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June is the color of the early afternoon sky as the Cubs take the field, June is the color of my Aunt Lea's smiling eyes, June is the color of swim suits and inner tubes, arms gentled brown in the sunshine, June is the color of robins singing and fish biting and bees in the flowers, June is the color of my grandfathers Danish accent and softball and hamburgers and Fanta orange pop at the family picnic, June is the color of lightning bugs in the gloaming, the air soft and sweet and verdant, gentle as a sisters love.
It's been a shit day, it's a shit night, I'm just passing through it best I can.
Some days suck.
Today was one of those. Is one of those. Though it's night now.
The highlight? Running into Jeff at Starbucks, chatting with him, enjoying his company, understanding what he's going through and getting that same understanding coming back my way. He's a good guy. Considering that he's broken, he's solid. I mean yeah, we're fucked up and we're fucked but we're clean and sober and sortof grounded. Or something.
I don't know. Or care. Not tonight. Fuck it all.
What a storm!
I surely do love a big ole storm, coming in hard and fast and loud and dangerous and mean and ugly and gray, it's like when I was married, my mother-in-law walking in, except that storms are fun, and I like them, and they make me happy.
I never went around rolling up my neighbors car windows when my mother-in-law visited.
My neighbors and I never stood around happily exclaiming happy exclamations when she came around, like we did with the storm tonight.
Truth be told, I got to where I understood her, even liked her.
My toes hurt.
My legs hurt. That would include knees, feet, thighs, the whole fucking show.
My back hurts. Up and down. The whole show.
I'm tired. All over.
But it's a good tired. A damn good tired. And while my toes, legs, back, etc and etc do hurt, they don't hurt bad, it's actually more like real tired and not so much hurt.
Today was a day that I moved some, got some things done.
Checks deposited. Bills paid. A few calls made; more tomorrow. Clothing washed, dried, hung up; more tomorrow.
A good tired.
And now -- bedtime.
It's an unusual thing.
It shows up in unusual places.
For just one example, suppose that you had some cushions to give away, cushions you'd intended to throw away but decided against, in hopes that a need could be met.
Suppose further that someone DID want said cushions, but that there was a stipulation added to the fact of this persons want: the cushions be at least 24" x 24".
Suppose, last, that the cushions measure just over 24" x 24" -- wouldn't you think that the entire situation was to the point of being ridiculous?
I did too.
I tried to save that couch but gave up; too worn. I tore it apart, tossed the scrap into the dumpster.
I harvested what I could, kept it out of the landfill; the poly fill that filled the back cushions went to a woman making huge pillows for her granddaughter, the three foam cushions from the seating went to another woman, needed those exact pieces to recover for an antique couch, the pieces of leather I kept, maybe paint on them -- I don't know. The only waste -- small pieces of oak from the frame, filled with nails and staples.
feeding seven children
dealing with their demons
life was on them
they did what they could
I thought that's how it is
it's only how it was
a dappled horse
that's what it was
a crazy scene
they called gravity love
it was powerful
I went nuts
or just was maybe
I got out
then went back
I was sick as hell, last night, in my sleep, awakened sneezing, a monster headache, eyes watering, etc and etc.
What in the world is going on?
Turns out that the couch I'd torn apart to give pieces away to keep them from the landfill has one piece of material that I am extremely allergic to. How this happens I surely don't know-- allergic to cloth? What the fuck!?!?
I wrapped it all in plastic but that wasn't enough, had to get it out of here before the symptoms started abating, but they finally fucking did.
Big day, huh?
My brother turned 60 today.
A big deal, sixty is. Especially just now in his life -- Parkinson's came out of nowhere two years ago, knocked him on his ass, and his stupid goddamned doctor totally missed the diagnosis...
Anyways. Parkinson's can be controlled, much more than even ten years ago, and my brother is really happy just now.
He jumped from an airplane today, 14,000 feet, free-fall for 9,000 feet -- said it took about two minutes. And all his children and grand-children came in from out of town, his wife and friends circled close, a celebration of his life.
It's incredibly dangerous for any of us to quit meetings, most especially in times of stress. You're at a turning point, time to let go that marriage, time to work through all the resentments and fears related to it all, and still be partnered in parenting -- gawd. A big challenge, no doubt; I'm glad I'm not in that right now. The things people suffer most: finance and romance, my money or my honey, dollars and cents and sex and love. And I know you've got this stuff, or seems that way from what I know of you. Good luck.
It wasn't that those were bad people, or that they didn't like me, maybe even love me, just that I was living such a lie; I didn't belong there any more than I'd have belonged in a coven of Zulu lesbian witches, wearing Birkenstoks, a pointy black hat, not shaving my legs and stuff.
Those people showed up big time when I died, had those fucking heart attacks; I'm sure they loved my ass.
I almost want to recommend dying to you; you find out lots about your friends. But I guess this is more a celebration, your birthday...
This: The unexamined life is not worth living.
Also: The unlived life is not worth examining.
Somewhere, there's a middle ground.
I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Part of it, anyways -- I sponsor lots of guys, which I truly love, which I'm good at.
What bothers me is that I'm not painting, just barely writing. Maybe it's vain, maybe it's a foolishness, but it's important to me.
Ah, I 'say' it's important to me. Today, I met with two guys I sponsor, was completely present in that time; I didn't even pick up a brush.
I'm headed to bed early for a change, just because. It's been a busy day, and a good one, lots of time spent with two guys I sponsor, and then got sortof roped into another hour-long commitment, caught in that meeting, and it was a good meeting but the last thing I needed was a meeting; I wanted to ride that fucking bike, get out into the sunset and ride that bastard hard as I can, work these muscles til they scream and moan, until I scream and moan, and then limp home, soaking wet, sweat pouring off me.......
The sky turned golden after the rain. And I do mean turned golden.
I've never seen anything like this anywhere but here, in Texas -- probably it happens other places but I've just not seen it. I've seen it only rarely here.
It is a spectacle; the entire sky still clouded over except on the low western horizon, so the colors of the sunset take the entire sky, it's luminous but it's even more than that, it's spectacular, the entire sky bright gold and then into a bright golden orange and then dimmed down to night, all in forty minutes.
I rode late tonight and it's Friday, hardly anyone on the trails so I really blast it hard and it's not dangerous, I'm not going to run anyone over, the sweat is just totally pouring by the time I hit that final climb up onto the bridge which caps it off, and I'm off that fucking bike gasping, catch a breath, then another, drink some water, another breath, lean onto that bridge rail till the shaking stops, and then that work-out, and more sweat, my heart roaring, my lungs blown out, my brain singing, I'm completely, totally, joyfully alive.
My sex life -- now there's a loaded way to start out, right?
I've got your attention now, unless I miss my guess. You're wondering if you're going to really read anything about my sex life, or was it just a lead to grab you by the short hairs and get you to read this drivel?
So far, it looks like a con; it appears as though I'm not going to say one goddamned thing of interest about my sex life.
Perhaps I won't, but the fact that I might will get you to read this to the end.
The hardest worker I've ever known. He was astonishing, he had a huge appetite. Work was incredibly important to him, and became important to his sons; we tried to work as he did. A legacy.
He had this flashing, white-hot, violent temper. DNA moves, downstream; another legacy.
He had this sense of justice, he wanted to help people. And he did help people. He created opportunities to help, or saw them when others didn't, or wouldn't. The best pieces of me reflect his humanity, his kindnesses, his will to help.
He was incredibly charming. Howlingly funny. Festive.
I stopped, just before I walked out the door, hit my knees, prayer. Asked that I be directed, that I have a fun ride, that I not get hurt, that I not act the fool. Then, out the door, and into the ride. And it was nice. I didn't fight my way through crowds or whatever, just went with the flow. Prayer works, for me, not by changing externals but by changing me, allowing me to slow, to get 'right-sized', to get out of my 'got to do this now' 'got to do this hard/fast/perfect/whatever'. A sweet bike ride.
This morning, for the first time in decades, I spent a lot of time talking with Ronnie Gee, and Ricky, Ronnies brother, kids from the neighborhood I grew up in. It was interesting, but awfully frustrating, as we had to put all those articles of clothing onto those racks, and I was just not good at that at all; very annoying.
Ronny was really good at it, but he didn't lord it over me.
We didn't speak of the intervening decades, and we didn't seem to find it at all unusual to spend that time together.
Then I awakened.
We talked about his marriage. Talked about his daughter. His sponsoring other guys. His work. His joys, his fears.
We talked about our addictions. Our recovery.
We talked about friends we share in recovery, about the pain in the death of one wonderful woman, the pain in another friends active alcoholism, his living death.
We talked about psychotherapy. Step work. Life in general. Life in AA, specifically. We talked AA lore, talked our AA experience.
Talked of friends who've died, marveled at those of us who've lived.
We covered it.
I love this fuck.
I'm lucky to sponsor him.
We went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate her birthday; organic macrobiotic vegetarian, cooked better than any I've ever had anywhere else. It's an art. It was a nice time -- it's our favorite restaurant for a number of reasons. It's calming, great food, the other diners are cool. It's Austin at it's best, Austin at it's funkiest self. We came out and sat on that bench, talking quietly, watching that half-moon cut the sky, listening to the music in the distance, the people in the park still, Austin headed into the weekend, got that weekend vibe, free and easy.
Are you hurting?
Are you drinking?
Alcoholism hurt me real bad.
I'm an alcoholic. Sober, now, through what I've learned in AA. From making AA part of my life.
I hated AA. I'd been before; I thought people in AA were wacky.
But I believed that they drank as I did, that they knew the life.
And I believed they were sober.
They seemed to get it.
A drunk knows a drunk.
I write this just as me; I don't speak for AA.
I'm just an alcoholic who wanted to write, to you, if you're hurting tonight.
A fine day. And who would've thunk it, starting as it did on the heels of a night in which I was not able to sleep. Not one bit. But I got out and into the day, the 9:30 Saturday meeting, and then Yoga Mike picked me up downtown and together we went to the noon AlAnon meeting, and then he dropped me at the 1:00pm Bouldin meeting, which was an absolute blast -- myself, Betty, Rod bringing the house down. Then some rest, and then out to meet Linda, at ten, step work, she is getting free.
The idea of the death of any of my siblings is horrifying to me, I'm sickened with dread at even the idea of it. I'm the only one of us who doesn't know what it's like; they all went through it when I fucking died but then I did my whole 'rise from the dead' routine so now I've maybe got to go through one or more of their deaths; it's almost enough to make me leap off the fucking roof so as to not have to learn it. Almost. We've been incredibly lucky, totally beaten the odds. Grace.
So I almost didn't go, because I was sortof jerky, not wanting to do anything, because I'm a dick sometimes.
As you know.
I told Kelly. Saying it aloud brought to my attention that I ought pray before deciding. I hang up the phone, onto my knees. Ten seconds later: Socks, boots, knife, wallet, I'm jamming out the door, the steamy Austin night, walking.
I'm glad I went.
Artist, poet, singer, white-trash redneck; he's got that wide-open, burning, gaping hole where others have walls and locked fucking doors; he's got balls, brains, smarts. He moves straight, moves fast.
I set out, walking briskly, into the steaming late afternoon sunshine.
At fifteen minutes, I saw that the distance I'd thought I'd be able to walk in half hour was farther than that.
I stepped it up, fast as I could walk, cutting across Austin as the rain and the sun alternated. And then the sun won out and like walking hard in a sauna.
By the time I got there -- a hard fifty minute walk -- I was soaked in sweat, my shirt drenched.
I walked home, also.
I'm tired, now, but I'm definitely alive, my hair still wet.
I'm a wreck in many (most?) other pieces in my life, and even in that piece actually, but I can give you the skinny on it all when we convene 'The Big and Tall Mans Bipolar AA Wacko Club' at that coffee shop -- how are your afternoons? Are you open afternoons? I'm not a morning person at all, except that I usually am up until like four or five in the morning, and I'd actually sortof rather not drink coffee then, as it'd mess things up even more, if this is even possible. I've been hoofing it around Austin...
Many people, not just religious bible-toting people, maybe even most people -- Hey, they don't know how to be with someone who is hurting. It causes them pain to see you in pain. And if you are in pain they'll maybe want you to shut the fuck up so they don't have to consider it for themselves.
Listening to others who are hurting is a skill, some have it natively -- I'm one of these -- others can learn it, if they have an aptitude and if they are willing to face their own pain, which might be triggered by hearing yours.
I'm entering in Junes hundreds; it's early morning of July fifth.
This entry is my 'missed' day, my 'grace' day, the day I get to enter even though I'd not written.
I'm annoyed -- somehow I transposed one entry for another.
And I've found that my word counts are off, my 'hundreds' aren't one hundred words long, my word processor, Google online documents, is fucked, the word count 'feature' doesn't work correctly.
I'm real fucking happy about that.
I'm going to start entering these hundreds daily, no longer have this monthly ordeal; this takes too long.
Five years ago today I drove back into Austin from Arizona, completely trashed, broken, my forty days in the desert.
Five years ago tomorrow I wrote my first hundred.
It's tightly linked, in my mind, in my soul.
A blur, it all happened so fast, I was overwhelmed, time and again, I broke, time and again.
I've had time now, to heal, some, to sort it out, make sense of it.
I wish I wasn't but I'm stuck, maybe broken, again.
I'm so much stronger, so much healed.
But still broken, stumbling, shambles, often lost, tossed, wrecked, ruined, fumbling.
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