the gift

Every year, on my birthday, I check to make sure it’s still there.

Every year, it is, and my heart is both torn and comforted.
It was the first thing I ever knew, and over the years has become a part of me. I think that without it, I would be lost.

Every year, for my birthday, I take it, wrap it up in pretty paper, and give it back to her, but I could do that a thousand times and it would still be here inside of me. It makes me who I am… but I do wonder what it would be like if it were gone.

Inside is the very first thing I was ever given, and something I carry with me even today. Even more today.

I didn’t have any words to voice what I felt, couldn’t make sense of it as the heartbeat and smell and warmth that let me feel that I would be safe was ripped away and I was torn out of the arms that for fifteen minutes kept the cold of the world away forever.

I would take it out, put it in a small box, wrap it up in pretty paper and hand it to her. Inside is something bigger than she is or can ever be, but something that over years and years made me stronger than I ever could have otherwise been. It takes a lot to hold the pieces together for so long.

She would open it up every year on my birthday.
Inside would be the baby’s pain.

THe Mind is a Dangerous Thing…

I left a message for my Father on Sunday – the first Father’s Day since we first spoke in either of our lives.

Since a few weekends ago when we first met, I haven’t heard from him. I sent a couple emails but received nothing back… and I had begun to assume that maybe he just wasn’t ready – or willing – to have a new son, a complete stranger, enter his world & life.
He already has a family.

Dutts (Dad) & me, 1st photo EVER!

Dutts (Dad) & me, 1st photo EVER!

Only a deafening silence from him since the message I left on Father’s Day, each day that passed, each hour, adding to the idea that maybe just the onemeeting was enough – that somehow I didn’t stand up to what he was expecting or hoping for, and wondering what if I did that differently, said or didn’t say that? How could I have been better for him? Did I not make him proud, or even interested?

What did I do wrong, or… what is wrong with me this time? Even the ones who paid for me don’t seem to want me in their lives, but that I am fine with.

I had just hoped for a new start, a new beginning with someone whose life wasn’t mutually torn apart in past actions… I was just hoping.
Still, at least I had a chance to meet him, to like him, to see where I came from – and am truly blessed to have found a Mother that truly seems overjoyed to see me in the rare times I can make it to her house – and I don’t have words to express how grateful I am for that, for her.

Besides, I can’t expect him to just open up and welcome a 46 year old son into his life out of the sky.

I left a message for my Father on Sunday. This afternoon I received an email from him, asking if I’m doing okay and wanting me to let him know if I end up in the hospital again – and again asking about my book & campaign.

This was also the first email he has signed “Love…”

Gods, the places my head goes sometimes…

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

My Book Support launch is LIVE! Tell the WORLD!

THE OFFICIAL EARLY-BIRD LAUNCH IS FINALLY OPEN!

 

(More details about the book in here, but just skip to the bottom if you wish to get straight to the special Early-Bird Supporter Rewards & details.)

 

Fire-breather, stilt walker, street performer, traveler. Harley-Davidson technician, Hazardous material controller, Hurricane Katrina volunteer, artist, writer, published poet, online magazine creator, event producer… I have lived many amazing lives, realized many dreams – but the story came terrifyingly close to ending before I had a chance to make my most important dream come true…

 

“kSea flux [Casey Porter] is a living embodiment of artistic spirit. He throws himself completely into his work and fears nothing but the chance to gain access to new and more bizarre talents.”
~ Amanda Palmer,
Author, singer & songwriter, TED Speaker, etc. ‘The Dresden Dolls’, AFP

 

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 3 month stay to offer me rest & care to get my fight with Hepatitis-C under control.

A couple weeks after I sauntered through the front door, my life took a grim & completely unexpected twist.

My body began to shut down, and it meant business. What was supposed to be only 90 days of care & healing was re-scheduled a bit – and became 18 months of fighting for my life.

Western medicine has its limitations, and unfortunately I was no match for them. When I saw that not even my doctors or nurses expected me to live and had generally resigned themselves to making my last days as comfortable as possible – it was then I knew I had to take things into my own hands, because I sure as hell wasn’t ready to die. Screw going gently into that good night – I was going to rage. (Thanks, Dylan Thomas!)

There was also one thing that I still needed to do. The largest thing I had ever dared dream, & I had already invested over 25 years of my life into – finding my Birth Mother, and the Father that didn’t know I existed.

Dying was not an option I gave myself. I fought it with everything I had inside of me, and  there was a daily battle I faced at times 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 had stashed away enough morphine to make it easy… but every single time, something made me put the pills back in the bottle, hidden for perhaps another day.

This will not be an easy story to voice, but it needs to be. I must go back to what I was thinking & feeling at the time (which, at times, wasn’t pretty) in order to say what needs to be said – but I didn’t go through the hell I did to selfishly keep this story & all I’ve learned from it 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. We’re excited to know each other – 47 years of catching up should give us plenty to chat about.
This is an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, authentic, inspiring and even sometimes laugh-out-loud story about transformation, personal growth, doing what you believe is right and fighting like hell for it…

 

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 seemingly impossible challenge – or pretty much any challenge at all.

 

In order to have it published and promoted, in order for it to get out there and be able to help people, I need your support! It’s a huge project, and it will take more than me to get it done – but I’ll do nearly all the work.

 
I am anxious and THRILLED to finally get this going, so I am offering Limited Edition Rewards for a short time during the one & only:

KICK-ASS EARLY BIRD PRE-STARTER REWARD SPECIAL!
   ***Ends COMPLETELY on Sunday, December 7th!***

Early-Bird Reward Details!

All supporters will be 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 should be sent through Paypal.com to this email address created specifically for the Book Campaign:
*****NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com*****

 

*All levels in the Early-Bird Campaign magically include a digital download AND a hard copy of the book!

 

Book Release Planned 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.
  3. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$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.)
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$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.
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$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
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$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.
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$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 for yourself & to share with friends!
  5. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

$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! Puppies! 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 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

 

 

 

 

 

Again, a Child

 

The circle is nearly completed, the pain never gone but nearly understood, making me stronger…

 

“…Adoptees are usually shadowed by a pet of some kind, more than likely of unknown origins. They tend to identify with animals, perhaps because they share some state of grace that is outside the human condition… The live or stuffed animal grazes loyally in the interstices between them and the rest of the world… adoptees, of all ages, have live and inanimate animals to accompany them through life.”

~ Betty Jean Lifton – “Journey Of the Adopted Self”

(While most everything these days is about Ruby, this is one of the few times it is not.
I just liked the quote.)

 

I read this book years ago, over, and over, and over. Each time finding new places woven into the words to cry. It was only then that I knew my loss wasn’t my own to suffer with in silence. In some ways it was good, healing. I also found rawness in myself, vulnerability, a rage that I managed so very well to hide for thirty one years.

It has now been just a couple weeks past one year since I first spoke with my birth mother, after forty years of creating fantasies about her, (Well, I was born in ’67, so maybe I *am* David Bowie’s son…) and at least twenty five of actively searching when I was able. Paying thousands of dollars to find her in the end, because doing it myself ripped me apart.
I destroyed amazing relationships, I still have the scars from punched and shattered bar mirrors, I wrote like an uncontrollable fever, and felt the cold steel of my cocked .38 on the roof of my mouth, releasing the pressure on the trigger at the last fraction of a second.

Some of you may understand in your own way. We have all lived lives.

 

“You see the one who I am, not the one who I was. But the one who I *was* is also still a part of myself.” ~ Jean Amery

 

In myth, the hero does not return until he returns what the treasure he went in search for.
Some things I have read on the soul of the adoptee say that they feel just meeting their mother would somehow make them whole – and many end up becoming more splintered than before, trying to piece together what was, what might have been, and what is.

But I am far from most. Some who have followed my writings know this. Me? I can’t explain it. Maybe someday I will, but that will come in time. I weave my life out of the pieces I have.

All of this is bringing you up to the big news I received today. It’s like a refresher course.

A surprise email from my (1/2 blood) sister, my Mothers daughter:

Hi Casey,
I hope things are well with you and Ruby.  I finally got mom to come down for a visit; she’ll be in the bay area on the weekend of November 16-17 (Quincy will drive her down).  I was thinking it might be a good idea to get together, maybe for brunch/lunch on Sunday the 17th?  I talked to her this morning and she would really like to get together with you.”

So… yeah. I will meet my Mother and Sister for the very first time – except for the 15 minutes they allowed my mother to hold me after I was born.
My Mother is not in the best of health, and has been living in a tiny town for… a long time. I want to say twenty seven years but most likely more, I am not certain. A long time. She lives alone… but something really screwed up inside of me has a purely selfish desire to greet her with as many friends as I can wrangle as we stand in the line for brunch, to show her that she created a good heart in her firstborn. Just for a few minutes, because as I don’t really care if people see me crying like a baby, (her baby)… this is our time. I want her to see that she did good. Perhaps that is a really fucking backwards way of saying that I really need support. Perhaps it is genuine. You won’t even need to actually park, just take up most of the street and tell her you love her.
She created me. I just need her to know that she did something good in letting me live…

So, yeah. In eleven days I’m meeting my Birth mother, AND my sister for the first time.
Eleven days after forty-six years.

Holy shit.

“…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.