Monday 02.03.2014

1525207_10202651068345376_1114759902_nIt’s been a really long time since I’ve had the compulsion to count things.
Tonight I had a bit of an issue and had the overwhelming need to empty out a bottle of quarters and count and recount them until I could get the patterns to quiet down, but unfortunately I wasn’t at home and it doesn’t really work when it’s just random quarters. Instead I set up some boundaries that my friend Mike helped me enforce and attempted to work through it. I almost sent an email to Cynthia, but I got the impression on our last session that it wouldn’t be welcome. The jaded part of me reckons that it’s because I’m no longer a paying customer/client, but the realistic part of me realizes that a therapist can’t just ‘be there’ for all of their former clients.

Needless to say it took me by surprise. You work so hard to be ‘well’ and you realize that working hard is exactly what it us. There’s no fixed, just better tools to work on the project.

Winter has really been getting to me as well. Right now it’s almost 5am and I’m landlocked at the bar, unwilling to bike home in the rain- that promises to turn into snow later today but is at least melting the last round of it- and unwilling to get yet another cab to get home. At least I have Netflix and the Internet though I’m woefully understocked on snacks.

I’ve had a half written entry ready to be finished here for a while. It’s been over a month since the last update and even though this is just a space for me to keep track of my days I really enjoy writing here. Been really invested in the Sacred Debris blog, which is going well and seems to have found a small niche and level of support, so at least for now my time doesn’t feel wasted for putting the time in it. Luckily I’ve reached a point in my life where the second it goes from being fun to being a burden… I can just nix it. I hate going into a new project like that, but with SPCO and Scarwars I ended up having so many bad feelings about it. With SD- it’s fun. The nostalgia has been really rad and for the time being… it’s a go.

Julia and I took a Wintertrip to Atlantic City that was really fun; I like to go every season to enjoy AC when it’s empty and sort of a ghost town, walking the boardwalk and feeling like you’re the only person alive. This year in the middle of January we had a rare 50* day and AC was full of tourists- some in short sleeves, enjoying a spring day in heart of winter. What can you do; we still had a good time.

We also just had the Philly Tattoo Convention roll through. My feelings as always are pretty much summed up with a ‘not for me’ but I do love the friends that come into town because of it, so it’s worth it in the end.

Meh.

 

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Wednesday 01.01.2014

1535735_10202436329977051_1842024595_nHappy New Year, Internet.
Julia and I watched the New Year roll in quietly, nestled in our house with Bailey, sipping a celebratory champagne and being really thankful of the eight great months we’ve had as a couple and thinking about all the adventures that the rest of our lives has in store for us. We had discussed going out, but with me working in a bar-which is to say socializing for a living- the idea of a quiet ‘just us three’ night really appealed to us. As my new blog issued it’s first three scheduled posts (more about that later) we kissed and hugged and were all goobery with each other. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer night.

My 2013 had radical ups and downs.

My friend Shannon Larratt killed himself. There’s so much to that whole situation that I respectfully keep quiet about, but at the end of the day I often find myself missing my friend and sometimes enemy, and thinking about Rachel and Ari and how much worse it must be for them. Between the Stay Calm event we threw to support them/remember him and my TIFF visit that found me saying my peace at his old apartment I’ve found closure, but.. still a kick in the nuts.

Even more so losing Josh Burdette the same way. At the event, Josh and I were able to stand around and just bullshit about things, and his thoughts on Shannon’s suicide would have never given me cause to think he’d go out the same way. I choose not to dwell on how he died, but how he lived, and when I think back on my friendship with him the good memories far outweigh the bad.

And then Dennis Clegg. Dennis was a friend I made at the bar. Our senses of humor were eerily compatible, as was our love of cookies and Italian Greyhounds. I’d go months at a time without seeing him but could count on him leaving pleasant or sarcastic messages on my Twitter account, day and mood determining which it was. I saw him the night before he died, and in an uncharacteristic and possibly Jameson fueled bit of sentiment, he kissed me on the temple and told me that he loved me and my family. The next morning he left a note on my Twitter telling me I looked like a ‘Russian Serf’ and a few hours later died of a fatal heart attack at swim practice.

This year has served as a sombre reminder of the fragility of life and why I should enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did in 2013.

ggbridgeI started the year in Boston with my good friends Vee, Pat, Ed, Larisa and Dave. The rest of the year found me in San Diego where I got to hang out with Shain, Dustin, Ed, Heng, Chris and Pushead and then up to San Francisco for some touristing time with my friend Zoe who turned out to be an amazing hostess and tour guide. I got to have dinner with my old Florida friend Kristen as well as Hilary, Brooke, the lovely Kelly and Robin and her fella before braving Oakland for a latenight visit with Mr. Joyner. I made my yearly Vegas trip which was my best yet, spending time with Jenna and all of my amazing friends. I visited Toronto and not only saw JODOROWSKY’S DUNE at the Toronto International Film Festival but had the director dedicate the screening to me in front of the whole audience. I was able to visit Jennifer and Richard Stell at their great new shop in Tulsa Oklahoma, make friends with Jennifer Billig (who I’ve looked up to for years) and help roast a hog while hanging out with a lot of great tat-bros, had a crazy round trip visit to Providence, Rhode Island and finish off my travel season with a trip to Austin Texas where I was able to see Bethany for a second time this year as well as a bunch of other friends that I see way too infrequently.

That could have made for chaos, but all of the trips were perfect; cathartic, relaxing and full of adventure.

1507965_10202511466055406_1005943212_nMy greatest adventure in 2013, however, was breaking a promise I had made to myself earlier in the year. I made a pledge, as part of my health/fitness/mental health initiative, to stay single for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. To have fun. To not get serious and to go on a bunch of first dates. I had committed to it and even when Julia and I agreed that a first date was something she and I needed to do, I was still 100% behind my pledge. By the second date I was ready to propose. As I type this, she’s asleep at my side, curled into an adorable little ball of sass and long black hair and we’re about to celebrate our eight month anniversary. I’m happy to report that every day is still a first date and now that it’s 2014 I guess I can finally give up on the no dating thing and covertly make an honest woman out of her. The three years I knew her before our romantic relationship started couldn’t have prepared me for how we’d fit together as a couple and she continues to impress and humble me every day that I’m lucky to be with her. We know we’re “that couple”- and have the matching tattoos to prove it- but neither of us mind very much. And if you the pleasure of meeting her, I have no doubt you’ll find yourself understanding the smile that’s permanently on my face these days.

1374075_709363687906_1460643889_nIt was a great year for other kinds of firsts, as well. I ran two 5ks in 2013. The first on almost no sleep the day of the STAY CALM event, the second on almost no sleep for the AIDS WALK PHILADELPHIA where our team raised well over $3000 for people in our area affected by HIV/AIDS. The first race I ran with Erin, the second with a team who all braved an early morning wakeup call to get our asses out and run for people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. It felt great. Every mile of it. I’m not sure if I’m going to do the charity portion this year; I think I pushed my friends and loved ones to the breaking point with my aggressive fundraising, but I’ll absolutely be doing more team runs. Hell. We even started a running club at APP in 2013, with folks getting up for a 7am run-time to run a few miles in already oppressive heat. Fun can be found where you make it.

I’m thankful for all of the good times that 2013 brought me, as well as the bad ones. I did things that in previous years I would have never thought myself capable of- running 5ks, maintaining a friendship with a former girlfriend (of course, Natalie is so rad that it’s pretty easy to adore her) as well as introducing her to Julia, having a healthy stable relationship, healthy stable friendships and a allowing a stinky dog that loves me unconditionally to stick around despite him forgetting how to behave from time to time.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 7.53.17 PMI ended the year by finishing up the final touches on a new project I’m working on that, as always, documenting and archives something. In this case it’s Body Modification History and the blog is called Sacred Debris. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you should check it out. Right now it’s light on content, but hell, it’s only four and a half hours old. As we move into the new year I’m going to be adding tons of content to make sure that a major part of my formative years won’t just disappear.

Thank you, so much, to everyone who made my year amazing, and I look forward to starting 2014 knowing that we’ll have more adventures to come!

Wednesday 12.11.2013

84775882621e11e3bdfc123e64519d93_8Yesterday would have been my Mom’s 71st birthday.
It’s been so strange, the last few years. Sometimes the day comes and goes without me even really thinking about it, and other times it hits me really hard; the reality that she’s gone. Last night was more of the latter. Julia and I just laid in bed covered with a quilt she made me over thirty years ago and I just let myself be sad while J took care of me.

I hate that lack of control but everything worked out ok and I woke up (slightly groggy thanks to xanax) feeling much better about it. It’s the natural order of things. I got to have the world’s best Mom into my thirties. She got to see me grow up. She got to see all of the hard work and sacrifices she put into raising us take root. She didn’t get to see the massive changes that I’ve gone through in the last year an a half, but she was no less proud of a much more flawed me than she would be now. I say this a lot, but I’m me because of her.

So melancholy though it was… I’m glad to have thought of her.

In happier news, Julia and I are chugging along with Christmas overload. We’ve got our tree set up and decorated, working on food options/plans for Xmas Day and on my ends I’ve got most of her presents locked down. I don’t usually do that; make a big deal out of Christmas. I like it, as a holiday. It’s gaudy and sparkly. But the whole present craziness is usually something I skip. This year I’ve managed to get her a bunch of great little things that made me think of her or that I thought would make her happy and might even do my best attempting to wrap them.

936774_10202365962057897_1262237593_nWe’ve also been working on our 2014 Disney getaway; the Weirdos are going to be heading to Orlando to spend some time together at an honest to goodness Summer Vacation.  We’re doing a week in Orlando with sidetrips to Tampa/St. Pete. Disney, Universal Studios… can’t wait. Going to follow it up with a trip to Vegas for APP, so my 2014 is already starting to fill up. Jesus.

 

Saturday 09.14.2013

546963_10201688618404729_1864974595_n

I made it back safely from Toronto early yesterday morning.
Despite sleeping once Julia went to work I feel like I hit the ground running and am still trying to find my bearings being back home. Not in a bad way; the trip was cathartic to say the least and I’m in a much better place about Josh (and indirectly, Shannon) than when I left but I’m just feeling like I’m playing catchup with the real world. Catchup on sleep, on getting some time with my love and with work. It’ll all balance out in time and before I know it, Julia and I will be taking our first real couples adventure to Austin Texas for Halloween.

Until then: Toronto.

1235878_10201679923387359_1911299204_nToronto played a pretty major part in my life during the late 1990s all the way through the mid 2000s. With BME being based out of the city, I was up there a few times a year for event planning with Shannon, Modcons, Suscons, BMEfests, ModProms and just visiting I considered it a second home. As the years passed after Shannon sold BME I stopped traveling there and a city who’s streets I took for granted became somewhere I used to visit way back when. The decision to visit again was precipitated by making a last minute bus trip to the city to see a showing of Frank Pavich’s film JODOROWSKY’S DUNE at the Toronto International Film Festival. When I said I was going, I was mostly kidding; even though I love adventure the prospect of a 22hr round trip bus ride was daunting (Not as young as I used to be after all) and verging on irresponsible financially.

I’m not sure why I decided to go ahead and do it, but several hours after the trip was booked I was told about Josh’s passing. So soon after Shannon and I didn’t know what to think or feel. I rode down to pay my respects with Kathleen, Atom and Essie but was still left in a bit of a funk. Getting on a bus with no agenda other than seeing a movie and some old friends was the perfect way to clear my head. And it turned out to be much more than that. The city that was so familiar to me had changed; stores that I always stopped at were gone, replaced by chain monstrosities and thanks to my lack of data on the iPhone I discovered that there are 151 Starbucks locations in Toronto. I stopped at a fair number of them to be able to get on KIK or Facebook to chat with Julia, who’s presence I was sorely missing.

I spent more at Starbucks in three days than I have in my previous 39 years. Towards the end of my trip I finally stopped buying hot chocolates, chai teas or bottled waters; I became ‘that guy’ and just walked in, sat down, got online and chatted up my lady, made plans with friends and suckled the teat of tethered smart devices for a spell. Instead of asking me to leave the friendly kids who worked there often approached me with a cup of icewater and a smile, completing my theory that they may be Disney-made drones incapable of any disharmony.

The movie was AMAZING. Capital AH. Mazing. I have mixed feelings about the potential of a DUNE directed by Jodorowsky (admittedly my favorite filmmaker) but the documentary on it’s attempt earned a spot in my 2013 top five (more documentaries. Weird.) and absolutely justified the time I spent on a bus to see it. Synchronicity- my old friend- was with me, placing me behind the film’s director for the screening. After it ended I introduced myself and told him about my insane busride to catch his flick. He was elated- calling me out from the stage and asking me to stay after the screening to say hello. Which we did, shooting the breeze about my interactions with Jodo (coincidentally enough based on Shannon asking me to contact him about documenting ModCon) and our love of his films and life.

Things just worked organically for me the whole trip; walking down the street to see a smiling Phil Barbosa waiting for me by the theater, catching up with Evan and his friend for the documentary, seeing Jason and Silas, being hosted by the kindest personal assistant I’ve ever had and finally a full day catching up with Badur; who’s company and conversation really gave me some much needed perspective on loss, change and being the people we were meant to be.  I spent my days wandering the city, taking pictures of graffiti, eating poutine, revisiting old haunts that held memories good and bad and even visiting Shannon’s old Bathurst house and getting a little closure on his suicide. Instead of the home away from home that Toronto used to be, I blissfully found myself a tourist, free of the weight on my psyche that I brought up with me. My BME years are finished, that chapter closed. I met some of the best and worst people in my life through it and while I’ll continue the friendships I made through it and possibly keep up writing about Body Modification for Modblog (or not) or other Body Mod publications I feel like I can finally say goodbye to that part of my life.

1240303_10201679969388509_715786015_nI’m not the me I was the last time I walked down Bathurst street. I’m not even sure I’m the me I was when I got on the bus headed North. I’m happy to be in flux, always learning better ways to deal with things- even when those things are the suicides of people I love- always learning about who I am and who I want to be. Through it all I kept feeling like something was missing and as I sucked down one more Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at the interchangeable Starbucks location I was sitting in at any given time I realized that what I was missing was home.

Home is Julia with her sly smile and heart full of unconditional love. Home is Mr. Bailey Papers, tail wagging and snaggletooth snaggling. Home is where I go when bad things happen, when people I thought were tougher than me ended up being twice as fragile and who did something I’ll never understand. I realized that I don’t have to have an adventure to have an adventure; that clearing my head can be attained with talking to Julia instead of holding it in and waiting for my next bus, plane or cab.  As my bus rolled into Philadelphia I was glad that I made the trip but I was even happier to be home.

A very special thanks to Sarah, Badur, Phil, Evan, Frank and Jason for putting me up, and putting up with me.  I’m very lucky to have the people in my life that I do and the next time I find myself in Toronto it will be just because; not as an escape, but to see the family that I have waiting up there.