My Book!

Dravet Syndrome Blues

Hello y’all!

For a long time, most of the people who read this blog were people I knew in real life. They are people I worked, went to school of church or jiu jitsu with. That being said, they’ve already seen this on facebook. If you’re one of those readers, I apologize for the double exposure.

But

I released my first book this week. It’s a poetry chapbook for Kindle called Dravet Syndrome Blues. Please consider buying it. I haven’t talked about my poetry experience a lot, but I’ve written it forever. In the mid-2000’s, I got really in to spoken word, and had to learn to write poetry meant to be read aloud-so lots of percussive consonants, alliteration, rhyme, and few turns of phrase that need to be read to comprehended.

Since then I experimented with form, and moved away from poems meant to be performed. When I lived in Utah, I started reading at PoetFlow . I enjoyed the community, and the folks at PF are one of the things I miss most about Utah, and I haven’t yet connected with a group in Albuquerque..

I’m not a salesman, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do want my poems to be read. Thanks.

 

 

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Keeping the sabbath holy

I’ve written much about the spiritual crisis I started about 2.5 years ago. It got dark at times. It’s largely resolved, but featured a period of faithlessness, and a careful examining of what I believe and what it means about how I should live my life.

Church has been a constant, notwithstanding a few weeks here and there. However, since moving to Albuquerque, it’s been difficult to find the right church. We scouted a bunch of places online before arriving, and thought we’d found *our* place. Their social media presence expresses concern in the same things I care about, they’re plugged into the community, all good things. However, after 2 visits, I was unable to see any men between 25-50. The kids were shushed by a deaf lady. Instrumental versions of several patriotic songs were played to celebrate 4th of July, which made my vehement dedication to separation of church and state itch all over.

I don’t want everyone in the world to be like me, but maybe having contemporaries in similar stages of life would be nice. I still need friends. And I understand many people experience being “the only one in the room” on a regular basis, but I don’t want to be a permanent outlier in my faith community. The nursery was in disrepair-it has been a long time since toddlers were there. As a parent of a toddler with Dravet Syndrome, this is an issue.

On the drive to lunch (after ducking out a side door to avoid mingling with the septuagenarians), we all said some variation of “What if we just don’t go to church anymore?” Over Jason’s Deli sandwiches and sweet tea, Lindsay and I both confessed we missed Ogden.

I clarified. I missed people in Ogden, our old church, and the coffee shops, which were many and excellent.

Our old church, the one where we felt so comfortable? 2 families with kids, and rarely did they attend at the same time. That’s all I needed. A few more would have been nice, but it was enough. I like older (including the elderly) people, I just don’t want to hang out exclusively with old people all the time. Not only does it make the necessary evil of small talk difficult, but there’s a disconnect in values, frames of reference, and communication styles. Though this may lead to a wider perspective and deep discussions, it might also lead to me being told hip hop is just noise, and they ain’t even heard that new Chance jawn tho.

Life will never be perfect, but I’m not ready to give up trying. It may mean casting a wider net. I went to a Buddhist meditation class on Thursday. I largely enjoyed the experience, and managed to not fall asleep, even with long stretches of silence. I was a little put off by a little of the dharma talk-there was a short portion about disembodied spirits (which cause illness because they think humans mean them harm) being assuaged by offerings of food. Though that’s not the weirdest thing I’ve heard in a religious setting, it made me uncomfortable.

You see, I grew up with a stringent dark/light binary. Either you were actively reading your bible and praisin’ the Lord, or you were being molested by demons. There was a gross fascination with the occult and Satan. Demons loomed large on my conscience, and I spent more time being afraid of being possessed or descended upon by a fanged tormentor than I was trying to live like Jesus, or the distilled version of simply trying to not be a jerk. It could happen anywhere, anytime. I had anxiety and recurring nightmares about it. Listening to a Color Me Badd song, doing yoga, teaching kids about dinosaurs, watching a movie starring Kevin Spacey were all portals to hades.*I am purposely not linking to videos or articles stating a belief in these statements, because I don’t want to. Google at your own discretion.*

I’m not expecting evil around every corner anymore. Not demons or botulism or ISIS. It is freeing to not focus on negative potential events. Sure, I still lock my doors and keep an eye out for crackheads, pyramid schemes, and wolves, but bad things that might (and totally might not too, you guys) happen don’t consume all my operating RAM. It’s taken me a long time to arrive at a place where I reclaimed the right to worry about what I want to, and use my thoughts as I see fit, and I will fiercely protect it.

And any church I might consider being involved with is just going to have to deal with it.

 

 

 

 

Changes and Challenges

Last night I read at an open mic. The others there were just starting to remember my name. It was fun, I thought I’d found my tribe. I told everyone I was moving, and the open mic was one of my favorite things about Utah. It felt like good closure, a sweet “see you later.”

I have a great deal of change on the horizon. This is a good thing, and mostly of my own design. I know change can produce stress and anxiety for me. My main challenges are:

1) Leaving the military after 15 years

2)Moving to another state/city (Albuquerque) where I don’t really know anyone

3) Entering the civilian workforce

4) Leaving the small but powerful support system taking root after living in Ogden for a year and a half

 

This is what a Do-Over looks like. I am changing costumes. I am abandoning nearly everything which is familiar.

I’m excited about the individual elements, but looking at it aggregated, it’s a bit much. There are some things I’ll need to be intentional about in order to have some semblance of stability during this tumultuous season:

1) Not neglecting myself- sleep, eat better, exercise

2) Stay connected with God

3) Find peer groups immediately (Especially Jiu Jitsu)

4) Don’t entertain negative thoughts

5) Most importantly, check in with myself so I don’t take my crap out on my family.

 

The next few months, especially the next few weeks are daunting, but I can do it, as long as I remain mindful to remain mindful. I’m a little scared, but my anticipation of my adventure is much stronger than my fear and anxiety. I can do this, and wether I could or not, it’s happening, and I’m grateful.