Alone in the Past

My toes hang over the precipice as I stare down into the void, each year hoping that this time it might be different, that I won’t fall into that vast chasm of loneliness in my heart, that this time, maybe, I’ll walk home feeling less alone than when I walked there. Maybe I’ll break through my shyness and meet a woman I might eventually find love in, maybe I’ll meet a stranger and through good conversation see the promise of a true friend.

This year, maybe I’ll find my way out of the shadows.

In the green room we again say our rushed hello’s and how are you’s as they all get ready for the night – the majority of the people living less than ten miles away, yet still I only see at most a few times a year, and then only at events. Again the questions invade my mind, wondering who I am to them, and who they are to me.

Though in conversation I would call many of them friends just for ease of description, I hold that title with a certain reverence – and with the exception of a scant few I wonder and doubt if it holds true any longer. Perhaps once upon a time it did, but now, these days, I feel as if I am nothing more than an apparition from the past, chained to their present and still trying to belong in a place I don’t anymore.

Each year I walk out my door with the hope that maybe this time, it will be different – but each year I walk home, again alone, again feeling lonelier than I was on my way there.

There was a time when I changed my life completely around somewhat frequently, a time where I earned and lived my chosen name of Flux – but that person was lost somewhere in the eighteen months in hospice and years after, teaching myself to walk again and rebuilding the atrophied muscle. All I was anymore was the guy who fought death and won.

Now it’s time to be someone different. It’s time to change. Time to let go of the past and who I was, and become, again, someone new. Something new to be known for – and possibly, be remembered for.

It’s time to step back from the edge of this oppressive loneliness, meet new people, and in the process earn my name again, and again make my dreams into reality.

After all – that’s what I’m good at.

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.

 

out from underneath

It’s all in my mind.
I keep telling myself that, doing my best to rip it away, rip it out and discard it like I did most of the memories of my childhood, but it’s tricky. I tend to hold onto things.

I can almost trace it back to the exact time it started, this heart-hoarding. 1986. A call, telling me i would be dead within a year, or maybe a few months longer in excruciating pain if i wasn’t lucky. 19 years old, and all of the sudden all the time I thought I had wasn’t there anymore. I needed to remember it all. I needed a reason to die smiling.

Everyone else was doing what they should. I read the papers, heard about the vigils, and everyone else was behaving as expected, taking their last breaths in a timely manner.

A year passed, then two, then three, and every day for over a decade I would wake up and wonder if that was the day I finally got sick.

every single fucking day, when my mind was left to wander for even a few minutes, I remembered – I couldn’t forget – that every second mattered, and shouldn’t be forgotten.

It’s hard to break a habit like that, but I need to. I need to crawl out from underneath this shadow that has kept me from believing in any kind of future for myself.
Things need to change. need to change.

It’s all in my mind.

Into the Storm

Sitting in my bed, comforter pulled up to my waist, warm and… not happy, not blue, but if I had to think about it (and it seems I need to now that I wrote that) – feeling… what? Perhaps something of a positive indifference, if that makes any sense.

Grey skies, scattered rain & the wind howling through my windows which I intentionally leave just a crack open for exactly that reason. I like the feeling of safety & warmth inside, the storm not able to affect my life, as much as it beats against the barriers that surround me.

But I also miss the exquisite storm, the way my blood pulsed feverishly, passionately through my veins feeding off of the uncertainty of every day. I miss the directionless path, trusting that it would take me where I needed to be and it always did. I miss the way the words would rip themselves out of me, tearing me apart & puttin me back together like a puzzle that always found a place for the extra pieces.

I miss the feeling of the feeling of the road under my wheels.
I miss the fever.
I miss the storm I once was.

The wind screams & moans through my windows, calling me, summoning me.

It’s time to join it.

another day

Wednesday comes around again just as it always has & probably always will in my lifetime, gods willing. I wake up early and feel uncommonly refreshed from a good nights sleep with strange dreams I don’t remember enough to write down.

Give the pup a hug, crawl out of bed & make my way to my kitchen, make a small cup of coffee to warm me, take the herbs that sustain me, the first set always the ones I need to take on an empty stomach. Later, after I dig up something to eat, I’ll take the herbs that require something in my stomach. A daily process. I’m weary of it, but the alternative is far worse than a bit of inconvenience.

Adjusting the pillows I crawl back on my bed, put down a little more than 1600 words of a book that might get done but never finished and wonder at the futility. I try to push that thought from my head and bring it back to the passion of a dream.
I don’t succeed. Not this time. I haven’t been able to believe in my future since I was nineteen years old & was told I had contracted HIV. The book seems so horribly far away…

Today marks the twelfth day I didn’t take morphine in order to get out of bed, the sixth I didn’t desperately want to. Nine fucking years and at long last I’ve broken the chains that held me. Right now it feels wonderful, I feel like I’ve won another battle, but I know that eventually this will fade into the past like the others I’ve made it through.

It seems as if the more I go through, the less surviving and making it through the battles means to me, and I wonder if that’s a product of the life I’ve been living, where so little happens these days. It seems as if it should be the other way around, where things like this are lost in the excitement of life, but… perhaps it’s because this is my life.

Just as I don’t celebrate the ability to get out of bed anymore, just as I don’t think about the way that only a few years ago I couldn’t walk without aid to the bathroom or breathe without a tube down my throat.

I’m not ungrateful. Every night after I crawl into bed, before sleep, I thank the Universe for that day, for my life, for the amazing things that have happened since I walked out of the hospice – but I wonder where my life has gone.

So many years watching the world go by and not able to be a part of it, is it disdain for who I’ve had to become to survive? From working on CultureFlux ten or more hours a day directly to not doing anything but fighting for my life – and suddenly it was all about me. I don’t think that has ever sat well in my heart, and perhaps even now I carry it there.

I’m trying to figure this out.

There’s the oppressive frustration of feeling bound by income, of not being able to even earn the simplest things I require to survive – the herbs, nourishment, hydration – and beyond that. Trapped by my own needs this poverty, this impoverished life I’ve been living for so goddamn long has taken its toll on my psyche. The walls of the city constrict me, suck the wonder & light out of my eyes & spirit.

I’ve never been one to live a static life.

Regardless, I’m alive. Not living, but alive, and I still have the ability to change this life into whatever I want it to be – if I can find the way out of this. When I find my way out of this, and rediscover the passion I once felt.

It’s not up to anyone but me.

I just need to do it soon.

Right now, Wednesday is nothing but just another day that I need to make it through.

and I rejoice

The San Francisco heat wave, our yearly week of Summer, finally breaks & I quietly rejoice. I am not made for hot weather – or at least hot weather where there isn’t a clean ocean or river or lake or large puddle to go swimming or stomping in.

September is knocking on the door of October, and if I had to choose a favorite, I think October would be it. I remember the way some of the places I have lived changed their color, the reds & oranges & hints of stubborn green flooding the air & ground as if the world was on fire, sacrificing itself in some sacred way to become the stark, haunting & beautiful bare branches of Winter.

The energy of Change is in the air. It finds its way into my blood – and my memory.

Twelve years & four days ago I decided to follow my dreams, whatever they were & whatever it took. Shortly after I was working with The Dresden Dolls & my life changed forever.

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It was on this day that my beloved Bean was hit by a train in Austin & killed, a few hours and eleven years ago.

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Ten years less a week ago I received an email from Mike asking if I was interested in becoming a permanent part of the Vau De Vire family.

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Six years & eight days ago I first stepped into the hospice, walking in easily enough but rapidly dying one week later as my body began to shut down.

Five years & a month ago I did what the doctors thought impossible, and walked out alive.

Four years & a month ago I talked with my Birth Mother for the first time in my life.

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Nov. 23, 2013

Two years & a week ago I first spoke to my Birth Father, who until shortly before that had no idea I existed.

And now I feel the story of this man should – will – change again. I’ve already begun to kick a nine-year morphine addiction & plan to have that entirely behind me in less than a week… yet I feel that is far from enough. I want more. Monumental change. I thrive on the shit. It’s my lifeblood, my constant need. When life gets too comfortable, too predictable, I have a bad habit of stepping into a dangerous dance to bring back, to summon life’s music – and far too much is dangerous these days.

The dreams I still have, but the energy to reach for them is as scarred as my liver. I will keep moving forward, doing my best to rip through the barriers, the walls both inside & out. Both physical & mental.
The failed Kickstarter shook me. It hit hard and I fell.
It’s time to rise again. Dust myself off and move on.
I will keep moving forward.
I will live to make my dreams come true.

I see the sun shining outside, feel the sharp chill of the breeze that cuts through my window. Today will be cooler…

and I rejoice.

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.