On late night update 

I got a cold. It feels like my body is burning through something. That may or may not be the case, but I sure wish it to be. I wish for my body to burn through all the fears holding me back, all the hesitations keeping me tottering…

On another note, Vimeo got me back into my account. Except they wiped it completely clean. Plus, I noticed that my main profile page is still not working, so I’m holding off on re-uploading until they tell me they can fix it. At this point though, I have no qualms starting a new account if I need to. Everything I wanted to keep is gone.

Grieving what I lost. I have written about this before, but this is quite the persistent topic isn’t it? Beyond the connections and interactions, the main thing I lost here is continuity. The feeling that I started something and kept it alive. Failing at that reminds me of all the relationships and opportunities I have left to die. The many times I have fallen out of steps and went hiding under my bed instead of figuring out how to get back into the rhythm. I try to convince myself that time underneath my bed is part of my rhythm, but that seems to speak mostly of my guilt about it.

I guess I wanted this experience to be the one that absolves me of previous failings. As if that one new plant could make up for all the others that withered and died under my watch. Hmm, all this dramatic talk is pointing to an even bigger issue here. Life and death, the main deal echoed in the smaller parts. Like freakin fractals again (there’s been a lot of fractals talks in my head lately). Yeah, that would make more sense when measuring the scope of my reaction. Because I’m acting all calm and collected about it, but being truly upset is the real reason it took me 6 months to get over Vimeo kicking me out.

You know what this reminds me of? Radical acceptance. I first heard about that from a great article on Marsha M. Linehan and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). The idea of radical acceptance, and then later of radical forgiveness, is what helped me get over self-abusive episodes. Because trying to metaphorically beat yourself up over actually beating yourself up just doesn’t work. The only way out is the way through, in accepting that you did this and forgiving yourself for it. But it definitely takes the radical kind for it to work.

Radically accept and forgive yourself, no matter what happens. There’s so much that is not in our control in this world, but that’s one of the thing that actually is. It’s just mighty hard to do. Btw, a synonym and companion to this is love. Loving yourself no matter what happens is definitely one of the most radical thing I can think of. May the love be with you.

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On my day

For the first time since November, I made a new video. One that I would like to upload on Vimeo. If I could.

Fluttering around my heart, cheeks on fire, breath caught. It’s been so long now, it’s too late, I fucked up, I failed. Wanting to have nothing to do with this. Need to do anything but deal with this. Oh, wait a minute, I know what this is. Avoidance. Shoot, try to remember what to do with avoidance. Love. Right, easy. Love love love. I can still love myself. I can still love myself no matter what happens. I can love myself so much that I don’t need to flee from this. I can stay right here with it. Breathe out. Breathe in. Action. Action is love too. Ok, I can do this.

I will call them. I’ve been wanting to all this time. Open computer, get to page Contact us. Fuck, I can’t call them. Vimeo does not have a number. Ok, no problem, so I will write to them. Again. Don’t assume this is over. Don’t give up. Let’s try this one more time.

Dear Vimeo,

My account was removed in November 2016. I wrote back to you twice right after that but never heard back. My account had also been removed back in July but then had been re-instated after videos that were violating the guidelines were taken off. I had tried to stay within what I understood was acceptable but the removal in November tells me I didn’t and for that I am sorry. It took me this long to find the courage to contact you again in hope of getting a response. 

I understand that Vimeo does not have a responsibility to interact with me, it would just mean so much to me if I could resolve this experience in a more open way. In an ideal world, I would like for my account to be re-instated like it was in July, this time with all videos containing nudity removed. I can find another platform for those, but I would love to stay on Vimeo for my other work, which really is about existing in the world. I realize I could just start a new account for those, but I haven’t because the relationship I have with my original account has become part of my project. 

On that note, if you choose not to reinstate my account, I would like to know if it is possible to retrieve the statistics and mostly the messages from the account, as they are meaningful to my project. 

I realize that I have failed Vimeo’s guidelines and that may be why you have chosen to stop interacting with me. But I am a human being and this experience has, and still is impacting me on an emotional level. I would so appreciate an answer, even if only to tell me to stop writing to you. 

Thank you very much for your time and understanding.

Rain Robert

Tears dropping on the keyboard. I guess I’d become numb to how much this is still affecting me.

Plan A. Get my account back. Because of the followers, of course, and the stats, but also the comments, the history. And the messages, the miracle of human interactions. This MEANS something to my project. This means something to ME. I want it back. I won’t ever use it again for anything that even resembles a reference to sexuality, but I want it back anyway.

Plan B. Vimeo keeps ghosting me. I can’t control what I can’t control. Did my best gotta leave the rest. Start new account, start fresh.

Wow. What a day.

On persisting

Dear Vimeo,

I have yet to hear from you in response to my last email concerning the removal of my account. It’s been over a week now, and I have done a lot of thinking. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.

Growing up, I was told I was free to be and do what I wanted, that I was free to love who and how I wanted, that I could choose for myself and be respected in my choices. My parents, who participated in the social revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s, raised me in the belief that I was inheriting the freedoms they had fought for. I believed them, believed myself to be free, until my own life struggles started to hint at the fact that my personal freedom was not as granted as I thought it was. I have been exploring this subject for a long time, but no other situation has exposed it more than the one I find myself in right now.

Undeniably, we now live in a world of online sharing. You know that, as you’ve made it your business. The internet has revolutionized traditional media to a point that we have yet to fully comprehend. There are no more clear lines between entertainment, news, instruction, and everything else. Want to know what’s going on? Want to participate in what’s happening? Want to know how to do something? It seems that no matter what the question is, the answer is somewhere online. So how could sexuality, a subject so immensely essential, escape this new reality? Life doesn’t exist without sexuality, so how could the internet, as a reflection of human life, exist without it?

In our previous correspondence, you’ve mentioned that Vimeo doesn’t allow explicit sexuality but that there are plenty of other places online for this kind of work. It is true that pornography sites are plentiful, some would even argue that they are plaguing the internet. But what about places for educative and explorative and artistic works created by people like me, who are looking for freedom of expression? Well, to the best of my knowledge, such a place does not exist. It’s a completely segregated situation: you either make non-explicit work that can be shared anywhere, or you make explicit work that can only be shared on pornography platforms. Either or. Which brings me to the question, how can we in good conscience leave commercial pornographers solely in charge of sexual imagery? Is that not actually irresponsible?

That being said, I have come to the conclusion that Vimeo cannot be expected to be the agent of change in this matter. I don’t know exactly who’s responsibility it should be to create safe spaces where sexuality can be expressed, discussed and healed, but it isn’t Vimeo’s. Sexually explicit videos are currently almost exclusively pornographic and are seen as abusive and disruptive to the creative community Vimeo is building. I get that.

When my account was first restored by you in July, some explicit videos where removed but some weren’t. So I have tried to align myself with what I perceived was still acceptable to upload. The censorship became a motivation to explore what these lines meant as part of my project. This phase was an important one for me but I realize now that it was probably to the detriment of my relationship with Vimeo. I am ultimately not interested in the dynamics of challenging the authority of an entity that is not the actual cause of the problems I am facing. Changing Vimeo is only possible and meaningful through changing our entire society’s relationship to sexuality.

I very much value Vimeo, for being community oriented, for being a space dedicated to creation, and for being less commercial than other platforms. So I am again asking you to consider re-instating my account. This time though, I would like to remove all videos containing nudity and I pledge to not “interpret” what can still be allowed within the artistic clause of your guidelines and never again upload videos containing nudity. I will continue to create this kind of work, as I feel called to do so, but I will persist in my search for a more appropriate space to share it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to be upfront about the fact that I am posting this letter on my blog, which I started after my first account removal. I have been discussing the issues that sharing my work publicly have brought to the surface and it has become an essential part of my project and my self-expression. This is not meant to put pressure on you and I will respect whatever decision you feel is best for Vimeo. I am letting you know because at this point you may not be convinced of my honesty and integrity and yet those are extremely important things for me.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration, I very much hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Rain Robert

On I guess I’m not done with that either

Vimeo shut down my account again. Same generic message as last time. I can only guess that my last video Close up Orgasm (explicit sexuality NSFW 18+) is considered as violating their guidelines. Or that someone reported my account. Or or or, since it’s all so arbitrary in the first place.
For a few hours there, I thought about quitting the whole thing. I’m not sure I have this kind of fight in me. What am I even fighting for? This just feels exhausting and like I’m on the wrong side of… something.
Still, I wrote to them. I guess my work is worth at least trying. Let’s see what happens now.
***
Dear Rain Robert,

Your account has been removed by the Vimeo Staff for violating our Guidelines.

Reason: Uploading videos that contain pornography or sexually explicit material, explicit depictions of nudity or sexual acts, or that seem primarily focused on sexual stimulation.

For more information on our content and community policies, please visit: https://vimeo.com/guidelines.

If you believe this was an error, please reply to this message as soon as possible to explain. (Please be aware that Vimeo moderators take action as violations come to our attention. “I see other people doing it” is not a valid explanation.)

Otherwise, we hope that you find a video platform better suited to your needs.

Sincerely,
Vimeo Staff
***
Dear Vimeo staff,

My account was just removed and I am writing to plead you to consider restoring it. I am grateful for the chance to re-convince you of my integrity. 
Vimeo removed my account a first time in July but then restored it after removing the videos that were deemed to be violating the guidelines (please refer to the conversation copied below). I have since tried to stay within the guidelines and seemed to be successful until now. I am hoping this second account removal was caused by a specific video that can be removed so that my account can be restored again.

I understand that Vimeo needs to establish and enforce guidelines for legal and technical reasons. I truly had meant to respect this and did not intend on being casual or challenging. The work that I do is aimed at healing myself by creating my own images of what it means to be me. Sex is an immensely complex subject and I feel very small against the giants who seem to own the rights of expressions of sexuality. I may be judged as wrong in my endeavor to deal with sexual images, but I am truly convinced that my project is important and valuable. I believe that censoring sexuality and segregating it to a second class subject does not protect us, it actually does the opposite by perpetuating cycles of shame and violence.
I have copied at the bottom of this email the introduction text to my website, which hopefully shows that my videos are grounded in an honest artistic quest. 
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Rain Robert

On still thinking about this stuff 

What does the censorship of explicit sexuality mean?

Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any part of books, films, news etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable or a threat to security. 

So showing explicit sexuality is morally offensive.

Maybe it’s also the political thing, sexual freedom may induce freedom in other matters.

As for the threat to security, there is the very real reality of sexual abuse. Sadly, it exists as much within the church as it does within the porn industry, as much within families as it does within international commerce.

***

Art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works primarily appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. 

In my imagination, we live in a world where safety and freedom surround sexuality as a norm. Standards of morality have shifted with the understanding that sex is essential and healthy. Our politics enforce and educate the importance of consent, by protecting everyone’s right to say no, making it possible to say yes. And what I do is considered art, because human sexuality, male and female, is beautiful and not shameful.

On a new frame

It’s not the hosting solution I was hoping for, but it’s still something. It’s a new frame. Funny how things look different once you frame them.

Turns out this step was all about learning to take space. Do I deserve to have a website? Do I deserve to spend resources on this? Does my work deserve to be taken seriously?  Does it deserve a frame?

It’s no coincidence. Learning to have orgasms is all about taking space. It is, granted, also about receiving and allowing and opening, but that energy alone won’t make you come. You need to be grounded within yourself and you need to feel worthy to be able to come like a roller coaster.

Take space, take pleasure, take yourself there.

www.rainrobert.net

On stay tuned

I heard back from Weebly, they are allowing me to keep the website if all explicit content is removed. I did and now I’m waiting for them to re-enable the publish function.

On some level it’s almost better this way. This site ends up reflecting the censorship position I find myself in. It’s almost more honest than if suddenly Weebly was all good. Our society isn’t all good, and discussing that turns out to be a huge part of my project.

Btw something hit me as I re-linked all my videos earlier. I really am trying to free myself. I mean, I’ve known that feeling all my life, but somehow, I hadn’t fully connected it to my work. Not in this ah-ha kind of way.

I am trying to free myself. This is what I have always been doing. This is what I will keep on doing.

If anyone is still wondering what my work is about, that’s the answer right there.

On here we go again

This is a hard post to write…

I don’t know exactly what went wrong where, but I really convinced myself that I could use Weebly, a website platform, to make a site to host my work. So this week I built a really beautiful site that made me proud, made me feel legitimized as an artist. And I was planning on announcing it today, all ta-da look what I did!! But before I even got to do that, Weebly blocked my account.

It had taken me weeks to figure out what my next step should be. I don’t have access to a lot of options in the first place, mostly for financial reasons. But most of the issues that were coming up were about worth. I still have so many unconscious assumptions that my work isn’t worthy, that I am not worthy. It took some effort to overcome another layer of this paralysis and get to a better place, but I got myself there. Which is maybe how I got excited and hopeful enough to believe that the solution was as simple as a Weebly website.

I got the email yesterday, and again, just like when it happened with Vimeo, it felt like a slap in the face. I am usually a pretty understanding person. But there’s something in my work being censored that triggers the fuck out of me. I felt devastated. And shamed. I spent an hour walking around aimlessly, trying to circulate the emotions inside me, trying to regain my footing, trying to stop crying.

Of course I blame myself. I should have known. I should have checked. Why am I doing these videos in the first place anyway? Why can’t I just make abstract art? Or documentary style reportage? Why do I have to show orgasms instead of just talk about them? Why am I making my life so complicated that what I want to do is the one thing I don’t seem to be allowed to do?

It’s kind of funny, in a not funny kind of way. Maybe I’m a pioneer, or maybe I’m really out of line. Maybe I need to be censored, or maybe I will help change things. As always, I don’t know.

I wrote back to Weebly today. I’ve asked them to reconsider. Or at least allow me to use the website without putting my work on it. Fingers crossed…

***

On Nov 24, 2016, at 1:37 PM, Weebly Abuse <abuse@weebly.com> wrote:
Hi,

We recently removed your website because of a violation of our Terms of Service, available at http://www.weebly.com/tos.html.
The option to Publish this site has been disabled. However, you may still login to the account to retrieve your work.
If you feel like we have made this judgement in error, please reply to this email with any specific evidence supporting your claim.

Sincerely,
The Weebly Team

***

On Nov 25, 2016, at 3:38 PM, Rain Robert wrote:
Dear Weebly,

I have received your notice of removal and I appreciate the chance you’ve given me to argue my case.

My name is Rain Robert and I am an artist. What I make is not pornography, though some of my pieces may look like it at first. My primary intention is always to make healing art for myself, in hope that it might in turn be healing for the world. I am very aware that the way sexuality is used in both mainstream media and commercial porn is problematic, sometimes even harmful. This is actually one of the drives behind my work. I am trying to create an alternative voice, as a woman expressing her sexuality herself instead of being trapped by the one that is imposed on me everywhere.

I had initially posted all my videos on Vimeo but they also removed my account until I wrote to them to defend my position as an artist. They reinstated it but removed a few pieces (the ones that portray orgasm). I looked for another solution but I had to face the fact that our culture segregates art that deals with sexuality from everything else. The only open public space I could find was a porn platform, which I decided to try. But I am not happy with the association and especially with the exposure to negative advertisement so I kept looking for a new home. A friend of mine pointed out your company to me, as a website builder that offers video hosting and also seemed to be more lenient to erotic content. I was able to confirm this for myself, finding a lot of Weebly sites used by erotic artists. I did read that your guidelines prohibit sexually explicit content but I decided to go ahead anyway based on the fact that others seemed to be able to use Weebly for their art. I chose not to write to you first because I thought maybe the guidelines are there to protect the company from sites you deem pornographic but that, in a case by case basis, erotic art would be acceptable. In hindsight, I see that maybe that was a mistake on my part and that I should have been upfront instead of letting wishful thinking take the lead.

I really do believe that the censorship of sexually explicit art is contributing to the problems of sexual violence in our society. If sexuality can only be expressed within a profit driven context, then we limit and pervert our experiences of sex. I do not sell my work or try to sell something through my work. I am trying to present a natural and healthy version of female sexuality. I believe this is a worthy and important endeavor.

I urge you to consider the possibility of supporting my art and to be a part of my efforts to heal our relationship to sexuality. I do realize that you may face legal and technical limitations that will drive your decision to not host my work. If that is the case, I would like to ask if you would consider restoring my site to allow me to use it to present my artistic intentions, while only adding links to my pieces. Ideally I would love to keep the image gallery to link to individual pieces, but if you cannot allow even those still images, I could also only use text links.

I hope I have managed to convince you of my integrity and I thank you again for the opportunity to open this dialog.

Sincerely,
Rain Robert

 

On Patreon 3

One of my main goals with Patreon is to create a more sustainable context for my work. So that I can invest myself more deeply into my next ideas.

As I’ve stated before, I didn’t really see this path before. But now that it’s in front of me, I wanna see where it takes me. But I can’t just half-ass it, I need to commit to it. That’s why I’m so obsessed with this next step. Because Vimeo won’t change their mind. And Pornhub isn’t an actual solution.

The idea of changing porn from within is still interesting to me. But at the same time I have to distance myself from porn in order to be accepted in places like Vimeo and Patreon.

So what would be a solution? Right now, I’m back to the idea of hosting my videos myself. I’m still not sure if it makes sense, but it’s the only thing I can think of. So that I don’t have to worry about guidelines. And I don’t have to surrender the rights of my creations. And I don’t have to be just another girl on a website full of them. And I don’t have to choose whether my video is worth $4.99 or $9.99.

I have so many ideas of where I could take my work. So many things I would like to heal and explore. But as long as I don’t have a sustainable, safe context, I’m not gonna be able to go there.

I’ve even switched jobs this fall, to one that hopefully will leave me more energy to make videos. This was really not an easy thing for me. New environments are always the hardest to handle, in maintaining enough inner safety to fend off panic attacks. But I’m not kidding when I say I want to be on this path.

On Patreon 1

I like Patreon. I think it could be a good match for me. I wouldn’t have to put a price tag on my work but I could still raise money to support it. So I wrote to them to see if my art would be acceptable to them (don’t want to re-create the Vimeo situation). They wrote back that it should be ok. So now I’m excited. And freaking the fuck out.

Anyway. First, here’s my letter and their response:

Dear Patreon,

My name is Rain Robert and I am an artist in a yet unknown category. I am interested in becoming a Patreon creator but I am not sure your guidelines will accept my work so I am writing to check with you before getting more involved.

I make all kinds of videos portraying my truth, including some that could be perceived as pornographic. I would like to make the case that they aren’t. Pornography’s definition is “material that is aimed at creating sexual arousal”. In contrast, my primary intention is to depict my own arousal. This may seem like an inconsequential nuance but I believe it is a tremendous one, especially in the context of our current experiences and views of sexuality.

I believe I have a strong artistic process that results in empowering pieces. My subject is capturing real emotions and exploring sensuality and eroticism from my individual point of view as a woman. I am expressing my own sexuality myself. I do this as a way to counter the kind of sexuality I am constantly bombarded with, in regular advertisement just as much as in porn. I believe this is an extremely important position to present and defend.

This process originated in my journey to heal myself from PTSD and depression. I found that reclaiming my sexuality was one of the most transformative methods to create change in myself. With self-love, I was able to reverse long standing issues with agoraphobia, obesity and suicidal thoughts. Creating videos emerged as a way to witness and celebrate my coming back to life.

I started making these videos over a year ago and it took me a very long time to decide if and where to share them. I finally settled on Vimeo for their commitment to creation but within a week they suspended my account. They re-instated it after I wrote to convince them of my integrity, but they removed the pieces that they found violated their guidelines (content depicting orgasm). Following this, I started a blog to document the obstacles on the path of sharing my work. After a lot of hesitation, I decided to upload the removed videos on a porn platform, but I am not happy with this situation. I want my work to be accessible but my videos really don’t belong on a porn platform. This is one of the main reason I would like to raise funds, to finance hosting them myself.

I am a firm believer in the need to respect and protect everyone’s choice to not be exposed to sexuality. Consent is the most important aspect of healthy interactions. But I have a lot of issues with the fact that our current society has created such a severe segregation for all sexually explicit content. I believe this black and white division actually contributes to our sexual health problems, from the lack of proper sexual education to the epidemic of sexual violence. I think we need to create safe spaces where sexuality can be discussed and expressed openly, so that we can heal from sexual repression and traumas and reclaim the power that healthy sexuality offers.

I do understand that platforms like Vimeo and Patreon need to draw a line in the sand for themselves in order to create the kind of community they want to foster. I will ultimately respect your decision in regards to my work. But I really hope you will consider my project and what I stand for.

Thank you very much for your time,

Rain Robert
Links to my work:

Words on WordPress: rainrobert.wordpress.com
Videos on Vimeo: vimeo.com/rainrobert
(Videos with explicit nudity are rated Mature)

Videos on Pornhub: http://www.pornhub.com/users/rainrobert/videos OR
(NSFW 18+ content, please watch out for malware ads)
These videos can also be seen without ads on Tumblr (available only on desktop computers): rainrobert.tumblr.com

***

Hey there,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write in about this!

Patreon does not currently allow pornography, and our Trust and Safety team is constantly re-writing our Terms of Use (https://www.patreon.com/legal) to be much more clear in regards to what is and isn’t considered pornography. If your work contains nudity or any material that could potentially be offensive to users, then you’ll want to make sure to mark the page as NSFW when creating your page or in your creator page settings.

From the sounds of time, I think you should be OK to use Patreon 🙂

One thing you’ll also want to note is that NSFW creators unfortunately don’t show up in search due to Paypal’s Terms of Use but we’re working with Paypal on how we can allow this in the future.

Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks again for sending us a note!