As it is November, I focus upon celebrating abundance. And in that regard, my strange relationship with this uncommon boy springs right to the foreground.
Awhile back, I thought I’d given up on love. I couldn’t remember loving the living enough to even know what it is anymore. But somewhere along the way, having kept a tiny flame of faith in what it really is, rather than just what people say about it, I came to find it again with a boy who has been my best friend for years.
I’ve written before about this guy. And I’m pretty sure there’s more than one painting of him somewhere on this site. There are certainly plenty of them in my studio and on his walls. I met Daniel right after I moved to New York, when both of us were going through some “interesting” times, and we’ve been constant sidekicks, through thick and thin, since then. He’s been there for me, no matter what, every time I’ve needed him to be. Every time I’ve needed someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, someone to snuggle with, someone to wander with, someone to nerd out with, someone to play with, someone to provide needed perspective, someone to have grand adventures with, even someone to talk me off a ledge somewhere.
For someone who never studied Buddhism, he’s one of the best Buddhists I know. An excellent teacher, “an excellent finder,” and an excellent friend.
We have a very unconventional relationship (“WeDOwutweWANT,” as we like to say), learning to navigate the deeper waters without rules or expectations, without clinging, without possession, without ownership… without all the false illusions people often confuse with love. Sometimes we are good at it, sometimes we are human. Either way, we are honest and earnest and we keep a lively sense of humor. This boy means the world to me. Together we wander toward what I hope is enlightenment. (He doesn’t want to get right into the light just yet, he says. He “wants to read all the books first.” That’s probably just as well, as we have a very long way to go, so here’s to enjoying the beautiful journey.)
It means more to me than I might have imagined, to have this person in the world with whom I can share literally anything, even things people usually never share. There are things in all of us we cannot usually say. Things that expose deep vulnerabilities, things that make us feel ashamed, half- baked ideas we cannot yet clearly articulate, things most people don’t want to hear, things that make us feel dumb, things that terrify us, things that do not conform to our self image or the image of ourselves we want to curate for the world. I can tell this boy any of those things, without fear and without judgment. I can also talk physics, or art, philosophy, or politics, religion, literature, linguistics, psychonautics, or any other subject with this guy, and we can have long, happy “arguments” regarding gender dynamics, or the relative merits of horror movies, or the best ways to prevent robots from annihilating the human race. These are conversations I cannot have with just anyone. Not, in fact, with anyone else.
We met as refugees on the edge, both of us having gone through our respective grinders, both of us trying to heal from our various addictions and afflictions… both of us being pulled toward each other by a certain gravity of the heart that I’m grateful for. When I met Daniel, I’d been through such grief and gaslighting, for so long, that I was scared to get close, even though his weirdly relentless honesty and his easy humor were the balm I craved. So it’s taken awhile for us to find our pathway to the center, but here we are.
It’s a thing I’ve noticed, that it is usually on the outskirts that one finds true integrity, and Daniel embodies this. When he says something is true, I know it’s true, and when he gives his word, I always know I can count on it. He’s radically honest even when he doesn’t need to be, and that’s a rare and honorable thing indeed.
Here’s to the weirdos and the outcasts and the wanderers. Here’s to this boy, made out of Tall Things and Chicken, who has no idea how pretty he is. (That’s a good thing, too, lest he would be insufferable.) Here’s to the abundance of love, in all its many forms. It’s right there under the leaves, warm and lush and waiting to unfurl, even when we think the ground is frozen to the core. Blessed Be. Here’s to the epic journey!