The Grey Gardens In All Of Us

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

grey_gardensI’ve been on a most delightful, bizarre, and poignant Grey Gardens kick over the past couple of weeks.  Grey Gardens is a beautiful and disturbing documentary from the mid-70s about “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” Beale of East Hampton, Aunt and Cousin to Jacqueline Onassis-Kennedy respectively.  Always lacking in conformity to the demands of aristocracy, they became outcasts and eventually recluses, holing up in their dilapidating 28 room mansion, alone and in complete squalor.  East Hampton officials demanded that the house be cleaned up to standards or they would be arrested, which the media descended upon since these two were related to the Kennedy/Onassis clan.  The brothers Maysle befriended the Edies and documented their lives after the “raid” from the city, capturing one of the most unusual and surprisingly haunting relationships I’ve ever seen.  While it would be easy to dismiss the Edies as crazy and/or just plain sad, they were entirely present and coherent, with some gems of life observations.

I finally watched the documentary a couple of weeks ago, then watched it again with Johnny and then again with Jip.  I brought it with me to Chicago and watched it yet again with Ann.  It’s a cult classic for a reason because the feelings and thoughts and images that come from this film stay with you for days and weeks. From this classic sprang Grey Gardens, The Musical on Broadway, a sequel to Grey Gardens called The Beales of Grey Gardens created from original footage, which fleshes out the Beales even further with some of the most comical and poignant scenes I’ve ever enjoyed, and now a feature film starring Drew Barrymore as Little Edie and Jessica Lange as Big Edie is set to hit HBO this year.

Something about these two women and the choices of their lives are both inspiring and upsetting because they represent a part of all of us who so desperately wish to be an important and meaningful part of this world, but sometimes we all feel the creeping up of the comfort that could be found in the complete resignation and retreat from the very things we crave.

Below is the original Trailer for the original Grey Gardens and here’s the official site for all things Grey Gardens.

The SNEAK PEAK for HBO’s Grey Gardens.

I’m In Chicago

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Thanks to my friend, Ann, I am in Chicago right now for a sort of vacation. Ann and I have become friends over the years through my work in channeling and The Michael Teachings, and we have a blast. Lots and LOTS of talking, talking, talking… pondering, philosophizing, laughing. It’s a shame she doesn’t live in New York City with me, Cyprus, and Nick because what a gang we would make!

I will be making a short jaunt down through Peru, IN to spend a night or two with my parents, and then back to Chicago for my flight home. I hope it is possible because as of today the weather is in Winter Storm Warning mode and after 8pm Chicago is supposed to get between 6″ and 8″ over the course of a day or two! Whoosh! I might actually get to experience a real Winter before the season is out! YAY! (locals are not as enthused, of course).chicagoslush

My first night here was met with a treat to the local OPERA restaurant where I had Shitake Mushroom Wontons filled with Asparagus Salad, Truffle Oil, and Sesame Vinaigrette, along with Seasonal Vegetable Mooshu with incredible, spicy plum dip.opera1

I got some beautiful, BEAUTIFUL footage through the window of my flight to Chicago and I will post that asap.

Make sure you check my Twitter page and the 12Seconds page for my quick n dirty updates throughout the days!

What is Love, Anyway?

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I’ve moved my previous entry to private status for the sake of a positive move forward for that person and me. I really only wrote it because that’s what I do… I write. But I don’t want that single entry to be a constant hindrance to a healthy resolution and move forward with my friend, so while I won’t delete it, I did make it private for my eyes only now.

It’s all good.

And it’s times like these that some of the songs of life become more important and profound than we might have considered before, especially the final stanza…

The song is about how we like to think we are being loving, being loved, but that we not only love with conditions that must be fulfilled, measuring the other person against scripts in our head, but that we also can never truly love someone else enough to resolve everything for them… so it’s a song about acknowledging our conditions so that we can rise above them and allow room for all of it, the spectrum of choices and behaviors and insecurities.

WHAT IS LOVE
howard jones

I love you whether or not you love me
I love you even if you think that I don’t
Sometimes I find you doubt my love for you, but I dont mind
Why should I mind, why should I mind

What is love anyway
does anybody love anybody anyway
What is love anyway
does anybody love anybody anyway

Can anybody love anyone so much that they will never fear
Never worry, never be sad
The answer is they cannot love this much, nobody can
This is why I dont mind you doubting

And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door always must be left unlocked
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting

Peacing Together Our Love

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

The past couple of weeks have been focused on two reunions for me. Two very important, loving friends from very difference areas of my life converged in New York City to softly rush back into my days a mix of nostalgia, grief, transformation, and unprecedented feelings of peace: JIP and FABIO.

As many of you already know, Jip is my (most-recent) ex from The Netherlands who endured my summer of near-death in 2007.  I don’t want to rehash all of that (if you want to explore, everything is archived across April, May, and June of 2007), but it was a profound and important part of my life.  Jip and I were permanently bonded by this; maybe even scarred in some way that we might both call “beautiful” now that we’ve survived together. We already shared a deep, loving bond, which was required for what we ended up enduring, but now I want our love and bonding to be free from the anchor and foundation of our powerful tragedy.  I want to build new memories and futures.  So now our reunion has come nearly 2 years later and it comes with that mix of energies I described above.

Fabio is my friend of about 5 or 6 years, stumbled upon at a mutual friend’s housewarming party long ago.  I adored him right away, but so did everyone else, so I kept my distance.  I hate when people go ga-ga over someone and crowd about him like hungry, sycophantic sheep.  I wrote him off as a pleasant and gorgeous person I might not ever see again.  But we did cross paths again. And again. And eventually found our contact moving into friendship.  He became my “going out” friend and most of our images at Flickr are of our being out and about with boys and laughs and drinks.  All of this was fun, but the playful friendship continued to grow into confidants and intimate friendship, eventually blurring lines between friendship and confused, resisted attraction.  We were falling in love in the slowest way I’ve ever known.  So slowly, in fact, that my adventure with Jip had already come into full swing before Fabio and I “admitted,” or revealed that this was happening to us.  So just before my move to The Netherlands, we discovered this and it became our private, painful and near-devastating secret.  It’s not so secret anymore, but after my diagnosis, we don’t really have the option for intimacy any longer.  And that’s okay.  We live with that.  We are “over” that.  But it’s still a bittersweet adjustment.  We are just happy that I’m alive.

So the weeks of our reunion have come and it’s been a surprising experience for me.  I thought I would have excitement, anxiety, anticipation, something dramatic, but it’s been more like they live down the street and stopped by again today to say hi, like they always do.  I feel no pressure of time, no need to catch up on two years of distance, and no need to squeeze and press as much experience in together as possible before they leave.  In fact, that lazy sense of peace almost caused me to miss out on seeing Fabio altogether!  We only got to see each other one time before he left.  And it was good.  Really good.

All I feel is… peace?  I can’t describe it as anything different than that:  Peaceful; a sense of validation that when love is genuine, it needs no theatrics, no drama, no overwhelming need to constrain it.. it just IS.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its ups and downs and fun and fear, but the peace comes from realizing that love is a spectrum that includes all of that, and that none of the fluctuations, distance, changes, rearrangements, etc are a threat to it.

I don’t want to make all of this sound uber-romantic, though.  Like I said, there are ups/downs/fun/fear.  I don’t want to give the impression that “true love” is effortless; in fact, it’s not.  It requires a lot of effort.  And the shape it ultimately takes is often far from what we thought it would be.  But as with anything we strengthen, it becomes easier and easier to love, really love, the more you make that effort.  And “making the effort” means making room for everything that comes along with a relationship, and making the best choices you can make along the way, knowing that you will learn to make better ones over time.

Everyone in my life who is intimate with me and who has put up with me for more than two years knows this process of loving and closeness.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.  The peace that comes with having no pretenses and no threats against your circles of intimacy is worth every painful sobbing and every heightened pleasure that you thought would never end…

If you are trying to love someone, or allow them to love you… hang in there.

Hang in there… everyone is worth that effort.

Is there anyone in your life that you KNOW you love? Truly Love? Did you have the challenges of time, space, change that allowed you to see just how true your love is?

Dear EveryDay

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Dear Everyday,

Time FliesPlease stop passing by so quickly. I am having trouble keeping up.  The days are full, but leave me feeling a bit empty as I climb into bed.  I feel like I am dutifully eating experiences that are being fed to me, while my own menu of goodies just yellows and fades, and what little I have cooked up, spoils.

I don’t know how to make you slow down. Sometimes the day drags on forever, yet when the light of sun fades to the glow of street lamps, I feel duped.  The day took forever… doing nothing.

Time Flies 2

I don’t blame you. I know the days are mine and that I am the important part of the equation.  I’m just asking that you work with me; keep me in mind. Let me catch my breath.

I am in no hurry. I can take as long as it takes to do what I want to do.  Sometimes within a few blinks, my hopeful morning too often turns into a defeated evening.  I know I got things done, and I know my experiences were valuable, but I am trying to fit in a word, edgewise.  I just want to get something done that I want to get done, not just what has to be done.

Time Flies 3

Please slow down so I can harness my inspiration and motivation into some creative projects and have something to show for it at the end of the day.

At the end of this life.

Please.

Love,

Troy