For Chester, For Me, For You

There's a thousand places, (to match the thousand pieces of my broken heart) where I want to start this writing, but I'm so fucking mad, and sad, so so sad, that THESE THINGS about which I must write (or be crippled by the confusion, and pain) are things at all, that words come to me in rushes, and I think them, and write them, hate them, then delete them. And I have emotions colliding against each other with such ferocity I've felt literally for the first time in my life, over the last few days, that I might pass out. If this is where I am at, I can't begin to imagine where must be those whose pain is mine only by association, admiration, and friendship. By history. By love. This writing which had started out about 2 heartaches, I am refining, which is not to say making shorter, to be about just 1.

I want to be very clear about something; I am gutted by Chester's death, and it is a HUGE  loss for everyone who knew him, loved him, and loved his music. And this time "one of us" for me, for my huge extended Arizona family of ridiculously talented creative feelers, really was ONE OF US. But I do not seek to appropriate the pain of those who REALLY lost him. The one who lost her husband, the children who lost their father. The parents who lost their son. The friends since youth, business partners, and band mates. To them I send endless amounts of love, because if my pain is at 11, theirs must be at 11,000,000.

Chester and I were not BFF's. We were more like super casual F's, (friends, just in case that might read other than intended) who were part of a brilliant, ridiculously talented, absolutely insane in the best, and worst ways, group of people in the music scene in Tempe, (really metro-Phoenix) AZ, at the same time. "Tempe Jangle Pop" was big then, with bands like The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments making names for themselves on the national stage. But also, The Meat Puppets and their punk/country thing, and Jimmy Eat World, were (and are in the case of Jimmy's band) kinda big time too. DJ Z-Trip, The Phunk Junkeez, Dead Hot Workshop…these are just some of the bands/artists who "made it" to varying degrees, from that time, and place, and only representative of a small percentage of the talent that existed then, in the Valley of the Sun.

By now the world knows that Chester in the mid to late 90's, was the vocalist for the band Grey Daze, with his Club Tattoo business partner, Sean Dowdell on drums. I, when we first met, was working as an independent Booking Agent/Band Manager. Having also been a singer, and writer,  most of what we shared was the arsty fartsy creative thing. I was later to find out we also shared being molested at age 7, and drug addiction. Lucky us, right?

Its not very often I know the exact date I first met someone, but thanks to how we met, and the internet, I know the first time I met Chester was September 10th, 1994. I think he was 18, but maybe 17. I was the Booking Agent for, "Tripping With Grace" and Grey Daze was the support act for them that night. It was my first show with Tripping With Grace, and my first show in the Phoenix scene. Literally in the hundreds is the number of shows I've been to in my life, so thousands is the number of bands that I've seen, and I will NEVER forget that night. Not because he became CHESTER BENNINGTON of LINKIN PARK, but because "who the f is the skinny kid with the braids and the HUGE voice, radiating raw passion, and energy as he sings?!" Truly he was riveting to watch, to listen to, even then. That voice. THAT voice. And him, on stage, so young, unpolished, not yet having perfected the front man thing, but riveting none the less.

trip

Forever in my mind I see his stance, singing, bent at the waist, leaning forward, which anyone whose had any vocal lessons knows is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do when singing. Cupping the mic in his hands, which anyone who has done any singing into a mic know is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do. Unless you're Chester Bennington.

This is DAYS worth of writing, attempts at writing, and so little said. Because I stop to cry, and remember, and wonder, and to FEEL my sadness and my anger.  I find myself unable to read most of what is written in the last week about him, except the memories written by my friends, his friends, our friends, and the tributes paid to him by fans. These precious memories we carry of this man who touched so many. Not just with his music, but with his genuine kindness, and humility. I'd say I've strolled down memory's lane, but it has been more like a sunshine filled day – running through broken glass. Looks shimmery and pretty in the light, but hurts like a bitch.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago, after Chris Cornell committed suicide titled "Who Cares if One More Light Goes Out? In A Sky of a Million Stars… I do." Click Me Taken from the Linkin Park song which Chester, with great emotion, sang the day after Chris's passing. This particular blog is about how us ridiculously talented creative feelers are sort of fucked up in our own ways. But how some of us, inexplicably, make our way around, or through, our fucked-upness, to the other side. The side where we're still fucked up, but we're not actively, or passively, trying to off ourselves because of it. And I wrote of  3 (anonymous)  people whose lives to greater or lesser degrees I have been privileged to be a part of. These 3 people who have had certain situations and circumstances  sadly similar to each other, and mine, and each rose to such amazing heights, in spite of bullshit, and pain, and for a couple of them, (and me) in spite of stupid choices. And Chester was one of those of whom I was speaking. The one of whom I wrote "Rise doesn't begin to describe this story's (not yet finished) end." Because he had "made it." Until he didn't.

The last time I had a real conversation with Chester before he became CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK, has always been for reasons I could never quite understand, indelibly etched on my brain. 4 years had past since the first meeting. I'd been to who knows how many Grey Daze shows, gotten my first tattoo by a Club Tattoo artist at an event called "Club Sex" which was basically live music and tattoos happening all under one roof, on my birthday (known to some as Valentine's Day), and had seen him out and about every now and again because; music scene.  Now working for Never Records Group as the Local Marketing Representative, I had one of our bands playing a show at Gibson's in Tempe. (Either Lords of Acid or Curve, I can't quite nail down dates)

At one point in the evening I was outside the venue, and Chester came walking up. We hugged, exchanged hellos, and "what are you doing here" sort of questions. And then we talked about real life, and heartache. His heartache. And I see him now, just like I do every time I've thought of this the last 20 years, I see him, leaning up against the wall, hands pushed in his pockets, back curved, leaning forward, head down, one knee bent, and one foot on the wall behind him. When he'd look up, the emotion, the hurt around what he was sharing with me, was written all over his face, and reflected in his eyes. His life, and hurt at that moment in it is not my story to tell the world, and is ancient history now. What I can say is that he told me of new opportunities, and changes he was going to be making because he had to make them. I don't recall what I said, but I'm sure I offered some words in which I'd hoped he'd find comfort, and hugs, and wishes that all would turn out for the best. Then we went inside, him to enjoy a show, and me to work my show.

Within a year or so of that is when he started to become CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK. Every time I've thought of that conversation over the years, I've thought about how desperately sad he was. How he had no idea that the choices, and changes he felt he had to make, were going to lead him to heights none of the rest of us ridiculously talented creative feelers in Tempe, Arizona, could in our wildest dreams imagine achieving. I know by his own admission that even in his happy moments, he was prone to self sabotage, but I'd like to believe that there were at least some periods of time where he was able to ride the wave of happiness.

Grey Daze was set to do a reunion show in Tempe on September 23rd this year, and I was flying home for it. Having only seen Chester a couple of times since 1998, and always in some sort of mob fest meet and greet situation, I've never had the chance to remind him of that day, and how sad he was, and how far he'd made it. Not just in music, but in life, with the work he did with MusiCares, and in love with Talinda, with his kids, with Club Tattoo. I wanted to tell him how much hope he'd always given me, and how privileged I'd always felt that he, the human being Chester, not the eventually famous guy, had shared something so deeply personal, and allowed me to hold that space for him. And like so many others around the world I wanted to thank him for music, and lyrics, that brought me a measure of comfort in so many moments in time when nothing else could. Even if it was just because his was a voice from home, and a challenge to "scream" with! In this last week I have mourned the loss of that opportunity to say those words, which I do know he is aware of anyway.

This really has been a tough one that has brought back around my lifelong deep think about why so many of us ridiculously talented creative feelers go so low, even when soaring so high. I have grieved for him, for the pain he must have felt. I have cried copious amounts of tears. And screamed. And sang, And danced, And walked. And run. I have asked WHY god bless it WHY? I've sent waves of love, and peace, and healing, to the hearts that need it most, so that I could at least do something. I've been moved by the tributes to him from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Over and over reading words, or watching videos in which someone is talking about how they owe their life to Chester, and Linkin Park. I have had coworkers, and friends tell me that they directly credit Chester with getting them through some of the worst times of their lives.

Tonight, the day after the memorial for Chester, I have found myself in the place I feel I have to be, and that feels right, with all of this. I, as usual, have no answers, but, what is a possible truth that resonates for me, even while knowing it doesn't comfort those he left behind, is that his work here was done. He has touched thousands upon thousands of lives with his music, and with his heart. He has been a voice to give courage to those struggling with depression, and addiction. He has literally saved lives because of those things. And now, he has "leveled up." With his passing people from all over the world are coming together to celebrate him, to mourn the loss of him, and to comfort one another.  Funds are being donated in his name, which will help a someone in need someday. People who may not have reached out for help, are doing so. Suicide prevention information is being spread across social media at a rate I'm certain is much higher than usual. Chester's friends in music are openly speaking of his passing, and urging anyone who needs help to seek it, and to reach out to each other for support, and friendship. People are coming together, sharing love, trying to make a positive difference in the world, because of the skinny kid with the huge voice.

For me the loss of Chester has brought about the renewed desire to have the conversation about how the paradigm of the tortured/suffering/starving artist is played out. How there must be a way to create, and be happy, all at once. Not always of course. Not fake "church lady" happy. But that we don't need to be unhappy because its what we're "supposed" to be. We don't have to self sabotage when we do find ourselves happy. We must tell the ridiculously talented creative feelers that it is OK to be those things when they are tiny humans! Nurture that. Give them the opportunity to explore that. Don't bullshit them about it either. It's not pretty, and it sure as hell isn't always fun. The music business and all of the arts don't often give, but when they do they also have a habit of taking away. Allow the tiny humans the space to create because they need to, but maybe also help them find a practical application for their creativity that will provide a steady income. But don't tell them they HAVE to be a Dr/lawyer/scientist whatever. Teach them the value of taking care of reality, while pursuing their dreams!

I get that I'm not solving the problems with this very 101 "choose happy" sort of thing. See above and "I don't have any answers." But I am willing to shine a light, to be a light, to give a hug, or be the ear or shoulder that is needed. There can't be anything more important to do in this life than that, right? If I never remembered another time when I made a difference in a persons life, I will always know that even for just a minute, I helped a sad someone feel, if not better, heard.

The last thing I want, need, to say, is Thank You to that skinny kid, with the braids, and the HUGE voice. Thank you for crossing paths with me in this reality. Thank you for the music that was the sound track for so many moments large, and small in my life, and not just sad moments, at all!! So many happy memories of you, with Grey Daze, and Linkin Park. Thank you for writing lyrics that I understand at a soul level. Thank you for your courage in being forthcoming about your abuse, your addiction, and your depression because it helped me when I was in my deepest, most dark place, where I didn't care if I woke up the next day, feel not quite so crazy, knowing it wasn't just me who'd ever gone there.. Most importantly, thank you for giving me your trust, and the opportunity to be whatever you needed at that time, all those years ago. I will not say goodbye to you, I will simply say see you later, for whenever later may be, and I love you.

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Photos not mine but were found via Google Search

“…I’m a (wo)man whose tragedies have been replaced, with memories tattooed upon my soul…”

Because I'm deep in the depths of my other writing, my writing to, and about, Chester, and cancer, but my thoughts, and heart, betray me so often I can't focus, there is this. Other thoughts that aren't those. They are all here, HERE, in my soul and my fingertips, the words I want to finish,  which I've been writing for almost a week. Today though, I've been riding the waves of memories from ages ago, tinged by anger, and hurt, or something, of right now, but I have to say something. Something… Because the other writing is as much about me as it is about him, and suicide, and depression, and cancer. But this one is about me, as I relate to him, and just me. And Liz Gilbert. (Eat Pray Love) And I don't know why I'm writing it, just that I'm supposed to.

This is not a cry for help blog. This is not an "I'm in a scary depressed place" writing. Because by the grace of what the fuck ever it is, as much as I am some insane mix of angry and sad right now, and clearly dancing with expansion that has left me exhausted I'm OK. I mean, I'm often these last few days on autopilot, and I would LOVE for now to be the moment of melting into the arms of the one I trust implicitly, who trusts me implicitly, and to just let go. (There, I said it, I SAID IT. I'd shout it from rooftops. If I could. Because as much as I'm scared to say I want {translation: need} that hug, I'm not scared to feel it at all, anymore. Mostly not scared. OK, sometimes a little scared but also, not. Fuck. Note to self: finish clearing fear of saying I need that hug, and of actually needing hug, etc.)

There's some sort of irony in the timing when need might be said (more than once) but… reality makes it not really possible to say. C'est la vie. I trust there is a reason to the timing of it all. Maybe now is a time for me to lean in, more than to lean on. Except I do know I'm not alone. That it is inherently impossible for me to ever be alone.

These things that I am going to say next are being "spoken" into smoke to lift them, carry them away, as they are what has been but does not still need to be. I will phrase them in the present tense as in this moment while I am writing, they to some degree still exist as my truth.

I have abandonment issues. Big fat the size of the Milky Way (galaxy, not candy bar, in case you weren't sure) abandonment issues. These stem from boringly typical, and fuckeduply atypical, events throughout the course of my life.

I have trust issues. Whatever is bigger than the Milky Way, (galaxy) is the size of my trust issues. I believe in the best of people. That people are inherently good. My half a hippy wants to bounce across the earth giving hugs, and cupcakes (except cupcakes with their processed flour, and sugar really aren't good for you, so that's kind of not a nice thing to give. But how lame would it be to give, like, celery, or cheese, which are actually better for you? I mean, I LOVE cheese, but, cupcake trumps cheese most of the time.) I will absolutely trust everyone, right until they give me reason to not. Or right up until I start to look for a reason to not. To look for, and find, the teeth that fit the scars, and then say the teeth came before the scars. And it's not just a male/female relationship trust issue thing, BTWs. I can not trust you irrespective of your gender. To not hold my past against anyone continues to be my quest.

My mind, if too much time is spent by me, alone in it, is a bad neighborhood. (I've stolen that from Chester, yes I have!) I over think, I over analyze, I "should" on myself, and have been known to spend entirely too much time looking over my shoulder, or into a figurative crystal ball trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrows. I have been prone to a melancholy I did not understand. I doubt my appearance, my intelligence, my worth, and second guess myself, a lot.

I have a fear that if I don't say everything I need to say RIGHT NOW, I will not have the chance to say it. I believe this stems in large part from ~ went to visit for a weekend, dude I was dating, who lived in another state. When time came for me to go home I said to him, in tears, "I'm afraid I'll never see you again." (Random, melodramatic, and clingy much, 19 year old Michelle?) He said "of course we'll see each other again, we have too much fun when we're together, to not." The following weekend I had a brief phone conversation with him. He said he was going to go for a ride on his motorcycle. He wrecked his bike. His injuries were catastrophic. I never saw him again. Each of his friends thought the other had called me to tell me. It was 5 days after his passing when I called to speak to him, and was told what had happened. So not random, melodramatic, or clingy, at all. I could genuinely have anxiety on the daily out of fear of losing someone I love, and not getting to tell them I love them, in general, or one last time. This is compounded by fear of something happening, and no one calling me to tell me.  So I often say too much, and its never enough.

I've made an art form of self-sabotage. Frequently because of attempting to fit into the boxes others think I should be in. As soon as I acquiesce and climb in, I start fucking things up, left, right and center, in a form of futile protest, as the only damage done is to myself. I can pinpoint every reason I have this tasty little habit, but, meh. Is it when I'm happy too, Chester? (Because he said of himself that he is {was. fuck.} never content, even when happy.)

As I re-read, I can say in all honesty, a lot of the above have decidedly been more my truths in my past than any time recently. But as they each have presented themselves to me tonight, they got included. Many of them find their origin in molestation when I was 7. I only mention it as it is one of the things Chester, and I, share as a commonality. Part of why I GET everything he said, in every interview I've seen, when he's spoken of his depression and where it has taken him.

*Cue smoke into which they will float away*

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I listened to a brilliant Ted Talk given by Liz Gilbert titled "Your Elusive Creative Genius." Only 20 minutes long, but, a game changer if you choose to hear what it says. As it relates to me, to Chester, to Chris Cornell, and too all of the other ridiculously talented creative feelers I have ever known, what I HEARD above all was (screen captured 'cause I couldn't copy/paste)

liz

This proved to me once and for all that she is my hero, and possibly my spirit animal. Because I have spent YEARS thinking about WHY so many of my creative lovelies, are so fucked up. But more than that, seem to almost wear it like a badge of honor. "I'm starving for my art." Well, go you! You go right ahead and be that stereotype. Imma be over here, trying to create something, and also, eating. Since you'd rather starve, I'll eat your portion too. You've seen my ass, right?

In all seriousness though, in the years I was working with bands, and in my interactions with artists, always, I have had a very clear train of thought, that starving for one's art, literally and as a euphemism for a bunch of other dumb shit we do because we are "arteests" and sensitive, isn't really cool. Or fun. Or interesting. Also, its been done, to death. Literally. Irrespective of at a point being the girlfriend in the "what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? – homeless" joke, I always ALWAYS walked away from working with those bands who by choice were starving artists. Music was too important to me, people were too important to me, to do either the disservice of saying "Yeah, sure I'll watch you be your own worst enemy, in the name of creating art." My standard line, which was never just a line, but really IS the song of my soul, "keep pursuing your dream, while taking care of reality." Read: get a mother f'n J.O.B. if ya got to, so ya not living in your momma's basement, while you're trying to be the next (Chester Bennington.) Don't be a drug addict while thinking its cool to be a drug addict, because its not. If you accidentally become a drug addict, don't decide it's cool. No judgement. I've got that t-shirt. But heroin chic, is not.

I am not saying that Chester did anything he did, ever, much less at the end, because of the paradigm of the tortured artist. I do not assume to know what was in his head, and heart at any moment in time, less the time he told me exactly what was in his head and heart. (Which is part of another blog, and of a blog to come.) What I am however saying is, perhaps as a group, we should stop accepting that this is who we must be. How we must be. I understand, with a capital UNDERSTAND, how that may not be easy, because we do FEEL, so deeply, so everything, and because when I was in my darkest, most horrible place, I might have told someone attempting to shine a light in, to get fucked. But maybe if we shine a different light on it, each for ourselves, which will then affect the group of us, maybe it will help a little, until it helps a lot? Maybe if we nurture the tiny ridiculously talented creative feelers while they are still tiny, instead of discouraging their dreams, it'll be a preemptive strike but in a good way.

As I see it, Chester did not "go gently into that goodnight." No matter how that goodnight came about. I believe that Chester with every ounce of his energy worked to shift what needed shifting, inside himself. For himself. For EVERYONE. He put his life into his lyrics, in the most raw, and vulnerable of ways. He furthered his transparency by speaking candidly, and frequently about his hurts, and fucked-upnesses. I know many people are watching his interviews and posting them as his alleged cry for help. I think that's absolute shit. I think he was just being his honest self because he knew on some level that to be so would help him, and others. So maybe we can shift that too. Speaking about what hurts, or sucks, doesn't mean you're crying for help, or crying at all. Maybe its just that you know it is the right thing to do, for yourself, for others. Perspective baby. Get some. See where yours takes you. Might not be the same place I go, and that's cool.

Why I put myself so fully onto these "pages"is a combination of my NEED to create a something, joined with my NEED to work through my shit, and my HOPE that maybe my words will give a someone the tiniest something when they need it most. Even if its just because they read what I write about myself and think "this bitch is CRAZY, and I am absolutely NOT" right when they need to think they aren't crazy. Maybe in me they will find a kindred, and feel not so alone, even if they never speak to me. Or maybe they will reach out to me, as some have, and say, "You have been where I am right now, you are giving me hope that I will able to be happy again, someday." And I'll have a new friend, and so will they. THAT is what it is all about, really. Touching lives. Experiences. Making a difference. Helping others. And not being afraid to show our crazy, while also being happy, and creating.

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To Liz Gilbert, thank you for being so wise, and bad ass, and inspirational. Please don't ever stop writing. I mean, unless you want to. Also, tons of love to you, and your Rayya.

Thank you to those who today helped me to walk through the mini fire that popped up. I am so very grateful.

http://wp.me/p6f5rK-1FEChester, your thank you is in another writing. But also in my heart, which I know you know.

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Title is an excerpt from "Into You" by Dead By Sunrise

Your Elusive Creative Genius – Liz Gilbert

 

 

Thank You For Not Being My Hero

Its important to say from the start, this is not a feminist “I don’t need no mans to save me” something. Mostly because I’m not a feminist. But also, I don’t need no mans to save me. Or womans. Or even a priest or minister, although I am sure there are those who will beg to differ, but that ship sailed when I was 6 so, get over it already! Also this is not a “be your own hero” thing. I dig the vibe that is trying to put out, but, that’s not what this is about.

These words have been trying to come out for days, have been partially written for days, as I’ve again, still, been walking, or sometimes what has felt like crawling, through so much that I don’t understand. The things that make me feel crazy, which also make me feel not crazy, that I in some moments fight,then surrender to, when I’m not contemplating running, or crying; with gratitude, or because so much feels like SO MUCH!

I keep it mostly inside because as much as I am pretty flexible about certainty these days, I feel pretty certain that all of what I am being brought to, or that is being brought to me, is a solo journey, except not really, because that is inherently impossible. More its about rolling around in what my intuition says, and what my truth is, rather than seeking counsel from “experts” or friends, or some random dude. Which that one, the random dude one, would be not really about the counsel thing, but more about an attempt to forget the everything, and to fake take away the lonely that sometimes creeps in. For as much as it is a quasi-solo journey though, it couldn’t possibly be any less about me.

If ever you (whomever you are, reading this) aspire to feel like a crazy dumb ass, have a “spiritual awakening” or whatever name is appropriate based on your particular flavor of beliefs. Then try typing those words, about yourself and see if you either laugh at yourself, or think ‘what in the actual fuck is occurring, because I don’t say shit like that!’ Especially if you weren’t ever spiritually “closed” nor were you seeking any sort of opening thing. And also if you roll your eyes every time you read the words “spiritual awakening” because it sounds so cheesy/pretentious, when you think it relates to you, you’ll feel like a crazy dumb ass, who a little bit wants to punch themselves for sounding like an idiot.

Maybe part of my “mission” will be to come up with a less stupid sounding expression for what I’m feeling/doing/have happening to me/I am happening to. Ascension is another frequently used term, but I don’t vibe with that either. It reminds me of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, and Bible stories. All I know is, some crazy (cool) somethung is going down inside me/around me/in every version of me, and has been since last November. Well, really long before then, as I can pinpoint other dates that  parts of this journey started (continued) in this lifetime. But in November I had some sort of “quickening” like in Highlander. Except there can’t be only one, and while I often feel as if my head has fallen off, I’m pretty certain no hot Scottish dude is going to show up with his broadsword to chop it off anytime soon. I mean, hot British dude always  welcome. Chopping off of head, not so much.

To quote  (again, as I’ve used it in a previous blog) a brilliant line from Marianne Williamson “we are the ones that we have been waiting for”  and in thinking of a story also recounted in another blog, told by Denise Linn, from the Elders of Native American tribes, those who sacrificed themselves lifetimes ago, for a moment in the future/some other time, in which they were needed, are returning because that moment is now. And no matter how nuts I feel sometimes, no matter that “this”  and elements of it, triggers me, challenges me, causes me to dig so deeply into everything I think I know about myself, and my beliefs, in moments I feel raw, I’m all “game on” about this path.

If none of that blabber appears to have anything to do with the title, it really, actually does. So I’ll say it again; Thank You for Not Being My Hero.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many times where all I want is to be wrapped in arms I trust, and to just let gooooo. To not have to be in charge of anything, or worry about anything, or think about anything, for even just a minute.  And this isn’t a “Jesus take the wheel” (haha) thing I’m saying, I mean literal arms. Man arms. Preferably attached to a man. I’d love to just melt into the someone I trust implicitly, who trusts me the same. Chick arms are cool too, for hugs, or cuddling sometimes, but just not the same. Still though, I don’t want to be saved. Or rescued. 

I just FINALLY dipped out of the part of my life where “victim” was the brand I was “supposed” to wear. Victim is more itchy against my skin than cheap wool, uglier than polyester from the 70’s, and more constricting than Spanx. I don’t want to wear that ever again, even in the arms of one supposedly rescuing me from it. Bleh. 

So to my not heroes I need to say, thank you for not trying to swoop in, scoop me up, and “oh poor you-ing” me,  to the point I’d start to think “oh poor me” also. Thank you for instead of trying to make my boo boos all better, giving me your time, your moments, your humor, and your ear. Also, your voice, your opinions, your ideas, and thoughts, without insisting or even suggesting, that I make them mine, as they (my boo boos) healed on their own. 

Thank you for not spouting platitudes that would have annoyed the fuck out of me, but instead, sharing photos, quotes, stories, poetry, or music, meant to comfort me, make me laugh, distract me, or bring me to a warm, and fuzzy place.

Thank you for being whole enough in and of yourself, that you see me as, in and of myself, whole enough to be able to navigate everything I needed to navigate, until I saw myself as that whole, too.  And for patience, as I, like a Rottweiler puppy who has reached full size, am still a clumsy as hell, not having yet fully grown into myself, trip over my own feet while excitedly running through the world, and slip on the hardwood floor  because I’m just too busy wagging my tail to notice anything else going on.  But really, the growth spurt was fast, and my inside is still playing catch up with my “outside” so, thanks also for the patience when I jump on you because I’m just so happy to see you. I’ll grow out of it. Not the happy to see you thing, the having no chill thing.

Thank you for not trying to patch the holes of my insecurities you did not create, with whatever it would be that could fill them for a moment, but instead just BEING, as I remember I don’t need the insecurities. And for kissing my wounds, while not seeing them as disasters in my soul, but cracks in which to put your love (Paraphrased/bastardized from Emery Allen) while making no attempt to fix them, either. 

Also thank you for knowing I want you but don’t “need” you.  (Except sometimes. Shhh, don’t tell.) But also for not NEEDING me, but wanting me too. Thank you for being in your own ways, a brilliant shiny example to be followed, by me, by others, in our own way. 

Thank you most of all for the trust. In its defying of explanation, it is probably the most clearly ‘exactly as it is supposed to be’ thing I’ve ever known.

If you think that this might in part be for or about you, it probably is, because there is more than one not hero. And not heroes aren’t just boys, which still isn’t feminism but is fact.  There is also though, one SUPER not hero? Not SUPER hero? Whatever. One who has, by happenstance, which is more likely part of a “divine plan” not just held the mirror, but is the mirror, that has allowed me to see the possibility of all, to paraphrase myself. 

To each of you, but most of all to YOU, I send my endless gratitude and love. You’re the most amazing not heros any girl could ever have! Thank you for not thinking me crazy. Or liking my flavor of crazy. Whichever works best for you. And at least one of you is going to one day, when I write a book, which will then be made into a movie, in which my not heros will be featured,  end up wearing some skin tight something or other, irrespective of your not hero status, just because it will be fun. 

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, … how old my heart.”

There are so many things I need to be doing right now, today, this weekend. Sitting on my ass writing is not among them. But THEY(them?), or the words, or something, keep telling me to write.  And to cry.  Whatever it is that calls to me, or feeds me words, and takes my breath away with emotions I didn’t expect washing over me in a random moment, and tears, has fucked timing, because I really do have a lot to do. So here I sit.

And now the bastards abandon me with their direction to write still burning in me, nothing but my scattered, cloudy thoughts to keep me company, and a song playing over and over because it says without saying, everything that I ache to hear but never imagined I’d ever be hearing, and in the moments I am able to focus on it, I find my balance again.

There have been 3333 thoughts flipping through my head this week, most of them today.  I know there are words that I (too) give in disguise, if at all, but mostly I say not at all,  and in the holding back of these, the others also get sometimes paused. Not that these words are reliant on, or related to, those words. Except its all related in some way that I never end up knowing until long after the fact, which actually makes me happy because “…the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine…”

But meanwhile, words unsaid are currently playing the role of some sort of dialogue condom; catching all the rest of the words I’m meant to say, too. Or maybe its not even that, maybe the words don’t even get that far, maybe I have verbal blue balls. Or both, dependent on the day. I can’t begin to explain male ejaculation, and lack thereof, as my analogy of choice in this moment, but I’ve decided to just roll with myself, in all my glorious weird/possibly disgusting-ness.

Discovery or memory that Art; paintings, drawings, sketches, can make me cry, like music does. Like ballet does. I’d either forgotten that until this week past while at the Guggenheim, or I never knew. Not all art, to be sure. Some of it leaves me cold, and some of it I’m convinced a toddler could create the equal of. But the pieces I feel, and to be surrounded by works of masters, even those whose work I personally think is shit, made me cry.

And then there was Miss Saigon. To risk a Bogart-esque “gin joint” moment, …of all the shows in all the theaters currently playing in NYC, my sister chose that one to be the one we saw… Was given fair warning by her that she’d cried the first time she saw it, and fair warning too that Unicorn tears had been shed, so mine weren’t unexpected. What was unexpected was how 2 parts of the story line resonated so deeply with me. And a couple of the songs…. I was a goner.

Perhaps equal to that emotion, was the emotion of watching those living a life of which I used to dream, come to fruition. Not because I wanted ever to be rich/famous. I mean, I’ll take rich because money makes life easier, if you’re not an asshole about it, but, never was my desire for life on a stage of whatever kind, about that.

So as I sat there, hearing a song of a sun and moon, of lives so different from one another, and unexpected love, and thinking of my little girl dreams of dancing ballet, of singing, and acting, or combining them, and how I was told so many times by those who are supposed to encourage dreams, I wasn’t “enough” (good enough, realistic enough, skinny enough) or was too much (mostly too much boobs and ass, but also, too much smart for “that” sort of life) and how I let my dreams get wiped away, I got sad.  The sadness lasted only for a moment before the beauty took me away, but it was unexpected, and healing. A healing I didn’t know that I needed, which has been a recurring theme lately.

This writing and I are not friends right now. The words don’t come, and the emotions are exhausting, and I know enough now to know that I am not crazy, but it’s a little crazy making when, in spite of arms thrown wide open, and absolute surrender to what is so much bigger than I ever imagined, so much bigger than me, I am unable to exhale. And I really, really, thought it was time, to exhale.

 

Angel

Come find me. 

I am here, 

where I kiss the sun, 

and burn with the moon. 

Where I hear your feelings, 

and dream your thoughts. 

Waiting, 

but never just, waiting. 

—————–

This isn’t a bloggy blog post, and it’s not poetry unless you want it to be. This started as an Instagram thingy, turned tweet, in an almost mocking way. (Mocking myself, to be clear. Not my writing. My romantic, sappy, emo artsy fartsy creative feeler-ness)

 It ends up I like it in spite of it being the kind of writing I often hate. It’s ended up a love song to both halves of me, which are actually both wholes of me, but that just sounds weird. And also I wanted it somewhere I could find it, in case it needs to say more someday. 

This is not about sitting around waiting for my missing love. I did that, in a manner of speaking, waited to be seen, to matter, and watched years slip by. Highly overrated. And also, my love is not missing. For whatever that means in the moments after this one.  

And tomorrow is another step forward. Tomorrow is the continuation of beginning, again.  Tomorrow is actually 10 steps forward. So if you feel shaking, it’s just my chakras being cleared. And if you hear music, it’s just my soul remembering it’s song. 

The title of this? Fuck if I know why. They just told me to call it angel. So I did. 

Clairvoyant Skies

“…We are standing on the edge of a choice, And waiting for a voice, Is it destiny that pushes us this far?…”

(Don’t know what lead me here, to listen to this song, this morning, with rainy skies outside my window. This is one of the first bands I worked with in Arizona. And Ive realized I could draw a line that starts with this band, {or really, Conrad, their then manager} that would circle back to this moment in time, and encompass {almost} every person I love most, and experience that has brought me the most happiness in life.)

So with Michael’s Clairvoyant Skies floating above, and all around me, I think. About the memories I hold, the moments I’ve shared, the secrets I keep, the reasons why, of so many things.

And I feel.  Love, and loss, loneliness, and connection. Titanium strength, wrapped in a velvet of gentle. The brightness of  throwing my arms wide open, and the darkness of fear.  Clarity, and confusion.

This year that feels as if it just started a week ago, is unfathomably half way over. And this month is one of changes. It’s beginnings, and endings, and a little bit in between too. But it’s forward motion or die on the vine, and I won’t be dying anytime soon, even if life once again, possibly, doesn’t look like what I’d thought it would.

Pausing in my writing, to listen to the birds outside my window singing their morning song, and to read, and I find these words by Brene Brown, amongst a larger grouping, but these call to me. These are where I am. Where I have been for months.

“…I’m not screwing around. It’s time. …
…Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. … Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

Nothing big, nothing important, happens in the blink of an eye, and I get that. But I also get that I’m ready to dance in the light on figurative tabletops,  and sing in the sunshine on literal mountain tops, or while standing on cool sand, with waves breaking upon the shore. Because I’ve spent enough time not doing those things. Not doing those things was where I needed to be, but don’t, anymore.

Maybe it’s time to shed skin again?? To go deep outside myself. Maybe I won’t find answers to my questions, maybe I will. But not if they go unasked. Unheard by whatever needs to know them.

There’s a quote floating in my head about destiny being decisions not circumstances, or something like that. And being still in Clairvoyant Skies, and the unexpected confluence of so many things in my life, that started with my decision to answer a phone call not meant for me, I agree.

This morning in June, with its rain gently falling, finds a cool breeze coming through my window, and a puppy laying near to me, because to not touch me in the morning is always more than he can stand.  Which is sweet, and cute, but I’m ready for more than “puppy love” mornings.

Now meetings have been had, moves will soon be made, and constant has been the stream of beautiful music this week, that strangely, not however surprisingly, led me here.  Back to where so much found it’s start. To where I begin, again.

“Who cares if one more light goes out? In a sky of a million stars… I Do”

Whatever this will end up as, it has been playing in the back of my mind starting Thursday a week ago, since hearing of the passing of Chris Cornell. More specifically, since hearing, seeing, FEELING the reactions of hearts I love, aching for this particular loss. And the aching of my own heart too. “He was one of us.” Words spoken to me, that resonate so deeply. One of us, has been too many of “us” for me on a personal level, and I understand completely (not at all) why.

I’m not entirely sure about what I’m writing. I’m not writing about suicide, death, depression, or loss. Except, that’s a lie, because I am a little bit somewhat writing about all of those things.

The words in my heart are about how fucking short life can be, and how I don’t want to let any more moments, or love, pass me by, and how I won’t just take opportunities, but will make them, because pause buttons were pushed, one that led to me losing myself, and forgetting almost everything I knew, and I stopped being alive for years. And one which ended up being pushed because it was the “right” thing to do, (never fully pushed?) the path as it was meant to happen, the unfolding to lead to a (something) deeper understanding, and learning, and now pause is over (?), (my) arms are thrown open, are there to catch, to be caught by… (re-interpretation/appropriation)

And they (words in my heart) are also about how love is, I think, the most important thing. But how it isn’t in and of itself, enough to save the life of one who chooses to not live. Which doesn’t inherently mean chooses physical death. Also, this isn’t, and is, about how it (love), and life as a whole, don’t look at all like I thought they would.

Love, which I used to think would come wrapped neatly in glittery purple ribbons,  and be punctuated by things forevery, and accompanied by grand gestures, but turns out to be without regard for the construct of time, and sloppy, messy, complex, (in its simplicity,  familiarity, comfort, and warmth), while wrapped in glittery purple ribbons, and accompanied by (beautiful, thoughtful, loving) simple gestures (that mean everything in the moments they are needed, especially when given without being asked for). And is able to navigate that which at first glance appears to be unnavigable, if that is the choice made.

Life, that I have always been told must follow a linear path, but instead is laced with switchbacks, and hairpin turns, stops, and starts, and is washed out by tide’s coming in, and then revealed in a new form, by tide’s receding.

(I sit, and stare, and think, and dream, and sing, and float to there, wherever that may be… , as I seek the words I want to write. And were you sitting next to me, you would see the beginnings, and middles, of so many writings… to be gotten back to, when they are ready. If they are ever ready. Maybe it is less {in this moment} that I want to write, and more that I want to speak, or sit in {silent} conversation.)

“One of us” as I interpret it globally,  is one of the artsy fartsy type. Us sedately hyper, hyper-communicative, introverts, who lay it all on the line, and play it close to the vest. Who pour ourselves in brilliant neon, onto the canvas best suited to our chosen medium, except sometimes we’re muted pastel. Or black. Or white. Or invisible ink. One of us, the (un) lucky ones, who create, or burn inside out, for the lack of it. One of us who feel, and feel, and FEEL. Even when we say we don’t. If we create, we FEEL! Us; those who seemingly have a choice to go inside, get down and dirty with the everything we feel, or to not. So then we drink, a lot. Or do drugs, a lot. Or find a “zipless fuck”  and a hundred more after it. To numb. To escape. To hide.

Sometimes too, we go inside, while creating, and drinking, and doing drugs, and finding a zipless fuck, and thinking we’ve got answers, have a handle on things, Or we go inside while creating, without drinking, drugs, or zipless fucks, and do have answers, and a handle on things, and then… what we thought we knew as certainty, isn’t, and we remember that even concrete crumbles, and steel melts. In some instances, that’s a terrible thing, and in others, its exactly the way its supposed to be, perhaps even intentional, and beautiful.

But Chris Cornell though… his departure is one (of many) that sends me deep into a variation of my life long deep think of “why.” Not why did he commit suicide. This why isn’t that why. This why is about why we “rise”, or “fall.” Which is not a statement of judgement, or about better than, worse than, higher or lower on any scale. It is just words to depict going one way, or another.

As I have spent hours thinking about this writing, about Chris Cornell, about the ones who create, and depression, and suicide, or pseudo-cide (addiction) (which is not to be confused with pseudocide, a death, faked) I think of my own journey into the very deep dark place from which I at times didn’t see an escape, and at other times didn’t give a fuck about escaping from, alive. (I did not try to commit suicide, just to be clear!!) I think about the fact that from the outside, Chris Cornell had so much more to fight his way out of the dark for, than I.

This is not melodrama, and this is not victim mentality, this is; write that shit down on a piece of paper in 2 columns, and see what it looks like, from the outside. He had a wife who loves him, kids who love him, THE career he always wanted, friends who love him, fans who adore him, fame and fortune, IMMENSE talent, access to every imaginable resource because, money,  and blah blah blah stuff. I have my daughters, and friends who love me. And family who do too, of course. I have had so much more than so many on this planet, and I KNOW it, but on paper, reviewing the 2 columns, I would have picked Chris Cornell as the one to come out ahead. Alive.

Never, ever will I be able to understand, explain why or how I got to such a deep, dark depth, nor will I be able to understand, or explain, why or how, I am not there anymore, and why Chris Cornell hung himself to stop the hurting. And I could speak of karma, or of God, or luck, or being blessed, faith, lack thereof, dogma, or timing. I could speak of inner strength, tenacity, nature, nurture, biology, chemistry, or a million other things, that would all be supposition. Why did I choose what I chose, and why did he choose, what he chose. And this isn’t really about Chris Cornell, and this isn’t really about me. This is about anyone who has been where he was, and where I was.

Over, and over, and over, as I write this, I see 3 faces, and hear 3 voices, and think of these 3 souls I have been privileged to (some more than others) know. Each of these souls are ridiculously talented, intelligent, crazy, grounded, creative feelers, who have attained levels of success in their chosen mediums that most of us creative feelers can only (maybe) imagine. And each of them has been through some hell. Eerily similar hell, to each other, and me. Although 2 of them have been public about their hell, and by public I mean PUBLIC about their hell, I will speak of them anonymously because who they are, and their hell, isn’t important.

My thoughts about each of these ridiculously talented, creative feelers (henceforth to be known as RTCF), isn’t about their success. I know enough about how the world of artistic endeavors works to know that whatever the fuck luck is, (or is it blessings? – omnipotent omniscient Oprah deity “you get rich and famous, and you get rich and famous”) there is some element of that involved. The mystery for me is the why of each of them choosing to rise, instead of to fall. Which is not to say that they (2 of them much moreso than the 3rd) followed always, only a straight, and narrow path.

I can say I was a somewhat more than casual observer to the period of “don’t think I’ll make it to age 30 so, fuck it” of one of them. (Disclaimer: I didn’t know this was the thinking, until many years later.) But always in the midst of the crazy fun, there was a level of restraint involved. If “method to the madness” has ever been applied, it was then, and there, with that person. If “spiraling in control” can be a thing, I know the master of it. Bravest soul I’ve ever known, this one, thankfully no longer spiraling.

Another of them started to fall at a very young age, chose to reverse the fall, then got knocked the fuck down. Memories of conversation of almost 20 years ago;  a head-down, shoulders slumped, hands in pockets, heart-achingly difficult conversation, about the knock down, an ending of a something, and the why of the ending, like it was yesterday. And that conversation could have been followed by a not just a fall, but a plunge. Rise doesn’t begin to describe this story’s (not yet finished) end.

The third (beloved) soul, that I know of, has never even begun to fall. Not in the sense that I mean here. On the face of it though, would have been “taking candy from a baby” easy for this to be another spiral in control, if not fall. Rise, once again, does not begin to describe… Poised now to reach even higher heights.

Sadly, exponentially more are the faces of those who fell, than those who rose. I see them flashing through my mind, and I am grieved by the knowing that I am forgetting some (probably many) of them no longer here, taken either by suicide, or pseudo-cide become fatal. There are those too who simply slipped away, so lost in their pseudo-cide, they couldn’t be with those of us not following that road.

And I’m left with, WHY? And thank you to whatever it is that requires thanking, which sees me sitting here writing this, with my artsy fartsy, creative FEELINGNESS hanging the fuck out. All. The. Time. Instead of being still in the darkness. Or on the other side of it where the only pain is for those left behind.

1700+ words, and I still don’t know for sure what this is about. I know that since I started thinking about this, children were killed in Manchester, England, while they were at a pop concert. And wars are being waged in other countries by those shouting with bombs that their beliefs are what matter most. And a couple more artsy fartsy legends have passed way. 2 men were killed, and another severely injured, defending teenage girls from a “man” bullying them for their religious beliefs. Today an artsy fartsy guy, younger than me, died. Something about alcoholism, but, I think that wasn’t the exact cause of death.

Life is short. Love is love is love. Is messy.  Is complex in its simplicity. And I have no answers. But I’m here. I remember who I am, and this, who I am now, is who I always was. This was always my path. And choices made from places of fear, are never the right choice. And, irrespective of my beliefs about the hereafter, I care if another light goes out. More though than that, I care about the light that is still here, in so much pain, that it thinks it should be, not.

If you’ve read the above, and think you see yourself in it, this is not about you, except the you this is, in part, about. This is mostly about me, but not about just me, and not about me at all. And/Or Chris Cornell.


Linkin Park – “One More Light”

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The reminders, pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need, oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Well I do