Deciding to Live

It’s time for everything to change. Again.
I’ve become complacent, undisciplined – and I need to come back.

I’ve read countless books on motivation, habits, procrastination, visualizing, raising energy, and anything that I thought would help. Some were crap, many got me inspired – for a couple days. I could never follow through like I used to. Something inside of me had broken, and I didn’t have the constant challenge to survive to inspire me.

That is, as strange as it sounds, what I think I miss the most. The fear. The adversity. It’s what inspired me to act on the first day I walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf alone, in full statue dress & makeup. It’s what inspired me to create an online magazine when I didn’t even know the first things about creating a website.
But it wasn’t just the adversity that inspired me. It was the love. The love I had for what I was doing, and the love of walking through the fear and feeling like I did something that mattered on the other side.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out what it was that made me jump into things that I had no idea how to do, and when I realized the answer a few days ago, it was so simple it was absurd.

The one difference, the only thing that will ever create a lasting change in my life, and let me take my jewelry business from more or less a hobby to what I want it to become, the only thing that is different from those things and this is:
I made a decision to do them.
That’s it.

I could read thousands of books, watch hundreds of Ted talks, listen to podcasts until my ears bleed, but that is little more than mental masturbation – letting me feel like I’m doing something of value when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just very clever procrastination.

Because I am afraid, and for some reason, I’m now letting that get in the way of doing what needs to be done. But that’s another something to look at and figure out another time.

I know that as much as I love making jewelry, there will be many times when I don’t. When I can’t find the right words for the “About” page, when I can’t think of what to write for a post on my site blog, and when I’m just not comfortable doing what needs to get done in order for this to grow. Without a solid, unwavering decision to do what it takes, I’ll never get to where I want. Never be who I want to be. Who I AM.

So it’s time for everything to change. Now.
It won’t be easy, not at first. I know that, and I’m expecting it – but eventually, as long as I show up and do the work, it will get easier. I just need to show up, and do the things that I need to, regardless of how uncomfortable I am with it or how afraid. I’ve been here before, and I know that, as long as I do what I need to, day after day, it WILL get easier.

And another thing I know: When I show up, so does the Universe – and doors that I’ve never even imagined will start opening to me.
They always have.

If you read this, please feel free to comment with what you think – and especially, call me out if you ever see me flagging.

Because there aren’t any excuses anymore. I’ll deal with the physical pain when it comes, and I’ll work through the fatigue. The time of floating is past, and it’s time to fly again.

I’ve made my decision.

 

The Search for Fun

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

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

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

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

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

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

Just sit. Be quiet. Think.

Though I don’t do it as much as I used to or would like to now, it is still one of the things I relish most in life – having the time to do just that – or making the time.
But admittedly, as much as I love it, it’s not something that comes easily to me, and never has. My mind just simply doesn’t work like that. My thoughts don’t organize themselves into something that I can easily follow or make sense of, and my head seems to enjoy dancing around from one thought to the next, as if they were in that lottery-ball machine, bouncing around & randomly shooting up the tube into my awareness.

Sometimes I can let them go – just a passing thought of little consequence, or something that I can figure out or decide upon right then and there, gathering a bit of logic & other things I may have learned along the way – but then there are others, like the one I only just had – and the only way to play it out in my head so that it makes sense – is to write. It’s the way it’s always been for me.

Lately I’ve had a number of people comment on how much better I’ve been looking – how much healthier. Enough people to make me wonder why, and try to figure out if anything has changed, or maybe they just haven’t seen me in a while. Probably a mixture of both, but answering it so easily with absence – well, that’s not going anywhere. That won’t help anything or get me thinking about a path of possible growth, something that has happened that I can continue… But if anything has changed? Now that could be interesting – so that’s what I went with, as well as I could inside of my head. And I found an answer.

I’m creating again. I have a purpose again. I’m doing something I love, and best of all – making people happy.

And, in return, my health has improved, feel happier, and with my chainmaille jewelry business, there seems to be, as long as I don’t let myself procrastinate it all away or find a place where I’m “okay” but not where I want to be and call it good enough – there is almost unlimited growth potential. I’ve even figured out a way to move beyond the terror of not doing every little thing myself.

I’ve found, however, that it’s fragile. I have such a fucking frustrating propensity to procrastinate, to put things off with some of the best excuses imaginable, that what I need to do doesn’t get done – and I’m only happy when it does.

I need to remember that. I’m only happy when things are moving forward, when I’m growing, when I’m stepping out of comfort into something I’m terrified of doing –  because that’s the only place I find passion. Only then do my eyes shine the way they used to, and only then… only then, I believe, does my mind use the power it has to heal my body, because it has a reason to.

Why else would it have been that I was mostly fine – able to walk the 3/4 mile to the cafe from my motorhome to work on my magazine every day for months – and then within the first week of being in the hospice with nothing to do, my body decides to completely shut down?

There’s something in that – and now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to get my ass in gear and get to work. I have a business that I love to make grow, and a life to continue to live.

The beauty of it all

Saturday – it was another hot, humid day in New Orleans, 2006. Everything was normal – I was miserable from the sticky heat, but determined. If I had missed this day, I would never have known how beautiful the world could be. At least not in this way.

I got down to Jackson Square about 3:30, then checked to see if the prime pitch was open, directly across Decatur Street from Cafe’ du Monde, and the leading tourist location for busking in The Quarter. I’ve always done well statuing there.
The pitch was being used, but the guy using it told me he had to split at 4 – so I waited, and when it was time, set up, got up on my box, and began the day of standing very, very still.
It was the usual crowd, tourists, families, groups of girls and boys, drunken fools who can’t seem to think of anything else to say except the typical “I’ll bet you he’d move if I grabbed his box/grabbed his crotch/tickled him – har har har…”
It’s an incredibly peaceful job at times, but also one that you need to be on guard pretty much all the time. I recently described statuing to a friend as “much more of a discipline than a talent”. It’s a strange combination of ignoring everything, but at the same time being acutely aware of everything that’s going on around me. It’s the people that make it so rewarding – the children whose faces completely light up in amazement as I offer them a wink and subtle smile as their parents look away, as if letting them in on a secret that’s just for us; it’s the older people who walk by and quietly give me beautiful compliments, even – and perhaps the most appreciated, the occasional gutter punk who digs deep in his/her unwashed pocket to give me what change they can offer. I will never cease to be amazed and humbled by that…
But it’s also the *other* people that sometimes I can’t help but slowly look down at, raise a disapproving eyebrow, and solemnly, silently, shake my head in pity. Fortunately, this frequently seems to get approval from their friends.
Most commonly I have found it to be, predictably, the people with drinks in hand, drunk and wandering around, who can’t help but fuck with the statue a bit – but they’re usually harmless, and after the initial foolishness switch over to words of appreciation, then they’re off to the next bar.
That’s always nice – both the switch, and the leaving.
The worst I have encountered, however, are the packs of whatever-teen year olds. Some of these kids just mess around harmlessly, saying silly things, searching for the approval of their friends, having fun – but only a couple of weeks ago I came the closest I have ever been to putting my cane to use before looking at the two most offending of this pack of about 15 and saying “Little boy, little girl – get the fuck away from me. NOW.”
They had been standing there for about twenty minutes, and as much as I have dealt with doing this, as much as I can tolerate – or “stand for”, (pun intended) as the case may be, at that point I was pushed to my limit. Thankfully, they left shortly after.

That’s why this past Saturday, as I saw a pack of about eight or nine girls making their way directly towards me from Cafe’ du Monde, I was a bit apprehensive. When I heard one of the two in front say “Okay – you ready?” to the girl next to her as she was looking at me, I thought to myself “Oh, shit, this is it…” wondering how I could react, somehow, with grace to whatever they were about to do to me, or how I could prevent it altogether. I wasn’t coming up with anything. I had no idea what they had planned. I had no choice but to wait and see, as jumping off the box and asking them just what the *FUCK* they thought they were about to do just didn’t seem too graceful or appropriate just yet…

What happened next was truly amazing.
For those that don’t know, Cafe du Monde sells a French style pastry called a beignet (bin-yay)- a rectangular pastry type thing, the best in the world in as much as I haven’t travelled it – and completely covered in powdered sugar. Completely. Saturated. Drenched, flooded, soaking in powdered sugar. More powdered sugar than you could ever have a use for in a simple order of three beignets, or your entire lifetime, and inevitably there will be mountains of it left on the plate, long after the beignets & café au leit are gone.

When the two leading girls were about two and a half feet away – just at the very edge of the box people put money in for me, their hands simultaneously came up – and as I tried to assess just what the hell was going on, saw the powdered sugar streaming from them – and then, they did something I couldn’t have imagined – they smeared the powdered sugar all over their faces. First the two, then the rest of them, coming to stand beside me, making their faces as white as possible with the powdered sugar, and doing quite a good job of it.

In a glorious way, I had been beaten. I could not have felt more honored.

I laughed – laughed well, stepped down off my box and bowed deeply to them all, then handed one of the first two my cane, and set my hat on her head as I helped her get up on my box for the pictures.

Once the pictures had been taken, one of them asked me if they had made my day. “My DAY?” I said. “You have made my day, my week, my month, my year. This is hands down, the best experience I have ever had statuing – and thank you.”

For some reason, that seemed to surprise her – but then a huge smile of peaceful satisfaction for a job so *very* well done crossed her face, she giggled, I talked to the rest of them a bit and offered my thanks, and then, doing their best to wipe the powdered sugar off of their faces, they were off to their next adventure – and me back to mine.

I stepped back up onto my box with a huge smile – then just a few seconds later, stepped back down and started to pack up.

It was getting slow and late, and besides – it couldn’t get any better than that.

I smiled for hours afterwards, and it’s a smile that I will carry inside for a long, long time. As the daily fools come by with their lack of imagination, with their ridiculous words and comments, I will think of them, those wonderful little girls, and I just may occasionally look down at one of these people…
and subtly smile.

10.3.16
In recalling this story, this experience – I am smiling now, and seriously considering getting back up on my box. It would be a challenge due to my health, and a nurse once told me I might die from a blood clot standing so still – but hell – I could think of worse ways to go.

If you by some strange chance are one of the girls (women, now) reading this, please contact me – reply here – and know that the beauty of what you did has lasted far more than just a year.

Bones: The moment that I became

Wandering through my writing from the day that turned everything around – the moment I made the decision not to wait and hope for my dreams to come true, but actively make them.

I clearly remember when I was offered the choice. I had been laid of from my job a few weeks before and was overwhelmed with stress & worry – about how I would pay rent, how I would feed Bean, how I, myself, would eat.
Somewhere in the background of my mind & spirit I was happy to lose that job, as it had turned into everything I was anymore. I couldn’t have a simple conversation with *anyone* without looking solely for that moment I could turn the conversation in a direction that was focused on finding an “in” with their building manager at work…
I wasn’t paying the game anymore. I had become it. I dressed in $700 Donna Karen suits (costumes) –  and damn, I looked good in them – but regardless of how good the outside appeared, the inside was vacant, save for every day and sleepless, stress filled night, thoughts of how to become better at my job… a job I no longer wanted, but was too afraid to leave.

Too afraid to give up even that small bit of security…

In a moment of clarity, I listened to what was being suggested. This is what I wrote at the time. A couple short weeks later I was working with The Dresden Dolls in a position that seemed to be designed entirely for me, and head-over-heels in absolute love with life. Now, as I look back & see how everything from that moment has fallen so perfectly into place to get me where I am today, writing the story of an incredible life that began at the very moment written about below, I can’t help but smile at how beautiful everything is.
And I am still completely in love with this life.

November. 2004

Oh, the things we suppress. What is squirming around inside of us? What do we have that could completely stand the world on end if we let it loose – gave it breath – acknowledged its life?

 

No. Can’t do that.

 

Everyone resume the game they’re playing. Everyone pretend that nothing is happening, go about your business, and roll your dice. If you work at it hard and long enough, really put your nose to the grindstone, follow the rules, get to work on time, deny the pain and the madness and the ennui and completely lose all that you are in search of the “American Dream” that they told you to dream, you just might die with the most toys. You just might win.

 

Fuck, I’m in a strange mood.

 

I like it.

 

 

Shit. I’ll never find a job this way…

 

 

But see, there’s a catch.

(There’s always a catch.)

 

The things I want to do. Learn, travel, experience, grow, give, help, inspire…

 

Eat…

 

It comes with a price. It all comes with a price. Many things don’t necessitate one in a monetary sense, but still, many do. It’s a matter of survival. We’re caught,

 

but not defeated.

 

All there is, is to shine as brightly as we can, never losing sight of what we need to evolve. Never giving in, never handing our lives and our own dreams over wrapped in our soul in order to make it one step further to a lovely little retirement in geriatricville. Never succumbing to the temptation of personal drama in order to feel substantiated or validated – or just in order to feel. Maybe that’s what happens. We lose ourselves so completely in trying to be a “success” that we need to create situations around us simply to bring us back to life, to remind us that we’re human.

 

Fuck that.

 

Love. Breathe. Wonder. Explore. Dream. Go back to the eyes of a child. Look around and, again, and see how much beauty there is in everything with this remembered knowledge. You’ll see how everything shines so incredibly brightly, and how it’s all a part of you. You’ll walk down the street with a warmth and subtle smile, knowing that this is the only thing that truly matters. Try to remember it, because if you aren’t careful, it will be taken away again, suffocated in the mundane. Do everything you can to keep it, and give it away at each and every opportunity. Eventually, you will know. The language of your story will become true, you will repair your wings with paste and bandages, and learn to fly again.

 

That is success.

It is time to follow my dreams, regardless of how terrifying it may be at times, or the false sense of security that I must give up to do walk this path. I have lived far too long as someone else’s pawn.
It is time to live for me, to remember who I am and do what I can to help, to give, to remember how to love myself – and in doing so, perhaps inspire others to do the same.

Another Great Step Forward for #MyBook!

HELLS YES!

I just secured the amazing Chuck Revell’s photography as some of the awesome multi-tier rewards for the Early-Bird & official Kickstarter campaigns for #MyBook!
Out of the kindness of his heart & to support this project, he will be donating some beautiful fine-art images, and *EVEN* for a few *very* fortunate contributors, a personal photo-shoot!

Check out what his extraordinary eye catches through the lens at RevellRay Photography:

Of course there will be many more fantastic rewards for those who support the creation and publishing of my book, but I really wanted to be able to offer some extra rewards that are less common in a publishing campaign, and supporters should have as much beauty to choose from as they deserve.

The “official” Kickstarter campaign is involving tons of work and lots of waiting for others (mostly for the video).
Needless to say, I (and others who have been on my ass to write the book since I first spoke of it) am far too excited about getting the thrilling but arduous process of #MyStory in gear to wait for everyone else,  so I’m creating something very special.

In order to get this book rolling ASAP, there will be an Early Bird Campaign launched very soon (this Mon. or Tues.)
It will be independent of the Kickstarter, but hold true to and even above the same promise and pledge to its supporters.

The really cool thing about it is that it will offer *very* special, limited edition, and one-of-a-kind rewards that will NOT be available on the official Kickstarter campaign, as a special show of appreciation from me to you! One they’re gone however – they’re gone, never to be seen or offered again.

If you don’t want to miss the opportunity to find out what *those* kick-ass rewards will be, then follow me here, On Facebook  or on Twitter at @kSea_flux –

And please – feel free to share this *everywhere*. I’ve got a HUGE & beautiful project in front of me, and it will need as much support as possible.

THANK YOU!

Love love love,
~ kSea

Inspiration…

SO… this one goes out to *everyone* but especially #thedresdendolls & #thedresdendollsbrigade , including Amanda Palmer & Brian Viglione, if you’re willing, able, and OH so kind to offer a few words…

I’m writing “a brief history of me” for an ongoing, educational & illustrious freelance gig which involves interacting with LOTS of people, influencing, inspiring, learning from and teaching them. Things that are right up my alley, and perhaps why I have been blessed with so many challenges in this life – to truly KNOW what I’m talking about…

So – have I, even in the smallest way, inspired or influenced you in my writing, my bajillions of personal emails, or my engagement with you?

If I did, please let me know! I would love the inspiration, the reminder of who I *can* be, the strength to write the best fucking words they have ever felt.

I want them to beg me to work with them, and they will – but I would love a bit of inspiration from *your* voice to make mine stronger.

This job is a game-changer in my life. It is what I have fought so fucking hard for: Not just a “job”, but the continuation of this exquisite journey…

Please help me show them how much they need someone like me – and THANK YOU!

~ kSea, Casey, QuaySee, QueSi, etc…