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…

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Winning Against All Odds (Book Teaser Part TWO)

The emotional scope of writing this story is becoming frighteningly clear. Every day I go further into the notes, into me, and bring back in unsettling clarity the disquieting details of nearly each moment written about I recall how much more there was going on inside of me than merely the words written in my blog posts.

I was profoundly, overwhelmingly terrified, but couldn’t let anyone know.

In my posts, I only skimmed over what was actually happening in my head and heart, making it palatable to the reader, trying to be as cheerful and upbeat as possible. I couldn’t afford people reading what I wrote and worrying, posting replies that were alarmed or anxious. I couldn’t have the slightest bit of uncertainty, worry or unintentional doubt to cast a shadow over the flickering light inside my heart that I was struggling so hard to keep lit.

Holding onto that light, that small glimmer of belief that I could live through this was the greatest challenge I had ever faced.

Through all the pain, through feeling and watching my body fall apart and rot in front of my eyes every day, the putrid stench of my own flesh decaying, the skin on my legs swollen & splitting, belly grotesquely distended with the waste my organs could no longer process… it seemed futile to even hope in the smallest chance that I would live – but it couldn’t be over, not yet. I still needed to find her. To find my mother. To thank her…

 

The first six months were the most fragile.
These were the most uncertain. From the moment I woke nearly every morning to the time I was able to sleep, there was a constant battle going on inside of me 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 mean hells – I had stashed away enough morphine to easily dream myself dead if the pain became too much or the process too slow to endure anymore.

Certainly, no one could have blamed me. I was tired, drained, shattered, and barely holding onto life most days anyway. No one would have asked why I was finally letting death take me… most of them expected it.

Beyond the smiles that the doctors and nurses had learned to wear, behind the caring and upbeat tone in their voices that they kindly tried so hard for, I knew that they were only waiting, making me as comfortable as they could until, like most everyone else at the hospice, I just gave up and let myself die…

I was broken… but I was not yet destroyed.

I can be a tenacious bastard. A really stubborn pain in the ass, when I need to be – and I figured that if there ever was a time that I needed to be, this sure as hell was it! I decided not to give them the satisfaction of being right –after all, it was a pretty high-stakes game, at least on my side, and so… I chose to look at it like that. Like this life ultimately is. Nothing more than an exquisite game, a game that is played, lost or won depending solely on however you choose to play it…

Hells, I was dying anyway, what’s there to lose? Let’s PLAY!

The Western doctors had done all they knew how to do, so now it was my turn. I took risks. Stopped taking their ineffective drugs and started reading & doing my own research into all kinds of alternative healing, from the completely wacky (and there’s some really bizarre ideas out there) to the more conventional. I mean hells – at that point, what’s the worst that could happen?

I remembered lessons from some of the more difficult times I had been through in the past. Perhaps the most significant lesson was that I had come to know – not just “believe”, but KNOW – that regardless of how far you fall, there is always a way back up. You are never given any challenge that you don’t have the strength and resilience to not only get through, but eventually come out on top of. Regardless of how high the odds seem to be stacked against you, you can beat them. You always have the strength inside of you to kick some ass.

I just needed a reason to keep fighting, and a damned good one. Something big, something I could believe in with all of my heart.

Getting the hell out of there & finally finding my Birth Mother – now that was a pretty damn good reason to work with as the main goal to live, but there were others that could have been just as powerful if I decided that they were – the stories I have to tell, the people I might be able to help, the love left inside of me to give… so many things I had learned that still needed to be shared with others.. I had to live.

I made an oath to myself & others.
Hell – some of the people who read my blog during that time all but demanded that, If I did live, I would write a book about all I learned. It could likely even help people. Hundreds of people. Thousands.
A MEEEELION PEOPLE! Bwaaahahahaaaaa!!!
The cool thing is that the lessons I learned easily transcend the hospital or the reason I was in it, and if I wrote a book it could connect with nearly everyone.

So I am writing a book. The time has come. My story is being told.
It will not be an easy story to voice; I’m not looking forward to going back there to say what needs to be said – but I didn’t go through the hell I did to selfishly keep this story 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.

And I’m writing an awesome book. About an absolutely incredible life.

About The Book
(And A Super-Limited Pre Launch Supporter Reward Package!)

It’s an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, authentic, inspiring and even sometimes laugh-out-loud story about transformation, personal growth, trusting in yourself, doing what you believe is right and fighting like hell to live the amazing life you deserve…

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 difficult challenge.

In order to have it published and promoted, in order for it to get out there and be able to help people, I will need your help. It simply will not be able to exist without you.

I am anxious and friggin’ THRILLED to finally get this going, so while I prepare the Kickstarter Campaign which won’t be ready for about a month, I am offering Limited Edition Rewards for a short time during the one & only:

KICK-ASS EARLY BIRD PRE-STARTER REWARD SPECIAL!

The details are coming later today, so keep watch!

This Pre-Launch special will help me fund some key things that will help get the book finished and published as soon as possible, but because of the extra special rewards that ONLY the pre-launch supporters of the book will receive, IT WILL BE LIMITED

 

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.

Surprise, I’m your spawn!

(Failed attempt to write a letter to my Father # 3,514. I’ll get it right before the New Moon on the 25th of this month… after all, I was born on a new (aka dark) moon –  what better time to send the letter and twist his reality around?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

New Years Eve, ’66-’67.

Think back. Remember what you were doing? You were in California, celebrating the new year with a beautiful woman.

She still is.
She tells me that you were a good man, a good friend to her for many years. A childhood companion, or something like that. She has never spoken a bad word about you.

 

When I wrote to her, it was the most difficult thing I had ever written in my entire life – up until now.

See… this is the thing:. She knew about me already.
You don’t, nor ever have. You had no idea that on that night, celebrating the new year in joy with Annie Stenerson, you created… me.

Hi. I’m your son. People call me Casey.
I need to let you know that I am not looking for anything from you that you aren’t willing to offer. I am not here to turn your life upside down. I have no idea who you are or what your life is like, and I understand that you may have a family of your own, which I do not want to harm, create turmoil, or damage in any way.

Please know this – I have my own life, as I’m certain that you do as well. If you need to keep me a secret, I understand – some things simply are better left in the past, but if you do have a family, I hope that the person your son (me) has become is a reflection of you – honest and with a full heart.
I don’t hide anything. There are probably many who would be proud to call me their son… but only Annie and you truly can! Isn’t that amazingly cool?

I am alive because of you. After nearly 47 years I pop up and call you out as my father. This cannot be denied – you are my father, and I am your son. Your child.

The decision to acknowledge my existence in your life is up to you. I know it is not an easy one… none of this is. It’s not every day that you receive a letter from a child of yours that you weren’t aware of.

HI! How the hell are you? I’m your “oops”. Nice to meet you!

 

A little more than a year ago, I finally met my mother, Annie Stenerson – and she’s just as cool as she probably was back then. I searched for her for over 25 years – over half of my life – but all of my life I wanted to find her. Needed too. She carried me for nine months, gave me up so that I might have a better life, a life she couldn’t give me at the time – and also that unwed pregnancy thing? Not so socially acceptable 46 years ago.

Please don’t take this in a bad way, but I wasn’t really concerned with finding you. You don’t even know I am alive. I don’t want to disrupt your life. You… you just happened, much like I did.

I choose not to think that either of us were “mistakes”. Without you, I could not have lived the life I have. Without you, I wouldn’t even exist… and my life has been truly amazing. I have helped people. Inspired them. Loved them, and continue to.

I have been told that I am a good person, a “good man.” That has little to do with the “dad” that raised me, it has been a personal quest from the first moment I understood “Self”.