Talkings for your auditory head holes

Is this thing on?

Hey y’all, I have been slowed down on the typey typey but ramped up on the talky talky. My friend Allison and I took the leap into the trends of 2010 by starting a podcast called Separated for Talking. We have been friends since we were wee bebes which means we have lots of things to blackmail each other with. If you are a regular reader here, the topics are similar, only better because Allison is much more delightful than me and classes up the joint. There are stories, pop cultures, current events, swears, and lots of laughing. I may get my blogging mojo back too but in the meantime my commitment to being joyful and silly in public remains steadfast. If you miss me, come over and subscribe at www.separatedfortalking.com . And then comment and stuff, because I miss you too.

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2017 in 30 pieces

Inauguration Day, outside the doors of the immigrant and refugee support event, the line of people stretches around the block.

My pal and I start texting each other music each day, a sweet, quiet pen pal habit. Friendship is in the small things sometimes.

I’ve talked in front of audiences my whole life in different ways. One time my voice cracks inside of my throat and I realize I don’t give a shit about being embarrassed by vulnerability anymore.

I walk with other women of color and their families at the Women’s March and a large group of pink-hatted white women yell at us for singing because they want the march to be a silent one. They shout “SILENT! SILENT!” They fail to see the absurdity.

My dude looks filled with delight every time I walk in the door. We laugh a lot, and I can’t wait to get home every night.

Community gatherings, organizing groups, volunteer events, committee meetings, talking circles, voter registration events, public hearings, memorials, petition writing parties, marches, workshops, talks, summits, rallies. I wonder when the moment I will burn out will come.

I hug my dear Delium in the middle of the street before he drives away to a different state and it is one more thing gone in a long tired line.

My version of reminiscing with my old dance school friends is counting out a difficult piece of choreography we learned at the age of 15. We argue about it a little, but the counts are still there, in all of our heads.

I sit at my parents’ dining table in Flint, relieved that the formerly abandoned house across the street is now occupied, even though I know this is just one small win. I wonder if I will love another city as much as this.

I walk into a surprise party in Michigan, making my friend scream in shock. Everyone claps. This is how Oprah must feel whenever she shows up at things.

I hold my brand new niece Meera while her sister, Uma, rolls on the floor singing Hindi songs better than I do. They both smile at me. They smile at everything.

Fires make the sky a gunmetal haze and the sun hang red, and I feel kind of sick. These things aren’t the most apocalyptic things of the year, not by a long shot.

We arrive at my dude’s mom’s birthday party as a surprise. She hugs him and cries. His sisters and I cry too. Sometimes there are complicated reasons for crying, and sometimes there are simple ones. Sometimes there are both.

We stand on our front porch in our eclipse glasses and stare at the sun as it slowly blots out. It gets cold and we stand closer. It warms up again and we stay close.

I get off of an elevator and walk onto a movie set that I didn’t know was there. I stand under the bright lights and gawk at Cate Blanchette and say “oops!” She says nothing back.

I go to DC and see several friends, all of them beautiful people who exude warmth and kindness. We eat and walk and laugh and talk. On the last day my dude and I sit next to the Potomac and watch boats go by, content and grateful.

I sit in a shelter for families experiencing homelessness and a kid tells me his favorite thing about himself is that he likes talking to people. “Just like I’m doing right now. I’m so good at it.” And he really is.

I dance with my friend at a Solange concert under a warm open sky. Red and pink stage lights make our faces bright and our teeth glow as we laugh.

I see Misty Copeland speak and the auditorium is full of little black and brown ballerinas in tutus. Before the program starts they do pirouettes in the aisles.

There hasn’t been a lack of sexist, racialized street harassment or microagressions in my life, but 2017 gets a prize. If you have never been spit at, yelled at, or otherwise menaced because of your identity, I congratulate you, I guess.

The work I do has, for many years, been about dismantling oppressive systems and rebuilding something else. This year my fatigue around this has been at an all-time high. My inner pilot light remains joyful though, and this is such a gift.

A friend says something ignorantly racist. I gently but directly ask her to consider her words. She unfriends me online and off, and I guess she will never talk to me again. This is not the only thing like this that has happened to me in life, but there were more of these this year. This is what it can look like to be in a poc/white friendship. Sometimes the chasm is too wide to cross.

I have a friend who, after the election, starts texting me, emailing me, staying in touch more often. She keeps showing up and authentically communicating, strengthening our bond. We snap into focus for each other. This is also what it can look like to be in a poc/white friendship. The chasm can be crossed.

I drive my two oldest friends to the coast where we walk up and down the beach and look at our grown up faces and see the 4 year olds, the 12 year olds, the 17 year olds, the 25 year olds we were together. When they look at me, I am seen.

My nieces and nephews sprout up and up, running full speed into life, just kicking shit down as they go, making me believe in things.

My partner stands with me in ways too deep to explain. Over and over and over again, he never fails me.

A primary friendship of mine trips along, with resentments under the skin like icy blue veins. She says she doesn’t want “big, tiring talks” in her life, so I wait, not knowing how to navigate a friendship that was built on authentically talking without, well, talking. While I wait, helplessly mute, she drifts away, and away, and away, and I watch her recede from the shore I am standing on. All the words I know to say are big, and tiring, and so I have no way that I can think of to call her back to me. I decide to let her go, pretending that the decision is even mine to make.

My mom and I talk on the phone almost daily, and her laugh is still my favorite laugh.

My dad is still gone, and his memory is still my favorite memory.

I am in a tiny karaoke bar packed full of biker club guys in their 60s, a few craggy longshoremen, a booth of librarians, some woo-woo 25 year olds, and several wilted souls of indeterminate age. I start to sing a melancholy “Stand By Me” and before the first verse is done, the entire bar is singing it with me, loudly, drowning me out. I look through the waving arms to the back of the room, find the eyes of my guy, and we smile and sing, and sing and smile. This is 2017.

If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

And the mountain should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand

Stand by me

Back to me

As I mentioned, the current state of mind in my life is that I have been in a funk that had started to feel like the funk of forty thousand years, and so I have been retooling my shit lately such that the funk will get sunk. I have named this effort Operation Joy It Up. Or, alternatively, Let’s Fucking Think About Me Again, How Bout Dah.

Here are some things I am in the process of instituting.

  1. Less Facebooks and tweety Twitters. There are a lot of things to keep up on, and it is true that one could check the news every hour and ever more dramatic things keep coming out, unabated, like a firehose of toxicity, but you know what? If I look at it maybe twice a day for a solid while, rather than 1 minute bursts every gotdamn hour of every day, I can still know what I need to know while not living in a constant state of doom. Social meeds that actually make me feel good? Instagram. So look at that all the livelong day, girl, I don’t care, but all the other stuff? Uncle Joey it and Cut. It. Out.
  2. Sing it Barbra: People…people who need….people… ARE THE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS TO FLY TO SEE THOSE PEOPLLLLLLLLLE. Reservations made. Loved ones! Ima come visit as many of yous as I can! Let’s run through a grassy field toward each other in slow motion while singing You Needed Me by Anne Murray!
  3. Put in time and effort for people who put in time and effort for me, and that’s kind of it for now. I need people who fill up my tank and at this point, let people maybe reach out to me instead of always being the one maintaining.  I usually am a pretty balanced friendship-haver but I have tipped over into doing most of the reaching out. This means that my social time will be significantly quieter, but that’s ok. Being Jack Reacher Outer is just not sustainable.
  4. Stay away from saying “fill up my tank” and calling myself the “reacher outer”, because it sounds weird and/or maybe filthy.
  5. Spend as much time as poss with my dude, because that’s when I am happiest.
  6. Read fiction and watch movies and teevees and listen to podcasts, etc. Somewhere around, oh idk, January 20 or so, I entered a hard core reading/watching drought. Since I have done the other things on this list, that drought is easing up. I am not nearly back to 2016 levels, but it’s getting better slowly.
  7. Think about all the ways that I am doing great, because I am, especially in ways that would not be evident to others, necessarily. Celebrate those things, even if just in my own head for a few minutes.
  8. Sit on my deck in the sun. That place has healing powers.
  9. Stop engaging in nonsense. IT IS HARD THERE IS SO MUCH NONSENSE SOME OF WHICH NEEDS CONFRONTING BUT I CAN’T ALWAYS LIVE IN A STATE OF CONFRONTATION. Sigh. Still working on that one.
  10. Realize that I can’t do all the things. There is so much work to be done, and the world is terrible, and I am doing a lot of things, but there are only so many plates I can spin. Maybe do less plates and make sure some of the plates are about taking care of me.
  11. My homeslice Eric and I continue our text thread of songs back and forth each day. It’s kind of the best and I encourage you to find your music partner and give this present to yourself. It’s so fun. Here’s a link to our latest string of songs if you want to hear:

And if you don’t, here’s just one song off the list, with the catchiest beat ever.

 

Pal playlist

Looking over the past months’ sporadic posting and topics, you can tell that I have been in a bit of a funk. It has gone a little long now and is starting to feel like the funk of forty thousand years so it’s time to slap Nick Cage across the face, make my hair as big as poss Loretta Castorini style and SNAP OUT OF IT. Ima do my best.

One thing that continues to sustain me no matter what bullshizz is happening is my everloving peeps. I am a little bit mad at most of them for living in other states as me (RUDE) but still, they are what keep my boat afloat and my chips ahoy’ed.

One of my local peeps is Eric and he and I text each other a song every now and again. Ok, kind of every day. I love my music text friendship. It is like a little present I get each day from a fave who also happens to know what a jam is.

I thought you might want to get in on this week’s songs we texted. Need a little commute playlist to start your workday tomorrow or something? Listen to our silliness.

 

 

The Unbearable Brightness of Seeing

When I was a kid, I remember my parents renting a mini-series called The Jewel in the Crown from our local video store. It was a prestige drama made in England, with fancy people in it like Geraldine James and Tim Piggott-Smith, and it had won loads of awards. The main reason they got it was because it was about colonial India and, although it was full of white people in almost every role, there were actually a few Indian actors. Actual Indian people who would play Indian people. Like, speaking roles and everything. The tv people were going to let some of us have screen time and say words, y’all. Stop the presses! It was a big deal. I remember feeling this sense of dread before we watched it, both for myself, and for my parents. We wanted those Indian roles to be good, those Indian actors to hit it out of the park, and for the script to not dehumanize them and therefore us. Please, let it not be terrible. It doesn’t even have to be great. Just let it not be terrible.

Recently, I heard the hosts on the NPR podcast Codeswitch use the term “rep sweats.” This term, as far as I can tell, was coined by writer Jenny Yang. In this article for Flavorwire about the show Fresh Off the Boat, she is quoted as saying “you get the ‘rep sweats’…[Asians] are so invisible, every time you have the opportunity to see yourself on TV, you hold your breath.” From that, co-host of Codeswitch Gene Demby adds his version of this feeling of POC-specific nervous anticipation: “I don’t know if I like this, but I need it to win.” This is what my parents and I were wobbling with as we popped that VHS in. I don’t know if I’ll like this, but I need it to win. Rep sweats. It is the perfect term for that feeling.

I know that I am becoming ever more ancient by the day, but let me remind you that this Jewel in the Crown viewing was not that long ago. It was in the late 80s. But this was a time when we never saw Indian people on tv, ever. I remember my mom calling me in my dorm room a few years later when I was in college just to tell me to turn on the tv because the barista on Frasier was Indian, and she got a line every once in a while. I would not be surprised if other Indian Americans my age remember the Frasier barista or had similar moments with their families. The character didn’t have a name, I don’t think, and she never had a story line, and she talked maybe a couple times per season, but she was there. I don’t know how to convey how much of a buzz we got from this. It was like seeing a shooting star. Did you see that? Just for a minute, it was there!

Although we are living in a time where we have a little bit more to go on than the barista at Cafe Nervosa, it is still a small handful, rare enough for the family alert system to go off for each and every one. In fact, I can probably name off every Indian person who has ever had a role in a major American tv show. Not probably. I could do it. And it would only take a few minutes. However, I think I may have, in 2017, for the very first time, had an experience that I need a term for, like rep sweats, but not.

Some months ago, I got a text from a family member saying: GIRL DID YOU HEAR MASTER OF NONE SEASON TWO IS COMING OUT?!?!?! The Indians-on-tv alert system occurs in all caps text format these days. In the weeks that followed, I started seeing publicity about it, and the descriptions alone sounded pretty great. Then it came out, and the alert system legit blew up. I got text after text over the next week or so. “OMG, have you seen it?” and “I cried, it was so great!” and “exceeded expectations, dude” and “it’s not just good, it’s maybe the best” and “maybe some of the best tv that’s ever happened?” and many more like it. My community had gone from I don’t know if I like this, but I need it to win to simply we need this to win, and it doesn’t just win. It fucking MURDERS.

I read a bunch of reviews, I listened to podcasts where people talked about it, I listened to interviews of the creators, writers, actors. I looked at all the plot summaries, and listened to my friends talk about their favorite parts. I didn’t care about spoilers. After a while, I knew all about every single episode of Master of None in detail, from beginning to end. But I hadn’t watched it.  I couldn’t watch it. Time went by, and more time. “Have you seen it YET?” my peeps kept asking. I kept putting it off because of this new feeling I was having. Not rep sweats. I wasn’t dreading feeling let down. I felt a giddy sort of heightened sensitivity. Like I had to prepare myself, emotionally, to see it. Like I was going to experience a way of feeling representational joy that I maybe had never had before. Having some part of my worldview portrayed on tv felt like being in the sun for the first time after a lifetime of being in a downpour. Exciting, lovely, beautiful, but one doesn’t just run out into the sun like that. I had to marinate in the idea of it before actually experiencing it. Does that sound dramatic? It was. Have you seen it yet?…Give me a minute, y’all. I need a minute.

Part of what was happening in my mind was that this was more than just seeing another Indian person star in a tv show. We have a couple of those out there already, doing amazing work that I love. But this time the representation was about a specificity regarding Indian-American-ness, about a sensibility, an entire lens and way of being in the world. This is what felt new.  I am not trying to say that Master of None precisely represents me or my family. The lists of ways we are totally different is long. But the pieces that feel familiar make up more familiarity than I have ever gotten from American pop culture in my whole life. Consuming pop culture for me is always an act of building a bridge in order to connect, and all I am saying is, this time I still had to build a bridge, but the bridge was shorter. It was the shortest one I have built yet.

So, I don’t know what you call this feeling I was having, but I do know that as delicious as it was, I wait for the day that I won’t feel this anymore.  Some point when there are all sorts of representations out there and it will be an everyday feeling to see them. When the brown peeps alert system is no longer in use. When seeing a really great rep doesn’t feel like squinting at the sun. Now that I’m seeing some sunshine, I feel like the rain could actually clear up. I needed a minute to prepare, but now that I’ve seen this, I’m ready.

 

 

Positives and Negatives

So, we are on a once a month plan now, is the way it’s shaking out, I guess? Hi, June!

Part of my deal right now is that nothing is really going gangbusters for me except work and some activisms, and don’t nobody want to read a blog about me on my work grind, and my activisms may also kill you dead with boredom, so. Yeah. Um. This is kind of my life right now? (cricket sounds)

My mom, sister, and half the total number of nieces and nephews I have left yesterday for a month long trip to visit fam in Fiji and in case you haven’t noticed I didn’t include someone called MS. ME in the list of trip-goers. BOOOOOOOOO. This is not only a major bummer because I am not on the trip, but it is also a major bummer because I talk to my mom a lot and talking on the phone from Fiji is really not an option for us and so I don’t get to talk to her for a month. Let’s say it again: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I am a grown ass woman but I already miss my momma.

As long as we are talking about things that are boo-worthy, let me complain about the following: why my favorite people all gotta live so far away? UGH, YOU GUYS, MOVE HERE, I AM LONELY.

Also, I am mad at public restrooms that make a loud sound when you unscroll the toilet paper. Why do other people have to know how much teepee is being unfurled? This should be a silent transaction.

See, I have all kinds of complaints, from large to small.

Let’s turn this frown upside down though! SOME POSITIVE SUNSHINE NEWS, PLS.

I have a new niece! All shiny, right out of the packaging, and she is fer-reaking cute.

Delium came to visit us from his new home in Arizona (where they apparently can’t even fly planes out of anymore because it is a fiery hellscape?!?) and we yukked it up. He’s only been gone a couple months but gotdammit it was nice to have him around for a weekend.

I have been listening to this podcast and guffawing on the train on the way to work, with snorts.

Sza’s new album! So delish.

I’ll get my equilibrium back soon enough, y’all, and blogging will pick back up I am sure. I hope you are taking care of yourselves and each other out there.

Home. Town.

OH HI. You thought I forgot about you, huh? No, in fact it is a true statement that I think about you pretty much every day. But life keeps going fast, filling up every dang minute, and this is it, May, before I blinked. “This is it, this is it! This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball!”

If you read that and knew it was the One Day at a Time theme song, we are still friends. If you don’t know what One Day at a Time is, I won’t say we have to break up, but we may need to have a talk to realign our hearts. And the procedure for realignment may include watching One Day at a Time episodes.

I have many things to catch you up on, dear friends. Mainly, I TOOK A WEEK OFF. I am terrible at taking time off for the past couple years all of a sudden (WHO HAVE I BECOME) and it is straight bullcrap of the highest order. So many people don’t even have the luxury of such a thing as vacation days and here I am just letting them sit there. For Pete’s sake. More egregious than For Pete’s sake, actually. For Pete Gallagher’s eyebrows’ sake. Anyway, I did take a week off last month to go visit my homies in the homeland of Flint. First of all, my dear friend Map was celebrating her wedding anniversary and her kids threw her and their dad a surprise party for it. The entire party was a surprise, but me and my other friend Ali showing up from out of town was the surprise within the surprise. The goop inside the Freshen Up gum, if you will, only less disgusting. I have been to surprise parties before but this one was by far the best. First of all, because Map and her dude were HELLA SHOCK. It was so satisfying. And then, when she saw me and my dude and Ali, she was DOUBLE HELLA SHOCK. I mean, she looked stunned and she cried and was just speechless. I felt, in that moment, what it must feel like for Oprah. Just walk in and make someone lose their shit, you know? It was fun being Oprah.

Seeing those ladies fills up my soul. I am definitely a Friends-for-Life sort of person and if you are in my circle I give it my all, like FULL OUT, and if I am honest my Seattle friend-life has been sort of lonesome these days. It was so beautiful to be around these people that love me so unabashedly and unconditionally, the way I love them. THOSE LADIES! Love them like the dickens, for real. Plus, just the week was really blissful overall, hanging out with my beloved mama and tooling around town. It was perfect spring weather and flowers were blooming and everywhere we went we felt that Flint friendliness piling on. Seattle is cool but it doesn’t love me like that place does. My dude loves Flint as much as I do and we walked around my mom’s neighborhood and tried to figure out if it could be feasible to move back there somehow, because shouldn’t one live in a place that loves you back? We just couldn’t make it add up for now, for various complex reasons that are boring, and truth be told I know in my heart I would be singing a different tune if I got a taste of those ridiculous winters there again. I don’t have what it takes to live in an ice-based environment, as a person who is sitting here typing this while it is 65 degrees and wondering where my blankie at.

Anyway, dear Flint, thanks for making me who I am, and for still being there for me. I know part of it is that I am now an Old that feels almost nothing but nostalgia for better days, when my dad was here and my Flint friends were always there for me and I danced every day and the world didn’t seem as cruel overall as it does now. But I also love it for the parts that aren’t about me at all: so much beauty and dignity and fight there. I cherish that place, y’all, and will always be back. And my Flint ladies: until next time. LOVE YOU 4EVER and I wish I could Oprah you every day.

Stereo up and the windows down. Same old city, still driving around. It’s the only place I clear my mind. Passed the 7-11 and the neon signs.

Hold me close, then hold me tighter cause the world I know is falling apart, the world I know is falling apart 

–Michigander, Nineties

Run away with you

I am sorry to start off with mega banality but a few days ago it was warm and so I retired my puffy coat and I could not have been more excited to wear lighter non-puffed outerwear and then I went to work and the weather was like SIKE and I froze my patoots and so now I am back to Sean Puffy Coat. Until we meet again, spring jackets. We will be together someday.

Everyone I know seems to be in a funk these days. How y’all doing? I hope you are taking care, and taking care of each other. I continue to burn the candle at several ends but the upside is that I have been sleeping the sleep of the mummified at night which is a new thing for me. My nighttime self really wants nothing whatsoever to do with anybody or anything these days. It’s like the click of the bedside lamp happens and my brain says “DEAR WORLD, NOPE” and that’s that. How’s that for a bright side?

Last weekend was the anniversary of the day that my dude and I met each other and it was kind of a big one in terms of number and it’s sad to say but neither of us could get our shit together enough to plan one gotdamn thing for it. We got up on Saturday morning and looked at each other over breakfast and I was like “fuck dude, I am so depleted” and he was like “fuck it, let’s get in the car and drive” and I was like “fuck yes” and he was like “fuck off Seattle” and we left. We got to Portland and HEY SEATTLE PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHERE THE SUN IS? IN PORTLAND. Those emeffers had all the rays, it was like Arizona except green and full of artisanal items. The first day we just walked and walked and talked and talked and by the end of the day I think I started to thaw my funk-ass heart a little. STRESS, SHAKE OFF. LIKE, BEGONE. We had a lovely dinner and then: oh sweet elixir of life, we got a pint of ice cream, laid up in a fancy hotel bed and watched HGTV and maybe idk smooched a little bit and that was thaaaaaa best. Oh hi, Chip and Joanna, Jonathan and Drew, fixy uppy flippy floppy tiny housey ALL OF IT. Now that we no longer have the cable tvs at home this was truly a treat and a half. The following day was a freaking delight and you know what really heals my heart? Looking at that dude of mine and holding him by the hand. I love him with all of my gutbones. Glad I found him all those years ago back in dinosaur times. Good job on that one, me. See how I turn it around and make it about congratulating myself? That’s just how I be sometimes. The point is, good anniversary time was had, love was felt, I am a lucky dingus.

On a related note: THIS SONG.  ❤

Runaway, Tay Walker

Sad song self care

Remember a couple posts ago when I went on and on about self care? Well, you know what I say to that person, who wrote that post? HA HA YOU SO CUTE BUT WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT IT GO ON SAY MORE ABOUT IT YA DANG GENIUS.

I have been sucking at the self care lately, friends. Badly. I don’t know what happened! I used to have it figured out! But now! It’s all gone! Where it go? Why it gone? Sheeeeeeeeeeeet.

I have always been a busy person, a fill-up-my days person, a why do three things when I can do seven things person. So quantity is not my issue, I don’t think, at this point. But these days, it all just feels different. I feel like I have been living inside of a hurricane, and not the middle calm part, but rather the spinny part, and not the spinny part in the fun Right Round Baby Right Round Like a Record Baby part, but rather in the make it stop or else I may puke part. I had a dream one night that I was in a protest and my protest sign just said “U S A! I D K!” Which kind of sums it all up, in a way. There is so very much IDK all around that I am grasping to hold onto the knowns. The Known Knowns, as a certain villain of the past used to say. I want to say that I am tired all the time, but I have always been a person that is tired all the time. I haven’t really slept well since my early 20s so ain’t no thing but a chicken wing when it comes to tired. But these days, my tired at the end of the day is a hazy, glazy tired, where I just feel like what? What happened? Who now? What then? How come? Who dis?

Anyhoozle, on top of all that, I have had a hankering for melancholic music, the kind that has a heaviness you can feel in your guts. Before everything spins into the air, a heavy guts song can be just the thing. Take me down, Ye.

FML, Kanye West

 

We Three

When I was a teen, I met a guy. I dated that guy for a quick minute until we realized that what we really should be for each other was homies. So homies it was, shoulder to shoulder, just thick as mothereffing thieves. When my actual dude came along eventually and I paired up with him, my kindred homie inducted him into the BFF-ness as well. The three of us moved around the Midwest for a while, never far apart from each other. When Seattle came calling, we answered together. The two of them roomed together Oscar and Felix style until it was time for me and my dude to room together Coach and Tami style. My guy and I bought a house and our homie bought one just down the way. We hung out pretty much weekly for two decades. Our friendship never failed, never flagged, never fizzled. Tried and true. That’s my dear Delium, who I call Delium because one time he got mail addressed to him as “Delium Ulrichter” which is not at all his name but I wanted it to be so I made it so.

My dear Delium changed up his job and life and stuff and part of that deal was for him to move to another state. Which he did. This past weekend. Leaving a Delium shaped hole in my life. Like, it doesn’t compute that he isn’t just down the way no more, waiting to hang with us this weekend. I really cannot comprehend it. His final night in Seattle, the three of us went to dinner, and it all felt normal, us just yukking it up with our usual nonsense, because having him around is so normal; he’s like one of the main pillars that holds up the house that is my life. WHOA WHOA POETRY TALK, TAKE IT EASY. I am just saying, when you live for so many years with a friendship in your face, it becomes like air. They are just what you breathe, until one day, you don’t.

As we walked out of the restaurant and said our goodbyes, I gave him a hug. And when we started to unhug, I all of a sudden could not let go of him. So I hugged him, and cried, and hugged him some more, and cried some more.  And he cried, and my dude cried, and it was truly awful. I know we are still homies and he is just moving away and this may sound dramatic to you, but whatever. It felt awful. I know a part of the awfulness is because, in the past few years, huge parts of my life have fallen away and although I have worked hard to let them leave gracefully, I have disliked every last bit of each time. The holes that those pieces have left have yet to be filled in and maybe they never will be. Maybe the way life goes is we walk around with gaping holes in us, I don’t know. At any rate, letting go has become a practice, and I could feel my Letting Go muscles flex, and I hate those muscles, you guys. I never really allow myself much time to think about how much I hate it, because what good does that do? It doesn’t stop the leaving from happening. But this time, I let myself feel it. Outside of the restaurant, freezing our butts off, on Delium’s last night in Seattle. Our little family unit tearfully held on, held on, held on for the last few minutes of an over-twenty-year streak. And then. We let go.