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The Authenticity Experiment

The Authenticity Experiment: the Trust Edition

Here's an infomercial before the post. The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons From the Best & Worst Year of My Life is available for pre-sale.  It helps me if you order early and order often.  The book launches September 12th.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. ∞ The Authenticity Experiment, the trust edition.  I am in a straw bale house on the edge of a canyon at the end...

The Authenticity Experiment: the Western Weekend edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the Western Weekend Edition.  As a kid, I went to Western Weekend in rural Marin County, in a town without a stoplight or a sit-down McDonald’s.  I didn’t ride the Ferris Wheel because the swinging cars gave me crawl up and a fear that I’d flip out—literally and figuratively—and plummet to my death. Strangely, though, I did ride the Zipper, me alone in...

The Authenticity Experiment: the coal shovel edition

The Authenticity Experiment: the coal shovel edition. A giant United Moving van took my mother’s furniture, clothes, dishes, and memorabilia to Portland.  Part of the load was destined for California for my sisters, too.  Still, we barely filled a third of the truck, but because the bid was based on estimated weight, we weren’t allowed to add anything extra to the manifest.  And by we, I mean me.  My mom was sitting on the dove grey leather couch in her family room alternating between catatonic and Napoleonic, sleeping in a delirium of denial that this day had finally come or ordering the movers, Stef, or me to add more items to the load.

The Authenticity Experiment: the City edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the City edition.  Last week, I spent the night San Francisco—“the City,” as everyone in the Bay Area calls it.  The City—as if there is no other city in the world.  But I’ll tell you, on a morning when the tide is out and the fog is burning off, and you step onto O’Farrell Street and cut up and over to Union Square, the impatient honk of cars startling your small town self (and don’t kid yourself, Portland is a small town compared to any other city on the West Coast), the smell of Chinese restaurant grease and garbage assaulting your nose, the clang and grind of the cable cars lifting your

The Authenticity Experiment: the lifetime grieving process

The Authenticity Experiment, the lifetime grieving edition.  The Alaskan Poet said to me, “I’m beginning to think that grieving is a lifetime process. AND I also think that it’s possible to be at peace with that and just realize that you can grieve and move forward.”  And, I think she’s right.

It’s no surprise to find grief here—thoughts about it, stories about it, rants and rages about it.  But there’s a particular grief I’ve been thinking about.  Last week, two of my oldest, dearest friends—sisters—lost their child and nephew.

Yeah, a 25 year-old kid. 

The Authenticity Experiment: the anniversary and anxiety edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the mostly anxiety anniversary edition.  My friend Lesbiana Profundis, aka my secret weapon, laughs at my Rainman-like ability with dates.  Take  July 20th, for instance.  A year and two days ago, I began the Authenticity Experiment.  AE was a writing challenge for myself—to see if I could be authentic and tell the truth on social media.  Here’s the lead from that very first post: “I’m posting this to kick off my own personal FB Balance Month. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we use the FB to post our good news (book), our fun times (Cycle Oregon), our amusing insights (photos of grammar errors at the DMV), and cute cat videos. But we don’t really talk about the dark. And a culture that consistently ignores its dark winds up like…well, like us, where we are hap, hap, HAPPY all the time and we get our dark out by watching reality TV (or violent movies) and snarking on grammar signs at the DMV (not that good grammar isn’t important). 

Authenticity Experiment: gym edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the gym edition.  In 2012, the gym quite literally saved my life.  Not for the reasons you think—the cardio, the weights, the fat loss—but because it gave me a structure, taught me about my own competitive nature, taught me about my body (and how hard I could push it and what it needed for recovery which was, surprisingly, not always a nap, but rather a slow walk to the river).  But the other thing about the gym—my gym, Westcoast Fitness—was that it gave me a social structure.  It gave me Jim, Jerry, Janet, and Robin in the weight room.  It gave me Jan, Val, Caery, Chris, and Vee in the spin room.  It gave me a nodding relationship to the other butches who were benching way more weight than I was at the time.

Authenticity Experiment: NorCal edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the NorCal edition.  I think that I am in love with Anne Lamott not because she is such a good writer who captures everyday moments and neuroses (she is and she does), but because she perfectly describes the landscape in which I grew up.  Lamott, like no one else I have ever read, is able to write the sharp, pungent, turpentine-y scent of eucalyptus mixed with the damp briny smell of fog on a grey day. The sweet, hot smell of dried hills in mid-July. The way the sand at Stinson beach feels soft and cold and hard all at once as the waves roll away from the shore. The magic of the Pacific (anything but) roaring in your ears as you sit on the sand at Stinson look across to San Francisco—all white and beckoning from this vantage—and the Golden Gate, and Sutro Tower, and the dark treed cliffs of the Presidio.

Authenticity Experiment: visitation edition

The Authenticity Experiment, the visitation edition.  I’d just finished riding a really long ride with the Opera Singer. The longest I’d ever done. I was back in the hotel room and I called my dad to tell him. He was still sane, had not gone off the rails yet, and the last cogent thing he said to me was, “Thirty-seven miles, Jesus, Kaydoos! Does your ass feel like hamburger?” Which has become a longstanding joke with Lesbiana Profundis who is also my best riding partner. Every, every, every time we get off the bike she says, “Does your ass feel like hamburger, Kaydoos?” A nod to my dad, as well as joke, I suppose.