Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank you perfect life

I want to express gratitude for every perfect thing that is my life. I am so blessed and lucky to have so much good, great and grand in my life.

Thank you people- my stunning and amazing husband, my beautiful delightful daughter, my supersonic sister, my reason for being here mother and father, my kind and caring family, my warm and fun friends, my supportive creative community, my lovely co-workers, and all the bright shining people I know.

Thank you universe for the option of adoption, which allowed me to be a parent and have my dreams come true, thank you to the brave parties involved for creative such a magnificent being and choosing me to be her mother.

Thank you world for the crazy interesting journey of a life that takes me everywhere I do not want to go and leaves me with gifts everywhere I look. Welcome this pain for you will learn from it Ovid. Hmmmmm...the pain teaches me and expands me and shapes me and shows me everything I need to look at ultimately, but that is only part of the story….

Thank you for all the fun and laughter too. The fun and joy and laughter and surprises and miracles keep me sane and restore me daily.

Thank you music and movies and books and plays and art and dance and stories.

Thank you universe for my prosperous job. Thank you that money, love, well being, and ease are attracted to me and flow to me from an unlimited source with greater and greater abundance everyday. Thank you universe that it flows to everyone, yes?

Thank you for every last bit of this life life life. Grand and glorious. Thanks for being in my life all you beauties out there. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to set a boundary with a gang member

So I used to work in a space that also employed a gang member of sorts. I will remain vague with the details to protect the guilty and myself.

One day I brought in an employee, lets call him J, someone I personally hired and invited to work for us, to fill in for someone. At some point in the evening, I walked over to where J was stationed to check on him.  As I was coming around the corner, I saw J suspended in mid air, being lifted by his collar by the gang member. I rushed over to interrupt the inevitable battery.

The gang guy was pissed off because he was stopped by J and asked to pay an entry fee. Clearly, J did not realize that the gang person worked there. How would he know? He was just doing his job, what I had instructed him to do, charging guests when they entered the space. The simple misunderstanding could have been corrected with a few words. It wasn’t. Luckily, I happened along and was able to diffuse the situation. I felt like an animal handler, soothing a savage beast, patting down the raised fur. Scary! J, who was indeed a good sport, was luckily left unscathed.

I rarely dealt with this guy, the gang member, at my job. We were doing completely different things in different areas, but that day our paths crossed and his actions affected me, because they affected someone I hired. Yuck.

The situation really pissed me off and I was not sure what to do. I wanted to have the gang member fired. I called the bosses but they were not sympathetic. They said next time I needed to warn my employees not to stop gang members. They were right, but I did not want there to be a next time. I wanted to quit. I did not want to ever have to deal with something like this situation at my job.  I did not quit and the reality was that it happened and I did have to deal with it. 

After thinking long and hard and admitting that yes, I did have to warn any future employees of the situation, I decided I needed to speak up to the gang member and let him know that his behavior was not ok to me. I could not just ignore what happened and continue to work there with him.

So I went and confronted him. I was scared to death but I saw no alternative. I could not live with myself if I did not express to him that his actions were not ok. I could not be a silent witness. I knew that what I felt did not matter to him, and that i would not change him but I needed to look him in the eye and talk to him for me.

Corny as it sounds I silently said a common prayer under my breath as I approached him. Terrifiied, I took a breath and said that it was not ok for him to threaten a worker. I told him that the guy just made a mistake. As I was saying the mistake part, he was speaking over me, laughing nervously, saying he did not threaten him. I was not interested in arguing, just getting what I needed to say off my chest, so I continued and said that if someone did not realize he worked there, he could just explain that he did and not threaten the workers, something to that effect. I was so nervous I can barely remember what I said. Anyway, that was that. Then we hugged. Yes, I hugged it out with a gang member. Maybe he heard me or maybe we agreed to disagree, or maybe nothing. But something happened for me because uncomfortable energy dissipated and I went on my merry way.

Who knows, I may wind up in an industry with a shady side again but for now I have much gratitude that I am not. I am lucky. All I know is that in this life I need to keep my side of the street clean. I am the only person who can take care of me. When something does not feel right in my gut I need to trust my feelings and handle it in an appropriate manner. Be brave, have courage, speak up, tell the truth, to the best of your ability. In the end it always feels better and it is easier than you think.  I write this to remind myself. 

trippy i know, thus the alice coltrane soundtrack, with pharoah sanders, oh yes...

Friday, November 15, 2013

we're desperate, get used to it

I met Mikey when I was fifteen, back in the early 80’s. We both worked at Flip on 8th street, the west village version of Trash and Vaudeville. The store sold vintage clothes and some hip new stuff like BOY of London. It was run by a real sleazy guy who prayed on the young women who worked there. That is a whole other story for another day. Today is about Mikey, a good friend.

A real Ratso Rizzo type, Mikey was small and scrawny in stature with a heavy new york accent. A loner and a true neurotic, he got damaged somewhere along the way and was left to fend for himself, always hustling. He was a strange bird and a dying breed. You just do not see that type of new york character around much these days. This guy was the real deal and we were pals. He treated me with respect and like an equal. I looked forward to going to work everyday to hang out with him. We had a great time together.

Mikey was a veteran in the garment business. He once told me about this over stock of ugly raincoats they got when he was working at Canal Jeans. Not a single one sold till he got the idea to make a sign that said “S& M Raincoats.” After that, every last coat got sold.

Mikey was deeply afraid of the mouse in our basement office. He made me laugh everyday.

Mikey was the person who turned me on to the The New York Dolls. I loved Johnny Thunders but I did not know my history. He told me about The Mercer Street Arts center and all kinds of great new york music stories.

He told me how to pronounce Sartre, when I mispronounced the name when talking about No Exit. Mikey was so cool, he listened while I waxed on about teenage things and he was never condescending. He was an arrested teenage himself.

Mikey did not know the extent of what happened with the boss at Flip but he knew that the guy was a lowlife. At one point he over heard me set a boundary and say no to a come on from the boss. Mikey was super supportive to me, concerned and protective, the way an adult should be, but not the way any had really ever been in my life. He was angry at the boss, bothered by what he saw.

Mikey never hit on me. He was one of my first adult male friends who was strictly platonic, no hidden agenda.

The job was brutal and one day Mikey got fired for refusing to do something. I gave my notice that same day, knowing that I could not stand to work there without my ally. We said goodbye. I felt like crying. We said we would keep in touch and see each other around, but I knew that we would not. We went our separate ways.

Two decades later I ran into Mikey  again. I had already lived several lives and was myself a grown up. Mikey was still working retail on eighth street, which was a ghost of its former self. He was still running a hustle, more neurotic than ever.  I saw him from a new perspective, I was the adult and he was just a messed up kid in an adult’s body. He was really far away, like time took a toll. I wished I could protect him, do something, fix something but I couldn’t do anything. I listened to his teenage rambling and tried to be patient. He made me laugh and he made me feel so sad. We said goodbye again.

I wish that I had told him how much he had meant to me.  

Mikey, I will forever hold you dearly in my heart. Thanks for being a good friend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The good the bad the ugly and the great

I have a long beautiful history of odd relationships, friendships and otherwise, with some crazy and amazing outsiders; hustlers that have peppered my life; crime loving scammers of “the man”; train hopping hobos of sorts; couch surfing creatures who couldn’t or wouldn’t hold down a regular job, couldn’t or wouldn’t be tied down with a lease; liars who made up a new story to define themselves; ratso rizzos; pyromaniacs who loved playing with fire; gorgeous addicts still in their prime who didn’t believe in the future but looked beautiful anyway; messed up dreamers who still did better than the shitty hand they were dealt, despite everything; parentless childless loners and lovers, stunning bastards of the underground; freedom fighters of the soul.

I used to watch in awe as they beat the system in one way or another. I studied them and copied them, the good the bad the ugly and the great until I figured out how to be just like them. They were my role models, the best ones I could find. I remember going into a hippie store in my neighborhood in second grade and seeing the beauty who worked there with her nose ring, I wanted one from that day on, she was one of them. I remember my friend’s gay sister who wasn’t going to let anyone fuck with her, hard as a rock with her armor, telling me how she would never cross her legs, a hideous sigh of weakness, and showing me how she sat on the bus with her legs open in defiance. She was one of them. I was 12. I tried to “own” my bus seat the same way she did but it took time, my friends it took time.

I remember such silly little moments because I knew they were holding what I could not define, could not put my finger on, but what I wanted. It was called freedom and certain beings who flitted in and out of my life encapsulated it better than anyone else around me. It was never the low life side of my dear hustler pals that hooked me, the finding a vacuum in the trash and going into the gypsy storefront to vacuum their floor for them and leaving without the vacuum, but with $40 instead. Nope. That shit was just the entertainment. My friends were funny as hell, but it wasn’t the street hustle that was the thing, it just often came with the territory. The attraction was the independent spirit part, the freedom loving part, the lust for life part- that was what I was striving for, living for, dying to obtain. All I wanted to be was free.

In the end I figured it all out the hard way, I got hard, I hustled, I got stories no honest man would believe, did all that and more, I caught the golden ring, the goal of not getting out of bed for anyone but myself. It was terrific and not enough. In the end I found out I wanted even more than those small dreams. All this and more, indeed.

Today, things are great, I have no complaints. I just want to pay homage to all those trail blazers of my misspent youth. Thanks for being in my life, for making imperfect choices in an attempt to move in the direction of you heart. Thank you for showing me tiny glimpses of freedom, no matter how distorted. Thank you for being my messed up role models. I love you all.

Be kind to the people you meet out there, we are all carrying heavy loads. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

'Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.'

Mark Twain — 'Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.'

I love Dia de los Muertos! I really cannot think of a cooler way to regard death, talk about it, accept it, and celebrate it. Today I spoke to my daughter’s class of 3-4 year olds about the day of the dead. We read a book about the traditions and made an alter and some kids put pictures of their pets or family members who have passed away. My girl put a photo of our dear cat who is very missed.

This is what I wrote last year:

Ah yes, the veil between the two realms is the thinnest tonight! Remember the dead with Joy. Celebrate their lives. Have a laugh and a smile. They are here with us tonight.

Our ancestry can be traced back through our cells. Our ancestors are part of us. We carry them with us and can learn from them, be inspired by them, find strength in them and heal them as we heal the more challenging parts we inherited.”
Death is curious. George Harrison’s wife said that when he died his body lit up the room. They say that is what happened when Jesus died and that that bright light is what created the Shroud of Turin. They say that when the great Indian saint Yogananda passed on his body did not decay and that there was no odor in the 20 days that he was dead but not yet buried. The Mortuary Director in charge of his remains said in a notarized letter that “This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one…” I was present for the passing of my father. It was quiet, astonishing, unstoppable, final. There is so much we do not know. I like hearing about it all.
I do not have a lot more to say other than start by admitting from cradle to grave, it isn’t that long a stay. Be here now. Love eachother. Tell people that you love them. Shine your brightest. Be kind and forgiving. Reach to be a little bit better. Stay open. Be willing. Live your life grandly. I write this to remind myself. Celebrate the dead. Every one is invited to the party.
yes, i have this on 7 inch vinyl