nowhere but now

Outside with Ruby this morning in our “back yard”, the lot behind the apartment building I live in, I stood there in my pajamas, bathrobe & boots, enjoying the early morning quiet, grey skies & cool breeze.

As Rube did her usual sniffing around I lifted my head up & closed my eyes, taking that moment in as fully as possible, finding gratitude in just simply being able to be there. In the nearly 7 years I’ve lived in this one place, only recently have they opened it, unlocking the steel gate so that it could be used. For a couple months only myself and one other resident in this 48 apartment building had the key, but as soon as the security cameras went up they replaced the handle of the gate with one that doesn’t lock at all.

To have a small patch of solitude that I can pretend is my own, and just walk or stand on something other than concrete without having to get dressed and walk to a park, to simply be outside & alone with Ruby – in the middle of the city, it’s quite a blessing.

To be here. To be alive. There is so much to be happy for, so many small things that are so frequently are overlooked or taken for granted.
Fat too many people seem to look at happiness as a goal, something to be won if they work hard enough, make enough money, save enough… but happiness should never be a goal for another day.

When I was in hospice, there were many occasions, sometimes for weeks on end, when I wasn’t certain that I would be alive the next day, or even in a few hours. I didn’t have the luxury of looking to the future hoping to find happiness; and as hard as it sometimes was, I needed to find reasons to be grateful, to live moment by moment, and find happiness & grace inside myself. To force myself to smile at a nurse through the pain, to laugh at the absurdity of being able to smell the stench of my own body decomposing, to find the courage to simply accept whatever happened, knowing that it was a miracle that I had even lived this long – and man, what a life it had been…

I keep everything I learned in hospice inside of me, creating my own happiness & grace, and though I’m certainly not happy all the time – nor, I think, do I want to be – when I need to, I use what I learned as the means to a good life right here, right now – and not a goal to be achieved some other day.

My happiness depends on nothing but me.

But of course, a nice little patch of grass & dirt to pretend is my own helps.

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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

Winning Against All Odds (Book Teaser Part TWO)

The emotional scope of writing this story is becoming frighteningly clear. Every day I go further into the notes, into me, and bring back in unsettling clarity the disquieting details of nearly each moment written about I recall how much more there was going on inside of me than merely the words written in my blog posts.

I was profoundly, overwhelmingly terrified, but couldn’t let anyone know.

In my posts, I only skimmed over what was actually happening in my head and heart, making it palatable to the reader, trying to be as cheerful and upbeat as possible. I couldn’t afford people reading what I wrote and worrying, posting replies that were alarmed or anxious. I couldn’t have the slightest bit of uncertainty, worry or unintentional doubt to cast a shadow over the flickering light inside my heart that I was struggling so hard to keep lit.

Holding onto that light, that small glimmer of belief that I could live through this was the greatest challenge I had ever faced.

Through all the pain, through feeling and watching my body fall apart and rot in front of my eyes every day, the putrid stench of my own flesh decaying, the skin on my legs swollen & splitting, belly grotesquely distended with the waste my organs could no longer process… it seemed futile to even hope in the smallest chance that I would live – but it couldn’t be over, not yet. I still needed to find her. To find my mother. To thank her…

 

The first six months were the most fragile.
These were the most uncertain. From the moment I woke nearly every morning to the time I was able to sleep, there was a constant battle going on inside of me to not only believe that I could live, but questioning whether I wanted to.  It would have been so much easier to give up, let nature take its course, and quietly fade from this life. I mean hells – I had stashed away enough morphine to easily dream myself dead if the pain became too much or the process too slow to endure anymore.

Certainly, no one could have blamed me. I was tired, drained, shattered, and barely holding onto life most days anyway. No one would have asked why I was finally letting death take me… most of them expected it.

Beyond the smiles that the doctors and nurses had learned to wear, behind the caring and upbeat tone in their voices that they kindly tried so hard for, I knew that they were only waiting, making me as comfortable as they could until, like most everyone else at the hospice, I just gave up and let myself die…

I was broken… but I was not yet destroyed.

I can be a tenacious bastard. A really stubborn pain in the ass, when I need to be – and I figured that if there ever was a time that I needed to be, this sure as hell was it! I decided not to give them the satisfaction of being right –after all, it was a pretty high-stakes game, at least on my side, and so… I chose to look at it like that. Like this life ultimately is. Nothing more than an exquisite game, a game that is played, lost or won depending solely on however you choose to play it…

Hells, I was dying anyway, what’s there to lose? Let’s PLAY!

The Western doctors had done all they knew how to do, so now it was my turn. I took risks. Stopped taking their ineffective drugs and started reading & doing my own research into all kinds of alternative healing, from the completely wacky (and there’s some really bizarre ideas out there) to the more conventional. I mean hells – at that point, what’s the worst that could happen?

I remembered lessons from some of the more difficult times I had been through in the past. Perhaps the most significant lesson was that I had come to know – not just “believe”, but KNOW – that regardless of how far you fall, there is always a way back up. You are never given any challenge that you don’t have the strength and resilience to not only get through, but eventually come out on top of. Regardless of how high the odds seem to be stacked against you, you can beat them. You always have the strength inside of you to kick some ass.

I just needed a reason to keep fighting, and a damned good one. Something big, something I could believe in with all of my heart.

Getting the hell out of there & finally finding my Birth Mother – now that was a pretty damn good reason to work with as the main goal to live, but there were others that could have been just as powerful if I decided that they were – the stories I have to tell, the people I might be able to help, the love left inside of me to give… so many things I had learned that still needed to be shared with others.. I had to live.

I made an oath to myself & others.
Hell – some of the people who read my blog during that time all but demanded that, If I did live, I would write a book about all I learned. It could likely even help people. Hundreds of people. Thousands.
A MEEEELION PEOPLE! Bwaaahahahaaaaa!!!
The cool thing is that the lessons I learned easily transcend the hospital or the reason I was in it, and if I wrote a book it could connect with nearly everyone.

So I am writing a book. The time has come. My story is being told.
It will not be an easy story to voice; I’m not looking forward to going back there to say what needs to be said – but I didn’t go through the hell I did to selfishly keep this story locked inside.

It can help people, & it needs to be told.
I have not only survived, but I am living. I am thriving, and continuing to chase down my dreams.

By the way – I have found my Birth Mother, and she’s awesome. We’re getting to know each other, and I’ve even been able to see her a few times.

I also, just a month ago at the end of September, found and contacted my Birth Father who had no idea I even existed – and he’s excited to get to know me.

And I’m writing an awesome book. About an absolutely incredible life.

About The Book
(And A Super-Limited Pre Launch Supporter Reward Package!)

It’s an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, authentic, inspiring and even sometimes laugh-out-loud story about transformation, personal growth, trusting in yourself, doing what you believe is right and fighting like hell to live the amazing life you deserve…

Though the specific journey written about in this story is solely mine, there is something in it for absolutely everyone who has ever faced – or ever will face a difficult challenge.

In order to have it published and promoted, in order for it to get out there and be able to help people, I will need your help. It simply will not be able to exist without you.

I am anxious and friggin’ THRILLED to finally get this going, so while I prepare the Kickstarter Campaign which won’t be ready for about a month, I am offering Limited Edition Rewards for a short time during the one & only:

KICK-ASS EARLY BIRD PRE-STARTER REWARD SPECIAL!

The details are coming later today, so keep watch!

This Pre-Launch special will help me fund some key things that will help get the book finished and published as soon as possible, but because of the extra special rewards that ONLY the pre-launch supporters of the book will receive, IT WILL BE LIMITED

 

again, me.

Right now I am imagining myself in a small forest. Living in a 10×10 tent with all that I could ever need inside and all that I love outside but not separate from me. Only a zipper and a flap between us when I or they come looking for companionship. A friend.

Right now I am creating the future by reliving the past. I know what I want. I will have it.

Right now I vividly see my dog, the Grandmother Tree, our fun, seriousness, my lovers and friends.

Right now I need this. I am doing all it takes to remember.
In my notes I find a gift to me:

“I find it hard to breathe in your arms. it has less to do with the urgency of your embrace, the strength in your slender sinewy limbs… more the relentlessness of your self. i find myself outnumbered, surrounded, because you are starving, ravenous, for life and love and laughter. 

and these things i have, like candies spilling out of my overfull hands 

i hold them behind me, not to taunt you, but unsure that i can surrender them without loosing fingers. 

you are no tame bird”

and this reminds me to again take wing.

You could have no idea what 18 months of physical captivity did to me. You have no idea how many times I thought of taking all of the morphine I had saved for the one single purpose: to die, to be free.

It would make it all so much easier.

In a few weeks or months you would forget me, save for the infrequent glimmer in your mind, or perhaps the half-taken gasp where you thought you saw me for a fraction of one scarce moment.

Right now I am fighting just as hard as you, just as hard as we need to to stay alive. I do not give up, only let go of the things that I have learned are not worth my time.

What I went through did change me, this is true. How could it not?

But I am the same me. As full of love and anger as ever – and more.

Right now I am becoming myself again – full of passion, love, rage and the pureness of wonder.

It has taken time. There was a lot to think about. There was a lot to digest… and I made mistakes.

I am stronger now. I have learned.

My wings are again unfolding.

Sacred Songs / The Brigade, my Children

From a recent email, typo’s and all:

The deluge has begun, and i find myself being brought out of a slumber
laced with ennui and remembering who i am. The blood is pumping again,
and I love it.

I think I’ll start my next LJ entry with that.

No one needs to tell me, but I am always appreciative when I hear it.
The emils I’m getting – people who have been limping along finally
breaking down their wallls and becoming incredible, that’s what I
need, that’s what I thirst for, that’s where I fine my passion. My
gods, girl – sometimes I find tears of happiness falling as I see what
is happening.

=================

It has begun again, and reminds me of who I am, of why I am. It isn’t the necessity or intensity of the move in eight days, it isnt the worry that we might not make it, it isn’t anything but the way I see people grow around me. From a tribe that I needed to start to this, I find my calling. The old black man sitting on a ramshackle porch smoking a corncob pipe and offering eternal wisdom comes in many ways. That is what I wanted to be, that is what I am. I light my last cigarette and watch the smoke curl. It’s not a pipe. It doesn’t need to be. i’m that man I wanted to be. I live my dreams. My wings unfold and I fly, I fly in the Sea. I need to get back there before I go. Alone or with someone who knows that they shouldn’t talk to me, shouldn’t be around me. I loathe the trivial and mundane. Leave me with my thoughs at this time or be like her and her singing on my birthday last year. I will never forget that, the song that washed over me as the Ocean did. One with so many years behind has so many memories.I wish I could remember all of them.

A new breath and I find it humorous as i lose it so easily, but when it’s time to step up and the need for me comes again I am there and I am who i am. I thirst for this, and it comes to me. There is nothing that could ever replace it. You haven’t seen what i have, These people growing, reaching inside, becoming like I always need to, becoming more.

A difference will be made. Having no blood of my own, they have become it, and they are my children. Strange how things happen.

Strange.

I need to try to sleep. Much to do tomorrow.

I leave in eight days. Sarah arrives tomorrow night. I leave? What the fuck am I thinking?

I know I need to. I have been reassured.

Good night.