Deciding to Live

It’s time for everything to change. Again.
I’ve become complacent, undisciplined – and I need to come back.

I’ve read countless books on motivation, habits, procrastination, visualizing, raising energy, and anything that I thought would help. Some were crap, many got me inspired – for a couple days. I could never follow through like I used to. Something inside of me had broken, and I didn’t have the constant challenge to survive to inspire me.

That is, as strange as it sounds, what I think I miss the most. The fear. The adversity. It’s what inspired me to act on the first day I walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf alone, in full statue dress & makeup. It’s what inspired me to create an online magazine when I didn’t even know the first things about creating a website.
But it wasn’t just the adversity that inspired me. It was the love. The love I had for what I was doing, and the love of walking through the fear and feeling like I did something that mattered on the other side.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out what it was that made me jump into things that I had no idea how to do, and when I realized the answer a few days ago, it was so simple it was absurd.

The one difference, the only thing that will ever create a lasting change in my life, and let me take my jewelry business from more or less a hobby to what I want it to become, the only thing that is different from those things and this is:
I made a decision to do them.
That’s it.

I could read thousands of books, watch hundreds of Ted talks, listen to podcasts until my ears bleed, but that is little more than mental masturbation – letting me feel like I’m doing something of value when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just very clever procrastination.

Because I am afraid, and for some reason, I’m now letting that get in the way of doing what needs to be done. But that’s another something to look at and figure out another time.

I know that as much as I love making jewelry, there will be many times when I don’t. When I can’t find the right words for the “About” page, when I can’t think of what to write for a post on my site blog, and when I’m just not comfortable doing what needs to get done in order for this to grow. Without a solid, unwavering decision to do what it takes, I’ll never get to where I want. Never be who I want to be. Who I AM.

So it’s time for everything to change. Now.
It won’t be easy, not at first. I know that, and I’m expecting it – but eventually, as long as I show up and do the work, it will get easier. I just need to show up, and do the things that I need to, regardless of how uncomfortable I am with it or how afraid. I’ve been here before, and I know that, as long as I do what I need to, day after day, it WILL get easier.

And another thing I know: When I show up, so does the Universe – and doors that I’ve never even imagined will start opening to me.
They always have.

If you read this, please feel free to comment with what you think – and especially, call me out if you ever see me flagging.

Because there aren’t any excuses anymore. I’ll deal with the physical pain when it comes, and I’ll work through the fatigue. The time of floating is past, and it’s time to fly again.

I’ve made my decision.

 

coming true

This timing isn’t working. All I can do when I sit down to write in the morning is think about how quickly I can get it done. There are so many stories I want to write, so much life I’ve lived, but they don’t fit neatly into a few small paragraphs. Into a small pocket of time. There is so much more I need to be doing, and so much more time than I had intended to have this ready by has already passed. just a few more things and every bit of focus I can dredge up to get them done before I’m able to take my art and life to a place that has only been a vague dream with no knowledge of how to get there – like the whisper of a pirate’s buried treasure with no map of how to get there.
At least, up until now.

Suddenly this lifelong glassy-eyed, “wouldn’t it be nice if someday” dream has an incredibly good chance of  becoming real… and I’m having an insanely difficult time believing it. It’s as if David Bowie called you out of the blue to explain that his death was just a hoax, and not to intrude but he would love it if you could find a nice two bedroom apartment where you & he could live for a while, and just live quiet lives hanging out, chatting over pints at local dive bars on the nights when you two weren’t at the studio while he cut another album – and by the way, do sing or play an instrument?

Okay, so that may be a bit unbalanced on the level of disbelief in the possibility of it happening, but you get the picture. The life I’ve considered nearly impossible to ever be mine is now so close to becoming reality that I’m absolutely terrified. More than finding my birth mother, more than dying. This is being able to do what I want, to have the freedom to go anywhere, to simply treat a friend to a nice dinner on a whim as we walk past an interesting looking restaurant – I can’t even remember how many years it’s been since I’ve been able to do something as simple as that…
and to be able to help. Having a car when someone needs a ride or to move, money if they need that, donations to animal shelters & sanctuaries, and eventually even a yard large enough for Rubes to run around & plan in – with her new friends.

I see the steps, have carefully thought about how it’s going to grow, and am ready as I can be for the inevitable challenges along the way.
I’ve learned quite a bit about how to work through adversity over this life I’ve lived.
Maybe it – the good and bad – maybe all that I’ve lived through has been preparation for this new adventure. Maybe it has all been trying to teach me not to be afraid, that one way or another, it will all work out – just like it always has.

All I need to do is get my ass in gear & get the things I need to get done, done – and maybe, come this Friday – four days from now – this impossible dream will get its first taste of reality as I receive the first wholesale order for my jewelry.

Either that, or David Bowie will call.

The Fog Clears…

Five days. Five days and six hours. And 35 minutes. Every moment important in the beginning, every moment a choice. A challenge. Sometimes it’s hard, other times harder. I feel that at this moment I am safe. Safe in my words, in the stories. Safe as long as I keep writing.

Eight feet away from where I now sit on my bed is my antique writing desk, and inside of it’s single drawer is somewhere around 80 pills of morphine in various doses. Their summoning losing strength, getting quieter as time moves forward. Their power over me is fading.

As time moves forward I feel the pain less and feel what the reason I chose to go through it more. My mind is waking up. I was kept awake by my thoughts last night, not the pain. I rejoiced in this, even as tired as I was from the two sleepless nights before. It has been years since the chattering in my head was so loud, so clear. The fog is lifting. This morning while reading I stopped in the middle of a sentence & out of need grabbed my pen and paper to write. I recalled when that used to happen a few times a day, but can’t remember the last time it did. The fog is lifting. The pain is leaving.

And I rejoice.

and I rejoice

The San Francisco heat wave, our yearly week of Summer, finally breaks & I quietly rejoice. I am not made for hot weather – or at least hot weather where there isn’t a clean ocean or river or lake or large puddle to go swimming or stomping in.

September is knocking on the door of October, and if I had to choose a favorite, I think October would be it. I remember the way some of the places I have lived changed their color, the reds & oranges & hints of stubborn green flooding the air & ground as if the world was on fire, sacrificing itself in some sacred way to become the stark, haunting & beautiful bare branches of Winter.

The energy of Change is in the air. It finds its way into my blood – and my memory.

Twelve years & four days ago I decided to follow my dreams, whatever they were & whatever it took. Shortly after I was working with The Dresden Dolls & my life changed forever.

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It was on this day that my beloved Bean was hit by a train in Austin & killed, a few hours and eleven years ago.

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Ten years less a week ago I received an email from Mike asking if I was interested in becoming a permanent part of the Vau De Vire family.

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Six years & eight days ago I first stepped into the hospice, walking in easily enough but rapidly dying one week later as my body began to shut down.

Five years & a month ago I did what the doctors thought impossible, and walked out alive.

Four years & a month ago I talked with my Birth Mother for the first time in my life.

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Nov. 23, 2013

Two years & a week ago I first spoke to my Birth Father, who until shortly before that had no idea I existed.

And now I feel the story of this man should – will – change again. I’ve already begun to kick a nine-year morphine addiction & plan to have that entirely behind me in less than a week… yet I feel that is far from enough. I want more. Monumental change. I thrive on the shit. It’s my lifeblood, my constant need. When life gets too comfortable, too predictable, I have a bad habit of stepping into a dangerous dance to bring back, to summon life’s music – and far too much is dangerous these days.

The dreams I still have, but the energy to reach for them is as scarred as my liver. I will keep moving forward, doing my best to rip through the barriers, the walls both inside & out. Both physical & mental.
The failed Kickstarter shook me. It hit hard and I fell.
It’s time to rise again. Dust myself off and move on.
I will keep moving forward.
I will live to make my dreams come true.

I see the sun shining outside, feel the sharp chill of the breeze that cuts through my window. Today will be cooler…

and I rejoice.

falling apart to fall back together

Four days, and as the clock relentlessly ticks down I count every hour with a strange combination of sheer terror and wary excitement, my emotions swinging from one to the other like spectators heads in a high-energy tennis match.

Two days ago I picked up my last Morphine prescription, and as the bottles were handed to me I looked at them with a feeling of triumph. This is it.

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I mostly know what to expect. I’ve done this before, 28 years ago, and again a bit more recently when my motorhome was towed with all of my meds inside. It’s not what I remember that frightens me the most, though those memories still clutch at my mind and sink their diseased claws in when I try to make myself believe that I’m strong enough.

No. It’s the things I know I don’t remember that frighten me the most. The whispered shadows of the nightmare, the parts that my mind gratefully thrust out of my memory in an act of self preservation. The small things that are lost in the fog.

The Fog.

It’s surrounded me for over nine years, from when I finally gave in to my doctor’s concern & offer of something to help with the pain that twisted my face, carving each line on it deeper like a Halloween mask of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”… the only difference being that my screams, I kept inside. At least when I could.

With the first pill they finally went away, and I was so grateful I almost cried, even through the personal guilt and failure of feeling like I wasn’t strong enough, that I had finally lost to what for so many years I had conquered when necessary, not even taking so much as a Tylenol-3 or even an aspirin when I broke my leg skateboarding, tore apart the tendons & dislocated my shoulder when my van rolled 5 times across I-5, and hundreds of other minor bangs, bashes & aches. Those, I knew, would all pass, and all I had to do was hold strong and stand my ground. This time though, instead of fading, getting better & finally going away, the pain only increased. With each day, with each strip of flesh on my legs that caught under my fingernails while the poisoned fluid pooled and the unbearable itching multiplied, the pain grew and my conviction deteriorated…

There were, of course, many, many  times I needed them, so if I chose not to take that first pill then, it was just a matter of time before I did. When the cirrhosis decided to go to town on my body, it’s two favorite places to destroy were my legs and abdomen – and it was like a category-6 tornado in a trailer park. From the swelling to the point where I couldn’t bend my legs & had to cut the legs of my pajamas to be able to squeeze into them to the itching so horrid from the poisons my liver couldn’t process I cut myself open with my own fingernails, to the pressure from the swelling in my abdomen & legs so severe the fluid actually started pushing out of the skin on my calves and pushing my intestines out of my navel, to the pain from the occasional infections that slipped right by even the highest doses of morphine – I was certainly grateful for it at times…

 
…but as the months & years continued and the pain slowly subsided, when I began to wonder and doubt how necessary the morphine was anymore, I knew I was screwed. Sure, there was still the mild constant pain from my calves that never fully healed or grew back more than the thinnest layer of protective skin, and there was still the occasional breakthrough pain in my abdomen – but nothing I thought – that I think – that I can’t deal with. Nothing so bad that my body’s own pain killer can’t handle it. Nothing so severe that the mind/body & quantum healing practices I discovered and used in the hospice and the surprising strength I found in my mind can’t handle it.

There’s only one small problem. My brain has completely shut down all of it’s own natural pain killers. Feeling unloved & un-needed, the receptors that normally block everything bad have gone on to other tasks where they feel more appreciated. I wish I knew more of the science of it – it’s not entirely endorphins or dopamine but a combination of the two along with some other things. That’s what I kind of know. I know the human body is fucking amazing. We all should kiss ourselves every day and thank it for all it does for us.

I know without any question, without the slightest hint of doubt at all – what I know intimately – is that the human body is in constant pain. Anyone who hasn’t experienced the feeling of not having any help at all from your body to dull pain cannot even come close to imagining what it’s like when you feel EVERYTHING.
I don’t feel as if I can explain it well enough right now, nor do I want to.

But I want my body back. I want my mind back, and all the things working as they should  again. I want to feel alive again- with all the pain, passion, love, joy, excitement & fear.

So here we are, nine years later. And I’m fucking done. Things need to change and that is the most obvious one. The feeling of the morphine sticking felt thorns of stupid into my brain is over – or will be soon. First, I need to pay for those lost years, and I know I will – dearly – but every second will be worth it. Nine years of mental fog, nine years of suppressed emotion – the passion, love, excitement, joy, happiness and everything else a person feels on a daily basis has all been muffled, like my mind & heart trying to speak to me through a sealed door.
(Hm. That’s an interesting mental picture.)

On September 21st I will take my final dose of morphine, hopefully for the rest of my life. On the 22nd I’ll begin to feel the withdrawals. They don’t come at once, of course – they gradually build, if I remember correctly, over about three days – but it’s like sticking your hand into a put of 75 degree (Celsius) water. It’s not boiling yet, but it sure as hell isn’t pleasant.
This ought to be interesting.

But WAIT! That’s not all!

To make things completely absurd, I’ve also decided to quit smoking at the exact same time. I mean hell – If I’m going to change my life, I may as well just jump right in with both feet. Get rid of all the things that I’ve been wanting to quit.
In a way I suspect that it will give me something to laugh at myself about – like when you stub your toe and hop around like a fool, feeling like a dumb-ass and laughing through the pain – except in this example I’ll be writhing in pain, wanting a cigarette, and laughing at myself because only someone who is a complete and utter fool would consider quitting both morphine and cigarettes at the same time, and I’ve always held the self-imposed title of “Fool” quite proudly at times such as this.

But there’s something else which is more of an experiment than anything: I have this notion that kicking morphine AND cigarettes at the same time will somehow drive the point that I am now (or will be horribly soon) a non-smoker home a bit harder, because I know smoking is going to be the hardest one in the long run – and I’m in this game to win. So far, I haven’t died 100% of the time, so I’m doing pretty good I think.

When the door is opened, when the fog clears and for the first time in nine years there is no drugged buffer repressing all of the beautiful and horrible things inside of me, I suspect it will be one hell of a ride as I become accustomed to feeling *everything* again – I mean hell, in preparation I’ve cut down the regular dose of 60 – 90mg through the day to one 30mg pill in the morning, and was nearly bawling during parts of the movie “Pete’s Dragon” I watched earlier tonight.

As I said, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. It should make for some interesting blog posts as well.

I should probably apologize in advance to anyone I offend, but honestly – if you get offended, it’s your trip, not mine. Fasten your seat-belts, put on a couple extra layers of skin – and Lighten Up. Things are likely going to get a bit crazy.

Wish me luck.

And please – I’d like it if you commented, if you wish. It will help me not feel so alone.
Comments & ‘likes’ left on my WordPress blog are MUCH more appreciated than those on Facebook, as well.

Four days until I begin to rip myself apart. I’m excited to see what the rebuild will look like.

And I need to figure out whaat kind of art project I’m going to make out of these:
(
I haven’t counted them, but I suspect I have about forty that I’ve saved over the past couple years = when I remembered to.)

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

 

It’s time.

I drifted off to sleep last night with a hundred (or maybe 10) thoughts in my head of how weary of this life of thesamegoddamnedthing day after day, pretending to exist in the world around me with a head full of morphine, digging as deep as I can, past the haze & the hollowness just to feel all the things that nine years ago flowed with such purpose, vim, vigor and passion to the tips of my fingers, and from there it was a direct channel to my heart and all of the things that boiled inside.

I drifted off to sleep last night with ten (or maybe 5) thoughts rolling around in my head of how I had come to loathe this incessant fight for health, battling the swelling in my abdomen & legs every single day, the membrane-thin skin that tears like paper from the open sores caused by nothing more than scrubbing a bit too hard in the shower, the Fatigue, the Fatigue, the Fatigue.

And I woke up with the same conviction to change these things. Life has become nauseatingly uneventful, every day trying to battle the fatigue to conjure up the energy to create something new and, not being able to, feeling as if I’ve failed the day. That I’m not appreciating this life as I should, that I’m not fucking LIVING – and this needs to change.

By the end of the month I will have gone through the pure fucking hell of kicking Morphine. I need a little excitement in my life, and hoping I can race fast enough to the bathroom on legs that want to detach themselves from me & go other directions should be enough – at least for the time.

Then, more fun. Because I deserve it – and hell, this will be something *new*! I like new things, even if they’re used. Frequently especially if they’re used.

Sooooooo…

At my appointment with my Doctor on the 12th of this month, I’m going to open up talks – this time, for the *first* time, instigated by me instead of him, & more positive this time – of a liver transplant. He’s going to shit fucking rainbows. He’s been gently pressing me to get on the list for a transplant for years.

I have mixed feeling about the liver transplant. It seems like the easy way out, in a sense. Just take out the old one that’s killing me and put in a brand new shiny one… one that could easily go to someone else who needs it more. And I still believe that I can reverse my cirrhosis, do it myself… but there is also no way to determine if the herbs I’m taking are helping, as the test that would show that wouldn’t be covered by insurance unless there’s a good reason, and my guess is using herbs to fix what Western Medicine says can NOT be fixed wouldn’t be considered a good reason.

But it’s time. Time to change things, time to rip myself apart & put me together again – this time whole, with the pieces that have been left behind over the years found & fit & made to work again.
And I’m willing to take the easy way out – as long as it isn’t *too* easy.

It’s time.

back in.

 

It’s hard for me to accept. Impossible to foresee what the outcome will be.

Either all I have worked for comes to fruition and my life changes entirely, or… it doesn’t.

Like the 1st letter I sent to the person who, after searching for 25 years, I knew was my birth mother, and the wait after that. Like fighting so hard and so long to make a dream come true that the final act of jumping into the unknown is the only direction to go anymore, I need to take a deep breath, and believe.

It’s time to let go.

Let go of nearly all of the control I had, and just do my best to aim away from the rocks and trees as I soar past them, faster than I’ve become familiar with over the years of lying immobile in a hospital bed and then my own, planning for this time as life passed me by.

It’s time to join life again. To jump back in the game.

It’s getting closer. It’s what I have worked so hard for. It’s what I have studied far too much for – and I’m terrified. I need to remember how to love being afraid, because I *sure* as hell have forgotten – and I recall not that long ago when being afraid, when doing something I had NO idea how to do was like a drug for me – a euphoria. Where the hell did that person go?
I need to do some digging around inside of me & find him again. Maybe he’s just sleeping – feeling unloved and under used.

This will light a fire under his ass.

Very soon, it comes to the point where I have to release this to the world, and see if they approve. See if they are interested enough in me enough to support my project, and hope that they are.

Will they see me? Do they want to know me?

Will they love me?

Sure, I’m frightened – but I also believe that it’s time to light a fire under MY ass, and which-ever way this goes – in some way, it will be successful.

a day begins

 

I wake up early this morning, finally home & in my own bed after spending three days & nights at a friend’s beautiful home, watching & caring for their dog. Ruby & I had a wonderful time, but their dog, a Weimaraner, is brilliant, hyper, & completely insane. Needless to say, it’s nice to be home. I wasn’t able to sleep much there.

As I lay in bed, I mentally go over my body to see how I feel today, make sure things are in more-or-less working order & that nothing has fallen off during the night. Besides the usual pain in my abdomen, all seems well – all my parts are there.

A brief meditation to slide myself into the day smoothly, then I go over the things I need to do. Errands… and The Website. Gods, it’s taken much longer than I had intended, but that’s what I get for being a ridiculously picky pain in the ass. A ridiculously picky pain in the ass who happens to change his mind a lot about the most miniscule of things… but I notice them, and they bother me, and if I *can* change them, I can’t not change them.

It’s a goddamn curse, but at long last, the site is almost ready enough for launch – the largest pre-Kickstarter step, which will help this project reach its financial goal & HAPPEN!

It’s become much more than just a book, though my book is, of course, the backbone of this project. With the addition of the website, I’ll be able to actually be there for people who need things: questions answered, encouragement, more inspiration – and nearly anything else they need.

I’ll be able to help again, in a much larger way; to feel useful, valued – and live a life that finally means something. A life that inspires others to live theirs. Inspires people to remember – and go after – the dreams they had, the person they wanted to be as a child, before they were forced to lose themselves in what society thought they should be.

This world needs more dreamers…

 

I consider beginning a new blog about the triumphs & trauma of creating a Kickstarter campaign for a self-publishing project – a brief prologue describing the hell & elation, unbridled excitement balanced with self-doubt & oppressive frustration it’s taken to get to this point, then continuing on with the same – and if/when the campaign reaches its goal, rolling into the compiling of all the blog posts, the pieces of memory that those set free in my mind, and actual writing of the book.

I know that it will help me, as for the past 33 years writing out the things bouncing around in my head in order to make some kind of sense of them has been the most effective therapy I’ve ever had – and I know I’ll probably need it.
Who knows. It just may help someone else too.

Yeah, maybe I’ll do that today – after I go over the website copy for the 1,436th time and do a couple more tweaks on the site itself. I swear – if it wasn’t for a guy in Peru who goes by Hawkthalas on Fiverr.com, who has been *amazing* at helping me with the site (& making his help affordable to even me!) – I’d be screwed. And so would the site…

So keep your ears open as it’s going to be launched *soon* and please, sign up! You’ll get special things if you do, and be the first round of people to know about all the other related things I have brewing in my noggin’ – spoken word pieces (maybe), exclusive rewards, and when it’s time, the most outrageous book-launch events I can get away with.

Okay – time to get my ass in gear & go pick up my disability check, pay the bills I need to and then figure out how I’m going to stretch $100-$150 for food & herbs for the remainder of the month.
My guess is that I’m not… but TODAY I’m getting a goddamn fancy coffee to enjoy at the dog park, at least.

Like if ya liked this, follow if you don’t want to miss the juicy stuff – and if you’re interested, keep your eyes out for my new blog!

March 31st. 13 Days. The Final (& first) Step….

About This Project

This book has been hard fought for. It was first requested over 7 years ago, but I knew then it was far from what it could become.

I had NO idea that it could become this.
From nearly dying twice during an 18 month hospital stay to finding my Birth Mother & Father after a 25 year search, ALONG with all the amazing (& sometimes hilarious) adventures along the way, its time has now come. It’s time to gather my 100’s of pages of blog entries and create something beautiful. Something that I have every intention of changing the world through.

Understandably, I’m incredibly excited to finally be able to write it for you – but it isn’t just a book. It’s a story for anyone, like me, who wants to change things.

It’s an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, honest, moving and inspiring story about taking control of your life and living YOUR dreams. If that involves making the reader a bit uncomfortable, so be it.

Though the specific journey written about in this story is solely mine, there is something for anyone who has ever questioned their direction in life, who has ever felt confused or defeated, and who has had to completely and undeniably trust their heart – because sometimes when you find yourself on the edge, the best thing you can do is just jump – and watch your wings unfold.

It is written for those who want to stop talking and start doing. People who want to CHOOSE, create their own story & feel the power they have over their lives.

This book will be my gift to those who believed in me when I forgot how to believe in myself.
It is my gift to those I have not yet met, reminding them that I believe in them.

This book is the incredible story of the amazing adventures over the past ten years of my life, and how I turned a mundane, unremarkable existence into a beautiful, useful & helpful life. A life that I am proud of… and the really cool thing is that I show YOU how to change your life, too.

I’m writing this book because I know it can help others. Because I know that it can change the world and there is no better feeling than helping someone else become the hero of their own story… and because it’s also the next dream on the list.

This isn’t going to be your normal “Let me tell you how it’s done” book – there are enough of those. This is going to be a friggin’ awe-inspiring, almost unbelievable story that comes with a boatload of inspiration to encourage YOU to look at your story, realize what’s possible, and decide to make YOUR dreams come true.

Stories. Our lives are constructed by countless stories, and the ones we choose literally create our world. How we look at ourselves, how we see others, how we make sense of this exquisite madness.

Stories remind of us what’s bigger – who we CAN be, and what we can do.

They give us the gift of wonder – something that far too many of us have forgotten. And stories are our pathways to change. This is nothing that you don’t already know. You just need to be reminded that it’s not only possible, but incredibly simple to start making your dreams come true.
After all – if
I can to it…

About Me!

Raw from the brink, his permeable life has affected me in such a way that I sometimes don’t believe kSea is fully human. He surpasses incomprehensible trials & discoveries to awaken us to how thin the veil sometimes is & what to do with it: origin, purpose, life & death itself. To be so aligned in spirit to tell the tales of unfathomable experiences is an inspiring gift to us all. This is a book that needs to be written, read, made into film. One can only guess at the darkest pages, the twists & turns as he finds illumination within.”

Pixie Spindel Photographer, PixieVision.com

 

kSea is what happens when you decide to live your dreams. His unstoppable passion to live is breathtaking, & I consider myself lucky to have shared the stage with such a passionate and beautiful soul. Every single rare second I spend with him is something I cherish.”
Wenzdai Atom-Morgan,Photographer

 

“kSea walks the walk, talks the talk, and is more amazing in ten seconds than most people are in a lifetime.”

Clara LaFrance co-performer, aerial dancer and instructor. Boston, MA / Oakland, CA

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wasn’t happy.

I mean, things weren’t “horrible” by any means, but my life certainly wasn’t heading anywhere amazing. I looked as far forward as I could, and couldn’t see anything changing. I couldn’t see living the life I wanted to live, not if I kept going the way I was – and the only way I saw that happening was if I made some changes… so I did.

Hey there! My name is Casey Porter. I’ll be writing this book for you.

This is the story of what happened when I decided to change things, and how my life exploded in pure amazing after that. I’m writing it because I’m absolutely certain that yours can, too.

Ten years ago, where this story begins, I was living an okay life. Not bad, not great, but like so many of us I felt like I could be doing something more. I SHOULD be doing something more.
The thing was that I wasn’t doing anything to make it happen. I was waiting for it to happen, and so far except for a few cool things that just became fond memories, it was pretty ordinary.
So I decided to do something about it. I decided to actually create my life, and honestly, I was terrified that my parents and the world were going to all get together and sing a chorus of “I Told You So”, but – I at least had to try.

Then something weird happened. My life started falling into place, and dreams started coming true. This is the story of not only what happened, but how I MADE it happen.

I’ve lived an incredible life from that time, beginning with working with Amanda Palmer & her band The Dresden Dolls, lived in a tent for four months helping Hurricane Katrina refugees, been a street performer, circus performer, award winning online magazine publisher, event producer and had achieved nearly ever dream I set out to make real. It wasn’t all roses & glory, but I was HAPPY, and for the very first time in my life, I was living a life I was proud of, and I was helping people.

I was making a difference, and although it was small, it had value.

Then four years ago, I suddenly found myself dying.

The Hep-C decided to wake up, and when it did, it meant business. My Dr. put me into a Hospice/Respite facility, and strangely it even got worse. I was dying, and all of their medicines and amazing care weren’t helping. I was watching myself decompose, and it was really messing with the dream I had to not die before I found my Birth Mother.

 

So I decided to live. 18 months later, after being called a ‘miracle’ by more than a few of the awesome crew who had watched & cared for me during that time, I did what I swore to myself I would do if I lived, and danced out of the front doors. On my feet… and a cane. Actually it was more of a shuffle than a dance, but I wasn’t too picky at the time, ya know?

 

So now, I’m writing an AWESOME book!

A book I truly believe will not only entertain you and make you laugh, but HELP, as well. A book that will change the world.

 

Although the details are my own, this is a story that will resonate with anyone who has felt a longing for something more, or who has faced fear of change. It will inspire, and most importantly – it will help.

Besides – isn’t it time to shake things up a bit?

And when the book is published?

That’s when it all begins.

remembering: how it feels

It was 28 years ago. While much of that time is hazy save for a few of little consequence, there is one single moment that is cut into my memory – a deep jagged scar that will never go away.

I was living with Aleph, Rip & Jennifer at New Method Warehouse, heaven and haven, some time before moving there from my first home in Berkeley, the YMCA on Allston Way. I had run away to the Bay Area at 17, knowing absolutely no-one but eventually met some of the better people. People who are still my friends.

This isn’t about them.

After two years, I had begun talking to my adopted parents again, and they proposed coming back down to San Diego to visit. They would pay for the flight, everything – just a brief time to say hi, maybe try to mend some things between us.

Missing the beach and feeling as nostalgic as a kid can feel for certain things – the Pannikin Cafe, where I spent most of my days alone & wishing I wasn’t so insecure & withdrawn, sitting at the corner table of their outside patio watching people, writing & drawing in my journals, pretending to be all adult & doing my best to figure out life – and the abandoned building on Pearl St, the only abandoned building in La Jolla, which I found my way into one night and called home for a few months after I left my parents house.

Memories. Sure, I would come visit.

While there for those few days, they suggested that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a physical – just a routine thing at our family doctor to make sure I’m healthy and doing alright. Eager to show them that I’m fine, flourishing, rosy-cheeked & flourishing, eager to show them that they can please stop worrying about me, I agreed. I don’t recall much more of the visit, but I suspect that it went mostly fine, or as fine as it could. Back to Berkeley, back to New Method and playing on all of Rip’s music equipment, back to work at Tower Video on Telegraph, back to free time at Cafe International, coffee and writing, still trying to figure out life and taking most of my instruction from ‘Barfly’. Back to just watching the days pass, one by one, an inconsequential life.

Life was simple, good. Me & my ’68 Dart, rolling with Aleph blasting Public Enemy & the Chili Peppers on the boombox that sat between us, changing the words to “Me & My Friends” to include each other, singing at the top of our lungs & making stupid faces…

A few weeks after I returned from San Diego, the memory of the visit already fading into the place where ‘things that happened and don’t matter’ resides in the mind, I was at work ringing up video rentals and putting boxes on shelves, when Chase, a girl who I worked with, called me over. Someone called and actually asked for me. That was rare, but whatever. I waled behind the counter, pressed the blinking line button, and confirmed “Yeah, this is Casey, what can I do for you?” As I listened to the unknown guy on the other end of the line, his voice grew dim but it was still the only thing I could hear. I felt the blood draining from my face, my knees buckling. Many years later I would experience the exact same feeling again when Baruzula told me that my Bean had been hit and killed by the train…

What the person – Dr. whoever on the other end of the line told me didn’t make any sense. I couldn’t have it… could I? Yeah, I had experimented, played around, but only a few times. It was fun, I had fun but it wasn’t really for me, I liked girls, women, more. I mean fuck, I didn’t even know what it was, no one really did at that time, besides a brand, a curse, a stigma and a near guarantee that anyone who had it would soon die a slow, agonizing death. I was healthy. I felt great. How could I have it? How was I supposed to feel? How could I possibly be HIV+? I wasn’t even TESTED! This is a fucking lame joke, asshole. How was I, when was I… oh……. wait.

Without my knowledge or consent, my adopted parents had requested an extra test during my physical.

In the time it took for the doctor on the other end of the line to say four words, my entire world changed. My story was rewritten.

Some things were obvious effects; I wasn’t concerned about trying to live anymore, not worried about if I took too much of this or that drug I would die. As long as I didn’t end up a burden to someone, as long as it was clean, whatever…

But there was one thing that in looking back now, I truly appreciate; Without question, this knowledge insisted that I looked far deeper inside of myself than most have reason to. It has forced upon and blessed me with a wisdom that I can offer to others and help people with. In the strangest of ways, it has become a gift.
Nearly every decision I made and continue to make comes with necessary introspection, a conscious decision, from deciding where I want my life to go to what may become of the most innocent flirtation. Little can be done without first reaching deep inside of myself and looking at it from every view I can consider.

While that may seem oppressive and prohibiting – and sometimes is, it has also granted not only a profound self-knowledge, but an absolute lust and appreciation for the things in life that don’t require me to do anything more than simply choose to say, with enthusiasm and joy: “Fuck YES”… then unfold my wings, and remember how it feels to fly.

Bones: The moment that I became

Wandering through my writing from the day that turned everything around – the moment I made the decision not to wait and hope for my dreams to come true, but actively make them.

I clearly remember when I was offered the choice. I had been laid of from my job a few weeks before and was overwhelmed with stress & worry – about how I would pay rent, how I would feed Bean, how I, myself, would eat.
Somewhere in the background of my mind & spirit I was happy to lose that job, as it had turned into everything I was anymore. I couldn’t have a simple conversation with *anyone* without looking solely for that moment I could turn the conversation in a direction that was focused on finding an “in” with their building manager at work…
I wasn’t paying the game anymore. I had become it. I dressed in $700 Donna Karen suits (costumes) –  and damn, I looked good in them – but regardless of how good the outside appeared, the inside was vacant, save for every day and sleepless, stress filled night, thoughts of how to become better at my job… a job I no longer wanted, but was too afraid to leave.

Too afraid to give up even that small bit of security…

In a moment of clarity, I listened to what was being suggested. This is what I wrote at the time. A couple short weeks later I was working with The Dresden Dolls in a position that seemed to be designed entirely for me, and head-over-heels in absolute love with life. Now, as I look back & see how everything from that moment has fallen so perfectly into place to get me where I am today, writing the story of an incredible life that began at the very moment written about below, I can’t help but smile at how beautiful everything is.
And I am still completely in love with this life.

November. 2004

Oh, the things we suppress. What is squirming around inside of us? What do we have that could completely stand the world on end if we let it loose – gave it breath – acknowledged its life?

 

No. Can’t do that.

 

Everyone resume the game they’re playing. Everyone pretend that nothing is happening, go about your business, and roll your dice. If you work at it hard and long enough, really put your nose to the grindstone, follow the rules, get to work on time, deny the pain and the madness and the ennui and completely lose all that you are in search of the “American Dream” that they told you to dream, you just might die with the most toys. You just might win.

 

Fuck, I’m in a strange mood.

 

I like it.

 

 

Shit. I’ll never find a job this way…

 

 

But see, there’s a catch.

(There’s always a catch.)

 

The things I want to do. Learn, travel, experience, grow, give, help, inspire…

 

Eat…

 

It comes with a price. It all comes with a price. Many things don’t necessitate one in a monetary sense, but still, many do. It’s a matter of survival. We’re caught,

 

but not defeated.

 

All there is, is to shine as brightly as we can, never losing sight of what we need to evolve. Never giving in, never handing our lives and our own dreams over wrapped in our soul in order to make it one step further to a lovely little retirement in geriatricville. Never succumbing to the temptation of personal drama in order to feel substantiated or validated – or just in order to feel. Maybe that’s what happens. We lose ourselves so completely in trying to be a “success” that we need to create situations around us simply to bring us back to life, to remind us that we’re human.

 

Fuck that.

 

Love. Breathe. Wonder. Explore. Dream. Go back to the eyes of a child. Look around and, again, and see how much beauty there is in everything with this remembered knowledge. You’ll see how everything shines so incredibly brightly, and how it’s all a part of you. You’ll walk down the street with a warmth and subtle smile, knowing that this is the only thing that truly matters. Try to remember it, because if you aren’t careful, it will be taken away again, suffocated in the mundane. Do everything you can to keep it, and give it away at each and every opportunity. Eventually, you will know. The language of your story will become true, you will repair your wings with paste and bandages, and learn to fly again.

 

That is success.

It is time to follow my dreams, regardless of how terrifying it may be at times, or the false sense of security that I must give up to do walk this path. I have lived far too long as someone else’s pawn.
It is time to live for me, to remember who I am and do what I can to help, to give, to remember how to love myself – and in doing so, perhaps inspire others to do the same.

A strange separation


vlcsnap-2014-12-04-21h38m30s235I look at old videos that I took while in Maitri. Things I haven’t seen since recording them, “footage” that no one else has seen, nor likely ever will unless you ask – and I don’t think you want to.
Better to hide behind the hint of truth that you already know.

These are the things I need to remember when I see other friends going through the hells that they do – so few of us tell the whole story. We’re afraid to.
We aren’t looking for sympathy, not looking for “oh, you poor thing…” We know. We know how you feel because we feel it more. We feel it more because we have that badge sewn into our flesh. Trust me, this is nothing against you… in fact, I hope you never do understand. I hope that you never have the capacity to empathize on that level. Your well wishes *are appreciated…

But what we truly seek is understanding. A person to cry *with* – not someone who cries for us. Only in those (thankfully) few people can we find some sort of twisted kinship.

Please don’t get me wrong – I love you. GODS, how I love you, for your caring, for your support, for the way that you *don’t* understand…

But I watch the videos, and even I, who have lived through that time, am disgusted at what I see… the decomposing flesh, the blood, the “fluid” that stained everything I slept in or wore, frequently soaking through the three layers of gauze & bandages to the pants Nd dripping on the floor of the cafe… And for the greater part of five years (the decomposition began *long* before I went into the hospice) – that was just another part of daily life. Brush my hair & remaining teeth, splash water on my face, peel the dressing and flesh from my legs try not to scratch because GODS they itched from the poison seeping out… and what do I need to do with CultureFlux that day?

THis seems like an entirely different life, the one I am living now… an entirely different person – finding my Birth Mother, being solid and “stable” enough to at least let a dog “think” that everything is wonderful… – even to the point of daring to offer my heart to another…

And remembering how wonderful that feels, even in the pain that it has brought.

Recently a friend said to let go of the past and focus on the future. I understood what was meant, and in many situations the person woulld be right – *IF* my past – this *particular* past were holding me back from myself and who I continue to become – but as I said to the person after a bit of thought – “In order to see where I am going, I cannot be blind to where I’ve been.”

We all go through what we need to, so we can give the lessons we have learned…

and I think I pretty much lost my train of thought… if there was one to begin with.

Perhaps the most important thing however – as grim as it may look to others, keep fucking smiling – and to everyone who *can’t* understand… please keep it that way.

You’ll find out enough about it in my book. That’s as close as I *EVER* want you to get…

I love you.

 

MomMe3

A day off? Well… no.

I almost did it. *ALMOST* took an entire day off of anything that had to do with the book, after working on at least *something* for it for around three months. Every. Day… but honestly, I’m far too excited. Excited to be alive to be *able* to share what I have learned… so today I start writing the book. The *actual* manuscript.
Because thanks to SO many of you, I am actually fucking alive to DO it.

Thank you.

ALSO, THIS! I’ll take care of the writing and all the other work, I just need *your* support so it is actually published when I’m done – and again, THANK YOU!!!

And please, please share this, because you and your friends are a *million* times more powerful in getting the word out there about it than ANYTHING – *and* you can get REALLY cool rewards for your support!

Thank you, I LOVE YOU, and let’s ROCK THIS THING!

~ kSea

“Not Going Gently” – Early-Bird Reward Details!
THIS is the campaign to be an amazing part of supporting my book!
All supporters will be officially noted and thanked* in my (brand new) book blog, (https://notgoinggentlybook.wordpress.com/ ) where they will get updates, more details about the book and it’s process. Supporters also will be allowed into a special section of the blog with behind the scenes videos, posts, photos, and content solely for them!

*(If you wish to remain anonymous, please send note with your paypal donation message – and Thank You!)
Support can be sent through Paypal.com to this email address created specifically for the Book Campaign:

NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com

I truly cannot tell you how grateful I am for not only supporting this book, but being my my side in so many ways when *no* one knew if I would even live to write it.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. With ALL of my heart.
*All levels in the Early-Bird Campaign magically include a digital download AND a hard copy of the book! (The Kickstarter campaign will have the $5 & $10 “Thank you” levels – this is the one for the super-special stuff, much of which won’t be available on the official campaign.)

Book Release Scheduled For Tuesday, September 15, 2015!!!

And Now –
THE AWESOME REWARDS for YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT!

$25
1. Digital & Hardcover copy of my book.
2. Absolutely amazing good karma.
$50
1. Digital & Signed hardcover copy of my book, personally thanking you for your support!
2. Wonderfully Incredible Karma!
3. A Virtual Hug & Kiss (if you’re into that sort of thing.)
$100 (Only 20 Available!)

1. Everything in the $50 level plus:
2. A hand-crafted (by me) leather book-mark, each one awesome, different & original. (Not just a slab of leather – it’s going to be special!
3. A personalized, handwritten poem by me. To you, thanking you.
$200 (Only 20 Available!)
1. Everything in the $100 level except three signed books, plus:
2. A personalized, handwritten poem by me for you, thanking you for your support of this project.
3. Two Tickets to the amazing, earth-shattering Book Release Event & Party, in September of 2015

$300 (Only 10 Available!)
1. Everything from the $200 level except five signed books plus:
2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, on really fancy paper.
3. A happy dance video of me personalized for and thanking you, that you are allowed to share anywhere. (If you really want to.) I get to choose the music.
$500 (Only 10 Available)
1. A very unique & only one of its kind in the entire *Universe* Custom Leather Book Cover to fit my book, adorned with fancy things and created (as much as tastefully possible) with hints of your unique style & personality.
2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, thanking you.
3. An actual printed “thank you” in the front few pages of the book with your name, showing my appreciation for being one of the amazing “Early Bird” supporters.
4. All the stuff at the $50 level except with five books to share with friends!
$1000 (Only 5 available!)

1. Video of “A Day in the Life of Me”, shadow style… but not a typical day where I just sit at the computer and write or think about writing the whole time.
Action! Adventure! LIFE! Maybe even people – and ending the day with a toast to you! Whether you live in or outside of S.F., you can see this beautiful city through my eyes!
(And yes, you are allowed to suggest things you wish to see me do. I’m not shy – but be tasteful, okay? We’ll talk.)
2. All the amazing rewards in the $500 level except with TEN books to give away to friends! If you give me names I will thank them as well in the inscription!

$¬3,000 (Only 3 available!)
1. EVERYHING in the $1,000 level of support, PLUS:
2. FOUR tickets to the book-launch party & show which is guaranteed to be truly amazing, AND you will be invited onstage to be personally thanked by myself and perhaps a few other people who have been waiting for this book.
3. 1 0n 1 Conversation with The Author (me!) in person (Limited to the S.F. Bay Area) or over Skype for up to 2 hours, where you may ask me anything you wish – or we just have a good conversation. Fair Warning: I don’t do small-talk.
That Support email for Paypal is: NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com

And – thank you again, SO incredibly much for supporting me in this amazing project!

Love love love,
~ Casey