Life outside my head

I haven’t really written much about what has gone on in my life since getting back from Mexico a month ago. Part of that is because not a lot has been going on. It’s winter and I haven’t been doing all that much that I consider all that exciting. A better answer is that I have been living in my head so what has been reflected in my blog has more to do with what I’ve been thinking than with what I’ve been doing. Neither are completely accurate however. The truth is I write about whatever I want to write about whenever I want to write. And even more accurate than that would be that I write whatever I write whenever I write because most of the time what comes out when I sit down at the computer is not quite what I had in mind when I decided to sit down at the computer.

For now I want to abandon the thoughts in my head and recap what I have been up to the past couple of weeks; let’s say going back to Christmas. It’s been an extremely chaotic time with the holidays and weekends and birthdays and random shit thrown in but in a way all of that is pretty run of the mill for me. I just want to capture the essence of what I’ve been up to so that I can move on. I’m expecting this to be a pretty boring post.

For starters, I’ve been spending a lot of time laying on my bed watching Netflix – mostly documentaries. Here is a boring ass list of said documentaries and historic dramas:

  • The Billionaires Tea Party – A left wing view of the Tea Party.
  • The One Percent – A billionaires view of the very wealthy.
  • Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream – A comparison between Park Avenue in Manhattan and Park Avenue in the South Bronx.
  • Surviving Progress – Our progress may be a trap.
  • Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged – The life and philosophy of one of our most popular thinkers.
  • The Secret of Nikola Tesla – One of our greatest inventors who claimed to have never invented anything.
  • Lovelace – A dramatization about one of our greatest porn stars.
  • Future by Design – The story of futurist and engineer, Jacques Fresco.
  • Escape from Suburbia – What are people going to do when we run out of oil?
  • Pedal-Driven – Mountain Bike riders work with the government to solve problems.
  • Unborn in the USA – A non-bias view of the Pro-Life movement.
  • Zeitgeist: Addendum – A non-political propaganda film worth paying attention to.
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks – An interesting expose on Julian Assange.
  • Occupy Unmasked – An extremely right wing view of the Occupy Movement.
  • Better This World – A remarkable tale of left wing radicals in my home town.
  • The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress – A story of power and corruption in law and government.
  • Runaway Slave – The story of one man’s move beyond the race paradigm
  • Let’s Make Money – A propaganda film that should make you think
  • Color Me Kubrick – A dramatization of the life of the man who pretended to be Stanley Kubrick
  • American Addict – There is more money in pharmaceutical drugs than in street drugs.
  • Patriocracy A look at the political divide and the unspoken majority who just want to get along.
  • The People vs. George Lucas – The love/hate relationship between the man who created Star Wars and it’s fans.
  • Hungry For Change – What happens when we stop eating food and start eating drugs.

Wow… twenty-three movies in fourteen days!?! How could I have had time for anything else? Okay, I cheated a bit. That list went back to December 13th but I really wanted to get in the name Ayn Rand. I know that simply being able to tag her will give me a hit or two and I think she wants me to have that. She has given rise to a political movement that is completely counter to everything I believe in but I don’t think most of her followers really understand what she was saying. They just picked up on what they liked.

But that’s the way it goes.

People seem to like Ayn Rand because she gives them justification for being a selfish prick. I say just be who you are! If you are a selfish prick then own it. No one needs to give you permission or justification. I think she would agree with that. But then you can’t complain when all the people around you care more about their own needs than yours. Birds of a feather flock together, bitch!

If you do want another view of the future I would really recommend watching Future By Design by Jacque Fresco. Actually, I would recommend watching all of these documentaries. Some are more biased than others. Some are more opinionated but all have the potential to get you thinking and I highly recommend thinking… in moderation.

So knowing that I can’t simply live inside my head, what else have I been up to?

I went to my sister’s for Christmas. With my parents out of the country I had really hoped that I could just take the day off but when my sister decided to do something at her house I figured it was important to attend. I’m sorry that my other sister was not able to attend but that is the way it goes in my family. We are a group of very diverse people but clearly… somehow… we still love each other.

Usually I spend Christmas night at the bar commiserating with others who either don’t have family in town or just survived another awkward family diner. This year I just felt like going home.

The following night I had rehearsal for our show on Friday. The show was fun. The show was fantastic. The show was what I do.

Hexagon - 27 Dec 2013

Hexagon – 27 Dec 2013

My son’s mother’s sister, who lives in Canada, was there. I helped raise her when she was in high-school and she totally loves me. It was so wonderful to see her again. Also in the audience was a woman who used to live with me and while doing so taught me a great deal about the toxicity of anger and the fear which comes with it. It was really good to see her again after getting past all of that. I also talked with a fan who told me that he could never do what I do but by watching me on stage he feels like he was living vicariously through me. That is one of the greatest gifts I can give as a performer but the truth is, I too am living vicariously through the audience.

The day after a show is usually just a day of rest but I got tired of just sitting around. The weather was nice but I knew it was going to get really cold so I wanted to get out of the house while I still could. I had no plans but I needed a back up battery for my e-cig so I hoped on the bus and headed to Smokeless Smoking in Northeast Minneapolis. My friend works there so I got the “family” discount.

As I left the store he asked, “So, what are you going to do now?”

I said, I have no idea but there will probably be whiskey involved.”

I needed food so I headed to the Spring Street for nutrients and libations. After that I headed to the 331 Club for a beer or two. Next thing I knew there was a dance party going on and I was shit-faced wasted. A friend of mine had sent me a text to see what I was up to but I didn’t notice it until two hours later. I still wound up crashing at her place. Forgiveness it the key to happiness.

The next day was hard. My friend gave me a ride home but I still didn’t know whether I wanted to be alone. It was my daughter’s birthday and I hadn’t seen her face or heard her voice since September. I tried calling her that morning but could only leave a message. I figured it would be a good day to just be alone and do nothing. I made myself a screwdriver to ease the hangover but still having my doubts about being alone I reached out to my Facebook friends. Within thirty seconds I had a phone call from my friend at Smokeless Smoking offering to come pick me up.  I spent the day and night in the loving company of him, his partner and their son.

When his partner dropped me off the next morning I said, “Thank you so much for being there for me.”

To which I was replied, “No, it was you who were there for us.”

Seriously, this is how my life goes but I think it is how life goes when we are willing to humble ourselves to ask for help.

The next day of significance was New Years Eve. Once again I had no plans. If I could have done it I would have done nothing on New Years Eve. It’s fucking amateur night but I needed my peeps. I called a cab and headed to the Cabooze to see WookieFoot. I knew the show was sold out but I hoped that the lovelight would shine on me and I would still be able to get it. It didn’t and I was’t. Luckily there was another cab waiting so I grabbed it and headed to the 331 Club where my friends in the band Rapedoor were playing.

There was a great line up at the 331 that night and it was free but it was still my second choice because one of the bands has a tendency to get naked on stage.  Now I have no problem with nudity but as a stage gimmick it seems over played, especially for a band with so much talent. For some reason that didn’t stop me from stripping off all my clothes and prancing around totally nude when I was brought up on stage.

I got a ride home that night but I couldn’t find my keys to get in my house. Luckily the people who dropped me off knew well enough to make sure that I got in my house. It was cold enough to where I could have froze to death if I spent the night out doors. Instead I spent the night on the couch of some friends in South Minneapolis. By morning I was sober enough to find my keys and make it home.

Thursday I had a therapy appointment. I wanted to spend some time with my friend who let me crash at her place after the first 311 Club night. We actually had a nice evening snuggling on the couch watching movies until four in the morning. Unbeknownst to me this was much later than she wanted to be up. She was pretty pissed off that it had gotten so late and to be fair it was largely my fault. I was a pretty talkative movie watcher that night. Sharing two bottles of wine and a six pack of beer will do that to me… especially since I drank most of it.

She stormed off to bed and I took a cab home. There was a time when I would have had no choice but to sleep on the couch. I feel quite grateful to have the financial resources to take care of myself when these conflicts arise because they will happen… drinking or not. By the way, we are just fine now. In fact we were fine the next morning.

My plan was to go back and retrieve my van but I never got sober enough to drive. I thought that my son would be coming home that day but it turned out he wouldn’t be back until Saturday so I just kept drinking slowly throughout the day. That night I had a meeting with the full cast off Venus’ performance art project. I’m doing the music for it. The meeting was great and I’m looking forward to it but that is about all I have to say about it at this point.

After the meeting Venus drove me to the Spring Street where two of my friends where celebrating their birthdays with an incredible line up of bands in the basement. There is much more that I could say about that night but I’m really trying to keep my posts under two thousand words. Suffice it to say I wound up at the after party and a really cute boy brought me home.

We can also say that I didn’t do much the next day other than welcome home my son, who I haven’t seen since we got back from Mexico.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I managed to retrieve my van. That took walking over a mile in sub zero weather but my van still started up just fine. I spent that night at the bar with my friend; the one at who’s house my van was previously parked. Remarkably, that night went much better.

Monday I drove my son out to see his sister and step-mother. Today I went to retrieve him. It sounds like my daughter is doing fine and at the end of the day, that is all that matters to me.

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No bad days

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. In part that has been for lack of time but mostly it has been lack of desire. I just haven’t felt like writing and I kind of do what I want to do. It’s not like I have a lot of wants and I’ve actually been working on reducing the ones I have. That said, I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing right now.

You see, for the past four days I have been is Los Cabos, Mexico. While back home in Minneapolis, MN people are getting pelted with a snow storm, I’m basking in the sun of 80 degree days. As I’m writing this it’s nighttime but I’m sitting quite comfortably in shorts by the pool drinking cerveza. I don’t need anything more than this.

Obviously, I did bring my laptop to Mexico but I probably won’t be posting much. I don’t know if it was subconscious or completely by accident but I forgot to pack the power cord for my computer so I only have six hours of battery life. To be honest, that’s about all the time I want to spend online.

My reason for being here is not a much needed vacation. I really don’t need vacations. I’m here to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday which was today. He and my mother have been coming down here every winter for the past decade or so and this year they wanted to have the whole family with them to celebrate.

There is no way that I could afford to do what they do every winter but this is the life. My whole time here I have been trying to figure out how I could make this my part time home. It’s not the hotel or the swimming pool or the fancy dinners that interest me. It’s just the sun, the warmth and the people. I’m actually finding being a tourist and having everything taken care of for me a bit unsettling. I really want to be working here.

I’m going to enjoy this time off and I hope that I return to the States rejuvenated and ready to get to work on my dream of never spending another winter in Minnesota.

Letting go

As I try to move forward in my life the number one thing that keeps holding me back is my inability, or perhaps my unwillingness, to let go. I can let go of things. I can let go of the past. I can let go of expectations. I can let go of shame, fear, regret, resentment, anger and pain.

Sometimes however, I simply cannot let go. I’ve been reluctant to write about this specifically until now. I have been letting it rattle around in my brain but it is weighing me down. I still don’t have the answer but sometimes writing can help me get a little bit closer.

You see, when it comes to moving my life forward there is no greater motivation than love. While I may not fully understand what love is, I know where it lives. It lives within each and everyone of us. It lives in people. My cat might have it too, I’m not sure.

I’m not willing to let go of love. I am not willing to let go of people. I am not willing to give up on anyone. I’m just not strong enough to do it all on my own. I need love. I need people. I need people who will not give up on me.

And there is the bind that I am in. That is my delima. That is my struggle and in it is where I find my suffering.

Knowing that I can’t get through this life alone I have been reaching out and trying to reconnect with the people who have meant the most to me. One was an ex-girlfriend. We broke up many years ago but I never stopped loving her. For five years she refused to have anything to do with me but we finally did reconnect a little over a year ago. I thought things were going fine but my recent attempts to make contact have gone unanswered.

Until I received this:

[Contents deleted – It’s not like to to censor myself but since these aren’t actually my words I don’t feel justified in posting them. You can use your imagination but in essence I was told that I was not trusted, that I was a violator and that this person did not want to know me anymore.]

Okay. That’s pretty clear. I can accept that. While much of it may be out of line and unwarranted I’m sure that there is some validity to it. I am after all the asshole who just posted the entire contents of a personal text message to the internet. I’m somewhat conflicted about that. I may come to regret that decision but it is my way of letting it go, moving on and finding peace. I may not be able to let go of the love I feel for this person but I can let go of the hate. I just need to take it out and look at it one last time.

[I did that and then I deleted the contents]

The next story is much harder for me to deal with. Over the summer I lost the greatest love of my life, the best friend I have ever had. There is no way for me to write about this without welling up in tears.

For the first time in my life I felt like I had someone who loved and accepted me for exactly who I am, warts and all. For the first time in my life I was able to completely let my guard down and just be me. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like I was with someone who was trying to use me or change me to meet their needs. For the first time in my life I actually felt safe in love.

Maybe that doesn’t really exist. Maybe I was just under a spell. Maybe it was all a delusion but it felt real to me and I want it back! All I have ever wanted in life was to find one person who could accept me, all of me, just as I am. Maybe that’s not possible. I mean really, if anybody should, it would be me and I can’t do it. I want to be that person for myself but I just don’t know if I can do it without help.

Maybe that help doesn’t come in one person. Maybe it takes lots of people but I’m not willing to give up on this one. This is the closest I have ever gotten and I’m not ready to let go.

As hard as losing my best friend is there is one loss that is even more devastating.  I haven’t talked to my daughter in over two months. If I’ve done anything wrong here, I have no idea what it is. My suspicion is that it has more to do with her mother than with my daughter and that really frustrates me.

The cause is unimportant, the result is still unacceptable. I may not deserve a daughter but my daughter most definitely deserves a dad. I am not willing to give up on her, I’m just not strong enough to navigate her mother. I never have been and I’m feeling defeated.

Not letting go is holding me back but when it comes to the most important people in my life, I’m not willing to let go; especially when it comes to my daughter. I’m not willing to just sidestep the problem and move on. So that means I must carry it with me wherever I go. I just wish I was stronger.

Yeah, I wish I was stronger, I wish I knew more and I wish that I could just fix everything! But some things don’t get fixed. Sometimes there is no workaround. Sometimes there is nothing to do but go through it carrying the load that brought me here.

I had really hoped that I would have come to a better conclusion after writing this. It wasn’t easy but it was worth a shot. I still caved and made myself a cocktail to get through the last half. I had no intention of drinking today.

Anyway, maybe I’m missing something (I do have only one eye and I miss a lot). Maybe you have some insight. At this point there are nothing but wrong answers so don’t be afraid to give me yours.

My time is my own

For the first time in seven years I don’t have to deliver City Pages on Wednesday. All my stops have been covered and it is no longer my responsibility. I received a phone call today from Twin Town pedicab asking when I wanted to work this week.  I told them I was taking the week off. Both of my kids are back in school. I’m single, I don’t have any roommates; I don’t even have a best friend. My time is my own.

I’ve spent most of my life running; running to keep from falling down. When I slow down I stop. Like the shark I have to keep moving or I will die. Well, not die, that is a bit of a dramatisation, but it feels that way sometimes. In 1999 I was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. I am convinced that it was my body telling me that I need to slow down. It did more than slow me down though. It brought my activity to a complete halt. Since then I have been working tirelessly to get back on my feet.

I’m finally at a place where I feel strong enough, healthy enough and capable enough to do anything I want to do. But I’m not cured. I still have to struggle with these illnesses. I can’t keep running. I have to slow down sometimes. I want to move forward but I’m still trying to catch up. I want to be there for other people but taking care of me is a full time job. I’m finding that I do better when left to my own devices; but what is the point of doing better if you have no one to share it with?

I’m taking today to do what I need to do for myself. Tomorrow I head to Shangri-la to share what I have with the bliss junkies of Harmony Park. It’s a balancing act with competing extremes. No one understands what it is like to be me but I see a little bit of me in everybody. It’s like being alone in a carnival funhouse where every mirror has been smashed into a million peices.

It’s okay. I’m doing fine, even if you think I’ve lost my mind.  I’m sure it’s around here somewhere, it’s just now what I want to find. I’m going to follow my heart to the land of lonely souls. I’m going to look without seeing to discover what the blind man knows. I may seem weird to you but I’m no weirder than you to me. Our differences are symmetrical, that’s our commonality. So you be you and I’ll be me. It’s the way it’s all been planned. The missing jigsaw puzzle piece is right there in your hand.

The times they are a changing

Fuck! It seems like weeks since I’ve written. Oh look, yup, it’s been two weeks. What could have happened in that time? Well a lot. I’ve been a busy boy but it’s all in the past now. This blog is about the moment… and about my mind and the fact is my mind has not really been in the moment lately. I am in a period of transition – just as much of the world is it seems. The past two weeks have been spent appreciating that fact and poising myself for what is to come.

I expected Pride to be different this year, what with same-sex marriage recognized both here in Minnesota and by the Supreme court. We have our first male player on a professional sports team to come out. These are major milestones in what continues to be a long struggle for equality. What I found different this year was just how “normal” being gay is (at least in Minneapolis). Pride really felt more like St. Patricks day only instead of wearing green and being Irish for a day everyone dressed in rainbows and was gay for a day. It was also a helluva lot bigger that St. Patty’s day but hey, June is a helluva lot better of a time that March to have a celebration. I don’t know how everyone else feels about gay being the new green but I’m pretty okay with it. We are all part of some minority group and we are all judged for it but if we have reached the level of acceptance enjoyed by the Irish – I can work with that. Pour me a Jamison, bitches!

But most of this “period of transition” that I have been processing is purely personal. A year ago, I was engaged to be married, had my son living with me and was seriously struggling after a suicide attempt. I wouldn’t say that my life is any less stressful now but the things I’m dealing with are quite different.

The biggest change, and the one that concerns me most, is that none of my support system over the past few years are still playing that role in my life. They have all either moved away, moved on or been kicked out. I’m not sure that is a bad thing. Much of who we are and what we do is effected by the people closest to us and I am clearly getting ready to do something different. I’m going to need some different people.

What concerns me is that none of the people that know me the best are currently keeping an eye on me. I think that I am heading in the right direction; I think that I am making good decisions; I think that things are getting better; but I could be wrong. Without anyone else around I am left to my own devices.

Perhaps that is what this blog is for. Perhaps for what comes next I am going to need all of you to be my reality check. If I’m truly to do something different I’m going to need as many different people in my life as I can find.

 

NOTE: the title of this post is an homage to Bob Dylan who is playing tonight in St. Paul.

Such is life

Okay… so where the fuck was I? I really haven’t written about my daily life in a week. From that we can assume it was one hell of a week! S0 let’s see if we can catch up.

Wednesday: Worked. That’s all I can remember. I’m sure I did more but it has escaped me.

Thursday: Saw my daughter. Went out with a friend from high-school. Actually, he’s not really a friend from high school. We did go to high-school together and we did know each other but he was more a jock / party guy and I was a musician / druggie. Anyway… we are friends now and it was awesome to hang out with him. We had a great time. He crashed in my bed… I crashed on my couch – he’s totally hot… but married… to a woman. Nothing happened.

Friday:  Woke up still a little buzzed. Kind of drank throughout the day… slowly. I still had to work pedicab that night so I took a nap.

Friday night – Sunday day:  One big blur of driving pedicab.

Sunday night: 19 bar. Saw good friends. Crashed on my bff’s couch. Actually fell asleep as she was telling a story, butt naked on her couch, halfway through the shot of tequila she poured for me.

Monday: Made coffee for my friend so she could get to work on time. She got called off til 12:30pm but I’m still glad that she got up earlier so we could have some sober time together. Did some dishes before going to my therapy appointment. Then I went to a massage appointment. Then I had coffee with a good friend that I’ve experienced a bit of a falling out with. Things seem to be better now… one step at a time.

Today: Yeah, I was hoping to write last night but by the time I got home I was too exhausted. I watched Doctor Who and fell asleep. Got up early but got more absorbed in reading than writing. Reading more is one of my goals so not a bad thing. I did get distracted by a couple phone calls. That kind of did me in so I took a nap before going to pick up my daughter. I’m still planning on writing something amazing tonight but I’m starting to doubt whether that will happen. It’s 11pm and I have to deliver papers in the morning. Once again I got side-tracked by reading other people’s blogs and making comments. Oh well… such is life!

Not dead yet

It’s okay. I’m not dead. I know I haven’t posted since last Friday but I’m still here. I’m still writing. I just had a really monumental weekend and it’s taking a while to get the actual events into a post.

I was up until 3:30 in the morning last night reading and writing and I still think I’m only half way done with Saturday. It’s not going to get done tonight either. I just got home from running around all day and I am completely drained. I am struggling to form sentences I’m so tired. Plus I’m getting up early tomorrow to drive friends to the airport before work. It’s going to be an early night.

I feel that it is well deserved though. I’ve had a full day. I woke up at 9:30 because I agreed to drive a friend around so she could do some things she needed to get done. I was under the influence of alcohol when I agreed to do this but I would have done it anyway. That’s what friends are for and it was great to spend the day with her. Plus she made me an awesome purple and green hat that sparkles. It was a win all around.

What I hadn’t accounted for was the effect snow would have on my day. Before I could do anything I needed to shovel a foot of snow off my side walk… and then my van. The roads were pretty awful in some spots. It made driving feel more like surfing at times. It’s a skill I’ve gotten pretty good at.

I don’t know if I can say the same thing about the guy I helped push out of his driveway. I will always stop to help someone who is stuck if I can… and I usually can. Two minutes out of my life is nothing but it can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. I’m just questioning whether the difference I made this time will be a positive one. This guy was clueless. He had no idea how to rock the car back and forth. He was flooring the gas and the wheels were just spinning. He also didn’t seem to understand the concept of straightening out the wheels. Maybe he didn’t speak English, maybe he was deaf, but I fear that we may have just released his from this predicament only to have him wind up in a bigger one down the road.

My day wasn’t completely free from driving follies. While driving my friend home I could hear metal dragging on the road underneath my van. I pulled over and crawled under the van to take a look. There was a big rusted out concave piece of metal stuck to the muffler. It took some work but I was able to detach it. I don’t know what it is. I suspect it’s from my van but I don’t know for sure. In any case, my van is running fine without it.

I picked up my daughter at her mom’s apartment  She had the day of off school because of the snow. We had half an hour to kill before her circus class so I suggested we stop by my house and see if the phone we ordered had arrived. There was no phone but in the 30 minutes we were parked outside my house the snow plow had come by and completely plowed me in. I had to shovel my van out before I could go anywhere.

That wouldn’t have been so bad but I was already running out of steam and having a hard time walking. Just before noticing the snow plow situation I was putting bags in the back and slipped underneath the van banging my shin against the door frame. I’m just glad my kids are accustom to hearing foul language.

I’m fucking done with this day! I’m going to bed.

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