answers

This is what it has come to. this is what needs to be done – and I’m fucking terrified… but I can’t let that stop me.

Dressed, drinking my mate’, a smoothie, taking all the herbs and trying to breathe. Trying not to think of what I will say, and trusting that the right words will come. The heart can’t be scripted.

It’s been set up, arranged, the best possibility of a time to catch her at home… and it’s happening.
A friend is driving down from Sacramento, grabbing my ass, and then we make the 2.5 hour trip up to Philo, where I surprise my mother on her doorstep.

I haven’t heard from her in over 10 months – I’ve left 30 or more messages, sent three letters… and still, no word from her.

What hurt the most was that there wasn’t even a birthday card sent. I mean fuck – I would have been fine if it were just completely void of words… just SOMETHING. Something… from her.
A heart-ripping contrast to only two years before, when she sent 7 birthday cards, each saying a little something.

I’m terrified… but this is something that needs to be done. The longer it sits inside of me, the more potent the poison becomes. All I want to know is one thing… why? What do you need? (Okay, two.)
Just… tell me to stay, or go away again… this time, forever. I’ll respect whatever you want. After all, saying goodbye was the very first thing you taught me, remember? Of course you do. It’s the very first thing I learned; having your smell, your heartbeat, your voice and everything that was peace & comfort ripped away from me as they took me from your arms.

You made me stronger than you realize, mom. I know what alone means better than most everyone – and I have done well.

I did the one thing I intended to do, which was live long enough to meet you.

I just didn’t expect you to be so wonderful.
I didn’t expect… to love you.

So, today, hopefully, something will be understood. I’ll do whatever you wish – just tell me.
I am, after & through it all – your first-born. I am your son… and even if I never see you again after today – I always will be.
At least nothing or no one can EVER take that away from me.

in silent screams

I leave one message for her, then another after a few days, a week… then twenty, thirty over the months. After a short while I find I’m talking to her answering machine, having almost conversations, telling it what I’ve been up to, how my day was, my week. It’s silent as I tell it that I think I’m getting better, that I wish she could meet some of the amazing people who are helping to keep me alive…

but it’s never her.

It must be around eight months now, maybe nine since I’ve heard my Mother’s voice – or heard from her at all. There’s been some amazing news that I told her answering machine; I’ve met my Blood Father with whom, on that fated New Years Eve of ’66/’67, she created me. The last time we talked, when he & I were only barely beginning to plan it, I asked her how she felt about me meeting him, & she said she was completely cool with it – “He’s a really sweet man.”, She said. He is… I was in & out of the hospital, been cured of Hep-C.
My Birthday has long since come & gone. The day she watched as I took my first breath… the day that only after we met meant anything to me slid by without a word from her.

I went to a small party which only by coincidence was the same day – dusted off & put on the well-practiced smile that hides everything else churning & twisting beneath the surface so that no one knew & it didn’t dampen the moods of my friends.
Hell, over this lifetime its gotten to the point where even I believe the mask I wear for those moments,,, until I get home, check the mailbox and again find it empty.

Maybe everything is broken, and she’s not getting any of my messages. Maybe she doesn’t check them. Maybe it is just too much for her and she has left me with nothing but silence, confusion, – and far too few beautiful memories of the times we had together… just like the others.
Maybe I did something wrong.

Maybe… this was a mistake. Maybe there was something past the smile that I never saw, the few times I was able to get up there to see her. An uncertainty, a fear…
Maybe I planted myself in her life too quickly and grew up too fast in the 47 years since she last saw me, one day a baby fresh from her womb, and the next, a man who has already lived a full life that she wasn’t allowed to be a part of.
Maybe, I did something wrong.

Maybe… I’m broken.

I’ve sent two letters now, another one will arrive for her shortly after thanksgiving. I’m thinking of sending a stamped & addressed envelope in this one. Maybe with a note to me with multiple choice answers.

Hi Casey!
Great to get your letters. I’m doing a)great b)pretty good c) busy, and I/I’m a)VERY sorry b) insanely busy with work c) have been feeling kind of down, but/and meant to write/call…

My ½ sister – her daughter, who I talk to about mom every month or so when we go to the archery range or dog park says not to worry; that maybe mom is feeling bad because she wasn’t able to be here for me, and she’s been a bit depressed lately anyways, not really being able to get around due to her recent hip transplants, or….or….

If I had a car I would have been up there long ago – maybe.
Probably. I understand the need & desire to be alone, but this has gotten to the point where it has just fucking become selfish.

It’s been 2 years & 6 days since the first time in my life I saw my Mother’s face. Could hold her in my arms. Could, at last, after 46 years… feel wanted. I found the heart that I belonged in.

I think of her every day, miss her – especially now, with the holidays here & looming, a time when we should be together – if even only through a phone call.

She always seemed so excited to see me in the few times I’ve been able to get up there.
Maybe she had a change of heart, and closed the part where I seemed to fit so perfectly before.
Maybe there will be a beautiful letter in a plain white envelope waiting for me in my mailbox tomorrow.

I don’t know.
Her answering machine ain’t talking.

It’s HAPPENING! (almost)

Fire-breather, stilt walker, street performer, traveler. Harley-Davidson technician, Hazardous material controller, artist, writer, published poet, online magazine creator, event producer… I’ve lived many amazing lives.

On October 6th, 2010, at the recommendation of my doctor, I was accepted and admitted to a private, 15 room hospice/respite in San Francisco called Maitri. What was scheduled was a 90 day stay to offer me rest & care to get my fight with Hepatitis-C under control – turned into 18 months of fighting for my life…

And I am writing a staggeringly impressive, captivating, and almost unbelievable story of my amazing journey, which will serve as a beacon of hope for anyone who has ever – or will ever – face a difficult challenge in their life. You will be inspired, intrigued, and engaged.  It will resonate with you & relate to you. You will see yourselves in my story.

In essence, this book will be my way of “paying it forward”, returning the love and generosity to those who helped me through it all, and hopefully inspiring others I don’t even know yet to never, ever give up. This life is simply far too beautiful to let go without one hell of a fight.

I just need to get the book published, and in order to have control over the message the story will carry (& everything else about the book) I’ve decided to publish it myself.

In order to do so, I will need your support, so…

The Early-Bird Launch  is opening on MONDAY!

So why am I doing this pre-Kickstarter “soft” launch?
First, I’m excited as hell to get this book written and published as soon as possible. In order to have a great Kickstarter campaign, a LOT of work will be going into that – which will likely not be completed until early December.
I have already compiled 93 pages (over 29,300 words) of notes, thoughts & memories, and I know that more will come as I go through those. This book is going to be quite an epic journey – as it should be. It’s not every day that someone comes within a hairs breadth of dying – not once, but twice, lives to tell about it, and then goes on to accomplish the largest dream I have ever had – finding my Birth Mother & Father (who by the way are awesome people!) This is an incredibly ambitious mission, there is a lot to tell – and in the telling I know I can inspire & help countless others.

Second, there are certain rewards that I want to offer for your support that are very limited and special – things hand-made by me with tons of love and gratitude crafted into them. While * of course could offer these in the main campaign, I wanted to give them to those who are as eager as I am to see the results that this book will have, as I foresee the publication of it being just the beginning of a new & amazing journey.

Third, it will help me keep the main campaign at a reasonable number. Kickstarter also takes a large chunk for their fees, so this will assist in that as well.  I’ve looked deep into what it will cost to edit for continuity, copy-edit, cover design, publish & format digitally, get included in catalogs & Amazon, make free copies available for reviewers, promote, promote, promote etc. – I’m going to do this right, and it will be a truly beautiful book – one you can judge by the cover… almost. All modesty aside, the story itself will be (is) nothing less than astonishing.

Fourth – The sooner I get the word out there and get people excited in the book, the better!

 

Keep an eye out on Monday for the announcement & more details about the book – I’m just polishing up a few final things, and it should be delivered to your inbox or wherever you are seeing this message) in the early afternoon!

Are you as excited as I am about this?

Much love, and thank you for making this life so extraordinary,

~ Casey

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.

the weight of unwritten words

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken pen to paper – or at least fingers to keys, and written in here. On this.

It is not by choice. Quite the contrary. I’ve wanted to, thought about it nearly daily, but it was only just that – a thought. The more I thought about writing and didn’t, the more difficult it seemed to get started. Just with that first thought, inspiration, that first sentence which then carries the weight of the words that follow, and seems to do so easily…

So I begin with that first thought – that it has been a long time since I’ve written in here, and far, far too long. Instead of the first sentence, I have carried that weight.

Perhaps that is the curse of someone who calls themselves a writer; if they aren’t writing, what are they then?

So I begin. There is a lot to say.
There always is.

Twelve days ago, on September 5th, I turned 47 years old. If someone looked back on my life and only had that to go on in trying to determine my age, my guess is that they may guess that I was much further in years than I am. The strange thing is that I don’t feel anywhere close to 47 – if I forget all that has happened in my life. Save for the added coffee in the morning, or the way I bounce off of random things a bit less bouncy… it’s difficult to believe that I’m three years away from 50 friggin’ years old, but… I digress.

It was, without any question, the best birthday I have ever had. In my entire life. Ever.
You see – as a birthday gift, my girlfriend, Kat (aka the most amazing and incredible person/woman I have ever met) drove me up to spend the day and night with my Birth Mother at her house. The first time in my life I ever spent it with the person who created this incredible life – the person who gave it to me, to do with what I could.

It was like we were old friends, Kat, my Mother & me, just sitting around, talking, relaxing, shootin’ the shit. Nothing special, nothing heavy… and astoundingly beautiful.

I can’t help but think to where I was just under three years ago, fighting for life in a hospital bed for over 18 months, and so very many times knowing how easy it would be – and how much I wanted to just give up, have it finally end, stop fighting and let this life fade away. I even had saved an easily lethal cache of morphine to make it happen quickly, easily, painlessly if I decided to leave.. but something wouldn’t let me.

So I did what I could, and I lived. Surprised the hell out of the nurses who cared for me during that time – and as I was saying my farewells before I danced out the door, some weren’t afraid to say that they didn’t expect me to live. It was safe to say then, I guess…

Since then, life has only continued to become better and better. Sure, there have been some hard times, of course – but nothing compared to the way my live has been changed & been so beautifully blessed. Things have happened that I didn’t think were even possible… but I continued to dream that maybe, juuuuust maybe, they were – somehow, someday, if I were patient enough.

I took 25 years of searching, but I found my birth mother. It took nearly a lifetime, but found a partner that I can easily envision sharing the rest of my life with – and I think that, even including finding my mother, that is the most amazing and unexpected blessing of my entire life.
I do apologize for the lack of poetry, for it is most certainly warranted, but it’s knocking on the door if 5am and I’m just struggling to finish this particular post so I can get to sleep, and start regularly posting again.

There is some crap over on Facebook, so maybe tomorrow at some point I’ll rip it off of that horridly undeserving place and put it here… but for now, and until again  – soon –

Good night.

Time does not heal.

Four years. I was laying in the hospital bed, expected to die, and that is the last I heard from my adopted family.
The last brief phone touch with the “mother” who raised me was  while I couldn’t lift my head off of the pillow. Her first quistion was not “how are you” are you alright” or anything close.
“Hey, ma.”
“Are you working? Do you have a good job?”

That was the last time I spoke to any of my adopted family… Until now.

The man I called ‘Father’ was always a good person, and always tried to be better. With the pure hell that “she” is, I cannot help but admire him for sticking with her – but I also see him as a fool.

No words for over four years. Leave it to me to fuck their reality.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~

I found her. My Mother, a year ago.

Thank you for all that you gave me, and tried to. I will always love you for that – you let me have a beautiful childhood…
and I will never forget it.

Please know that you did not fail me – my soul was/is simply to big for your world.

These days I am happy, healthy, and have amazing friends. I am very wealthy in the things that count the most.
Dad, I admit – I miss your smile, your spirit, your heart. You are a very good person,you always have been… and I AM one to judge. You only know the smallest piece of my life, who I am – but I learn more about people every day, and have looked for the words to send to you, tell you how much I will always love you, release you from any pain regarding me – if necessary.

Again – you did not fail. You gave everything you could, but… I followed my soul.
My heart still loves you.

Attached is a photo of me & my Birth Mother. My actual father still does not know I exist – I am the product of a New Years Eve romance. My Birth mother is healthy, lives in a small town about two hours north of San Francisco called Philo, and is very happy that I found her. She did not search for me, even as much as she says she wanted to. It was far too dangerous – think about it. She couldn’t even know if I knew I was adopted…

Dad, I love you. I always will. Thank you for everything.

kSea flux

(Casey Porter)

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CultureFlux Magazine
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Attachments area

MomMe3.jpg

 

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.

Fourteen Years and Forever

 

Wanting to Fly.

 

The photos now hang on my wall. Images of the woman who gave birth to me, the man who fathered her. Proof, for the first time in my life, that I truly exist. Proof that I am human. Proof that I am of blood and bone, heart and mind, but – so much more.

There will forever be a deep-seeded sorrow inside, and this I now know. I have no other Self to relate to, to remember, before it was a part of me, twisting itself inside, coursing through my heart long before I knew how to speak the words to help understand it. This pain is unique to the adoptee, to the child ripped from its mother’s arms, dropped inside a world where all that it knew – her heartbeat, her scent, the sound of her voice that leaked through the walls of the womb it became in, were gone. Though we try to understand, and eventually on an intellectual level we may manufacture enough excuses to be able to effectively ignore the ache, it is something that never goes away.

What we do with it, however, is our choice.

 

All of my life I’ve been creating different futures for myself, and rooted in every one was how I imagined myself at the end of this quest. That was the goal. That was what I focused on; who I would be when one of us found each other, what I had accomplished, if she would be proud of me, if she would want to know me, to meet me. Every single “what if” that I could imagine. If she would even be alive, or, if I would. Swirling inside of me at the same time was the frustration of it all, the futility, Every moment was a fight to feel real or feel nothing at all…

But here we are, with the searched for found, the journey over and just beginning, the pieces in place and the final moment to end and begin again waiting. I’ve been reaching for this all my life, but now that I’m here I find that there is no resolution. No end. I could never see my life past this point, but now I must.

I must begin again.

I return to the questions I have never been able to find answers for, not because I am a fool, but because I’m not a pawn. The real questions are too big to have an ultimate answer. The Universe expands. The more we see the more we understand there is to see. A new beginning, a different end, another beginning.

It is now time to re-make me. From the beginning, from today.

Once, everything I was looking for was her. Everything I thought I needed was on the outside.

It’s time to remember that everything I have always searched for… is already inside of me, just waiting, wanting to fly.

I just need to decide which cliff I want to jump off this time. The wings will always appear…

loss and found

Parts of the first email from my Sister. October 28, 2012
Hi kSea,

I’m Mendocino, your sister.  I don’t want to impose or in any way interfere with your acquaintanceship process with mom; I feel that I should give the two of you space to get to know one another.  If and when the two of you are cool with each other and have had a chance to start developing a relationship, I’d love to throw myself into the mix and get to know you, assuming that’s something you’re interested in.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“…The thing I want to tell you is this: my brother Quincy and I have known about you, in the abstract, for as long as I can remember. Mom started talking to us about you when we were just kids, but the conversations tended to end with her in tears. Knowing her, I know that she has always wondered about you, always worried about you and hoped you were doing okay, and always thought about you with a profound sense of loss and sadness. I’m so glad you found her.”

found.

I never answer calls from unknown numbers. Ever… except this once, about forty five minutes ago.
I’m not sure why, I didn’t even think about it. Just answered.
“This is Casey”
“…Hi Casey, this is Annie.”
It took me a second to realize that “Annie” is Ann Stenerson, and that those five words were the first I had ever heard in my life
spoken by my Mother.

She seems kind of awesome… and I have a younger half brother (Quincy) and sister (Mendocino, aka Mindy).

Needless to say, right now I’m just about speechless with joy.

“…With Love, Annie”

Just getting home from the Oddities -SF shoot, I notice that there’s something in my mailbox. I open it, and… not a bill, not something, as usual, addressed to a previous tenant. It’s a card-sized envelope, addressed to me in beautiful handwriting, the name on the return address… of Annie Stenerson.

I’ve sent enough hopeful letters out, had enough dreams crumble underneath me when there either was or wasn’t a response to know better, but still, my hands shake as I take the elevator up to the third floor, walk quickly down the hall to my apartment, and carelessly toss the envelope on my coffee table as I put the leash on Ruby to take her outside. I do my best to remember the previous letters sent, full of my heart and hope. Ruby is here, now, needing me, thrilled to have me home.

Ruby is real, and exactly what I need to rationalize not immediately opening the envelope.

I do well – I walk slowly, let Ruby play a bit with the few other dogs we meet along the way, do everything I can not to think and break into a sprint for my apartment and the card.

Up the elevator again, I look at the card without touching it, preparing myself as well as I possibly can.

In my hand now. It’s thin, flexible. Not much written, no photographs. In my mind I am already composing an email to Kevin Lynch, the person who did my search at OmniTrace, letting him know that, while everything seemed to be right, unfortunately, it’s not her. This is a feeling that I’m familiar with, one I remember with horrible clarity.

I’m wearing the knife that I always wear when I wear a skirt – not the folding Spyderco for daily wear, but the beautiful fixed-blade Buck that my girlfriend in New York gave to me for my birthday back in 1993. For my birthday. I think of how appropriate it is that I use this to carefully slice open the envelope.

I pull out the single page card, a beautiful watercolor of  white orchids on the front, then turn to the back and, ever so slowly, measuring the weight of every handwritten word, begin to read:

“Dear Mr. Casey Porter,

Thank you for your very nice letter and pictures…”

I pause there, afraid to read more. This is how all the others began as well – but I push on. I need to, even though I know what must be coming…

“The information from CHS is certainly my information, and the pictures show an amazing resemblance in our features, so…

I am extremely happy to tell you that I am your Birth Mother, and that you are my Son.”

Wait. WHAT??! This isn’t right, this isn’t what I was expecting, this isn’t, can’t be… I read it again through tears, each word and the spaces between, making certain that I didn’t misread “happy” for “sorry” miss a “not” in there where is should be – where it always has been before.

Where it has been in my heart for forty-five years.

It isn’t there.

Not anymore.

My Mother’s letter to me goes on – feel free to call or write her anytime, and she will try to answer the questions I probably have… and she would like to know more about my life, if I wish to tell her.

It’s signed “With Love, Annie”

With LOVE, Annie.

My Mother.

123 miles and a Lifetime

One Hundred and Twenty Three Miles North, in some place called Philo, California, is the woman who created me, the woman who I wouldn’t have existed without,
the Woman who made me into a little boy,
then a Warrior.

A woman I have only known through growing inside of her.

As I sit here trying to get my ass off of this couch and make it to the post office, I wonder
as I always have
what she is doing, today.

I guess that it’s time to quit wondering,
quit re-living the past through my older writing,
but, I must admit
it gave me the strength I needed to send this letter.