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.

 

Dying tends to take a lot out of you, I guess.

Early morning, finally a night that ended before the sky started to glow with the morning light. It almost wasn’t by choice – after a week of no more than three hours of sleep a couple times a day, the weariness of my body and mind revolted and actually took over my brain, making me think that 8pm was a fine time to go to sleep for the night. Under the condition that it let me wake up at 4am, we came to a compromise.

It was nice to shut my mind down, I’ll admit. to stop thinking about why I love to make jewelry so much, what my goals are, who my ideal customer is, mu core values and my “why” – all things that I need to consider, as apparently “because I like it” isn’t enough.
Of course, it is a reason, but it’s a safe one, one that doesn’t make you dig deeper inside of yourself for all the smaller reasons that make me “like it” – and without those, without digging down to the core of why I do what I do, and why I am growing more towards a particular style, it would be like Picasso answering a question of why he painted his wacky faces with something like “Well, I thought it looked cool”.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve truly questioned things like that, the strange thoughts swimming around inside of me, and why I am who I am. It’s like the time in the hospice took something away. As if the years after it have been far too placid, and all I needed to do was float along, slowly disappearing with only the memories of who I was left to fade in the minds of others as my own existence, my heart and mind, and my dreams – were slowly consumed by the grey fog of an unchallenged, dispassionate life.

It would have been easy to succumb to if I hadn’t tasted the beauty in the chaos of my life before the hospice, but now I find myself as a bird born into the wild might after it was caught, clipped and caged – every day looking out to the sky, its beautiful colors fading as it longed to again stretch its wings…

This is all over the place, this writing – but it’s necessary. With the words I’ll remember who I was, remember the chaos and passion that is still inside of me but muzzled by my own complacency.

It’s time to create my self again. To give birth to a dancing star.

To ask why, and remember the warrior inside of me.

A perfect amount of less time

I certainly didn’t expect for this to happen. It wasn’t planned, calculated or intentional in any way. I’m entirely a victim of circumstance, and it was so organic and clever in the way it took over my life that I didn’t even notice it happening. It took the days hours, divided them up loosely so that I still felt I had control over the profound inertia of my life & wouldn’t notice until it was too late, and without even bothering to check with me, all of the sudden there is something of a schedule that dictates my days. Goddamn, it was sneaky.

The odd thing is that in the past I tried, tried desperately to have some kind of structure in my days, but the more strict I tried to be with myself & my time, the more a different part of me rebelled. My subconscious mind teamed up with my instinctive and astonishing ability to procrastinate and all my meticulous planning and promises to myself that this time, dammit, I will DO it – was inevitably shot to hell within a few days.

But then the schedule happened to me. I’ll get to how in a minute.
I’m still able to wake up & fall asleep at any odd hour I want, but once awake the gears are set in motion, and I have little choice but to just go along for the ride.

All I needed to do was write. That’s all. For a few hours each day, I would write, and the rest of the time I was free to fill with all the apathy & indifference for life that I could fit in.
The problem was that since I had so much freedom with time, I figured that I could write whenever I wished – when waking up & still in bed, or at one of the cafés that I would write on my “to-do” pad the previous evening (which held such gems as “Walk Ruby”, “take shower”, “call or write… anyone”) or if I had food, I could write after a dinner of tater-tots or rice & beans. I could write anytime – so I never did. I didn’t write, I didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything, with the exception of reading.  I even tried to make it exciting by actually going all the way over to my little couch (calling it a “love seat” would be depressingly misleading) – but I couldn’t ever seem to make it the six feet it would take to get all the way over there.

Then one day, while shopping on Amazon for the medicinal herbs I would be able to buy in a few weeks when I got my disability check as well as other things like knives, books, a new belt for my umbilical hernia, books, and anything else I could think of to fantasize about, I looked on the side of the screen and saw that Amazon figured that I might like a bag of around 4000 shiny aluminum jump rings. Because that made perfect sense.

Curious as to why in this empty grey existence of mine their bots would think that, and though I had countless other much more important things to search for like wing tipped tuxedo shirts, extension cords and creepy doll heads, I clicked on the picture.

Hmm. Chain mail? Make chain mail? You’ve got to be kidding me. There is absolutely no way I would have the patience to sit there for hours, weaving ring by ring into something that looked like anything good, unless some poor idiot somewhere could be convinced that what I created with the three rings I had the patience to sit down, open, connect, and close again some sort of brilliant minimalist art. As blindly optimistic as I usually am, sometimes even I need to open my eyes and see the reality of something so unlikely. I mean, it takes all the willpower I have just to write for 15 minutes straight – who am I do have the nerve to think that I could sit for hours and hours to make just ONE piece of jewelry?

But then I saw the book that people apparently bought when they bought the rings. And the pretty pictures, right there on the cover. The pictures of things that the book would show me how to make and that I would make and people would like because of my innate and incomparable sense of style, and I would sell them and be flown around the world with my dog in private jets to create amazing things for only the coolest famous people – or at least the ones that aren’t dead yet, I figured. It’s fun to think about, and while I could definitely see the cool stuff, I couldn’t see me doing anything that involved sitting at a desk for so long. Perhaps the biggest fear was the knowledge of how many things I have begun & never followed through on. Those things continue to haunt me, and I was terrified of this being another one…

I got a little sick when I ordered the rings & the book with pretty pictures instead of a couple bottles of the herbs I need to keep me alive & healthy-ish, but looking back all these weeks to the beginning of when all this began in January, that was a small price to pay – and besides, the infection seems to nearly be gone.

So now I have a schedule – or more accurately, I was mugged by a schedule which sneaked up on me from behind, knocked me unconscious, and when I woke up, it had already made itself at home in my life.

I find it interesting that when I have absolutely nothing to do, I can’t even find the time to sweep up the dog hair in my apartment. It’s like there is too much time to do anything. I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Is it just me? Do I have some weird mental disorder concerning time? Is it like a buffet where there is so much amazing food that I can’t choose anything, or an enormous bookstore filled with so much that I wander the endless aisles for hours and walking out with nothing?

Now my entire world has changed. It’s as if after years I finally thought of the last line to the best poem I had written. It’s the torn-out chapter that brings the entire plot together, found in another inmate’s cell a week before I’m released. It’s the rug that really, like, ties the room together, man.

I get up, read for a bit, write nearly without fail for a few hours, while drinking coffee in bed. When I feel either like I’m at a stopping point or mid-afternoon is creeping up far too quickly, I get dressed, take The Beast out while I do errands, and have even been taking her to the park more frequently. I get home, putz around briefly and nearly every-other day run my Swiffer over the floor to gather the nearly unbelievable amounts of dog hair that it acquires. I stretch a bit, sit down at my work desk (which unfortunately never lived up to its name of a “writing” desk. It feels far too strict and demanding when I actually try to use it for the purpose I bought it, like it’s secretly judging me) – and get to work on chainmaille. After a few hours I have an insatiable urge to take a nap for an hour or so – but the nap is the slippery part. When I started, the nap would fall at a vaguely decent hour, usually 3-4 pm, and I’d wake after an hour or so refreshed and ready to get back to work – but as the days progressed with the fun & challenge of making more creative pieces, I ended up feeling better and as a result worked later into the night, I sometimes not being able to put the pliers down until 4 or 5am. There was a glitch brewing.

I still follow the agenda, it’s just that the actual time of day has no place in it, and as the rest of this silly world has the audacity to run on their time instead of mine – that makes the time I have for writing sometimes unbearably short, and now that I’m regularly doing it again, I need my fix. Seriously. It’s like a drug. If I don’t have time to write when I wake up (which after a late night could be 1pm), I find myself being irritable, miserable and easily pissed off the rest of the day. I imagine that the people driving in traffic who can’t help but lean on their damned car horns when there is absolutely nowhere the person in front of them can go must feel this way – I just don’t have anything to honk.

I haven’t tried it yet, but if it ever does happen where I find myself around someone I’m just being a plain bastard to for no reason, maybe the solution is pulling out my notebook & pen while I ask them to wait for a moment? Of course, what I write may be something like “I think this person is an ignorant, idiotic, pathetic little subhuman whose cartoid artery I would like to puncture repeatedly with this pen.” – but the irony is that after I wrote that (then quickly closed my notebook I shoved it back into my pocket before anyone could see it), the urge would likely be gone and I could stand there silently, looking them directly in the eyes with a diabolical smirk on my face until they felt uncomfortable enough to go away.
Or I guess I could write something like “Chill the fuck out, Flux. They’re probably really nice, and it’s you being the asshole because you didn’t get your writing fix, poor baby.” That just wouldn’t be as much fun though. Did I happen to mention that there’s a somewhat wicked streak in me?

In order to make this “schedule” work inside the time frame set by those “other” people, I have created a reset button – which is why this morning’s therapy is edging up to nearly 1,500 words. All I need to do is take a break from the post-nap chainmaille creation for an evening, and get to bed at an absurdly early hour – such as 7 or 8pm – then wake up at 3 or 4 am, microwave the coffee I make much more than enough of every few days so I don’t have to wait for it to brew, light some incense, crawl back into bed, and start the day – with plenty of day left to enjoy this new life where, for the first time in far, far too long, I feel like I’m beginning to live a life of doing things I love again. I’m writing, I’m creating, I’m making things that people really seem to like and are eager to buy, and instead of days full of emptiness and ennui, instead of feeling valueless and insignificant, I feel good. Hell, I’m even getting some real work done on my book – something that is solid and workable, instead of the 5 years of constructive procrastination that I’ve been using to pretend that I was doing something on it.

I really should offer classes on professional procrastination. I don’t think that anyone can compare to my level of self-deception when it comes to that.

So yeah. Because of some shiny rings and the remembered courage not to let my fear stop me again, to at least try, and if that didn’t work, fucking try harder, things are looking up in my life.
I might even be able to honestly say I’m happy – at least with this part of it… and considering how I’ve felt for the past few years, that feels really good to be able to say, and mean.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve made, because I know you’re unbearably excited to see some of it. Mind you, I’ve only been doing this for about seven weeks…

Into the Storm

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to join it.

another day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m trying to figure this out.

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

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

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

It’s not up to anyone but me.

I just need to do it soon.

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

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

 

 

 

Passion

There is a certain point where security becomes confinement. A point where freedom feels too open-ended & vast.

But in between these is a small line that we do our best to balance on, arms out and leaning from side to side That is what we – the dreamers, artists, writers; those who thrill on fulfilling the potential that we have been blessed with – struggle to maintain.

We must continue to tap into our inner strength, to inhale the beauty of life until our hearts nearly explode in wonder and amazement & love, to squeeze every drop out of what we have to give to the world so that we feel our lives were not lived in vain.

That, in the end, we made a difference.

 

More To Do

(I know – this is a bit long for the anti-attention society these days – but I would appreciate if you read it & got the *whole* story. Far too often I talk with people who only know a little – because they only read a little, yet think they know all that’s happening. Nearly the whole story *is* in these pages, but you only get it if you take a couple extra minutes to read the posts in their entirety.)

I first heard of it 15 months ago. Some amazing new drug, with almost no side effects and a 95% success rate of curing Hepatitis-C.

This was a far cry from the Interferon therapy that we – John (my doctor) Val, my Hep-C advocate & I – tried a few years ago, long before the 18 months I spent in the hospice. That was one of the worst nightmares I have gone through with any drug – not only effecting me physically, but as an added bonus some very serious thoughts of cracking the head open of anyone walking too slow in front of me… and frequently of suicide.
I had given up on you. All of you.

I used to wonder how long it would take someone to find me in my motorhome, if anyone would even notice I was dead. None of my “friends” ever called or checked in just to say hello, and my thinking was twisted to feeling as if I already was dead – it was difficult to find any reason not to make it just a little more real. At least the pain in my heart would likely be gone…
Thankfully, after three straight months of this they weren’t getting the results the wanted, and I was taken off the Interferon – otherwise it would have been another year & three months, and deep inside, I knew that I wasn’t strong enough to make it through. Every time it entered my mind, ending everything made so much more sense. If they were too busy to call, they didn’t have the right to miss me… but I couldn’t let John & Val down. They had cared so much over the years, tried so hard – and now it was time to try again.

After 6 months of battle with the insurance companies, I was finally authorized to try this new drug, Harvoni. Six months, one pill a day, and I made them swear – minimal side effects.

They were true to their word.

After six months on Harvoni and another three to make certain it was effective, I got my final blood tests back this past Wednesday – and I am officially cured of Hepatitis-C.
When John called to tell me the news, I didn’t have the heart to tell him what I really feel – that this is an empty victory. That the damage has been done. Being cured of Hep-C at this point means nearly nothing. While the virus caused the problems, they are their own entity. Hep-C was the gun – but the bullet caused the destruction.

I still need to take the herbs daily, still need to watch my diet & eat the best things possible – but now there is a new fight, a new goal. One Western Medicine says isn’t possible – but Western medicine also calls me a “miracle” for coming out the other side of the hell I went through, and should be dead.

I’m alive because *you* didn’t give up on me.

I’m not a miracle more than anyone else is – I just chose to believe that I WOULD live – and now, I choose to believe that I WILL reverse the cirrhosis, and have a healthy liver. No ascites, edema – and when I accomplish that, I’ll be able to inspire others to know that it IS possible – and show them how *I* did it. Even if what I do doesn’t work for them, at least they will know that it is possible – and if they let me, I intend to be there for them as LIVING proof. As I didn’t have anything like that, they will already have an advantage over me, and because of that, I am ecstatic.

But at least for now, I still need your help. You’ve kept me alive this long, and because of you (& that “being alive thing) I was able to finally find my Birth Mother – and now, the book is in high gear and I’m fucking THRILLED.

Thanks to a dear friend in Amsterdam (who I have never met – yet) I was able to afford some critical things I needed for the creation of the Kickstarter, help building an author website, and of course, herbs & good food – *even* one of the most important things for my spirit, which was getting out and being around friends and a trip to visit my Mother.

Now, I need *your* help again, if you can. If you’re still willing, if you want to see just how far I can take this. I am GOING to reverse the cirrhosis – but I need the specific herbs to do that with.

If you can – please help. My paypal is ksea@culturefluxmagazine – and I will be grateful for anything to help me achieve this – to conquer the final thing that they say I can’t.

Thank you again, & again.

I love you.

~ Casey

To do it right…

I’ve been playing a dangerous game. Cutting corners, taking far less than I know I should in order to stretch it all just a little bit further, keeping a close eye on it all, noticing everything that was okay or about to go wrong, and hoping it wasn’t too late to fix.

I watched my legs begin to swell, and instead of taking more herbs to fix it I opened them up, draining the fluid that way. A tiny hole in each ankle a couple hours before I went to sleep, that’s all – but the fluid that was built up continued to flow all through the night, saturating the towels I had stacked underneath. Even when I was woken up with my legs cramping I let them continue until the morning, when I finally put a small drop of super-glue on each to staunch the flow. It’s the only thing that works, when the skin begins to dry & wrinkle & feel thin as paper.

It’s a foolish way to achieve what I needed to, I know that – but it kept me from needing to ask for help at least a little bit longer.

Now, I need to. Nearly ALL of my herbs are down to the last, and I have no money to get the foods I need or more coconut water for effective hydration.

Again, I need help – but hey, even though I did it the wrong way, at least it’s been over a month since I last asked!

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to work diligently on what I can give you – my book. Right now, it’s the only way I can repay the energy you share with me – but I AM getting better, and as I continue to – as I continue to work on getting my strength & health back, there will be more & more things I will be able to offer…

So if you can, please help. That leaky-leg crap – well, I’d like to avoid it in the future & do this *RIGHT.

I can’t thank you enough for all of your help – but I’m sure as hell trying, even if it’s simply passing it forward by giving old clothes & boots & blankets to the people who need them in my neighborhood… I do what *I can.

My paypal addy is ksea@culturefluxmagazine.com – and whether you can or can’t help, that doesn’t matter – I’m still going to love you.
To your health! (& mine),

~ Casey (kSea flux)

Spirals / The Game

It was our first date. We met over the internet, enticed and attracted to each other but of course, who knows where it might lead? That’s much of the fun or terror, depending on where your mind chooses to find home.

We agreed to meet for tea. It was a windy, rainy afternoon, and I found a place, a tea room, with a fireplace. I would meet her and we would walk there together, exploring each other, too old to put up facades and being who we actually were.

A call shortly before asking me how flexible I was. There was something she needed to do, someone she needed to be there for. I was invited, requested, as she knew a *little* about me… but not the most important thing, not yet.

The actual “date” transformed from meeting for tea to taking care of a friend of hers going through some difficult times. I loved how it showed me more about her, and I was more than happy to break from the norm. Besides, she was needed, I had been in her friends place before. I could help. I would be of value. Not just another anyone over tea.

We did what we needed, wanted to do. She thanked me profusely for being so flexible, thanked me completely unnecessarily. I would rather do this than sit in a tea room. I like showing who I am… though I have a tendency to think that most people I just meet, who don’t know me, think that it is only for their benefit. To perhaps impress them with someone I can’t help but imagine they think I usually am not.

I don’t know how to fix this, but I do know that it is MY mind that is the culprit, the perpetrator.

We go to a Mexican joint to get her food, begin talking about something besides how much she abhors the weather or laughing at her continuously failing umbrella. It is so easy to laugh with her…..

I talk of my recent past, how perfect it was, could have been if that one let go of her past, not carried it around as her identity. We talk of the East Coast, of NYC where she is from, and realize we were something of neighbors at a point. Life goes on – that was New fucking York, and finding people who you lived close to at some time is a strangely small thing…but then we start talking of names.

Her ex-boyfriend. My Ex-girlfriend. She tells me his name, I know it. Not him, ut his name as an artist – and I may have met him a few times, because my girl at the time knew him.

“What was your girlfriends name?”
It was an amazing relationship – she was in law school, I was working at times 70+ hours a week, managing a kitchen that I couldn’t find a suitable second employee for. I kept my apartment but lived with her becase it was closer to work, and if I didn’t live “with” her & our dog, Max – we never would have seen each other.

Begin fond memory:

Gods, she was incredible. Brilliant. Drop-dead gorgeous and SO fucking intelligent in debate that she could argue that it was daylight, the birds were chirping and it was another beautiful spring – when my argument was that it actually WAS 2am on a dark night of a dark moon in winter… and she would win. She never made me feel less-than, never made me feel small… still, it surprised me when:

I named her.

A few nights ago, I was on a date with a gorgeous woman who briefly dated my former girlfriend after I had left NYC to go to school. 20 years ago.

The world is a very small place.

She told me that B, my ex of twenty years, talked about me quite frequently. I didn’t ask about what, I didn’t think it would be bad, as we parted ways still loving each other, talked a few times after that and then… lost contact.
It surprised me when she said, without provocation, how much B used to say how much she loved me.

It certainly wasn’t one sided, but me? Then? I wasn’t much… at least not that I saw.

Twenty years, and I am brought back to B through the incessant toying of time and the people who dance through it.

I fucking love this life.

I told L (my date the other eve) what I needed to at the end of the night, giving her a chance to run.

28 fucking years, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. 28 fucking years, and I’m still pissed off when people don’t ask ME about what it means, what needs to change if anything. Twenty-eight YEARS, over half my life, and if you don’t dig me – cool. I can live with that.

Twenty eight years and I see SO much fucking more than you could even begin to imagine. From the first day I’ve had to look deeper into myself, into you, into every choice I made, not only sexually but in ANY decision that just might extend over a year… at least until recently.

28 years, and though this impermanence has constructed the way I see, it is not my identity… though by thes last few paragraphs that is hard to trust. Just venting…
28 years, and of those who were singular, those who were and are special, those who I told before we met in such a sweet sweaty sexual way, exploring & discovering the flesh, our desire, lust & how deep we could go into this intimacy, this knowing, this pure dirty innocence of what we discover…
only three. S, K, & L. Three in that entire time said “no” because of what I have been both cursed & blessed with.

I can dig it. Life goes on. Someday there will be another that I need to conjure up all of my courage to tell.

Oh, the stories I have inside of me… Interesting to know that this is only a small rant, and most of the stories have little to do with this strange HIV game.

I’m fucking exhausted. Good night.

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.

A day off? Well… no.

I almost did it. *ALMOST* took an entire day off of anything that had to do with the book, after working on at least *something* for it for around three months. Every. Day… but honestly, I’m far too excited. Excited to be alive to be *able* to share what I have learned… so today I start writing the book. The *actual* manuscript.
Because thanks to SO many of you, I am actually fucking alive to DO it.

Thank you.

ALSO, THIS! I’ll take care of the writing and all the other work, I just need *your* support so it is actually published when I’m done – and again, THANK YOU!!!

And please, please share this, because you and your friends are a *million* times more powerful in getting the word out there about it than ANYTHING – *and* you can get REALLY cool rewards for your support!

Thank you, I LOVE YOU, and let’s ROCK THIS THING!

~ kSea

“Not Going Gently” – Early-Bird Reward Details!
THIS is the campaign to be an amazing part of supporting my book!
All supporters will be officially noted and thanked* in my (brand new) book blog, (https://notgoinggentlybook.wordpress.com/ ) where they will get updates, more details about the book and it’s process. Supporters also will be allowed into a special section of the blog with behind the scenes videos, posts, photos, and content solely for them!

*(If you wish to remain anonymous, please send note with your paypal donation message – and Thank You!)
Support can be sent through Paypal.com to this email address created specifically for the Book Campaign:

NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com

I truly cannot tell you how grateful I am for not only supporting this book, but being my my side in so many ways when *no* one knew if I would even live to write it.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. With ALL of my heart.
*All levels in the Early-Bird Campaign magically include a digital download AND a hard copy of the book! (The Kickstarter campaign will have the $5 & $10 “Thank you” levels – this is the one for the super-special stuff, much of which won’t be available on the official campaign.)

Book Release Scheduled For Tuesday, September 15, 2015!!!

And Now –
THE AWESOME REWARDS for YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT!

$25
1. Digital & Hardcover copy of my book.
2. Absolutely amazing good karma.
$50
1. Digital & Signed hardcover copy of my book, personally thanking you for your support!
2. Wonderfully Incredible Karma!
3. A Virtual Hug & Kiss (if you’re into that sort of thing.)
$100 (Only 20 Available!)

1. Everything in the $50 level plus:
2. A hand-crafted (by me) leather book-mark, each one awesome, different & original. (Not just a slab of leather – it’s going to be special!
3. A personalized, handwritten poem by me. To you, thanking you.
$200 (Only 20 Available!)
1. Everything in the $100 level except three signed books, plus:
2. A personalized, handwritten poem by me for you, thanking you for your support of this project.
3. Two Tickets to the amazing, earth-shattering Book Release Event & Party, in September of 2015

$300 (Only 10 Available!)
1. Everything from the $200 level except five signed books plus:
2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, on really fancy paper.
3. A happy dance video of me personalized for and thanking you, that you are allowed to share anywhere. (If you really want to.) I get to choose the music.
$500 (Only 10 Available)
1. A very unique & only one of its kind in the entire *Universe* Custom Leather Book Cover to fit my book, adorned with fancy things and created (as much as tastefully possible) with hints of your unique style & personality.
2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, thanking you.
3. An actual printed “thank you” in the front few pages of the book with your name, showing my appreciation for being one of the amazing “Early Bird” supporters.
4. All the stuff at the $50 level except with five books to share with friends!
$1000 (Only 5 available!)

1. Video of “A Day in the Life of Me”, shadow style… but not a typical day where I just sit at the computer and write or think about writing the whole time.
Action! Adventure! LIFE! Maybe even people – and ending the day with a toast to you! Whether you live in or outside of S.F., you can see this beautiful city through my eyes!
(And yes, you are allowed to suggest things you wish to see me do. I’m not shy – but be tasteful, okay? We’ll talk.)
2. All the amazing rewards in the $500 level except with TEN books to give away to friends! If you give me names I will thank them as well in the inscription!

$¬3,000 (Only 3 available!)
1. EVERYHING in the $1,000 level of support, PLUS:
2. FOUR tickets to the book-launch party & show which is guaranteed to be truly amazing, AND you will be invited onstage to be personally thanked by myself and perhaps a few other people who have been waiting for this book.
3. 1 0n 1 Conversation with The Author (me!) in person (Limited to the S.F. Bay Area) or over Skype for up to 2 hours, where you may ask me anything you wish – or we just have a good conversation. Fair Warning: I don’t do small-talk.
That Support email for Paypal is: NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com

And – thank you again, SO incredibly much for supporting me in this amazing project!

Love love love,
~ Casey

the fear of not burning

The fear again. Fear because I don’t feel any dread, no fright, not the usual panic that I’ve grown so accustomed to.

She is reading everything – tells me today she is at October 2005 of my blog, and though I rarely go back and read my words I succumb to curiosity and explore who I’ve been…
Something is different inside of me. Something has changed, and I don’t know when, I don’t know how or where.
There is a subtle and quiet terror that wants me to believe that walls have been constructed again somewhere over the years, or that each failed romance has slowly chipped away at the passion that was once in every breath, leaving only a functional husk of who I was, gasping for air, gasping for life…

But… perhaps the anxiety of that is indication enough that it hasn’t, that I am still burning with the fire I once knew. The possibility is there that I’ve merely ‘matured’, have found a way to control the hunger inside…

Yeah. I’ll go with that.