What an amazing journey we are truly on, no matter what show or festival; I am absolutely amazed by the amount of love this world has to offer. We are currently on a long winded journey of 9 almost back to back festivals spreading from coast to coast. While on these long drives through the deserts and mountains of this beautiful earth, time shows itself in all ways. Time for reflection has been the most valued, and meeting other like minded folks has truly been a blessing.
With a much needed strategic break in between, I found myself actually able to go home for just a minute. By home I mean my actual home town where my parents and majority of my "blood family" reside.
While making all of the flight and bus arrangements I started to really get anxious at the thought of going "home." While I do miss my parents and siblings, my anxiety is consistently on the rise just at the thought of seeing them, but not only them. I'm anxious to see my old friends too. Even though we speak way more consistently than my "family" it is still nerve wracking to see everyone, including old friends.
Everyone has that old friend situation that either ended badly or you had to make the choice to leave the situation for the betterment of your life, or vice versa. While I was planning I started reaching out to the people I want to see--since it is such a tight schedule, I'm trying to fit the most in. But one of my best friends in life mentioned my ex best friend of 10+ years whom we were all associated with. She stated how much he missed me and really wants to "squash" the beef we ended it on. But also stated he doesn't remember what it even was.
To be honest hearing that really made my heart hurt, because the damage that was done is literally and figuratively irreversible in my eyes. But for him to not even remember it made me truly start thinking about what I was hanging on to, not just for me but for him as well.
It's not just him or this situation but the same goes for my parents and siblings; I often feel like I want to see them more than they want to see me. Granted I do completely understand how my life choices have affected them, but in my eyes none of it is worth the amount of distance they have created. When I moved away from the south to the West Coast a few years ago it really allowed me to see the negative impact they and the nature of my surroundings all had on my life. While I was fighting a mental fight between physicality and the challenges that the Trump administration put on my "kind," everyone else was able to go about their day. No one from back home ever asked "how are you" or gave any kind of positive kick back like "we still love you no matter what." They don't even call on my birthday!
Sometimes I feel like that is potentially my fault because I try to be as tough as possible at all times. It's definitely the only wall I have built over the years and it's only getting stronger.
Through all of this though, I find myself wanting to forgive in all in ways I never thought I would. Not to make any of them feel better, but for myself. I need to let go of the past to make space for the future, ironically made possible by the very same ex best friend. In other words his horrible physical actions towards me catapulted my career into Harm Reduction. And pushed me out of my element to continuously figure out the next step without knowing where that step would be. The years of helping him through his hardest times absolutely prepared me for some of the most challenging experiences of my adult career.
In the years since seeing him or my parents and siblings I have carved out a niche lifestyle that allows me the joys of travel, help when help is needed and create when life and time allows it. I control every aspect of my life from when I work to how and when I play, how much I give and when I need to take time for myself. The same goes for my parents, while I'm sure they love me they still seem to refuse to know me in any form other than who they remember. Especially in terms of profession or their understanding of what I do for a living, even among my siblings who are completely capable of acknowledging but never do. While all of these things have hindered my thoughts of them, I still love them. Even though I'm pretty sure they all think I'm just some kind of druggy homeless person (which goes to show how much they actually see.)
For instance, while scheduling and paying for all of our flights, buses and accommodations on my own, my oldest sister asks "What's going on with you? Why are you busing home?"
While my immediate reaction was to be annoyed that she assumes something is "going on" with me, it's even worse that she assumes it is bad. Instead of saying "is everything okay? Why are you taking the bus?" In which the honest answer of affordability and sleep time, it made the most sense. But also why does it matter? Why does it matter how I choose to come home.
But even this has long term value, at least in my eyes. They have always treated me like I'm a joke, growing up with this same kind of treatment constantly reminds me to not rely on anyone or anything. Letting go of that mindset has proven to be the hardest. We as humans are meant to rely on one another, a community effort. Even through these hard times in our "American" society, we are all stronger together. Asking for help when needed is normal and often admired as it is one of the hardest parts of being human. Masculinity in this country teaches us to rely on our own abilities instead of asking our elders for the guidance they have already learned or experienced.
The Healing Process
So with that knowledge, I acknowledge the negative or difficult things I am holding on to, hold no value to me in this life or any life for that matter. Relying on my community is the key to growth and giving back to the same community is what holds it together, passing that knowledge down the line. The same goes for my ex best friend, I no longer want to hold on to the anger that he showed me. I can't honestly blame him for his faults or the faults given to him by his family. His alcohol and drug abuse issues are not my issues to hold, but they are mine to grow from and those experiences still help me to this day.
I give thanks to all of those hard lessons and experiences that taught me radical self reliance, but also to the people who have helped me realize the expanse of community and how to rely on it in a positive way. I give thanks to the friends who have stood by me through it all and continue to be astounding beacons of light.
I will let go of the past and be open to the future.
I will hold my head up high through the demoralizing eye.
I will create a positive path for the future.
I will ask for guidance from my elders.
And i will accept all my feelings as they are valued.
As always, thank you for reading and allowing me to express my deepest thoughts, even writing this all out has helped in so many ways. I also wanted to say thank you for all of the support this blog has offered to me, in a seemingly endless mind of confusion and need to just let it out. Just know that I appreciate it in all the ways!