Saying Goodbye to My Home.

With a very heavy heart, I must leave San Francisco. The place I have called home for over 4 years. The tech industry has both powered and ruined this great city. The rent on my apartment will double the day I move out. Some high paid programmer and his girlfriend will likely be the only people to afford where I live now. Tech has sustained me for 18+ years. It has afforded me a life most would be very satisfied with. Yet it has taken my health and my sanity. I am very good at what I do. But ask me if I enjoy it anymore.

It only takes a few too many bad experiences and unemployment streaks to break a person here. I have had 8 different jobs in 4 years. The startup world can be brutal as war. I gave it my best. I worked my ass off. I put up with an overwhelmingly male driven career field. Unless you are a woman you can never understand what that is like. I have some amazing triumphs in Tech. Many of you see my work daily on various retail and entertainment sites based in Northern California. I am proud of what I achieved. And honored to have worked with some truly phenomenal people here in San Francisco. A few are my friends now and forever. I will miss many things here. Especially the dreams I had that were never fulfilled.

My future lies in my past now. I started off in this world as a full on creative doing production art in a small regional ad agency back east. I still have a piece of the artboard that covered my drafting table when I left as Art Director. I rocked graphic design and photo retouching. I drew constantly. I was deep into ceramic arts, even building my own kilns with another artist.

Now 48, I paint, draw, do photography and even record my music after nearly 15 years out of the arts, in preparation of a complete cold start back to a new old career. My brother asked to me to get back into ceramics last night. He is not the fist. I am amazing with my hands and I will when I land. I am not sure where I will land. For now I will be homeless and jobless. I will survive on a short sabbatical because of the support and love of family and friends.

What I can say is I will move somewhere more laid back, much less expensive where I can eventually have a yard and hopefully my own house and art studio. I will miss the mega conveniences of this most walkable city. But I will gain more freedom to create. I will not miss the near constant worry of how to just get by when most of what I earned went to rent, food, taxes and parking tickets. I will miss a few friends I have made up here. I will not miss the egotistical, ladder climbers that infest and gentrify this city.

I read almost daily about more and more people actually being driven out of San Francisco because of evictions by greedy landlords and a cost of living so high teachers, cooks, barista, artists, musicians, and even life long residents of the city can not afford to live in the city. As for the homeless that litter the streets, they say there are well over 5000 homeless living on the streets here. More daily. There are growing tent cities expanding under the highway around Cesar Chavez and Bayview Ave. Real tent cities of firmly encamped people with furniture and children no less! This is nothing short of a tragedy. The dirty underbelly of technology running wild making millionaires and ignoring the poor. This is a city of mass consumption too. It is easy to fall into that trap. Drugs and alcohol are the norm here. I have seen friends take it much too far. I have seen wasted wrecks of meth users convulsing on the sidewalks and drunks passed out face first in the street. This city WILL eat you alive if you let it.

I will leave this city in tears. Because it is a beautiful, eclectic melting pot of every culture you can imagine. Where it does not matter if you are gay, straight, bi, queer, trans, questioning, intersex, weird, artsy, scientific, nerdy, blue, tall, a bear, hipster, pony, unicorn or a furry. There is something for absolutely everyone here. I had so many hopes and dreams when I moved here over 4 years ago. For me I was never able to get that foothold I needed to make them all come true. That hurts the most. It will be hard to reconcile as I do not accept failure well.

But in some masochistic, ritual way I seem to have perfected, I will pack my shit and just leave as I have done many times before in other cities. I leave this city the same way I got here. Broke, unemployed and full of piss and vinegar and feeling much older. I will start completely over somewhere else with the same dreams and the same hopes I had almost 5 years ago when I decided, Fuck It! I am moving to San Francisco. And I will succeed one way or another. I am older and wiser now. I am experienced in “battle”. I can do this one more time. I just have too because that is what I do. I survive and keep moving forward no matter what.

Adieu et Bon Chance San Francisco.

The First Step

To be..

A woman in the world without a past
Where childhood memories do not exist or last
Lifelong friendships have frozen in time
Lost to the moment she crossed the line
Her future fear uncertain but true
All in the name of living like you
To cry and scream and love so deep
Endless dreams aroused from sleep
Upon living this life to stay in stride
She longs to breath to stay alive

 

Focused in the task of passing through
… a world of stereotypes, fears and revolving doors

She steps outside the box
… and air fills her lungs

 

A Seed of Hope

Endless miles of hot asphalt race only inches beneath her. This journey has become all too familiar as she blankly scans the road ahead. The trips back to her parents home each weekend only followed by the same blank canvas before classes start each Monday.

“How long must I do this?” She whispers to the empty seat beside her.

Cracks and hastily planted repairs in the road counting down the miles. She opens the window to awaken her senses. This drive, this repetition that numbs her mind as she struggles to stay awake at the wheel. Thoughts are her only companion along these mindless stretches as even the radio’s blaring madness too fades into background noise.

She stops along a long isolated corridor. The pine forests frame the roads like deeply carved aqueducts where only metal and concrete flow. It is spring and mediocre patches of wildflowers fight the weeds and weekly industrial mowers for a stand of their own.

A lone whit daisy has impaled itself into the broken edges of the roadside. It’s only companions, indescript plastic wrappers and crumbled infrastructure from a tenuous, fragile barrier. Just enough protection for it to take root.

“How long must I do this?” She whispers again.

Her voice falls along the roadside as she pours the last bit of melted ice and moisture from a giant convince store fountain drink around this hopeful yet doomed spark of life. Her gaze surveys the local patches of daisies bunched together living freely and open just outside the shadows of their lanky pine guardians.

Her eyes return to her lone companion at the edge of oblivion wondering how such a beautiful thing could survive and blossom outside of its siblings’ safe haven of meadow-like grasses, weeds and illegible “do not mow” signs. She thinks to herself as if ready to ask the daisy out loud.

“What are you doing here?”

The silence in her mind is only broken by the silence of no answer. Her gaze blurs as she raises her head to the blue on blue sky. Her focus turns to nothing of consequence as she ponders the bravery and utter determination of this lone flower. Her only thought as she turns slowly to return to her drive are of her own life.

“I wish I was a flower.”

She starts the car and quickly disappears into the distance.

Second Spring

Scattered about and disorganized
Thoughts clinging to each other as they pass
A topped off glass swells over
The liquid emotions spilling out around the overburdened vessel
These are my life’s savings

Order and chaos an unmade bed
Falling in and out of lucid skies a comforting breeze comes
Warmth wraps around skin
The infants blanket gently catching every drop of spilled thought
These are my life’s memories

Gently stacked and freshly picked
Budding goals and ripened dreams refresh the open cupboard
Change is coming
The second spring brings new hope to a passing life
This is my life’s dream

Soon I will climb into this skin for the very last time knowing life does not end it begins again and again.

Lost at Sea

Lost at SeaSomewhere between the yesterdays, todays and tomorrows I have become lost. It seems as though only yesterday everything was so beautiful and perfect. But again like the endless tides, I have lost my way as the waters withdraw. The search for self, confidence and wholeness washed away again. Stranded on a bar surrounded my a billion fluid paths. And then the tide rises again to find me standing out too far to swim home. There is no turning back. There is no desire to turn back. I do not have the strength or the will to swim so far against the tide.

So I let it wash me further and further. Each recession I find my feet tenuously planted in the now. My mind grasping on to hope. My eyes seeing out to the horizon. Standing so tall above the sea of change I can see a horizon. The distance eluding me, but still so far away. The tears come and the tide returns again. My head barely above the surface. Each breath is guarded and unsure. It may be a while before I can breathe again, when the waves come to swallow me and pull me further down this fluid path.

The waves come. They always do. My horizon lost to the towering menace that threatens to take away my lungs. I manage to keep some strength. Tired and beaten with every set. My only horizon is coming at me again and again. Faint glimpses in the distance as each wave crests. I feel my feet no longer touch the bottom. I am in deep water. I am in an element from which I was born, but cannot survive. Unless…

Unless I can keep swimming, treading water, occasionally sinking to the bottom to rest my weary arms, legs…soul. Hoping I never go so deep that my lungs will burst and the surface will never come. It is so dark near the bottom. It lonely and cold. And there is no one to save me if I falter.

Beacon of HopeFaint glimpses of light between the swells warm my resolve through the burning in my eyes. I do not want to fail. I want to keep swimming along this path and resting with each falling of the tide until I can go no more. It’s all I can do. It is surviving.

I am only surviving. I ask myself with the approach of each tide, how do I go on? Should I even try. So many others have made it across this vast ocean landing in the new world. Discovering life as they have never known before. I have no compass. I have lost all maps. I follow my star in hopes it will guide me to that new land. Hoping… that when I stop and sink below the cold darkness that I will return to the surface to find my star. Hoping it is the right star.

Fear sets in thoughts of the star only leading me further out to sea. I am so tired. I am becoming disoriented. My arms and legs are so tired. Like weights of unwanted emotion and despair they struggle to keep me afloat. I must not lose focus. I must continue to breath. The tide will leave me on a bar again soon. I have to keep that thought.

And there is always the hope, dim, so very dim at times through the fog day and night. The hope that my star will turn into a beacon on that distant shore I have traveled so long and so far to reach.

But now I am still Lost at Sea.

On the Eve of a New Life – the Poem.

I am here now she says.
My thoughts of life.
My dreams are living.
My world is lucid.

I am here now she cries.
My thoughts of the past.
My regrets soft and deep.
My pain stabbing my heart.

I am here now she laughs.
My life is beginning.
My soul is set free.
My love is waiting to fly.

I am here now she screams.
My world is my own.
My emotions so real.
My tears are like rain.

I am here now she whispers.
My gentle voice speaks.
My body softens and flows.
My wish is come true.

I am here she says.
And no one can ever take that away.