Not this time

I took them down today.

Each day as I sat at my computer desk, I looked up & there she was – there we were, smiling as if we had both won the impossible lottery & holding each other tight. It was the first time we had met, & I remember her thin fingers around me, her thin sinewy arms pulling me in tighter as if she was afraid to let me go again. Neither of us had a choice the first time she let go.
I was happy to stay, my arms saying the same things that hers did, never wanting to let go. This time, I had a choice. I had strength. We both had a choice.

Yet just as before, the choice needed to be made by both of us. It couldn’t work otherwise.

It has now been over 10 months since I last heard from her, and as the days & weeks progressed the images that I had of the first photos of us on nearly every wall in my apartment began to diminish in the joy they once brought me. My heart grew darker when I caught them in my gaze & I found myself quickly turning my eyes away if I happened to accidentally catch one in my sight.

This morning, I cleared my walls of any images of us. I wish I could say it was cleansing, that I felt better once it was done – but it only brought more anger & sorrow, raised the questions I still have again – the questions that were only met in silence… and I can’t help but wonder, just as I did every day as a child and nearly every day after that… what is wrong with me?
Perhaps something else I’ll never have the answer for…

all I know is that they never stay – but I always keep the pictures. This time however, I’m not fucking giving up so easily. Whatever may be wrong with me, I’m better than the way I’m being treated by her – and after searching for her for 25 years, after all I’ve been through – I deserve some goddamn answers.
If I had a car I would be on her doorstep within the next few days demanding them – I don’t give a fuck if it isn’t “fair” to her. She doesn’t get to pull this shit….. but as it is without a car, all I can do is send unanswered letters.
I fucking hate feeling helpless.

I then go online and the first thing I read is of David Bowie’s passing… and there is nothing left to say.

Winning Against All Odds (Book Teaser Part TWO)

The emotional scope of writing this story is becoming frighteningly clear. Every day I go further into the notes, into me, and bring back in unsettling clarity the disquieting details of nearly each moment written about I recall how much more there was going on inside of me than merely the words written in my blog posts.

I was profoundly, overwhelmingly terrified, but couldn’t let anyone know.

In my posts, I only skimmed over what was actually happening in my head and heart, making it palatable to the reader, trying to be as cheerful and upbeat as possible. I couldn’t afford people reading what I wrote and worrying, posting replies that were alarmed or anxious. I couldn’t have the slightest bit of uncertainty, worry or unintentional doubt to cast a shadow over the flickering light inside my heart that I was struggling so hard to keep lit.

Holding onto that light, that small glimmer of belief that I could live through this was the greatest challenge I had ever faced.

Through all the pain, through feeling and watching my body fall apart and rot in front of my eyes every day, the putrid stench of my own flesh decaying, the skin on my legs swollen & splitting, belly grotesquely distended with the waste my organs could no longer process… it seemed futile to even hope in the smallest chance that I would live – but it couldn’t be over, not yet. I still needed to find her. To find my mother. To thank her…

 

The first six months were the most fragile.
These were the most uncertain. From the moment I woke nearly every morning to the time I was able to sleep, there was a constant battle going on inside of me to not only believe that I could live, but questioning whether I wanted to.  It would have been so much easier to give up, let nature take its course, and quietly fade from this life. I mean hells – I had stashed away enough morphine to easily dream myself dead if the pain became too much or the process too slow to endure anymore.

Certainly, no one could have blamed me. I was tired, drained, shattered, and barely holding onto life most days anyway. No one would have asked why I was finally letting death take me… most of them expected it.

Beyond the smiles that the doctors and nurses had learned to wear, behind the caring and upbeat tone in their voices that they kindly tried so hard for, I knew that they were only waiting, making me as comfortable as they could until, like most everyone else at the hospice, I just gave up and let myself die…

I was broken… but I was not yet destroyed.

I can be a tenacious bastard. A really stubborn pain in the ass, when I need to be – and I figured that if there ever was a time that I needed to be, this sure as hell was it! I decided not to give them the satisfaction of being right –after all, it was a pretty high-stakes game, at least on my side, and so… I chose to look at it like that. Like this life ultimately is. Nothing more than an exquisite game, a game that is played, lost or won depending solely on however you choose to play it…

Hells, I was dying anyway, what’s there to lose? Let’s PLAY!

The Western doctors had done all they knew how to do, so now it was my turn. I took risks. Stopped taking their ineffective drugs and started reading & doing my own research into all kinds of alternative healing, from the completely wacky (and there’s some really bizarre ideas out there) to the more conventional. I mean hells – at that point, what’s the worst that could happen?

I remembered lessons from some of the more difficult times I had been through in the past. Perhaps the most significant lesson was that I had come to know – not just “believe”, but KNOW – that regardless of how far you fall, there is always a way back up. You are never given any challenge that you don’t have the strength and resilience to not only get through, but eventually come out on top of. Regardless of how high the odds seem to be stacked against you, you can beat them. You always have the strength inside of you to kick some ass.

I just needed a reason to keep fighting, and a damned good one. Something big, something I could believe in with all of my heart.

Getting the hell out of there & finally finding my Birth Mother – now that was a pretty damn good reason to work with as the main goal to live, but there were others that could have been just as powerful if I decided that they were – the stories I have to tell, the people I might be able to help, the love left inside of me to give… so many things I had learned that still needed to be shared with others.. I had to live.

I made an oath to myself & others.
Hell – some of the people who read my blog during that time all but demanded that, If I did live, I would write a book about all I learned. It could likely even help people. Hundreds of people. Thousands.
A MEEEELION PEOPLE! Bwaaahahahaaaaa!!!
The cool thing is that the lessons I learned easily transcend the hospital or the reason I was in it, and if I wrote a book it could connect with nearly everyone.

So I am writing a book. The time has come. My story is being told.
It will not be an easy story to voice; I’m not looking forward to going back there to say what needs to be said – but I didn’t go through the hell I did to selfishly keep this story locked inside.

It can help people, & it needs to be told.
I have not only survived, but I am living. I am thriving, and continuing to chase down my dreams.

By the way – I have found my Birth Mother, and she’s awesome. We’re getting to know each other, and I’ve even been able to see her a few times.

I also, just a month ago at the end of September, found and contacted my Birth Father who had no idea I even existed – and he’s excited to get to know me.

And I’m writing an awesome book. About an absolutely incredible life.

About The Book
(And A Super-Limited Pre Launch Supporter Reward Package!)

It’s an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, authentic, inspiring and even sometimes laugh-out-loud story about transformation, personal growth, trusting in yourself, doing what you believe is right and fighting like hell to live the amazing life you deserve…

Though the specific journey written about in this story is solely mine, there is something in it for absolutely everyone who has ever faced – or ever will face a difficult challenge.

In order to have it published and promoted, in order for it to get out there and be able to help people, I will need your help. It simply will not be able to exist without you.

I am anxious and friggin’ THRILLED to finally get this going, so while I prepare the Kickstarter Campaign which won’t be ready for about a month, I am offering Limited Edition Rewards for a short time during the one & only:

KICK-ASS EARLY BIRD PRE-STARTER REWARD SPECIAL!

The details are coming later today, so keep watch!

This Pre-Launch special will help me fund some key things that will help get the book finished and published as soon as possible, but because of the extra special rewards that ONLY the pre-launch supporters of the book will receive, IT WILL BE LIMITED

 

digging up the bones

The book is coming together. I have a rough outline done, have figured out a way to have all the things that need to be said brought into it by bouncing around in time, and as a result it even will be spending some time with my The Dresden Dolls & what I learned from working with them.

With all that needs to be said, it won’t be an easy book to write – I know that, I expect it. In order for it to be written, in order for it to have a chance to *help* people, I will need to bring back the very worst time in my life – not just in words, but in all of me.

I will need to go back there, to magnify the passions and pain that inspired it – and then, when it is finally finished, I will be able to give them a proper burial so that I can move to another place.

It’s not going to be easy.
It needs to be done.

in the direction of my dreams…

On Thursday, late afternoon, my cell phone rang. As I didn’t recognize the phone number, I did what I almost always do with blocked or unknown numbers – just let it go to voice mail.
“Hi Casey, this is, um, Don Mathern, just, uh, trying to touch base with you…”

It was a message from my Father.
Strange, the thought that this is the first time in my life that I’ve heard is voice. A very concise message, business-like – but I think I can understand. When confronted with having to leave a message for a 47 year old son that you never knew you had… I don’t think there’s a script outline for that anywhere.
Not even on Google.

He wants to talk. Get to know me. Get “together”, but I don’t see a trip to Boise anytime soon in my future, and I’m fine with that…

But – holy crap.

He said that he will be out of town until Sunday, which is good – it gives me a little time to process.

It’s been exactly four years and one day since I walked into the hospice. Thinking back, it’s been quite an eventful time.

Literally dancing out the door after over 18 months in a hospice then hospital, nearly dying twice & astounding the doctors & nurses when I found the strength & fight inside of me to live…
Finding & meeting my Birth Mother…
Blessed in finding the most incredible girlfriend & partner I could even hope to imagine.( Simultaneously amazed and terrified…)
Spending the first birthday of my 47 years in the company of the amazing woman who *gave* me this blessed life…
Finally wrote to the guy who was the other part of creating me, and didn’t have the slightest notion I existed…
and… he’s willing to get to know me?

Yeah, the past few years wouldn’t exactly be what you would call “boring”.

It certainly makes me wonder what is next.

I need to get my business going – create the means to help others. Write a book. Speak. Let people know that regardless of how bad things get, tomorrow will be better. Always. If you’re alive, you have the natural ability to create your future life – and it’s worth fighting for.
I promise you.
As I am the author of this particular story, I can do much more than only talk of what has already happened. I have the power to decide how the rest of the story reads as well – how the chapters are written, constructed, created – and lived.

We all do.

So… what happens next in your story? Don’t just write what has already happened – write what happens next.

tearing down the final stones

Yesterday, after finally completing the 2,000th draft (or somewhere around there), I dug around my apartment gathering stray nickels, dimes, & even pennies for the stamp that would send it on its way. It could not be put off any longer.

It’s out of my hands now, on its way to Boise friggin’ Idaho, to be opened within the next few days by one Donald Lee Mathern.
My Father.
It was much more difficult than I expected trying to word a letter to a man who on New Year’s even in 1966 slept with my Mother, once, in celebration of the new year.
Forty-seven years and a few weeks later finding out for the first time that union bore him a son.
Surprise.

I have yet to speak with my mother about that evening, to ask all th things I want to know, to hear the entire story of who they were to each other before and after they unknowingly created me.

I would like to imagine that it was a beautiful evening full of romance, laughter, and love. I would like to imagine them as lovers, if only for a single night.


I said in the beginning of my letter to him that if he drinks, now would be a good time to pour one.

I wish I wasn’t so fucking broke. I could use a few drinks too in order to quiet this head.

I had told myself that he didn’t really matter. She was the only one I wanted to find, she was the one who sacrificed. He just played the part of donor. Don’t really care about knowing who he might be.
I think I might have been wrong in this illusion I made myself believe.

At least it’s out of my hands now. What’s done is done… and perhaps I should start tearing down the last of my walls.

46 Years Believing

When I walked around the corner to where we planned to meet, I didn’t expect to see so many people standing outside. Sunday brunch in San Francisco, yeah… but SO many people waiting!
I was looking for my brother. Though I have seen old photos of my Mother, he’s the only one I have anything recent of – none at all of my sister. My mother explained this to us in our first conversation; “We just don’t take too many pictures.”

Well, that’s about to change.

I walked through the crowd outside, looking for Quincy, and probably walked right by my sister and Mother, stretching my neck, looking everywhere, but for once I was a few minutes early. I walked inside and saw Quincy’s name on the board, and then I knew. They were there, somewhere. Or maybe they went to get coffee, or, or, or…

Then, I see someone waving at me, making direct eye contact. This must be Mendocino, my sister… but then I look to her left, and see, for the first time, a face that I have looked for in the mirror for all of my life. Wondering, searching, praying that she was still alive – and she was smiling my smile, looking at me with my eyes, beaming so brightly at me.
This is my Mother. I recognized her in a familiarity that the photos had nothing to do with.
I saw me. I saw me in the way she smiled sometimes with downturned mouth, I saw her gift to me in my eyes.
And… I saw her love.

I walked straight up to her, trying not to run, and for the first true time, felt at home as we hugged.

It still hasn’t really hit me yet, the walls built so meticulously are hard to break down – but now, I have the tools to destroy them with.

Thank you all so much for your support over the years, for your words, for your love, for your sticking with me when that’s all I could write about.
I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t been on this journey to understand, but even when you didn’t, most of you still offered me love and support.

Thank you.

AND NOW INTRODUCING…

Annie – My MOTHER!

MomMe2

MomMe3

MomMe1

to complete the circle

 

The time grows near, and nearer. I last saw her 46 years ago, for 15 minutes after she gave me my first breath, held me to her heart before I was ripped out of her arms and bought by people who gave me everything they could – except my mother.
He was a boss, but trying. She… she said things that get in the way of all that I want to forgive. And they killed my dog without talking to me first. I didn’t find out until months later when I returned ‘home’ from boarding school… but this isn’t about them.

I have let so very much go, and I work hard on being free of them… but perhaps I like the pain. I am a fool that way. I don’t like it, but it is familiar. I reach beyond what I know, for that is the only way I will live, the only way I can love…

Off that tangent.

I admit that I am insecure in meeting her. Her, My Birth Mother. The shadows that have created me are soon to be flooded with her light, and what if I am not the person she expects? We have talked, told each other of our love, and yes, I believe that this will be good – I will clean myself up, dress nice, but I refuse to be anything other than me.

I have worked far too hard to become a person I admire and love, and will not waver, not be false.
That terrifies me. I WILL be honest.
I owe her nothing less.
This time, the choice is hers. If she chooses to leave me again, at least I will have met her.

16 days left of a lifetime of searching.

The Circle will finally be a rising spiral… I hope.

Then, maybe a letter to my father letting him know he has this son. He has no knowledge that I am.

And I fucking AM.