boy!” I laughed semi-maniacally and I believe his response was a confused shrug and a chuckle, “sure…um…yeah.” That night I threw on my favorite tight black dress and red lipstick and went to ladies night at Hamburger Mary’s, and thought bitterly, “why do I have to pick.” The beautiful little red flags of gender deviance were flying but I wasn’t ready to wave those bad boys with pride.

Isn’t it queer that there are so many red flag moments, we remain blind to until we are older? Of course now that we identify as who we are, have been through what we have been through, and have a grasp on our identity (or are on the journey to getting that grip),  it’s obvious what those experiences meant. You have to laugh at the fact that  there is no way to go back in time and whisper in your own naive ear, “Bitch you are gay!!!” or some other such revelatory fact. What were your red flags that you would become who are you are today? What moments in your current life do you think might one day be seen as those same beautifully ironic red flags?

With that said, this enouement, that we feel, this sulky regret that we cannot forewarn our past selves of our impending future, can be bittersweet. It can be even sweeter if we remind ourselves that even being able to recognize that we are in progress as a human, or that we have made such substantial leaps forward in developing our identity, shows incredible resilience and emotional fortitude. In the days when we were young (whether your young moment happened when you were four or forty-three), you were absolutely doing the very best you could- to be yourself- with the tools you had available at the time.

Sitting on the precipice of your new life, looking back at a landscape of awkward teenage moments, misunderstandings of self and times you sold yourself short, you can show yourself gratitude for all the learning and growing you had to do to realize those moments were just that. So goddamn it thank yourself!!! And maybe, the next time you find yourself questioning a conventional norm while discovering your preferences, let those flags fly!!! Because you are stars and nothing less, even on your seething days.

Happy Pride my loves!

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,



Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” -Audre Lorde


There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.


MHM 15: Greetings from Austin!

Hey all! Guess where we are?? We’re enjoying our last morning in Austin, TX!

MHMBannerWe’re writing this a bit ahead of time to get you the Mash-Up on Monday, but we’re pretty sure the conference went awesome and we met some wonderful people! We’ll tell you a bit more about that next week.

For the time being we wanted to share some COM|PASSionate Consent Worksheets we made for our little Queering Consent Playshop at the Contemporary Relationships Conference this past weekend!

First up! COM|PASSionate Preference Exploration Flow Chart

While “No, means, NO,” is an important place to start in any consent conversation we realize that their are a multitude of layers underlying our ability to say, NO, clearly when we need to. There are also a multitude of layers that inhibit us from saying, YES, when we want to. This cycle multiplies and complicates with each level of intersection- especially for queer folks who spend a lot of time being told they’re… well, queer (and not in the good way.) This COM|PASSionate Preference Chart can be used to neutralize and explore your interests, preferences, inclinations and, all out, turn ons. It’s a starting point to “getting down with your desires and under the covers with your body boundaries,” so you can start a dialogue with your body that informs how you articulate personal consent.


Exploration2Here’s an example of the chart filled in:

ExplorationExampleNext Up! COM|PASSionate Boundaries Worksheet

Now that you’ve flow-charted your way through any preferences that need a little more exploration you might want to start thinking about what your body/language/preference boundaries are over all. This chart can help you get organized about boundaries you might want to hold for yourself as well as things you might want to express to current or future partner|s.

CompassionateBoundariesHere’s an example of the COM|PASSionate Boundaries Worksheet filled in:

BoundariesExampleLast, but not least! A quick COM|PASSionate Wishlist, Adventurous Ideas + Places to Avoid Chart

This is a quick way to document your preferences and boundaries for yourself or to share with a partner. This list is moveable, changeable and expires at the writer’s will!

ListChartHere’s an example of the list filled in:


So, until next time, we hope that you all have a wonderful week of consensual and fulfilling play and exploration with yourself and others!

Lastly, if you’re still confused about consent but understand the etiquette of tea (or if you’re anyone on this planet that interacts with anyone else on the planet) watch this video:

As always you can reach us at…



Skye + Traci 


Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, survive and flourish in the Southern California area. The Mental Health Mash-Up is their offering of thoughts, process and tips towards mental health and wellness as queer folks navigating the intersections of stigma, oppression and identities.

MHM 14: Queering Consent


Good Morning Revolutionaries!

We hope you all had a lovely weekend!

We’re so excited to be ramping up for the Contemporary Relationships Conference this weekend in Austin, TX! We’re going to be giving a workshop on Queering Consent: Navigating Relationships Outside of the Hetero AND Homo Normative.

In this episode of the podcast we talk about the essential components of consent and why it’s so important for happy, healthy and fulfilled individuals, relationships and sexual interactions!

Stay tuned! In upcoming weeks we’ll post helpful worksheets from the workshop and give a recap of how our time in Austin went!


Take a listen!

As always you can reach us at…



Skye + Traci 


Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.

MHM Ep. 7: Pausing for Self-Care


Hello COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES and happy Monday!

We’re sorry that the Mental Health Mash-Up is going up a little bit late today. Our schedules have been a little overwhelming recently… oh, what’s today’s podcast about you ask?

It’s about how to pause for self-care when you start to get overwhelmed! Even when you’re overwhelmed by lots of wonderful and healing community building and discussions!

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{Image Credit:}

You can listen here:

Or on our LibSyn Page.

So take a listen and then don’t forget to come hang out with us this weekend if you’re local! The Trans* Asterisk Conference starts Friday night and workshops happen on Saturday!

Feeling overwhelmed and need a little pep talk before heading out the door and onto the traffic of the 91fwy? Here’s one of our favorite sources of silly internet self-care (Notice VERY Calming Manatee above.)

We hope you enjoy and we’d love to hear your thoughts!


As always you can reach us at…




Skye + Traci 


Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.


There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

On Armor, Self-Creation, and Accessing Our Inner Worlds


Part of the great power and mystery of dreaming is that, in dreams, you find yourself in relationship with the rest of you: who you are when you’re not performing your daytime, waking-world persona; who you wish you could be, or hope you’re not. In dreams we can come into contact with disowned and discarded elements and aspects of ourselves – as well as new, emergent parts of us that we’ve never met yet. Dreams also present us with the forgotten or repressed facts of our living connections to each other – and to the animals and plants we share the living world with, to our shared histories and futures, to dreaming Gaia Herself.

Dreamwork creates reflective time for us to be with these mysteries and unfold ourselves into new awareness about ourselves and our world.

Dreams ask us to take an attitude to them that can be very uncomfortable. Waking, we are always discerning the boundaries of our conscious identity: this is me, that’s not me, that’s has nothing to do with me. Dreams ask us to become more porous and curious in our thinking, and become concerned not with what something is or isn’t but with how we relate to it (and how it relates to us).

Dreamwork asks us to practice a faith in our deeper selves by honoring that whatever comes up to the surface – the dream itself, our reactions to it, our associations to it – has its reason, has something to do with us, even if we don’t know how to recognize it yet.

Art by Geninne:

This can be a powerful release and relief, for the conscious mind to accept that it’s not in control of everything that goes on inside us, nor does it have to be.

This can also be a balancing practice for many of us whose minds have had very good reason to become protective and stay in control.

Every day, we are bombarded by images, values, policies, and judgments that don’t represent us and that do us harm. In the dominant racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist and capitalist culture, strength and survival can mean adopting an attitude of crafting and defining and valuing our identities on our own terms. That attitude of revolutionary self-creation serves us well in the waking world – but, when it becomes a habitual armor, it can cut us off from the deeper dreaming wellspring of ourselves, our connections to one another, our healing, and our inner guidance.

Our roots go so much deeper down...
Our roots go so much deeper down…

This is not even to really get into how the same dominant culture in general cuts us off from our inner selves, and teaches us not to ask questions, not to draw connections, not to identify empathically with an other. These thought patterns belong to this culture and its legacies of violence, and it’s impossible not to internalize them to some degree. For those (most!) of us who inhabit marginalized identities and have to work hard to claim our value, this can be a double-whammy of a cut-off.

If you find yourself saying things about your dreams like, “That was meaningless,” “That was a stupid dream,” “I wish I could just forget that dream,” “That has nothing to do with me,” or “Phew! Woke up and escaped, now I never have to think about that again!” – then the armor of your waking mind is protecting you from something in your own inner world that wants your attention.

Here’s a small way to begin practicing a balancing attitude in your dreamwork:


  1. Make a quiet space for yourself – half an hour on the couch, some quiet tea time curled up on your bed, a blanket in the park, a walk on the beach, whatever you got to work with.
  1. Actively imagine yourself taking off a piece of armor and setting in on the ground beside you. A helmet or a chest-plate would do nicely. Tell yourself something like I am taking off my armor in order to be with myself, or In this quiet space, I am free to relax and get curious, or even just I am safe here or I come in peace. Take a breath and feel your body adjust to this attitude.
  1. Get your dream journal and either write down a fresh dream or turn to one you wrote down fairly recently. Pick one element of it that challenges, confuses, or bewilders you and name it, write it down.
  1. Give yourself permission to free associate – this means that, without having to understand or interpret anything, you get to brainstorm any and all images, feelings, or memories that come up as you contemplate your chosen dream element. Associations can be very personal but they don’t have to be – they can be old stories, characters from tv shows, current events in other parts of the world, etc. Let it all just blurt into your journal – notice if you feel hesitation or embarrassment, but remember that you are safe here, no one will see but you, and your only job is to take note of what comes up.
Dream journalling gets wild… Art by Christian Schloe.
  1. Reflect on what you’ve journalled – allow yourself to ask questions without needing to answer them right away. The point here is to practice being curious and holding the possibility that you are connected to the images and feelings that came to you.
  1. Pick a few elements of your associations to remember and carry with you during your day – not as a problem to solve, but as something to carry lightly in your mind. As you go about your day, notice when events or feelings arise that remind you of your dream elements. Meaning or insight may or may not come to you in this process, and that’s fine – the point is to practice staying in connection to the inner world, and noticing when something in the waking world resonates with your inner dreaming world.
  1. Thank yourself for making time to connect with your own dream life!


Want to learn more? Check out my Dreamwork for Survivors course, coming this Spring with Califia Collective!


Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.