blogging

true

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birthday candles

Fuzzy: What do you think happens when we die?
Willy: We get to have sex again.” -Longtime Companion

at certain intervals recently, i find myself shivering from a seemingly new sense that we are definitely living in a newer era. man buns, social media, selfie sticks, apps,  handcrafting, crowd funding, locally sourced, gmo-free are just a few terms that signal the radical shifts we have made in our daily lives. it as if the american portrait is no longer a rockwell or a remington, but the new american rendering is like a chuck close collage made up of smaller individual pics. i guess you need to zoom-in to be able to see what is at the heart of the story(ies).

close collage

young people (and people in general) especially millennials no longer remain loyal to companies or stay in jobs for decades because there is no sense of security, little hope for a pension, and a large chance of being let go as they age. mergers and acquisitions have created a completely new monopoly board. there have been so many broken deals, cover-ups, and gerrymandering of the system that people are too numb with frustration to bother participating in the political system.

when these random moments that contain a bit of cultural clarity occur, i feel a bit giddy and refreshed as if i had just come up for air after swimming underwater. relieved to breathe again and feeling blessed and hopeful that i am allowed to do yet even more. this is my 6th decade on earth and not only am i amazed that there is more to take in.

i have had another of those moments recently. it’s not a power moment- although it feels powerful- no it’s a humbling experience. i think back to my experiences in say the early 1980’s. at that time i was certain that my bohemian lifestyle and twenty-something world view was uber-insightful and could doubtfully be aced in any way. and then there’s the gift of now which provides me the experience of memory lost and of millennial worldviews that tell a quieter more bittersweet tale of lives and dreams drifting in and out of view.

my blog has always focused on the emotional side of recovery. at first it tried to cultivate the basic  feelings that early sobriety uncovers. this was followed by a more personal journey of emotional sobriety, my own shame and trauma that my younger self masterfully wove into older adult tapestry. now my temple of words remains a small canvas that i splatter, brush, tap, spit, or caress some feelings i have ready on my palette. it is definitely a spiritual practice whose consistent presence has normalized my multi-colored experience.

chaos and the calm

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my professional life has felt like a cake baking in the oven. it seemed to have expanded its volume, but it is not clear whether the increase will remain or if it is all air and will fall when removed from the oven. i received some good (i think) news today, but remain apprehensive about the specific domino fall that may follow. i am nervous and excited. and i work to feel okay with not knowing. i hope and i refrain.

i remember a conversation i had with a lifelong friend the night that we met. it had to do with hope and demise and the symbiotic and yin-yang relationship they seem to have. a person’s demise is often connected to their hope. i have maintained this perspective since i claimed it in 1980 during a full moon lit walk along lake shore drive chicago.

so when i feel excitedly hopeful about the prospects of possible outcomes of this not unexpected news, i have found myself worried about the hope i muster. and if a hope become reality, what if what i hope becomes worse than what i have? or more strangely, what if it becomes better?

marilyn in the moon

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I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets; 
Becoming My overcoat too was ideal, 
I Travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal; 
Oh dear me! what marvelous loves I dreamed of!
My only pair of breeches had a big whole in ’em. 
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way. 
was at the tavern My Sign of the Great Bear. 
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.
Listened to ’em and I, sitting on the road-sides 
On Those pleasant evenings while I felt September drops 
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;
And while, rhyming Among the fantastical shadows, 
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics 
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!
Arthur Rimbaud
i can remember writing with intention for the 1st time at 16. i was engulfed in melancholy about leaving home and making hard decisions although that is hindsight describing them. at the time- i was just puffed up like a blowfish reacting to a fearful situation and i penned a simile poem  about the vastness of the once-seen ocean as it reflected the enormous terra i had stumbled upon in my world.
i didn’t write again for about 8 years. i did however, craft a number of drug inspired song lyrics sung to the tune of “i can’t really sing” and performed on the front steps of brownstones along chicago’s near-north side. these were seldom heard by anybody else but me. however there was a time i deciphered an image of marilyn monroe in the face of the moon. on many warmer weather nights, i crooned unabashedly to her image and bled some poison from my soul somehow feeling connected to the tragic quality her life represented. 
i journaled for awhile from 1983 until 1985- sporadically at best, and i got a taste of the relief that this activity could provide. life, however, hadn’t provided me with the surety required to make syncopated entries. at best there were scribbles and partial cave drawings which upon revisit conjure up ghost fragments which are both chaotic and sublime. 
since my hiv diagnosis in 1985 until 2005 after finding recovery, i had mostly  hidden this specific part of me from the world and worked hard to deep it separate. this certainly fueled my addiction. the darkness that settled in those years left scars and pockmarks that still  have memory. but i picked up writing again in 2006 in the form of blogging and have been adding entries without fail since then. this is the 2nd generation blog and a style may have begun to emerge. i have found peace, distortion, friendship, inspiration, trauma, challenge, freedom, and fight through the tip-tapping of the keyboard as my musical instrument crafting my lyrics and music to my inspirational  marilyn in the moon. 
i am very clear that i write because i am able and because it pets my soul like i might caress a chinchilla collar. it keeps me warm and feels like a hug. there are many times when i can’t feel my muse. this is overshadowed always by the times that there is clearly a constellation of the points of light in my world. 

shut the fuck up

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Sarah Palin on Obama
“He’s got most disconnected, backasswards plan ever imposed on the country we love.”
i was looking for some inspiration for a post and i found this. it is a brilliant image i think. i know i wish i could shave my mouth shut sometimes. i find very often that i speak too quickly and don’t listen enough. strange behavior for a counselor…. or maybe not.
i heard that a friend relapsed on crystal recently. i haven’t seen him to tell for myself, however, i have noticed some things that seem odd and out of character for him. but i just don’t know.
i got a text from a family member whose phone i am paying for. he has lost the password to the phone service site to make changes and has gotten it from me 1x. i have been leery of giving it to him again. actually i think i want to chastise him for being so careless. but really he is careless and assumptive and that mix is noxious for me.
i made it known that i had requested a transfer at a work meeting today. it felt liberating. there are things i will miss, however, having to listen ad nauseum to the “mean girls” will not be missed. and i don’t care to hear clients imitated with no purpose either. i guess i draw some imaginary line between mocking customers and mocking people we are supposed to be caring for.
i picked up another party on friday night. it is at the home of a pretty well known businessman. i just worked his 80th bday party a few months ago. i only want to be 80 if i can be as spry as he.
if you haven’t tried the new haagen daaz peach flavored sorbet, run out now and get some… it’s sensational..

talking loud and clear

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photo credit..nils vinils
Opposite and opposite
Decisions are reversed
Facing one another
With words that couldn’t hurt
With every little word
You’re getting closer to me
Talking loud and clear
Saying just what we feel today

it’s interesting to mark the progression of my own life as well as the bloggers i have met since i started this journey 3 years ago. i don’t know if i have progressed at all stylistically, but i know that professionally, i have morphed into a counselor, (and hopefully a caregiver). this is not what i had intended, but it is where my journey has taken me.

i started writing about recovery, and just experimenting with examining my thoughts and feelings during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of my sobriety. i remember the 1st commenter on my blog kickintina. he was a man in utah struggling with his own meth use and had sent me a comment on his way to rehab- which didn’t take that time. but i think his next attempt worked, and he has been sober and directed towards sanity since. he’s working, he has put all his legal troubles behind him (that i know of). there are a few similar stories to these. one man in san francisco, a very talented writer from la, an activist from toronto, a very sweet schoolteacher from south africa who now lives in taiwan( he didn’t do meth, he drank), and i have befriended a recovering meth addict/blogger from atlanta-now residing in ft. lauderdale.

with all this, it’s hard not to believe that there is something more similar in our journeys than just recovery and blogging. i think we might be part of a larger trend or movement within our culture. i haven’t gotten it all figured out yet, but i secretly hope that we may be helping light the way to sanity and self-acceptance for gay men that has been without light for so long. but i don’t talk much with any of them anymore. we have done our collective dances together and have moved on to our next performances. still i loved them all.

this week had me feeling wrung. i only worked 4 days, but realized that i needed to change some things to remain sane. the wheels have been put into motion for this change, and i hope to know something before the end of the month. i thought i might have to change my career direction too, because the price of working in the field i do- hiv and substance counseling- is proving to be much more costly emotionally than i had ever considered. i seem to ignite the ire of a select few around me consistently. i am not sure if this is because they have their own agendas-as do i- and i somehow interfere with theirs. i am thinking this is part of it. and i also think that i have developed connections and confidence on my own dime, and this is unsettling for some.

what i have to work on is spontaneity in my dealing with blips. when confrontation arises, which it does, i need to address it in a timely fashion. perhaps this will help to prevent some situations that have been painful from reoccurring. but that’s gonna be a hike.

i have a quiet weekend ahead. on tuesday i am doing a presentation on meth and its effects to a mostly hispanic agency and am looking forward to it. this is a kind of outreach that i have begun that i enjoy. at least i know i like to talk.

i went to see a small film called touching home. it was tasty. written and directed by twin brothers, it is their story growing up with an alcoholic father. the were at the screening and had a q&a afterward. funny- they finish each others sentences. almost like 2 parts of a bigger whole..

i am feeling nostalgic- probably most of the time- but i thought i’d share some ancient stuff from my dance hall days that weren’t the most commercial.. but i still love them…here’s omd – orchestral maneuvers in the dark- with “talking loud and clear”

OMD – Talking Loud And Clear by One From The Vaults

revived

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today’s post rings in a new chapter for me. and it is a needed new direction. so i hope to bring some of myself that has been hiding in the back of the closet. i found myself in somewhat of a public eye in my professional life and suddenly my truth seemed unacceptable, or at least not appropriate. and part of me knows that unless i live in my truth, i am not living at all.

this is the challenge. the marathon-triathlon, decathlon, whatever, has begun. so i hope that there will be readers now and again to witness my life for me, at least in written form. i will write when i can. i will write when i am inspired. i will write so i can figure out what to say.

i got sober-clean about 5 1/2 years ago. my life has been a patchwork of incredible miracles and opportunity as well as the uncovering of shadowy parts of my past that i had never allowed to be brought to light. i have somehow managed to cut a path with my journey, but have definitely incurred some sharp blows and opened old wounds at the same time. it’s exhausting and exhilarating, but i save time for great food and fantastic music, and love to admire a good photograph whenever i can.

no longer the living dead, i have been revived.