To Go.

To live each day as if it has been stolen from death. To wake up every morning knowing that the possibilities are infinite, to release myself from the burden of “how” & the anguish that I encounter every day. To grab Ruby & drive to the Sea, to the mountains, to my mother. To raise my voice and shout at the sky “I am alive, I am wonderful, I am free. I AM.

To feel again the roads underneath me, always looking forward at what I can be, not what I was. The past always takes from the present. To again realize the physicality of the world has its boundaries only if my will is weak, only if I am afraid. To again accomplish the things that the normal person would think impossible.

To go. The wheel lightly held in my hands, the windows down & wind cleansing away the past. To wonder in anticipation and excitement what lies around the next corner, over the next crest. To keep going and discover where I end up. Always forward. For a driver, a wanderer, a dreamer, not having these things takes away part of the soul.

I wake up every morning and say “I wish.” I wish I could take myself and Ruby to the Sea, to the mountains. I wish I could get to events & trade shows to show people the things I can make when my hands meet my heart. I wish I could help people get to where they need to go, visit others who can’t go anywhere. I wish I could visit my Birth Mother, and finally get to know the woman who gave me this life. I wish I could make hers better. I wish I could get in my car and just go, leaving the unforgiving brutality of the sidewalks behind me and again follow the wind. Again follow my dreams.

I wish.

I will.

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The Pain Game

As far as when it started, all I know for certain is that it was Sunday. This drives my doctor crazy.
“This week? Last week?”
“…yes. I think.”
Over the years pain has become something I’m well able to ignore to a certain point, and just go about my day, doing what I need to do as if nothing was different, like the way I’ve gotten so accustomed to the occasional siren or that sticky spot on my kitchen floor that never seems to be un-sticky for any given length of time. I think I’ve even become more tolerable of pain than dog hair – at least the pain usually reduces to a completely ignore-able level without me having to do anything about it.

Usually.

Though it occasionally pops up in other peripheral parts of my body, such as a deep bruise on my arm that leaves me wondering how it got there (usually blamed on playing with Ruby), it usually prefers to center in my legs and abdomen, and while the legs are nearly always just surface pain, over time I’ve become quite impressed with the seemingly endless areas & levels of pain that the abdomen has in its arsenal.
From the umbilical hernia, a steady sharp pain on the surface that occasionally has momentary flashes which reflexively cause me to drop what I’m doing to put pressure on it so I don’t come flying out of myself like one of those streamer-poppers, to the deeper, milder liver pain that has become as natural of a feeling as wearing socks. They’ve basically become old friends, and I can’t even imagine, after all this time, what it would be like *not* to have them. It’s like my body is a beautiful old beat-up car – a classic eyesore, dented, scratched & long-faded paint with an engine that takes some finesse to get going, but has it’s own personality & charm – even if it’s only in my eyes.

I think it was early evening Sunday when I began noticing that this pain was something different. It wasn’t really any single place in my abdomen – it was the entire damn thing, and it wouldn’t go away or be appeased, regardless of any attempts to do so. It was determined.

I tried to sit down, take my attention away from it by making maille, but all I could focus on was the pain – which seemed to realize that I was trying to ignore it, so like a spoiled only child, just started screaming louder. Going down the mental checklist of similar times I’ve felt this in the past, I decided it was gastrointestinal – something was just being stubborn inside of me, and only laying down – and time – could help it. By this time it was nearing around 11pm, so I decided to call it a day, crawl into bed & read myself to sleep, feeling certain that it would be gone in the morning. I remembered this happening on other rare occasions, and felt confident a good stretch of unconsciousness would make things right as rain, & I could continue with all the things I needed to do the next day.

Apparently, it wanted to stay up and play a game that seemed to be called “Sleep through THIS!” – which I’m guessing it probably got the idea from one of those strange & brutal Japanese game shows. It *definitely* wasn’t “Jeopardy!”, which I would have much preferred.

The morning brought the same pain, not increasing enough to cause alarm but not decreasing either, and though the pain was tolerable, the energy it took to not focus on it so I could do what I needed to do wasn’t. I fought through each hour, doing what I could but not being able to do what I most *needed* to do. Hanging on my wall, sitting on my desk, draped over displays are about 40 necklaces, bracelets, cuffs, pendants & earrings, sitting there, mocking my inability to gather the energy & enthusiasm to remind people about them, to sell them, to be able to afford the herbs that could prevent this pain from coming back.

The less energy I had the more morose I became, the less I was able to do the more downhearted. I had to do something to try to change this, to reverse the pessimistic energy that I felt growing thicker around me, the increasing feeling that this whole jewelry business was just another something that I failed in making work. Thought of all I *had* accomplished didn’t help; now was the only thing that mattered. The only thing that ever matters – and I felt like shit in that “now”.

It was early afternoon when I finally moved my laptop & book, holding my stomach as I got out of bed. Holding my arm around it didn’t help the pain, but it seemed like something that I was supposed to do, pretending that it comforted the alien that was *obviously* digging around in there, eating its way up to my chest.

Filling five plastic shopping bags about half way with dog food & putting them in a Trader Joe’s bag, Ruby & I slowly walked down to Civic Center, where I usually see the people with their homeless dogs. I tried to enjoy the walk – sunshine warming my face, a light cool breeze, Ruby bouncing back & forth like a Chinese ping-pong ball on the sidewalk trying her best not to leave any exotic stench unsniffed.
It *was* a truly beautiful day, and even through the pain I had moments I was able to enjoy it, but mostly I just wanted to help feed some hungry dogs & then crawl back into bed. I went straight down to where I usually see the homeless people with their dogs, and found… no one. A couple homeless people, no dogs. I kept walking.

We went through the Civic Center park, around the side I sometimes see others with their dogs sitting in the shade, then back down Larkin again, getting further & further from home & bed. A left on Market, looking, getting frustrated I contemplated just leaving the food somewhere they would hopefully find it – but at this point I realized that wouldn’t do. I needed to see their faces, to hopefully inspire a smile & maybe even a ‘thanks!’. I needed it for me as much as I wanted to do it for them.

About 5 extra blocks & 10 minutes later, I turned a corner & finally saw one girl who looked homeless enough, and she had a dog! She was walking away from me, about 30 yards ahead, but I wasn’t losing her. No fucking way. I hooked up Ruby to her leash so she would keep up, and as much as I could, gave “chase”. Walking as smoothly as I can to prevent any unnecessary jostling of my abdomen, I think the only thing that let me catch up to her were my longer legs and her lack of any apparent need to walk at anything more than a leisurely gate. And Ruby, who helped pull me along when she saw the girl’s dog.

“Hey!” She turns around. I’m trying to look like I just happened to notice her and realized I have a bunch of bags of dog food in my hand.
“yeah?”
“I have a bunch of dog food. You want it? It’s apparently good – she likes it!” I say as I glance down at Ruby, now engaged in trying to inhale the other dog through her nose.
“Really? Yeah, I *totally* need some dog food.”
“Yeah? Okay – it’s yours. Hope it helps.”
“It totally does, I really needed do food. Thanks!”
“No problem, happy to. Entirely my pleasure!”

She looks in the bag, looks up at me, and then it happens. A smile.
“Thanks man, thanks a lot!”
“No worries. I like being able to help when I can, especially dogs!”

With that we part ways, her standing there turning to talk to someone else & me, a small smile on my face but a HUGE one in my heart, start heading home.
I don’t know if it’s my imagination or real or if there is any difference in the two, but I think the pain may have diminished, just a tiny bit. Maybe there wasn’t enough room for it all with the happiness I felt.

“See Ruby, see how she smiled? Now she’s a little happier, her pup will be able to eat for a few days, and I am *really* happy. See how amazing that is? Ruby ignores me for a really interesting smelling mailbox, and we keep walking – back home, and back to bed.

Last night I noticed that the worst of the abdominal pain had finally left, but not without leaving me a souvenir. I’m only slowly recovering from the amount of energy it sucked from me, the weariness & fatigue still preventing the enthusiasm & hope needed to promote my jewelry, letting people know it’s still here, still for sale, and I would still love to sell it.

At least I had enough energy to start a couple pieces last night, as well as begin learning an incredibly beautiful & intricate new weave – called “Dragonscale”.

As much as I love making maille & will probably never entirely stop, it’s frustratingly difficult to maintain the enthusiasm to keep pushing & trying to encourage people to buy when nothing is selling. Only a part of it has to do with the money. Perhaps nearly equally important is the satisfaction I feel, the excitement clients show, the happiness these bring them.

It’s even almost tempting just to give it all away –
just so I could see the smiles.

Glorious Work

 

…and Life begins when the heart is seen again, and opened.

A gathering of friends today at CELL Space to help recreate it – Mike recently took over the lease and has now begun making it into what it can be. If anyone can, it is he.

Seconds after I got out of the car I see Keno, who says he wrote a poem about me the night before – a poem of dreams, he said. I replied that it is the best kind. He asks about CultureFlux again, and I am still tentative. I feel that he is the only person including me who wishes that to start up again – all consuming, for so little that it gives back, but I can’t deny that beginning it hasn’t been on my mind, if only to get my blood pumping again. Still, there is a deeper desire to perform again.

Then, inside, letting Ruby off the leash to cause havoc with the other dogs, Shannon, Mike’s wife, comes up to me and says that she has been meaning to get in touch with me for this year’s Edwardian Ball – if I would join Vau de Vire Society as a statue with the others, this time creating atmosphere around the venue instead of simply on stage.

Gods, yes. Both nights.

Then, seeing Mike, I asked what was needed.

Painting. Why is it always painting? I loathe painting – but I was there to help, and at least this time, considering that – painting wasn’t so bad. After all, I was already walking on clouds…

 

Amazing what life will offer if you just show up for it.

 

Last night, for the first time in far too long, as my mind wasn’t letting me get to the sleep I so desired that easily, there was a notion. A notion that turned to a thought, a good thought that twisted itself into inspiration. Inspiration about a production I could create, then another idea, and another… so involved, so beautifully intricate, incorporating a collaboration between Bad Unkl Sista, Vau de Vire and myself, bringing to life my battle against death over the past years – making it art, making the ugly beautiful, hoping that it inspires. So very much work to be done before I even present it to them – at the very least an outline of the scenes…

But I truly believe that it can happen.

 

All it will take is showing up to life, and work.

 

Glorious work.

Moving, forward.

Sunday Morning, August 26, 2012

I look around this room and count the days in my mind. Four and a half days to pack and move, one day to clean, and I’m gone. If I ever get my shit together that would be plenty of time.

Gods, I’ve gotten lazy.

Kerouac once said that “If you own a rug, you own too much.” As my eyes go from the dresser to the bedstand to the coffee table to the loveseat, the kitchen table that I never used as it was intended, the desk-thing from Xenodrome that Victoria gave me and finally, the rug, I am certain that I have acquired far too much for the simple life I wish to lead. It was so much more fun when I could pack everything I owned into my motorhome – just hang the clothes and costumes in the closet, pack the tools and other things in the overhead compartments and make do with what I had. Strange what is seemingly required in order to be able to call an apartment a “home”.

It never really was a home, but it certainly kept me apart.

In a few says I move into Victoria’s house. I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone by, completely catching me off guard as each day for most of the past month I’ve been practicing getting my talent at procrastination perfected. Downsizing to just one room of my own, keeping only a few pieces of furniture – the bed, dresser, nightstand, and of course, the Xenodesk-thing – and selling the rest. I’d like to somehow keep the coffee table, as it *is* pretty nice – dark wood, a good sized horizontal surface for collecting everything that ends up on it, and a couple of drawers – but that is yet to be seen. Seeing as the rug is only a hallway runner found on the SF streets and fits almost perfectly in my motorhome, I’m keeping that as well. It will go nicely in Vic’s hallway. My hallway.

There’s a level of excitement in the move, not only for the pain reason that Ruby will have a beautiful yard to play in, getting away from the sewer sidewalks of the Tenderloin, but for the first time in years (not counting the hospital & hospice stays) I’ll be living with other people; creative type folk. I can practice my archery & knife throwing in the backyard & garage, maybe even set up an easel in the space to try my hand at painting, seeing what comes out of this twisted noggin’ of mine…

It’s been over two years of focusing so much on staying alive, that I’ve let slide the reason that I wanted to. I am so fucking far from done. There is so much that I want to do, so much I want to create…

so much more that I want to be…