Weaving the Warrior

I’ve been away from the words for a while, but my mind has been far from idle. Now, it’s time again to start writing. It’s the only place I find solace, comfort, answers, as if I was sitting outside on an old wooden porch talking with an old man or woman who offered their wisdom, who made me think. It’s the old black man sitting in his rocking chair that I created as a child – someone to go to in my mind all the times I had no one else…

I’ve been thinking about what I want, what I have *always* wanted, and realizing now that, for the first time in a life that has been spent looking for something secure and solid yet at the same time being afraid of anything that was – I now have that. At least, I have the possibility and option to make what I want in this life finally happen – a creative business that knows no end to growth, that can make people feel better about themselves and empowers them, and through my past experiences, I have something unique to offer that no one else can – the strength I found inside of me from fighting for my dreams to fighting for my life – and that strength goes into every piece of jewelry I design. Through my business and the direction I see it going, I want to empower women. I’ve seen far too often women trying to make themselves as small and unnoticeable as possible, walking as quickly as they can with their arms wrapped around their chest and head hanging down, doing as much as they can to get into a fetal position while still moving forward.

I want them to remember the strength they have inside of them, to understand how powerful they truly are. I want them to celebrate their beauty, and hold their heads high.
I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.

I’ve taken a long look at my life, what it has been and what it could be, and a decision has been made.

I know where I’m going, and I’m going to call upon the same will, determination, and courage that I found when I was fighting like hell for my life in the hospice to make this into what I know it could be. What it WILL be.

It’s time to make my dreams into reality again.

 

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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.

 

Dying tends to take a lot out of you, I guess.

Early morning, finally a night that ended before the sky started to glow with the morning light. It almost wasn’t by choice – after a week of no more than three hours of sleep a couple times a day, the weariness of my body and mind revolted and actually took over my brain, making me think that 8pm was a fine time to go to sleep for the night. Under the condition that it let me wake up at 4am, we came to a compromise.

It was nice to shut my mind down, I’ll admit. to stop thinking about why I love to make jewelry so much, what my goals are, who my ideal customer is, mu core values and my “why” – all things that I need to consider, as apparently “because I like it” isn’t enough.
Of course, it is a reason, but it’s a safe one, one that doesn’t make you dig deeper inside of yourself for all the smaller reasons that make me “like it” – and without those, without digging down to the core of why I do what I do, and why I am growing more towards a particular style, it would be like Picasso answering a question of why he painted his wacky faces with something like “Well, I thought it looked cool”.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve truly questioned things like that, the strange thoughts swimming around inside of me, and why I am who I am. It’s like the time in the hospice took something away. As if the years after it have been far too placid, and all I needed to do was float along, slowly disappearing with only the memories of who I was left to fade in the minds of others as my own existence, my heart and mind, and my dreams – were slowly consumed by the grey fog of an unchallenged, dispassionate life.

It would have been easy to succumb to if I hadn’t tasted the beauty in the chaos of my life before the hospice, but now I find myself as a bird born into the wild might after it was caught, clipped and caged – every day looking out to the sky, its beautiful colors fading as it longed to again stretch its wings…

This is all over the place, this writing – but it’s necessary. With the words I’ll remember who I was, remember the chaos and passion that is still inside of me but muzzled by my own complacency.

It’s time to create my self again. To give birth to a dancing star.

To ask why, and remember the warrior inside of me.

making it all true again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving Forward

Every morning I would wake up excited, the doors to infinite possibilities wide open & inviting me in. Decisions were sometimes made by careful deduction, but more often than not with little more than whim, the flip of a coin, direction of the wind, or the quiet, passionate desperation that endlessly seethes inside of me – the eternal need for the unknown, for adventure. To continually test myself with whatever blessing or adversity the Universe could conjure up to throw at me, and grow. And learn.

Plans to move to Boston fell through so I found myself in Austin volunteering for Katrina refugees in an artist’s forest. A new friend had never been to Burning Man so I promised her a ride from New Orleans, only being able to find a van to buy less than 10 days before we had scheduled to leave. I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted to read so I decided to create it, not having the first idea how I was going to, or even how to build a website – and four months after it launched was producing shows for the first time & winning awards.

Nothing could stand in my way. The world opened to whatever I sought or desired, and if it didn’t exist I created it. It felt like nothing could stop me, like this life I had shaped and formed and fashioned would keep storming ahead. I made my dreams so real, so beautiful, that they virtually fulfilled themselves…

…and then there was nothing. I felt like I was lying in the middle of a freeway, unable to move as life rushed by and all I could do was lay there, static in a world of action, decaying, decomposing, trying not to die.

And time passed. What was supposed to be a three month vacation turned into eighteen months of hell. People visited, some, I’m sure, expecting it to be the last time they saw me alive. I was good at reassuring them, I think, letting them believe I was fine, strong, getting better so that they would be more comfortable. I don’t think I ever expressed how terrified & unsure I was most of the time. I wouldn’t even let myself believe that. I couldn’t. Instead I focused on healing & what I would do when I walked out the door. When I could, I read feverishly. Studied quantum science, I taught myself to use my mind to heal my body.

It was easy to get to know the people in the hospice well, as it was only 14 rooms, 14 people at any time. You found out why they were there, created a familiar bond with them. Of the 15 who died in that time, I watched four with the exact same diseases and symptoms as I had give up and die – three of them younger with less severe symptoms. I’ll never know why. Was it the constant pain, or thinking there was nothing to live for? Had they forgotten their dreams?

I don’t know. I would just wake up and their room was empty, sterile, as if they had never been there.
I couldn’t let their deaths affect me. I couldn’t give in to the pain or the constant terror or the stench of my own flesh rotting. Up until the moment I walked into the hospice – those years had been the happiest of my adult life. I wanted them back.
I had to keep fighting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I walked out of the hospice just a little over six years ago.
All that time I have carried what happened, what I went through, on my shoulders & in my heart – and deep inside of it, I have also carried my sickness. Using it as a crutch, the only thing special about my present is my past – that I’m simply here. Alive, but not living. My life no longer moving forward the way it had been before it all went to shit, and I was left with nothing to hold onto but what I “had” done, instead of what I am doing.

I learned a lot about mind/body healing while in the hospice. I have absolutely no doubt that, as impossible as it was sometimes, if I hadn’t *known* I would live, I would have ended up just like those I watched while there – another sterile, empty room, my body carted out on a gurney behind the curtain of night.

But I still had work to do. Until I let go of that part of my past, I would always consider myself “sick”, and therefore never be able to be *truly* healthy, perfectly healthy – but it had turned into my identity. “The guy who didn’t die” was all I felt I was anymore.

At least until recently.

It feels, now, like I have a future, something to look forward to, and something that I’ve been looking *for* since the moment I walked out. Though it’s not close to enough to satisfy me fully – I still need a vehicle to get the fuck out on the road & just *drive* for days on end and find myself nowhere I’ve been before, I am creating again – I am frequently challenged, always learning, and I love designing & constructing my jewelry. And I have something to look *forward* to. I can let go of who I *was*.

The warrior awakens. There are new battles to win.

And you better fucking believe I will.

 

 

A Warrior Awakened

There was a time that I was called, by many, a warrior.
I have fought for the life I dreamed of and found it, I have fought through what most thought what was the inevitability of death and rose above.

For a long time, I looked for a different word than “fight” – but truly, nothing fits this better.

I will always fight for something better – whether it be myself or others – but it’s usually me, usually the things that have been ingrained in me that I battle.
Eventually, I always win – for now.

A warrior is not your everyday ignorant fighter – there is discipline involved, knowing the good from the bad, knowing the battles that you’re above, knowing the battles you can’t win and walking away.

When the person you battle is yourself, the same rules apply. The same discipline. The same grace.

This is my life right now, looking over my past and yearning for a better future because of it. I fight. I learn. I battle the ghosts and old bones inside of me.

I’m learning again, teaching myself, climbing up to grace.

Eighteen months in  a hospital and all that went with it crushed me…

But I will be that warrior again – and I will bring you with me – if you desire.

Do you?

The Fun Begins…soon (Kicking, day 0)

No ceremony, no ritual. Little more than a momentary pause as I looked at the small white pills in my hand this morning, but in that pause I thought of the nine years gone to the past, and the days or weeks of torture & agony immediately coming as I took my last dose of morphine. Ever.

I took the two half-full bottles out of my nightstand drawer, grabbed the near-full “emergency” pill container that I have kept for three years and moved them across the room to be placed somewhere clever later. Out of sight, yes – but I think out of mind isn’t very likely, at least for a few weeks or more.

If I could figure out the technique that always seems to work when I “organize” things so that they’re easier to find, only to end up lost for months when I actually *do* look for them, then that would be perfect – but I don’t think that will work. If I actually *want* to lose something or forget where it is, it seems inevitable that I’ll find it, even in the least likely of places.

I should figure out that backwards science & write a book about how to use & control it. I’d make millions.

It’s a strange feeling, kicking morphine after so long, so many years of depending on it. So many years of letting it control me.
I was half-expecting a huge mental fanfare – streamers popping out of my head, flame effects shooting out of my ears and little tiny balloons dropping from my nose, but alas, nothing of the sort. It was almost as exciting as putting my pants on.
Okay – as exciting as putting a freshly washed pair of pants on that have yet to acquire any dog hair on them, but still, not much more than that.

The exciting part – well, that will most certainly begin tomorrow, most likely as I race to the bathroom desperately trying not to crap myself in the 20 feet from my bed, or stopping in the middle of eating something for the same reason. It never ceases to amaze me how food can go through an entire body’s system almost as fast as dropping it – as if during withdrawals everything moves around and there is just one direct line from the mouth to the ass.

I think there should be an “Opiate Withdrawal Olympics”, with challenges such as ‘The 10 Meter Toilet Dash’, ‘The Cold Sweat Pool’ (judged by the amount of sweat the body produces in one night of attempted sleep), and ‘The Snot Sprint’, won by producing the most water-like mucus out of the incessantly running nose in an hour. Of course there could be many others – the most sleepless nights, muscle spasm gymnastics, distance or quantity vomiting, most creative screams of agony… it could be fun! Well… at least for the spectators.

And now, off to do some final preparations – give Ruby a *really* good walk, enjoy some of the last sunshine I might be seeing for a few days, clear a direct path from bed to bathroom, send letters to my Mother & Father thanking them for their birthday cards (finally) – whatever else I can think of.

I’ve decided to document the fun with pictures. Here’s one I have titled “Before the Descent” aka “Keep the fog outside of my head” aka “oh, shit.”

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See you all in hell. Be grateful you’re just looking through the window.