Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Totem Party

The Totem Party.

in 2011 i was going through a divorce.  i had somehow caged myself for the last 12 years.  like the poem, i knew why the caged bird sings and i was finally singing.  there was one thing that really opened the door for me and that was comedy.  comedy helped shake up my throat chakra, i got to laughing and started getting in alignment.  laughter is THE best medicine.  
it started 5 years ago (to this very day thank you facebook).  i be-friended a fellow ginger.  this man that had the key to the cage i had been living in.  he took me out, i saw what i was missing and i flew.  he took me to the very first Funstival where i saw T.J. Miller do a set at the Matchbox and then danced all night in a warehouse.  He took me to my first Arguments and Grievances at Vine St.  He took me to my first Too Much Fun at the Deer Pile.  Then he had a dream that I was "with Marc Maron" even though I'd never met Marc Maron.  Our relationship was done but my life had forever been changed.
I had had doses of a real medicine.  Comedy saved my life.  I am not being dramatic, I am telling you the truth.  I stood on the edge a few time and thought about jumping but every night that I was free to, I went out and laughed and got hugs at Comedy shows.  I laughed at my self, I met God at the bar, I was shown the mirror, I was literally saved.  Some times I went to 2 or 3 shows or open mics a night.  I was finally feeling filled up.  
July 31st 2012 was my 33rd birthday, my savior year.  I had never heard that term before, but people kept telling me, it's the year that Jesus died so it held some significance.  I decided to honor the start of my savior year by throwing myself a party.  I had been getting into animal Totems (fox and dragonfly had recently come to me) so I decided to have a Totem Party.  My birthday was on a Tuesday and Tuesday's were open mic night at the Squire.  The Squire was a real dive bar on Colfax Ave and the open mic could be mean but it could also be pure magic.  For me nothing could be better then a birthday filled with laughs and hugs so I called up the manager, Cam and asked if it would be alright for me to have my birthday there.  He said that was cool so I made a Facebook event.  I couldn't believe it that 50 people responded they were going to come (even though now I know that means maybe 15 would actually show up)!  I bought a hundred dollars of art supplies with the intention of inviting everyone to draw or paint or collage a Totem animal so we could make a big Totem Pole.  Each person's energy supporting the next, collectively creating something beautiful together.
July 31st I picked my son up from school after work.  Tuesdays were usually my day with him but his Dad had agreed to take him for the night so I could have my Party.  I had dropped him off and was about to start getting ready.  The phone rang.  A friend was calling.  A friend that's coming to the party!  I answered, excited to exchange details of what we were going to wear but her voice was somber.  She told me she was hanging out with some people.   She told me Lydia had killed herself.  No not Lydia, she was coming to the Party. . . 
Lydia was a big part of the comedy family in Denver.  She was a beautiful, talented, funny, smart and creative person.  Though I was newer to this community I was rocked.  This was not a night for a comedy birthday party at the Squire. . . . everyone is in shock.  everyone is grieving. 
Lydia died.  Lydia is dead.  I just saw her 5 days ago at a show.  I hugged her.  She cried.  I posted on her Facebook "It was good to see you, as always."  She replied, "Sorry, I was crying."  I responded, "That's what friends are for."  I had cried so many times the last few months, I didn't think twice.  We all gotta cry sometimes.  All those times the hugs and the laughs had saved me.  How was is this even real?  Lydia. . . . . I wish I would have hugged her better or maybe I shouldn't have posted that on her page or should I have checked in or maybe if I could have made her laugh that night.  
I frantically called people telling them the party is off, not at all sure what to do.  I ended up going to the rooftop of restaurant that used to be a funeral home with a new friend because that seemed like the best thing to do.  We drank fancy drinks, ate yummy food and watched the sun set over the Rocky Mountains.  I bumped into an old friend I hadn't seen in many years.  Then we went to a speak easy and met up with some of my old friends for martinis.   My new friend had known our old friend in Prague, but he hadn't yet heard the details of his death after coming back to the states.  Another death, it was a real synchronicity.  All the feelings felt.  Next we went out and sang our cares away at karaoke.  It turned out to be a magical celebration of life, the only way a birthday can when you're so surrounded by the fact that this life will end.  
A part of me did die on my 33rd birthday and a new, freer more grateful part of me was resurrected.  I will never forget it or the people who touched me through that ring of fire but I will always think of what could have been and a part of me will always wish that night had gone the other way.  
Cheers to the death of the Squire open mic - Cheers to the ancestors - Cheers to life - 
xo abby jane