Life is beautiful

The other morning, to be specific, the morning of Tuesday August 20th, 2013, I woke up with the most incredible sensation. As my eyes opened to greet the day I felt absolutely convinced that life was beautiful and that we lived in a world where everything was exactly as it was meant to be. For that moment in time I was living in the best of all possible worlds.

Then two hours later I woke up for real. I had in fact only been dreaming of this world. But could there be some truth to it? Could it be that life actually is beautiful? Many people have suggested that it is but given that I write a blog titled “Life Sucks, So What?!?” I clearly have my doubts.

Still, for two hours I was living in the best of all possible worlds. I was completely safe, happy and receiving everything I needed or could possibly desire. In that moment what I needed more than anything, to the exclusion of everything else, was sleep and what a beautiful sleep it was.

So this begs the question; does life suck or is it beautiful? I don’t think that I am going too far out on a limb to say that it is both. I realize that this might upset some of my friends who are convinced that life is beautiful but welcome to reality.

Actually, that is the real question. What is reality? I love my happy-go-lucky-life-is-beautiful friends but sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like we are not living in the same reality. Perhaps that is the case. Perhaps there are multiple realities. Or as I like to think of it; reality is just really, really fucking big and no one person can ever see all of it at once. Sometimes we see the parts that suck, sometimes we the parts that are beautiful.  Some people carve out their own vision of reality by only seeing what they want to see. Actually, that might be most people but I don’t have the budget to do the research and frankly, most statistics suck. Feel free to prove me wrong it you want to conduct a study and quantify the beauty of statistics.

My life is as an artist… or philosopher or whatever the fuck I am. I see my job as looking at everything, trying to make some sort of sense out of it, and doing the best job I can at communicating what I see. My job is to connect the dots. My job is to bring the universe back to earth. What I am quickly realizing is that the universe is really fucking big and that there are a lot of dots. I feel like an astrologer looking up at the ancient night sky and thinking, “there has got to be an answer in there somewhere”.

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The truth is that all those dots are connected. They all affect one another. Some connections may be more significant than others, just like some of our personal relationships are more significant than others, but the truth is we are all connected. To be honest, the dots connected by astrologers seem a bit random to me, but so what?!? We all have to make choices in this universe and if it works for you, who am I to judge?

Reality is big enough for everyone. If you want to believe that life is beautiful, go ahead. There is plenty of evidence to support that theory.  If you want to believe that life sucks, it’s pretty easy to do that as well. If you think that there is a supreme order to the universe and that everything happens for a reason, be my guest. If you think we live in completely chaos, I feel ya there too.

On this particular day in late August three young people including a toddler and a pregnant woman were shot in my neighborhood.  While no one was fatally injured there is no denying that this was a tragedy and the outrage exhibited by the community is completely understandable. My heart goes out to all the victims and to everyone affected by this incident. This has got to stop and our communities have got to come together and do a better job.

Still, I feel it’s important to point out that there were 387,750 people in Minneapolis who were NOT shot that day. Our odds of being shot on that day in Minneapolis were less than 1 in 100,000 or 0.0008%. Fortunately I don’t need a big research budget to come up with those statistics but they don’t exactly help much either. Crunching numbers and connecting dots seems pretty stupid when we have bullets connecting with flesh.

On that same day I took my daughter and her dog Toastie for a walk along the Mississippi River, across the Stone Arch Bridge to explore the ruins of the old mill city. It may very well have been one of the best days I have ever spent with my daughter but what I found most profound was that my daughter had a dog. She got this dog just a week before but she had been dreaming of it for two years. She even had the name picked out. So many people tried to dissuade her from her pursuit of getting a dog but she persevered. I encouraged her to keep her dream alive because even if it was unattainable I know that life can only be as good as our dreams.

And her dream did come true.

My dream in which I discovered a world of beauty could come true as well. I doubt that it will but so fucking what?!? Of all the misguided dreams and false hopes out there, believing that we can make the world a better place is one I’m willing to embrace.

Speaking of dreams, given that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom I want to leave you with these words of another unrealistic dreamer, Martin Luther King Jr:

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Tonight is the night

After sleeping most of the afternoon, recharging my batteries in preparation for the most impossible of endurance tasks, I reach for my favorite energy drink of hops and barley knowing that it may be the only thing that will sustain me during this marathon mission of sitting still.

This summer has clearly seen a decrease in the amount of time I have spent writing. I guess that is understandable. I have been busy but lack of free time is not really my excuse. Technically, all my time is free and I probably have more of it during the summer than I do during the winter. I just can’t stop moving. When I do, I fall asleep. I’ve been trying to write every day but I never seem to get anywhere.

Tonight I will try again. TIme has a way of condensing and solidifying my thoughts so rather than writing about every mundane detail my hope it that I can highlight some key experiences and their relevant conclusions. Rather that one long disjointed post my plan is to write a few shorter posts that get right to the point. The thought gives me a bit of a chuckle but let’s see how it goes.

I’m not ready

I had this absolutely awe inspiring transformative day on Tuesday. This day came on the heels of an incredibly fun, thought provoking weekend. I couldn’t wait to get home and write about it but as soon as I walked in the door I recieved a phone call from a friend who wanted to discuss disturbing hallucinations, emotional outbursts and horse ballet. Obviously, that was more important.

It also made it clear to me that my life has become a little too humdrum so instead of writing about my recent enlightenment I decided to go out and see what the rest of the world is up to on a Tuesday night. There are secret lives of fascinating people going on everywhere, even on a Tuesday.

Perhaps it’s all just too much for me. I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop writing and rewriting Tuesday’s blog post in my head. It’s brilliant. It’s wonderful. It’s poetic… and really, really long. Actually, it’s kind of confusing and disjointed.  I can’t remember ever being so simultaneously excited and apprehensive to write anything in my life. I’m sure that I have but at the moment I am completely consumed by this present quandary.

And it is exhausting. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone or do anything. I just want to be left alone to do nothing. I guess I need more time for my thoughts to either solidify or dissolve away. So today I wait for the future in which I can meet my past with rested eyes.

Tally-ho

I slept for another six hours last night from 4am until just after 10am but still awoke feeling exhausted with very little fight in me. I tried to get ahold of my daughter to make plans for the day with no luck. I continued with anything in which I could find inspiration. On this day it involved bleaching and dying my hair and painting my nails. I tried working on a graphic design project but couldn’t stay focused.

Then at one this afternoon my daughter appeared on my doorstep without warning. It was a pleasant surprise but one which I wish I was given time to prepare. Perhaps anticipation of her arrival would have fulled my spirit. Instead I was left struggling to even make conversation and feeling disappointed that I was letting her down. Eventually I was left with no option but to bring her home.

With the thought that perhaps my diet has affected my energy level I prepared a healthy salad. Soon I will be on my bike heading downtown. I’m looking forward to driving pedicab although my body is scoffing me. It is with faith that I carry on in the face of doubt and ridicule.

G’night mate

Well that didn’t work quite as planned. As soon as I had decided to call it a night I began getting text messages from a buddy who wanted to hang out. I had just enough drinks in me at the time to consider it a good idea. It was a good idea. Spending time with friends is one of the things that has gotten out of balance lately. It just meant that I wasn’t going to be getting to bed early or getting up early.

In fact I didn’t wake up until 11am and had to run straight away to deliver City Pages. By the time I got home it was 7pm and I was exhausted. I crawled in bed with my dinner and was passed out shortly there after. Next think I knew it was two in the morning. I’m still yawning and tired so hopefully I can get back to sleep and try this again tomorrow.

Normal is a town in Indiana

Actually, there also is a Normal in Illinois, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. What there is not, is much normal in my life, especially these past few days. Today is probably a pretty normal day but normal for me can be pretty shitty. I did manage to get my taxes filed today so I’m happy about that. I haven’t been able to do much else. I was really hoping to get out of the house today. I don’t do well with this much isolation. I wanted to go to the bank, do some shopping, see my niece in the hospital and get something to eat. I don’t know if any of that is going to happen. My whole body is in pain and my energy level is super low.  Even writing is a struggle right now.

My last two posts had to do with Wednesday. I hardly remember what happened on Thursday. I had planned to pick my daughter up from school but found out that she had an appointment that her mother was taking her to. So then he plan was for her to get dropped off but they got pulled over by the police on their way here. They recently bought a car and I guess the license plates had been suspended. Anyway, the police officer let them go but they had to return home. I would have gone to get her but by this time I had a couple glasses of wine in me. I felt fine but I didn’t want to chance it. Feeling fine can be misleading because I don’t usually feel fine. By the time I have enough alcohol to where I’m not in pain I’ve probably had too much to drive.

I decided I might as well just lay down and watch a movie. It was still pretty early so I though I might have a chance of making it through without falling asleep. I was wrong though. I fell asleep at 8 pm and then woke up at 1 am. Figured I might as well get some coffee in me and start writing. It took me all day to write. I finally got back to bed at 3:30 in the afternoon. I just wanted to take a nap but the next thing I knew it was 10pm. Luckily I was able to fall back to sleep at 2 am so now I feel like I’m back on a normal sleep schedule… you know, whatever normal is.

Nights like these

After a very relaxing soak in the hot tub, my muscles finally released from two long days spent crammed into a sedan, I smoked a cigarette, finished my beer and was ready for bed. I slipped into my skull and cross-bone footie pajamas and took my place on the couch. Jules checked in with me to make sure I had everything I needed. I told her that one advantage to having CFS, perhaps the only advantage, is that I have no problem sleeping. It is true, at least for me, at least now. I know many people with CFS also suffer from insomnia and I did in the beginning but now I live everyday to the fullest, push myself to the limit and sleep like a baby.

Last night began no different. Jazz was on the blowup mattress beside me. I asked him what time it was to which he replied, “11:50”. It has now occurred to me that he didn’t take into account the time zone change and that it was actually 10:50 pm but in any case I closed my eyes and was sawing logs by eleven.

Now it was my turn for disrupted sleep. The night before Jazz spent much of the night in agony after eating some bad jalapeno peppers; Venus was tossing and turning all night worrying about her audit. Last night I got a taste of both.

Usually I can get a good six hours of sleep before my bladder sounds the alarm. Last night I only made it til 1 am. I woke up, checked my phone and stumbled to the bathroom. At least Jazz was sound asleep. I returned to the couch and laid down. It took me a little longer to fall asleep this time, but maybe only half an hour, although my head was starting to fill with the thoughts of the day before.

At 2:30 am I awoke again. My stomach gurgling, my intestines in knots and a pressure building upon my sphincter with the force of Niagara Falls. Perhaps it was just a fart but not wanting to take the chance nor risk poisoning my drummer I ran once again to the bathroom. I will spare you the details but let’s just say I made camp on that toilet for the next 20 minutes eliminating the toxins that had built up in my bowels.

I laid back down but quickly realized that I would not be falling asleep anytime soon. I figured I might as well go have a smoke and work through the thoughts in my head. I’ve been really troubled by what Venus is going through with the IRS. It seems like they are asserting that the life of an artist is not a worthy profession, that it’s not a legitimate way of life. This scares the hell out of me as I imagine it does many independent artists. After 14 solid years of battling CFS I know that the only thing I can do is be an artist and philosopher, and the world needs artists and philosophers. Even if I’m not the best artist or philosopher it is still the only thing I have to offer. Sure, I’m a good father, I’m a good friend; but as a career, as a vocation, as a way of live… this is all I have left. So why do I feel guilty? Whose voice is in my head because it sure isn’t mine.

Jazz made a comment last night suggesting that the IRS is coming after Venus because they believe she is trying to write off her vacations as a business expense. “Really?!?” I thought. People consider this a vacation? As insane as this supposition sounds to me, I understand where it is coming from. We do enjoy what we do. But isn’t that suppose to be the goal. Aren’t you suppose to do what you love? Aren’t you suppose to love what you do? When did enjoying your job become a bad thing? And honestly, this is not a vacation. I can’t even remember the last time I took a fucking vacation. At this point I’m not even sure what a vacation is. Sure, what we do may look like fun from the outside, and we do have fun, but I think a more accurate description of what we have is life fulfillment, at least on a good day. The rest of the time all I can say is that we have sustenance, but that’s enough to keep me going.

At 4 am the yawns find their way to my chest and I fall back to sleep. It’s now 7 am and life is beginning to return to the world. I decide to retire the fight, get up, make coffee and start my day. We have another 6 hours in the car before we reach Scottsdale, AZ. That’s where we get to do what we came to do. Tonight however, Venus has a solo show which means that Jazz and I get to kick back and enjoy ourselves. Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more winks during the drive because I do plan on having fun tonight; as much fun as I can muster.

Leaving Albuquerque

Leaving Albuquerque

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