Birds Of A Feather, Words Of Prey

by Starflower

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about

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December 3rd, 2016

To all the paths that have crossed with mine,
I’m sorry I’ve been all out of sorts this past year. To lay it down and lay it down heavy, exactly one year ago I was briefly involved in a romantic relationship with a diagnosed, but unmedicated bipolar woman who was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive towards me, which has severely affected my ability to live my life as a fully functioning person. At the end of our relationship, we were on our way to move to California when she demanded I take her home in an act that subsequently involved her taking my keys and running into a hotel, calling the cops, and telling them I had drugs in the car with me, but the drugs I had were hers I had hidden after she clearly was not in a stable state-of-mind to grace any sort of altered reality. At the time, I was so terrified that she was going to attempt to kill herself again that I took the fall. I spent the night in jail and the experience of clearing my name in court left me broke and feeling like a failure to my family whom I still owe thousands of dollars to from the ordeal.

Then, steadily, things began improving. I returned to Portland with the full intention of making it my home, subsequently finding a job and a sense of community, and slowly rewiring my brain after everything felt like it had been ripped out. I even went to such lengths as to start going by the name, Bee rather than my birth name, Brian because I no longer felt like I was the same person I had been before all of this occurred. Over time, I finally began to feel like I was strong enough to stand up again and by now, I certainly was. About fives weeks ago, all that changed when my ex came into my work for a 90 minute yoga class. It was terrifying, but I worked up the courage after the class let out to ask her to talk and afterwards, I was able to walk away feeling like I had received the closure I had so badly needed.

Later that day, however, she returned to my workplace in a bizarre fashion asking if I had received a text message she sent thirty minutes earlier and the next day I found an email from her asking the same. A month later, she called me and told me she had looked at all of my Instagram pictures and came in again for yoga after I had repeatedly asked for her to stay away and maintain absolutely no contact. I went to get a restraining or stalker protection order, but soon realized no legal document would protect me from her coming in anyway and following through with whatever harmful intentions she may have. I wrote her a final message stating that any further contact would result in legal action but that she could reply once to say her piece and inform me that she had received it. In her response, she threatened me multiple times and said she would continue coming in whenever she wanted - even though to my knowledge, she had never been there in the six months I’d been employed. As a result, two days ago I penned a letter to my bosses and explained exactly why that environment is no longer safe for me to exist in and they both understood and supported my decision to leave.

It's an odd place to be, everything is still so fresh, but essentially I'm now unemployed in addition to having already been homeless for the past month, crashing with whatever friends will grant me an evening's worth of asylum. Then, just when I thought the worst was over, last night my car was towed causing me to have to spend everything I had left to get it back, fully aware of the soul testing taking place in my small corner of the universe. I’ve been very blessed in this time and have truly appreciated all the love I’ve received from countless friends reaching out. It’s certainly a time of transition and just reminds me that I’ve made it through living in four different homes in the past year, kept my chin up when I was living for years abroad on the road, and this isn’t my first time being homeless, but it’s all part of the experience in the life I’m passing through; one that always seems to flow in waves of presence and absence and I know very well now the necessity for the existence of each. I have no doubt that things will be better for I've managed to maintain my optimism always, forever continuing to echo the ancient expression that “this too shall pass”.

In light of all this, I came to the conclusion that this is the time I finally needed to come out about my story and release an album I had never intended for anyone to hear. To backtrack for a moment, immediately following the split eleven months ago, I was in a terribly strange place and wandering aimlessly through Central California under the assumption that I had to return to the small town I was arrested in to face trial for what happened, when I ended up couchsurfing with a Native American shaman on her farm where I primarily wrote and entirely recorded this piece as my only means I knew to process the experience I had so intensely experienced. I recorded it alone both inside and outside of her beautiful, yet simple home, borrowing her carefully crafted handmade drums and allowing the atmosphere to leave its desired imprint on the sound; working diligently yet almost automatically as the album somehow seemed to finish itself over the course of a few days. With the catharsis complete, I filed the project away in the vault of my brain and didn’t return to it until the moment seemed right to do so; a time and a place for everything and that time and place is here and now.

I am not sharing this because I am trying to garner some sort of sympathetic response from the community or gain anything from putting myself out in the open in a vulnerable and potentially shameful context. If anything, this is just a necessary step in my personal healing process after having gained a substantial amount of clarity from what I have experienced. I understand very well that abuse works in cycles and that we humans are not innately abusive. That is, this circumstance happened as a result of deeply loving someone who had also experienced very real abuse and I do not in any way mean for what happened to me to overshadow her experience or anyone else’s. The truth is, we are all hurting, we are all in this same boat together, and together we must stand up to say “the cycle of abuse ends with me.”

As cliché as it may seem, I wish if nothing else for people to know they’re not alone in their experience and for males especially to know that being victims to such traumatic circumstances are actually shockingly high (ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics). Sometimes too, we don’t even realize we’ve been a victim of abuse until we realize how that abuse is defined (www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse) and until we recognize these experiences for what they are, can we really go through all the stages of the healing process (www.fortrefuge.com/stages-of-healing.php). We live in heavy times, but we will get through them together, just as we always have before.

Sending you all
All the love and positivity.
Thanks for listening
To little ole Bee.

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credits

released December 12, 2016

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All instruments, vocals, and mixing done January 2016 in Paso Robles, California by Bee Smith. Mastered by Drew Endres in Milwaukie, Oregon and cover art and design by Juniper Olivieri and Bee Smith in Portland, Oregon in December 2016. Special thanks to Serena Garcia, Cvra Lvdorvm Records, and all other Starflower friends and family!

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Track Name: Prodigal Daughter Meets Wayward Son
I woke up singin'
Just to make it through
From a grocery store bathroom
Where at least I can afford the blues
Yeah, I woke up singin'
It was all I could do
Still dyin' for livin' when I thought I was dyin' for you
I'm dazed to distortion
Distorted from truth
I guess it's hard to see the big picture
When you're just passing through
And I've devalued my sanity
And lost my sense of command
When all I wanted was a good sleep and to feel loved by my best friend

And I'm not afraid of anything anymore
For there's nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to somebody
And I'm not afraid of love
And love shouldn't be afraid of me

Now I'm left with the memories
I'm not sure you retain
And you can block the past out all you want
But I'll still feel the same
But it's not the time yet
And it may never be
We're living life in the fast lane
Just trying to find our way back to the sea

And I'm not afraid of anything anymore
For there's nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to somebody
And I'm not afraid of love
And love shouldn't be afraid of me

And I want what's best even if it means I'm left alone
But I'd do anything for you just to never have to feel so low
And we've been through hell together and now heaven has opened it's gate
And even if we can't get in, you know we can still go to L.A.

So I slept in the parking lot
Of the hotel you stayed
Hours past before you invited me in
Only to kick me out again
You were screamin' your head off
Until they called the police
Thinking these are only the situations we find ourselves in when we don't have a plan B

And I'm not afraid of anything anymore
For there's nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to somebody
And I'm not afraid of love
And love shouldn't be afraid of me

You demanded I take you home
800 miles one way
Before you made me stop at the edge of California
To call the cops and take me away (yeah it's true)
"Drugs in the car" you said
And It was probable cause
And I was crying on the phone with your parents when they came over and began to knock

And I'm not afraid of anything anymore
For there's nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to somebody
And I'm not afraid of love
And love shouldn't be afraid of me

So I woke up in prison
But it made me strong
And I kept on singin' because it was the only way to carry on
Still I offered to help you
But you were too far gone
Turns out the hardest part of life is letting go of those that you love

And I'm not afraid of anything anymore
For there's nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to somebody
And I'm not afraid of love
And love shouldn't be afraid of me
Track Name: Prison Blues
Oh you can't hold my soul inside of walls
oh no no
Yeah you can't hold my soul inside of walls
Yeah, that's right
Dog knows it
Yeah you can't hold my soul inside of walls
Track Name: Remembering Not To Be Afraid Of Love
I came around seeking some affection
And I was kindly obliged to get on out of here
I politely agreed, but knew not in which direction
I was in the driver's seat without knowing how to steer
I saw a help wanted sign, but they didn't want mine
I heard beggars can't be choosers, but they weren't beggin' for me
And now life's passing me by as I try as I might
Oh what efforts are required before you question what you believe

And with love I know it would all be better
With love I know it would all be better
Oh with love I know it would all be better
Oh it'd all be better with love, I know

So these days I find I can't go on without you
Oh I tried in my way, but my attempts only lead me back to where I began
So all I have now is the false hope that you'd still have me
Oh is this the kind of hell that fate would have in mind?
And now I'm losing myself in the cards I've been dealt
And I'm pleadin' for mercy when I don't deserve a thing
And now that all's been said and done, I have nowhere left to run
Just only these last few words I'd like to repeat now

And with love I know it would all be better
With love I know it would all be better
Oh with love I know it would all be better
Oh it'd all be better with love, I know

And with love I know it would all be better
With love I know it would all be better
Oh with love I know it would all be better
Oh it'd all be better with love, I know
Track Name: Phoenix On My Mind
Alright,
We got the moon shining here across the orchard
Got a red tail hawk right above me in this tree
Things are getting beautiful now

Oh Phoenix, you know you're on my mind
Yeah Phoenix, you know you're on my mind
Oh I'd try to get you off, but it'd just be a waste of time
Oh Phoenix, you know you're on my mind

And there's no way you can't be on time
Just follow your heart and you will arrive
The dark circles lifted from your eyes
Salvation awaiting you in this life

Feel that? That's optimism!
Things will be better
Just wanna put it all behind us, you know?
Positivity, it's a beautiful thing

Oh Beate, you know you're beautiful (you should, it's true)
Remember your greatness and the world will know
Oh and I'd love to meet you when you're ready to glow
Oh Beate, you know you're beautiful

Oh and I'm still hopeful though I don't know why
I guess some part of me is just not ready to die (and it's a pretty big part)
And I'll continue to grow until I overflow
Just following my heart until I arrive
(and you should too, I know you're stubborn, but you should too)
Just follow your heart until you arrive

Nothing but love, nothing but love
I don't know what the judge is going to say, but I still have peace in my heart
That's all that matters - they can't take that away from me
Track Name: Love Mantra
Still I have nothing but love for you
(repeat)