Somewhere between long Facebook statuses and blog entries.. best taken while sitting.

Part I: My former [15 yr old] step daughter - my son's big sister - attended her biological father's funeral today [5.19]. Like me, she had never met her dad, although she had secretly learned a bit about him by tapping into her mom's FB account where he had sent her messages. She had asked her mom about him a month before the double murder-suicide he committed just over a week ago. Son's mom is telling me how an original picture I must have taken when she was 3 or 4 was on display, sitting alone in a 5x7 frame. As a matter of fact she was my first ever baby model when I was the 17 year old babysitting boyfriend who they soon started calling "daddy Matt," a title I would keep for 4 years. Remember that, Aido? Probably less because I was her mom's boyfriend - more because I took her for her first shots, and changed every middle of the night diaper and bottle even though I had school in the morning. She's really the highlight of my people portfolio from my senior year photography attempts - me thinking I was gonna end up in an art school. That was a shift in my fantasy to be a loner NYC journalist, which ultimately translated to me joining the Navy to take care of both of them instead. Son was announced the day after I graduated high school. Here I was, a boy trying to "be a man," and her dad was a man that never made it mentally past boy, regardless of his Army pilot wings and officer status, owning a successful bar, and other life accomplishments. He had the resume of a politician with a track record of ill intentions in private that easily could have came down on us if I wouldn't have initiated the divorce 10+ years ago. When we were together we lived on base, a bit protected.. I'm sorry for the people who he killed, but at the same time I'm thanking God it wasn't us. I don't know what to say, how to act, or what to do next in regards to them and all of this, but I'm taking the texts and calls even tho reciprocity has always been non-existent. I'm really just hoping everyone everywhere can find their piece of peace because I'm determined to do back flips in mine one day or at least die trying. I feel like life here is an

on-going tragedy where everyone is buying distractions and time - wearing labels and job titles to keep blind eyes to our plastic, depressed reality. It's in our cultural DNA to compete and compare, mis-handle break ups and makeups, parental duties and dynamics, turn violent or pull out a gun.. and ultimately we can just slap a Wifi bandaid on it with a side of shopping and some mental health pharma - maybe escape for 5 days to some cruise resorts south of the country where we don't even take time for learning the local culture to compare to this life we're constantly trying to escape around here. I could write run on sentences for days.. I'm saying shit we don't like to admit. We'll go there to sip more liquor and steal some sun rays and remind social media how momentarily awesome our life is - a whole culture of modern colonizers, knowing that resort is there for you, not the locals. We'll wear a fancy cloak here far before we'll wear our naked truth. We can talk about life, or we can talk about the weather. I'm into life, big time. Blessings to whoever... #spikedtea #pinkflamingo #blessings Part II: Sometimes I get too stoned and think about alllll the shit I put on the internet and am sure people think I'm insane... but it's okay.. because I think the same thing about our social majority here. To think, most of us - and many still do - believe that when we die we'll either burn forever with no water to drink.. or we hang out in all white robes where the streets are gold and spend lots of time kissing this white guy's feet. I accepted long ago that the entire premise of the religious institutions we attended was to offer a plastic sense of security from the misery we were to feel while living this conscious life. God felt like art and art always felt like God. Is it you, or is it me? I'm just getting started with #spikedtea in the blog format, just a year and a half into it. As much as I've been speaking about myself, I plan to speak on everything around me just as much here. I just had to get to that point. Maybe my brain is warped from a life of turmoil, stomach aches and Crohn's disease. Maybe it's the food churning in my gut every time I try to eat a meal - messing with my thought process. I feel better when I fast, but I can't afford the weight loss. It took me almost a week after announcing the #pinkflamingo GoFundMe campaign to realize I am the fuckin' plastic pink flamingo... I'm fighting to get free of that body, into a healthier, natural state. When I feel good for a couple hours or couple days, I feel like I can take on the world. When I feel shitty, I remember everyone that forgets I'm down here in

the city and I say goodbye in my mind to a couple more people. Sometimes I even send a message. Life is definitely about letting go... of the eroded relationships, the fear and anxiety, the offenses and defenses, the plastic pink flamingos that dotted the landscape of a place you once called home.. finally coming to accept that none of it was yours - that you were only passing thru anyhow, and really feeling a peace with that. I was gonna use my VA loan to buy property here in Kansas City.. my credit is almost there and would be already if that was my top priority. Between Trump, a lot of people I know personally, and my last 9 years of freelance experience, I just can't see that the same anymore. I'm not going overseas to show everyone how awesome of a photographer I can be while overseas.... "Oh... look at Matt D, he's overseas. That guy is so awesome, just look at em." I've sponsored enough people with my work that I know my impression here is all it ever needed to be and will evolve on its own terms and time. I'm going to Kenya to connect a missing link, that elusive final piece of peace. The food may fix me, the vibrations may save me, the people may embrace me and everything I have to offer, and I just might come closer to my art and God. Call it genius or crazy, I can't explain how this world made me. I can just keep telling the story to make good on my time, and if all becomes well, there will be plenty left. #spikedtea #pinkflamingo #God

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