April 17, 2017

A friend asked me to read this with her. Wow can we talk about mixed emotions here? I’m excited to grow and learn and gain wisdom from this highly recommended book, and yet the reason I’m single is because of a motorcycle accident. I know how to love deeply beyond “the Games of Seduction.” I had it and he died. 

I believe someday it will all make sense somehow. 

April 16, 2017

My fifth grader wants to skip a grade. She also wants to go to a private boarding school for high school. I don’t think the two are congruent. 

We had a disagreement tonight. She was talking about skipping a grade for social reasons, and I was talking educational. When I said to forget her friends and think about being in the best college and being the most successful her, she burst into tears and said I was being mean and she’d never forget her friends. This wasn’t what in meant at all. We backtracked and I had us both restate and mirror the others words. Things cleared up quickly, but she’s a sensitive girl and the tears were still flowing. It was tense and hard. I asked her to imagine herself in the first few weeks of seventh grade in the fall, with all her classmates around her having attended sixth grade except for her. She got it. Then we discussed the need to be alone following this discussion, and she finished her dinner as I finished laundry downstairs. 

I felt angry and wanted to know what that was all about. I was triggered, but clear headed enough to know that it wasn’t really anger that I felt. What was behind it? I was hurt. She’d called me mean. I never meant to be mean. I never intend to be mean. But I’ve been called mean by my parents all my life. They raised me to believe that I am mean, when that’s not who I am. It’s who they need me to be. The role I play in their lives, through their filters. I believed it and played along for a long time. Until I woke up and realized that I’m only mean with them. They expect me to be mean and I walk right into it. It’s a survival skill that I’ve shed. I have many close, loving, kind friends and none of them see me as mean. I don’t see me as mean because I’m not. 

So when my daughter called me mean, it triggered me,  and I felt anger to mask the hurt. 

I’m glad I have the tool to walk away calmly and examine my triggers. I know I am looking out for my daughter’s best interest. A skipped grade would be a horrendous mistake for her education. We had a misunderstanding and worked it out. And by the end, we agreed that yes, socially it’s hard to be in her grade, but educationally it’s the right thing for her. 

And I got to work on my trigger and grow within myself. 

April 9, 2017

I’ve been thinking about living out loud today. 

This morning, a friend whom I admire and respect very much, posted that she sees herself as a humble bragger, an over photo poster, and a name dropper. How does one show love for their life and not do these things?

I felt her pain. I reached out online the other night in emotional agony, and I received so much love and support. And I feel embarrassed by it now. I was so vulnerable and raw. Last weekend, I worked hard at a Burning Man conference and met hundreds of people and made many new Facebook friends and there are SO MANY new photos of me circulating the internet. Who do I think I am? Or rather, as the button I can’t find asked, “Do you know who I think I am?”

I replied to my friend:

I’m sure people see me that way, too. Sometimes I worry what people think, other times I don’t care. Dealing with loss and death has left me with an empty bucket of fucks, which has been really good for me and very freeing. 

I melted down online Friday night and reached out and received so much love, although I’m a little embarrassed by it all now. Perhaps we can reframe the name dropping and too many selfies and so on as loving ones life and being a good story teller, and show gratitude for being part of an amazing community where we can name and place drop and feel like rockstars.

My bucket of fucks is empty. I’ve loved and lost so much. I do what I want and if people don’t like it, well, I have no fucks to give. I love hard. I’m loyal, honest, and real, and I treat my people like gold. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I don’t care what anyone thinks. Most importantly, that lack of fucks is backed by a deep enjoyment in being a kind, caring, and loving person. 

Having an open heart wins. What have a got to lose, anyway?

April 7, 2017

Previously, I’ve been devastated because he’s gone. Tonight, I’m devastated because I’m moving on.

It was supposed to be this faery book romance. Instead, I’m moving on. 

Rupert and Absinthia took us both by surprise. We were friend zoned when we were teenagers because I was dating one of his housemates. Flash forward 20 some odd years and a drunken hook up after the Dead reunion tour – our first Show together since ’89. We fell in love. And then he died. 

Nine months later, I find myself grieving again. It’s been building over the last week or two, I can see that. And here it is. Emo music, tequila, tears, and all. This wave is different though. I’m not devastated because he’s gone, I’m devastated because I’m moving on. I’m moving on and I’m starting to see that clearly. Knowing that makes me ache. Its breaking my heart. 

I’ve had three lovers since he died. Beautiful people, inside and out. They have been one right after the other, short term but, strangely, serial monogamy. Brief and intense. Just days between each. Sudden, intense connections with limited face to face interactions. Two long distance, the other a bridge between. The ends of each have lingered with tangled emotions, with one deliciously continuing on from afar. It’s like I’ve lived years in the last nine months. I feel myself moving on after Rupert, and it feels right and wrong and I don’t want to be but I am and I need to. I have to! It’s important. Rupert is dead. He crashed his motorcycle. He’s not coming back. It hurts to be getting over him. It hurts more then any things ever hurt in my life. And yet, I’m doing it. Three lovers. That counts as moving on. 

I would like to find a way to take something positive from this. I don’t want to be hardened and unable to allow myself to make a connection with another man. This lifetime is teaching me male loss. Why is there so much male loss in my life? I don’t know how much more I can handle before I rid myself of the lot of them. Men. Fucking assholes. Too bad I really, really love men. Tall little boys, taught to be serious and to win, with their easily awakened silly sides, unsure of women and themselves and arrogant and entitled all at once. Not to mention their smell…mmm. Sorry, where was I? Right. 

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced father  abandonment repeatedly, divorce (my choice so that seems really different), the deaths of Alexius Stephen Rupert. My two gay husbands and my lover. Partner. Boyfriend. Late boyfriend. Men I never wanted to say goodbye to. Is it a wonder why it’s so much easier to say I love you and feel love with my female friends? Do I hold men at a distance because of this? Have I? Am I now? Will I, in the future?
That’s not who I want to be, walking away from this tragedy. I am moving on. I can choose how I will be. 

I choose connection. I choose love. I’m not going to be rash, but I’m not going to hold back. I do it in an invisible way, the holding back. You can’t see it but you can feel it. I’ll be open, and I’ll listen so much better than I talk. 

That’s where my work begins. 

April 6, 2016

Several months ago, you can look back and see the huge falling out I had with my parents. The horrible things they called me, and the financial and emotional disownment that followed. 

It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel like I’ve left an emotionally abusive spouse who was controlling me with money, telling me things to keep me small and little. 

I’m no one’s chew toy.  

My daughter spent the day with them today. She told me they said they love me very much and that was the hardest decision of their seven generations of life. 

I told my daughter I would never, ever even consider making a decision like that, and I held her tight. 

March 20, 2017

Do you have a few moments of your life that are your favorite moments? The ones where you’re a living legend, where you can’t make this shit up if you tried?

One of them happened tonight. One video of it already hit the internet. It was at the San Pablo yacht harbor under the Richmond Bridge. A spot I never even knew existed. It was both janky and breathtakingly beautiful. The crowd added a whole extra level of both. 

It was Robert Burke’s fundraiser. He has degenerative MS and is declining quickly. So we through him a party. It was like Burning Man 1996, only with a lot more gray hair. It was frenetic, with performances and dancers and a fire pit and a swing on a crane made of a giant metal ball, and weed and alcohol – i bartended the first few hours – and never a dull moment. It was a gritty crowd. Lots of long ungroomed beards and cardhardst and hoodies and smokes and straw hats and big boots. People being who they were before the world told them who to be. 

We had to drive right in front of the stage to leave. It was getting dark and cold, and Extra Action Marching Band was about to go on. We knew it would be hours if we didn’t leave just then. 

We drove straight to the road, right where everyone was dancing.  They started clearing a path, when Katy Bell started grinding my car and then crawled up on it and started dancing. She was just the first. Before we knew what was happening, there were hands and legs and butts dancing on the car and in the windows and even a woman climbing in through the sun roof ass first and out the passenger door window. The car was jumping up and down, even tho I’d turned the engine off. The three of us in the car laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. After all of David Bowie’s Young Americans played, the music wound down and there was a small window and a friend telling me to inch forward. I turned over the engine and slowly drove forward through the sea of dancing bodies and out towards the road home, my friends and I rolling in laughter with tears streaming down our faces. 

It was the best ghosting a party ever!

March 18, 2017

“It’s March, and 2017 already has a body count.” 

I overheard my friend say this as I walked into the bathroom at the party last night. “Amen, sister,” I replied, and we held each other for a moment. 

Her lover’s memorial was that morning. 

He was married, and the relationship was known and approved and everyone was cool. But when we learned he had jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, she knew his wife’s grief came first. She described how she’d been handling it, and I think she’s doing it with incredible grace and respect. I reminded her that she is allowed to grieve. I invited her to come grieve at my home anytime. It’s a good place to fall apart. It’s safe here. 

We all danced the night away. A large dance room, a chill space with a small DJ booth and dance area, and a beautiful quiet room with a waterfall altar. I found myself meditating there several times. The first time I walked in, I saw the six cushions in front of the altar and didn’t think I wanted to sit there. Then, someone got up and I found my way to his seat. In a large dark room, I had one of the six seats in front of the altar. I didn’t feel I deserved it. 

The meditation came on powerfully. The amount of pain I carry with me each day revealed itself to me. The amount of strength I use to carry on despite that pain revealed itself to me. Of course I deserve a seat at the altar. Everyone deserves a seat at the altar sometimes. I guess I forgot I’m the Hot Grieving MILF. Remember when I almost gave up the name a few months ago? That was the strength talking. You know the me that is insanely busy, traveling and working and being a good mom to teenagers, one 3,000 miles away at school, working hard at graduate school, and now landing a very promising sales job? That’s the strength. The me that notices the empty chair next to me, that wants to date everyone and no one, that wants to find an easy, process free, it-just-works partner and never wants to be in love again, that still wears his ring 24/7? That’s the pain. 

I was on a panel this past week discussing the Safer DIY Spaces coalition that I helped create. I spoke 5th out of 6. All the talks were very technical – how to pass an inspection, how to fill out a special event form, what’s happening with one architects work to change the city code. I stood up, walked to the podium and said: 

“I’d like to start by telling you why I created the Safer DIY Spaces coalition, and then I’ll tell you what we do.”

I took a deep breath. 

“They say that grief is our birthright. On July 3rd, 2016, I got the call that my partner died in a motorcycle accident. Of all the feelings I experienced, helplessness was one of them. Five months later to the day, my phone started blowing up with what we later learned was the death of 36 people in a warehouse fire at Ghostship, just two miles from my home. I wanted to take that helpless feeling and do something with it. I knew I could make a difference raising money to help those who live in unsafe diy spaces so that this doesn’t happen again.”

I got into the technical bits after that, and wrapped up by asking for fiscal sponsor referrals, donations, and to please send anyone who needs our help to the intake form on our website

My presentation was so different than the others. We had a short Q&A, and no one asked me anything. What happened after the event amazed me. I now have four fiscal sponsorship opportunities to explore. A graduate student getting her pubic policy degree wants to take me to lunch. A woman in a sister organization pulled me asideto talk about the death of her partner six years ago. Lastly, the MC emailed me to say she had been in the Ghostship fire and was grateful for my words.   

It is so easy to get distracted by the busy and by the details of life and forget the grief. Push it away, hit the ground running, and if you don’t stop, it can’t find you. 

You have to stop. You have to acknowledge the pain. It hasn’t gone anywhere. It may change and you will carry on. But the grief never leaves. It needs to be acknowledged. Last night, I said hello to my grief and let it embrace me. I let my grief and my strength meet each other. Look each other in the eye, and agree to coexist. 

I’m grateful for them both.