Family Historian – Interactive Map


This is probably gonna seem a little bit weird.

I’m creating an online, interactive map for my family. The plan is to include places we’ve lived, cemeteries where folks are buried, and other landmarks important to our family & my personal mythology.

Well, Google Maps requires a public URL to link pics to the map markers.
This is my first post, which will serve as that photo library for Google Maps to access.

These photos (and videos?) were captured during my recent 9-day trip to Johnston County, NC between Jan 26, 2016 & Feb 3, 2016.

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I’ll be working on the map for a while.

A big part of this is deciphering my feverishly scribble notes from my Aunt Joyce (who feels more like a grandma, or a great-aunt, since she raised my Mama & her 4 siblings after both their parents died) as she drove us around the backwoods & told stories. I’m also rewatching the videos I recorded along the way to catch the details (locations, chronology, etc) I missed in the moment.

Here’s a link to the map, still in its seedling stage:
Pope Family Map

Climbing the Family Tree(s)


If you ever wanted to see me
– petting a cat &
– chillin’ in my “writer clothes”
– while laughing &
– crying &
– getting hella personal
– but also discovering universal truths we all share, then:

You should check this video out.

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably a little long for some folk, but if you give it 5 focused minutes, and can just turn it off & walk away after that, then – okay, cool. (But I bet you’ll want to stay for the end of the story :: winky face ::)

Shift Happens


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I’m gonna get really, REALLY personal for a minute. You might think I’m loopy.

If it makes you more comfortable, just pretend this is an excerpt from a story or something.

Some people say there’s a major, widespread shift going on in human consciousness right now.

Evolution could be one word for it. YouTube likes the words “Ascension” or “Awakening” or that it’s caused by “Wave X”.

Some people say this is happening because our solar system, which cyclically drifts up and down as it orbits the center of the galaxy, is above the galactic horizon.

You know how the Milky Way is a spiral? And those spiral arms are flattened (like a disc) as opposed to the spherical center? As the solar systems drifts up over the center-line of that disk, there’s less insulating matter between us and the galactic center. The bulk of it isn’t there anymore. That leaves us exposed to more gamma radiation than we’re used to. At least, in recorded history.

We’re not sure what effects that increase in constant gamma bombardment might have on the solar system, Earth, us.

I’ve learned all this ^^^ in the last couple days. (Of course, filtered through me, it takes on a science/astronomy vibe. lol) I stumbled upon it all while I was searching for answers for this actual ~thing~ that’s absolutely been going on with me.

I know, I know! It sounds like a bunch of sci-fi or comic book mumbo jumbo. All I have to save to that is, what would a Victorian Era person think if you tried to explain our current technology them?

 

 

 

Listen, there’s some (what even I would consider) kooky stuff out there, too. Stuff like personal messages from aliens & channeling beings from other worlds and such. That doesn’t resonate with me. But I’m wondering if each of us feels this shift in a very personal way, sifted through who we are as individuals and what we’re passionate about.

That makes perfect sense to me. If human consciousness is evolving, wouldn’t it build upon the individual’s experience of consciousness up to that point?

My whatever-this-is happens to be manifesting in a mashup of art, writing, and science.

I can trace back the shift, or beginning of the overhauling change, in my life to something like “a few months ago”, but I’m not sure exactly when things began. What I do know ~for sure~ is these last 2 weeks, everything has gone into hyperdrive.

Art has been POURING out of me. New, fresh, techniques and ideas. Like, EXTREMELY novel & seemingly out of nowhere. I’ve completed ~at least~ 2 dozen pieces. And that excludes dozens of sketches.

Since around Xmas, I’ve written (and illustrated) more in my journal than in the entire year before. Maybe more than the last 2 years combined. (Again, these complex ideas just pouring out.)

A good portion of those ideas revolve around this understanding that quantum theory doesn’t actually measure what we call matter. Quarks & Leptons & Bosons and that whole zoo of quantum particles?

They measure what we call “consciousness” & how it interacts with matter.

That’s why physicists are marveling at the “weirdness” they’re finding. They’re experimenting and discovering things that are shaking up everything we thought we knew.

It’s interesting, because I don’t have any formal training in that field, but all the things I’ve watched, read, and kinda mulled over ~for fun~ over the last few years suddenly make complete sense as a whole. The connection is crystal clear to me & I’m able to explain these complex ideas in simple, (engaging?) terms to others.

The clarity is just one astonishing aspect of all this.

So forget all that science/consciousness business for a minute!

Let’s talk about tangible, real-life examples.

Last week, I experienced this day of utter gratitude, where thankfulness was like air to me. Never in my life have I experienced such reverence for clean dishwater, a fork, or my breath, or the sky, or the fact that I can wear these beautiful tattoos–as art–right on my body. That I have a body at all. That this body holds the precious cargo of the essence that is the real me. That I get to experience this 3-D world with all these separate senses.

On that day, everything tiny, insignificant–just everything–I did was infused with gratitude. And that intense thankfulness permeated everyone around me. I didn’t have to say a word! People saw. They knew there was some extra sparkle all over me. The joy of sharing that sparkle! Amazing, amazing.

If that’s what “awakening” feels like, then I want EVERYONE to experience it.

I live in what I guess you’d call a small ‘city’, or a sizable town. Big & constructed but no skyscrapers. You know the kind. All the roads are paved. In my neighborhood, everyone has a little patch of land boxed off by driveways and little fences and clear edges. There are some trees around, but it is by no means a “natural” setting.

Well, last Saturday, I was at a local hostel on a quiet, foggy night, set in rolling, tree-covered hills. A stream flows close to the house, there’s a pond across the street & a perfectly spiraling 400-year-old tree right outside the front door. We won’t even talk about the overnight snowfall. Or that it was the first New Moon following the winter solstice. Or my sacred experience with the wind the next morning.

The people gathered that night were all artists, musicians, composers, writers, book people, actors, teachers, etc (a.k.a. ‘creative folk’).

That night was, in a word: magical. So much energy in that place: the music, the conversations, the smiles, the hugs, the openness, connection, just the whole vibe. It was completely “secular”, but, wow, the frequency of us all gathered together? It felt like “church” or “temple” in the purest possible meaning of those words. So much genuine love. Everyone knew very early on that we were sharing a special place & time.

But we also knew it was more. Something unseen, something special, something deeper.

I know that sounds hippie-dippy. It doesn’t change the truth.

Overall, nowadays, there’s just this ~ease~ to my life. Things flow. Unexpected money and gifts and opportunities keep materializing.

I’m not complaining in my head about every little thing that’s slowing me down, or knocking me off track. Obstacles and I just flow around each other and keep on going. There’s no needless tension. Life is peaceful. And my empathy–wow–we’re talking a HUGE shift.

I’m in the moment, savoring its presence & thankful I get to experience each one. I never knew I was missing this amazingness until it arrived.

I went from sucking down coffee every waking hour, to now I can’t drink enough water. The more I drink, the more I want. And I keep craving fruits & veggies in this insistent way I’ve never, ever felt before.

I could go on.

Something phenomenal continues to take place inside me. I don’t know how far it will go. But I don’t want it to stop.

And, the coolest thing, as I share what I’m experiencing, more and more people in my life are recognizing evidence of this shift inside themselves.

I think it’s kind of like my idea that quarks actually measure consciousness. Once we start noticing the shift, things seem weird at first. But then, as we get accustomed to that newness, we begin to understand it.

For the record, this is not a story or an excerpt. This is my 100% real-life experience. I mean it.

I AM SO CURIOUS!
Who else out there is experiencing something like this?
Please share.

If it makes you more comfortable, just pretend you’re telling a story or something.😀

 

milky way

Where Holiday Magic Hides


lights

Stuff gets jumbled, and left out, for kids like me—kids born too close to Christmas. Instead of getting two holidays in one, we really only get half of each.

I remember smiling as big as I could when grownups wished me Merry Birthday. Then they smiled back when I put a bow on my head, because, see, I was a gift. But the bow never stayed on since little bits of wrapping paper were already stuck on the sticky part.

So this season, for me, has never been about Christmas or my birthday. I mean, presents are cool, food and family are nice and all that.

But the lights.

Lights are special. Unusual. These bright, colored beings all shiny in the night where, at every other time of the year, there’s darkness I’d rather ignore.

But the lights make me look. They want to prove they’re special and alive with their pops and sparks and colors burning against the night. Glowing. Mesmerizing.

As a kid, I’d lie on the floor in my footy pajamas, wrapped in a blanket, the rest of the house dark, everyone asleep, silence all around me, and just stare at the tree’s lights forever. I’d breathe them in. As they sparkled, and I crossed me eyes so the lights would go fuzzy and get even sparklier, that’s where the magic hid.

Not just in my tree, or just in my lights, or only while I was alone. Sometimes, a lot of us could see the magic all together at once.

My trailer-park family would pile in the truck and drive around to the biggest displays. It’s funny how they were always at the same houses that gave out the best Halloween candy.

The most amazing thing was when we’d round a curve, and the pine trees would open up to a winter cornfield, and there—magic—out of nowhere. Surprise lights in surprise places in the night.

Those were the ones where the most magic hid.

I Have Too Many Damn Words Inside Me


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I’ve accepted it. I have too many damn words inside me.

Maybe the worst thing about having too many damn words: I’ll never be able to get them all out.

Maybe the best thing about having too many damn words: I get to curate which ones I set free.

(You know the worst thing about that best thing? It scares the hell out of me.)

I alone have the power to decide which words I let out. Like, nothing I say in real-life conversations or online or on paper gets through without me giving it permission. Every word in any form I ever communicate is my personal responsibility.

(I’m scaring myself again.)

But I should be scared. Because every word matters.

I want to remember that. Not occasionally, but at the exact moment I’m curating each of the too many damn words I’m going to set free.

Our Turn To Be Allies


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It’s time for the LGBTQ+ community to be allies. Tomorrow is Sunday, ya know, “church day” for a lot of people. And there are some AMAZING people, who identify as Christian, who agree that love is love.

A lot of things will be proclaimed from pulpits tomorrow: some gracious, and some not. I’m thinking about those who love their faith and many of its beliefs but will struggle with the conservative response on marriage equality. Christians who are closeted, kids with different beliefs going to church with their parents, folks who are torn inside over things.

That’s tough stuff to deal with. The clash of core beliefs. The inner struggle to marry an accepting heart with an unaccepting faith.

So, be mindful of that, fam.

Anyone who has been an ally to us, deserves us as allies in return. Whatever they need, however we can support.

And not just Christians. There are loving people struggling in every belief system right now.

Love is love, and our love can’t stop at the borders of religion.

An Open Letter To Everyone From Back Then


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Dear Everyone I knew “Back Then”,

Yes, I am gay. Or something like it. Somewhere on the spectrum at the far end from what the world calls straight.

I’ve always been that way.

Even “back then” when I was your classmate, co-worker, teacher, neighbor, friend.

But, see, at times, I was scared of letting that facet of who I am show. I had to hide it. Not for myself, but for you. For those of you who would, had I let you see that part of me, make a lot more out of it than I do. For those of you who, now that I’m not scared anymore, “just can’t believe it”.

In most ways I’m still exactly the same as when you knew me “back then”. The only thing that’s changed is that you now get to know all of me. If you choose to. And some of you can’t handle that. It’s too much. I’m not the person you thought you knew.

But that’s not really about me. It’s about you.

Coming out doesn’t happen just once. I have to do it over and over again.

It’s easy with new folks I’m just meeting “right now”. It’s no big deal, not even a thing. It’s just who I am, all of me, every facet shining right there in the open if they want to see it. But for folks I knew “back then”, revealing the fullness of me is a scary, anxious, pulse-racing thing.

Every.single.time.

Some of you amazing “back then” people have nodded, asked questions, maybe cried a little, hugged me, and transformed in front of my eyes, through the phone, or in my arms into a “right now” person. Thank you for that. I love you. Thank you for loving every facet of me, for having a heart big enough to appreciate all of me.

For you others, I’m sorry if you feel like I lied to you, back then, when I wasn’t strong enough, brave enough, to share all of me. Maybe that was wrong of me. I don’t know for sure. But I can’t rewind to “back then”, because I’m overwhelmed with joy, bursting with life, thrilled to finally be living with every part of me shining right here in the “right now”.

Maybe you can see how important that is to me. How much bigger my smile is, how much lighter I seem.

If not, okay, you can live in the back then. But me? Nah. I’m loving where I’m at right now.

Love and facets and more love,

Me