“Sea horses have complicated routines for courtship, and tend to mate under full moons, making musical sounds while doing so. They live in long-term monogamous partnerships. What is perhaps most unusual, though, is that it is the male sea horse that carries the young for up to six weeks. Males become properly "pregnant," not only carrying, but fertilizing and nourishing the developing eggs with fluid secretions. The image of males giving birth is perpetually mind-blowing: a turbid liquid bursts forth from the brood pouch, and like magic, minuscule but fully formed sea horses appear out of the cloud.”― Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals
another thanksgiving rolls by. honestly, i think i am still in the process of redefining this holiday for myself. that actually seems a strange sentence because when i am alone i don't have any issues with thanksgiving. but when i am with other people, including my close friends and family, i find that thanksgiving hurts. it hurts to be around then, kinda like walking on broken glass.
not sure quite how it happens, since all my intentions are well-meaning, but just when the turkey is laid out on the table is just when my veneer starts to crack and i begin to crumble. luckily, this is only one day out of the year. my habit with this blog has become to dissect my feelings, hold bits and pieces up to the light, and try to examine them. perhaps i have felt some primal need to protect my feelings. however, in that process, i think that the fun and the happenstance of this activity has vanished.
as i sit here at my laptop on the saturday after thanksgiving 2012, i realize that i want to change some things even more. i slept for about 18 hours on friday, backed out of getting together with good friends, and tended to those ancient wounded feelings in the same way i have done since i can remember-(without getting high, of course).... isolation.
for me, being alone has layers. it feels safe, it feels protected at first, but as it settles is causes inertia, it seems stifling, it feels toxic. and the end of the run of isolation- very much like the end of a binge in my memory- is much like hell. and why i forget how these bits end like this is beyond me. i'm sure it's fear. on thursday, i had planned on going to an lgbt sober potluck, but as the time neared and i thought about who might be there, i was infiltrated with feelings i would have if i ran into so and so. god- this seems so much like my elementary and high school days it is sad. yet i cower at having to open that can of worms. later that day, my cousin and her 2 kids had planned on coming to my house, but she texted an hour prior to arrival, cancelling. maybe i am not alone in this- maybe it has something to do with genetics and not simply my state of grounded-ness.
yuk. eehgaaahd. its all so very tiresome. so my intention is to STOP THE MADNESS!!!. i do however not have any false hopes that one decision will change the course of 8 years sober. matter-of-factly it's taken 8 years to get a clear snapshot of what's really happening. and i am not convinced the image is really that clear yet.
thanksgiving is mostly about ritual, family, getting centered. or at least that's what i have heard it's about. it definitely has those elements for me, but it encompasses some other things as well- among them reflection, and of course, shame and trauma. outside of those rather large items though, is the family part. and in keeping with the family thing- i have posted a pic of some tongue wrenching- lard-tasting potato chips that have been made in farmington illinois since i was a young boy. they were the potato chips of my youth, and still represent home to me. i just ordered a case to send to my aunts and uncles at their holiday get-together in arizona. they share the same memories of these chips as well as sharing so many memories and histories of many other aspects of our lives as well.
how i feel about myself started developing while i was still young during my years with my family. as i listened in the kitchen of my youth to the stories being told about dreams, life, work, love- i came to an understanding that how i felt about those things was somewhat different. it was different enough for me to know instinctively that i should not discuss how i really felt. i was sure i was a freak and i was afraid at what everyone would think or say if they knew who i really was and how i really felt. of course- that's all behind me now, but i do find that around this holiday that centers on food and cooking, i revert to those skills that were formed so early in my life.
luckily, i get to remember i am not that boy in the kitchen any longer. i started there, but i have moved on- not as quickly as everyone else, but at the pace i can hold. this thanksgiving i got to have those feelings again, have those memories of harder times, and have some of those kitchen cooked potato chips. and they made my life feel hella bigger and richer. i am really learning to appreciate all the nuances and flavors in this feast we call living. it is bitter sometimes. it can be abrupt. it can be mellow and yellow and smooth. it's cold and it's not. it warm and it's hot. it's green and fresh and it's browned and fried. the experience doesn't have to be the "best" ever to be worthwhile.
in my activity filled weekend, i made plans to go with my mother to see "lincoln" at the theater we both like. it's suburban with large seating, ample parking, and located just off the freeway so we can meet in the middle with ease. the film is big, full of wonder, and made me really think much more deeply about that specific time frame and the sheer mass and volume involved in passing both the emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment. i am well aware of the vitriolic nature of our last election in this country. it has become almost accepted that each side of our current issues attack the other in a personal way- as if we don't have the right to disagree on points.
having not really ever been a historian, i guess i never contemplated what a massive undertaking and construction the war between the states was, nor did i ever once consider how it must have been to try to address and mend what was broken at that time. i will let this film simmer for awhile and may even see it again to review what i have taken in. it overwhelmed me!
mom on left- image credit linda carpenter
sadly for my mom though, i was pooped. i had worked a party the evening before and really hadn't eaten, so the only thing i wanted to do was sleep when i got out of the theater. i barely had the where-with-all to say goodbye. i wanted to head home and shut my head down for a bit. i am afraid i hurt her feelings in all this. she is headed to arizona for thanksgiving to be with her siblings and i won't see her. i regret this possibility. i guess the reason i write this is to purge a bit as her phone is turned off and i may not get the opportunity to do this.
it is a requirement that i look at how i behave. this would certainly fall into the category of character defects. i cram too much into my calendar and then i am not available to those who need my attention because i am managing my time. when i think about a solution for this, i understand well it is about slowing down. my own nature creates this need to work 3 jobs. i like to spend money and i like to have money in order to do this. in each of these jobs, i find satisfaction. however as i "zoom out" a little, i see that the sum of them might create a shadow that actual light has difficulties getting in and around.
i have some things to consider here. i hope i will. i also have the busiest month of the year for catering coinciding with all this. maybe things will change. maybe i'll find a softer way to live my life. maybe i will assess my priorities and do some re-arranging. maybe. it's definitely worth considering.
Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don't you know,
Butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean.
Sleep in peace when day is done: that's what I mean,
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me...
Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Yeah, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel..
It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me
And I'm feelin'... good
....Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
i can't be sure of the path that 2013 will lead me, but i am confident i am moving. there are nuances that have reshaped my vision and my plans. i have shifted my daily routine towards working with opioid replacement clients specifically. as i meet the individuals who populate my caseload, i am struck by the cacophonous nature of their presentations. self-esteem, heartache, balance, finance, loneliness, secrets, fear, misinformation, prejudice, stigma, education, comfort are just some of the challenges i would love to address.
i find myself poised at a turning point. i am moving. it is like a dream. i have only a few dreams i remember. most dreams drift out into space just as they drifted in- without warning and without fanfare. but there are dreams that linger. they leave an impression. they imprint. they tattoo. they scar. they become a part of me. they shape my thoughts.
although the dreams i remember are few, they are remarkable none-the-less. there are dreams i have when i am awake however, that really provide most of the inspiration for my life. i don't have to be asleep to receive messages and thoughts from the source. i am graced with inspiration on a routine basis. my brain has been fine-tuned to precision and continues to produce ideas and solutions with enviable rhythm. pictures, words, and music are all grist for the mill. my dreams are my life. i am very thankful for this.
i have been watching xfactor uk this year and have become smitten with these contestants. in week 6 during the live shows they continue to impress me with their spirit, their song choices, and their delivery. i repeat that reality tv such as this actually engages me as i am privvy to watch young people reach for their dreams. i am not sure if it gets better than that.. happy weekend.
i actually have a full time job and 2 part time positions- i teach dui (driving under the influence) for people who get tickets driving while drinking. i also work with private chefs at small parties for families of means around town. i have been doing the latter for about 5 years and it has been pretty smooth. the money is quite good, and i am inserted into environments to which i would normally not have access.
last night was certainly one of those times. i set up dinner at a small informal card party for 8 in one of the upscale neighborhoods. it was all very cordial and proper, until about an hour in when the social lubrication started to kick in. the subject of the recent election became the topic and the language became foul-acidic, visceral and foul. i was flooded with mixed emotions - my belief that people are entitled to their emotions- then the judgemental side which was directly reacting to the vitriolic aspect of the words. i felt as if i were in the la brea tarpits for a while. i kept making my way to the garage to cut the sound.
my personal feelings aside, i am reminded of just how powerful our emotions are. polished and professional people, kind and thoughtful people. gentle and generous people all have the capability and inclination to switch to predatorial behaviors when feeling threatened. it's a concept as old as time, but remains a mystery to me. but i'll keep studying.
which reminds me, i am sort of hosting our office holiday party this year. i decided that we will celebrate 50 years of the rolling stones. and writing this post made me think "you can't always get what you want"....
Excerpts from President-elect Barack Obama's acceptance speech:
Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.
It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are one American family, and we will rise and fall as one nation.
Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.
I want to thank every American who participated in this election. whether you voted fo the very first time, or waited in line for a very long time - by the way, we have to fix that - whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign. You made your voice heard, and you made a difference.
To Michelle: Let me say this publicly. I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder of watching the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation's First Lady.
To Sasha and Malia: I'm really proud of you guys. But I will say for now, one dog's probably enough.
To my campaign staff, thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up the whole way, and I will always be grateful for everything you've done and all the incredible work you've put in.
Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy, and messy, and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us have deeply-held beliefs. and when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs up passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments that we have are marks of our liberty.
We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant daughter who studies in our school and pledges to our flag.
Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. With your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do.
Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weerks and months I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet challenges we can only solve together.
Tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I've never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. ...
I believe we can seize this future, because we are not as divided as our politics suggests, We are not as cynical as the pundits believe, We are greater than the sum of our ambitions. We are more than a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States of America. And with your help, and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world why we live in the greatest nation on earth.
God Bless America. God Bless these United States.
Right, right, turn off the lights
We're gonna lose our minds tonight
What's the deal, yo?
I love when it's all too much
5 a.m. turn the radio up
Where's the rock 'n roll?
Party crasher, penny snatcher
Call me up if you're a gangsta
Don't be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?
So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Slam, slam, oh hot damn
What part of a party don't you understand?
Wish you'd just freak out
(Freak out already)
Can't stop, coming in hot
I should be locked up right on the spot
It's so on right now
(It's so fucking on right now)
Party crasher, penny snatcher
Call me up if you're a gangsta
Don't be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?...Pink
this post was inspired by my friend julien arbor. she posted the "pink" version of this song on the "punks for obama" page on fb. i honestly felt like celebrating and when i heard that song i knew it held some of the joie du vivre that i was feeling.
there are so many really disturbing things i noticed about the party system this time- mostly the divisive nature of the campaigns. the obama legacy will no doubt include the amazing strides his camp has made to bring the different sub-populations together. as a nation, i am not sure we can afford just what the divisive nature will cost us.
“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” -James Joyce
it has been another weekend of newness. i did not have any parties to work. i went to a 12 step conference/speaker meeting on friday evening. i injured my knee during cardio class about 4 weeks ago and let it continue to heal in lieu of heading to work on on saturday am. i bought some snacks and took them to the hospitality suite at the conference on saturday afternoon with every intention of staying for the dinner.
however, there were was a sense of unease with me and i gave a friend a ride to a meeting she was speaking at that evening and opted to simply go home and chill. i had really been feeling exhausted all week long.
sunday morning, a friend and i went to hear another friend sing with the choir at a local church. there was a baptism of a 12 year old boy which accented the experience. the church is 6 blocks away, quite small and quaint, and left a smile on my heart. i dropped my friend at her home with a plan of going to the closing speaker meeting of the conference. i got a call from my friend alex saying that he and his partner were in town from philadelphia. he was calling to ask if i could meet in 15 minutes for brunch.
we were to meet at olivea where they had a reservation. upon arrival it seemed we would have to wait at least 20 minutes, so we skated across the street to the avenue grill. we had eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, and a red and white burrito. a distinct and seductive waft of cumin repeatedly danced its way to my senses and left a smile in my mind. this brunch and get-together was a remarkable intervention with my standard weekend.
as i consider the shift that is taking place in my life now, i seem to have shaken loose some very familiar unease. the availability and synchronicity of social activity is consistent and solid. i find myself in a rather new environment of enjoyment. it is certainly not familiar yet at the same time, i am loving it. whether it is anything more than just another stretch of life's highway remains to be revealed. i will, however relish the pleasantness and be grateful.
i write more about the present, as i have spent the last few posts surveying the errors. i continue to struggle with conflict and it continues to trouble my landscape. i excessively filled my time when an emotional challenge reared its head, and i made agreements i was not able to fulfill. my intention is to leave room for these lessons and other troubles to materialize. it would be a preference to let go of my fear of others so that it can travel on to the next soul that needs its wisdom.
i want to give a nod to tiny buddha blog for the inspiration for today's post. i am finding that moving forward brings with it a myriad of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. as much as i want to balk, i secretly long for new adventure.
in keeping with the moving forward theme, i am continuing to explore my new romance with the new breed of electronica. these sounds and beats are magic provided by michael mayer of kompakt records at the boiler room berlin.
01. Andrea Esu - E.S.U. Track
02. Kenny "Jammin" Jason with "Fast" Eddie Smith - Can U Dance
03. Ron Trent - Kids At Play
04. Barnt - Hark
05. Paris - A Shifting Drifting World (It's A Fine Line Remix)
06. Coma - Gravity
07. Terranova feat. Tomas Høffding - Question Mark (KiNK Mix feat. Rachel Row)
08. Laurent Garnier - Communication From The Lab (Germ Mix)
09. Hot Chip - Boy From School (Erol Alkan’s Extended Re-Work)
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
it would seem that i have stumbled upon a new phase in my life. the online distractions have taken a new turn and i have posted some new dj's, some new blogs, and it seems a shifted perspective on life. i have developed (or am developing) a new appreciation for the younger generations. i have incorporated techniques which both deepen my spiritual life and allow me to be less affected by my past and more "here" in my todays.
i have recently lost a very beautiful friend and i am working to remain thawed by the chill that was caused. the changes that followed paul's departure have been swift and succinct. i trust i will find myself poised to remain open emotionally to life in the coming year.
another dear friend married on thursday and i understand there is unknown change involved around this for me. she looked radiant at the ceremony and the evening reminded me that happiness is real. it's a little queer(pun intended) to harbor such a thought.
the blogs i speak of are not telegraphing words. they are images that create thoughts, questions, and ideas in my mind. perhaps it's my adhd, but these images i have waded into may have created a fountain of youth effect. it is welcome in my life right now. i invite renewed naivete and i am warmed by the possibility of new experiences.
then there is the wave of music that has dusted the corners of my brain. mostly dj's who are delivering a new sensibility- avant house-y if i may- to electronic music. the tempo is not the pace i am used to, it is more relaxed and set on "coast" like my auto. i plan to continue to explore this realm, and the others i have recently encountered. i hope to keep sharing. my relationship with blogging, with working with others, with recovery, and with living my life have altered.