I wonder if someday I’ll be able to look at photographs of him without it causing me physical pain.
Hi. It’s been a while.
It’s been over a year since I started this. Am I still the hot grieving MILF?
Of course I am. Somewhere in my heart, as long as it keeps beating, I always will be.
Some days it feels like I’m fighting to stay off the antidepressants. 5htp, l-tryptophan, staying away from things like alcohol and too much indica. Some days it feels like that and a well of inner strength, source unknown, are the only way I can stay off the anti depressants. Keeping myself going at a breakneck pace with work and school and kids and dating.
Not today. Today was a good day.
I miss having a partner, one who doesn’t play games, who rolls with the punches. Mature, kind, understanding, and, just as importantly, whip smart and ridiculous amounts of fun.
For now, the dating is okay. It’s entertaining me, and it’s filling some needs but not all needs. I’ve realized I’m 46 years old and terrified of commitment. Terrified they won’t be alive the next time I want to see them. I don’t trust life. I don’t particularly trust death, either.
Truth is I enjoy it. I’m good at it, dating. Sometimes it blows up in my face. I keep one around too long, a month instead of leaving them behind at the conference, and they say:
Um, single mom, triple entrepreneur, MBA student. HA! Yeah, and?
Sometimes I am surprised one comes back for me, and I handle the first sign of bad behavior head on. I receive a sincere apology, and I hear:
“I can’t play with fire as hot as you and not listen.”
That’s one of the hottest things I’ve ever been told. I have a secret box with love letters, dirty notes on cocktail napkins, and cards that arrived with bouquets of flowers. I guess I’ll have to print this one off my phone.
Sometimes I call an old friend with high status and ask for a favor and receive an enormous gift. One that opens doors and warms my heart immensely.
My marketing presentation was very well received. My personal book project was given the green light tonight.
I’m alive. I’m living. I’m on fire.
A reason, a season, a lifetime, and the gift economy
I met a man recently. No, not like that. Well, actually a little like that. Exactly like that. And this beautiful poem that first moved me years ago came to mind. Actually, it’s been on my mind for a while now.
It’s coming up on single digits. The days till its been one year since Rupert died. He was both a reason and a season in my life. I think the two are similar, most are both and some are just one. He taught me so much about love and self worth. He raised the bar. And then instead of the future we were planning together, he died.
The man I met earlier this week was a reason. We spent 15 hours together. We peeled back a few layers. There’s so many more that never will be. There’s no season for us, just the reason.
He was stunning. Tall, lanky, strong face, charming smile, and twinkly dark grey-green eyes. A great conversationalist and a great listener. With a French accent and name to boot.
I was the first person he’s ever met who’s been to Burning Man, which seems amazing for a world traveler from Montreal. But there it is. And he wanted to learn from me. I became his link to this thing, this event he’d heard of that he doesn’t know how to get to. “Just buy a ticket and get on a plane,” I told him. He replied with a big, sexy grin and repeated my words.
I told him how I found Burning Man. “My undergrad is in photography, and I was a color darkroom printer.”
“Useful job now,” he teased.
“Ha! Yes, true. It was October 1994, and I was in San Francisco at a color darkroom rental facility. I’d moved from New York City nine months earlier.”
“That’s enough time for gestation,” he pointed out. I thought that was an interesting perspective and told him so.
“A woman also using the darkrooms printed a picture of a man covered in mud on a giant desert. I introduced myself and said I would like her to take me to the next one. She laughed and the following August, 1995, she took me to my first Burning Man. I turned 25 at the event, and stayed an extra four days to help clean up because I couldn’t leave. I was home.”
I explained how hard it was to find your camp before there were roads, with 2,499 other people camped together and burning a beautiful wooden man at the end of the week. I described Pepe’s linghams and operas, and laughed while I described the embarrassing way I learned the meaning of the word lingham. We watched a video of the Temple of Wholyness burn over cocktails, and I described the somber quiet of that burn as compared to the frenzy of Burn Night.
He listened to all if it, absorbing it, asking a question here and there. It was when I started talking about the gift economy that he stopped me. He had never heard of the concept and needed it explained. He needed examples. He really wanted to understand this aspect of the event. Of all the aspects of Burning Man that I described, it blew me away that what he latched on to was the gift economy. Later, because I wanted to gift him and because it felt like a great way to demonstrate he gift economy, I gifted him a key fob made by my dear friend Beveler.
This man passing through town, dropping in to my life for a moment, gave me the opportunity to give a tremendous gift. I was able to teach someone who travels the world about the gift economy. In all his worldly travels, this was his first experience with it. Before this, he knew how to barter and buy. I am so grateful for the experience. I am so grateful that I was shown what a unique city I live in for a short time each year, but that I’ve been able to carry the economy of Black Rock City with me every day since I turned 25.
Later that day, I saw my friend John Halcyon in a video he had made about the gift economy, and how important it is to avoid paying for labor at Burning Man. If you have to pay for it, scale it back, he said. An important message for all of us to remember. Because as I was shown earlier this week, the gift economy is a treasure worth fighting for.
I love watching life for its lessons. It’s a hard place to live, this human existence in 21st century America. If you watch for it, though, the magic is there. The connections, the lessons, the synchronicity, the gifts.
Who in your life is a reason, a season, or a lifetime?
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.
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.
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.
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!