Tag Archives: legacy

Our Lives After Their Death

There’s a full moon tomorrow. I’m in a weird headspace.

In social media, I’m seeing snippets here and there from those I’m connected with, remembering the passing of our good friend Derek Miller last year. My thoughts on Derek, as his death took the world by storm by way of an incredible blog post, were posted here.

Someone once graffiti'd a lot of sites in my new neighbourhood, and this one made me think of Derek last week -- a lighthouse, a beacon, at the end of a long path, and at the foot of it, "The things you really want, you can't buy."

Derek’s death became a lot of things for a lot of people, and I’m having trouble even now identifying what it meant to me, but I know his blog post, and his passing, were part of why I spent the next few months realizing how unhappy I was with my life. The thing was, I knew someone like Derek would simply comment, “Well, then change it.” So, I tried to figure out what I needed to change, why I was so deeply unsatisfied with everything.

He may have “just” been a husband, father, and all-around geek, but I got the sense that there was really nothing else Derek wanted from life. He had everything he wanted. He was where he wanted to be. All he wanted was more life, more of the same with the people he had around him.

All The Things I Wasn’t

I found myself thinking a lot about, well, I’m not where I want to be. I don’t have what I want. I don’t have the people in my life I want (ie: love). Let’s not even talk about the bigger picture.

I’d been kind of skating through life and sort of ignoring anything below the surface. I’d stopped being a good writer (in my view) and stopped living the deeper, observant, involved life I’d once had. I’d been depressed before, but this wasn’t depression — this was plain old unhappiness.

Derek’s death somehow was a slap in my face, like a loud shout of Wake up! Get it right! Time’s ticking!

And, it took a while, but I think I’m where I am now because I’d realized through him of just how far afield I was from the things I considered basic requirements in life — time to write, close to the ocean, quiet, and so many other little things that speak to who I grew up being, who I was in my 20s, when I was most “myself.”

I’m new here, in Victoria, so I’m ironically even more “alone” than I had been in Vancouver. I’ve not been looking for a new tribe yet, but I will begin later this month. Because that’s another lesson I’ve learned through him. Some people just make our souls feel better, and we need them in our lives. We are better people when we have better people around us, and there are few we can’t learn something of life from, but others offer a master class in it.

Two Lost Souls Swimming in a Fishbowl

When I sat in that theatre for his remembrance, listening to all those amazing people paying homage to Derek, hearing their stories, I couldn’t stop thinking about the degrees of life. This couple, Derek and Air, they were in the same crowd I’d run with nearly 20 years before. But by inches and degrees, we must have missed each other here, there, and at different times. Somehow, some way, we never connected until the end of Derek’s life.

What if I’d paid more attention? What if I’d slowed down? What if?

I’m not done learning lessons from Derek’s life. Or anyone’s life. I’m just not done learning.

Next week, Mother’s day rolls up again, and the Hallmark Machine is playing that message loud and clear. So, these days, I’m thinking a lot about the people I’ve lost in life, the legacies they’ve left me, and whether I’d feel I’d done enough if I were to leave this realm tomorrow.

Coming Back to Life

Getting here, moving, that was a start toward the life I’d like, and the legacy I seek to leave. But I’ve barely even begun on my way. I was off-track so many years that just getting back on-track is a hell of a journey in itself.

I’d like to think there’s plenty of time for me to get it right, but that’s foolishness. Sooner is better than later.

So, as the full moon messes with my frequencies, and the hazy oppressive clouds dampen the world beyond windows, I’m lost in thought about who I am today versus who I’d like to be, when I really should be writing a project quote and starting my day job’s work.

Sigh. I don’t know how to finish this post. I’ve tried six different endings and I keep deleting them. Maybe there is no ending. Not for me, not for this, not yet. Maybe there is just a beginning.

Well, then. That’s how it is.

Unleashing Your Vixen: Some Serious Thoughts

Do you ever have those moments when clarity comes up behind you with a baseball bat and beats the hell out of you?

You get up, groggy, woozy, disoriented, but shit, you know better now, man.

I’ve been avoiding getting into this Vixen thing. The problem with procrastination is that you avoid things so much that you fail to even become aware of why the avoidance is there in the first place.

But then clarity comes along with that fucking bat and, sooner or later, you clue the hell in. Like I did about 30 minutes ago. For some reason, today I feel like I’m Frodo walking across that marshland with all the corpses under the surface of the pondwater. I feel like I’m about to go under, like there’s some kinda tether wrapped around my heart and strung to the reeds below the surface, tugging me down and trying to seduce me into the dark.

It sounds really intense, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Sure, it feels like that, but it’s a really surreal feeling, like there’s a bubble around me, like there’s all these dead little faces floating around me of people who think they’re alive, but really just aren’t. That I’m sitting around in utter silence on a freezing day in February might be adding to those Dali-esque proportions, so maybe I’ll just browse my iTunes here and stoke up a change of pace. When in doubt, go with the Butthole Surfers, that’s my policy.

This week, the week that follows Valentine’s Day, is the least favourite of my year. In a span of six days falls the anniversary of when the docs found a grapefruit-sized tumour in my mother’s belly and her birthday. Yes, that’s been on my mind. She has been on my mind an awful lot, particularly in relation to this topic. I, more than anything else in her life, am my mother’s legacy, and that’s not arrogance, that’s the admiration of a daughter who had a mother deserving of it. I am my mother’s daughter – in most ways.

If you met me in real life, you’d see a lot of similarities to the person on these pages. I’m boisterous, brazen, demure, open, scathing — whatever you want to call me, I’m an awful lot of those things. But my mother blazed that trail, baby. She was a model in her youth, she was hot when she died, didn’t look over 50. She had red hair, green eyes, and she was a risk-taker and a daredevil. She sold real estate, raced yachts, and wasn’t afraid of a fucking thing (most of the time).

She was never open about sex. I doubt she ever became a vixen. I bet she never trusted a man enough. I don’t think she ever got past the shame of what sex symbolized in her demented little worldview on the subject. My father and I were recently talking, musing about whether she had been sexually assaulted at age 12. My father grew up in her neighbourhood, they were friends all their lives, and he remembered when she changed, as if she just broke. He said something was never the same after she was 12, that day they came home to find her scantily clad, rocking barefoot under the farm’s kitchen table, shaking and sobbing.

This Vixen thing… it’s a personal mission for me, really. I’ve been the legacy of dysfunctional views on sex. I’ve seen what a loveless marriage does not only to the participants but the children involved. I’ve seen what happens to men (including my father) who get neglected and taken for granted, what happens to women forgotten by their lovers, and it all breaks my heart. It’s a really sad thing to behold, the loss of someone’s sexual side.

When I was young, I fell for that fascist Ayn Rand, and one quote stands out after all these years, that “avoiding death does not equal living life.” We’ve somehow fallen into this trap of “surviving” life. Yeah, you go right ahead. Survive. I’m gonna live, thanks.

And that’s the problem, most of us are content to merely survive our jobs, survive our relationships, whatever it takes to make it to the other side with the least resistance.

Being a vixen, or in the case of the men out there, an attentive, daring, open lover who’s receptive to his lover’s needs, takes guts. It doesn’t happen from just thinking it’d be nice to go there. It’s about actively pushing your fears and apprehensions. It’s about saying you’re not scared about being judged. But mostly, it’s about trusting this lover of yours you claim you trust. It’s about putting your money where your mouth is, baby.

It’s too late for my mother, and I caught the bus last decade, man, so I’m good, but there are a lot of folks out there who must learn how much more fun life is when they learn that being vulnerable doesn’t necessarily mean becoming hurt*, it means sucking the marrow out of life and taking the chances you’ve been resisting.

Mostly, though, it’s about really having great new experiences. So, you know, like they says, you better get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’, but make your fucking choices and stop just letting life happen to you. Being a dead fish is simply the personification of all those other little fears you have inside. Confront them.

Me, being a vixen underlies EVERYTHING I do in my life. I take chances, I go with the moment, and I may not have the fancy car and the retirement package some of my conservative friends have, but I’ve got experiences. Very cool experiences. So far, dying tomorrow, I’d have few, if any regrets, and knowing that is the greatest thing I can say about who I am.

*And even if you get hurt occasionally by becoming vulnerable, I’ve discovered firsthand that the richness of everyday experiences far outweighs those occasional bumps and bruises along the way. Like mountain biking or something, sometimes you fall, sure, but at least you’re out there having the experience most of the time… and hurts always heal. I take my lumps and go again.