Saturday, April 26, 2014

This is my road to my redemption.

Twenty years ago, one life ended, another began. On the surface, this departure may be obvious. It may appear facile to suggest that the sudden and complete collapse of a five-year relationship and recent first marriage represents the end of a "life" or that my current "life" is defined by the commencement of my relationship with the woman with whom I became romantically involved at that same time.

In fact, the loss of our first child in 2001 marked a much more significant change in my sense of self, redefined entirely what I feel is important or where my concentration truly belongs.

And yet. The near-nervous breakdown I had in early Spring was before my relationship with Toni began, and though that set the stage for what was to follow, I will not concede our "hooking up" to be the catalyst for the lines I was about to cross, in my personal relationships or in what at that point had most defined my professional and artistic career, Guerrilla Theater Company.

By the end of 1994, I was unsure as to whether I had a single friend in the world apart from her, nor exactly who I was going to be for the rest of my life. I had spent my life following people. I resented them for it, but that is where I chose to be, it is what I was used to. From that point on I began my uncertain attempt to take control, and to lead.

Lucky for me, I found someone who believes in me. Or more to the point, who I believe believes in me.

Temperature: 50°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Remember: Do not run on an empty stomach.
The air is moist before the dawn. The inferno on the horizon racing me towards home. Pam pam pam my feet hit the pavement pam pam pam. Pick ‘em up, put ‘em down, pam pam pam. Pam pam pam! PAM PAM WHOOSH! Light as a feather, heading for home, my toes barely touch the street, worry and fear and shame and doubt have brought me to this place, devoid of mass. Light as a feather, I fly home.
- from And Then You Die (How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years)
I began starving myself around Memorial Day, 1994 - and running. I ran further than I ever had before, not even sure where I was going, uneducated on these neighborhood streets, from the house we had moved into seven or eight months earlier.

Carrying a Walkman, like a brick, in my hand, I would run for an hour, listening to The Downward Spiral.

Amplified Heart was released July 19, the week Toni and I fell for each other. We listened to this album over and over during a weekedn in NYC together in August. It is a powerful album, and a swan song for EBTG's light jazz of the 1980s and early 90s. Later I learned it was their first album after Ben Watt had almost died, so it was also a rebirth. From their 20s into their 30s, and presaging my own. Abandoning a facade of maturity, moving into true crisis, stripping affectation (see: 1992's Worldwide) embracing true adulthood, but also the joy of ever-present now.

1994 Playlist
- or -
"Amplified Heart" by Everything But the Girl
Troubled Mind
I Don't Understand Anything
Walking To You
Get Me
We Walk The Same Line

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