behind the smile

Where do you say what you can’t?

They tell you to be buoyant. They tell you to be enthusiastic, strong, confident in the words you write, the words you share and hope the world will see. When people visit or hear about my Kickstartercampaign, they don’t want to read my woes or worries.

For now, I put on a plastic smile like a McDonald’s server and don’t show the terror. For now I don’t say what I am truly feeling.
People don’t want their bubble popped. They want to feel confident in my project, to be lifted higher in the buoyancy of my words, as forced & manufactured as they may be at times.

I want to make them happy. I do care. I try to give them what they look for, and I hope by writing the words I will also be lifted.

I can’t write “If this campaign isn’t successful I’ll probably die before the book is finished”. As true as it is, threatening people to support my campaign probably wouldn’t go over too well, y’know?
Still, boiling in this head is the knowledge of what will happen if this campaign doesn’t succeed. The things that only I have known.

Until now.

THIS is where I can scream. Most the people I know on Facebook don’t take the time to read anything over a few sentences, regardless of what they say. Here I find a sanctuary, either real or imagined. On WordPress.
This is where we ALL can be real, be vulnerable. This is the shower we sing in.

My book is all I have anymore. All there is left in me to give. Due to the way this disease works and what it’s done to me I can’t really perform, can’t work. I don’t know the days I’ll be too exhausted or in too much pain to do more than pass the day in bed. Though those days are less, they still happen – and the rest are filled with such a growing hatred for the life I’ve been living since I was released from the hospice that I know with certainty that it’s something I can’t go on with.

The book is/was/will/would have given me a reason, a new breath, a purpose. To go back to living each day worried about getting herbs, to go back to each week with the only thing I can focus on is begging more friends for money to afford them is no life at all.

Every waking moment I’ve had the thought of how my life would change to keep me going, to soon be able to live a life that matters, to have a purpose for each breath.
To enjoy life. This is what the success of the campaign would offer me.

I have envisioned myself a thousand times or more waking up for the first time in years with the excitement of living, of having something I needed to do besides beg for more money. I would sit in random café’s writing, sipping coffee for the flavor and remembering with clarity the amazing life I have lived, smiling to myself as I lifted my head & turned to look out the window and knowing that I’m doing something good. That I once again had value.

I would sit at my Mother’s dining room table, facing the back yard wo I can watch Ruby play, run in and out of the door with the dog my mother and I would find for her in a rescue. She says she wants one and I could get it for her, help her take care of it. Help take care of my Mother. She would come home and ask me about my book, and I would share the stories I had written that day. She would get to know me and I her. We have 48 years to catch up on.

I would hold my head up, a smile glinting off the green in my eyes and hinting on my lips. People would know again. I would know myself again. This is why I am. This is me. I would be full and in love with life. It’s been so long, so long – but I woke, rang the bell above my grave and purpose came to dig me out. I sucked the fresh air into my lungs and this empty heart was filled.

They would read my stories, my life laid bare, naked for them to see and they would see themselves. They would find the parts, the lines that made them stop & look up with a sudden spark of understanding that it only took a decision, that the past didn’t matter and all the smallness they felt would be washed away in the ink of my words staining their face with a determined grin. They would mark the pages, underline sentences, read it again and maybe buy a copy for a friend or two. They would write to me and I wouldn’t feel so alone anymore.

This campaign needs to succeed. I need to write my life, give it away.

The heart inside of me is weary, vacant. I say I love people hoping that in the spoken words I will remember how. The smile on my face is an advance taken from when I can feel it again, when my heart fills with the knowledge that my life has changed from the barren desert it has become. Beg for money, get herbs. I’ve been kept alive by the possibility of the book, the knowledge that when the campaign succeeded it would be written. Take it away and I have nothing I need to live for and I need a reason.

I try to write with an empty heart and find all I can hear are the sucking noises like those a straw makes in a cup that’s been drained by a ravenous thirst.

Also haunting me is a thought.
In September 2010 I walked happy & full of energy into the hospice/respite that I was supposed to spend only three months in. Up until that moment I worked every day on my magazine, setting up interviews, making the site better, writing reviews and each morning stepping out of my motor-home with a smile. Even though my legs were bleeding, swollen, leaking the poisoned fluid my liver couldn’t process and in extreme pain, I still walked with purpose and pride to the café knowing there was something I was needed for.

I wasn’t able to work on CultureFlux in the hospice. I had been doing fine (relatively speaking) before I walked in, living in poor conditions with no money, food, and only enough water to wash my face in the morning – but I had a reason to go on. I loved being able to help other performers through the magazine and I loved giving them a voice.

Within a week my body began to shut down. My skin began falling off, hair coming out in clumps, and I was barely able to walk. One week.

What will happen if the campaign doesn’t succeed? When I don’t have the dream of writing & publishing the book to keep me alive anymore?

The herbs have kept me healthy, but it’s purpose that keeps me alive. From the edge of death in the hospice to the 4.5 years following, I had two things to live for: Finding my Birth Mother and giving this book to the world, hoping my life will inspire theirs.

I have found my Birth Mother.
For anyone who reads this, thank you for letting me vent, and don’t get me wrong – it’s not always like this inside my head. There are still many times when I realize it’s only the 6th day with 5x that more to go, and anything can happen. Hell, Oprah could see it and announce it to the world! It could go viral on Youtube! Anything! The most important thing I need to remember is to NEVER GIVE UP, even as much as I want to and as hard as it can be to dredge up the energy to go on. WE DO NOT GIVE UP.

http://bit.ly/NGGKickASS

I’m going to keep on fighting like hell for the success of this campaign, to make this dream a reality and again have my heart filled with purpose and passion.

It IS possible, and I’ve come from behind to achieve my goal more times than I can count. I mean hell – isn’t that what we do with EVERY dream we realize? We are WARRIORS, and this is what we do!

For anyone interested what all the above is about, here’s a link to my Kickstarter campaign! I wouldn’t mind at ALL if you supported it by making a pledge and/or shared it as far & wide as you can – you would be my new favorite person!
Just – don’t include the above, okay? (winky face)

And when you go there, please take a second to check out the update – I was *amazed* with what people said and want the world to see it too!

To all out there in WordPress land – thank you for being here for me. And thank you for not charging for my therapy.
Any comments of support or suggestions on how

 

 

 

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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.

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

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.