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this blog is on holiday

Aug. 27th, 2009 | 10:36 am

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Please forgive my lack of posts. I'm on summer holiday mode. 3 more weeks till school starts and I move to UC Santa Cruz. I've literally been doing nothing but going to the waterpark and the beach. Pics will be posted later.

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Lonnie, the final friday night group, and the wedding

Aug. 10th, 2009 | 12:07 pm

Where do I begin?! I had so much to write about last week but was paralyzed by uncertainty and depression I couldn't bring myself to sit at the keyboard much less write. Last week I wrote that Lonnie asked me for the weekend as a cooling off period. I wrote about the desire to curl up and just sleep. I wrote about seperation anxiety with the impending move clouding things. Last week was also filled with significant events which added to the anxiety of uncertainty. The weekend was hell. I found myself staring at my chat lists seeing Lon's name and feeling pangs. I knew better than to pm him. Still the text messages trickled in. One would give me a pang of hope then the next one would dash it as it made crystal clear our positions. I am almost 40 years old and I still read heavily and dissect everything. So I bided my time. I went nuts here alone. I spent an inordinant amount of time on social sites partly to fill time and partly to have someone to talk to. I also reached out which I've not done. I pm'ed my dharma brother Dexter who was returning from a trip to Maine. His significant man in his life summers there. Its funny cause I was afraid to "expose" my relationship insanity to him but did so and as it turns out he had a monstrous blow up in Maine. He told me there's a reason we're "ate," the tagalog word for sisters. I also called Max Davidson who put me right at least in my head, with his homespun life full of experience wisdom. I find that I keep myself closed up as a defense mechanism but conversely its difficult to lower those defenses and reach out when I need to. Its difficult being an island but its safe.

10 or so texts exchanged and Lon agreed to come by Monday after work. My step-father was gone and I always get freaked out in this big empty house by myself. Its not the most warm or inviting environment. It was a bright spot that Lon was to come by. I hadn't really considered that the visit was more to drop off my stuff than to actually see me, although he was quite worried about my state of mind. Despite the strained emotional atmosphere we were intimate which on some level gave me hope, false hope or real hope time would tell but hope that I was nonetheless glad to receive. I sobbed and sobbed and then sobbed some more. I apologized profusely and did some fast fast talking trying to explain and articulate my way out of the hole I'd dug. Lonnie sobbed and was visibly upset as well. He tried to flee at one point but I begged him into staying at least until he calmed down and was not driving in an altered state. Thats something they really stress in my SOS group. Make an appointment with yourself to fall apart they say. Do it after you've completed your driving.

The texts were intermittent after the visit but I was grateful for the contact. I continued chatting with (new) local friends online. We made plans to attend a free outdoor movie. Forgive me for being all over the place. This is what happens when you don't write regularly. I just remembered some stuff. Over the weekend I reached out to my friend from drawing class. The young man who I'd had the falling out with. It was really stupid and it was more my doing than his. To be honest I couldn't deal with the 20 year old gay boy crush. So we've been talking and hanging out and it feels really good. I remembered why we were friends in the first place and we have moved well beyond the admiration stage which is such a relief. I hate being the center of attention.

I think I wrote about Lon's new friend, Esteban. He was "my replacement" from the pool party the other week. He hosted a dinner party Friday night and Lon attended. They also went to a concert Sunday night. Despite Lon assuring me that despite the fact that we were not together he had no desires to be with anyone else I still felt incredibly fearful and jealous of the friendship. Later when we talked I came to the realization that a lot of the onus for him being attracted to the new friend was on my shoulders.

I had never professed my love for Lon before. I never told him I wanted to be with him. I kept it safe. I insisted ad nauseum that we were merely friends. I was reminded of a telephone conversation I had during my Santa Cruz visit. I said, "did you tell him we were just friends (with benefits)?" Lon assured me he had. Fortunately or unfortunately the attraction waned and nothing occurred thanks to a lack of chemistry. Its funny. During a later conversation where we put everything out in the open each of us discovered that we knew exactly what the other was doing. For example, at the dinner party there was a handsome bulgarian gentleman. This was one of the guys I met at the pool party and was chatting with online. He was one of the organizers of the outdoor movie trip. Lon, after a few drinks had gotten his phone number. I forget how I got wind of this. Of course I insinuated that I was hanging out with him and deemphasized that there would be 7 of us in total. Lon knew I was doing it to try and make him jealous and it worked. He texted me more during the film than he had all week. Kind of laughable in a 6th grade way in retrospect the way we know one another so well that even when we're fighting or estranged we know what the other is doing.

Fast forward to the weekend. I should provide some background here as well. Lonnie's nephew who had lived with him until recently, was getting married on Saturday. His sisters and brothers were all flying in and there was to be lots and lots of family activity. Prior to our issues I had offered to let them use my Wild Rivers waterpark cards which allow 8 people free entry. During the week of uncertainty I was using any excuse to get an in, to talk to him. I called him up and said he should still plan on using the cards. He felt weird using them with what was going on with us but I talked him into using them. Did I mention that any kind of crisis has me resorting to my zen buddhist practice? I was taking the POV that I only wanted him to be happy and whether that was with me or someone else that would be okay. Somehow, I suspect with some inner wrangling of the sisters keen on meeting this Toro person they'd heard so much about, I was asked to accompany the family on Friday. This meant not only spending the day with two of his sisters and their partners and children but meeting them for the first time.

Thursday arrived. I'd been sleeping horrifically. In bed in the wee hours and up way too early. I needed to hit the gym Thursday so I drank 2 cups of coffee and a red bull around 6 p.m. thinking a Benadryl would knock me out. No such luck. Around 2 a.m. I groggily poured myself a screwdriver so I ended up being drunk and awake. I think I'd been asleep for maybe 4 hours Friday morning when a text message woke me up. Okay if I come over early? Sure! I replied. We had a playful but non-commital exchange when he arrived. We were intimate again which was a nice way for him to give me a little leeway. I told myself and had rehearsed in my mind that I would be "totally cool" in the car. I wouldn't give the appearance that I was psychoanalyzing every micro gesture. Lon made it really easy for me and he held my hand tenderly like we normally do in the car. I think he was so excited for me to meet his sister that he went to great lengths to reassure me by constantly touching me on the back. Thank goodness for caffeine. I powered thru the day. The family was wonderful. I think they really liked me and we had a really wonderful fun day. The nice thing about the waterpark is there's lots of opportunity for closeness. A 20 minute line affords the chance for furtive conversation. I don't know when it occurred but something softened in Lonnie towards me during the day. He was very tender towards me and he confessed that feelings were stirring.

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Wild Rivers (Lonnie, Katie, and Jessica)

If this were a film this would be 90 minutes in, the 2nd dramatic conflict I believe its called. During our apart time he had invited Esteban to accompany him to the wedding. While I told myself I would not bring up attending the wedding, I made it clear earlier in the week I did want to. I understood the significance of attending with all his family and massive number of close friends. I told Lonnie not to sweat it. To talk to his friend and honor his commitment and see what the friend thought about him taking me instead. If I couldn't attend I wouldn't make an issue out of it. Period. Friday night was the bachelor party so we didn't speak after 5 p.m. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do Saturday so I was very surprised to receive a phone call at noon telling me to get ready to be picked up for the wedding in an hour.

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A blissful celebration of love and a day with friends!

Last but not least. I almost forgot to write about my final friday night group. Its telling for me that it comes as a blurb of punctuation. I was soooooo f'ing tired when I arrived barely on time. Sh**ty 7-11 coffee did little to prop me up. I felt like I was on autopilot. I really hate goodbyes. I really dreaded this final group. I really didn't want to attend and in many ways I didn't. We did a final check in. I shared about my crazy week. We were asked if there was anything we hoped to get out of the final group. We asked for closure. We asked to know that everyone would be alright with the group ending. We asked to know that in the future people would be okay. Then something happened that totally shocked all of us. One of the facilitators told us that in addition to being privileged to learn about our stories each week that participating in this unique experience, a year long grief group, had changed her life. She said this through tears and we all joined in each and every person in the group crying happy melancholy tears. Joe asked our other facilitator where our box, the time capsule would be kept. He told us he would take it home and that it would be kept safe. We each placed the items we planned on putting in the box. We were also given markers and paper to add anything additional. I made myself a list of hopes, dreams, and goals for the next year. My list took up two pages, two sides. We set a date of August 7th to meet a year later upon which time we would open the box. Afterward we concluded with ice cream cake, champagne, and well wishes. We ran well over our normal conclude time of 8:30 by at least an hour if not more. I hugged Connie, Dee, Larissa, Charles, and Joe goodbye. I missed my bus so Joe gave me a ride home for the last time. It was wonderful. We did our final in car check in and exchange. We covered a lot of ground. We cried some more. We made room for others in our lives and we emerged from this long strange journey of experience and healing.

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SOS @ the Crystal Cathedral was nice and intimate today

Aug. 2nd, 2009 | 06:31 pm

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Gotta get a frame for this photo tomorrow. Just taking a few photos to college and this is one I'd like to have in my room.

I went to bed last night thinking I would skip my SOS group today but I woke feeling so badly I figured it would be better for me to at least interact with other people instead of sitting here sleeping or withdrawn having obsessive thoughts and pangs of sadness. As it turned out we had a small intimate group of 10 today but it was very intense. There were two new people including a mother who told a heart wrenching story of hugging her son and telling me whatever it was they would get thru it together. In the minutes it took her to walk to the kitchen to get his meds and some water he took his own life. It was actually very telenovella. She described in her perfect broken english waking outside as the ambulance took her son away looking up at the sky and screaming, "Why, why, why, you said that if we believed in your son and lead good lives you would deliver us salvation." Very telenovella. Taking the bus there and back and attending ate up 6.5 hours of my day. Now that I'm home I'm bumming out of course. I've no idea what tomorrow will bring but I have a feeling that taking the weekend to clear his head will change nothing between Lonnie and me. I see no reason why things will change and I'm still just trying to get by minute by minute, hour by hour.

I almost forgot to mention this. The other night I removed all the shrines and the sundry framed photos. I thought it would be a big deal but really it felt insignificant. It just felt like the right time. I still cannot sleep without my nightlight. A dark room is still a scary place for me but each in time.

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Seperation anxiety

Aug. 1st, 2009 | 01:27 pm

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Kitty, Tam, Me, Denise, and the lovely Sarah

Part II

Forgive me if this sounds disjointed. I wrote Part I first. Sometime this week, I'm not even sure of the day as they all blend together. I know it wasn't Tuesday because that was the only day I felt grounded and normal. Tuesday was a bit of bliss. A gift. I came back from Santa Cruz feeling shell shocked but seeing Lonnie, my touchstone, made me feel grounded. We went from the airport to his place for a few hours nap then to the monthly bear pool party. It was a lot of fun but an alcohol drenched evening. I crossed some lines and Lonnie crossed some lines. This led to some lingering resentment. I had a hard time dealing with it and so I forced it come to a head. To get all of it out of my system. I had prolly the worst fight I've ever had with Lon. I was incredibly cruel. He begged and pleaded with me to retract the horrible things I was saying and warned me that I couldn't (like past times) just call him the following day and everything would be okey. Thats something Scott and I would do. The next day no matter what transpired, broken glass in the bed, split open bleeding foreheads, smashed artwork, it was as if all was normal. I am Lonnie's first relationship with a man. It really f**cked with his head. The gist of the matter is he's afraid of me now. I went off the deep end. I needed to see a counsellor from the center on an emergency basis. We considered and tried to get me placed into a psych hospital but were unable to find a bed. I was feeling that unstable. So, I've agreed to go in everyday this week and meet with a therapist. I exchanged at least 100 text messages with Lon yesterday. He was kind enough to tell me that he would never shut me out, that we could remain friends, he would take my calls. The thought of losing him made me a little crazy. I forget that people are scared of me because of my appearance. The real reason they should be scared of me is for my intensity. I know I'm wired differently than normal people. A social worker in Seattle pointed out to me that kids who grow up with horrific abuse don't have filters that average people have. We don't see outrageous situations or dangerous people until the volume has been turned up super high. So as it stands he asked me give him the weekend to get his head together. I'm just coping minute by minute. The desire to just curl up and sleep is strong. The sick uneasy feelings come in waves. The tears continue to flow. Separation anxiety is not helping and I obviously do not do well with it. Its one thing to lose the person you love more than all the world through no fault of your own but its entirely another to lose the person you love more than anything in the world at your hand, at my own hand.

Part I

We had our second to the last group therapy session last night and I really didn't want to attend. I had to drink some coffee to wake myself up from the depression induced sleepiness just to get myself to the bus. I have been having "issues" with Lonnie all week. I've been crying all week and fighting the depression that comes from relationship troubles and clouds every waking second. Which is something new to me. I have written previously about my inability to cry except when triggers are present. This week the tears just flowed and flowed and have not stopped. When I arrived at the center I waited out in the hall as long as I could. We have a habit of checking in inside the waiting room and it never fails to amaze me how much ground we cover in minutes. Even at 3 minutes to 7 one of the first questions asked of me was, is Lonnie coming to pick you up. We had a fight the week before and he didn't come to get me and everyone took notice. I really didn't want to share this until we were in the room but it all came out and Joe, Connie, and Dee were all incredibly supportive. When we were all in the meeting room and doing our check-in's I was relieved to hear that I wasn't the only one having a sh*tty week. When I talked about all the crying I'd been doing Joe commented that he'd done more crying recently than he'd done in the last year. Its a sign of our progress, our healing, that we're not so numbed. But, its also a sign of the change that has occurred in us. We feel a little more freely and emotions are more intense. My group, the facilitators included are so wonderfully loving. Part of the reaction to the relationship stuff is to withdraw, to sleep, to shut off and not to want to verbalize this stuff. Its too painful and too awkward. After my check-in one of the facilitators asked me what I would like from, what I wanted the group to do for me. I was so very touched by this and I felt at ease and safe for the first time in days and days. I told them I didn't want to be the focus of the group. I felt better or at least okay having shared about my mess of a life this week and that I just wanted to be in the presence of the group and that in itself was helpful.

After check-in's we participated in a planned activity. Fortunately the sand tray was still empty and set high on top of the toy cabinets. We were instructed to pick two items from the stacked toy bins. One item that represented where we were when we started group and one item that represented where we were today. This took about 15 or so minutes. I picked my items right away and Joe found his second. The women, Connie and Dee took much longer. Connie had a real hard time. Joe spoke first. He selected a small dejected sad looking dog with wide teary anime eyes. He talked about the first day he found himself in the waiting room when Larissa reached out to him and asked him if there was anything she could do to help him. He was profoundly touched that someone who didn't know him would reach out to him in that state of shocked grief. He expressed his gratitude to our facilitators and to the group and we all mirrored his feelings. Joe and I teared up and cried a little too but they were the kind of tears you shed when something touches your heart and moves you. I went next and for my first item I chose and unfinished unstained empty cabinet in which I'd placed a chipped red heart, a broken heart. For the item that represented me today I chose a horse poised slightly majestic with all four feet planted on the ground pausing ready to embark on a journey, ready to venture out into the world. I like these experiences. I value these experiences. Its touching and moving but also validating and empowering to look at where we've come from and the people we've become. The group experience, the group itself is a sacred space where by the very act of coming together we heal and embark on this healing journey together.

We took the last 20 minutes to talk about our expectations for the final closing session next week. Joe came up with the most beautiful idea. We were going to create a time capsule filled with whatever we chose to fill it with. After one years time we will meet to open the capsule and see where each one of us is in our journey. I decided that I would comb my journal and write about signifcant events that occured in group. Like the halloween session when we watched the episode of Buffy where her mom dies. Boy we were all shell shocked as s*it that time. We were told that we could meet at the normal time but could run over as long or as little as we wanted. We decided we would bring in food and drink. Its going to be a celebration and a graduation. I feel good about this. I feel like I can leave the group to emerge into the world with this proper send off.

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Our class met at a me and Scott's favorite mexican restaurant Enriques in Long Beach. Our teacher is so nice she didn't want anyone to feel left out so she said just put in what $ you can and she would make up the difference. We spent 2 hours have the most amazing jalisco style meal together then walked over the immaculate Japanese tea gardens at Cal State Long Beach. Afterward we toured the empty art classrooms and facilities. Very exciting. At the days end everyone acknowledged my transfer to UCSC and hugged me goodbye. It was very moving and touching and although I felt happy to know each of my classmates I was a little sad as class ended for the last time.

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Santa Cruz, and SFO

Jul. 27th, 2009 | 08:37 pm

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I'm currently mired in that suspended and stuck feeling of being mired in depression as the result of a rollercoaster emotional weekend. It started out with my early morning flight to SFO Thursday and commenced with a telephone conversation in which Lonnie was screaming so loudly and sobbing so violently he destroyed his phone ending our series of conversations. Saturday afternoon I flew into Orange County and later that evening we attended the monthly mens pool party in Fullerton. Lonnie had gotten together with a friend the night I flew out. I've been encouraging him to make new friends since I'll be leaving in a short 6 weeks. I didn't expect to be introduced to the new friend who would be tagging along with us too the party. I'll admit this is irrational but I was jealous of the new friend and I let my normally brash mouth under the influence of liquor make comments throughout the night. Par example; I pointed him out and said this is my replacement. I think he took it as ribbing but Lonnie was very upset at the comments.

On top of this is the churning ocean of emotions inside me since my trip up north for orientation at UC Santa Cruz. I made the first mistake of waiting till the night before to book plane/bus tickets from SC back to SF. Big dumb freak out mistake! Greyhound only runs twice a day early morning and wee hours. In retrospect its actually very simple to get between the two cities using local buses and the CalTrain or even Amtrak. Lack of sleep the night before departure and a 3.5 hour trip to SC and I arrived harried. A few months ago I began talking with a really great guy on Bear411 who actually has all the same Nor Cal friends in common. He's a buddhist like me and a Taurus and has a very laissez faire attitude and comes across as non-predatory, again like me. He met me at the station and ferried me around at first bi-ped then in Johann his VW Bus. We drove the scenic route up onto the campus which is perched high above the city in a ring of redwoods. Its quite isolated and foresty which I hadn't expected. Unfortunately the architecture follows many of the UC's in that it avoids creating central gathering places creating a series of loosely connected colleges, a response to the student uprising in Berkeley in the 1960's. In many ways, in everyway SC is a great choice for me. Its curriculum is very turned on but I wasn't prepared for the intense feelings of loneliness, sadness, and fear I experienced when considering the move, the change, the initial isolation and newness. Keith dropped me at the hostel and offered to fetch me after a shower. I was exhausted and only awake thanks to lots of coffee. I stayed in a dorm room with 6 bunk beds. In order to catch the bus to the Uni by 7:30 I got up at 5:45. Sleeping there was hell. The coop across the street had screaming drunken students and bunkmates rifled thru their stuff at 2 in the morning before retiring. It was just weird and creepy all around. Pleasant when spoken to but not the most friendly outgoing crowd. Later that night when I returned everyone was watching Mermaids with Cher but no one was making a sound. The next morning while brushing my teeth one of my bunkmates asked me if I was going to orientation and offered me a ride. We spent the morning together and then had lunch before exchanging numbers. He's a computer science major and straight devout mormon from Alabamba/Mississippi. Really nice guy who I hope doesn't freak out when he finds out I'm gay if he didn't figure it out already.

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I finished at noon so I got into the city hours earlier than expected. I rang up my dharma brother Dexter and he invited me to drop by with wholehearted open arms. Although I was dazed from lack of sleep and emotional if felt comforting to be with him at his place. Dexter is a clinical psych social worker so he's a good person to talk about this stuff with. I was supposed to meet my long time friend Ken Kneiesel and later stay with Eric McCormick. Serendiptiously both finished working early and joined us at Dex's. Funny thing, the last visit to the city we all hung out at Dexter's. We drank wine and ordered lovely take-out from Brandy Ho's and it was the first time I felt completely whole and at ease and at peace, with my old friends. Also serediptious was the fact that Dexter was flying out to Maine the next day around the same time as me. Eric and I had a lovely coffee at the Duboce Park Cafe before I met him at the train. We had a great time together along the way and even better in the terminal as his plane was delayed an hour. Its incredibly difficult, owing the power of depression (lesson here applicable to Scott in his final hours) to consider good friends, old friends, reasons for loving the feeling of being alive but as I said serendipity put me in their company when no matter of mental strength could.

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San Francisco by way of Santa Cruz

Jul. 22nd, 2009 | 07:53 pm

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Flying out early Thursday morning. Bus to Santa Cruz in the afternoon. Staying at the IYH Santa Cruz hostel in the evening. Orientation at UCSC friday 7-5 p.m. then bus'ing into the city. Prolly SOMA for a casual drink. Flying home early Saturday morning.

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Closing ritual suggestions needed

Jul. 19th, 2009 | 11:40 pm

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I got a text from Joe earlier this week saying he would be missing group due to a family function. I was really angry at the thought of him missing one of our last 4 final sessions and I was angry at the prospect of attending without him so I carried this with me throughout the week. When Friday approached I really did not want to go to group. The transit authority here have removed all schedules from stops and reduced service drastically. There is one major line I usually take from my house which comes twice an hour. The times have recently been tweaked ever so that they don't come at regular intervals all day. I called up the rider line at 17:00 and asked when the next bus would be. I asked if the operator was totally certain the time was correct for my stop and not the stop before or the stop after. He gave me the wrong time, the old time so I waited in the bloody hot sun for almost 45 minutes just missing my bus by minutes. This would put me at group 15-30 min. late. I was livid by the time I got on and I contemplated getting off and skipping group. I forget when but I started to manifest some resentment at the way we were informed at the last meeting that our group would be concluding. We'd had 4 weeks off due to moving BS with the city and permits. I was a mess during this time and I desperately looked forward to going back to group so when I heard the news I panicked. I suggested that we at least do some kind of wind down.

Scott never liked to abruptly hang up the phone so he'd announce a 5-20 minute wind down before saying goodbye. We haggled over the time period. Of course I suggested 4-6 weeks much to the surprise of one of our facilitators and Joe. We "collectively" decided on 4 more weeks. During our initial check-in's I shared that I was more accepting of the news and I shared that I felt I reacted out of panic and shock and felt like I was the one pushing the group to meet longer than everyone wanted. I got some good feedback and was told by our other facilitator that if we had decided the last meeting would be our last or even this one she wouldn't have felt okey about this. She and the other members thought it was very appropriate to take some time and process our seperation.

The further the bus got from my house the longer the prospect of walking home in the heat kept me from pulling the stop cord. I did dawdle though at my transfer stop and went into McDonalds to punish myself with some "food." Jesus Christ I was in shock when I read that a double cheesburger has 440 calories in it. I ingested half my daily caloric intake of 2000 calories in 5 minutes. I stopped in the first place out of passive aggression so when I arrived 20 minutes late I was reasonably calm(ed) and being so late I really didn't expect too much out of the session.

They were kind enough to wait for me. I'd never been late before and we usually do wait if a member has not shown. So, after we did our check-in's we were given clipboards and paper to do an exercise which much to the shock and horror of Connie and Dee was to write our own eulogies. I was totally stumped at first but I've done sooooo much introspection and written so much about myself that it didn't take me long to start. I decided that I would take the tack that in the imaginary version of my life I had actually written my own eulogy before my death to be read aloud. Here is what came out of me:

Life is short, friendship endures. Many of you who knew Bully have experienced his commanding prescence. His strength that lay in his optimism, curiosity, the way he collected friends, his charisma, and his humor. The buddhist believe that the nature of existence is suffering. This is the human condition and the nature of life. Perhaps happiness then isn't a goal but a condtion, a precious fleeting state of mind. The only tangible assets we truly have are the connections we've made. You may have looked at me and seen optimism, or charisma. Other may have seen kindness or obstanance. But, what you really saw was a reflection. I am you and we are each other. We are all these things and we are formless fields of benefaction, but we are these things together. We are love and friendship. You are me and we are each other. I want to thank you for giving me the gift of your friendship. It has been a great life!

When we closed group and did our final check-in's we were given an assignment. We are to consider ideas for some kind of closing ritual for our final group. It can be as simple as listening to music or as extravagant as performing ritual acts. I would be very grateful for any suggestions. We've been on an incredible journey of healing for one year and one month.

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Greetings from Wild Rivers waterpark

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Got my mojo back

Jul. 14th, 2009 | 11:32 pm

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This gallery window was filled with crucifixes and cool milagros that you'd dedicate to saints in a catholic church. It was next door to a skater gallery that had some great graffiti art.

I trekked from my house to the heart of old orange county, Santa Ana, to a place called the Artists Village. At the heart of the Artist Village is the Cal State University Fullerton Grand Central Art Center. The 45,000 square foot, three-story bldg. houses artists studios and apartments, classrooms, galleries, and a theatre. We met at the Gypsy Den cafe the closest approximation to San Francisco even down to the tattooed lady servers, although they were really super nice. Although temperatures have been searing for the first time all summer there was a cooling breeze. We voted to draw indoors thinking it would have a/c. No such luck and we were on the mezzanine of an upper floor of the ancient Santora Bldg. Everywhere you look artists have rented spaces and bad paintings hang in every window. It was a great feeling! I choose an ornate window from a locally famous set designer. He had done a really gorgeous art deco skycraper below a glittery silver crescent moon and ringed planet. I was sweating profusely the entire time. It took me quite a while to figure out where to start. I doubted myself and my abilities. But, I eventually started and although imo my drawing looked like sh*t it was a big boost and a learning experience and I got some instruction from our beloved professor. The best piece of advice I left with on how to improve was to do a drawing each and everyday. That's the kind of structure/motivation I have a difficult time creating for myself. Much needed and appreciated. For homework we're to arrange objects that tell a story about something that occurs in the room. I think I'm going to draw my Connect Four game on a card table. Why am I so fond of sad stories? This set was one I played with Scott many nights. It feels great to be drawing again. Now if I could only spend some time learning to play my guitar.

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The Gypsy Den Cafe

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Santora Bldg. in which my old school rents a gallery space. This is where we were drawing today.

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Inside the hot box!

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Summer is here in full effect

Jul. 13th, 2009 | 10:12 am

Another lacadaisical weekend spent riding around in convertibles baking in the So Cal freeway sun. The blessedly cool fog and almost chilly breezes have gone and been replaced with stifling heat. It makes me feel like I'm having an altered déjà vu experience of my reality.

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We finally reconvened in Friday group in the new location. I love it! The gay center is in a bustling working class area which is almost entirely latino. Its a few blocks past my old school. We innaugurated the new group meeting room. We did our check in's. Dee and Connie have become a couple. Joe's friend has moved in with him for some weeks now. I was decidely not as upbeat and expressed my stuck-ness as of late. Of course one of our facilitators reminded us that it was okey for us to be wherever we were on the emotional map. I knew/know this but still I miss having company in my "misery." My worst inner emotional fears of abandonement were realized as we revisited Joe's graduation comment. The last meeting he announced that he was ready to graduate from the group in order to make room for someone/something else in his life. (Mind you this is my internal dialog, i'm processing out loud.) Each of us reflected on the journey we've been on collectively over the last year and one month. Dee said, "I didn't think I was going to make it before finding this group." We were incredibly blessed to have this unique oppportunity. Most bereavement groups only go for a set time. 10 weeks typically which is actually what we had planned. We were allowed to extend it a few times at which point we just extended it indefinitely. I knew/know that the group cannot go on forever. There comes a time when we have to be strong enough to stand on our own. Thats not actually the issue with me. I just hate saying goodbye and ending things. I got just as depressed when the school semester ended. This is a sad thing but its a good thing. As I approach the move home with only 9 weeks to go a lot of melancholy feelings are coming up.

As we were closing the group Joe talked about a dove that periodically nested in his backyard planter, a planter that resided right at eye level as you stepped into the yard. His friend asked him about it and Joe said you just have to walk to past it and not make any eye contact with the family. It's only a temporary thing. The family nests for 3 or 4 weeks and then they move on. You just have to "sit" with this change for a few weeks.

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I went 3 times!!!

Last week was a total wash. The illness and and the paralytic whatever that was. I'm going to drawing class tomorrow. To the gym today. Attempt to draw at the library after that. Drawing is the key to getting myself going again. We shall see.

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summer mode

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Adult Adoption

Jul. 10th, 2009 | 11:05 am

Had a weird conversation with my step-father last night. We rarely speak more than a few sentences and usually only about the garden or the house. I've been really annoyed about him recently. He's always been a fair and rational person but he doesn't consider any other perspective but his own. He is the archetypal white male asshole with perfect credit who thinks everyone else should have no problem achieving the same status. I could cite numerous examples but you know. Anywho, I forget what I went upstairs to ask him about but he surprised me out of the blue by telling me he planned on doing an adult adoption of my brother and me so that we would be his heirs. I asked him what the difference between being willed something and being adopted was and he said none at all which leads me to believe this is a symbolic gesture.

Group is back on tonight after a month. Jesus f*cking Christ its about f*cking time we reconvened!?

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