for what it isn’t

Inside me swim any number of feelings, either ready to choose from or, at times, forcing their way to the front of my attention.

From it’s birth at the tiny Cat Club to its growth into what it has not become – a two-evening, three city event, in it’s hometown of San Francisco held at one of the largest appropriate venue’s available & still waveringly sold out, I don’t recall ever not attending The Edwardian Ball when I’ve been physically able.

Until this year.

Why I made this choice has a number of underlying reasons, but I think what surprises me the most is that, in all honesty, I don’t miss it or the people, nor do I believe that they will notice my absence. At all.
Of course when I’ve gone there have always been the friendly faces, the smiles, the hugs and “how are you”s, but I have no reason there, no purpose, and nearly all contact is superficial at most. I show up alone, spend the majority of the event wandering alone, feeling alone, and more lonely in the middle of hundreds of people than I feel by myself in my apartment – and leave alone.

One of these days it would be nice to have someone to enjoy it with, someone to arrive & leave with – but at least this year, I had no desire to make all the effort to go and see the people – the “friends” – who, in the years that I have known them, haven’t once spent any amount of time with them at something that wasn’t an event, a show, a party. In the years I’ve known them, never have any called or messaged me, simply to say hello. It’s growing more & more difficult to deny the reality that, in the grand scope of things, very few of them are little more than good acquaintances – and I feel more alone – & lonely -when I’m around them.

It’s time for some things to change.
The Edwardian Ball isn’t going anywhere for a while – I’ll come back, I’m sure… but I won’t show up alone.

alone

 

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making it all true again

Saturday morning. Returning from the dirt & grass “back yard” of my apartment building where I took Ruby down to do what she needed, I tilted my head back and closed my eyes as I let the sunshine & cool breeze caress my face, thinking of nothing as well as I could but instead thinking more of what’s to come in my life. If I let it. I get wrapped up in the past, the life of a young man that I created & was so deeply in love with, and… and I miss him.

I wonder where the person I was has gone, or if he’s gone at all. The memories of the magic come flooding back & wash over me as they so frequently do, when I would allow nothing to stand in my way & had the courage & motivation, when I knew that everything was possible and proved it to myself.

What has changed? Where does this fear come from? Is it even real, or just an excuse I tell myself in order to remain where I am, and gods, why the fuck would I want to do that? It’s known, but not comfortable. Familiar, but so is the insanity of a life where I didn’t know what would happen from day to day, sometimes – often – not even knowing where I would sleep. What has changed? Where did that young man, full of dreams and excitement for the unknown go?

Perhaps I’ve become jaded. Not to life and its magic, but to people. I’ve known the ones who are called “friends” for far too long now, and it’s time for new ones – ones who challenge me, who I look up to and who look to me when they are uncertain about things. People I respect & who respect me.
It’s interesting. The friends I made when I was travelling, wandering from place to place, city to city, and meeting people at random where I went – even when only met briefly, those are the people who are still strongest in my heart, who have earned a place and love there that will never fade.

I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be who I’ve become, and it is weighing heavily enough on my soul to change my life into who I can be. I’m doing something I love – creating art that I put my heart into, making people happy, and it is a gift that can change my life into the life I’ve always dreamed of… so it’s time to quit whining, quit wondering what happened to the broke vagabond whose adventure & excitement was simply trying to survive & eat, and chip away at the stone until I find the life that has always been hidden inside. There is a freedom waiting for me, just on the other side of these dreams…

The thing is, my biggest obstacle is that in order to become who I want to be, I need to get past the idea that the greatest adventures I’ve had so far have come from being poor and needing to be incredibly creative just to eat. Now, it’s time for me to turn that creativity into being… rich. Hells, even the word sounds strange, almost dirty, when I admit that’s what I want to be…

But I need to help others, and in order to do that, I need to help myself.

There are few things that light up my heart like bringing joy to others, and the only way to do that on the level I want to is to take care of my SELF financially, and to take this business of my art as far as it will go. I can already see how I can, already have plans, and it’s more possible than anything I’ve ever done in my life before.

It’s time to start making a whole new level of dreams come true. After all, this is what I fought so hard to stay alive for, what I’ve always wanted – and this life, right now, the only chance I have.

I’ve created an entirely new me before, and that brought more amazing things into my life – and more amazing people – than I ever would have dreamed being possible.
It’s time, now, to re-create myself again – to rid myself of what I don’t want to be & become, again, the person – the Warrior – who makes his dreams come true.

lost chances

I went to a memorial last night, a celebration of a friends life.
I don’t get emotional about people dying. At most, I feel a little saddened or concerned for the family they may have left, but inside of my heart, if there is anything felt at all is is more focused around fond memories of them, feeling blessed that they were in my life and that we were able to experience some of it together, share it and some of the time we have with each other, enjoy its magic.

When I heard of Jan passing, however, it was different. I only knew him a short time, but I sensed something of a kinship in him that I seldom feel with anyone , and seldom have. He was someone special to me, someone I looked forward to getting to know, share stories with, share our sadness, frustration, joys and love.

But I never had that chance. He never knew what I felt. I never took the time to tell him, to pull him aside, to tell him what I felt. I figured that, if I was right in what I saw in him, it would happen – after all, we had time. I would see him again, and maybe then the opportunity would arise where we found ourselves engaged in conversation, standing outside at a party or the last two sitting around a campfire in the early hours of the morning…

Last night I found out much more than I had ever known about Jan as people stepped up to the microphone to talk about him, his life, frustrations, joys, and love – and they described the exact person I felt when I saw him, in the few times we chatted. They described who I saw behind his eyes – the person I wanted to get to know better, the person I felt was more – and as they were talking about him, the tears fell from my eyes as I found out more and more… because they were also describing me.

Jan, even though we never had the chance to know each other, you taught me a valuable lesson, and I thank you.
In the future, if I come across someone who, behind their eyes, I see kin, see someone familiar, see someone who, even if I don’t know why at the time, I feel like I should get to know – I won’t hesitate. If I have to, I’ll step through my shyness & insecurity & fears & pull them aside, to a place we can talk, and begin: “This is going to sound weird and I apologize, but you remind me of someone that I never got a chance to know until after he died, and I think we could be friends…”

The Friendship Farce

There’s been a melancholy that’s been surrounding me lately, a darkness that roots itself somewhere inside of me and reaches out like thorned and poisonous vines to nearly anyone who has the audacity to enter my mind. Of course, it’s not them, not really, not entirely, not if I get down to the bones, but I’ll blame them for it anyway, because that’s much easier – and gods know I’ve tried multiple times in the past, only to be met with their same bullshit.

I’ve been making the mistake of watching – or at least semi-watching as I sit at my work-desk making chainmaille, the types of TV series that involve things called “friends”, which seem to be other people that you can call at anytime and ask to go get a drink or brunch or something that doesn’t have to be planned days or weeks in advance, and seldom ends up with the other person cancelling unless they’re in a life-threatening situation, at which point of course I jump up off of my bed & go save them or vice-versa, and even in the midst of all the excitement, we are able to make jokes about the other person where we both laugh and come back with even a funnier dig, because we know each other well enough and are close enough not only to know that the other person is just playing, offering some levity in a horrible situation, and we know that we can say these things without the other person getting offended because they aren’t a lily-white boring piece of shit, and understand that there are much more important things to contend with in daily life than getting upset or hurt by something our friend said in fun and being able to laugh at it, because they’re, y’know, our friend.

I remember having friends like that when I was younger, mostly when I was working as a Harley technician. It was a simpler time, a time when people could not only dish shit out but take it without taking anything personally, and as we tested each other’s limits, it brought us closer. We’d see each other nearly every night at a bar called Stinger’s or at one of the Harley shops I worked at, and if someone needed something, needed out actual presence, we were there for them – we were never “too busy”. Hell, I even got my ass kicked (& quite well, I might add) because fucking Billy didn’t realize it was time to shut his damned mouth when there were suddenly 7 of them to our 2, standing up for a girl we didn’t even know because a friend of his said her ex was hassling her. After, with black eyes & swollen faces, we laughed about it – then laughed about how much it hurt to laugh.
Or when I lived in Austin Enchanted Forest as recently as 2005, when friends would come to the door of my tent and ask through the thin material if I were there, simply because they wanted to say hi. There were a few, but the one that holds the deepest place in my heart, and always will, was a woman named ‘Tea’ who would sometimes come in even after I told her to go away – especially after my dog Bean was killed by a train. She knew that as much as I didn’t want to see anyone, as much as I wanted to wallow in some of the deepest pain & desolation that I have ever felt, I needed a friend, if only just to hold in comfort and silence

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I don’t know this world anymore. You can barely say a fucking thing without someone ending up acting like you just pissed on their sand-castle… but that’s not really what I’m here to get off my chest today, even though it did feel good to drain that particular poison out of my fingers.

A couple nights ago I posted on Facebook looking for a person or three to simply meet me at a dive bar, any dive bar in the City. Just meet for drinks, conversation, laughter and maybe even fun. That’s all I wanted.

I didn’t want to go to one of the many social “events” happening, where inevitably I go alone, wander around alone, save for a few mundane and worthless encounters with people I hardly know and am supposed to somehow be happy to see (though admittedly, on rare occasion, there actually is someone I’m happy to see, but all we do is talk for a few minutes then go our separate ways) …until I realize, yet again, there are much more fun things I could be doing – like walking home alone.
It’s far too easy to feel isolated, to feel friendless, even in large gatherings that are built primarily of people I call “friends”, in the loosest sense of the word.

I just wanted to meet at some random place where nothing was happening except “us”, the anonymous bar-crowd swirling around us, our only purpose being to hang out with each other, take the time to listen and talk and maybe even find out things we didn’t know, things that might bring us closer. (“Really? Your sister only has three toes on her left foot too?” “You got arrested for WHAT?”)
I posted on Facebook because I knew if I tried to call people I would just get increasingly angry & depressed with each fruitless call, every person saying that they couldn’t for whatever bullshit reason – and besides, not only do I not have most people’s phone number, but was only able to think of two people who would likely at least be interested. One just recently moved to Seattle (& doesn’t drink anyway) while the other is out of town – so I opened it up to everyone. Who knows, maybe someone might respond that I would never have thought of, and maybe we’ll actually have something to talk about. It was worth a shot.
What I got in return were about 7 or so replies, each one from people in an entirely different city saying “I would, but…”  While I forced myself to appreciate the sentiment, words aren’t worth shit when actual physical presence is wanted. I don’t give a fuck that you would “like” to come hang out. Hells, I’d like to be able to give thousands of dollars to some people I care about and charities that need it, but saying “I wish I could” is worth less than not saying anything. You can kindly shove your “I wish”s & “I would, but”s up your ass. I would much rather hear the honesty of your silence.

Okay, enough of my rant. Letting some of it out through my fingers did help a little, as always – and the disgust I feel with myself & this world had been alleviated a bit, the load lightened as each whiney word was vomited out of my head and onto the screen – and though I have much more to bitch and whine about, I promised my dog I would get us both to the park today – her for some running & playing, and me for the laughter & smiles she brings even when I’m in much darker places than this.

I guess that I do have one friend I can always count on to be there- I just wish she were old enough & had the language skills to hang out with me in a bar or over brunch or just someone to try to figure out how to get through this life without ending up detesting nearly everyone, and perhaps even make this darkness fade to a lighter grey.