time & distance

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted my birthdays to be less about me and more about putting effort into other people and causes that I believed fiercely in. At the time of making this decision, I hadn’t been living in the Northwest for a year yet, and wasn’t connected to folks or organizations.

branside

May ’10, Bellevue, Washington

These days, that excuse can’t really be used anymore. If the recent shockingly sunny weather has been any indication, summer is fast approaching and the season’s all but booked with events I plan on engaging in one way or another. Here are just a few I’m planning on volunteering a bit for:

    • Trans* Pride Seattle. A few local organisations (Seattle Out & Proud, Gender Justice League & the Gay City Health Project) have rallied together to make this happen on June 28. Here’s hoping that a good deal of dialogue and community gathering will take place between trans* and gender non-conforming folk in the Northwest.
    • Genderfest. Entering its second year, Genderfest is a queer all genders celebration going on July 25 – August 4 in East Vancouver on Coast Salish Nations territory.
    • GaymerX. This convention proudly boasts being the first of its kind to have a focus on LGBT geek culture. It’s all set to take place August 2-4 in vibrant San Francisco.
    • Vancouver Queer Film FestivalAugust 15-25 ushers in this festival’s 25th year, offering a beautifully diverse array of queer cinema, dedicated artists, panels and performances.

rainier5

May ’10, Seattle, Washington (Interstate 5 southbound)

This is a fairly tall order of activity, but it should provide valuable opportunities to learn skills, meet people and contribute energy to stuff bigger than myself. Good things to absorb right around the time I get a year older. Factoring in the few days I’m spending in LA in just a few weeks as well, I expect to have great fun travelling the west coast this summer. I am looking forward to the days ahead.

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take a chance

Going away for the last half of December made me feel the most middle class I’ve ever been. (I grew up in a middle class family, but I had no concept of such things then.) Running off to somewhere appealing to most, given a full pass to be absent from routine and free to be in intense like with unfamiliar shiny surroundings. That’s not my reality!

It’s been a week since I’ve returned to the States, and I still haven’t fully recovered. I certainly can’t deny I hop and skip off rather a lot, but I’ve never done so for 17 days.

 

Choosing Vancouver was easy. It’s far enough away to feel somewhat detached from Seattle life and culture for a spell, yet reachable without removing a hard chunk of the day solely for travel. Navigating in Vancouver city proper seems simpler, and I’ve been very lucky in finding folks there to connect with. It’s where I welcomed the new year.

31 Dec ’12, East Van

The fall and winter are very introspective times for me. Both seasons are riddled with holidays that are vital for friends, family and spirit. It’s worth mentioning that the latter part of the year affected myself and people around me more than we could’ve imagined.

Each year we cling to the hope that we’ve done better than the year previous, and naturally look forward for relief from whatever plagued us in the year we’re completing.

If I can analyse my year without feeling anything beyond the average layer of guilt or insecurities I have just by being a living human being, I’d cautiously call it a success.

I haven’t made up my mind about 2012. Could be that I never will.

While I was away, I took comfort in late night walks to my temporary home from Skytrain stations, with fog and frost as my companions. I decided that I had places I delighted in defaulting to (Bandidas Taqueria on Commercial Drive & Rhizome Cafe on E Broadway) because the spaces felt welcoming without being intrusive. I was a busy bird indeed.

These are illegal in the United States!
This ban may be reviewed soon.

I tend to go a little mad on food items while there — sometimes it’s restaurants, often it’s staying in with a crony and putting love into homemade items or stuff from a local shop. This makes sense because the area has a lot available that we in Seattle haven’t got.

I don’t make a habit of visiting tourist spots when I go off adventuring. I’ve not been to Stanley Park, haven’t perused Vancouver’s glorious aquarium (I’ll admit a mild interest). I’ve seen the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, but I’m unaware if that’s a popular destination. My goal is to glean as much of the local experience as possible.

My visits are immensely fulfilling. Something about the last one made me take on a task I hadn’t done in years — writing thank you notes to chosen family up north. I put pen to paper and shared my gratitude. Being given the liberty to roam in a city not your own with or without friends is a gift. Gifts should be acknowledged if you’re moved to do so.

2013 is well underway. As soon as I returned, I assumed the role of doing All the Things in my work (save for model jobs, for the moment) and making greater strides to connect with people here in Washington state. I haven’t stopped much to rest, as I should.

Here’s part of why: if there’s anything that being up in BC for that long taught me, it’s that you shouldn’t hesitate to let people you treasure know they’re special, even if and perhaps especially if there’s been a lull in activity. As a pal said once, “take a chance.”

embrace the goddess

I rarely get a chance to spend time in the Rose City (where the thrill of the 90s is alive, I’ve heard), but I’m taking a delightful little trip during the first weekend of November!

Chelsea, an artist I was lucky enough to work with on an Oregon coast shoot in early July, is joining other Northwest artists in an opening reception and 2013 calendar release party with a Goddess visual art theme on the 2nd November downtown. I enthusiastically volunteered to be painted again by Chelsea during the show, so come on by and take in the beauty. Details below!

July ’12, Oceanside Beach, Oregon

Featured Artists: 
Laura Borealisis, Justin Slattum, Liv Rainey-Smith, Nicole Linde, Joanne Licardo, Matt Schlosky, Sam Arneson, Nicholas Frenette, Anna Todaro, plus Danny Rodriguez and Chelsea Rose of Lucid Optic Lab, and more

You will be treated to a night of:
– amazing local art
– live body painting
– hand painted murals
– live music by HeadShapes @ 9pm
– live painting
– live DJ
-poetry slam 
…and more! 

The Divine Feminine has been honored and depicted by every culture around the world since the beginning of human history. Her wisdom and majesty lives on today as she continues to be known and worshiped by many names throughout the world. As is the nature of the Goddess, her strength, wisdom and beauty are a major source of inspiration not only spiritually but artistically.

To celebrate the Goddess influence on our art and lives, we hand assembled limited edition 2013 calendars. Each month of the Goddess calendar features a different Goddess by a different artist. The calendar will be available for purchase at the opening reception of the Portland Goddess art show.

420 SW Washington St

Portland, OR 97204

Fri, 2 Nov @ 7pm

Here is the event listed on Facebook, si vous voulez.

away message

It is (nearly mid!) June. This usually kicks off my crazy busy mostly domestic travelling, and this year is no different.


December ’11, above the Bakersfield, California area

Here’s where I know I’ll be going between this Friday and early September:

San Francisco · Vancouver, British Columbia (x2) · Portland · Los Angeles · Pensacola, Florida · Indianapolis · Boston · Montreal, Québec

More to be added, if energy allows.

For exact dates, contact me privately.

Here’s hoping I manage to stay in one piece while this is all going on!

open your eyes. it’s a beautiful day.

Being somewhat shy of 30 years old, I still (hopefully) have time to change my mind. Despite that, two things I want for certain are as follows:

  1. I want to do good. Good in general, and not a poor substitute for saying ‘I want to do well’. Not good for the sake of being good, but because I want to. I want to exude positivity as much as possible.
  2. I want to be remembered. Not necessarily for being good, though I definitely would not be averse to that. If someone cares for me, it’d be nice to know that I cross their mind once in a while, whether I’m living or have passed on.
19 Sept ’11, the fridge in my aunt’s home, Woodland Hills, California

Anchor and I returned from our Los Angeles trip last evening. I departed with the feeling that I’d accomplished above points one and two without much energy at all. Granted, I probably could have done a lot less drinking, but that’s a tiny drop (pun slightly intended) in an ocean of activity.

20 Sept ’11, Point Fermin, San Pedro, California

When I traded the Southwest for the Northwest, I felt relieved. Indignant, even. It took more of me than expected to adhere to this long-term plan of moving and actually seeing it through, and it made be a tad bitter. I honestly let myself forget about LA for a while, even with all the online contact with others. 

I made a thousand miles seem like three times that number. I had to, as a defense mechanism for the way certain interactions had affected me.

The distance was necessary. Perhaps it still is, in some aspects that shall go unnamed for the moment. There’s loads to sort out.

It has taken a few trips, a couple of years, and interacting with a delicate number of people, but I have finally come to appreciate southern California in full. It was home to me, and remains such for friends and family I value. I’d be a fool not to acknowledge these facts.

Frustrations about the city I lived in were minimal compared to the frustrations about the life I was living, the parts of myself I stifled. It’s better to have realized that sooner than later, and I’m grateful for the closure I was so desperately seeking without being fully aware of it.

cities in common

Since last spring, I’ve completed two week-long trips to Boston. I might have just a tiny crush on the city.

I’d say that any time less than a week there wouldn’t be fair – there’s lots to take in (especially if you’re from the west coast, as I am). Hell help you if you have people you know in the general Northeast area, not to mention if you happen to be travelling with someone who hails from the Northeast itself.

Boston is filled with gorgeous sights if you’re lucky to catch it on a non-gloomy day, as is the case with the Northwest. Missing a glimpse of the Charles River is unacceptable. Taking the T can be quite the adventure in itself (as I can personally attest to after many mishaps on the Red). You’ll also find yourself among some amazing food and drink, and insanely aggressive drivers. It is definitely a good time.

I did my second trip with my Anchor a week ago. It was a good time to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Connecticut for the first time, meet some new people and absolutely unparalleled new visions.

I have to say that the stuff I liked best about this Northeast trip were the chances I got in reconnecting with others – people who, for the most part, I’d met during my many years living in Los Angeles.

I am going to talk about three of them.

Gingerbread came to Boston on account of school, and is very passionately working at it.

He is one of the most mature teenagers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, probably the result of lots of personal growth. Folks like Gingerbread just go to show you that people should not be immediately judged on the number of their years. I left our interactions feeling glad I’d reached out, and made a mental note to do more of it in the future.

Bubble made a short trip to meet me in Boston. Most of the time he was away soaking up the environment with an exciting new mademoiselle. He has the talent of coming off as full of positive energy, and he surrounds himself in a great percentage of it. I’d forgotten how easily he makes me smile with such little effort. It was truly a treat to chat with him, and I’m grateful the effort was made.

Last Chance was the one I ended being the most excited about, in the end. I’m not sure why, but our history in Los Angeles was fairly intense. Our correspondence hasn’t always been strong, and I felt slightly disappointed when he chose his new home as Boston over Seattle (for obviously selfish reasons).

I can’t explain why a casual trot turned into a good-to-honest sprint for a hug – in a hipster restaurant, no less. It didn’t matter. I became captivated all over again, in the middle of a table of six, and digested more personal stories than I did any of the delectable food.

My last year in Los Angeles happened to be one of my most miserable. Bubble and Last Chance both contributed to bits of happiness I managed to snag along the way, so seeing them one after the other was overwhelming in the end.

I would do it all again.

I most likely will.

Boston being Anchor’s old stomping grounds, it goes without saying that a trip to Los Angeles is long overdue. I suspended the idea of doing it in May because I felt going for an extended weekend wasn’t enough for me. There are even more people to see than the ones I hooked up with (and didn’t) in Boston, family, and those in between.

I don’t regret leaving Los Angeles. It was time. Despite that, it is always good to return home for a while – a home in which I struggled, fought, sweated and bled. While I have forgiven all of those responsible (myself included), I don’t risk forgetting the hard times, else I won’t recognize the better ones when they come about.