Totes Redique

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Warning! This post is filled with curse words and otherwise offensive content.

So my landlord decided to not let us renew our lease, because apparently we were supposed to read her mind and just know the exact level of anal retentiveness she expected with regards to the yards, because tenants are defactor landscapers or something, and even though the only thing she expressed was to water and mow the lawns, which we’ve done, and apparently that wasn’t good enough, not that we had any warning regarding this complete and total lack of proper communication on her part. We’re broke as shit and have 2 months to find a new place, and since my diagnosis we’ve been evicted and filed bankruptcy, which means that if we’re going to find a landlord willing to take us (and almost undoubtedly said landlord will have to be the caliber of crazy as the current one, because that’s just my luck), and the only place to find such rentals is Craigslist. So, apparently in Denver and LA I now know for certain, at least 90% of the ads on craigslist for rentals are actually scams. In Phoenix, almost zero housing scams, and you’d think it’s because Phoenix is so shitty that no one would possibly want to live there, but eerily it’s the opposite. Phoenix was growing so quickly that the housing market decided to try to get ahead of the population boom so they built houses like gangbusters, and since everyone and they’s mama’s dog could get housing loans back then, they were snatching them up quicker than they could build them for a while, (some of them even smart enough to sell their crappy old house in the ghetto for 2 or 3 times its value to buy a nice new one not in the ghetto…but not many people were that smart), which brought even MORE developers and more new houses being built, but they literally couldn’t build them fast enough so then like a totes redique number of apartment complexes, no matter how shitty or how ghetto the neighborhood decided screw this rent noise, let’s just turn them into condos and sell them! Unfortunately for them, not a lot of people were willing to buy a shitass 1 bdrm apartment for $150,000, so they were just having to keep a bunch of them vacant because they had them slated to sell, some kind of bullshit city tax business. So anyway, it was pretty hard finding an apartment there for a while but fortunately I lived in LA where finding an apartment is fairly easy if you’ve got about $2k/mo to devote to rent and don’t mind a 2hr commute one way (and if you think you’re getting bent over a barrel by the rent, wait til they tell you that you have to buy your own fridge). 

Anyway, housing bubble burst, tons of people in Phoenix lost their brand new houses and anyone with a house lost a whooole lot of equity overnight so they weren’t about to leave. With all the empty houses people just started renting them out and all the sad families who lost their houses happily moved into a brand new rental house that their kids could destroy to their little hearts’ content and the parents would only be out a stupid deposit, so big win win there. Meanwhile…still no one bought any condos, and by the time they converted them back from condos to regular rentals, they pretty much had to lower their standards because everyone was in foreclosure and bankruptcy. Unfortunately this meant they still could jack up their prices, because people gotta live somewhere. Fortunately though, Phoenix rent was never too high to begin with. And, still and yet, it’s damn easy to find a place to live there, even with bad credit.

In LA, there are scams because of the aforementioned totes redique rental prices, so they post something in a so so neighborhood with plausibly lowish rent and scam away. I’m sure they have many many marks, because LA people think they’re savvy, but most of them have their heads so far up their asses it’s a bit difficult to be anything but a goddamn, shit eating moron.

Turns out in Denver, the population is also exploding, lucky me, only Denver’s all like “if we build too many houses and apartments it’ll like, ruin the natural splendor, man. *puff puff*”, and nearby Boulder is all like, “If we build too many houses and apartments it’ll like, feed all them corporate interests, man. *puff puff* Worker’s of the World, unite!” Or is it Dyslexics of the World, Untie!… Anyway, additionally, the population of both cities is exploding with: college students, young professionals, young professionals by day and stupid hipsters by night, and at least 2/3 of those groups have money, little to no debt, and I’d be willing to bet actual money that nearly 100% of them got no kids. So they can afford whatever dumb hipster apartment or house they’d likely tell their friends is “clutch” or “dope”, both words that in no way describe a domicile, but sadly I’ve heard them both used in such a context and can only assume it means…Good?
Anyway so, not enough places, too many people, and I think we may literally be moving into a basement next month, and we’ll be damn lucky to get that much.

But wait! Despite all of this, something made apartment/house hunting totally worthwhile today. One of the scams claimed that the house had a fantastic ocean view. And as if that’s not hilarious enough, after laughing so hard I nearly threw up, I managed to say (between giggles and chuckles), “A view so fantastic it can only be found in…The Twilight Zone.” At that point I was feeling about ready to stop trying to kill myself slowly with cigarettes, and instead much more quickly (albeit painfully) by setting myself on fire. So, scammers helped me avoid a wickedly painful demise today.

And if you’re wondering why I keep saying “totes redique”, I saw that on FB today and thought it was…totally rediculous. I unfriended that person. Not so much about the ” totes redique”, more because I never talk to that person and figured now is as good a time as any.

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To Dance is to Live

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“We barely remember what came before this precious moment. Choosing to be here, right now, in this body…This body makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion.”
-Maynard James Keenan

I’ve begun teaching a beginning dance class, and in my quest to teach my students, slowly but surely I’m learning to dance again myself. I have many limitations, many new aches and pains, sometimes a lengthy and debilitating recovery period keeping me bedridden for days after each lesson, but still…it feels so good! I feel like I’m contributing in some way, and it’s bizarre how important that contribution to the world becomes when you’re no longer able to provide it. I’m teaching people to feel as good about themselves as I did when I was discovering dance, and just maybe some of those dancers will surpass me and go on to learn from others and become great dancers and I can feel honored to be a part of that. However, even if all I get out of this is the opportunity to force myself out of bed once a week, to make myself stand in front of others and hide how weak I’ve become, how much my muscles and joints protest, how reduced my stamina, and hopefully with time regain some of these things even if to a lesser extent than what I ever had when I was healthy, and in the process teach my students that they can feel graceful, beautiful, happy, and express themselves in a form that they never knew of before, I will consider it a job well done.
I’ve always loved teaching others to dance. More than inspiring them through performance, I love showing others that they, too, can learn to do the things that left me so awestruck the first time I saw others do them. I wanted to know all there was to know about it, and I see the light in my students’ eyes when they have mastered new moves, the pride and joy they feel when they’re finally knowledgeable enough to just cut loose and put those moves to use and just dance!
Of all the things I’ve lost from becoming ill, dancing has been my greatest regret. I’ve lost my independence, my livelihood, my ability to maintain my household in a manner of which I may feel proud and comfortable. I’ve lost lifelong friends, and that certainly hurts a great deal, but deep down I believe that if those friends were true they would not have abandoned me in my greatest time of need. I no longer enjoy the lifestyle to which I was formerly accustomed, I am destitute, poor beyond my greatest imaging, however I was poor growing up and while I worked very hard to secure myself the proper education to acquire gainful employment and, for a time, enjoyed a much more lavish lifestyle, I’m no stranger to being poor. My body, mind, and soul are unwell in ways that I never expected at such a young age, but these are all things that I did expect to experience at some point in my life, granted perhaps 30-40 years from now, but I can eventually make peace with the cards life has dealt me. But to not be able to dance was akin to losing my ability to see colors or hear music, to smell, or to feel textures. My life suddenly became very drab and without a great and wonderful joy, and on many occasions I almost wished to have never known that joy and so never experience its heartbreaking loss.
Tonight I gave my students an opportunity to use the skills they’ve learned thus far to just listen to the music and dance to it. No more tedious drills, no more practice, just feel the music and dance, and I danced with them, and yes my skills are much reduced, and my body screams in agony at many movements and likely will continue to do so for as long as I’m able to continue, but I still feel more alive dancing in pain than I do lying in bed in pain, so I will continue to push myself to try harder, work harder, relearn what I’ve lost, accommodate my disabilities, make myself stronger.
Dancing has never been easy for me. I’ve always had issues with my back that would hinder my abilities to do certain movements, or that would cause me to have to take months long hiatus while recovering from ruptured disks and excruciating pain, but I always continued practicing anything that I was able while on hiatus. I would do muscle isolations, arm and hand movements, anything to keep me practicing.
I think now that I told myself I couldn’t dance because I had given up too soon. I’d thrown in the towel. I was so deeply in mourning over all that I’d lost and any efforts I made to attempt to dance ended in me being in so much pain, feeling so weak, being dizzy, delirious, and bedridden for days that I had eventually put it on the list of things that I could not do, rather than the list of things that I could not do as well as before. I know it’s possible that some day I may truly be unable to dance at all. I may permanently lose fine and gross motor skills, be wheelchair bound, or have such debilitation in my back that I may finally have to succumb to the vertebral fusions that I’ve so long been unwilling to do as it will severely decrease my range of motion and make dancing virtually impossible. I know that I may lose dancing for good, which is why it’s so important to me that I continue to force myself to do it now while I still can.
And I plan to do just that.

“To dance is to live.”
-Stephen King

A Ghost of Regret

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I’m not usually one to harbor regrets. Not for much of anything really. As far as I’m concerned, the choices that we make are the best possible choice we could have made at that point in our lives, and looking back after all is said and done and saying, “I should’ve done things differently, I should’ve known better…”, or even worse, “I shouldn’t have done what I did…”, will only make us come untethered. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, and no matter how clear things look now from our presently higher perch, at the time the decision obviously wasn’t so clear. I learned this a long time ago, and rarely beat myself up over things that I should or should not have done.
However, there are a very few things in my life that still haunt me, and occasionally I find myself ruminating on the what ifs, and am especially haunted by the knowledge that losing someone or something very important to us is the single most pointed reminder that there really are no do overs in life. Once they are gone, they’re gone forever, and forever is a very long time to wish you had a second chance. On one occasion, as I was feeling a bit melancholy over such things, I wrote the following bit of short prose in late June of 2013, then promptly forgot about it, until now.

* * *
A funny thing happens during that time that you’ve been awake long enough that you’re not sure whether to continue to call it late or begin calling it early. The ghosts become real. In the daylight they are nothing but unpleasant sickness in the back of your mind, a stagnant mist of sadness and regret that is easily overlooked, seen through like a light fog on a bright summer morning. Vaporous, soft, unclear. But as night moves on to morning they drag themselves from the dark corners where you’ve secreted them away, full born, blood still dripping and waiting to sink fang or claw into the soft underbelly of your tired mind.
The ghosts become REAL. Haunting your every thought and sigh. Sickened to the point of pathetic sobs you hold them close, loving them as much as you fear them.
They are all that is left, those bittersweet memories, so much happiness and remorse that the two are inextricable. The pain cuts deep, and as dichotomous as ever, also brings a twisted pleasure. The severity of the pain reminds you of how great the loss. Without the pain, the loss somehow seems meaningless.
As morning arrives the ghosts fade, the tears dry, and a bizarre sense of wonderment sets in. The night feels as a twisted version of reality, wicked in its ability to warp the mind and squeeze the soul to near bursting. Ah, my heart. My love. How I still miss you after all these years.
And the song lyric echoes in my head: Please don’t reproach me for how empty my life has become…