Happy pride

I’m probably at one of the lowest, weakest points of the past many years but it’s Twin Cities LGBT Pride Weekend so it’s time to pick my chin up, sport some rainbows and celebrate!!! After spending the past 20 years of my life fighting for LGBT rights, we now have marriage equality in Minnesota and DOMA and Prop. 8 have been overturned by the US Supreme Court. This could be the happiest Pride event ever and I’m going to be there helping out, entertaining and spreading  joy with my pedicab.

Cue the horn section because I’m coming out!

Diana Ross – I’m Coming out

Boys don’t cry

Ah… what a day.

I hate driving and so when I have to drive I try to get all my driving business done in one shot. So today I delivered City Pages, went to the co-op, got cat food, dumped my recycling, did a “break-up” exchange of borrowed items, retrieved my synth which has been on loan for three months (but only needed for a week), stopped by Target and Batteries Plus to get stuff for my pedicab (big pride weekend) and visited my parents. 

Driving around gives me a lot of time for thinking. Did I mention a break-up? Yeah, that was the big thing on my mind today. I could write a lot about that but I can’t do it without including this song:

 

I’ve always loved this song but I’ve never been able to relate to the bridge quite like I have today. 

Misjudged your limits
Pushed you too far
Took you for granted
Thought that you needed me more

I definitely misjudged limits which is easy to do. Still, I never wanted to push anyone too far – but I did.  I would never take anyone for granted  – but I did. This was a situation where I really wanted to. I really wanted to believe that I had that kind of security and so there were times where I acted as if I did. But I was really, really wrong. Perhaps I was right when I said that nothing is for certain, nothing is guaranteed – but I really want to be wrong about that. Mostly I just wish that this person needed me more. I am one of those people who loves to be needed but I’m learning to embrace that fact people can get on just fine without me. I’m just hoping that they get on better with me.

Technically, I don’t know if this is a break up. I don’t actually know what it is. I just know what it feels like and honestly, it’s one of the most heart wrenching experiences of my life. I would put it up there with the way I felt when my daughter wouldn’t talk to me after her mother and I split up.

But what I find interesting is that I’m not crying about it. I’m not laughing or lying, like in the song, but I’m coping. Yes, it’s extremely painful but I feel at peace. In part that is because of what I have been through and what I have learned. My daughter and I now have a great relationship but it wasn’t achieved through fighting or forcing or falling apart, it was achieve through letting go… while never giving up. 

The other reason why I’m not crying is because I still feel so filled with love. I have so much love for this person and there is so much love around me that I know whatever happens – it will be alright. I know that this person will be alright and I know I will be alright. 

But it’s still really stressful… so now I must go dance!

 

Mixed emotions

I’m still high on hippie love from Project Earth at Harmony Park. It was an incredible weekend. I worked hard and I played hard. I interacted will all sorts of amazing and beautiful people but what just blows my mind is how much I felt appreciated for just being me. I was asked to participate in this event. I was wanted. I just showed up and did what I do. I helped set up and tear down the Kiddie Village and I played some of my own songs on the Kiddie Village stage. It really wasn’t that much but I was made to feel like I had contributed something meaningful. I mean, people actually really liked my songs which still kind of freaks me out. Other than that I just dressed in my usual crazy clothes and pranced around enjoying the music and talking to random people at the festival.  This is just what I do but everywhere I went I was met with hugs and smiles. It’s empowering and makes you feel like you could change the world.

But then I returned home to message containing  this quote by Danielle Koepke:

“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend or new acquaintance- You don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behaviour and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they have to go.”

I really like this quote; I even wrote her to let her know. I don’t like it so much when someone uses it to refer to me as a toxic person who has to go. That really hurts.

So today has been spent doing a lot of soul searching. How is it that all of these people who barely know me at all can show me so much love and then someone who knows me as well as anyone thinks that I’m toxic? Logic would suggest that I really am a toxic person. Logic would suggest that if I want people to like me I probably shouldn’t let them get to know me that well. Logic would suggest that writing this “tell all” blog is probably the worst idea in the world.

But logic does have it’s limitations. There is something deeper than logic and that is the truth. The truth is not always logical, nor is it always pleasant, desirable or even practical. My quest is for the truth, even when it is not pretty, even when it doesn’t benefit my self interest and without regard for whether it makes any fucking sense at all.

I actually don’t believe that there are toxic people. I believe that people can be in toxic relationships and that the relationship has to go but I don’t believe that people are inherently toxic or nontoxic. The truth is we all have toxic elements to us or elements that are toxic under certain conditions.

I really liked that part of Danielle’s quote where she talks about owning up to your behavior and making an effort to change. I think that this is an important component in any healthy relationship but you also need to personally believe in the change that you are making. It needs to be a change that makes you a better person, not just a person who is better able to live in a toxic relationship.

When I wrote Danielle I included these thoughts of my own:

If you don’t want to change, if you are comfortable with your behavior and are let go because of it – that’s okay too. You are being let go to go be yourself. Embrace your freedom!

I try to have the best relationship I can with every person in my life. I love everyone with all my heart but everyone is different so every relationship is different. It’s sad when it happens but some relationships are toxic and in those cases, the best relationship is no relationship at all.

 

Overdid it?

I was a bit fried and frazzled yesterday after my Sunday Funday but I made through just fine. I got my blog posted, retrieved my bike, made it to my therapy appointment and had a good night at my pedicab job. Actually, I was feeling pretty great by the end of the night. I was up for another half hour after crawling in bed which it about 29 minutes longer than I usually last.

Today was a struggle. I feel like I’m running at about twenty percent efficiency. It’s really not a big deal. I have days like this on a regular basis. It’s just the way the story goes but when I tell people that I’m having one of these days the typical response is, “Oh you overdid it!”

I understand this response. For the longest time I wanted to believe that was the case. I wanted to believe that my bad days were caused by something within my control. I wanted to believe that they were caused by pushing myself too hard, not knowing my limits and overdoing it. The truth is that these “bad days” are actually my “normal days”.  The days where I am doing stuff or even overdoing stuff are the exception. It’s just that after years and years of learning what I can and cannot do by pushing myself, testing my limits and just doing it I have turned a life of chronic illness into a life of that is really quite exceptional.

But that’s all you get from me today. I managed to take care of my daughter, take out the recycling and mowed the lawn; I totally feel like I overdid it. I’m sorry, but I’m having a normal day.

And just as a heads up, I’ve got a really busy day tomorrow and will be cut off from most technology this weekend so you may not hear from me until next week.

~Peace

Blacked out and lucky

“Sometimes I go to extremes
That’s how I understand what’s in between
Moderation in all things
has got to include moderation it seems”

– Cute Drunk by J Evan LeFreak

I had thought that I lived a pretty wild life but last night really showed me just how tame my life is. That’s probably a good thing. I don’t need to be doing that every day but from time to time it’s a good idea to remind my self just where that limit is.

It all started pretty normal. I had worked 14 hours the day before and didn’t get to bed until 5 in the morning. I woke up around noon with half a dozen txt messages wishing me “Happy Father’s Day”. I responded to them and called my dad to wish him the same. I had hoped that my daughter and I could spend the day at the Stone Arch Art & Music Festival but she wasn’t feeling well so I just drove out to her place and we went for a little walk. I also got to talk to my son who is away at college and spending the summer doing a work study job. He sent me this video.

Done with all my fatherly and son duties it was time for this dad to go play. I hopped on my bike and rode to Grumpy’s. Last summer this was a regular Sunday afternoon activity but not so much this year. I had one beer there before it started to rain and I decided to head to the Knight Cap with has a covered patio. There I met a group of servers who were proceeding to get shit faced wasted after working Father’s day brunch at a nearby restaurant. We became instant friends. I don’t know if it was the pink cowboy hat or the fact that I always answer 24 when someone asks how old I think they are but they really took a liking to me.

After a few drinks at the Knight Cap “G”,”V” & “J” dragged me off to the strip club. It was at this point that I realized I had lost all control over the evening and that I was okay with that. I was concerned about “G” driving because because she seemed pretty drunk but did fine on the way to the strip club. From the strip club to the Saloon is another story. I seriously thought we were going to die.

To make a long story short because I’m running out of time to write and because my memory is a bit foggy from this point on… we did make it to the Saloon alive. I lost track of the crew there and decided to leave. I checked the parking spot and they had left as well. That was fine with me because there was no way I was getting back in that car. The next thing I remember was arriving at Pizza Luce. I don’t remember the walk there so I assume it wasn’t very memorable. I don’t remember if I ordered pizza but I probably did. I know that at this point I had burned through most of the $100 I had when I left the house.  I had just enough money to take a cab home.

I woke up this morning at half past noon feeling a bit hung over and my butt cheek hurting for some reason. My bike is hopefully still locked up outside the Knight Cap. Other than that and the spending too much money, all is good.

What amazes me is that I used to have nights like that all the time. It kind of puts things in perspective. I’m glad that my life has calmed down a bit but I wouldn’t even be aware of that unless I occasionally pushed the limits.

What I got

I feel like I may have taken some artistic license with yesterday’s post. The truth is I knew what was missing from my life. I also knew where I was going to find my motivation.

What I’m missing is time with my closest friends, my peeps, my compatriots. Even though I strongly believe that everyone has value, we all matter and we should all be treated equally, there are some people who simply matter more to me. I miss spending quality time with them.  The changes that I have made in my life this year have made me less available and as a result my friends have been reaching out to me less. In a way that is a good thing. It shows that my friends are respecting and supporting my choices but I still need them. There has been this assumption that I am always too busy. That assumption is not completely accurate. Yes, I’m a creative person and I always have multiple projects that I’m working on. Yes, I deal with multiple illnesses that take up a lot of my time. Still, it’s not like I have set deadlines or really much of a schedule to speak of and no matter how sick I am I can usually muster the energy for something or someone important to me.

However, what motivated me yesterday was not missing my friends so much as it was the weather. These good weather days seem to be even more rare than time with my peeps.

After writing my blog and getting some laundry done I hopped on my bike and headed out for the day. First I swung by City Pages to pick up my check. Then I ran to Litin Everything Party-n-Paper to find decorations for my pedicab in preparation for Pride Weekend. I also got a purple sequin hat that I will probably wear tonight or tomorrow. The pride stuff included a rainbow mohawk wig, rainbow fingerless fishnet gloves, a rainbow banner and rainbow star sunglasses. I can’t wait to get pictures of it all.

Having too much stuff to fit in my backpack I headed back home to drop off my purchases. Then I headed to the 331 club for a beer and food. I used to hang out there all the time but I haven’t for quite a while. I met some other musicians there and we had a good conversation about making money with music and time management – the usual stuff.

At this point it was about 5 in the afternoon and I was itching to hit the streets on a pedicab. I wasn’t on the schedule but I thought it was worth seeing if a cab was available. I did manage to work for three hours which turned out to be the perfect amount of time. I gave five rides (two for free), made enough money and had enough time to still go out afterwards.

A friend of mine runs a game show at Grumpy’s Downtown called the $50 Pyramid. It’s a poor mans rip-off of the Pyramid game show from the 70’s and 80’s. I saw some good friends there then headed to the Nomad for Deceitful Lapwings Thursday showcase. Also on the bill were Nightinghales. I highly recommend checking out both these bands.

After all that I was hungry again so I stopped by the Hard Times Cafe for a late night breakfast and Latte. There are always interesting people there at two in the morning. I wound up being there til 4am chatting it up with lovely strangers.

All in all I would say that’s a pretty good day. It had just the right amount of everything: good weather, good friends, random strangers, good food, good conversation, good beer (and some bad), plenty of exercise and a fun job. Nothing is ever perfect but as for yesterday, I’m pretty happy with what I got.

 

 

What do I want?

I recently heard an author state that the first ingredient to story telling is that the character needs to want something. It doesn’t matter what it is. I could be a glass of milk but as long as the character is seeking something the reader will follow to see if they get it.

Well, I’m the main character in this story so what is it that I want?

That’s not as easy of a question to answer as one might think. It is the question that sits front and center in my brain today yet I do not have a clear answer.

Theoretically, I have the day off so I am free to seek whatever I want. I say theoretically because when you are an independent self-employed artist type you never really have a day off. Also, when you deal with chronic illness and injury you never get a day off. Every day I am seeking something. I am seeking understanding, I am seeking fulfillment, I am seeking purpose and I am seeking connection.

Today is a gift.

I can go in any direction I want. It’s a beautiful day and I could just get on my bike and ride. With no plan or expectation I could just see where the day takes me. I love days like that but what I want now is some sort of direction. I’ve got my dreams and they give me direction but right now they seem too far away and I can see no clear path to get there. I am at a point where any step I make will be a step forward yet I stand here, looking all around, frozen, not knowing which way to go.

Life, or at least making life choices, is easier when driven by needs rather than wants, but as I strive to simplify my life I’m discovering how few needs I actually have and most of them are fulfilled at the moment. I got a good night’s sleep, had my morning poop and my addictions to caffeine and nicotine have been satisfied. I’m sure eventually I will need to eat but it’s not like I have to go hunt or gather my meal. At best, that will take up half an hour of my day.

This is not boredom.

My life feels very full these days, often overwhelmingly so, yet in this moment of quiet contemplation, I am aware that something is missing. On this day without structure, without demands, without needs to fulfill and without challenges to overcome I am presented with an opportunity.  I have an opportunity to discover what is missing in my life.

How will I rise to this occasion?

Will I sit in meditation or will I take action?

Sometimes it’s better to just do something, anything and sometimes it better to just do nothing, to listen to the silence, to wait for the answer to appear.

For today, what is my motivation?

For today, what do I want?

… tune in tomorrow to find out.

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