Diary of a renaissance negresse – September 17, 2021

Dear folks!


How are you? I hope you’re doing well!

The most important thing I want to share with you is:

THIS WEEKEND – THE BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL!
BWAF Philly 2021, Philadelphia’s 15th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival is happening online tomorrow, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th.
1:00 – 7:00 PM both days.
Viewable through, and archived at, the YouTube channel @TheRotundaPhilly (if you search that on YouTube, it’ll pop right up). I’m not putting it here because some places having a link just complicates things and makes the entire post much less visible. I’d rather this entire post show up and folks type a few characters to see the show!
This year I was not able to be as attentive as I was last year, and as a result there’s been a lot less promotion, including not having the artists pics, bios and links sent out as I would have liked. I apologize. Hopefully 2022 will be a kinder year!

Here is the schedule so far (I am hosting the entire event and performing music periodically on each day):

SATURDAY

1 – 1:15 – I introduce the event and the next act

1:15 – 1:35 – Angel Hogan, poet

====TBA====

2:00 – 2:45 – Kai Oceans, presentation on finding your voice

TBA

4:00 – 4:20 – Gigi McGraw, actor/talk

4:30 – 4:45 – Monica Fleurette, Actress

TBA

     6:00 – 6:30 – Stephanie Durann (Poet) 

7:00 – Closing

SUNDAY:

1:00 – Intro to BWAF and next artist

TBA

3:00 – 4:00 – Narissa Bond, singer-songwriter

TBA

4:45 – 5:15 – Eboni Zamani, filmmaker 

TBA

7:00 – Closing

I hope you will tune in during or visit the archive after. It’s a labor of love, formed by imperfect hands of us a lot of folks who need this medicine. What medicine – why art, of course! (Could I sound any hoky-er? Nope!)

BLISSFOLLOWAGE AT 52
Sometimes I think about how much freer I was to enjoy life when I was in my late teens and early 20s than I am now in my 50s. It would make sense, because in those earlier years, either I had no expenses or I was easily able to provide for myself.
I was thinking about how much more employable “kids” in their early 20s are, and how I was too during that time.
What happens after 40? We have obligations, expenses, debts. And if we have mental health issues, all those things are made even more challenging.
How does one follow one’s bliss (Google Joseph Campbell) with major challenges, and why bother?
I was just going to go into all kinds of detail, then I remembered that I have limited space – aaargh!
So, I’ll briefly say that bliss is our birthright. If you (hypothetically) have trauma issues or severe anxiety, the word “fun” may not be part of your lexicon. Try to be around people who use and have it. Fun and play are essential to bliss and to joy. Bliss relieves and sometimes prevents pain. Sometimes following one’s bliss can save one’s life. Everyone’s bliss looks different according to who they are and where they are in their life. There was a time that following my bliss meant writing songs and performing them, or writing poetry and reading it in public. Now, it is just singing along to YouTube, just to get back into it, and reading my already written poems. It’s writing essays and my “diary” series. It’s pausing to tune in and see how I am responding to a person, a moment, a situation, and then taking action from that observation. It’s mindfulness. It’s daring to hope and get my hopes up. I wish for you that you get closer to and more practiced with your bliss every day!

ARTIST UPDATE:

COSACOSA COMPILATION ALBUM PROJECT
Today I received the final payment for writing two songs for a CosaCosa compilation album project tentatively titled “Call!” It’s an album of 17 songs by 8 artists (I did 2 songs). These are protest songs for our times. My themes were being authentic and mental health awareness. I am extremely proud and honored to be part of this project, and every step along the way has been a gift, from being commissioned to write songs to the practice of everything I had to do to get from the first draft of the first song to my Uber rides after the last day at the studio. Amazing. And fun! I’ll be writing about this again. Visit CosaCosa at Facebook + Instagram: @cosacosaartatlarge Twitter: @cosacosaatlarge

I’M FROM DRIFTWOOD
Today I also received a message from the executive director of I’m From Driftwood, one of my favorite YouTube channels, which is about LGBT+ folks’ life stories and coming out experiences. I was asked to feature! I’ll write back next week to follow through on that, but the idea of being on openly queer bearded Haitian-American woman is BEYOND! SOOOOO much visibility is needed. Hey you know what? “Let’s Be Authentic”! (That’s the name of one of my CosaCosa songs!) I will keep you posted about this.

LATE BLOOMER INSPIRATION
Random thoughts: I’ve been reading and collecting books about late bloomers since I was 26. I think I must have known I would come into my stride at a later age. Go to websites and blogs and view YouTube videos about people who are or consider themselves late bloomers. It is never too late to exercise 🙂 The body is incredibly resilient and forgiving. Starting to move late in life is still incredibly helpful. Don’t devalue your current desires, and don’t place greater value on what you wanted when you were younger. Your current desires are just as valid and worthy of attention. Your passion, dedication, and focus may not look the way they did in your younger years, but they are still just as important. In your younger years, you had the benefits and vigor of youth. In your mature years, you have wisdom and the ability to impart more of your values to your dreams and goals. Create a support system and go for it!

Well, I would continue, but I’ve had a long day and should get to bed early for a very busy day tomorrow.

I should probably do some CX plugs:

My several albums of music and spoken word guided meditations/affirmations are at CD Baby, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube. My name is spelled “CassEndrE Xavier”

At least one of my chapbooks is on Amazon.

I’m a contributor to the webmagazine Wisdom.

I also write spirituality and erotica under the pseudonyms Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls, respectively.

Wishing you a splendid day or evening until I write again!

In art and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist
Special Needs Adult 🙂
Late Bloomer Extraordinaire

Contact emails:
Music related: cxmusic at gmail dot com
Everything else: cxwriting at gmail dot com

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diary of a renaissance negresse – 04 September 2021

First I’d like to thank my GoFundMe community because that was the avenue I thought of when I was looking for a place to post this. I’ve desperately wanted to write as I always have – but in 2019 had to stop and become much more private for various reasons which hopefully will change at some point. I’ve been having a very difficult time trying to find and use my “voice” again as a writer, but haven’t had an outlet that worked for everyone in my life. GoFundMe occured to me as a place to post updates from time to time.

IN THE STUDIO AGAIN!
Recording studio, that is! I haven’t been in the studio since Feb 2015 for my album “Hope.” This time, I’m working on someone else’s project, an 8-artist, 16 song compilation album. I’m not sure how public they want me to be about it at this stage, so I’ll hold back for now. On the 23rd and 24th I was in the studio, and I go back this week for one day. It’s hard to describe how wonderful this opportunity has been for me as a re-emerging, late bloomer, special needs adult artist. I’m too sleepy to go into it all, but it’s very wonderful and inspiring.

THIS IS WHAT PTSD IS LIKE
So this evening I arrived at the train station closest to my home, after spending some wonderful time I can’t tell you about because of my confidentiality agreement 🙂 As I sat on the bench, relaxing for a while, I saw two young men walking towards me on the platform. One of them was bouncing a basketball. The last time I was approached by two young men with a basketball, I was mugged with a gun pressed into my thigh. Looking at these two kids, I was afraid it might happen again and wasn’t fully at ease until they had walked far past me.
Then I was walking and guy was coming out of his house with a dog that barked at me. I stopped and waited until the dog was leashed, and removed my umbrella from my suitcase, in case he charged at me. (I had read that if you’re attacked by dogs, it helps to have something to give them to bite and latch on to, because if it’s not that, it’ll be some part of your body.) I live in a very white, Republican suburb and this guy was white and wearing an American flag tee shirt (I can’t wait until that flag is friendly again). For whatever reason, they’re not always that careful about keeping their dogs calm and away. I’ve had 2 unleashed dogs run up on me in that neighborhood, plus one pitbull that tried to charge at me but was held back by a leash.
Visiting with friends yesterday I kept requesting that doors be locked. They live somewhere they feel they can leave doors open and not lock the screen doors. I grew up partly in Brooklyn, NYC and I also have PTSD so I can’t even relax unless I know that everything is locked as it should be.
Anyway. my anxiety has been higher than usual lately.
I mention these challenges in part because in the olden days I would share these feelings in song, poems, or my museletters sent to my readers and fans by email. In recent years, I’ve shared them with my therapists and peer support counselors, as well as with my friends. Instead of being creative, as I haven’t’ felt I’ve had an outlet, having no easy way to blog safely nor email (I used to use Yahoo Groups, but I can’t do that anymore), I’ve only kvetched or filled my time with comforting activities such as watching Judge Judy and true crime on YouTube.
But I really need to write so I’m going to try.

PHILLY’S 15 ANNUAL BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL
…is happening online only this year, as we did last year, on Sat – Sun, September 18 – 19, from 1 PM – 7 PM through our longtime venue The Rotunda’s YouTube channel. I’m excited about the lineup so far and I will keep you posted!

HOME SEARCH
The irony of my confidentiality agreement is that if I had the freedom to express myself as I have in the past and as I would love to as a multi-media and recently also erotic artist, I would likely attract the same kind of support and interest as any of my authentic self-expressions have in the past, thus creating opportunties and resources for me to find a more compatible residence. However, being silenced as I have has blocked that channel of possible revenue. I have a roof over my head and for that I’m very grateful.
I have slept on the ice cold marble floors of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station during winter. For some reason I thought newspaper would make it warmer. It didn’t help much. The floor was brutally cold, made more intense by how hard the marble is. Whenever I am having a challenge with my residence, I remember that, and somehow getting through another day becomes easier.
However, I had a breakthrough this week which showed me that it takes a lot of energy for me to be somewhat comfortable here, and I was not meant to use my energy this way. How I learned this was that I was doing blissful artwork (music recording), and then realized this was what I was meant to do a lot more of. I realized that I was neglecting some very important creativity in my life by filling my time instead with feelgood activities which helped to compensate my painful existence. It’s time to not suffer so much. I don’t know how that will happen, but having the realization is a step forward. So often we suffer and don’t realize how bad things are, until they either blow up, or we discover we can have an easier time, and/or both.

COACH YOURSELF!
We all give great advice to other people. Not so easy to take our own advice.
I realized that the biggest barrier to my making significant progress in finding a new home was that I wasn’t making it a priority to work on it. It just appeared to be one huge problem that I saw no way to solve.
Then I imagined helping someone else with this problem, if it were theirs instead of mine. Having led workshops and done angel/spiritual counseling for folks, and even done an advice column once or twice, I knew I could easily solve the issue for someone else. Why not me? Well, unlike the time, dedication, focus and scheduling that counseling someone else would take – I didn’t do it for myself. I would rarely think of solving the problem, and instead become overwhelmed and put the problem out of my mind because it hurt too much and I just felt trapped and powerless to change it.
So, what I did was told my therapist that I would like to work on self-coaching with my housing issue. This way, I could make more progress because I have accountability and focus built-in.
Things I would tell someone else would be: Don’t worry about getting from A-Z. Just do A-B for now. And then, we’ll do B-C, and so forth. I would also have them create a support system around this goal. Working with one person isn’t enough.
I would recommend energy work: doing positive affirmations, creative visualization, etc. And so much more.

Well, I’m not sure how much GoFundMe and Facebook will allow me to print here. I think I’ll also create a support team for my getting back to writing to my readers again, because it’s really essential.

I hope you’re doing well, and I thank you for reading 🙂

In art and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist

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Healing Artist Blog

I’m trying to get back to being an active (albeit healing) artist again. This includes blogging/sharing my progress. So I’ll share that tonight I sang and played guitar along to a couple of my albums on YouTube. I haven’t done that since September. It also made me cry, so… Progress.

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Day 2 of the 14th Black Women’s Arts Festival!

Yesterday’s Black Women’s Arts (virtual) Festival was wonderful and I’m gearing up for soundcheck in a few minutes for the final day until next year! We have some space on the schedule and would love to feature a few more black female artists and performers and speakers, oh my! We have availability between 2:30pm EST and ending before 3:45pm! If interested, (and you have the latest version of Zoom and ideally a laptop rather than a phone or tablet which has poorer sound), please email your bio, pic, and link to BWAFphilly (at) gmail.com. You can watch us today from 1pm-7pm at the YouTube channel “TheRotundaPhilly” or at The Rotunda’s Facebook Have a great day 🙂

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SisterSpace 9/13 & Black Women’s Arts Fest 19th-20th

Dear Friends & Total Complete Strangers!

I am very happy to be writing to you again.

This month marks two anniversaries for me – the 10th anniversary of my being recognized as an interfaith minister, and the 1-year anniversary of a major upset in my life that has caused me to go largely silent as a diarist, blogger, and erotic artist. 
I am making progress in transforming my circumstances so that I can live and create freely as the artist I want to be again. Part of this will require my change of residence, and I’ve been in communication with people who can help me make this happen.
Here’s a brief snippet about what I’m looking for:
 I’m a Philadelphia-based black female LGBTQ+ artist with a long and positive history of collective/cooperative living in West Philly. Due to a need for quiet and in response to the pandemic, I am seeking a work exchange housing situation where I can be a companion to an older person in their home. Enclosed is an ad with more details: https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com/2020/08/28/renaissance-negresse-seeking-wonderful-living-arrangement/

========================

I’ve got a couple of performances and events I wanted to share with you.

Tomorrow (Sunday Sept. 13) at 3:10pm I’m performing at Sisterspace Virtual Weekend 2020!
I’m very excited because:

1) I’ve attended SisterSpace Weekend often since the mid 1990s – from when it was in the Poconos to its current location in Darlington, MD. I’ve gone as just a camper, and I’ve performed music there at least twice – once on my own and at least once supporting another band member. A highlight was when I performed wearing lingerie and comic Michele Balan walked on after me, wearing my robe! 
Thursday I did my soundcheck for it and was very pleasantly surprised to see that the person doing soundcheck before me was comedian Marga Gomez. The lineup sure is exciting!

2) Unlike SisterSpace Weekend in person, virtual is open to the general public – so that means men will get to be part of our audience for the first time that I can recall.

Here’s info about it:

SisterSpace Weekend Women’s Festival 2020 will be an ONLINE FEST—and YOU ARE INVITED! No matter where you are in the world, in life, in your head, in your heart, in the black or in the red—you are our honored guest and festival invitee for 2020, with all our love and a BIG WARM SISTERSPACE WELCOME!

http://sisterspace.org

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I also want to share that the VIRTUAL 14th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival is happening next weekend, Saturday-Sunday September 19-20, 2020, from 1:00pm – 7:00pm both days.
You’ll be able to watch it streaming live on our venue The Rotunda’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. 
I’m still booking the artists for it (schedule below), and below also is more info about the event plus the links you can use to watch.

Thanks for reading, and hope you’ll be tuning in!

In art, spirit, and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist 
Founder & Director of the Black Women’s Arts Festival

==========================

Virtual Black Women’s Arts Festival Philadelphia Lineup 2020

Saturday, September 19 1:00pm – 7:00pm

1:30 – 1:55 Kai Oceans (visual artist/writer) Talk
2:00 – 2:30 O (performance artist/writer) Slide Presentation
3:00 – 3:30 Narissa Bond (singer-songwriter) Music

Saturday, September 20 1:00pm – 7:00pm

1:00 – 1:20 Wanda Payne (visual artist) Talk/Presentation
5:00 – 5:45 Robin Renee (singer-songwriter/writer) Music & Spoken Word

More to be added…

Philly’s 14th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (BWAF)September 19 and 20!For more information, Contact: Cassendre Xavier, BWAFPhilly@gmail.com

Philly’s 14th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival Announced;a “Virtual” Festival – September 19-20, 2020
For the first time, this year’s Black Women’s Arts Festival – the 14th annual Philadelphia-based event – will be a “virtual” festival, its organizers have announced.
The event, which once again will showcase a variety of multimedia arts and performances by African American and Black women, will take place this year on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20, said the event’s founder, Cassendre Xavier.  On both days, the show will begin at 1 pm and end at 7 pm, she said.
“The Black Women’s Arts Festival was founded in 2003 and takes place at The Rotunda on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus,” Xavier explained.  But because of the pandemic, this year’s event will livestream on The Rotunda’s YouTube channel, she said.  People can watch the show at https://www.youtube.com/ TheRotundaPhilly and at The Rotunda’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ TheRotundaPhilly). 
Xavier, who herself is a Philly-based singer-songwriter who performs at the Festival, said this year’s event will feature, among others, visual artist Wanda Payne, singer-songwriter Narissa Bond, and performance artist O.A full schedule of presentations and performances will be released closer to the event, and artists interested in participating should contact Cassendre Xavier at BWAFphilly@gmail.com.
# # #
The Rotunda | 4014 Walnut StreetPhiladelphia, PA 19104                                                     

— 
— Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier

renaissance negresse

$15,000 Leeway Transformation Award-Winning musicianwriteractressvisual artist, and community cultural arts organizer.

Founder & Executive Director of the Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003) and the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002).

Official website: http://cassEndrExavier.wordpress.com

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renaissance negresse seeking wonderful living arrangement :)

I’m a Philly-based artist and community cultural arts organizer, age 51, seeking a mutually wonderful  living arrangement in Philadelphia or surrounding suburbs. 

I am looking to share a home with an elderly or disabled person who is practicing social distancing and mask-wearing outside the home, and would enjoy sharing their residence with a mature, easy-going person who is helpful, non-smoking, drug and alcohol-free, and who likes a quiet house.

I have no pets, but I would be happy to help care for yours.

I would need a non-smoking environment with wireless internet and access to public transportation. I would consider an area outside of Pennsylvania, if close to public transportation.

I don’t have many belongings and additional storage space is not required (but would be appreciated). I would love to have my own room, if possible.

In exchange for living in your home, I can provide assistance such as laundry, daily dishwashing, some basic housecleaning, cooking, errands, yardwork, etc. by negotiation. I am not a trained medical professional, but I’ve been a babysitter and could help as a companion with tasks such as medications.  Simple editing, typing, and data entry could also be part of our arrangement, if desired. For clarity, I would want a written agreement regarding the amount and frequency of these activities so that it would be a fair exchange and be within my own abilities and schedule.

Extras: I am LGBT+ – friendly (and not a good match for someone who does not approve of LGBT+), am fluent in English, passable in French and Haitian Kreyol.

Available to move in as early as September 2020, and able to stay long or short term as needed. Excellent house/pet-sitting and personal references available. 
I can be reached at cxmusic (at) gmail.com

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renaissance negresse GoFundMe Update!

Hi, Folks,

Thank you for your patience. It has been some time since I have written. A lot has happened.
I suppose it would be realistic for me to address the coronavirus.
This is a time that is challenging most of us to remain calm, remain smart, and remain at home as much as possible.

Just as there are stages of grieving, I’ve noticed there are stages of varying emotions in dealing with the repurcussions of staying home for weeks at a time.

We were already at a low hum of basic touch-deprivation. Now we are at full blown touch starvation. We know we have several months more of this, at least, so it’s important to remain calm and do what we can to feel better.

During this time, a lot of people are doing what they/we can to help others. I am deeply moved by volunteers of various kinds, including those who make face masks and then donate them to health professionals.

Artists and healers are coming out and showing their true colors as well. After all, this is a time of deep soul-searching, and of reminding ourselves of who we are and why we are here. This is a time for self-reflection, and of acting in great gestures of love and kindness.

My April 2020 contribution to Wisdom Magazine’s online edition is called “10 Tips for Managing Fear in Highly Challenging Times” and has been receiving very positive feedback. You can read it here: https://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5234/

Since I last posted, I’ve done poetry readings and musical performances, angel readings, and attended my 2-5 individual and therapy appointments, and have been diligent at taking my medications on time.

My housing situation is still as precarious as before, albeit for different reasons. I am still at the same place, and I am limited in how much detail I have agreed to share or not share. I am happy with my nesting partner, but that is not the only person I live with.

Oh, my update on applying for disability – I have been continuing with every step of the laborious process. In June I went for a hearing, and a few weeks later I received notice of rejection from the judge. The letter was dated long before I retrieved it (my fault, I had been away for a week and forgot to thoroughly look for my mail when I arrived) and it may be too late to submit my materials for reconsideration. I still am trying.

My disability attorney told me I can still submit my additional materials (a letter from my psychiatrist stating that my new diagnosis reflects my inability to work, plus a letter I will write which will talk about how my diagnoses negatively impact my ability to work).

I am encouraged by a dear friend to continue trying, and I am aware that it can take years to receive disability benefits. I watch a lot of Judge Judy and I lament how good some people are at working the system. A family member once told me that looking for a job *is* a job.
I now am convinced that applying for dsability *is* a job. Maybe that’s why I’m not so good at it 🙂 I wish I could have someone speak for me at the hearings. As soon as I open my mouth I sound like a radio announcer, and then the mania makes me sound so bubbly it’s impossible to think I’m someone who needs help. But trust me, I sounded just as good and have been just as bubbly, at times, when living at homeless shelter or sleeping at the airport or 30th St Station. Oh, the curse of presenting well!

I wish I had a concrete goal to tell you I’m fundraising for. The nebulousness of my wanting is partly why it’s taken me so long to write.

Right now, I want to move to a room somewhere. Ideally it’s a room in a West Philly cooperative household, but I’m open to other situations.

My therapist told me to look into the possibility of an empty apartment that someone has left temporarily, so they can shelter at home with others. I thanked her for the idea and I really appreciated it because it’s an example of something that’s possible.

Here are the facts:

I have no job, and no income (other than the occasional gig, which right now isn’t happening).

So I cannot pay rent. I can fundraise to pay rent (and it’s possible that I may have rent if I get the Black Women’s Arts Festival nonprofit status in the next few months and begun fundraising for it there, and use some of those funds to pay me a salary)

I would put most of my things in storage for the time being.

An ideal situation would be if I met a potentially romantic partner and we clicked and I could live with them. That would be the closest to the ideal (the ideal is that I’ve accomplished my life skills goals and able to provide for mysef…. but in the meantime, since I’ve been working on these issues for years!!!! – in the meantime just living with someone would be great – that is, after all, what I’m doing now, and what I’ve done two other times in the past.

Has anyone ever used a GoFundMe as a personals ad? Hey now!

I’m a non-smoker (I prefer non-smoker, but the two other times I lived with someone, they smoked inside the home, so it’s not a deal-breaker)
I don’t drink (social drinker, but prefer to avoid, because I like knowing my meds are working optimally)
I’m mildly allergic to cats (after a few weeks I adjust to the cats I live with. I love cats and really enjoy the company of the two I live with !)
I like dogs, too.
I’m into housekeeping. If I live with one other person, as a mate/partner, I will contribute to the household by basic housekeeping (dishes, laundry, etc.)
I’m fairly quiet. I wouldn’t play music loudly at odd hours, etc.
I’m a morning person and not a night person.
I’m not a party person, but that depends on the kind of party it is.
I’m into communication and problem-solving.
I work well with deadlines and agreements.
I don’t drive, so the place would have to be close to public transportation.
I’m willing to relocate, so even though I would be nervous about, and need to make alternate plans for my therapy and medications, I could move to outside of the tristate area.
I’m particularly drawn to Oregon and Seattle WA (I love rain!) I would also consider Aurora, CO.
I’m also willing to talk about a long-term plan sometime in the future, since it may be easier to plan for then rather than for now (for instance, I know I’m organizing, with an advisory board, Philadelphia’s 14th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival, at The Rotunda Sat-Sun Sept. 19-20, 2020. So it would be easier to remain in the area during that, but still have talks about a possible visit or relocation to the Pacific Northwest later on dooon the roood!)
If you live alone, you have the space and the interest to live with someone like, romantically, please message me here, or at cxmusic at gmail dot com and I’d be happy to answer your questions about what I’m like, what my diagnoses are (I’m nice to live with and I can provide references 🙂 My medications are to reduce my irritability, and to help calm my sometimes racing thoughts. They work well. I was already nice to live with even before my medications 🙂 It’s the depression and other symptoms that make it hard to keep a job. They don’t make it hard to be a nice person to live with 🙂

On Sept. 10, 2019 there was a blowup where I live. Over the next few days it calmed down, but that doesn’t mean it would be better for me to move along now, Sally.

If I had the means, I would have moved out by now. I haven’t been active in my fundraising due to my inability to my mental health symptoms (depression, low energy, mania, difficulty to focus), and also because I didn’t have a job and didn’t know how I would keep whatever living situation y’all would donate to help me into.

But when we ask for what we want, miracles happen. They happen because the Universe is vast and abundant. We never know how what we desire will show up.

I have written two blog posts before about how having the desire or putting out the call “Let me be a blessing” and praying for relief brought my current living situation, which again, is very happy for the most part. But it’s time for me to leave, for various reasons, including my health. (I am the only one here who is staying home except for when it’s absolutely necessary. If I don’t have to go to the pharmacy or get groceries, the latter of which I’m considering having delivered next time – oh wait, I can’t do that using my SNAP/EBT card  – never mind…) I don’t leave the house. But I’m still being exposed to COVID-19, and I really don’t want to be. Fortunately I am not elderly, and I don’t have a lot of underlying conditions, but I’m 51, heavyset, and have hypertension.

Have you been experiencing panic attacks about coronavirus? I’ve been having mild ones, and they feel as if I have shortness of breath (don’t worry, I’ve no other symptoms, although some people are asymptomatic). So already having that going on, and living in a place with poor air quality (cigarette smoke, scented candles and incense, all not my choice or doing), I just don’t want to take any chances with a disease that attacks the respiratory system.

I want out of here. Will you help me? 🙂

You can donate funds.
Or perhaps you either have a place that’s just sitting there, and I could house/apartment sit.
Or perhaps you live someplace and wouldn’t mind having me as a roommate whose share is tidying up.
Or perhaps you want to be a patron and help me find a place that I wouldn’t have to pay for until I can…
Or perhaps you are interested in seeing if we are compatible romantically and then we could keep house/apartment together?
(I’m bi and open to diverse kinds of people, over the age of 25.) I very much prefer a sober lifestyle, or social drinking only. I’m really into recovery (from abuse/addiction) so I’m a “safe” person to be around if you’re trying to stay clean. My “drug of choice” is food, so no worries about my bringing any drugs or alcohol into the house.

So many options, and all of them bring me joy to speak about!

I look forward to hearing from you, and I thank you for listening!

Here is the latest video I posted on YouTube last week: it’s my song “Letters From Heaven” from what I’m calling The Cassendre Xavier Physical Distancing Show! https://youtu.be/I3j3-4yem1Y

And to end on a high note, here is my song “Hope”, from my album of the same title: https://youtu.be/iJdnfbYt6hE

In art, spirit, and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse

Donation links:
GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/CXYear50
Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/CXInspiration or Send Money to cxmusic (at) gmail.com

Website:
http://cassEndrExavier.wordpress.com

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10 Tips for Managing Fear in Highly Challenging Times

“10 Tips for Managing Fear in Highly Challenging Time by Cassendre Xavier” http://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5234/

Contents:

With Coronavirus COVID-19, we are facing a global pandemic not seen for a very long time. We are worried about our very old, very sick, or very young loved ones, and we are living our usually active and social lives largely shut-in. We are even more touch deprived than ever before, and many of us are watching our funds dwindle before our  eyes.
How can we manage overwhelming fear during this very difficult time?

Here are some tips that have helped me, and also that I’ve seen help others around me:

1) Focus on the present. Whenever you are becoming upset, worrying about a loved one with underlying conditions, or who is advanced in age, switch the focus instead to the moment before you. Look to, at, and into, the now. The present. It’s really true that cliche that the present is a gift. In this case, focusing on the present can liberate you from the grasp of crippling fear. Fear leads you down a road of hopelessness, helplessness, even more worry and even more fear. Don’t engage! Turn to the pressent. In the present you will see all your blessings. You will see health within you and around you. You will see abundance everywhere. In the now you will see that for the most part, nothing you fear is actually happening, or very little of it. The present keeps you focused on what’s really happening in the moment. And for the most part, you’ll be able to see that you’re really worried about nothing. Focusing on the present keeps you from engaging in too many “what if’s” and it resets your emotional set point much closer to what you actually want to attract. The present keeps you more positive.

2) Count your blessings. There is so much to be thankful for. If you have a full fridge, a place to lay your head at night, people who love you, and hope for tomorrow, you’re rich by many standards that count. When you look around for things to be grateful for, you’ll lose count.

3) See if you can help someone. Helping someone doesn’t necessarily mean reaching out to an elderly neighbor, although that’s a wonderful thing to do. Helping someone could be just reaching out and saying hello, via text or email, via social media  – just to let them know you’re thinking about that. A little encouragement can go a long way.

4) Be creative. Now is a marvelous time to dust off the watercolor brushes and paints, or mandala coloring books, pull out those knitting or crotchet needles, sing into the tape recorder, whatever you’ve wanted to do – now is the time. And with things like Skype and Zoom video chat and conferencing, you can do it with friends, too!

5) Build or engage with community. Social media is a beautiful place to be right now. I used to not pay too much attention to Facebook except to promote my events, fundraisers, or creative projects. But now the people connecting to do beautiful things is too gorgeous to ignore! People are talking about how they are getting through this time, and sharing stories and articles of inspiring other people doing even more wonderful things. It’s amazing! I suppose in any period of great difficulty, people have come together to help one another out, and to do beautiful things. Now is a time to find out about this, and get in on the action! Share your story or commend someone on theirs!

6) Keep building hope. Whatever you’re going through, someone else is going through that, or worse. As you build hope for yourself, and you share what works for you, you encourage others on their path also. Another reason to never lose hope is to help someone else. Hold on just a little bit longer, and then tell us how you did that – what thoughts you had, what helped you get through. This is the gold – this is what sustains us – sharing as we say in the recovery movement, our “experience, strength and hope.” It works!

7) Practice radical acceptance. There is no way to completely turn around what has happened. There is no way to avoid what is now happening. Or rather we could, but all of those methods would be unhealthy and impermanent anyway. The only way to get through something like this is with strength and grace. And what helps us get through that is by accepting what is. It is what it is. This all is happening. It is real. People are dying. But we who are alive can do something – we can stay positive and help one another. We can apply love to every challenge and survive to live another day. We can do it!

8) Practice self-love and self-care. During this time of social distancing it’s more important now than ever to take care of ourselves. Give yourself special and extra attention. Be kind to yourself. Even if you’re depressed, take extra care to bathe and groom yourself – this is essential for staying healthy, especially now. Give yourself hugs and take care of your physical needs for touch, however you wish, and without guilt. Be your own best friend and lover during this time – even if you’re partnered. Be good to yourself, even more now because you may be called upon, or inspired, to help your neighbor, a friend, or a family member. You will need all your reserves to get through this difficult time. We need you!

9) Love one another. We are called upon one another during times like this to be a resource of assistance for many people. We may choose to participate  or not, but we are needed. There are many ways to help. Almost every professional I have spoken with on the phone today has been extra kind to me. I can hear the care in their voice. I believe that care is real – it isn’t just customer service they’ve been trained to provide. This feels different. We are being kinder to one another, and it’s a beautiful thing.
There are always opportunities to be more loving or to add love to a situation. Look out for them and start practicing little ways to show love, every day, and all around you. Love will help heal this situation and make it end more quickly.

10) Lighten up and have fun! Laughter heals so much, we’re aware of this now. I personally think that when I smile or laugh I am tricking my body into thinking that everything is going well. Of course, I realize that spiritually, all *is* actually well!
During this time of worry, it’s more important now than ever to get our laughs in. Don’t worry, laughing isn’t disrespecting the memory of those who have passed. It honors them because they wouldn’t want us to be somber all the time. We are raising our vibration, and staying healthy. We are attracting more miracles – we are healing our bodies and strengthening ourselves to live through another night and face another day. We are building courage and hope!
When you can, watch funny things on TV or YouTube – whatever makes you laugh, be it comedies or stand-up, or cartoons. Maybe your the type of person who enjoys watching people trip and fall or do stupid things. No judgment here – watch it an laugh! Even better if you get one or more people involved in the laughter with you. Laughing will add a powerful healing element to all of your work. And, again, it’s super great for your health, and don’t we want to improve our health and boost our immune system especially now? Heavens yes!

Thank you for reading, and may you stay healthy and safe during this challenge. We will get through this!

Cassendre Xavier has been writing on various topics for Wisdom Magazine since 2009. She is a multi-media healing artist, whose work and calendar you can visit at https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com

 

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Diary of a renaissance negress – February 16,2020

diary of a renaissance negresse

Sunday, February 16, 2020

WHO IS THE RENAISSANCE *NEGRESSE?

 Haitian/Chinese-American multi-media healing artist Cassendre Xavier coined the term *”renaissance negresse” in 2002. A musician, writer, actress, and visual artist, Xavier (who sometimes works under the names Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls, and is also an ordained interfaith minister) says the term describes a black woman who is skilled or gifted in 3 or more arts. Xavier is a recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award for her work as a community cultural arts advocate, having founded and directed several Philadelphia arts initiatives including the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002) and the Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003), as well as several peer support groups related to personal growth, creativity, healing, and recovery. She is originally from Brooklyn, NY and has been living creatively and joyfully in Philadelphia since 1990. [*”Negresse, Negre: In the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean Islands, these words often have a connotation of affection, entirely non-racial in meaning. `Ma petite negresse, mon negre, are equivalent to `My dear, my darling, my sweet.’” [From Masters of the Dew, a contemporary classic novel by the Haitian author Jacques Roumain, translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook.]

If not now, when, right? 🙂
I have been wanting to write for months, but haven’t. No excuses.
Actually, I have written. I have written emails, poems, and essays. I’ve shared my writings with friends and on Wisdom Magazine online.
What I haven’t done is written on social media much, nor to my email list, except in the few occasions of gigpluggery (aka “gigpluggation”).

Before I begin, I wish to do a series of shout-outs, if I may. *If* that would be permissible to thyselves? 🙂

* Rupert Wates, musician, for being a musical mentor and longtime psychic friend. Brother Aquarian who shares my birthday – or do I share his? 🙂 https://www.rupertwatesmusic.com
* Stacey Lorin Merkl-Wates, for being such a loving and supportive longtime friend across the miles, the ethers, and on the inner planes. I love you! https://realizeyourbeauty.org/home
* Alex Kudera, novelist and warm supportive dear friend of many years. https://kudera.blogspot.com/
* Stephen M. Wilson, whose “a cross between Tracy Chapman, Sade  & Enya” carried me many years and now inspires me to work to attract an updated similar description of my music 🙂
* My family of origin: mother, sister, brother (and his family), and my precious nieces and nephew.
* Extended family of origin: cousins, aunts and uncles whom I don’t see nor chat with often, but who remain in mine heartal reggiones nonetheless. I love you all!
* My former collaborators, Spirit McIntyre https://spiritmcintyre.bandcamp.com/ and Amor La Luna https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100022061701130&ref=content_filter . Thank you for working with me – I enjoyed much of our times together and I always wish you well on your current projects!
* Venue directors: Theresa Shockley (Community Education Center/CEC https://www.cecarts.org/, where I produced my 5-castmember play “Sex for Survivors” for the 2003 Philly Fringe Festival), Gina Renzi, executive director of The Rotunda http://www.TheRotunda.org, which has been home to the Black Women’s Arts Festival since its inception in 2003, as well as other CX events including the release concert of my 2005 CD “Beautiful”. Also,  beautiful aRtivist Larry Robin, of Robin’s Bookstore and Moonstone Arts Center https://moonstoneartscenter.org/, both of which have been venues for my projects The Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002), and the Black Women’s Arts Festival. Moonstone has also been a fiscal sponsor for BWAF. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed Moonstone’s Poetry at the Pub series, which happens at Fergie’s Pub. I featured my poetry on September 4th, and I look forward to returning in March for the group reading of poets featured in Moonstone’s 2019 anthology. Looking forward to it, and more updates on my literary efforts soon!

I’m sure I’ve produced events at other venues, and I apologize if I’ve not listed you here. The ones I’ve listed are the ones I’ve had the longest-lasting relationships with.
To an artist and event producer, a venue and the managment behind it, functions as something of a fairy godmother and invaluable sponsor/dream-maker. This kind of relationship can be incredibly enriching, and I appreciate  you all!

Also a big huge thank you to my m/patrons, whom I will mention again at the end of this message. Thank you!!

BIRTHDAY  AND GOFUNDME UPDATE
Last week I turned 51, and had an absolutely wonderful few days in celebration of that. Some of it I will share publicly, and some I will reserve for my more private audience, if you will. (As it were!) More about the public vs. private audience later in this message.
My GoFundMe campgain “My Fiftieth Year” http://www.gofundme/CXYear50 (I’m guessing at that address, by the way!) will continue throughout my 51st year as well, and I’ll be posting another update about that one of these days soon 🙂

GAG ORDER UPDATE
As some of you may know, on September 10th, 2019 there was a blow up where I live, and until I move out it is not safe for me to write about or otherwise share in a public way certain aspects of my life. I live with 2 people, 1 of whom wants me there (forturnately the one who makes that decision), and 1 does not.
As an erotic artist, and one who is a late bloomer quite eager to be fully self-expressed in this way, it is difficult, very difficult, to remain silent completely. So I’ve been looking at ways I can still express myself, while respecting the privacy of my entire household.

I have temporarily deactivated my presence on several sites, including my blogs, but I recently decided to still write for them. (Keeping my expressions bottled up was really starting to feel horrible.) Today I have sent two poems and one essay to three of my blogs, and later tonight I will send them to one of my temporarily deactivated sites. This means that when I do activate them again, all my writings from now one will appear. This makes me feel wonderful!
Same with my blogs – when I activate them again, the writings I am sending to them now will be there. It feels soooo good to know there will be a record of my real life actual existence!

Further, I will gladly privately email readers who wish to receive my writings on:

Polyamory
Sexuality/Erotica

Just send me an email to cxwriting at gmail dot com (I wrote it out this way to avoid/reduce spam)

Email only, please. I am not interested in using Facebook Messenger, and again, I am not active on any other sites at this time.

Because of what happened on, and in the 9 months prior to September 10th, you must be open about who you are. No anonymous email addresses, please. I have to be super private about this, and I have to know who you are. If you’re shy, keep in mind, I’m the one writing the smut! 🙂

One of my favorite things about my sweetie, is that he reminds me of something I have lived my erotic artistic life by, the Gnostic Gospel credited to Christ, “If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will destroy you.”

I believe that which is within me will come out one way or the other, and I want it to be public. Not all of it – a certain amount must be for a particular audience that is into it. But the vast majority of what I write about sex and sexuality can be suitable for the general public, I believe.

The other day I was listening to my music online, and I thought to myself, that there is no way that someone who can creates music like that, if she would also write about her sex life, that she could not make a decent income. It just doesn’t make any sense 🙂

So I’m here willing and ready to start making some sense of my financial life, recognizing the direct corrolation between energetic output (or lack thereof) and monetary income.

It’s not a straight line to the answer  – the road is certainly curvy. But the answer is there, somewhere. I believe it will present itself as I present myself.

MENTAL HEALTH & DISABILITY UPDATE

It’s so funny that I go from what I want to do, what I believe I can do, to my mental health update!
Over the years, I happen upon musical acquaintances of mine in town. They are busking, usually, and sometimes they sound wonderful. Or they are not busking.
Many times, I think to myself: These folks are very talented, and they sound marvelous. Why haven’t they made it yet? And I’m not talking about musicians who have gigs and day jobs and just happen to want to busk from time to time. I’m talking about musicians who are not gainfully employed (I’m guessing/assuming), and 15 years later, I don’t see much progress in their financial lives. My guess is always this: mental health issues.
Sure, some of us weren’t reared to know how to make a living as musicians. We weren’t taught that at home, nor in school, most of us. It would make sense that we wouldn’t be navigating that part well in our lives.
But I think that more often there are behavioral issues at play. I think one of the biggest parts of success and financial stability is the ability to make and keep relationships. And not just with anyone, but with those who would help make a significant impact in our financial lives, not just others who are like us – talented, but also struggling and perhaps dealing with similar mental health issues.
I can’t say that I see specific symptoms in my peers who are still struggling financially. I can only guess because I know that’s my own story. We can present very well, as intelligent, articulate, and yes, talented individuals  – great. But where’s the money? Where’s the stability? Where’s the record deal? Where’s the solo-indie record deal? Where’s the relocation to another city where we can be new and fresh and actually make some money? Where’s the significant day job that could pay for all of this? Where’s the team?
  That’s one of the biggest things about being successful, in any artistic field: having a team of some sort.

Here’s my story as one of those musicians who’s been at it a long time and still hasn’t “made” it financially.

Two words: Bipolar, and PTSD.

Both of those things impact relationships and all sorts of other things that make it difficult to achieve long-term financial stabilitational qualities 🙂

And guess what – last year I received a new diagnosis. I have been very shy to share it publicly because of the stigma, and I only just shared it publicly last weekend when I presented at the 15th Annual Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia. My workshop was “Mental Health Issues & Maintaining Poly Relationships.”

I don’t think I’m ready to write about my new diagnosis now. Maybe I’ll make it a teaser 🙂
Maybe I want to give it the proper attention that it needs. (The longer I live with mental “difference,” the more honor and special attention I want to give to it. It’s a serious thing. I don’t want to just brush it across the page.)

But I will share that I was talking to my psychiatrist last Thursday and I said,
“I don’t feel much of an understanding of [my new diagnosis] as I did  of bipolar disorder.”
She asked, “Well, is there a difference? What would be the difference between your understanding yourself as having [the new diagnosis], or just having an understanding of yourself?”
I said, “Well, maybe because I had it for such a long time, I have a lot of understanding of bipolar disorder. And having all these resources to learn about and identify with it, really  helped me understand myself in relation to it.”
She nodded in understanding, and said, “Oh, okay.” And I continued, “I’m sure that as I learn more and more about [my new diagnosis], I will probably feel that way too at some point.

Dr. asked, “Is there anything you would like to know about [your new diagnosis]?”

I said yes, and I don’t remember what exactly I said, but she answered, “There are features of bipolar and severe mood swings in [your new diagnosis], but why you have this one now is because of your inability to have worked for so many years. That’s what differentiates the two.”

So, there ya have it. I wish I could’ve had her write that in a psychiatric evaluation, since I am now in the process of appealing my second rejection of my application to receive social security insurance (SSI).

Two days ago I began taking a second, additional mental health medication – so now I’ll be on two, and I’ve never been on two mental meds before. I feel good about it – I think it will help – I’m expecting it to help. I can’t believe it’s so expensive – $329 cash for a monthly supply. Super grateful for my Medicaid, which covered 100% of it. I have heard nightmare stories of people who don’t have health insurance and pay cash out of pocket – and I’ve made a note of Good RX, which apparently is very helpful in findind reduced rates for medications.

In the meantime, I thank my lucky stars (?) that I’m indigent 🙂

I have to say that one of the worries I have as I envision becoming an earner is losing these perks of being broke.  I just have to trust the Universe that all will be well. It must be!

I’ll be writing again about my mental health situation, and updates, if I have any, of my application for SSI.

SAYING GOOD NIGHT NOW
I’m a little tired. I’ve done a lot of writing today, and I’ve been active outside of that – well active for me these days anyway 🙂
This morning, I got up, leaving nesting partner in bed, and cooked some food not only for today, but to take with me on a week long trip I’m leaving for tomorrow. Wish I could tell you all about here, but alas, *someone* could be watching, and I want to have a home to return to when I get back! If you’d like to be on my Amrita Waterfalls/Endowed Goddess  email list, let me know – cxwriting at gmail dot com (you can also message me on Facebook Messenger, but I will not send you writings there – just send me your email address if that’s easiest!)

I did quite a bit of cooking today, actually. And also writing. Oh, and I folded clothes 🙂

I wrote this blog post, “Diary of a renaissance negresse: February 16, 2020”
I wrote a poem, “Black BBW Body Love – Mine”
And I wrote an essay – “Poly Love Blues & Bliss: Black BBW Envy”

(To receive the poem and/or essay please email me at cxwriting at gmail dot com)

TO MY M/PATRONS
Right now I’m listening to my albums on YouTube (search “cassEndrE xavier”). My channel is http://tinyurl.com/CXYouTube or http://youtube.com/cassEndrExavier

A little over a week ago I received an email from CD Baby, letting me know I’d received income from many sources – only sold 1 CD (live at the kraftbrau, kalamazoo!), but sold lots and lots of musical downloads. Well, not so much that it was more than $10 total 🙂 But enough to know that when I’m performing out more and making more albums, those of you who are buying there, will buy more there, and my income will be higher, and this is good and I thank you so much!
The reason I mention YouTube is that for the first time in the 18 years I’ve been selling my music online (first CD was posted on CD Baby in 2002), and  for the first time in the 12 years I’ve been on YouTube (joined in 2008), my music has not only been heard there, but sold there. Thank you so much!
I’m also on Spotify:  https://www.tinyurl.com/CXSpotify
iTunes: https://www.tinyurl.com/CXiTunes
Amazon: https://www.tinyurl.com/CXAmazon
Napster, and other places.

For those old school West Philadelphian’s among ye, my CDs and chapbooks of poetry and personal growth/mental health writings are sold at:
Bindlestiff Books
4530 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
http://bindlestiffbooks.wordpress.com

The best time to visit or call are Saturdays and Sundays early afternoon (between 1pm and 4pm.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!

Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier

“renaissance negresse”

$15,000 Leeway Transformation Award-Winning musician, writer, actress, visual artist, and community cultural arts organizer.

Founder & Executive Director of the Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003) and the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002).

Official website: http://cassEndrExavier.wordpress.com

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Mental Health Workshop at Poly Living Philadelphia Feb. 8, 2020

Hi, folks! Just a reminder that I’ll be presenting my workshop “Mental Health Issues & Maintaining Poly Relationships” at the 15th Annual Poly Living Conference, in Philadelphia this coming Saturday, Feb 8, at 10:45am. Day passes are available, and you can also just walk in! Please enjoy my related Wisdom Magazine article “Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Mental Health Issues”, which uploaded today, as my articles there appear on the first of every month! http://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5201/

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