digging my way out

I try to step away from the constant gnawing distraction, the thoughts that tell me what I should be doing instead of being here, now, writing – but they are insistent, demanding. 

“You need to be working. You’ve saturated the circle of friends, they’ve bought what they wanted, and if you don’t figure out how to let the world know it will all end. You’re broke, hungry, borrowing money from friends just to survive. Your business is falling apart, failing. The fight is going out of you. YOU are failing…”

But I need to be here. This is my medicine, my solace. This is where I come to make sense of the things I need to – to make sense of me. Somewhere long the line I’ve lost who I was and I need to find that person again – that person who shined…

But that’s not correct, is it? I haven’t lost that person anymore than when you bury a body in the ground you’ve lost the body. I’m still here, buried alive, and I need to dig myself out. 

I saw someone I’ve known for a while at a party this last Sunday. I felt a lightness, a peace to her that hadn’t been there before, and I commented on it. Her father had died the month before, but he had been sick, hanging on, a shell of who he had been for the six years prior. When he passed on, she was released from his pain as well. For the first time since I’ve known her, I saw her.

I saw the lesson for me in that. There is something that I am letting corrupt who I am, and I need to find it. Bring it out, name it, and let this weight go. Shake off the dirt.

The other day I happened upon things people had said about me in the past – testimonials I had asked for to liven up a resume or project, and some things written simply because they had a desire to express their love to me. In reading them, I cried for the person I had forgotten – and vowed to bring him back:

“I keep a little picture of you I stole from the interwebs in a frame, and recently she asked about it. 
I said, “this is the man who taught me how important it is to write, and use beautiful words, even for ugly things. He is one of the most amazing, most special people in the world, so that’s why I gave you his name.”
“kSea walks the walk, talks the talk, and is more amazing in ten
seconds than most people are in a lifetime.”
“kSea is what happens when you decide to live your dreams. His unstoppable passion to live is breathtaking.”

For years I’ve been looking at the shape of my life from before I went into hospice. Even before I created the magazine. (culturefluxmagazine.com) I remember the adventure, living in a van & on couches yet still, nearly every day, going to perform on The Wharf. I remember working with The Dresden Dolls & being a mentor & friend to so many beautiful young artists & performers who were just starting out; living on the road, going wherever I was needed then moving on – and I remember how pure my happiness was, how much joy I always felt.

I’ve made the mistake of thinking that my happiness depended on getting back on the road, that it was the mirage outside of me that created the pureness and the shine inside. We all seem to fool ourselves of that – that we need something besides ourselves, whether it be a great job, a house with a fenced yard, a fancy car – or in my case, the adventure of not knowing what would happen, where I would be from day to day. I longed to somehow recreate those times. Then I would be happy again, then I would be me again…

But happiness does not exist in the illusions outside of us – or at least, it’s not found there. The joy we feel or have felt only can come from inside, and if we depend on the world outside of us for it we are sure to forever be disappointed. All over the world there are people who exist on nearly nothing but the barest of essentials, and the honesty in their smiles, the depth of their joy, is something that could never come from possessions or circumstance.

It is now time to look deep into the mirror, scrape the mud mask off of my face, and see the truth – the truth in me. Turn up the lights, look down at the person on the operating table and see that it is myself – and that writing is my scalpel, my medicine, and my bandages.

I’ve had a taste of how beautiful life can be. That is what kept me alive in hospice, and that is what I will again use to heal my soul.

I’ve had a taste, and I want more.

(And now back to work. 😉 ) By the way, if anyone is looking for some beautiful & unique jewelry, come on by my web-store – and please, spread the word! http://chainstore.kseaflux.com

 

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Somehow, 50

I felt the blood drain from my face, my mind. It’s a strange feeling, like submersing your head in a pool of nearly frozen water, but not as cold.

“What?”

Now I was finding it difficult to stand. There wasn’t anything to sit on so I leaned against the racks of VHS videos behind the counter.
The voice on the other end of the line repeated what it said, a little slower, each point a sentence like he was trying to teach a five year old quantum physics.

“This is Dr. Thomas. Your test results have come back. You have tested positive. For the HIV antibody. The virus that causes AIDS.

  1. I was 19 years old, and a single two minute call was all it took rip away everything I thought I knew.

I had run away from home at 17 for the third and final time, and after living with my meth dealer for a while, *not* sleeping in his unfurnished living room on the floor, I decided to leave, go somewhere besides San Diego. I didn’t know a single person in the Bay Area. It seemed like good a place as any to try and figure out who I was.

When I was finally able to think, I realized that I must have been tested on a recent trip to visit my adopted parents. They asked if I wanted a physical while I was there, and I agreed. I wanted to show them I was fine, healthy. That there was no reason to worry about me. That I didn’t need them. I figured out that they had also requested an HIV test from the doctor, and getting my approval wasn’t important. The call on that day was kind of a shock.

I had never used needles, had slept with maybe five men. I was exempt from AIDS, I was mostly straight and I was safe. I guess all it took was one of those men being positive, and everything working just right to infect me. Talk about rotten luck.

But that didn’t matter now. Nothing mattered. Across the Bay the City was dying, the plague was killing people and no one had any answers. I’d heard the treatments they had weren’t that much better than the disease.
That’s all I knew. That’s all I chose to know.

I figured I had about 18 months, maybe two years left to live if I was lucky, but much of that time would be spent in horrible pain, my body shutting down, my own shit and blood and fluids pouring out of me. All the sudden my self-imposed rule of never using needles for recreational drugs and never using heroin went to shit. When I started to get sick, I would handle it my own way. I wasn’t going to be a burden on anyone – just slide away and disappear.

Time passed. A year, two, five, and the sickness never came. Still, bordering the line between conscious and subconscious, I kept waiting for the day everything turned around. I knew it was coming.

As much as I wanted to go back to school, to learn something I could use, I couldn’t commit to the time. I didn’t have a future.

 

 

I destroyed the best relationships & deepest loves I have ever known, selfishly afraid to ever force anyone to feel like they needed to be loyal, faithful, as they stood by, helpless, watching me die. For the same reason I never allowed myself to have what I perhaps wanted more than anything in life – a child.

I took each day as it came, tried to make the best out of it. I studied myself and my beliefs, did all I could to learn about me and what life was. I taught myself to see the beauty in everything, every day. I tried to help, I learned from others, I read & continue to read feverishly, so at least I might have some wisdom, some inspiration, something to offer another. Maybe something clever & profound to say in my final breath. Only up until the past 15 or so years, every moment of my life has been spent expecting to die. It’s the only thing I’ve known.

It sure did fuck up my credit score.

Now, somehow, I’m only a few weeks away from 50 years old, and wondering how it is that I got here. I’ve spent years looking for an answer as to why. Why, of all people, me?

I’ve only been able to come up with one answer that makes any sense at all.
 

 

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!