Saturday, November 23, 2013

answers to the questions people ask me.

This blog will read best to the Garden State soundtrack. If you do not have access to it who are you? How did we end up here together? Have you no tenderness, man? And how, exactly, did I end up in the rear quarters of this zebra costume because I'll tell you, there is no upside to being in the backside of a zebra costume, absolutely none. 

So I have found, of late, that people are asking me about the same seven things. Maybe these are the most obvious seven things to ask me about and people are just making conversation. If this is what's what then may I suggest that rather than bother with such Veiled Prophet-pleasantries we do one of the following with our 30-seconds of intimacy (00:06:30 too little, but I digress):
a) slow dance as I sing Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” so-motherfucking-softly into your ear or
b) you may cry on my shoulder like Meat Loaf in Fight Club or
c) tell me your most horrible, shameful thought and I will cleanse it like an oyster clinging to the banks of the Mississippi River.

A river oyster that will end up—in a wild, hermetic twist--being served at the 2014 Veiled Prophet Ball, where a mutual Facebook friend that neither of us has met in person will come cheek-to-cheek with her birth father, but not know it was him until decades later (but how could she know? Yet she’ll blame herself for years…) So no matter what there is a synergy to it all. But enough’s enough! Onto these questions, should they be sincere curiosities shared by a greater lot of you.

1. Are you going to stay in Norfolk?
I sure hope so! It’d be excellent to stick around and be a part of fantastic things happening over decades, generations even. I do need to lock into what feels like more of a career—something easier said than done for a fella with my skill set—and I would like to ultimately find one of those wife things, but yah. Staying in Norfolk would be amazing. There’s like 80 people I love there. The thought of building on those relationships, watching my friends’ children grow up, witnessing as things like the Arts District go from half baked ideas on Hannah’s couch to brilliant reality… Yes. Yes. And yah, for sure, y’all. 


2. Are you going to run for office again?
Assuming Dr. Whibley isn’t revealed to have been skimming a mathematically insignificant amount of babies off the top, infants she has been for years training to be her winged monkeys—a potentiality I would not dismiss, given her assumed love for both Office Space and Wizard of Oz—I wouldn’t run against her. That lady is sweeter than a crepe from Josselin (67, rue du Montparnasse)! But maybe down the road. I need a good woman I can count on as a base, for one, but more than anything I want to be in my wise old lion phase of life before I dive back into that hair-balls-a-flying fray. Public service in the form of politics is the highest manifestation of my spiritual beliefs, so I wouldn’t rule it out, just not anytime soon.

3. Do you see AltDaily continuing on into the future?
AltDaily’s most significant days are in front of it. I’m fairly sure of that.

4. What are you doing with yourself now?
So, ladies and gentlemen... if I say I’m in the recycling racket, you will agree. You have a great chance here, but bear in mind, you can lose it all if you're not careful.

I manage a local recycling incentive program. It’s a field I believe in, but I’m a contract employee so who knows. 

 
5. What’s going on with the Arts District?
Lots! We have our third meeting in a couple weeks of the board Hannah and I put together to run the non-profit dedicated to making the Arts District the realness. The Norfolk Public Art Commission has $60,000 set aside for the neighborhood for the coming year. I know of a few properties that have sat vacant for years that are being developed into residential/commercial. In the next couple weeks we’re launching an RFP for a $10,000 mural in the hood. The Hurrah Players are committed to making something work in the neighborhood. One of my favorite local entertainment institutions is trying to move in, The Plot is moving to the old Zedd’s space, and there are conversations swirling around the Texaco building. In other words, it’s happening.

6. Are you back with Logan?
Lots of love, respect, and reverence there but no, she and I have taken off on different tracks, she on the Ole Virginy Express, and I’ve jumped a boxcar to the moon. My loveful, lustful, gypsy heart is re-awakening. The glow in my eyes is reemerging, the glow that zaps past people’s pupils and into their truths. The teeter-totter is completely balanced between a longing for every woman I’ve ever loved and a hopefulness (knowledge) that my greatest love is yet to come. Until then, I’m not exactly trying to live the European vacation montage from Rules of Attraction, but I’m in no rush to necessarily fall in love either. As track #12 on the suggested soundtrack reminds us, there is beauty in the breakdown. 

 
7. You’re such a sweet guy, why do people have such negative reactions to you sometimes?
As I have come into my own, found my self-love, and realized that my greatest strength actually comes from the sweetness, charm, and immediacy, this question comes around less and less. But it’s an interesting one that I’ve put a good deal of thought into, so I’ll share. 

I put people who don’t like me into 4 categories:
a)         People with differing political opinions who simplify those who disagree with them into neat little one-dimensional boxes of otherness. I have strong opinions that I’m not afraid to vocalize, so I give people a dozen reasons to not like me. If you’re homophobic, you won’t like me. If you’re ardently against gun laws, you won’t like me (though I do 100% support a person’s right to own a gun in America, I’ll add). If you find vegetarians inherently offensive, you won’t like me. If you believe that any criticism of America’s military activities is offensive, you won’t like me. My spiritual beliefs have a way of rankling conservative Christians and atheists alike--if you're anti-Semitic, yah, there's that, too. And the list goes on; some more top-down thinkers are offended that a relatively poor nobody without a name or family connections has opinions at all. We build walls between us and those who don’t validate our beliefs----being outspoken, I give people many opportunities to build a wall between them and myself. I strive to be as gentle, compassionate, and open to other ideas, but sometimes it’s not enough for people, and I go in the jerk box.
[note: some people simply have ulterior motives and disparage a person to disparage their beliefs, or disparage another when they believe it will bring them personal gain; not everybody deserves as much credit as I try to give them here.]
b)        Related: I make myself a target. It’s infinitely easier, when upset about the world, to blame somebody (anybody!) else for your problems. Anyone who puts themselves out there will find themselves a scapegoat for other people’s issues from time to time. It’s a cost of doing business.
c)         Some people are just plain confused. They take my shyness for aloofness, my confidence for arrogance, my space-headedness for disinterest (and not just me being a dreamer who gets lost in his thoughts from time to time). I’ve been told that the way I stand and the look on my face can be aggressive---my screensaver face is so much less sweet than I’d want it to be! Someone reprogram me as a highlight reel of nature shots or something, please. There are also the people out there who believe nonsense things like I have a trust fund, and that upsets them. (For the record my dad died penniless, my mom is a secretary, and I have an insane amount of college debt---no trust fund anywhere near me.) Some people just get me wrong… but those are the people that spend 10 minutes chatting with me and they end up apologizing at the end for their false inferences.
d)       There are probably 6 people that have legitimate reasons to not like me. I’ve only been the me I was meant to become for the last stretch of my life---I had a lot of pressure and responsibility for someone his age, and I didn’t always handle it well. But I learn from my mistakes and I make a habit of not making the same mistake twice, so even if people don’t want to forgive me, I forgive myself. (Mind you, I have never done anything awful---just poor communication, for the most part).

I can’t imagine who would have read down to this point! Anyone who has can shoot me an email, to which I will respond with a unique treat. Ha. Viva la revolution, kiss the cook, the only ones are the mad ones, we don’t need anyone else to tell us what’s good, we know it straight from our hearts right away, as easy as looking out the window and knowing if it’s day or night. 
And now I will pull a sobbing Natalie Portman out of a phone booth and we will kiss.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

the aperture and the whale

Somewhere there is a room so thick full of love that you can't see anything else. The pain, the judgments, the confusion sit blind like boats in a harbor overcome by fog.

**

I'm trying to find a way to control the aperture that the love flows through in my life. I want to twist it until it breaks off. It's like we've got all 10 fingers and all 10 toes stuck in the levy as the flood water stampedes around us, extending us prone to the current, flotsam that thinks it can control the tides... but yet still we hold on.

That there are limits to our love is the lie our Darwin brains trick us into believing to excuse our selfishness. To protect ourselves.

Twist. twist. twissssssst... SNAP.

*

I believe in the revolution. Last night Avery was saying how he thinks there's going to be another Snowden-type leak that kicks the stakes from underneath the big house. When all is exposed there's no place to hide from the truth. I hope he's right. America is a concept long past its half life---it's not about countries anymore. It's not about geography or race or class or religion.

It's about love, about shifting the balance from self-preservation to love propagation.


What I have learned the last few years is that the love has to burn from the inside out. One of the most important things Logan ever told me was to pull my shoulders back and let the light shine through me. I remember when I used to think I was unlovable---and to a certain degree I was. I had some very real shit I had to confront, accept, understand, grow through, and forgive myself for. I was angry. I was confrontational. I didn't communicate well. I would be so full and bubbling with emotion that it would sweep me to another place as another person. They were all symptoms of the same disease, the self-mutilation that is a lack of self love.

It took me a long time. I hurt people along the way. I shredded myself. I broke myself down to pieces so tiny I thought they might flake away like incense dust.

But goddamn was it worth it.

I can be the leader I want to be now. I can be the boyfriend and maybe husband I want to be. I poured so much love into Katherine, Hannah, Logan, the other amazing and beautiful souls that graced my life with their presence, but as long as there was a hole in my bucket it was impossible. Not a chance.

There's something balanced and almost perfect about the way we can only grow through the breakdowns. What a gift, the miseries---it's like the way the park service will sometimes burn the brush so that the big trees can grow stronger.

*

Somewhere there is an elementary school that teaches our children to choose meaningful lives. Somewhere the revolution is decades farther along than we've been led to believe.

***

I texted Logan to apologize for her having to be there through the last years of me as a boy, before I learned how to love myself. She deserved better---though in some ways I loved her the way she deserved. I loved her more wholly and maturely than I knew I was capable of. My body served no greater purpose than to connect with hers, to unlock the Godly lustful beasts inside us, the angels of sin we become when we're making love. I've never known a woman so warm, so beautiful, so graceful, so funny and charming and everything everything everything----the shadow she cast over every other woman since I met her has been a blanket of clouds that cut off a sky of burning suns. I'll never know a love like hers again; I'm not sure how that story ends just yet.

But I have to open the aperture. I have to let go of attachments, hold onto the love, and be ready to receive the love that comes my way. Fill every room with it. Shoulders back----ha, I just got the reference---like a freaking Care Bear.

*****
after Passion Pit at The NorVa then coming home to see my brother Ronnie had his baby, 11/3/13