the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Today on my facebook

Bee ButlerComment

Here at TCBS, I try to post everything I write, but limit myself to the longer diatribes, because I hate it when bloggers only give you snippets. With that in mind, I'm starting a new segment called, "Today On My Facebook", where I'll give you my shorter rants in a buffet-style click list.

I have been particularly salty since the election, so hold on to your butts and precious sensibilities.
(Links to all stories can be found by clicking on the photo)

On Trump's flip-flopping:

On my past life according to clickbait:

On standing with Standing Rock:

On policing black people's actions because you think their lives don't matter: 

On my utilization of Tumblr:

On the bullshit attempts to rebrand the Third Reich, which I will not stand for:

On the history of your beloved deities: 

On something you should really be binge-watching:

On giving advice (to my younger self):

On my hero:

On my favorite SNL character's take on the election (and someone you should be following):

On not throwing away your shot (at taking Mike Pence to task for his irresponsible politics):

On having zero excuses:

On my life right now:

And finally, on something you should take advantage of:

Ordinarily, this fun little mish-mash/grab bag/amuse bouche will occur on Fridays and will encompass my favorite little diatribes of the week, but it's officially the weekend for most people thanks to the celebration of selfish, smallpox-sharing pilgrims, so here's to you and yours; may your family bicker more over the Cowboys game than the current political climate.

 

Happy holidays (because All Holidays Matter, HA!),

On getting it together... or not.

Bee ButlerComment

I have this passion for music, a show coming up in a little over a month, a setlist eight songs long... and I cannot bring myself to rehearse.

I found a church, one that seems to fit what I believe and one that has reached out to me when I emailed and asked a question... and I still have not gone.

I have a business, one that includes a decent amount of money to be made and I have some clients already lined up and one I'm currently fully working for... and I just don't feel like promoting it anymore.

I cannot get it together.

I keep looking at Facebook, and there is nothing in my newsfeed but anger, Trump, explosion of the electoral college, more anger, personal attacks, hate crimes, Hillary, Bernie, and a lot of inaccurate articles that a simple Google search could disprove, but people would rather bash the shit out of each other than do a moment's research to prove their point.

 

I can't do this. I feel like I'm looking at life from behind glass. Like I'm stuck. Like my meds aren't working... but this has nothing to do with meds. It has everything to do with the future.

 

President-elect Donald Trump said he wouldn't overturn Obamacare, and promised that people like me, who are plagued by the label "has pre-existing conditions", who would be rejected immediately by any insurance company if given the chance, will be covered. Forever. That there would be no gap in our coverage. That we would not lose our safety net, the promise of coverage regardless of our status and health, and that we would be okay.

I need that to be true.

If not, I will be unable to get treatment for the heart condition I was just diagnosed with (vasovagal syncope and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), depression, PTSD (which was triggered recently and is partially the CAUSE of my VS and POTS), anxiety, and GI issues (which are caused by my anxiety). My circle of diseases. They perpetuate each other and the cycle can't be broken by medication, and is only very slightly lessened by therapy. 

When unmedicated, my heart rate has reached a resting rate of 180 beats per minute. I have been suicidal. I have nearly starved to death and I have purged so much that my potassium levels reached 1.7, which generally tends to trigger a heart attack.

Unmedicated, I will die, and there's a chance it would be by my own hand.

Do you have ANY idea how scary that is?
That I might die, that it would be my own fault, that I would destroy the lives of my family and friends and be remembered as selfish, when in reality, I could not help it?

That I might end up on the streets, like so many other mentally ill people who cannot afford treatment? 

That I would become what I fear most, an unhinged insane person, and that in my insanity, I would take my own life to escape the pain of reliving trauma I can talk about now without losing it, but would most likely destroy myself because of were I not medicated?

 

 

I am terrified. 
I am paralyzed.
I cannot do anything, cannot prep for my show, cannot drag myself to church, cannot build my business, cannot keep it together.

I got into an incredible college, and my first class their starts on Monday. 
I do not have the luxury of failing that class. I have to get an A, or I won't be able to continue at the school. Depression kind of wrecked my grade point average, and this first class is a "test" to make sure I belong.

 

I am so, so scared.
And I know that YOU are scared. I know that you either voted for Trump (because you felt unheard, wanted change, despise the wreckage of bullshit that plagues Washington, lost your job, hated Hillary, etc.) or voted for Hillary (and watched her lose despite assurance from everyone and everything that she had a slam dunk on the election, and now you are in danger as a woman, as a Muslim, as a POC, as a member of the LGBT community, as someone like me) or voted third party (and are angry about being blamed for the election results, were angry that you only had two shitty choices and refused to go with the flow on principle, had to vote for someone you believed in knowing they would not win, and were fucked no matter who won).

 

All of us are angry. Some of us are scared. Some people had their fear alleviated because their candidate won, and they believe he will do for them exactly what he promised, and they are furious with the people who are protesting and refusing to accept the results. Some people are rioting because they are furious with the electoral college, their friends, their neighbors, the uprising from someone they know is unqualified, someone who has threatened them, talked down on them, triggered memories of their trauma (hearing your President talk about grabbing someone by the pussy when you've been raped is FUCKING TRAUMATIZING, and you don't get to discount that by calling it locker room talk. Period. Full fucking stop).

This is where I'm coming from. I understand now, maybe a little, why people voted for Trump. I know why I voted for Hillary. I know why people wrote in Jesus, I know why people voted for Johnson and Stein. I know why so many were outraged that Bernie wasn't on the ballot.

I see all of you. I hear all of you.
I'm asking you to hear me.

 

Stop shitting on your neighbor. Stop calling them an idiot. Stop burning shit and looting. Stop threatening to murder/run over protestors. Stop. STOP.

I don't know what is going to happen in January. I don't know what the next four years hold.
All I know is that if I hold on to this fear and this anger, I will never, ever get anything done. I won't be able to function. I will run myself into the ground.

Today, just for a few minutes, imagine yourself in your "opponent's" shoes. Imagine why they feel the way they feel. Imagine, for a second, how terrifying it must be to lose your job and be told to blame a group of people, and out of your fear and anger, to blame them. Imagine how good it would feel to hear that that group of people would be sent back to where they came from. Imagine fear of terrorism, and buying into the line that one group of people were causing it, and if we made them leave, we'd be safe. Imagine being told that we would make them leave. Imagine how good that would feel. On the other side: Imagine hearing your people blamed for all the corruption in a country you call home. Imagine being told you will be deported for no reason, other than your heritage. Imagine being told that because you worship your god, you are an evil terrorist and should be murdered with bullets dipped in blood, deported back to a country you've never even lived in, be shot in the streets, and to have horrible things done to you and said about you by your neighbors. Imagine how fucking scary that is. Imagine hearing that the worst thing that ever happened to you is just "locker room talk". Imagine someone getting away with that worst thing that ever happened to you and becoming the leader of your country. Imagine having to respect and listen to that person when they are a constant reminder of the worst moment in your life. Imagine everything you stand for being shit on. Imagine how the other side feels.

 

We are a nation divided. I honestly don't know how we can come back together. I do know that a good place to start would be to walk a few steps in the shoes of the other side. I spent last night and this morning trying to do just that, and this post it what I came up with.

 

I love you. No matter who you voted for. No matter why you voted how you did. No matter which side you stand on, and no matter how angry or fearful or both that you are. I love you, and I want to understand you.

I want you to understand me.

Take a moment.
Try.

It's our only hope.
Because there is still hope left.

On What We Have Become.

Bee ButlerComment

I can't go to sleep so I need to say this.

To my LGBTQIA friends: I am so, so sorry. We failed you tonight. The privilege afforded to us by our sexuality may well cost you everything. Please know that while I am just an ally, and I don't know what to do, I will go places with you. I will stand up for you and demand that you be treated with respect. I will boycott businesses who refuse to serve you, and I will do anything else within my power that you ask of me.

To my black friends... I am so, so sorry. I am angry. I am scared. I have spent a lifetime shielded by my race, and while tonight scares me, I have no idea what you are going through. I will go with you to places where you do not feel safe. I will boycott those who persecute you. I will rally, I will fight, and I will never see or treat you as anything but an equal. Please know that I am more than willing to do whatever is needed of me; since I am still learning, I might make mistakes, but I ask you to correct me, and if you need something, please, just ask.

To my Muslim friends... I am sorry in a way I cannot express in words. To think that a country founded on religious freedom now wants to deport you based on that very notion shakes me to my core. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS. In every way that I can, I will fight this. I will boycott, I will march, I will rally. I will go with you when you do not feel safe. I respect you and your religion, and it is not for this country to say whom you can or cannot worship. I know you aren't a terrorist. I love you. Please, let me know what I can do.

To my Christian friends: reflect on your vote today and to whom you gave power. Also remember the words of our sweet Savior, who called us to act in love and to give and serve those who are suffering. I believe that some of us have directly caused that suffering, and it is time that we of the church address and rectify our failings.

To my democratic and independent friends: we got complacent. We were lazy. We protested with our votes and all hold some responsibility for the fear and pain and suffering that our brothers and sisters are feeling. There is so much healing that needs to occur. Let it begin with you. I will begin it with me.

To anyone with information on safe spaces, hotlines, free therapy, and discrimination lawyers, PLEASE contact me so that I can share that information.

Please, do not end your life tonight. I know that fear has crippled us as a nation and brought us to this point, but you deserve to live, and if you cannot find the strength to fight, I will do it for you with everything I have. I love you. I am so, so sorry.

Feel free to bombard my comments section with your words; your fears, your thoughts, your anger, and your needs. You can email me, too. Let it out, and I will listen. I promise.

Ashley motha-fuckin' Kay.

Bee ButlerComment

Best friends are weird things to define. You can't exactly nail down all the qualities of your favorite person with a label that unassuming.

 

A best friend is a therapist who will tell you when you are being a huge jackass and will make you apologize and fix whatever you did.

 

A best friend is a person you can text after a fight with your significant other and ramble angrily about what a dickhead/loser/buttface he or she is, but at the end, a best friend will remind you that 1) you love that person and 2) you maaaaybe were at fault a little.

 

A best friend is somebody who visits you in the hospital and smuggles you diet coke, then sits and gossips with you for over an hour when she could be home relaxing after a stressful workday. She will also write her name on your patient board as an emergency contact without being asked.

 

A best friend is someone who will tell you when to suck it the fuck up and go to work and keep your head down like a grown up, but who will also acknowledge, later down the line, that maybe it's time for you to leave a job that is crushing your soul. And in both instances, she'll do it without making you feel stupid for being at that job in the first place.

 

A best friend will ask you to come over in your pajamas without a bra on, and she will make the most bomb wonton soup you have ever put in your mouth. And then she'll let you have seconds and some cheesesticks, because she is such a giving person.

 

A best friend is someone who will look up R.M. Drake quotes and painstakingly letter them onto stock paper in beautiful colors so that you can fill your living space with beautifully-worded reminders that you are a valuable human being, especially when there are people and things in your life that keep reminding you of your faults.

 

A best friend will let you vent, let you cry, let you bitch, and let you fall apart. She will put you back together, and she will hold you steady as you take your first steps on your own, and she will push you to be better than you believed you could be.

 

My best friend, without airing out her life/laundry, is one hell of a mother... with no children. If she knows you, she will feed you (amazing food that will literally destroy your ability to diet or be responsible), give you a place to sleep, let you express your frustration, give you support, check in on you, host brunches and beer nights, and will personally see to it that when you walk into her apartment, you feel like you're at home.

 

I was there for four hours today. They were the most peaceful four hours I have had in months.

 

Ashley, I know you hate sappy shit, but I can't go to bed tonight without reminding you that you deserve all the best things in life, that you're a pinterest-queen, and that I will do EVERYTHING IN MY POWER to make sure you have the most amazing, you-ish wedding of all time.

 

(I get to plan my best friend's wedding, y'all. HOW FUN IS SHE?!)

 

Big, obnoxious hugs to my best friend, confidante, ass-kicker, truth-enforcing, beauty-queen-with-no-makeup, dog-rescuing, harry-potter-loving favorite.

 

You are legitimately the only reason I have survived this year, and I love you.

What you see.

Bee ButlerComment

What you see is definitely not always what you get. 

I am one of the best examples of that, and I can tell you right now that it's almost unbelievable how different an image online can be from what's going on in someone's head.

Here, you have a picture of me, circa 2014, smiling and laughing with a friend of mine at a restaurant. There's a drink in my hand, and we're reminiscing and talking about the future, and a song comes on over the loudspeaker.

 

And that's where the truth sets in.

Your mind races to the drive home that you're too drunk to make. To the walk up the pavement and the swing of the glass door, the dog who wearily greets you, and the turn down the hallway where you'll probably bump into the wall as you reach for the bathroom door frame. 

You walk to the bathroom, lift the toilet lid, flip on the tap, kick the door shut, flip your hair back, and shove your entire hand down your throat. You bring back up the liquor, the soda, the meal you spent so much time "eating like a normal person", or at least what's left of it, since you secretly purged in the bathroom at the restaurant.

Once you get it all out, you wipe your mouth, look in the mirror, and see a drunken, sloppy mess. You want to cry, but you're too tired.

It's been a long, hard day, and you're ready to go to sleep.
Your bed is empty. The person you're desperately in love with doesn't love you anymore, and you can remember days where you'd be anywhere but here in this moment, days and nights spent in other beds, happier... and just like that the memories crash down on you so hard you would swear it was raining thoughts on your head, and you can feel them, really, actually feel them washing over you in waves so heavy they pull you along the undertow and they ache.

 

Because you can remember how every single moment felt. You can pin down every single instance and put it to a timeline, pulling it all together like some sort of mix cd. We felt this way during the summer of '07, when this song was on the radio and my hair was down in the truck and we drove around and sang along, and I looked over and right then, I know that right then is a moment I could go back to and point at when someone asks what it looks like when I'm happy. Was that the last time I was happy? It doesn't end that quickly, does it? Maybe just go back to that point, rewind to there and hit play and do it over again and I'll do everything differently and I won't be here right now, at least not alone, and... I can't. You can't move time around like you're scrolling through your TIVO. This isn't a rewind and replay and skip/delete/STOP. You can't do that, but if you could...

 

And now that song from that summer is stuck in your head, and it's pounding in your ears, reminding you with the kickdrum of every beat exactly how you felt then and comparing it effortlessly to how you feel now, what happy was like and how this isn't it. That. Keeps. Playing. In. Each. Lyric...and you can't stop. And the heavy feeling of those memories is still heavy on your head and your heart, flooding in and out and weighing down every step you take.

 

You walk past a photo and see it. Childhood. My god, it was so much simpler back then. Maybe instead of rewinding to the poin in the truck, you could rewind to then, to you at that age and that silliness, the carefree manner you used to have, maybe that would come back and you could go from there to a time when things were better, because you'd know then what you know now, without the pain or having to go through it, and the cute little face in the photo is still innocent, but you're smarter because you have this knowledge and so you should go back to then and... you can't go back. Can't cut/copy/paste yourself across the universe. Now that image of yourself as a happy child is slowly fading in and out of view in your mind while the song plays and the waves rush over you and god, you are so tired.

 

Because this is how it is for you. It is like this all the time, you are always weighed down and empty and full at the same time. You cry sometimes over nothing, but not in front of people. And it's been building for years. And you're alone like that, because that person you love isn't with you anymore, and there is nothing you want more, but you can't let yourself go there, "there" being a world without them in it, because you don't know if you could handle it. And if you couldn't handle it? Then what? 

 

You don't make enough money to pay off your debts and the bills, and you watch your friends in similar situations, and you joke and reminisce to when things weren't like this, and man wasn't it great when you didn't have to grind yourself down to the bone to scrape by. And man, did you hear how happy so-and-so is? And there's a baby on the way...

 

And it hits you. So-and-so got married right around when you think you should have with that person from your past, and so if you'd stayed on track, wouldn't you probably be a parent by now, or have a baby on the way, at least? God, you both wanted that, and it was going to be amazing and you'd make such fantastic parents, and now... but you can't go there. Because you can't handle it. But what does that mean - 

 

It seems like all the people who are happy are unfairly so. They've never seemed to do anything but skate by, while you've known nothing but this kind of thing, and it's gotten worse as you've grown older. God knows if you did have a kid they wouldn't be skating by like happy people get to do, because there would never be enough money and everyone these days is so entitled and selfish. It's unbearable to watch. When you were growing up, it wasn't like this. Nobody did things like this. You were a respectful kid and you remember all of it so well, memories. Flooding. Back. You did so well and never asked for much and you know that you were like your friends, and occasionally those "bad eggs" got gifts they didn't deserve and they were always getting more than you, but back then you didn't care, 

 

And now they're married.
And they're still spoiled and rich.
Better off than you, anyway.

 

And now you can't help it, you're THERE.

But you can't go there. You can't think all of these things and focus and dwell on them, because it hurts too much. And it hurts so much that you can't bear the pain, and you don't know how to make it stop and it's never ending and...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the part where I admit that every single word of that was true for me in the night of that photo. What is written up there in what seems like such a sloppy state is pretty much a word-for-word and moment-by-moment capture of my life, and of someone else's near and dear to me that many of you know who is also struggling. And that strangely written piece is written that way with that kind of jarring punctuation, because it's really that rushed and harried and fast-paced. It's difficult to navigate when I'm on medication, and without my meds it's damn near impossible. And it really hurts, and it's really heavy, and those memories and pictures and songs are constant. Sometimes I can shift the station a little and dwell on positive things, but usually it's based on where I am, what I'm around, etc. I struggle with my college-aged-self and problems from that area as well as some of my biggest triggers (breakups and formings of relationships) when I'm in Abilene. I get slapped in the face by my childhood when I traipse around Mesquite, the "better days" when I'm in Sunnyvale, and I remember the absolute worst moments of my life when I'm in Garland or anywhere near my old doctor's offices. Sometimes I can remember those things vividly as though someone has brought up a specific incident, when in reality someone two tables over at lunch casually mentioned a name that belongs to somebody I used to know. And just like that, I'm in the midst of the storm I wrote up there.

 

That was real for me, and much of it still is; songs and images and words trigger memories in my brain that are too loud and too sudden and too overwhelming.

That's why I take so much medication every day.

My brain doesn't function like normal, and I have to fuck with the serotonin levels and drop down the bass and the treble of my anxiety with little yellow pills. I do not have the luxury of waking up and being myself; I have to reboot my system each day with prescription personality programmers that snap me back into place like a rubber band.

 

 

 

This is why I don't drink anymore.
I don't throw up anymore, either.
I do still struggle, and my heart hurts, and I need you to understand something.

 

The pretty pictures on Facebook and Instagram are bullshit. Sure, sometimes people are genuinely happy, and not every smile is forced. But if you think for one second that the record of life you see online is anything more than someone's highlight reel, you're kidding yourself. 

You can wish your life away, dreaming of being your friend with the pretty rock on her finger, but you cannot imagine the world inside her mind, and if you got a glimpse, you might beg for YOUR life back.

 

 

Pretty and perfect, two words I aspired to be.
Genuine and intentional, two things I'm becoming.

 

Remember that,

blog sig..png

Why am I ashamed?

Bee ButlerComment

I have made a post, a blog, a brand, a business... a LIFE, out of being unabashedly honest about everything in my life. Often to the chagrin and displeasure of my family, and, occasionally, my friends, my upfront and in-your-face writing style has been a major part of who I am.

I talk about mental illness. ALL OF THE TIME.
I mention, divulge, and occasionally word-vomit my way through my multitude of diagnoses and medications, and sometimes I give unrequested commentary on current events related, in any way, to the mental health world. I TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME.

So why, upon getting into college, traveling out into the world, moving across the country, TRYING TO BECOME WHO I WANT TO BE, did I completely clam up about the longest-running theme of my life, the very thread which holds together every part of my being?

I have, in the last few years, literally run from the idea of speaking, publicly or otherwise, about God. About Christianity. I have not set foot in a church in over two years. I have avoided saying the words, "bible study" or "ladies group" or "bible class", and I have let someone who is incredibly close to me frequently refer to the denomination I grew up in as a cult.

Part of me thinks that yeah, maybe a little bit, my specific church and groups and the things I got caught up in... they were a tad cult-ish. Except the thing we were worshipping wasn't a batshit idiot like David Korresh. We were, quite literally, worshipping the God of the ancients, in a Judeo-Christian sense.

[I would like to add here that an absurd amount of study, which is also somehow a complete lack of complete knowledge, has added to this issue. I went to a Church of Christ private Christian university and took in-depth, honors-level biblical study classes. I have been a church-going, bible-reading, memory-verse-competing religious dork since the day I was born. I know quite a bit about what it all means and where it came from and I am somewhat afraid of where I feel like I'm going in relation to it. So, yeah.]

I curse. A lot. I am terrified of consequences (thanks, Relient K) and I hate being in trouble. I am super loud and over-the-top, and after an abusive relationship I have learned quite a bit about the world and myself in relation to it that scared the living fuck out of me. I am trying to become someone, something, anything... a person or being who matters.

I believe in science and I would gladly sit at the feet of Neil deGrasse Tyson for hours in a way that inappropriately mimics a certain Bible story. I know that global warming and climate change are a huge issue. I am a loud, proud, liberal-out-the-ass democrat, and I think that part of that system of beliefs stems from an upbringing that focused quite largely on Jesus and the hippie, love-on-another, give-to-the-poor, shirt-off-your-back lifestyle. The dude was a nomadic Woodstock ad half the time, but the people I grew up with somehow took that and became hardcore GOPers. 

What the fuck. Go figure. 
(And go read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne)

I AM SUCH A GIGANTIC, SLOPPY MESS.
I love arts and crafting and making friends and all kinds of other toddler-esque crap. I quit drinking, on purpose, for good, in March of 2016, because I was quickly becoming a used-up, slutty alcoholic that nobody would take home at the end of the night. 

I don't want to be that girl.

I'm sitting here, writing all of this, and the things I'm explaining the most or rationalizing or just plain "covering" for are the least significant, most obvious and simple things about me.

I am a Christian. I was born and raised in the church, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I have spent my entire adult life running back and forth, to and from God, in a desperate attempt to find happiness. When His way wasn't fast enough, I would run myself into the ground trying to prove that "my" way was superior. It absolutely was not. Not once. In fact, I got myself into one hell (ha, God pun) of a pit out here, and I legitimately attempted to give up God for good.

It lasted all of an hour.

I am not sure what happens next. I'm not sure why I'm so scared to tell people that hey, I actually believe that Jesus did what the Bible says He did, and I capitalize all of His pronouns because He was GOD. I have faith, as small as it may be at times (insert mustard seed joke) that He died for my sins and redeemed me in the eyes of the Lord, who will take my soul into the place He has prepared for me, Heaven, for the rest of eternity once I am dead.

I do not believe that "this" is it. I don't think dying on earth means everything ends. I don't condone the notion of a silent black nothingness, post-mortem.

I have been holding all of that in, scared and anxious, because I have friends out here (and some not-even-close-to-friends who have far more control over my wellbeing at the moment than you would believe is humanly possible) who are not Christians, do not condone the lifestyle, or find it too absurd to deal with. It might be a dealbreaker for them. It might not. 

I have been too scared to find out.

What if I Jesus so hard that they run? 
Will I ever accept the church again after the shit it pulled when I was 17?
I have so much baggage to unload and I don't know what happens after this.

 

Why am I ashamed of the only thing I have ever been sure of in my entire life?

 

 

 

Tonight, I had Air1 playing in my car as I drove home from work. I cried a little when "Home" by Daughtry came on, because that song has some deep roots in my life. As it ended, I wondered, how am I supposed to do this, be a real Christian out here, alone, with no church and no clue as to what it looks like anymore without being a full-fledged granola weirdo?"

and it happened.

A song came on that I knew, honestly, had to be for me. Because God does that in my life and it reminds me that He is listening and that He genuinely cares, and however narcissistic you find it that I believe the Creator of the universe gives a fuck about my feelings, it is true.

Please listen to this.
This is me, right now.
If you want to meet me where I am and go forward, please do.
I can't afford to be ashamed anymore, though.

 

God and I, I'm sure, have plenty to discuss.
Like, you know, the cussing.

 

Until next time,

On designing a site outside your comfort zone.

Bee ButlerComment

As you can see from yesterday's post, I finally completed the site that I've spent a year working on for my sweet friend, Katelyn, at Pretty X Twisted. When the project started out, we finished a site in a few weeks time, and it was beautiful. I loved it. Katelyn like it, but it just wasn't HER.

The design was simplistic and focused on a lot of shadow and light, with small pops of color from the pieces Katelyn created. This is VERY MUCH my style, albeit with different fonts. I have a font addiction, and using generic fonts makes my brain itch. I sent Katelyn the final site, and she lovingly said that she like it, and it was pretty. I could tell, though, that it just didn't fit, and I am not the kind of person who says, "I finished the site. If you want to start over, it's gonna cost you". I am not the kind of person who believes that her work is the end-all be-all of perfection and glory. Sometimes, my work sucks. Other times, I think it's great, but my client (or client/best friend) doesn't feel it, and in that moment, the hippie/karmic believer/genuine desire to do the right thing by people I care about kicks in. I was making this site for her, to showcase her talent and help her monetize a business that had so much potential I could barely wrap my head around it. She is that good. I wanted her site to be THAT GOOD. 

And so, we started over.

I made a ton of mock ups, a lot of which she never even saw, because I kept catching myself using MY design style instead of hers. Katelyn has a vision of what she wants, and that makes her the most ideal client on earth. She came to me with some suggestions, and was almost hesitant to criticize or even bring up things she didn't like, but she found her voice as I pushed her towards taking the reins, and yesterday, pre-launch, she sent me detailed instructions on little things she wanted altered. Completely sure of herself, using her vision and her style and her intent for this website and her business. I was so absurdly proud of her, and I knocked out every single thing she asked without a second thought.

Katelyn had a big advantage in that she came to me with a logo already designed. I didn't have to do squat in that department, and it was fantastic. Look at this. Seriously, I am blown away by it, still. 

Katelyn came to me with this awesome business card and logo design by one of her friends, and I was ALL ABOUT IT. This kind of thing is one of the toughest parts of my job, so having it done already was fantastic. It also gave me the chance to play with the logo, incorporate it in different space, and utilize it in banners and the Welcome page, because she had the original PDF files of the artwork, and I could convert it to whatever image form I needed. PNG, by the way, is the way to go on SquareSpace. 

From there, at our "starting over" point, I asked Katelyn to show me what she was looking for. And man, did she deliver. 

(This is every designer's dream. She literally drew it out, and that is EXACTLY how it looks now)

(This is every designer's dream. She literally drew it out, and that is EXACTLY how it looks now)

SHE LITERALLY FOUND THE FONT SHE WANTED. DOING MY JOB FOR ME.

SHE LITERALLY FOUND THE FONT SHE WANTED. DOING MY JOB FOR ME.

Loving that she's embracing her personality and pushing to incorporate it in the site. We did it, too.

Loving that she's embracing her personality and pushing to incorporate it in the site. We did it, too.

This is a perfect example of taking charge of your site design. She knew what she wanted and she asked for it. We did do away with that cover page, and it looks infinitely better without it.

This is a perfect example of taking charge of your site design. She knew what she wanted and she asked for it. We did do away with that cover page, and it looks infinitely better without it.

I freaking love her for this. She sent me actual shots of the site on her computer and pointed out exactly what she wanted to change.

I freaking love her for this. She sent me actual shots of the site on her computer and pointed out exactly what she wanted to change.

This is why working with her was a dream. 

This is why working with her was a dream. 

Can I just take a moment to say that anyone having a site built should take notes from this girl? She took a little time finding her voice and speaking up, but once she got it, she ran with it, and the final site is so much more HER because of it.

Katelyn is someone I hope to keep designing for for the rest my life. This site has become my baby, and I'm sure we will continue to tweak, rebrand, and expand it whenever an idea strikes. I don't mind that, because it has been such a learning experience and such a beautiful way to further my business and hers.

 

I am now booking clients over on my business site, Caged Bird Media, and you can look at my portfolio over at Caged Bird Portfolio.

Caged Bird Media is currently undergoing construction, so feel free to email me at abbybeebutler@gmail.com to get started, or comment on the blog!

 

Thank you to Katelyn for giving me the opportunity to work on such an amazing project. 
I can't wait to keep going, and I'm excited about all the new ventures coming up!

 

Always ready to work,

It's pretty and twisted, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bee ButlerComment

When I was in high school, I sat next to a girl in Algebra II that made me incredibly nervous. I was loud and outspoken, full of fire and opinions and a need to be accepted. My biggest fear was the "popular people", who looked better and lived better and seemed to have everything I did not.

The girl I sat next to was very, very popular.

Today, I know for a fact that she didn't realize how popular she was, and she probably didn't know how much she influenced my words and actions and even the way I dressed that year. We weren't close, but I admired her in a strange way, and I wished that someone like her would want to be friends with someone like me.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it was already happening.

Fast forward from 2006 (my Algebra II year) to 2012 (post-first-Cali move, living back in Mesquite). We'd had a little contact since school, but we didn't really talk. I added her on Facebook, and the spark appeared. 

We had casual chats, but eventually we realized that we were completely in sync with each other, and I started reaching out to her for everything: life advice, recipes, and, of course, tattoos. Her boyfriend is a tattoo artist, and he's talented. When it finally came time to reconnect in person, we did it the awesome way that basically explains our friendship.

Her boyfriend gave me my anchor tattoo, I accidentally left my Nikon at the shop, and my friendship with Katelyn was cemented. After that, we got together more often, and I started to sense that she was one of those people who will change your life.

We look like we're practicing for our MySpace profile pic... in 2013. 

We look like we're practicing for our MySpace profile pic... in 2013. 

 

Katelyn is kind, but she is fierce. She gives so much more than she gets, and she exudes love and joy and peace and strength. Being around her makes you feel brave and bold. Katelyn pushes you towards the person you are supposed to be, and I don't think she even realizes she's doing it. She and I have had deep talks, cried over big losses, and I cannot imagine my life without her. Some girl in my math class who I was TERRIFIED of has become on of my closest friends.

So, what does all this have to do with a blog post?

Katelyn has a talent and a way to share all the incredible things that she is, and it's finally time to unveil it. All that energy, that focus, the peace and love and the hope for a happy future for everyone she meets? She puts all of that into beautiful pieces of jewelry, and it's incredible.

I know all of this seems contrived and bit much, but Katelyn is kind of an enigma, a one-of-a-kind person that not everyone gets to experience. That uniqueness is part of why her jewelry is so special. I could say a million things and never really get across what you experience when you spend time with her, but I'll try my best:

Katelyn is the kind of person you spend your whole life wishing you could be. She's untouchable but real, perfected, but raw, and she is in touch with her emotions in a way that allows her to be her complete self around everyone who meets her. All of that insight and beauty and the strange and powerful allure of this girl come together in each and every piece she creates. She spends hours perfecting each wrap, charges the crystals, researches and explains the meaning and intention, and then gives away a little piece of her heart and soul with each purchase. There is something inside her that is inextricably connected to her jewelry, and once you buy a piece, you'll understand.

A mutual friend of ours bought one of my favorite pieces a little over a week ago, and I thought I'd let her tell you how it went.

I currently have three beautiful, unique pieces from PrettyxTwisted and I love them all. My first, a very large, arrow shaped golden sheen obsidian necklace, I previewed in her Instagram page when she picked out the stone. I was attracted to it immediately. When I saw how it was wrapped with wire and left to its natural state, I knew I needed it. It has been staple in my wardrobe and leaves me feeling so powerful when I wear it. And that has to be one of my favourite thing about all of my PrettyxTwisted pieces - other than the customization (Katelyn offered me countless options and ideas on how to incorporate the tiger eye stone I wanted, it was almost difficult to choose - her creativity knows no bounds!) - is that I can trust the energy and intent of the person behind it and know my stones will come to me positively charged and free of any residual negativity as they might from the wrong jeweler. My pieces are each one of a kind and as spiritually empowering as they are different!
— BRITTANY SHARKEY

In a world that has exploded with opportunities to "sell handmade", there are lots of venues, outlets, and sites to choose from. Pushed towards Etsy by everyone and tired of hearing "where can I buy a necklace?", Katelyn came to me. She didn't want to make an Etsy shop. At first, I was confused, since that would be the most profitable and time-friendly choice... then I realized, this is Katelyn. Etsy would be wrong.

Katelyn makes each piece one at a time, individually, lovingly crafted specifically with someone or something in mind. She doesn't make ten identically necklaces and list them for sale, she makes one, just for you, and puts all of her time, love, and good intentions into it as she lets out her inner perfectionist and creates something beautiful and perfect specifically for you. When she's done, she moves on to the next creative endeavor; the packaging is perfectly Katelyn, too. She ships things out, she reaches out and asks if you've received it, and she genuinely wants to know how you feel about it. She's invested something in that piece, and she needs to know if its right for you.

I could stare at this all day and never get sick of it.

I could stare at this all day and never get sick of it.

The best part of her work is the range of style she's able to create with a handful of different items. There's everyday, there's romantic, there's hippie (my favorite), there's gothic, and there's something you'll love, guaranteed. 

There are no words for this one. I can't explain it.

There are no words for this one. I can't explain it.

It's who she is. It's what she does. It's cosmic and crazy and it's incredible.

I took all of this, my love for this wild girl, her work and her intentions and her ideas, and I designed a website. It's been a crazy, running project that I wish I could devote more time to, because there is nothing I want more than to give her exactly what she needs to spread her love and talent to the world. We finalized the last few little touches today, and it's time for her to launch. 

We did a soft launch a few months ago with the first draft of the site, but the timing wasn't right. The Universe knows where and when things come together, and tonight, after over a year of planning, Katelyn's baby, PrettyXTwisted, is live.

 

There is no way I can express how much I adore this girl, these pieces, and how much of my heart I put into this site. It is simple and open, and it looks almost like I didn't do much. The gallery holds photos of past pieces and gorgeous custom-made items, all of which you can use as inspiration for your piece. She'll talk to you, give you ideas, share rough drafts and plan out exactly what you want and need, and the entire process is simple and easy. When the mail comes and your jewelry is finally in your hands, you'll realize that something beautifully complex has come out of this "seemingly simple" site, and you'll be a friend of Katelyn's for life. She's one of those people you cannot let go of. You'll see what I mean.

 

I present to you, www.prettyxtwisted.com. 
Find your bliss there, and have fun.

This process and friendship have changed my life. It seems silly that a tattoo, an Algebra II class, and a necklace could bring such a huge tidal wave and drastically alter the course of my life, but that's just Katelyn. She's a hurricane. She's pretty and twisted, and that's why I love her.

You will, too.

Grateful and happily yours, till next time,