W is for What Would You Have Done Differently?

It’s been a long week (give or take). Even when I sleep I wake up exhausted, like a functional smiling zombie. I honestly owe my sanity to a person who appears to have lost his own and I so badly want to call up someone who I know can give me the answer to the question. “What would you have done differently, at that moment where ego took over and everyone fell away one by one until you were alone?” What led to you being so filled with hatred for even those who stood by your side for so long? Would you have been more tolerant? Less reactionary? Would you have been OK with selling out, just a tiny bit, to secure your ability to do what you really love? Would you, knowing what you now know, have sold out in the first place?

Echoes of this have surrounded me for days and they can’t help but take a look around and see who did it how, the results, and in the end, are they happy?

Let me start by saying I’ve been in a lot of cities and situations between 11/5/15and 11/15/15 but there are some standout moments and people, all of whom started out as just wanting to share music and hopefully touch someone’s life.

Some of us share the same philosophy, remain humble- but let these bitches know. We enjoy being clever and use our sheer force of hanging the fuck in there for 25 years and paying attention as leverage. We don’t seek attention, we don’t want it, but eventually you’ll find out- you were wrong, we were right and let’s move on. Mysteriously people see us as oddballs and sometimes enemies when really we’re the best friends you could have. We’ll give you our knowledge, if you listen, and let you run with it. We don’t seek to be the center of attention but people are drawn in by whatever our souls emit. Money isn’t our endgame so you can’t buy us, sex isn’t either so even though we’re seduceable, we’re not driven by the need to mash parts with other people. What lies beneath is an insatiable need to do what we do and do it well, to our own sense of satisfaction (which wavers from fuck it to absolute perfection). That’s it. Our worlds go a little off center when we’re around one another because we’re so accustomed to knowing what happens next and with each other….particles accelerate, and we get mentally ambiguous, and improbable things happen.

And then there are a few others who, I swear, can do what we can’t or won’t. Operate in the world, happily, gracefully, with diplomacy, living and letting be and still manage to have a profound impact on the world. These are friend I am in awe of. I have a fairly decent horseshit detector and these people seem to just know that what is required is to just keep going-hard-and that humans are fallible. They may also not be hyper-aware of their environment like I am and more able to just “roll with it”. But I don’t think that’s true either. Honestly, I don’t know how they live and maintain sanity but, then again, I don’t know a lot. They have the ability to tune out the bullshit, accomplish stuff, and not let the world affect them to the point that they’re crippled. They have the ability to sell themselves with being personally involved. And they are successful. But the success, is it satisfying? Because it’s based on nostalgia and dues paid to some extent. Or is there some nagging sense of doubt? One thing I have noticed of them is that they are quiet and somewhat guarded- something i’ll never be.

And then we come to the conflicted. Who can’t shut the fuck up long enough to realize they need to shut the fuck up. People so talented but so stubborn and hard-headed that they’re combative. I watch this unfold and it’s painful because they shoot themselves in the foot and seem to enjoy it. At the end of the day I’m just a person with ties to the past. That’s it. I’d hoped to get a reflective, well thought out answer from someone I know, and I did not. Instead I got a shitty temper tantrum in which i was referred to as AARON called out for not being “really” about music, told what I should have done differently and basically was told I wasn’t good at my “job” (which is diagnostic microbiology by the way, not shouting your name from the rooftops) if I at this point hadn’t done anything to promote this person to where they ought to be.

My response was short “A guy I ran a label with, Analogic, who you never supported or even paid attention to, well, I haven’t done anything for him since 2002 and he played Womb in Tokyo this summer, so really- zip it”

Have I learned anything? Absolutely. Will I always follow the music? Yes. Will I pay respect to whom it is due? Yes. Do I get the respect back? Yep. I do. 90% of the time.

So- what would I have done differently?

Not much except:

I would’ve pulled out of my own suicide mission well before the 7 or 8 years it took to do so.

I wouldn’t have abused people through neglect.

I would have realized that your family is who you’ve chosen- not who raises you

I would’ve loved myself more, earlier

Other than that I wouldn’t change one second of everything it took to get here.

Peace.

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D is for Desert Hearts, and the panic attacks that came with it

Sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve written. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks in a state of dread culminating in a full scale panic attack on Thursday morning. This is, of course, all my own doing. I knew better than to think I could be OK with being there, when the escalating level of juvenile behavior of my “best friend” in San Diego has turned into spite and hate on his part and disbelief and sinking to his level on my part no one “wins”. I refuse to participate in this behavior anymore. He will have to fall hard alone and pick himself back up off the ground without me. He will have others to help him. But I can’t do it anymore.

So I went to the thing- Turned out my buddy from Mxcl needed a way up there and we made it to the party around 8.  We left yesterday at 6:30 pm. I’ll be forever grateful for getting to spend time with him and hear him play for 4 hours and dancing my ass off.  This coming year Mexico will come into their own in the eyes of the world I think. The US and Europe will begin the decline of the over the top extravaganza of a shitshow they’ve become and hopefully the new regime of the young people who do it for the music and the community will keep it alive, underground and renegade style.

Narcissism and egotism are powerful drugs. Entitlement is the result of the addiction to these drugs. There are people I’ve known for 20 years or better who simply don’t have this in them whatsoever. Really talented, really famous musicians/producers/DJs. For them this life is a calling. No one chooses to do what has to be done because they simply seek adoration and fame. They do it because they can’t NOT do it. Music is how they speak, how they relate, how they make sense of the world and the people in it. There is so much drama and bullshit and promises not kept and quid pro quo behavior that goes along with just trying to play some freakin music. Always has been. But those of us for whom music is our religion, the only thing that makes us feel OK, we TRY and just get through it best we can, get to the speaker and dance, and hope that one song takes us to a transcendental state and makes us ok. And for me-that requires zero drugs at all. Sometimes drugs make it inaccessible in fact. Something changed, in my brain, 23 years ago at a full moon party or perhaps even before. My planet shifted on its axis and something opened up a neural pathway to pure joy and transcendence through acid house, deep house, funky house, whatever. And it’s still there. Still open in the right time right place.

I don’t have it in me to return to the industry. It took me about a week to realize this. I’ll always be your ear (surprisingly this is asked of me often- can you listen to my track? Can you give me your honest opinion? And I’m blessed to be able to do it) but I will never again be a producer, promoter, label twat, carnival barker, or a mf’in DJ. I do not have the intestinal fortitude to do it in this new era of DIY, no A&R, put out your own shitty music and market it so well that people conform to liking it just by sheer bombardment.

I left Desert Hearts after less than 24 hours of being there because I knew that other people’s enjoyment of themselves would be impossible if I were to stay. Also I have an ankle injury that I danced on for 6 hours and the cold temperature the next day made the pain so acute i was on the verge of tears. So I just left. Knowing Todd would have so much more fun without my negativity and total lack of patience and tolerance. I hope to god he understands this too. He is in the hands of friends he likes, but without his rock (me) – who just couldn’t do it.

There was nothing offensive going on at the party whatsoever. It was beautiful and a lot of effort was put into it. It was a positive experience for me overall. I will support anything Lee decides to put his effort behind. At night, it is magical. beyond belief, so beautiful you’re in awe of what you’re a part of. But when you have someone deliberately being a juvenile douchebag to push your buttons- you either carry on and drag yourself down to that level or you say- I’ve had enough of this and take a break, possibly a permanent one. To those who are caught in the crossfire- I left for you-so you could relax and have fun and I hope so much you don’t feel abandoned or lonely or not a part of. I hope you’re having the time of your life and I love you.

S is for a Sobering Look at the Truth

In a world that operates correctly, last night went down perfectly. Friend of 20+ (friend Z) years does live show. Friend for life (friend J) turns 40. We make it happen and friend Z on stage manages to spot you in a sea of people and, out of respect, plays a few songs and gives a few shouts out. Mutual love exchanged. Mutual respect exchanged. A happy birthday is had by friend J.

EXCEPT

Tremendously talented friend J who is now 40 finds out he is definitely getting screwed by one ginormous douchebag bully (asshat M) who apparently no one stands up to. And I have to restrain myself from saying anything because to do so would be gauche if anyone listened at all.

AND I KNEW, I KNEW, what a bag of dicks this fool (M) was to begin with. Because I knew him as someone else before all the ego and north american tours came into it. I knew him as that dipshit whose best friend (friend E) was my roommate. I helped friend E get off heroin by just being there, cooking, going for rides and hanging with him while he surfed. Asshat M has thanked me a few times for this even though, really, it had very little to do with me.

So. Fast forward a few years. M is a superstar, J far out-shadows him in talent, E is still off the H, Z is and always will be a down ass motherfucker and now I am faced with a decision. Imagine I am talking about Coachella or whatever comes to mind when I say “festival”. Well this Coachella runs from thursday at 8 am until essentially 12 am Monday. Imagine you’re me, and you’ve put aside all your thoughts about how much you dislike M. You’ve basically bought into the whole thing and so has your best friend and ex-husband. Money has been spent. Time and effort have been invested. Travel of 500 miles is involved. Only to find out you will miss the one reason you’re both going.

Because M chooses who plays when and he has shown himself to be exactly who you knew he was all along. And I’m glad. Because being around people as high as fuck on whatever they can get their hands on for 5 days sounded bad to begin with, Quite frankly I have been wondering how I was even going to get through it without snapping.

Last night was a rush of blood to the head. I was able to walk through a room without a bunch of crackheads talking AT each other or AT me with no-one listening. That’s fucking rare these days. My prime directive is never to get as wasted as possible or to be around people who share that goal. Drink a 6 pack? fine. Smoke some weed? Fine. Take an E? Fine. Handle your shit. If you can’t? I’m probably the one ruining your high.

I’m gonna keep it classy and not name names or events. Except one. Friend Z. Zach? Z-Trip? You are the epitome of a friend and you always will be. Your life is awesome because you have always been ahead of the curve in being a human and making people happy.

I had to write this out because I am tortured mentally about not being supportive and going to this bizarro-coachella. But in the end I think my absence will be felt much more strongly than my presence. As for the ex? Well I’m leaving that up to him. I’ll take him there. And pick him up when he’s had enough if that’s what he chooses. BUT I’M NOT GOING.

On Co-Signing Other People’s Problems (OPP) and the toll it takes

Accidentally skipped a day, and I really meant to write, but I guess I learned a new lesson. Don’t write and take care of yourself? Get another round of 12 hour sleep and back pain.

People are beginning to read my words as I am reading theirs. People I don’t know in my daily life or even on social media. And I “get” them and appreciate that they might “get” me. In fact, I’m going to borrow an idea from straightheart and do the alphabet – but one letter a day. I need structure to be able to do this, or anything really.

http://straightheartblog.wordpress.com/

I don’t want to start off with A so I’m starting with the letter C: co-signing other people’s bullshit. This term has a certain meaning in certain worlds. In my world it means giving the go ahead for someone to do something, as a last resort, that both of you know they shouldn’t be doing. Or letting someone download their problems who has no real intent of changing up their life. Basically it means engaging the narcissist, taking the bait, and then going what the fuck? How did I let this person do this? I cannot solve OPP. But I continue to waste my own breath and energy trying. Given a million anecdotes and solutions when (one person in particular) just wants permission (co-signing) to go back to the one thing she thinks will help. Or, in the case of another person, wants to threaten self-harm because that’s what has worked in the past. I’m through with doing this.

PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DIE- DO IT, THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT IT ON FB UNTIL SOMEONE PAYS ATTENTION. THIS IS ACTUALLY MORE SELFISH THAN THE ACT OF SUICIDE ITSELF.

Something I once told someone who lived in the sober house I helped run, 2 years ago, who actually then killed himself sometime later down the road. This was a person who truly was a nice individual but who annoyed me with his pretentious need to be different. He once told me very sincerely and with no agenda that I had the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen. It crushes me to think how callously I treated this guy. He was weird. Mentally weird. I don’t really handle the mentally weird (schizophrenics/dementia patients/zealots) well. But he had a pure heart and I’d like to think he forgives me for not understanding his anguish. He was a GOOD person. He just couldn’t hang on. His name was Ryan. I wish I could remember his last name. It started with a W. If you are on a suicide mission for real- only god decides whether or not you finish the job. I know a guy who shot himself in the head and lived. 3 kids and a wife. The universe (god) said- nope- but you get to be an example to others now and not let your family have horrible survivor’s guilt.

HAWKINS his name was Ryan Hawkins. And he made an impact on me and others while he was alive. Thanks Danielle for helping me remember. This was Ryan.

ryan hawkins

suicide survivor
suicide-attempt survivor. I now wear this permanently. But I don’t talk about it unless someone asks.

If your problem is unsolvable by multiple approaches? Then really you just have to accept that fact. Acceptance means not pissing and moaning about it ad nauseum. You either change it up however you can or you accept the situation. But you for sure shut your mouth about it. And when someone TRIES to help you? But doesn’t do it how you’d personally like? Too bad. Move along to the next person and exhaust their ass.

I have to end this on a positive notes so here goes. Naughty by Nature- OPP

15 Things you’ll regret doing (Answers.com vs talesfromthehood)

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/19/9554583/doctor-good-death – read this when you have time, it’s sad but a good read

Then let’s move on to what someone out there has decided are the 15 things you’ll regret doing. A list of common sense items like, “Not eating enough vegetables” and “Tanning”. Basically it’s a list of how to not look old when you’re old. 

To spare you the annoying ad-heavy website here’s the list of no-no’s:

pulling all nighters

drinking coffee/red bull

eating “junk food”

credit card debt – AGREED

tanning

drinking alcohol

smoking

skipping meals- AGREED

not exercising- AGREED

“over-stressing”- AGREED

Loud music

Being a flaky friend- AGREED

Not eating vegetables- AGREED

Skipping sex

Failure to moisturize

Given that my greatest fear has nothing to do with looking old I propose a new list of 15 things you shouldn’t do if you want a happy productive life:

  1. Diagnose your health problems on the internet
  2. Engage in gossip
  3. Attempt to control what other people think about you
  4. Stop questioning and learning
  5. Let your own bullshit become someone else’s bullshit
  6. Get blackout wasted in public after the age of 25 or so- or ever- if possible
  7. Stop dancing or at least listening to some loud music DAILY
  8. Complain non-stop to anyone who will engage you- love spreads- hate breeds hate.
  9. Skip screening tests for cancer (mammogram, colonoscopy, etc,) after stages I-III, well, the odds aren’t in your favor.
  10. Abuse people though neglect
  11. Not be a person of your word, that’s all you’ve got
  12. Be inauthentic about who you are, really. Secrets make you sick. 
  13. Spend your money on stuff instead of experiences like travel, the stuff doesn’t transfer to the afterlife.
  14. Assume you will live forever, you won’t.
  15. Blame poor personal choices on others, or fate, or your traumatic past. Those choices got you where you are today. If you don’t like your life?

It’s your responsibility to make different choices going forward. 

It’s an inside job, mental health, physical health, emotional health- they’re all wrapped up in each other. Stress will not only put you in mental anguish but physical pain. Easily said- wipe out stress! Not easily done. Start by not having expectations. Period. And not having an invisible scorecard of debts and credits owed and paid. When you don’t live in a “quid pro quo” fashion and you give of yourself freely, asking nothing in return, that is altruism. When you’re constantly giving and expecting to receive in return? That’s a TRANSACTION. Know the difference and make your agenda clear.

-notes from the Hall and Oates Hater

I LIKE QUESTIONS- and I’m going to be asking other people a lot of these ones

1. If you could make a 30 second speech to the entire world, what would you say

Every single action you take has an effect on every person you come in contact with. Instead of being told what to think, think for yourself. Ask questions. Love yourself. Love other people. All lives matter, yours doesn’t matter more than anyone else’s. Everyone suffers. Everyone thinks someone’s grass is greener. Go out. Meet people. Shed your fears. And above all- dance. Because the dancefloor is the great leveler where race/class/sexual preference/sexual identity and all that shit we use to classify ourselves doesn’t matter.

2. If you were going to die at midnight, what would you be doing at 11:45pm

Lying in the arms of a loved one, in comfort, knowing I have done my best, listening to Pacha-One Kiss (FOS mix)

3. How do you really KNOW anything for sure?

empirical evidence, other than that, I don’t

4. If you had all the money in the world but still had to have some kind of job, what would you choose to do?

I would run a lemur sanctuary in Madagascar

5. When you’re 90 years old, what will matter most to you?

The absurdity that I’m still fucking alive at 90.

6. What do you regret most so far in life?

The 7 years I spent on a suicide mission, time wasted.

7. How can you apply the lesson you learned from that regret to your life TODAY?

Acknowledging the fact that I am important to a few people and that abuse through neglect is not OK

8. What would you change if you were told with 100% certainty that God does not exist? Or if you don’t believe in God, that he does exist?

Because I have never believed one way or the other (how could I know? I’m not arrogant enough to think that my viewpoint is the correct one) I wouldn’t change anything. I am agnostic.

9. If you lost everything tomorrow, whose arms would you want to run into? Does that person know how much they mean to you?

Todd’s, and yes, he does, and would likely say the same.

10. Do you fear death? If so, do you have a good reason?

No. Death is inevitable. I fear pain.

11. What would you change if you knew you were NEVER going to die?

That is too horrendous to contemplate. I already feel like I’m mentally 260 years old.

12. If you were at heaven’s gates, and God asked “you why should I let you in?”, what would you say?

Because I left the world better for my being in it

13. When will you be good enough for you? Is there some breaking point where you will accept everything about yourself?

When I reach 99% compliance with “Because I said I would” when I make promises to myself, for myself.

14. Is the country you live in really the best fit for you?

Absolutely not. In fact it’s probably the absolute worst fit for me. I’m not and will never be a US Citizen. I just need to get the ball rolling on my “retirement plan”

15. What would people say about you at your funeral?

I hope they would all just play a song of their choosing that reminds them of me. It would be interesting to know what song each attendee would choose.

16. What small thing could you do to make someone’s day better?

Ask them about their life, ask “What is the best thing you have ever done?” and listen without interrupting.

17. (If you believe in god) would your relationship with god change it all if you were told with 100% certainty that he was actually a she?

I believe we are connected somehow in the universe, when i pray, I pray to Ganesha- a man with the head of an elephant-as a physical stand in for the unknowable. So really, gender doesn’t come into it.

18. What do you believe stands between you and complete happiness?

Gratitude for what has already been and what will be. And seeing progress being made and people opening their eyes to the possibilities instead of complaining about the impossibilities.

The last 15 Questions w/Depeche Mode, Cocktails, and even more insight

Time to finish the last half of the questions I set out to answer. I fell asleep at 12:30 am and woke up at 2:30 pm and could barely walk. Pain issues brought on by the stress of taking on other peoples issues. Don’t do this. Nip that shit right in the bud. Because stress creates pain which creates more stress which creates more pain ad infinitum.

16. How shall I live, knowing I will die?

Realizing that in the end, ultimately, you will die is very freeing. The sooner you embrace that fact the happier your life becomes. The sooner you stop concerning yourself with the circumstances surrounding your death (how, when, what will happen) the more you are able to live as I think you’re meant to. I have an aunt, Vegetarian, eats only the finest organic hormone free, pesticide free foods, does not smoke, drinks moderately-heavily but only the finest wines. She holds in her heart a tremendous amount of hate and contempt for those who don’t make the choices she makes. When her only son chose to marry a half Japanese girl she mourned at the lack of “white grandchildren” she was going to get (although her daughter Ali, has popped out 6 kids, all white, but only kept one). So Auntie Perfect Habits, well she got breast cancer, and got treatment. And then it came BACK. AND SHE IS PISSED. She has now refused further treatment, started eating whatever the hell she wants, reverted her stance on the gays, other races, and is just fucking living her life. I’m certain she has tremendous remorse for not just doing this to begin with. At 42 I try and follow the rule of nearly everything in moderation, I fail but I’m trying. I don’t fail on the side of excess but on the side of not pushing myself to do things that are great for me like yoga, or maintaining a clutter free environment.

17. What do I need to change about myself?

I could make this a ridiculous laundry list of things I’d like to be different, but truthfully- I like myself, and that took some doing. Because I didn’t even love myself for a very long time. Things I’m consciously working on are:

Not interrupting people when they’re talking

Listening more and talking AT people less

Realizing that my words and actions have an affect on everyone around me

Realizing that though something may be true and valid it doesn’t need to be said out loud

Putting myself first more and taking care of myself better, because in the past I’d much rather try to solve your problems than focus on my own (Boundaries issues- right here!)

18. Is it more important to love or be loved?

Both. I love and am beloved. By how many I don’t know. There are lives I’ve touched that I’ll never know about. What I do know is that if can’t love yourself even just a little- you can’t properly love anyone else. As of today and for the rest of my life I’ll never know the love that comes from giving birth to my own child. The universe decided that for me. But there are a lot of experiences I’ll never know. I’m OK with that.

19. How many of my friends would I trust with my life?

There are a handful of people who I KNOW absolutely would stand in front of a moving train if it meant I were not harmed. Conversely I have a friend who I would give a kidney to if need be but want nothing to do with personally until he gets his shit together.  Tonight I learned, in a random way, that people are listening to me, and talking about what I say, and crafting up funny plans to annoy me. Which I think is great! I don’t usually feel like I put my life in the hands of others but others put theirs in mine often.

20. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?

Everyone who set a good example for me to be able to follow. I most admire people with grace, humility, passion, and diplomacy who don’t need to bring attention to how amazing they are (probably because they don’t even think about it).

If you’re TELLING me how fantastic you are? You’re really not.

My personal heroes are Bill and Melinda Gates, Russel Simmons, Elon Musk, and anyone who looks around and says, “Hey, that’s not OK, I’m gonna figure out how to change that” and makes steps towards doing so.

The people I despise are Larry Ellison, and his ilk. Asshats. Conspicuous consumers. People who never ask “How can I help?”.

21. Would I break the law to save a loved one?

What law do I have to break? To save anyone I love? I don’t even understand this question. Would I sell crack if it meant my mother wouldn’t get murdered? That’s a ridiculous scenario. I’m not even sure I love anyone who would need saving by my doing something against the law. I think a more interesting question is would I break the law to save myself? Yeah, I would, I have.

22. Would I steal to feed a starving child?

Really? I’m not Jean ValJean. My life is not revolutionary France set to music. I would give up my food to feed the child in front of me. My life is not about acquiring and collecting stuff. It’s about making things better. For everyone.

23. What do I want most in life?

Peace of mind, that my choices were right. That I helped and didn’t harm. I am adopted. Every person I know who is adopted has the same underlying sense of purpose. That we had better get it together and do SOMETHING because we could have just been medical waste. That we were “saved” for something.It’s a constant overwhelming need to repay a debt of gratitude. And a constant feeling of being alone too. No one looks like you in your family, you don’t know if you’re a genetic ticking time bomb because you have no family history, and because I cannot bear my own children my story and my gene pool ends with me. It’s not something I think about often but I have always tried to figure out what makes me so compelled to make the world different. This is all I’ve come up with so far. (For anyone reading wanting to ask- yes I’ve tried, had no luck, I only have my name at birth and a few tidbits of other info, the Ministry of Children’s Welfare in Ottawa, ON are not helpful when you were born in 1973 and your birth mother either cannot be found or does not want to be found, Before I was Erin Adrienne- I was Angela Marie MacDonald. Nothing is known of my birth father but because of my blood type I can safely assume he was also of northern European descent. My birth mother’s family were seafarers from Landsdowne, ON, my biological uncle was a math professor at the University of Ottawa, my birth mother was the youngest of 4 and the only girl, my grandfather was a captain of a ship, a “great laker” that sailed the St. Lawrence and my maternal grandmother was a nurse. My mother herself would have been born in 1955 or 1956, making her about 60 now)

24. What is life calling of me?

My mom (what I call my adoptive mother, don’t get confused, she IS MY MOM) once told me- “We’re not born with toe tags telling us what we’re here for! Give it a rest!”. The answer is I don’t know. I think it’s calling me towards nursing. But not here in the US.

25. Which is worse: failing or never trying?

Failing is important. If you don’t fail you rarely learn. Not trying is just the easy way out. I’m not one to ever take the easy way.

26. If I try to fail, and succeed, which have I done?

Learned something. I used to have this very philosophical thing I’d wrestle with in my mind. If you could “perfectly” raise a child to be a saint, could you also do the opposite? Could you deliberately raise a serial killer? The answer is a resounding no. People like Zak Ebrahim are an example of this

27. What’s the one thing I’d like others to remember about me at the end of my life?

That I loved them in the only way I knew how, at whatever moment I knew them.

28. Does it really matter what others think about me?

I gave up trying to control other people’s perceptions of me when I finally figured out that you can’t. People are going to think what they think. And sometimes it will be true and other times it won’t. I strive for 100% authenticity and transparency. I’d like the same from others. Sometimes I get it, sometimes not. The important thing is that it doesn’t affect my own ability to carry on and keep living, and it really doesn’t.

29. To what degree have I actually controlled the course my life has taken?

I have no clue. I take responsibility for my part (and other people’s parts sometimes!) and I certainly don’t think there’s a giant man in the sky controlling me like a marionette, but I have no clue if there’s a butterfly effect or not. I do know I’ve done a lot of shit by sheer brute force. Because I wanted to. But my life flows better if I don’t resist or push back on paths put in front of me.  I’ve watched someone do everything “correctly” and still get nowhere. It’s heartbreaking but in the end it comes down to choices made and the prices paid.

30. When it’s all said and done, will I have said more than I’ve done?

Fuck NO. I never write a check with my mouth my ass cannot cash! I am not a bundle of idle chatter, I do stuff. I facilitate other people’s doing stuff. THAT’S what I’d like people to remember about me. She fucking DID stuff.

how can you not love this damn thing? It cost $2!
how can you not love this damn thing? It cost $2!

30 Questions- just an introduction before I start telling other people’s stories

1. Who am I really?

Really? I’m just another human. I’m Canadian but live in the US. I’m an ID molecular microbiologist but I worked in Oncology for

2 years. I’m married but separated for 5+ years. I have fallen in love 3 times in my life- all 3 loved me back. Music is really the only thing that makes my life OK. I’m a 42 year old who has recovered  from alcoholism, bulimia, a traumatic childhood including the death of the father that raised me at 19, panic disorder, depression, suicide attempts, social anxiety, PTSD, and domestic violence. I’m Rh- and highly empathic so i suck up all the energy around me bad or good

2. What worries me most about the future?

That there won’t be one. Ignorance and lack of respect for human life is rampant.

3. If this were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?

Hell NO

4. What am I really scared of?

Being trapped, anywhere.

5. Am I holding on to something I need to let go of?

Anger. I am holding on to a lot of anger. People typically don’t see it unless I get backed into a corner. Anger about my last job and how it all ended but really mostly anger about larger problems i don’t see a way to fix without constantly screaming at people. Ignorance bothers me a lot. People who do things not in their own best interest bother me. People who are “low hanging fruit” bother me. People who just tell me what they think I want to hear bother me. People with an overinflated sense of entitlement bother me. The use of the word “jealous” bothers me. Racism/Sexism/Classism/Homophobia at their basest level bother me. People who are all talk and no walk bother me. People who listen to advice from YouTube Scientists and diagnose themselves via internet bother me. People who don’t finish what they start, wasted people, sleazy people, people who don’t ask “But, why?”, the list can go on ad infinitum. I’ve always wished I were just really really stupid and had blinders on that kept me from seeing every time into the absolute truth of a person. It’s painful, this existence. And it comes with some hefty flaws of my own- arrogance, contempt, the ability to stick the verbal knife in at precisely the right spot and turn it to inflict the most mental trauma.

Here’s the funny part:

When I’m out, random strangers will approach me to tell me that positive energy just radiates out of me (I presume because I’m always smiling and laughing).

6. If not now, then when?

I don’t know. I still don’t understand why I’m here, but my best efforts to NOT be here at all didn’t work. I’m hoping that writing what I see and what happens in my daily life helps me process it more constructively. I thought finding like minded souls would solve my problems, but in the end all I do is listen to them complain about the same shit I complain about.

7. What matters most in my life?

My ability to completely connect with the universe through a loud ass bassbin and a grimy warehouse and someone who knows what they’re doing behind the decks. Because when that happens and all things triangulate properly- I see God and I am healed for awhile. I had this regularly from the age of 14 or so until around 31. Then alcohol took over and I checked the fuck out. And then, in the spring of 2014 after my first bout of tremendous betrayal (I had never in my life had people turn on me like that, not people who purportedly were family), I got my life BACK. I fell in love, started dancing again, and there was a good long sober period of rigidity prior to that. I became a human again for the first time in a long time. Violence came into it mid december (also a first), then betrayal, then shellshock and then finally the anger came back. About 2 months ago I started to become much more of an observer than a participant in my own life and it feels like being on the wrong planet. Even my best friend in San Diego started just randomly attacking me verbally about really trivial stuff, but in the manner of people in full scale black out mode, doesn’t remember any of it. I can already feel myself starting to mentally shut down, to unlearn things I learned in full sobriety. Things that make life simpler but aren’t necessarily conducive to elicit change or help people. Tolerance, patience, compassion (things I’ve always lacked if things weren’t done to my satisfaction) have started to erode and I am starting to go back into just shutting people down and discarding them.

8. What am I doing about the things that matter most in my life?

Until I get the angry demeanor projecting out from my very soul contained I am making a few proactive steps. I got rid of about 600 people on fb, which was my primary outlet to dump my weirdo crazy life stories. I don’t do well with people who have clear agendas but think they are hiding them. I also tend to not be aggressive or confrontational unless absolutely necessary, so I let a few people harass me for a lot longer than i should have (figuring that just ignoring them until they went away was enough, because that’s what works on me. If you ignore me I just go away). Conversely though I will let a situation continue if I think I might get a laugh out of it, or a lesson on being more of a normal human. Not a button pusher, just not a hot mess extinguisher either.

9. Why do I matter?

I’m not sure I do matter. But I know the world is better because I was here. I touched hearts with music, protected a large population from the possibility of a serious biological terrorist attack, made infectious disease diagnostic tests better, cheaper, and faster, and most recently figured out a way to get non-genomic DNA and RNA out of urine in a less tedious and more robust and productive manner, a task for which i was thanked and then dismissed.  I will own my part in the mess. The less people listened to me the more offensive I became. Actively did things in a manner so my boss would look as incompetent as she was. Thumbed my nose at any social event. Worked 14-16 hour days on purpose so that I could meet my yearly goals in 6 months and just generally acted like a self-righteous douche. Was I justified? Yes. Does that make it acceptable? NO. I have come to the conclusion that I am an ineffective communicator. I have zero poker face so every feeling registering in my head in is in plain view. I am not a diplomat, I don’t have much of a filter, and I won’t waste my breath repeating myself over and over. The problem is I expect everyone else to rise to my level in my time and in my way. And expectations? They’ll be the death of your heart.

10. Have I done anything lately worth remembering?

Depends on who you ask I suppose. I fought for severance from my job, hard, and won. I fought with the edd to remove any penalty for accidentally getting overpaid for 2 weeks, and that was a lot of bs red tape but I won. I tried as hard as I could to help a friend do the same when he got fired, and i lost that battle because he was more interested in taking care of a 20 year old hustler and being in total denial (not to mention becoming a legend in his own mind) than helping himself. I also have befriended 2 guys in Mexico, musicians, who don’t get taken seriously because of where they are from. So I’ve given away a lot of music to a lot of people with more power than I to get it heard. But I gained one amazing friendship and one semi-amazing friendship out of it and a whole new appreciation for what’s outside my narrow scope of view. I’ve also been abusive to someone who needed it but didn’t deserve it. I went to SF and Phoenix. But the best thing I did lately was I kept my word 95% of the time and showed the fuck up where I said I would and mostly at what time I was supposed to.

11. Have I made someone smile today?

No. Well, possibly via internet. But I will.

12. What have I given up on?

I’m pretty tenacious at this point in life. Once I start I don’t give up. I’ve given up on starting.

13. When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?

I don’t know, I’m not even sure what my comfort zone is.  I guess it would have been doing something I haven’t done in a long time for good reason, because, with certain people, persistence and aggression works on me, I’ll do what you want just to get you to shut up. I learned so much from that one stupid submissive moment though. No regrets.

14. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give?

Always ask questions and never stop learning!

15. What small act of kindness was I once shown that I will never forget?

Oh gosh, I’ve been given such huge amounts of kindness and love and I try and pass them along to others as best i can. I think I freak people out actually because I will just pop up with weird gifts or go out of my way to drive them somewhere. But I just follow in my mother’s footsteps there. That’s how she shows love too. Because it’s easier than dealing with having to listen to them complain. I think the one thing that sticks out in my mind is at the end of a pretty gnarly birthday weekend, where i ended up taking care of everyone else’s needs, I got something precious that meant more than anyone will ever know.  I was at Souleil – and I can pinpoint in 2014 when life began again down to a precise moment, it was sunny but there was a tiny bit of rain and I was dancing with Gabe, and Mikey (DJ at SOULEIL) played a seminal song in the history of house music that still rings so true in our world almost 30 years after its release. Joe Smooth Promised Land. It was very much a gay black anthem from a time when it was not ok to be either in the US much less the 2 combined. And there were probably 200 people all singing and dancing. It was beautiful. So this year, on Sept 13, the featured DJ that day was a guy I had met before, Oli Soulminority, and he’s just a genuinely amazing guy to begin with. So I’m there with my birthday sash and this beautiful white flower crown thing my friend made me and Oli, as his last track plays……joe smooth promised land, and Mikey and Arnel get on the mic to wish me happy birthday. I wish someone had video of the startled shock on my face and then the huge smile. And it was NOT planned that way. At least according to the souleil guys and Oli himself. One of the guys looks over at what his last track was going to be and chose that moment to get on the mic. I was in the corner talking to one of the other guys playing that day and telling him how much i don’t like his musical taste (nice, erin) but that he’s fun to watch cause he gets so into it.  And then the magic moment occurred mid-sentence. And then THAT guy, Matthew Brian, proceeded to destroy the place with the best set I’ve heard out of him, ever. I’ll post a link just in case anyone ever reads this and is a Chicago house fan. Signing off for a few.

30 of these deep ass questions is a lot for someone who “lacks brevity” (so said one of my former boss ladies)

with Ilanit, one of the best people on the planet
with Ilanit, one of the best people on the planet