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.

 

Advertisements

All I have to give.

The minutes tick away and I lay here tossing, turning, finding comfort in body yet far from it in mind. This is no easy task I’ve taken on, and each moment I relive hammers that into my heart, my being.

I don’t do anything half-assed. I now wish that I could but that isn’t me. Honesty is a crippling and exquisite trait, but sometimes, MOST times it;s all I feel I have left. I can’t let you down in the maelstrom of what this beautiful life was, but now I know – it will be more than just one book. This life is more than anything I could ever have dreamed of.This life  of dreams, nightmares, and this life I have created out of nothing.

There is one person that doesn’t get mentioned much, but follows in my heart from a time when I needed her more than anything else from the Forest until a time, THE time when I can escape all of this in the future. Her name is Tea. She has a child with my name. I don’t know why I write this – I just need to, just in case. I need you to take care of her and her family as I always have wanted to but haven’t been able to – yet. Promise me this. Please.

I think I figured out how to make my story readable. I can’t make The Brigade smaller, can not make my time in The Enchanted Forest anything less than it was – but as I write and cross out the things that have made this life so exquisite, I realize that the most important things are the beginning and the end – and I think this end os the finding of my Mother, then Father.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I can physically measure the dissatisfaction around me. The need to be someone, somewhere else. the need to be no one with nothing but a shitty van and a road and life in front of me or a motorhome that held in it promise to one day be able to go anywhere – all I needed was money for fuel. I thinkg everything changed when I found myself dying and had to sell it to afford to survive.
I look around me, see a cheap electric guitar, a keyboard,  things that I pray to no god I believe in that I may create something on, someday. I’ve always wanted to lose myself in music, to create something I can feel and share, but even through it all I still don’t know better – my escape is in words and the road.

I should sell everything I have and buy a car, onee of those things like a RAV-4 that will allow me plenty of room to just fucking GO with Ruby, me, her food and a couple of bags of mine. And my laptop. Find a place in a forest by a lake where we can be alone, where I can be alone, and… and then I may be happy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I set up another appointment with the surgeon who denied cutting away my umbilical hernia yesterday. Before, four months ago, I told him that it was taking the life I loved away, taking me away. To his credit, he didn’t say no – what I heard was that he was terrified, that I have less than a 1 in 4 chance of living due to possible infection, and at the time I realized that as much as was willing to try that, if I did die it was more than only me that would be affected. He’s a good person – this I felt from the moment I met him… but he also hasn’t any idea who *I* am.

He doesn’t know that I shold have been dead long ago but fought with all I had to survive, far beyond what Western Medicine could do for me. He doesn’t know that when I die, it will be y choice. He doesn’t know that each day I live with this – the pain, the way it takes me furthier and further away from who I was and who I AM that I lose my heart, my passion, my reason.
In mid-December, I will go to him yet again, and tell him that the only way I can die through this challenge is if *I* want to – and I don’t yet. My book will not be done then. I need to somehow make someone who doesn’t know me understand that he is released from all responsibility – that my life is in MY hands, not his.
But will that make me happy? If he agrees to the surgery, if I let him cut me open in the single place taht I loathed anyone touching and he fixes it to the best of his ability will taht solve anything?
I think it may be a start – a beginning of somethingthat will let me come back to me again. I will never forget what I went through – but at the very least I won;t have to live with the memory of it every single fucking day anymore. At the very least, I can move forward instead of being stuck here. I need to convince him. Maybe I should make a video of the highlights shere John & Val said I wasn’t a typical person, Maybe I should invite him to tald to any and all of the nurses that called me a miracle when I didn’t die.

I am not a miracle. I just didn’t want to die yet. I had things to do. I still do.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I create my book, I go through every post I have written over the years, trying to figure out what stays in and what goes. It’s the most difficult thing I have EVER done… but it must be done. I’m closer now than I ever have been but it still will take time. Time and money for a content editor, a professional, hardcore someone who has only the need to let this book be good. For some reason I can’t explain, I feel that it will be only a woman who I trust to do that.  Just waht I’ve always imagined.

As I create my book, I find passages that I will soon begin sharing with others = small gifts for The Brigade and all that have been with me through the years. Small gifts for those who have only just met me.
Though they will be gifts of nostalgia for some, new undertsanding for others, there is an ulterior motive – in order for this pook to help anyone, it needs to be read – and I’m hoping to create a bit of interest in what is coming. THis monstrosity that I will give the world. I want to create hype.
And I’m hoping that anyone who enjoys my words will telll their friends, tell people to follow, tell others that there jsut may be something here.
All I can do is write the words… It’s the only thing that has ever brought me peace.

Within two days, I’ll give my first small gift of what’s to come.

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.

 

 

 

 

remembering: how it feels

It was 28 years ago. While much of that time is hazy save for a few of little consequence, there is one single moment that is cut into my memory – a deep jagged scar that will never go away.

I was living with Aleph, Rip & Jennifer at New Method Warehouse, heaven and haven, some time before moving there from my first home in Berkeley, the YMCA on Allston Way. I had run away to the Bay Area at 17, knowing absolutely no-one but eventually met some of the better people. People who are still my friends.

This isn’t about them.

After two years, I had begun talking to my adopted parents again, and they proposed coming back down to San Diego to visit. They would pay for the flight, everything – just a brief time to say hi, maybe try to mend some things between us.

Missing the beach and feeling as nostalgic as a kid can feel for certain things – the Pannikin Cafe, where I spent most of my days alone & wishing I wasn’t so insecure & withdrawn, sitting at the corner table of their outside patio watching people, writing & drawing in my journals, pretending to be all adult & doing my best to figure out life – and the abandoned building on Pearl St, the only abandoned building in La Jolla, which I found my way into one night and called home for a few months after I left my parents house.

Memories. Sure, I would come visit.

While there for those few days, they suggested that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a physical – just a routine thing at our family doctor to make sure I’m healthy and doing alright. Eager to show them that I’m fine, flourishing, rosy-cheeked & flourishing, eager to show them that they can please stop worrying about me, I agreed. I don’t recall much more of the visit, but I suspect that it went mostly fine, or as fine as it could. Back to Berkeley, back to New Method and playing on all of Rip’s music equipment, back to work at Tower Video on Telegraph, back to free time at Cafe International, coffee and writing, still trying to figure out life and taking most of my instruction from ‘Barfly’. Back to just watching the days pass, one by one, an inconsequential life.

Life was simple, good. Me & my ’68 Dart, rolling with Aleph blasting Public Enemy & the Chili Peppers on the boombox that sat between us, changing the words to “Me & My Friends” to include each other, singing at the top of our lungs & making stupid faces…

A few weeks after I returned from San Diego, the memory of the visit already fading into the place where ‘things that happened and don’t matter’ resides in the mind, I was at work ringing up video rentals and putting boxes on shelves, when Chase, a girl who I worked with, called me over. Someone called and actually asked for me. That was rare, but whatever. I waled behind the counter, pressed the blinking line button, and confirmed “Yeah, this is Casey, what can I do for you?” As I listened to the unknown guy on the other end of the line, his voice grew dim but it was still the only thing I could hear. I felt the blood draining from my face, my knees buckling. Many years later I would experience the exact same feeling again when Baruzula told me that my Bean had been hit and killed by the train…

What the person – Dr. whoever on the other end of the line told me didn’t make any sense. I couldn’t have it… could I? Yeah, I had experimented, played around, but only a few times. It was fun, I had fun but it wasn’t really for me, I liked girls, women, more. I mean fuck, I didn’t even know what it was, no one really did at that time, besides a brand, a curse, a stigma and a near guarantee that anyone who had it would soon die a slow, agonizing death. I was healthy. I felt great. How could I have it? How was I supposed to feel? How could I possibly be HIV+? I wasn’t even TESTED! This is a fucking lame joke, asshole. How was I, when was I… oh……. wait.

Without my knowledge or consent, my adopted parents had requested an extra test during my physical.

In the time it took for the doctor on the other end of the line to say four words, my entire world changed. My story was rewritten.

Some things were obvious effects; I wasn’t concerned about trying to live anymore, not worried about if I took too much of this or that drug I would die. As long as I didn’t end up a burden to someone, as long as it was clean, whatever…

But there was one thing that in looking back now, I truly appreciate; Without question, this knowledge insisted that I looked far deeper inside of myself than most have reason to. It has forced upon and blessed me with a wisdom that I can offer to others and help people with. In the strangest of ways, it has become a gift.
Nearly every decision I made and continue to make comes with necessary introspection, a conscious decision, from deciding where I want my life to go to what may become of the most innocent flirtation. Little can be done without first reaching deep inside of myself and looking at it from every view I can consider.

While that may seem oppressive and prohibiting – and sometimes is, it has also granted not only a profound self-knowledge, but an absolute lust and appreciation for the things in life that don’t require me to do anything more than simply choose to say, with enthusiasm and joy: “Fuck YES”… then unfold my wings, and remember how it feels to fly.

anywhere and to her

Wake up, start the water for coffee, shower the remnants of yesterday’s heat off of me, wondering what today will bring. To let it or make it happen. I don’t like not being able to control if I see her, and for that I feel childish. I wonder if I should feel childish, not getting my way and letting it upset me – but this is more than just wanting a trinket I could do without. Pour the coffee. Complete the base ritual.

She thought it was about her. Of course it was, but not about her. She is only the reason for voicing my frustration, making what I feel all days impossible to push aside, accept and ignore until things work out right and I have the freedom of going anywhere and to her. She is the exclamation point, not allowing the ease I have learned to push this need back and I notice my crippled wings.
I have worn them far too long, waiting for their repair and the freedom to fly again, to anywhere and to her.

I miss the roads. Is is wrong to say that I need the roads? Need to drive? We are taught not to need, that it is a base and unenlightened state. Just another material thing. I don’t need it. I tell myself I don’t need it. I try to fool myself but I know better. I know because without the roads, without the freedom, without the wind I feel caged. I’m able to pretend everything is find until I I am reminded of the bars that surround me.

Falling away & flying into…

“It was my survival from the very beginning. Adopted children are self-invented because we have to be; there is an absence, a void, a question mark at the very beginning of our lives. A crucial part of our story is gone, and violently, like a bomb in the womb.”

from ‘Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?”

by Jeanette Winterson

I don’t know if it’s strange or perfect that the writers whose words I fall in love with I occasionally find are adopted as well, long before I know, reading their books over and over, finding my breath in words that they have written long before I realize why, even and especially when it isn’t mentioned.

With Jeanette, the words were of love – but there was always something inside that resonated in me in my favorite books of hers.

Give me nothing, wish me everything. Give me away. Give me the power to love first, to leave first. The slightest hint and I am gone, always, forever. Forever with a yearning that I didn’t have this inside me, this unwanted education. A shell of who I could be, a story that I needed to invent, a book with the first chapters missing, save for one title page: ABANDONED.

Left for better or worse to fend for myself, left without the pulse, the scent, the heart and blood I became in. “Is either slow or extremely sober, for he does not yet smile.” Actual words of my birth and growth, only found recently. The feeling that something is missing never, ever leaves you; the feeling that something is wrong with me, that there is far, far too much that I don’t deserve.

Something missing – but… I’m all here. “I”? Where is “she”? A void that can never be filled, a door that opens to nowhere.

I remember, still, the dreams I had as a child, waking up covered in sweat, in panic. Over and over and over again, the same – my mom and my best childhood friend, walking away after I climbed the belt to the top, so high – and they always said the same thing, yelled it, as I stood atop the conveyor belt and they kept walking as it shook… no pile of coal or gravel or anything, and as they walked away, as

they

walked

away…A

I was alone, terrified, nothing to jump into to cushion the fall,

and I’ve been jumping ever since then

just hoping to fly.