@thejeremyspears just turned me onto this, aand I am forever in his debt. Listen to it now, and then mark your calendar and come see me tape my first hour-long special on dec 8th at the @cyniccave in SF with @xanderdeveaux and @natashamuse
@thejeremyspears just turned me onto this, aand I am forever in his debt. Listen to it now, and then mark your calendar and come see me tape my first hour-long special on dec 8th at the @cyniccave in SF with @xanderdeveaux and @natashamuse
So it’s kind of been a running joke today that most of us trans* folk didn’t even seem to be aware that this was Transgender Awareness Week. Also it’s been a joke that there seem to be several different weeks designated as Transgender Awareness Week, depending on your location.
One of my favorite people in this world has moved on to another today. I am glad her suffering is over, I am sad that she is gone, and my heart breaks for her dear husband Sean, every bit her match and mate. For those that don’t know her, I’d love to tell you of a truly magical person, and for those that do, I’d like to add my stories of her to yours.
I first met Angelique Lee in 1998 in New Orleans. In a chaotic whirlwind of a visit to the city, that my memory plays back as a frenetic swirl of colors, scents, and odd characters emerging from the kaleidoscopic event horizon, she sticks out as a crystal clear, calming, smiling, and kindly face, as she later does in many other memories of strange, wild times.
Angelique made life into a fairy tale in every moment. With her black lace victorian dresses, and her striped tights and vintage shoes conjuring imagery of the Wicked Witch of the West while the sparkling eyes and gentle, childlike smile framed by her slightly unruly black hair assured you that she was much more closely related to Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, she always caused the air to shimmer a bit in a low, comforting glow everywhere she went; and I am certain you would be hard-pressed to find someone who’d met her and wouldn’t agree 100%.
Whenever I think of her, I am instantly reminded of the pockets of calm she would create in the psychedelic storm of the parties and circles we would cross paths in.
Moments at the Autonomous Mutant Festival that I would be blindly stumbling, hallucinating madly, through the dark forest, from one brightly lit sound system to the next, and would come across her crouched in a a small grove, surrounded by candles and strange knick-knacks, and she would look at me and smile as if she’d been expecting me all evening, at exactly that time, and forego any greetings or salutations, as if we’d already been sitting there speaking, and just ask “Would you like to sit in this nook, drink tea and tell stories?”
The day in San Francisco that her boyfriend at the time had been held in jail for the evening, so to comfort him, stayed on the phone all night, reading to him the entirety of “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman.
Angelique was simultaneously a wizened old grandmother, and a delighted little girl. She had the eyes of someone who knew, coupled with the smile and curiosity of a child experiencing everything for the first time.
My favorite story about her is also one of my favorite stories to tell in general:
In 1999, I lived at the SPAZ house in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco. I’d just started up the circus I travelled with for years, met hundreds of strange new people, and had collided with a series of bizarre pockets and tribes of artists and general lunatics that would later be some of the closest people to me in my life. Many people lived at that house, way TOO many if you asked half the folks that really ran and took care of the place…
Angelique had taken up in a little attic in a smaller house out in the backyard. Being the dark, smiling faerie, disguised as a human being that she was, she’d constructed her roofing of corrugated tin and various mosses, and decked out her little shack-loft with a series of witch trappings unique to her. It had a small little square window in it, near the arch of the roof, much like the square attic window in an old barn, but only big enough for a person to lean out of, or crawl into.
That day a storm was coming in, and the house being one block from the beach would get hit especially hard. Her roofing wasn’t complete yet, and wouldn’t hold out through the storm, so Angelique was coming in and out of the house, grabbing supplies, frantically working to finish her roof and secure it before the storm hit.
I was in the house drawing and relaxing, the house was empty, and being as she’d been out back for the last hour or so, I forgot I wasn’t alone there. I went out back and lit a cigarette, and walked into the garden, looking up at the dark, foreboding clouds filling the southwestern portion of the sky and closing in slowly, blotting out the sun as they came. I was lost in thought, completely unaware I wasn’t alone, when I heard a muffled voice, much, much closer than the sounds of thunder rolling in the distance so low they were felt more than heard. My gaze shot from the sky to a spot a bit lower and to my left and saw a sight that left me in stitches.
There, sticking from the small, square attic window, were Angelique’s legs, kicking frantically, wrapped in red and white striped tights and ending in her black victorian buckle shoes as the rest of her was propped inside, stuffing moss into the roof. Kicking, striped, Wicked-Witch legs contrasting starkly against the mottled gray storm front while she chattered wildly to herself about how desperately she need to finish.
That visual had me shaking with laughter. So happy to be alive in a world where moments of such storybook absurdity could happen.
That is what I think of every time I think of her.
I write this story, and the others, not for her benefit but for yours, because I believe all of us that knew her are so lucky to have had her presence around us in this life, and now, she has crossed through the veil to bring her light to another world somewhere.
But even though she is somewhere else, I do hope these words can make it to her: Angelique, thank you. Thank you so much, for coloring my world the way you did. For not only showing me your magic, but showing me that magic can be so bright, and so innocent, and not always be cursed with a sinister edge. Thank you for seeing me, truly seeing me, and in doing so, helping me to be able to someday truly see myself. The small but powerful indentations you made in my reality I have always carried with me as inspiration, and I will continue to draw on them as I move forward, forever being changed knowing you. I know that I was not good at expressing my love, adoration, and caring until the last few years, but I am so glad I got to tell you these things a few months ago at the marina, amongst our friends. You have been one of my favorite beings in this universe since the day I met you. I don’t know if we met before this life, perhaps we did, but I am certain we will meet again. Until then, know that I love you, dearly, as do so many others.
And to Sean, please know that you are every bit your wife’s counterpart, you too are an exceptional and magical being. My heart breaks for you my friend, but please know that I, and our other friends, will hold your wife in our hearts, as well as you in our arms if need be. Please stay here with us as long as you can to tell us more stories of the being that shares her heart with yours, and to build more to inspire us.
I love both of you, very much.
the Seinfeld bass line slowed down x11
Someone made the Seinfeld theme listenable, by slowing it down 11x.
Dear you, you that loves me, no matter if we’ve met. I want to tell you something, and I mean it, but it will take me a moment to get to my point. Surprise, surprise.
I took a hit of DMT the other night that, once I came out of it, made me feel like I should be entering my initials into cosmic high score board.
I took a hit of human experience last year that damn near killed me.
That 30 minutes on DMT wound up becoming an allegory for the last year and a half that has become very poignant.
Just to preface, I wasn’t trying to act reckless, or endanger myself. DMT is probably the world’s most powerful hallucinogen, but can’t possibly hurt you, unless you were to inject somewhere around 91 times the amount that people normally ingest. (That is an accurate figure, I looked up the LD50, or lethal dosage, after that night, just to clarify)
I was with 3 friends, and since I haven’t gotten their permission to publicly write about doing illicit, mind-bending drugs together, we’re going to call them Larry, Moe, and Curly.
Moe is the gay one, with the funny pants, but he doesn’t play much into this story… I just wanted to point him out for my own amusement.
We were out drinking, enjoying each other’s company, in San Francisco. Moe announced, as he is wont to do, that he wanted drugs. And Larry managed to slyly slip in that he had some DMT. And Eric snapped his fingers and decided, “We’re going to Larry’s house, NOW.”
If you can’t tell, I love that shit.
We get back to Larry’s place, and he sets up a nice, calming environment in the living room. A blanket over the doorway, to muffle sound. Low, but comfortable and warm lighting. And proceeds to show us how to use the pipe. DMT burns differently than other plant matter.
Larry does a lungful of the psychedelic, and sits back, murmuring “I can move things with my mind…”
I chuckle; tripping is funny and charming, and say, “Well I’m going to join you.”
I swear I wasn’t trying to play Billy Badass. I’d actually done a few hits of DMT the night before with other friends (I told you, I love that shit), and was a bit concerned about diminishing returns.
But, I will admit, yes, I was looking for answers. I’ve spent over a year looking for answers, even though I know I’ll never truly find them. But I only put into the pipe what I thought would be a healthy dose… not one that make even Terrence McKenna’s sphincter tighten.
I filled the bulb of the pipe with thick, heavy, brownish smoke, and inhaled. In less than a second, I knew what I’d done. I grinned, and murmured “better sit down while I can”, plopped onto the couch, then shot at high speed into every possible world ever imagined.
DMT is a funny drug. I’ve never found it scary. Thrilling, yes, but never scary. It acts instantly, it goes hard and fast, and you come down within 10-20 minutes. Or, in this particular case, about 30-35.
It doesn’t come with the neuroticism of other, slower acting hallucinogens. You’re not really able to freak out about life decisions, or personality traits, or whether your parents like you, or any of that shit.
DMT looks at you and says “YOU? No, fuck YOU, there is no you. Here, have a look at the cosmos.” Then “BANG!”, uppercuts you into the multiverse at 23,000 miles per hour.
Within that first 3 seconds, I was GONE. That distinct sound hit my ears, of a hyper-dimensional cartoon spring being stretched through a phaser pedal, and I was off. Shooting through ever-shifting prismatic realities in a crystalline hallway made of stained glass cathedral windows moving so far beyond the speed of light, its momentum was not forward, but every direction at once. As if the universe were a 5th dimensional Rubik’s cube perpetually vomiting more versions of itself between the individual pieces at a rate that neared infinite. It was beautiful. And it was fast.
I went HARD.
And apparently, my companions for the evening have never seen someone go that far outside of their body.
I didn’t mean to frighten anyone.
As I shot through the secret nature of the multi-verse, informational g-forces pressing me to the couch that was no longer there, at some point, I saw Larry push his face through a curtain of speeding, lizard-like fractals in shifting light, with a concerned look on his face, saying “Eric. You OK? Eric. Eric, babe, you OK? ERIC.”
From my perspective, I turned to him, and (after first thinking “how the hell are you keeping up with this spaceship? We are going FAST, dude!”) grinned, and nodded to let him know “yes, I’m OK, just riding it out.”
Apparently, from the outside perspective, it looked much different. There was no nodding, no grinning, and no, “I’m OK”s. According to the three of them, all they saw was my eyes rolling back into my head, my fists clenched, and I was hacking and coughing.
Now, to anyone who is very familiar with complete out-of-body DMT experience, this is actually normal, even people who are clinically injected with the drug, rather than smoking it, go into coughing and hacking fits, and the eyes rolling back into the head is par for the course. But to these three, they didn’t know that.
They told me later they were pretty close to taking me to the hospital…
Ok, ok, I know… but seriously, the whole thing is much prettier from the inside than it is from the outside.
The point is, they got scared. Scared that I was going to die. And I realized as the inter-dimensional roller coaster I was on gradually started to decrease in speed, and I was able to start to see and experience the room encasing my body again, they were scared I was going to die because lately, I’ve been a little scary… Reckless. Sometimes teetering on the brink of insanity… And sometimes literally wallowing in its depths. Having absolutely no fear of death on a good day… and a genuine desire for it on the bad ones.
Apparently I was completely gone for 15 minutes, before I was showing any response at all, and it took another 10 or 15 for me to slowly come out of it.
Larry was there, constantly, as I started to come to. The sounds of the room, the stereo, disembodied voices in the distance, very slowly started to hit my ears in ever-tightening spirals, as the all-encompassing vision of the HotShot-at-the-Godhead started to dissipate, and drift away in hyperactive, fractalized patterns dancing into the distance like a psychedelic sand painting being blown away by swirling winds the shape of DNA strands.
Larry was right there by my side, saying “Eric. Are you OK? Eric. Eric, say your name, what’s your name? Eric, babe, what’s your name, can you say your name for me?”
My eyes started to focus, my pupils, which must have entirely swallowed my corneas, began to contract a bit, I managed to turn my head a couple degrees towards him, and mustering all the effort and focus I had, managed to shape my mouth and expel my breath through it enough to say the word/name “Eric.”
CLAP! Went Larry’s hands, ecstatically, “I think he’s coming out of it, I think he’s going to be OK.” he expressed, to the far side of the room, in front of me, which I still couldn’t see.
This went on for a while, as the ringing in my ears was replaced by music I could almost start to recognize, and my vision started to form into fuzzy shapes of the other couch in front of me with both Curly and Moe sitting on it, looking at me intently, both with concerned looks on their faces.
Now look. They were overreacting a bit. Like I said, I’d only done the same kind of high-speed vision journey that people do on DMT… BUT… in the state that I was in, punch-drunk from being uppercut into all possible worlds, vision still sparkling and dancing across the surface of reality in shifting colors, I realized something.
I realized that what was happening right now, was a direct allegory for what my friends have been doing for me for the last year.
Looking at me, with a look that says “We love you. You’re scaring us. We’re not going to judge you, but we’re frightened for you. We love you.”
Clapping their hands excitedly when I would show promise, and saying “I think he’s coming out of it, I think he’s going to be okay.”
Locking eyes with me, when I’m a confused, crying, screaming wreck, and saying “You’re doing a good fucking job.”
Looking at me, and wanting to say “do you know where you are?” But not doing it, because they know the answer to that is a place I still don’t want to be.
Saying, “Hold him up, hold him up.” And looking me in the eyes and telling me “We’ve got you. You’re going to be okay, can you say your name? Eric. Can you tell me your name? What’s your name? Eric, babe, tell me your name.”
I’m so sorry I scared you all.
And I’m so sorry that losing the greatest love I’ve ever felt temporarily blinded me to all the love being poured onto me by so many others.
After what I’ve seen, it was hard to believe that there is so much good in the world. After what I went through, it’s hard to accept that in spite of the way things went, I am still one of the luckiest people on earth, to have all of you so concerned, trying to help even when you can’t, picking me up when my eyes are swollen and sealed shut from the repeated strikes to the face that the universe dealt to me. Not judging when I would blindly swing at things that weren’t my opponent, because all I want to do is get my hands on that fucking thing that killed her and tear it apart until it is grains of sand that I can spit in, and scream at, and stomp into mud that I may reform and animate into… I don’t even know.
And as the realization of all that you’ve done for me, as I flailed, screaming in my own darkness, I saw why I do these things, too. Because as Larry paced next to me, trying to talk me out of a catatonic state, while lizard-shaped geometric patterns in shifting rainbow hues spun across him, I realized that as much as I appreciated it, I wanted him to be her.
I want this to be a bad dream, a nasty drug trip, that I can pull out of.
I want to yank the arm on the cosmic slot machine until I get triple-cherries and I wake up in the reality where she’s not sick, she’s not dead.
I want to force my heart to race until it feels as if it’s going to burst from my chest and I wake up shouting, covered in sweat, and I realize her head is nestled on my chest, and my arm is around her shoulders, and she blearily wakes, pushes her sleep mask up, and says, “are you OK?”
“Yeah darlinface, I am now.”
I want to come to in a room somewhere with my head in her lap, her fingers in my hair, her hazel eyes looking down at me as spirit lights dance around the curves of her cheeks, saying, “It was just a bad drug reaction, baby. You went hard, but you’re coming out of it. You’re going to be okay. Can you say my name?”
But I can’t make that happen.
I have to accept that she’s gone, she’s not coming back.
I can’t tap out of this reality, spin the hypercube, and pop into the marriage that was supposed to be mine, where she’s baking inappropriately shaped cookies in the kitchen of a house decorated to look like Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets strip club, while I curse at the distributor of my Barracuda in the driveway out front with my hands covered in grease and oil.
Where we get in it once I fix the FUCKING distributor, and drive it out to the Salton Sea, and throw projections of old, banned cartoons from the 40s on the side of an abandoned casino, then lay down the back seat, and lie together on blankets under the huge glass window in the rear of my car, watching the stars above the desert, and make out like horny teenagers on a camping trip, dry humping each other through our clothes, and trying to give each other instructions while refusing to disengage our mouths from each other’s.
You know. LIVING. Like we were supposed to.
But that’s not what we get. We got something else, which at some point, I will have to accept is also beautiful.
When I spin out, get dangerous, my vision is strobing, can’t stop crying, punching walls and screaming, and you pick me up by the armpits, I want to look at you and ask “Where am I? What happened?”
But I don’t, because you’d have to give me the answer I don’t want to hear.
“You’re here. I’m holding you. You fell in love with a sick girl, and you did everything in your power to stop her sickness, but you couldn’t. It killed her, in front of you, as you held her hand, and it messed you up real bad.”
But even though I don’t want to hear it, it’s true. It’s what happened, and it DID mess me up real bad, and I’ve been scary, reckless and irresponsible, but you’re still there, holding me up.
And I have to accept all that happened. So that I can stop scaring you, stop testing the limits of your love and support, so that I can be there in case YOU break, and hold you up, as you have for me, and tell you that I love you. Tell you that you’re doing a great fucking job.
“My name is Eric.
“But that’s a stage name.
“My real name is Eric Thorsen.
“I fell in love with a sick girl.
“I tried to stop her sickness.
“I did everything in my power to stop it. I pushed myself beyond my own limits.
“I married her.
“Because I love her.
“Because she’s my soulmate. The most harmonic note to answer mine I’ve ever met. I married her because she wanted me to so bad.
“Because I thought it would save her.
“I thought if I sanctified our companionship in ritual, it would cure her cancer. Because I had nothing left. I’d tried everything.
“I married her, and I cared for her to the utmost of my ability, and it killed her.
“It killed her in front of me, as I held her hand.
“It killed her in front of me as I held her hand and then I kissed her forehead.
“It killed her in front of me, and an hour later when the mortician came, I picked the cat up off of the body.
“I picked him up and held his fur to my face and said, ‘Come on buddy, it’s okay, that’s not her anymore.’
“It killed her in front of me as I held her hand, and later I watched them take her body away in a white vinyl bag.
“And it messed me up real bad.”
It hurts to accept. But it’s what happened.
I barely remember the last year. It’s mostly snapshots, and most of those snapshots are of me vomiting ugliness. And you, all of you, you stuck with me somehow.
And even the ones that didn’t, the ones who couldn’t hack it, who had to turn their backs on me because they just couldn’t take being near a ground-zero trauma broadcast dressed a human being, even they tried.
It’s unbelievable. I am humbled.
I had no idea so many people loved me, or even that so many people could.
I’m sorry I frightened you. I truly am. Thank you for being there for me. I can’t promise that I won’t get scary again from time to time, but I promise I’ll try.
It’s quieting down.
Gradually, it’s getting better.
“My name is Eric.
“I think I’m starting to come out of it.
“I think I’m going to be OK.”
Just fair warning, if my previous writing has not convinced you that I am bordering on institutionalized, this one may.
Hollie visited me in a dream again last night. Unquestionably. It was her. And it was the most vivid, realistic dream I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a few doozies.
Normally, I know that I’m dreaming. I lucid dream often, but this one… It was so vivid, so real, I had to wonder many times if it was a dream, before I finally figured out that it was.
There was a dinner party at my ex’s house. I was there, it wasn’t too bad, a little tense, but only slightly, and that’s to be expected. But of course, it wasn’t JUST my ex’s house. Dreams have an extensive architecture all their own.
The house was an almost unending series of rooms, although it didn’t seem all that large in any one place. There was a large backyard, filled with artisanal versions of those wobbly spring toy ride things you find in McDonald’s playgrounds. You know the ones? A fiberglass duck, or other cartoon animal, with handles and a saddle, mounted on a thick spring, like the kind used on the suspension of a large semi-truck. Little kids get on them and wobble back and forth. Sometimes larger kids, like myself, get on them and slam them forwards and backwards into the ground, face-ass-face-ass-face-ass… Because I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid….
Anyway, the backyard was filled with these things, but they weren’t fiberglass ducks, they were artistically crafted animals of mixed materials, fine woods, reclaimed eyelets from ships and farm machinery with a worn, greenish patina, articulated and hinged mouths and joints, that would animate as the animals moved. The one that was particularly striking was a wooden horse, who rocked on his tractor spring in the rain storm buffeting the house and yard, mouth gaping and snapping shut, eyes rolling, like a clockwork stallion of small stature galloping at fevered speeds in one place. They were breathtakingly beautiful. Like they belonged in a Miyazaki film that will never be made. And quite fun to ride.
There was a room just inside from the backyard, filled with handmade ponds with waterfalls, and boats designed by the same craftspeople that made the playground toys in the backyard. All in glass enclosures. Why there was a pond museum in the house, no idea.
There was a massive garden in the front yard, large tomato plants, climbing squash clinging to high trellises. As I wandered through the garden, alone, I was suddenly no longer wearing the clothes I’d come in. I was instantly wrapped in a pile of layers of random free-box crap, all too constrictive, making no sense. As I struggled with zippers and buttons running at odd angles, lapels wrapped incorrectly around my torso, I got the impression that as I took these things off, more were appearing on me. This is where I started to suspect that I was dreaming, but it was so vivid, the discomfort of odd strings, and tight sleeves too real.
As I struggled with zippers and panels, and tried to get these horrid, clinging things off of me, I started to get a sneaking suspicion that more were growing as I peeled off the layers. That suspicion was confirmed as I tore off a windbreaker two sizes too small, and felt something constricting my fingers, held my hands to my face, and seeing I was now wearing gloves with a ratty lining, tore up threads wrapped around my fingertips. This is the point that I realized one thing, and suspected another. First off, I knew now that I was dreaming. Secondly, I started to wonder if Hollie were there, and she was fucking with me. She’s a trickster, that’s her thing.
I finally freed myself of my Goodwill-reject clothing prison, and continued to explore the many rooms around the house.
I entered a room with a group of dogs. Angry, aggressive dogs. I barked back at them and left the room.
I entered another room, with a group of cats. Again, angry, aggressive, hissing, spitting, cats. One came at me, and I tossed it aside. I then realized one of them, the particularly angry and dangerous one, wasn’t a cat, it was a honey badger.
I picked up another of the teeth and claw bearing psychopaths and tossed it at the honey badger, who was fuming and getting poised to attack. That did nothing. So I picked up the honey badger by the neck, trying to figure out how to keep it from attacking me, and then it spoke to me in a very familiar voice.
“Well you’ve been fucking around with so many animals lately, how ELSE was I supposed to get your attention?”
I knew the voice, and the laughter well.
And as the face of the honey badger started to cross-dissolve and change into the face of a woman, I knew the face even better.
I know that face better than I know the back of my eyelids. I know every curve, dimple, and slight line.
It was her. And with what she’d just said, I KNEW it was her. Not just a construct of my mind, what she’d said was 100% Hollie Stevens, it was exactly what she’d say, and I would have never thought of it on my own.
“Besides, if I’m going to be an animal, what better animal than the honey badger?!”
And she laughed again, her face becoming clearer.
My eyes poured water and my heart almost exploded as I wrapped my arms around her and just blurted out “I’ve been wanting to see you SO bad!”
I squeezed her. I felt her arms, human now, wrap around me in return, and squeeze back. I felt the warmth that she’d always given me, not physical warmth, not the heat of her body, but the warm, inner calm she always brought to me, that lit up my entire torso, like a small steady flame that made everything in the world okay. And I wept.
I didn’t just weep. I bawled. Water POURED from my face. Feeling that embrace I never thought I’d feel again turned my eyes and my face into a high-pressure water hose, it literally poured from me.
I pulled back and looked at her.
“What is this place?”
She half-smiled, and said “I don’t know…”
And then I woke up, because apparently it is impossible to cry that hard and stay asleep.
I don’t mind. I never thought I’d feel her arms around me like that again. Even if it was only for 11 seconds, I’ll take it
I went through something really profound, and really psychically painful after Holl died.
I’d met my soulmate, gone through so much with her in the space of six months, and then she was gone. We’d still been in the stage of showing our lives to each other, trying to introduce each other to all of our friends, but hadn’t been able to do that. Cancer, it takes up a lot of your free time. It’s a nagging, needy bitch.
I married her in the hospital, and then again in hospice, we’d become wholly devoted to each other, we had a connection that was harmonious in ways I didn’t think were possible. I am not normally a person who incites harmony. Dissonance is usually the color I have in my palette.
Meeting hollie and falling in love with her was like I’d met a twin sister I never knew I had. We were so alike in so many ways, and neither of us is like ANYONE. It was powerful, quietly powerful.
And after she was gone, I haunted her in reverse. I walked through her life, tracked down all the people that knew her, all the places she’d gone that I never had the chance to visit with her. Everywhere I’d go, I would smile at some point, or laugh, or I’d just make a statement, and people would go white. The color would drain from their faces, they’d grab me and say “I can see her in you.” They’d say “I see why she loved you…”, “You’re the male Hollie Stevens!”, “ you’re HER.” But what was really troubling, was that they weren’t telling me anything I didn’t know, and these things they were saying weren’t just platitudes.
People, whether they knew it or not, were recognizing something very real, and very difficult to deal with. Not only had I met the person that completes me… but she’d given herself to me. Literally. She’d given me her life, her mind, her soul, And somehow, I’d downloaded her as she left this place.
I like things that I never liked before. I have nervous tics, and personality quirks that aren’t mine. For months, my brain felt like it was going to burst from my head. She lives in me.
The romance of that idea sure is pretty. The actual reality is that the human mind isn’t built to hold two people. I was coming apart, for months. I still am, obviously, although not as intensely. My head HURT, so bad. I felt like a character in a Philip K. Dick novel. I couldn’t tell who I was. I couldn’t tell what was Eric, what was Hollie, and what was the new entity, ericholliehollieeric. My identity is not solid, it is an amorphous gel that keeps changing shape.
Does all this sound abstract? I’m sure it does. But it was very real, confusing, and painful. It was an existential crisis like I’ve never had before, and I’m the dude that used to chew 26 hits of acid and wander into the woods by himself. I’m not new to transformative experience.
At one point as I was really scared, and lost, forgetting everything every 30 seconds, I called my friend Maggie Mayhem. Mags is a memetics and science nerd, Berkeley educated, highly intelligent, has travelled the world, is an indie porn star with her husband Ned (who is also a scientist), and also a magician. She’s one of the few that I can trust with conversations like this. She explained it to me in a way that helped me understand, and described it perfectly:
"When people fall in love… think of them like a beehive. Two beehives are set next to each other, and over time, the bees from both hives intermingle."
"Yeah Mags, I get that, but what happens if you destroy one of the hives, but not the bees? They don’t all fit in here!"
"Well, exactly…. the bees have to reorder themselves. They’ll fit, they just have to reorder."