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listen to your voice.
one of the biggest challenges i’ve faced lately as a writer & poet has been being able to identify and tap into my most authentic voice throughout all of the recent changes in my life – externally, in my environment, and internally, with the changes in my belief system. and because of this i’ve discovered that, when your voice demands change, all you can do is wait for the rest of you to catch up.

i thought i left it cracked open – i never meant to be the one to shut the door completely. i distanced myself, that is true, but i did that mostly for you because i knew it would be easier on you. and part of me needed a wide birth to make mistakes and learn about this new wide world. but i figured once things settled down a little you would come back to me. i thought you would spend the time trying to learn and understand. i thought you would set aside prejudice and give yourself a chance to grow, just as i have.

part of the reason i created this website in the first place was so that you could see what i was going through from afar, stay connected to me in a passive way that wouldn’t put you in too much risk of being ostracized by our family, etc. i see now that it wasn’t enough and i don’t even know if you bother to read this anymore – it’s probably too hard on you. and it hardly matters, i’ve barely posted anything here for over a year.

but the fact is i know someone has read this. and someone will read this. i know someone out there needs to read it and is searching for it. i’m grateful because i know it’s never been a waste of my time & energy. besides the truths it has helped me to find, it has given others insight into their own truths. and really that was all it was ever meant to do.

in another week i’ll be thirty-one. in poet years that’s middle-age. i guess that’s why it feels so strange. to be this age and to reflect on the path of my life feels somewhat like wandering through a world created by tim burton – surreal & magical, but with a fair share of what looks like darkness on the surface to passersby.

i’ve had dreams come true, i’ve lost everything, i’ve loved & been loved, i’ve traveled, i’ve worked my ass off, i’ve been lazy, i’ve burnt in the fires, and i’ve been reborn – to be honest there isn’t much about it i would change, for each experience brought challenges & rewards that ultimately helped me to understand & accept the fundamental happiness and peace that had always been right under my nose, waiting.

but one thing i didn’t fully realize is that creating happiness & peace comes at great cost. if you choose to do it there will be casualties, and once you’ve attained it you won’t really know what to do with it or how to feel about it. and if you’re a poet or artist you will miss some of the very things that drove you to seek it out in the first place. this in itself is a new challenge, but one i’m willing to embrace because it feeds my will to stick around a little longer. and despite everything wrong with it, i still love life & the human experience. i love our beautiful tragedy, and our hope.

would it have been easier on all of us if i wasn’t gay? without a doubt. it would have made it easier for you to justify staying close to me, and it would have allowed me to save the relationships that have been most important to me my entire life.

the thing is, the loss of you in my life hasn’t, for even a second, made me wish i wasn’t gay. it hasn’t made me hate myself or want to be someone else. on the contrary, it has opened my eyes to so much that i may have never realized if i were straight. it has forced me to see religion, guilt & fear for what they are and destroy the power they had over me. and it made me see love for what it is, what it should be, and what it can be. ironically, being gay has made me come to know god. some of you, gay, straight or other, will know what i mean by this.

and that is at the root of where my voice is demanding i go now. in order to do this i’ve had to let go of some things, and accept new things. i’ve had to allow an exchange to take place. and i suppose i had to let enough time pass to experience the fall-out and resolutions.

now my authentic voice is emerging from a new place, and instead of trying to fight it or spend my energy mourning what was, i’m determined to fully throw myself into what is. i have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain. and i want to build something extraordinary & beautiful from what i have already gained. for me, this is not only a new chapter, but a new book entirely.

if you still visit here and are reading this i want to leave you with one piece of the puzzle that has taken me a long time to grasp. it’s very simple, and it is this: we will only accept, create & express that which we believe we truly deserve and are capable of. if it’s love, we will only accept the love we believe we deserve and are willing to work for. if it’s a career, we’ll only be as successful as we believe we deserve to be and only if we never stop trying. if it’s a dream, we’ll only fulfill those dreams that we believe should be fulfilled. the key to it in any context is your belief.

but it is your belief, and the power anyone (or any thing) wields over it is limited – it will only stretch so far. the rest, as they say, is truly up to you.

“i’m sorry that i couldn’t get to you…”

by JTW
©2013 JTW “jtwhitaker.com” All rights reserved.

being gay is as normal as it is for the grass to be green and the sky to be blue, that is what i told him, something that i had to learn and accept myself not that long ago.

i have held back a lot of writing, buried it in the vault or tagged it in ambiguous metaphor. but this healing, this relationship, is as much about me as it is about him. it’s inexorably tied to my art & purpose.

relationships are always our greatest mirrors and if we’re honest with ourselves we will uncover the truths & meaning in each and every one of them, be it a parent, a child, a friend, a lover, or a lifelong companion.

nature is fragile but it has a way of persisting, sometimes in the wildest & darkest sanctuaries. we are in our sanctuary, you & me. and they may not understand, they may not approve, and they may judge us. but we will survive because that is who we are and the love we harness every day is the most powerful force in the universe. we’re a team, and i’m so thankful for you.

she has been sick for months but i really didn’t realize the gravity of it until this past week when i got to see her with my own eyes & hold her in my arms.

my sister is one of the strongest people i know, although she doesn’t fully know it herself. she is a single parent of two small children, one of whom is very ill. she works at a stressful job and on top of all that she is going to school to try to make a better life for herself and her family. i don’t think she has any idea how much i admire her strength and i don’t think she realizes how her unconditional love has taught me so much and even possibly saved my life. but i owe her a lot and i hope to somehow repay that debt.

i have the closest thing to a soulmate in you. you are my balance, my truth and many times, my sanity. you are an amazing woman and without you i would never have made it this far. your love is brilliant and everyone who truly knows you has tasted its light. you have been there for me when no one else was at some of the darkest moments i have ever experienced.

our journey could be a 3-part movie already and it’s only in its infancy. or maybe it has come full circle. but that’s the thing with you & me – at the dead-end of each road is a secret little path, an overgrown trail, filled with berry bushes & butterflies. one of us always sees it.

you are an amazing teacher, and probably the only one who knows all that i went through for so long and understands that part of my life from a first-hand perspective, from a front row seat.

even though i’ve not always been the best communicator you never judged me for that, you just kept showing me love and patience while i figured things out on my own. and you never let me forget that there was hope and another way. you kept truth in front of me until i was strong enough to reach out and grab it by myself. you believed in my art.

sometimes you make me laugh inside with the “crazy” things you say. sometimes the truth of what you say stings. and every once in awhile you go just a tad overboard.

but the fact is that we have gone through things that no one else can ever fully understand. and you have been a part of my life for the past ten years that i am grateful for and that no one else could have played as elegantly or profoundly. we will be friends and a support for each-other always. and we will make sure she has the best chance possible.

and you are thousands of miles away now, but with me in my dreams, and a powerful force that leads me by example each day. this past fall, winter & spring you showed me how to love myself and how to live in authenticity & truth despite the shit life throws at us and the people that judge us. you accepted everything about me effortlessly and taught me to wave my freak flag high. you made me believe in the power of spirit, our collective-consciousness and a better world.

all those nights we spent watching crazy movies, painting our nails, reading our cards, talking, supporting each-other, the hikes we took, the drives we took, the scotch we drank – everything we did together – it changed my life in a way i will never forget and that i am deeply thankful for. you are a kindred spirit and i love you like i love my own daughter.

there is so much more to say and it will be said. so many more experiences & people that have touched my life. but as i finish this post a cricket appeared out of nowhere to rest on top of my monitor. he’s just chilling there, no worries, no fear. i’m in my living room.

you see, i live in a place now where there can be no fear, with people just as fearless as this land is. here there is only peace, serenity & love, because that is what our own survival and the universe demands. it’s a fight and it is hard at times. so hard that we just have to burst into laughter sometimes or we’d shrivel up & die. but if you spent a night here by our fire, under these stars, and if you felt the way these mountains hold us, you would know no fear and you would know our love.

you should join us.

“i’ll be here patiently waiting…”

for j, m, d, k, c & r. and for me.

by JTW
©2012 JTW “jtwhitaker.com” All rights reserved.

i like to sit out on my patio on clear nights and look up at the stars. something in the clarity of their bright luminescence always seems to make me think about the clarity of my own path-past, present & future. somewhere in that contrast between the light & the dark there is a void that i can feel – an expanse of unknowns and alternate possibilities, a place of questions.

in my humble history as a bloggist this is the longest i’ve gone without publishing a new post. my momentum had been slowing for a good six months and at first it bothered me a great deal. i had become accustomed to the nearly manic & constant flow of inspiration of the previous 24 months or so. i had a lot to say, and sometimes i even said it. but then something started to change inside me. all of that time i spent alone, writing and thinking, was like the time a caterpillar spends cocooning in metamorphosis. and when it was over something new emerged, or not something new exactly, for a butterfly is still the same caterpillar, and yet it’s so much more. so i became comfortable with not publishing anything because i was too busy soaring. this was an amazing & beautiful change to the free-fall trajectory i had been in.

in the wake of its transformation a butterfly gets to experience life again from new perspectives, with new adventures, new challenges, and new potential. it felt very much like that to me and i think in order for my story to continue here my environment had to catch up with my inner reconciliations.

one of the most wonderful blessings of what i’ve experienced the past few months is the peace i feel. peace rooted in a kind of universal balance that lets me know everything is okay, everything is perfect. there is wondrous mystery & hope in a starry sky, but each & every star is right where it’s meant to be. so am i, and that’s a huge relief.

so you may be wondering if this new post means my dry-spell is finally over. i guess time will tell. one thing is for sure though: i have a lot more to say. indeed, a lot more needs to be said.

“i’m changin’ everything…”

by JTW
©2012 JTW “jtwhitaker.com” All rights reserved.

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