This is how it works

Pt. 1

I’ve been reading this book on the resurgence of the NYC rock scene in the 2000’s.

Yesterday I came across a quote by a guy. They figured out cheap rent. They became vegetarian to eat cheaply. They got bikes to sidestep train fares. They did what they had to do so that they had room to fail. A cushion.

It takes discipline.

And then last night I had such a good time I was reminded why I came here.

First I took two buses to meet Joyce out on the waterfront in Red Hook to watch the sunset, drink some beer and eat BBQ.

Then we Ubered to Bushwick to see Tyler play with LVCHLD. It was hot as balls on the roof under a tarp. But the band was really good. It’s one thing to know a friend as a friend. It’s totally trippy to watch a friend perform live.

Jon met us after he busked, so he got to see my bestest buddy perform.

I gave Travis a million hugs because I love that boy.

If there’s anything I love more than a good picture of Travis, it’s a bad picture of Tyler.

The three of us (Tyler, Trav and me) shared an Uber home.

These are gifts. They tell me to keep going. Be more disciplined. Figure my situation out because there’s only more good ahead. I want to have nights with people I love that are spontaneous and life affirming. I want more people to love. I want to love better.

The gifts come because I’m on alert for them. Seeking answers out in unorthodox ways. Challenging myself. Taking care of myself so I can go out there and be receptive.

It took 36 years to find a will to live the first time. I lost it again when I got really sick this year. But it’s coming back.

Pt: 2

The first time the ex told me he loved me was Spring 1997. I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom on the phone. My two sisters were there and so was my mother. ‘Love’ wasn’t a word we used in our house. When he said it, I was too worried to say it back because I knew I’d get made fun of. That’s just how things were. So I just said, “Me too.”

It didn’t matter. My mom figured out what he said and then I got made fun of the entire day. So you can imagine how rare the opportunity was to be vulnerable.

Instead of telling the ex I loved him all the time, I just gave him a nickname. It went from ‘baby love’ to ‘bubbalove’ to ‘bubbaloo’ to ‘bubba.’ The whole time we were together I rarely ever called him by his name. He was either Bub or Bubba.

Once, in the first year of our relationship, Misha called me while I was at home in Nogales with the ex, my sisters and my mother in the room. I said, “Hey bubbalove!”

It just slipped out. You should have seen everyone’s face. It was like I’d punched the ex in the gut. Words are so powerful.

By the time I actually took ownership of my emotions I was way into my 30’s and I’d missed out on telling a lot of friends I loved them. I didn’t know how to use those words and I certainly never had heard them myself. They made me squirm. I thought people who said they loved each other were mostly full of shit.

This intuitive healer I know, Elana, on our second meeting told me that she adored me. What she actually said is, “I know you don’t like to be told you’re loved, so I’m just going to tell you that I adore you.”

I’m learning to deal with being loved. I’m afraid still that it can be taken away at any minute because that was how it used to be in the past. But not anymore.

Last night I told Travis I loved him a million times. I gave him hug after hug.

When Tyler had the Uber driver stop in front of my place, I said goodnight to both of the boys. Tyler said “Love you.” Casual as anything. Because we say it enough that it has become woven into the threads of our bond.

I can’t undo all the things that were done before I was old enough to protect myself. That is what it is. What I can do is tell myself that I have choices now. Each little choice is a drop of water, filtered through limestone. Over time, these drops aggregate down in my core to create all sorts of cave formations. And they are beautiful.

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