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.

 

The Search for Fun

A warm, grey morning, early Spring in San Francisco. Oddly quiet for the Tenderloin, with only the lonely cry of the occasional seagull and an uncommonly rare Doppler siren of a police car speeding by a couple streets over.

I sit in bed & plan the day in my head, thinking of what the day holds & what I want to make it. As always these days, my thoughts circle around to how to grow my business. It’s been frighteningly slow these days, and as a result has been chipping away at the fun that this once brought me. When I sit down to make new pieces there’s a shadow that darkens my creativity, incessantly trying to figure out how to make my business grow. How to keep doing what I love. How to survive.

I suppose I should get my ass in gear, get what I need to get done here then get out, do a few things I’ve promised to do to help a friend, check in on the store that’s stocking my work, and if I get enough done before I leave for the day, try to get more wholesale accounts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Like everyone, I just want to be able to do what I love and have it support me – create, and make people happy. It doesn’t matter if it’s chainmaille, a magazine, performing or any of the other options out there – but in order to do that, in order for this to be an actual business that lets me live the life I want, I need to put a LOT of work into the business part of it – and I’ll be the first to admit, that’s one of my weaknesses, and a big one.

So how do I turn what I don’t like – the business part of this, into something I love? I’ve already figured out why I don’t like it, which is simple. I’m not good at it – or at least I don’t think I am – and I’ve got a feeling that I’m not alone in this. How many incredibly talented people out there are creating amazing things that no one knows about because they’re just as fearful of doing the legwork to get known as I am?

Maybe I can turn this into something I love, and grow at the same time. Maybe I will create a blog, talking about my struggles & triumphs, and in sharing them, help others to find that they can turn what *they* love to do into something that supports them. I need to think about this…

But even more, I need to get my ass to work right now. It’s a beautiful, warm, grey day – and it’s time to make it count.

making it all true again

Saturday morning. Returning from the dirt & grass “back yard” of my apartment building where I took Ruby down to do what she needed, I tilted my head back and closed my eyes as I let the sunshine & cool breeze caress my face, thinking of nothing as well as I could but instead thinking more of what’s to come in my life. If I let it. I get wrapped up in the past, the life of a young man that I created & was so deeply in love with, and… and I miss him.

I wonder where the person I was has gone, or if he’s gone at all. The memories of the magic come flooding back & wash over me as they so frequently do, when I would allow nothing to stand in my way & had the courage & motivation, when I knew that everything was possible and proved it to myself.

What has changed? Where does this fear come from? Is it even real, or just an excuse I tell myself in order to remain where I am, and gods, why the fuck would I want to do that? It’s known, but not comfortable. Familiar, but so is the insanity of a life where I didn’t know what would happen from day to day, sometimes – often – not even knowing where I would sleep. What has changed? Where did that young man, full of dreams and excitement for the unknown go?

Perhaps I’ve become jaded. Not to life and its magic, but to people. I’ve known the ones who are called “friends” for far too long now, and it’s time for new ones – ones who challenge me, who I look up to and who look to me when they are uncertain about things. People I respect & who respect me.
It’s interesting. The friends I made when I was travelling, wandering from place to place, city to city, and meeting people at random where I went – even when only met briefly, those are the people who are still strongest in my heart, who have earned a place and love there that will never fade.

I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be who I’ve become, and it is weighing heavily enough on my soul to change my life into who I can be. I’m doing something I love – creating art that I put my heart into, making people happy, and it is a gift that can change my life into the life I’ve always dreamed of… so it’s time to quit whining, quit wondering what happened to the broke vagabond whose adventure & excitement was simply trying to survive & eat, and chip away at the stone until I find the life that has always been hidden inside. There is a freedom waiting for me, just on the other side of these dreams…

The thing is, my biggest obstacle is that in order to become who I want to be, I need to get past the idea that the greatest adventures I’ve had so far have come from being poor and needing to be incredibly creative just to eat. Now, it’s time for me to turn that creativity into being… rich. Hells, even the word sounds strange, almost dirty, when I admit that’s what I want to be…

But I need to help others, and in order to do that, I need to help myself.

There are few things that light up my heart like bringing joy to others, and the only way to do that on the level I want to is to take care of my SELF financially, and to take this business of my art as far as it will go. I can already see how I can, already have plans, and it’s more possible than anything I’ve ever done in my life before.

It’s time to start making a whole new level of dreams come true. After all, this is what I fought so hard to stay alive for, what I’ve always wanted – and this life, right now, the only chance I have.

I’ve created an entirely new me before, and that brought more amazing things into my life – and more amazing people – than I ever would have dreamed being possible.
It’s time, now, to re-create myself again – to rid myself of what I don’t want to be & become, again, the person – the Warrior – who makes his dreams come true.

The Complications of a Kiss

For hours we talked. We talked of the Sun & the Stars, of everything around & under them. We talked of writing and authors, of our pasts and present. Of herbs and addiction, of friends and difficult relationships. We talked of romance. She said she was a hopeless romantic, I told her I was a hopeful one which made her smile. She talked about lovers, of past boy & girlfriends, but not having anything current to say from my side, I mostly kept quiet.

I looked into her ice-blue eyes and I could only think of clichés to describe them, and worried about a piece of the glitter surrounding her eyes falling into one. I found it kind of dorky and cute the way sometimes she stifled her laughter by pressing her tongue against her upper lip. We talked outside of time, the world moving on around us.

Although we could have sat there enjoying each other’s company for much longer, the growing soreness in our asses had something else to say about it. It was time to stand, to go. It had been a lovely time together, getting to know each other, finally meeting a decade after she had first heard my name from a mutual friend.

Instead of parting ways outside the café, we sauntered down Market Street, side by side weaving around the people & construction, enjoying the continued conversation & moving slowly, more as if we were strolling through a park on a warm spring day than in the rush of San Francisco as it left work & headed home. As far as I could tell, we were the only ones there.

“This is where I turn. I’ve had a wonderful time.”
A warm hug. I answer, we go our separate ways. On the way home I walk faster, at my normal pace, the hint of a smile playing on my lips as I hope that it actually will be soon, and, newly inspired, think about what I’ll write.

At least that’s what I expected to happen, but we kept walking, taking now about hidden treasures in Golden Gate Park. She says she’ll take me to the “Faerie Door”. I imagine her being able to take me through it to her true home. Now walking through Civic Center Park, I begin to wonder where she’s going. My mind starts spinning. Maybe she has an errand to run that just happens to be in the direction of my apartment. Yeah, that must be it. If it were ten, fifteen years ago, if we were walking away from a bar a little tipsy, if pretty much everything were different, then I could accept that she might be coming home with me – but these days? A lovely woman I just met coming home with me? What a silly thought. That just doesn’t happen to me anymore. She must have someone else she wants to visit close to me. Maybe she wants to get some Vietnamese food to take home. Quit having such foolish thoughts, kSea. You know better.

We wander up Hyde Street together, each step getting closer to my home and she is sill by my side. I start to get nervous, confused, trying to remember how to do this… this boy/girl thing. The game, the ritual. I can’t. Hell, the last lover I had was three years ago, and I don’t have the slightest idea of how to read all but the most blatant & obvious hints anymore – and those I’d likely even have trouble with, looking around the room for someone else and wondering if they were actually directed at me.

I need to calm down. This could be, and most likely is, entirely innocent. I don’t know what I’m thinking. Really. I have no idea.

We turn the corner to my apartment, which is now about 20 yards away. A friend of hers once looked at an apartment in the building next to mine I find out, and then I’m opening my gate. I apologize beforehand about the mess & dog hair everywhere. I refrain from saying that I wasn’t expecting company, thinking it might come across poorly and accidentally give her the idea that she isn’t welcome & make her uncomfortable.

I quickly grab the clothes off of my couch & toss them in the walk-in. “That’s your closet?”
“Yeah! I have another one right there.” That’s it, kSea. Suave as ever. Christ.

She sits on the couch without asking or waiting for me to say anything, and I like that. It makes me feel like she’s comfortable here. I offer her anything, and thankfully she’s happy with water. I can do that. I have water! I pull my finest ex pickle jar out of the cupboard for her & make sure it’s company clean, not just “me” clean. It passes. Must have been a good day when I washed it.

When I come back into the room I notice that she’s taken her hair down and nearly drop her water. It’s beautiful. She’s even more beautiful. I sit down beside her, leaving a good foot & a half between us. It’s a small couch. I mentally take the word “loveseat” out of my head.

The talking continues, she likes my knives (are you fucking KIDDING me?) and says she used to have one exactly like this one. We talk about knife throwing. (I can’t even make this shit up. Dear gods.) I tell her stories o fme as a child, crashing my mom’s car into our house at 11, setting my mattress on fire at 8. We laugh. Compare notes of families, talk about adoption & blood.

I’m terrified. This is what I’ve been doing my best to avoid every time I went out, and doing it very successfully for over three years. With clothes on, I look okay, but I’m reminded at the times I have to look in the mirror what I look like without them. Scarred & discolored legs, the umbilical hernia looking like a fetal twin sticking out of my abdomen, the inguinal hernia less horrible, but at the top right of my pelvic bone. Even if you know what to expect it’s hideous. I try not to look at it unless I have to. I don’t want anyone else to have to.

Even as rusty as I am, I know I could have swayed our conversation with a couple questions to a place where I could have found out if it was alright to kiss her, if she would allow me to, if she wanted me to… and I would have loved to. But everything inside of me wouldn’t let it happen for fear of the possibility of it going further. After some time she puts her hair back up. I feel like an idiot, just wishing I could get past all that’s inside of me. A warm hug, and we take the elevator downstairs. I bring Ruby so I have a reason to walk with her just a little more.

My Dr. had called me that morning, telling me that the surgeon still won’t agree to do the surgery on my hernia’s, now two instead of one. He says that there’s a 30% chance of complications due to the ascites (fluid retention) in my abdomen, but I can’t help but call bullshit. Though there may be some fluid, I work hard keeping it as minimal as possible with teas & herbs, and if he did do the surgery I’d work even harder, agreeing to even take the prescription diuretics they want me to. But still, he won’t. He’s afraid, he’s concerned, and he doesn’t have any idea how strong my will can be to live – when there’s something to live for.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve even kissed a woman romantically, hoping that one day, with all the fighting to get the surgery done, he might give in – but still, there’s that 30% chance that I could die hanging over everything, hanging over a life that I now don’t even have the morphine to mask the oppressive loneliness.

What he doesn’t seem to understand is that, as my will to live fades, the chance of dying without the surgery keeps growing – with each memory of a kiss that never happened.

Outside of Comfort

(Old Dog, New Tricks)

As I turned from O’Farrell St. onto Polk I knew that my chances of making a valid excuse to get out of this were deteriorating. Of course I could show up and *not* tell a story, forging some absurd reason that I couldn’t make it fit into the five minutes we were given, or I could simply tell David the truth; I was terrified of all that could go wrong.

I thought back to the few storytelling events I had been a guest at, and remembered that during each one there were times where I said to myself “Hell – I could do this, and I might even be able to do it better.” Then I would think about what stories I could tell, and the self-doubt inside of me was such a powerful presence that I couldn’t come up with any. I mean sure – I could come up with the *middle* of a story, maybe even the beginning – but the a good ending has always been elusive.

I thought of my life and all the amazing tales in it, but it seemed as if they all bled into the previous and the next, with nothing I could truly call an ending. I mean hell – what happens when our stories end? Maybe it’s a psychological thing – the story of my life has come so dangerously close to ending so many times that I blocked the completion of any of them, choosing instead to keep writing “and then this happened…”.

As I got closer to the venue, I slowed down & lit a cigarette, taking three deep drags in hopes of calming my nerves. I’ve wanted to do this for months just to see if I could, but fear has always gotten the better of me. Now, here was my chance & I wanted to turn around & run home. I dug deeper than the doubt in my mind & after a bit of moving things around, found my courage tucked away in back. I dusted it off, shined it up a little, and set it inside my heart. If I failed, so be it – but at least I would have tried.
As I opened the door to The Hemlock Tavern & walked in, this became my silent mantra. It’s been countless years since my last “First Time” doing anything – at least where I could and would be judged by others. I did my best not to think about it as the friend I was meeting caught my eye.

David, a storytelling veteran who had once won first place on The Moth Story-Slam, had put his name down early, second on the list. I was number five.

He offered me his drink ticket, one of the perks of telling a story, and said that when I get mine I could give it to him since the Porchlight Storytelling organizers weren’t around at the time. I looked at it as a promise – if I didn’t get up there, I would morally have to forfeit my drink ticket and not be able to pay his kindness back. I find it amusing how my mind creates little back-ups to ensure I don’t back out – and even more amusing that I actually honor them. Hell – whatever works.

I had finally written my story out in longhand (due to my rapidly dying laptop) about an hour before I had to leave, doing my best to commit the main points to a loose memory, something like writing them down on index cards then throwing them up in the air to see what order they landed in. I knew from long-ago experience that if I tried to memorize it word for word it would be a disaster.

Though we had planned on going to this small event over a month before, neither of us were even nearly ready until that day. He had a story that was 20 minutes longer than the five minutes we were given, and mine simply didn’t exist yet. Still recovering from an amazing weekend at The Edwardian Ball, I had completely forgotten that tonight was the night until I got his text in the morning. Shit.

The theme was “Stories of the Gig Economy”, and yesterday morning I racked my brain thinking of all the strange jobs I’ve had, all the things I have done to be able to eat – and all the odd stories that came from them. When I put my mind to it I found out that I had plenty – from being homeless & staying up all night at Denny’s frying on mushrooms so I could stay awake & get to work on time, to spending four months in Federal Prison due to a pot deal that went bad at a Harley shop I worked at, to finding myself standing under the world’s deepest diving diesel-electric submarine & needing to commemorate it by dancing the Charleston, to working as a mover & finding that my helper was into primal scream therapy only after he startled the crap out of me with a blood curdling screech while we were loading the truck – yeah, the stories were there, but I wanted more than a story. I wanted beauty, laughter & maybe even a lesson.

Then I found one – or more appropriately, it found me. One of the stories from when I was busking in New Orleans. It was more-or-less perfect, but still – I didn’t know how to end it. I decided to figure it out when I was on stage. What could possibly go wrong?

David’s story was fantastic, of course, with an ending that completed the story yet still hinted at the madness that came after. Then, two more storytellers, and thankfully, though their stories were good, I had the “I think mine might be better” sense of relief that thankfully boosted my courage just enough to quiet the demons in my head – because I was next up.
No turning back now…

I walked up onto the stage, and was instantly blinded by the lights. Good. Just me & the microphone. I raised the mic so I didn’t have to hunch over (noting that the guy before me was hunched, and it simply didn’t look good) – and began my story.

I don’t remember much of what I said, but I recall that people laughed at the right times, that words & sentences I hadn’t even though of appeared in my story to describe things that much better, and that somehow, my story found an ending to itself.
I did it. I fucking DID it, and instead of hisses and boo’s there was applause. Real applause, not just people being polite.
Crossing in front of a few people on my way to my seat in the back row, the woman sitting next to me said that the ending of my story made her cry a little in a good way. I had to refrain from asking her how it ended.

When the rest of the stories were told & it was time to determine who earned the prizes, I felt confident that I would probably get one. The difference in how I felt as I walked in the door just hoping to get through it did not go unnoticed. I closed my eyes and silently thanked the storytelling gods for reminding me of my courage.
Third place received a pound of coffee, which I certainly could have used but went to a woman & her lovely story. Second place was a crisp $50 bill, which I *definitely* could have used, but that, very deservingly, went to David. Cheers & applause echoed in the small room – but there was still one more prize left.
First place, the “grand prize”, is being invited to tell another story on February 23rd at some “Secret Location” in San Francisco – but it comes with dinner & the winner can bring a “date”.
They called my name. In a way I expected it, but I also TOTALLY didn’t, because I’m not good at telling stories.
I guess it’s time to change that way of thinking.
Great. Though I’m amazingly honored, now I get to go through all of this again, except most likely with people who have been telling stories & honing their skill for years – or at least more than a day. No pressure.

When I think about it, it’s really just telling a story – something that we do every day, and have been doing since the dawn of language – but although I’ve been writing the stories of my life for around 37 years, I have never felt that I was good at telling them. Hells, for the first 17 years of my life I was as close to silent as I could get away with, a tragically insecure & self-doubting child, choosing to listen & watch instead of talking.

But this is something new. A new way to make people happy, to make them laugh, think, and perhaps even cry – in a good way.

And I enjoyed it immensely, which, when it comes down to the nuts & bolts, is more important than *any* prize.

The Treasures Within

It’s the mornings that I like the most these days, at least when I have the energy to find them, to keep my eyes open regardless of how little I’ve slept & live in them. The dim grey light from my bedside windows, the yellow light of my table lamp, the sublime quiet in a world that is so otherwise noisy & obtrusive.
I feel the cold of the air on my chest and arms, the rest of my body tucked tightly & warmly beneath my comforter, the weight of Ruby snuggling up to me for warmth.

rubysnugle

Coffee heated up from the day before, I take a few moments to read or think and let my mind wake up just enough. It’s these times where I feel the most grateful for this life, even as odd as it is these days.

I find that in many ways writing this book, my memoir, is toxic to my current happiness if I let it be – I read and remember and write the adventures of a vagabond, a traveller with a heart so light I could feel it glowing inside of my chest, a heart so light it flew. I read and remember and write of love, of pain, of the joy of being untethered, free.
I wonder how a person avoids comparing their life to a more glorious one they themselves have lived, and find no answer to placate me – but we must keep on going, moving forward. That is the only way – but moving forward by writing of my past puts a different twist on it, makes it ever so much more difficult, and it comes down to forcing myself to get through every single word, every sentence, every remembered feeling.
Then there are the times where I simply need to stop. I don’t know what bothers me more – writing my past, or not being able to.

But we must go on, move forward – even as much as it sometimes hurts, even as confusing and frustrating as it sometimes can be…

And godsdamn it, I need to take Ruby out. Back in a few minutes…

* * *

I feel at times – frequently – that I’m not as creative as I once was. That I don’t have the spark in my soul that I had, that the passion that burned in my heart for life and living and creating and loving every single little fucking thing about this extraordinary existence has fallen away over the years, and now the fire has become only glowing embers and the ghostly smoke of yesterdays.
And the more I think about this – or better said, the more I write about this, the more I step away from the excuses. I begin to realize the level of bullshit I’ve had to tell myself, convince myself of, simply to hide one simple & obvious thing: I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that I don’t have anything to give anymore, I’m afraid that no one will hear me or care. Worst of all, I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten the words to sing this life, the steps to dance with it.
In this understanding I have a place to start, a new strength to use against it. Of course we will be afraid – it’s a part of life, a healthy one – but that doesn’t mean we need to let our fear control us.
We just need to make room for it, to invite it along for the ride but refuse to give it the wheel because godsdamn it, this is OUR trip, our life, our love and passion and need, the fire that does not go out – we just need to remember to breathe on it once in a while. We need to remember to breathe.

Years ago, perhaps when I was 16, I found a small book in a stationery shop that caught my eye – “Inevitable Papers”, by Cooper Edens. I bought it with the last of my money and carried it around for years, and though the entire book is wonderful, it was the last line that was burned into my heart. It was the last line that, quite likely, made me into who I am today: “And how long have you been the language of a story that could be true?”

This is my story. Our stories, and each moment is an opportunity to make them into what we want them to be. We can be afraid, but our courage needs to be stronger, bigger, more needy and persistent so that we don’t have the time to allow or fears to take over and stop us from being who we are.

We need to have the courage to bring forth into this world all the hidden treasures within us. They are there. They are waiting.
We just need the courage to let them sing.

Now on my second cup of coffee, the sun melts away the grey morning light – and until it becomes habit again, I make a conscious and effective effort to let my courage shine through the fear.

It’s a good morning.

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

 

 

 

Through the Fear

There are times as the moment gets closer where the courage to go on vanishes.
I try to find it – on the pages of books I’ve marked, in things I’ve written before, in memories of who I was and what I had inside when I was laying in bed dying.

Sometimes I find it. Sometimes not.

Yet still I go on, even though I know full well what’s at stake. What the cost will be if I fail.
I go on because I can’t live like this anymore, with the only thing keeping me alive being the struggle to stay alive. The magick and enthusiasm I once had for that is long gone, and has now become little more than a chore wrapped in futile redundancy. If trying to stay alive is the only reason to live, where do I find the inspiration to go on?

I know what the answer is, and that’s why I’m terrified. The book, my book, is what I need to break me out of this prison. What I was meant to do, perhaps even why, against the most insane odds, I was kept alive.

I can help people. Inspire them, entertain them, make them laugh – maybe even cry. I might even be able to change their life, and in doing so, change mine, back to a life filled with purpose, filled with value. Filling my heart again.

And that is why I’m afraid. There’s always the chance that my Kickstarter campaign won’t reach its goal, and if it doesn’t – nothing happens. I hang my head & try to go on, not having what is needed to get the book done or published, instead going back to my main job being begging for money for the herbs I need… but I don’t think even the best of herbs will help without the enthusiasm to keep living.

I know I shouldn’t be writing this. I need to be cheerful, upbeat, inviting – not depressing – but this is me, and many years ago I promised that I wouldn’t sugar-coat anything I write, I won’t bend to try accommodate the increasingly fragile, absurdly easily offended people whose “individual” thoughts are only what everyone else is saying on Facebook.

Fuck that.

This is going to happen. I will succeed. I’ve never given up on a dream before…

and I’m not going to start now.

I will find the courage, or if I don’t – I’ll keep going without it. Life is far too short & valuable to forsake the person I am supposed to be – the person I lost in the 6 year fight to stay alive.

I’m tired of fighting. It’s time to instead let this happen, and again know that whatever happens is exactly what should happen.

It’s time to trust the Universe again.

We MUST keep moving forward.

Too Far to Fail Now

Twelve years ago I jumped off a cliff & gave up everything to follow my dreams. I lost my apartment, my car, slept on couches & went hungry – but refused to go back. (As long as my dog was fed!)
Then, my wings unfolded.

I did things. I had incredible adventures. I helped people overcome their self-doubt & perform in front of hundreds of people. Volunteered for Katrina refugees, was one of the first street performers in New Orleans after The Storm. Created an award-winning magazine, produced events, did more things. Met amazing people.
Fell in love.

Then my body decided to die. My unrealized dreams & I disagreed with it, & The Battle was on… and now I’m writing a book about ALL of it.

This book is going to rock your world. Hopefully, it’s going to rock THE world.

It won’t likely be like anything you’ve read before. It’s an authentic, raw, funny, honest, moving and inspiring story of my past twelve years, and how I turned a mundane, unremarkable existence into a beautiful, useful & helpful life. A life that I am finally proud of…

This book is about remembering how to dance with life. About not letting life happen to you anymore, but making it happen foryou. It’s for the dreamers, the believers, those that thrive on the hope of fulfilling the potential we’ve all been blessed with.
And it’s about love.

I just need to get it out to the world.

I’ve come too far to fail.

My Kickstarter launches in 13 DAYS. July 6th, Wednesday.
I’ve crunched numbers, & I fear that I don’t have contact with enough people to succeed in reaching my goal.

I’m going to need your help – not only to change my life, but most importantly inspire others to live theirs.

LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD!

Sign up on my new site – save time & get updates you would otherwise miss! (No flooding – promise.)

www.kseaflux.com

LOVE YOU.

back in.

 

It’s hard for me to accept. Impossible to foresee what the outcome will be.

Either all I have worked for comes to fruition and my life changes entirely, or… it doesn’t.

Like the 1st letter I sent to the person who, after searching for 25 years, I knew was my birth mother, and the wait after that. Like fighting so hard and so long to make a dream come true that the final act of jumping into the unknown is the only direction to go anymore, I need to take a deep breath, and believe.

It’s time to let go.

Let go of nearly all of the control I had, and just do my best to aim away from the rocks and trees as I soar past them, faster than I’ve become familiar with over the years of lying immobile in a hospital bed and then my own, planning for this time as life passed me by.

It’s time to join life again. To jump back in the game.

It’s getting closer. It’s what I have worked so hard for. It’s what I have studied far too much for – and I’m terrified. I need to remember how to love being afraid, because I *sure* as hell have forgotten – and I recall not that long ago when being afraid, when doing something I had NO idea how to do was like a drug for me – a euphoria. Where the hell did that person go?
I need to do some digging around inside of me & find him again. Maybe he’s just sleeping – feeling unloved and under used.

This will light a fire under his ass.

Very soon, it comes to the point where I have to release this to the world, and see if they approve. See if they are interested enough in me enough to support my project, and hope that they are.

Will they see me? Do they want to know me?

Will they love me?

Sure, I’m frightened – but I also believe that it’s time to light a fire under MY ass, and which-ever way this goes – in some way, it will be successful.

out of my head

I sit up in my bed, comforter pulled up to just above my stomach, drinking the tea that I just made. Ruby sleeps beside me, snoring gently off & on. It’s just after 6:00am & there is a rare serene quiet to the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco – no sirens, yelling, horns honking… even the crow’s abrasive caw-shout isn’t heard.

I adore the solitude of this part of the day, & try to be a part of it if the night before has been kind enough to allow me to. Of course, sometimes it isn’t, especially these days with all the physical crap I have to deal with, sometimes enough to wake me up, sometimes enough to prevent me from sleeping when I intend to in the first place – but today, this morning, is mine.

I’ve been thinking a lot about perfectionism. It’s something that I’m cursed with, and has for a large part of my life really screwed with things I wanted to do, going so far as to prevent them from happening altogether.
Without question it’s why this whole book project has taken so long to come to fruition, with me (aka “this asshole”) ripping things apart, re-doing & incessantly re-writing the copy for the site & never being satisfied – and it can’t go on like this. Not if I want to continue, and SURE as hell not if I ever want to finish my book.

I look further into the need for everything to be perfect & find that it could be based – most liely IS based – in fear. If I keep on changing things, I never have to show it to the public and am still able to say that “I’m working on it”.

I need to work on that. I need to change that.
If I don’t, then my life & all I want to do will be entombed in frustration, ripping away the joy I remember when I *did* finish things whether they were perfect or not in my eyes – performances, my magazine – hell, even my Living Statue garb when I began. I still can’t believe I started doing it without the frock coat & in my Dr. Martens – tattooed arms bare, black boots, poorly done makeup – but I DID it. I got out there. I was appreciated, tipped well, and hells- it worked.

I need to remember that lesson.

Things will never be as perfect as I want them to be, so I need to stop needing them to be. I need to remember that it is only a foolish fear that I created inside my mind to help avoid the time when it will need to be shown to the world.

Some people will like it, others won’t – whatever it is. Whatever it is, even the smallest dream that I make happen is worth FAR more than the largest dream that I never attempt.

That last part is from a quote I read somewhere, and it fits perfectly into this… but there’s also one of *my* quotes that may work well in this case: “Never let logic stand in the way of your dreams.”

My life began when I started making my dreams come true. The first time it happened & many times after that, they were small dreams (if there actually *is* such a thing) – they took little effort or fear – but the feeling that washed over me when I made them into a reality was – and will ALWAYS be – incomparable in the sensation of strength & accomplishment it gave me, and each one reinforced me with the confidence to reach for more…

invocationpixie.jpearcher79ceccfd-54ad-442e-848c-b60b259371f5.jpe

 

…but then I got sick. Somehow, although it was the greatest & most difficult thing I have *ever* done, coming out of that – saving my life when no one else could, and literally dancing out of the front door of the Hospice (which admittedly was more of a stylish shuffle aided by my cane) – for some reason I don’t see that as an accomplishment.

Sitting here thinking about why… perhaps part of the reason is because although I did what many people believed unlikely or even impossible, I focus on more of how the sickness ripped my life apart – the exquisite life I had built, full of excitement, love, adventure & value – and in many ways continues to cage it as only a ghost of what it was.

I whine about how much it took away from me, instead of how much it gave and allows me to give to others… I had never thought of that until now; not even the idea that it didn’t feel like something good I did – and as a result was likely at least partially responsible for breaking the habit I had built of fearlessly realizing my goals & dreams.

Great. Something else I need to work on – but at least now it has a name, and the beginning of an understanding. That is pretty damn cool. I know where I should be looking now – instead of before when it was like trying to fix the brakes on a motorcycle by adjusting the throttle.
MotorHeart

It’s now just flipping a few switches in my head from self-pity to gratitude that I’m still alive. Shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

It’s LONG past time to start making dreams come true again.
And simply through writing it out of my head, I just may have found the reason why it’s been so godsdamned difficult for me.

ON   WITH   THE   SHOW!

ritual

 

Friday morning. Just before 6am.

It’s a practice I’ve begun recently out of curiosity – yet another experiment on myself, though this one much more mental than physical (Though in trying to coax my body to get out of bed before 6am, I could swear that I hear it make the creaky horror-movie coffin lid sounds in complaint).

Stumble t othe kitchen, make coffee or chai or tea or whatever I have at the time that resembles a tasty hot beverage. If I have the mixin’s, make some sort of smoothie. If not, effectively pout for a few minutes then get over it. I have gotten pretty decent at making minimalist smoothies that taste halfway decent. I prefer not to pout, but I’ve decided it’s required for some reason, even if it only lasts as long as an extended sigh.

Crawl back into bed, prop myself up with pillows, pull up the comforter to my chest & close my eyes for a few minutes to clear my head and pull my laptop from the bed-stand to my lap, avoiding resting it on my hernia. I do my best (which so far, isn’t so fantastic) not to check emails, and avoid checking Facebook like the plague – which is surprisingly easy…

Then write. Write anything.

I’ve noticed that for quite a while there has been something lacking – or most likely, just slumbering, waiting for something besides the everyday commonplace to happen – but in going deeper, I realize that, even if I *do* the same thing every day – work, take Rubes out for a walk, work a bit more or run a few errands if I need to, then continue on with letting my mind fade into the evening until it feels like time to crawl back into bed & read – even if that never changes, the things swimming around inside my head – *they* do – and there is always something to write about. Always thoughts to untangle as they travel the path from this head of mine on to the paper or screen.

I’ve just gotten out of practice, that’s all.

Somewhere along the line, whether it was when I was in the hospice and my hands were blistering & it hurt to much to even tap the keys where the skin had come off and they would stick to the computer keyboard, leaving little smears of some sticky fluid and itching like 1000 mosquitoes were biting me from the *inside* – to the years of having so little energy I couldn’t even think right, to a multitude of other excuses that might explain why, somewhere along the line, I just stopped writing like I once did.

IMG_0112

After that, it was the fear of the words just not coming like they used to.
I kept comparing myself to the past – *my* past – the way I used to write, and only rarely saw me in the words anymore. When I did write, it felt forced.

Even with so many people still complimenting me, it didn’t feel like the words were mine to use anyore – as if I had to beg each one to come out in an order that made at least a little sense… like a lover giving me the silent treatment for neglecting them for so long…

Well, my dear words – I’ve stopped making excuses, stopped trying to find reasons why I wasn’t able to be there for you, and am working on changing my ways so that we can mend the rift that I created between us. Trust me – though I may feel a bit shaky & uncertain as we get to know each other again, I promise – I won’t abandon you again, for any reason.
I mean, hell – look at this morning! I could have so easily made an excuse not to write; my stomach is making me cringe in pain, the sleep I got was scattered at best, and it would have been so easy to say that I’ll make up for it later today or tomorrow, as I have – and failed to do, so many times in the past…

But I’ve learned something over time: I can’t make up for time not spent well. Once it is gone – it is gone, never to return.
And the most anyone ever gets is one morning each day.

With that, I say my brief farewells to my morning words – I’m fortunate enough to be able to lay back down for a couple hours right now & hope my guts quit being such whiny little pains in the ass.
I can’t tolerate whining.

Note to self: Coffee mixed with last nights chai to save on both – NOT a good idea… but hey, ya never learn if you don’t try…

Getting out of the way of myself

(Begun)Saturday night, roughly 12:30am. GrassFish 2016
Post laydown recharge –
(Semi-completed) Monday, 5.17.16, the early waking hours before my feet hit the floor…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’m tempted to say that I almost didn’t make up here, but now, ultimately, I know better. Some things are simply *meant* to happen, and we end up using more effort to ignore and fight the call than we would simply listening to the ‘Verse and accepting that it will *always* know what we need.
Of course, it’s simple to ignore or simply not notice, to have what *you* thought remain true to your expectations. It’s safe to remain in the bubble that we’ve created and go on with our daily lives, digging for any excuse available to remain in our world of woe-is-me. I never was like this before. Before the hospice.
I’ve let fear take over my thoughts.
A few months ago when this event was announced, a week of camping on a sublime campground 3 hours north of San Francisco, at that moment I resigned myself to most likely not being able to join.
All of the reasons and rationalities ran through my head in a valiant attempt to justify my decision: Finances, first & foremost. I had already asked for and received, in my mind, more than I deserved. Even though it was to help keep me alive, it still felt – will always feel – like I am asking for too much. If I asked for something simply to *enjoy* life instead of not dying, that would be abusing the kindness that has already been shown – and could possibly take away from the assistance that I actually *need* in the future to not only stay alive, but in the effort to get well.
Then of course there was Ruby, my dog, my companion, the one, who with her smiles and snuggles and dependency on me takes the sharpest edges off the loneliness that is an ever-increasing part of my world… and of course, the book project. Losing myself in the work & words & all of the things that need to happen so *it* can happen… no. I need to work. To dig my way out from under the poverty that keeps me stuck here, to finally be able to give back.
In my mind, it was settled. I simply couldn’t go to GrassFish.

I’ll tolerate the daily drudgery because the daily drudgery is easier than actually changing the ways that have been set for me – but that is *NOT* me. I wondered who this person was that I had become, wondered how this fearful bastard took control.

I looked back to the time before the sickness took hold of me, to that very moment I gave everything that I was *supposed* to do up and ran with a smile & wild look in my eyes to the edge of the cliff – and jumped – not even knowing if I even had wings but hoping that they might unfold… and if they didn’t, if my body & soul was shattered on the razor-sharp rocks below, then so be it.
I was done being someone else’s pawn, someone else’s work-horse.
I wanted to remember who I wanted to be, and become that person who I dreamt of as a child.
And I was more than willing to pay any cost to find him. To find, for the first time… me.

And I fell. I lost my car, had to sell off everything that I could simply to feed my dog & me in-between the odd-jobs I took – at one point I couldn’t help but laugh as I was surrounded by over $7,000 worth of original French Art-Deco lamps to rewire & had $3 & change in my pocket… but even though I was broke, hungry, and days away from getting the eviction notice on my apartment – something felt more right than it ever had before. With the odd-jobs I was helping people, and the stain left on my soul from my last “official” job was fading. I was absolutely terrified of what might happen next, but I had never felt so alive. There was a strange feeling inside that I remember then, hidden behind the terror and uncertainty, but at certain times it was much stronger and edged its way out to the front. The closest I can come to naming it is genuine happiness… the kind of happiness that begins at the core of your soul and makes your entire mind & body tingle, adds a vibrant light behind your eyes and a peacefulness in every motion you make.
I was doing something right. I was becoming me – and it was noticed.

From that moment on, it was easy to compare, in a way, to Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Things started falling into place. A dear friend hooked me up with a band that I had performed with before called The Dresden Dolls, and I started working with them – organizing performers for their shows around the world from wherever I could find a place to sleep after I was evicted – from a fetish dungeon (with rooms for all types of fetishes) to artist warehouses, friends couches and gods, the stories…
From being flown out to Boston, coming back to San Francisco, deciding to move there and being re-routed in route… just going wherever I was pointed, making the best of wherever I ended up.

I can’t say I wasn’t afraid, but I didn’t let the fear control me – and the world just kept opening itself up to me, as if everywhere I went there was the proverbial red carpet laid out on the roads and in my mind…

I created an online magazine, produced events, and even won an award. There was no stopping me…

and then I got sick.

Even though I somehow lived through that, the fear was so unknown & intense – knowing that at literally any moment I could die – that I don’t think I was ever able to shake it.
I still carry that fear, and only when this camping event came up and it came to the point that it would have taken more effort to hold onto it like a child’s security blanket and not go to GrassFish1 did I realize that the fear that I had worked so hard to move through in the past was now, again, acting as a barrier against living the life that I wanted.

When Tanya Mia offered me tickets, a place to sleep, and food when up there at the last moment, I still fought it. I couldn’t find someone I trusted enough to watch my dog, Ruby, with so little time to spare. Hells – I only had 1 day and with my mind battling me, couldn’t think of anyone… but wait, maybe? I sent a message, and the first person was busy. Good. See? I was right. I can’t go, but thanks.

But then there was another person I thought of. A long-shot as they’re usually busy and active, but… and then the reply came back. They can watch her but won’t be available until late Friday after work.
Okay. Now, a ride…

Ultimately, it worked out, and I was a fool for fighting it so hard – but through it all, I learned what I needed to –
1) that I need to let go of this fucking fear that’s been clinging to me ever since I was dying in the hospice. For nearly six years it has been controlling me, weakening me, and I have been losing me. It’s time to come back.
2) that this book is going to be terrifying to write – but I’m more familiar with fear than most, and I will do it. Hell – I’ve already begun. It is the greatest thing I can give. I lived a life that I couldn’t even imagine at the time and became who I wanted to be. I went (and continue on) a great journey, one that has taken me from the shining top of life to the depths of watching my own flesh decompose but I wasn’t willing to go I had to live and… and as I did what I swore I would do and danced out the door of the hospice, called a “miracle” by the nurses and nurse assistants who (understandably) pegged me for dead…
If I can help or inspire even one person with this book, that’s all I need.

Now, time to write a book.
We are ALL going to win.

1- GrassFish is a mid-year campout that has been going on for… I don’t know, 5-7 years? Born from a Burning Man
camp created by Lord Huckleberry & Opal Essence a long time ago named DustFish. By FAR, the best camp on the Playa.