Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces

I want to share the room with you, the people, their voices and stories. But I can’t.

I want to tell you all about the things they said and what I said to them in turn. But I won’t.

I want to reveal epiphanies and all our fears. I want to uncover the secrets and the scars. But I can’t.

I want my inner child to shout out all the feelings that I keep hidden and let him whisper the insecurities that shadow the others in the chairs next to me. But I won’t.

I want you to know that this is real, this group is real and we have real reasons to be here; real victories keep us coming back. 

But I can’t tell you anything about anyone in this space, because this space is sacred. Just like the promise I have made that if today I did well, tomorrow I will do better. 

My name is Dave and I am a compulsive overeater. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Image: Room, by Philipp Berndt @ unsplash free images

Overthinkers Anonymous

Overthinkers Anonymous

Do I obsess about food, or do I eat mindlessly? 

Do I eschew control or relish it to the exclusion of making good choices? 

What is moderation, really? Boring, pedestrian frailty, or lightning in a jar? Can moderation actually be acute control over my more wayward compulsions or is it merely the negation of life’s peaks and troughs? Prozac to living. 

Why do I primly eat like a pious believer during the week and gorge myself like a death row agnostic on weekends? 

Can I overlay what I learned at Narcotics Anonymous on this programme and replicate that success? Why not? Why NOT…??

There are so many questions and I not only want all the answers – ALL of them – I want them to be quick fixes with minimal emotional cost. Is this possible? Why not? Why NOT…???! 

Well.

After tonight’s Overeaters Anonymous meeting, one answer I do have is that I don’t have any of the answers. None at all. Not one that fixes any of this. 

And that’s ok. Because what I do know now is that there are answers out there, I just need to know which questions matter, because not all of them do. Many of them just get in the way, or are that conniving inner voice, Slick, undermining all my progress. 

Slick, who tells me that moderation is bereft of any validity as something that engages me. It is the single bite of a cake. It is the heavy petting instead of the rough, anonymous sex. It is the driving at 110 instead of 140. It is safe in the way that safe is dull, dreary and unappealing. It is boring and it is mundane and it is a blight and the end of personality. That has become my default understanding of moderation.

Not only do I eat too much, I think too much. 

I think I need Overthinkers Anonymous right now.

I think…

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

…and I am…

 “Hi. My name is Dave.”

“Hi. My name is Dave and I am …”

“Hi. My name is Dave…” and I am at this meeting for the first time.

The meeting starts and everyone takes turns in introducing themselves and reading from the meeting’s preamble, steps and traditions.

I don’t belong…here. Whatever “here” is. 

“Are there any newcomers?” she asks. I raise my hand.

“Hi. I’m Dave…and…I’m a compulsive overeater.” 

There. I’ve said it. I’ve given it a name. This condition. This disease. This…compulsion. I have it, and it is me and I am it.

Tonight I learned this is not about food. This has never been about food. Not for me nor for any of the others sitting in a circle here in Kenilworth. 

This is about responses, and relationships. It is about self-care and self-love. It is about being present, in life, and being witnessed, noticed, affirmed. 

And it is, finally, about witnessing ourselves, with honour. 

I expect I will be doing a lot of eating, through this journey, but the dish being served is mainly humble pie.

My name is Dave. I am a compulsive overeater and I am starting again because I belong here. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

Farewell, George! 

Image: Mirror.co.uk

My alarm clock woke me with “Wham! George Michael is dead!” – well, I did ask him to Wake Me Up Before He Go-Goes. 

It was his Last Christmas and now he won’t get Older. Sorry. Shouldn’t have said that so softly – it was a Careless Whisper and I’ll take the Freedom to say a little more. With a bit of Faith and Patience you’ll find that like George, we’re all just Praying For Time. 

Looking at the last pics of him, no Father Figure was more ready to Move On to The Edge Of Heaven for a bit of Fastlove.

I Knew You Were Waiting for these dreadful puns and it’s not The Strangest Thing that I tried to come at this tribute from A Different Corner but I am ready to give it One More Try, ok?  

Will you Listen Without Prejudice?

Amazing. Let’s go Outside because I am Waiting For That Day to Heal The Pain. 

George, just know that You Have Been Loved and it will take all the Songs From The Last Century to get over your death. Your music was Flawless, Round Here, despite the media in earlier days making you out to be a Freeek!
—————————————————

Rest In Peace, George Michael. The only way I know how to honour you and your incredible talent is through humour. Your songs were the themes of my youth – of so many people’s youth – and a little bit of us died with you yesterday. 

Go in peace.

25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016.

© Dave Luis 2016. All Rights Reserved. 

A Stranger’s Touch

A Stranger’s Touch

Sultry deep house pulses in the background. I step down into the hot water and look the stranger in the eye. Jets of bubbles cascade coyly around us, the only pretense to humility this scene requires.

“Hello.”

“Hi.” 

We’ve already said more than is necessary. I’m not here to chat. A last lingering gaze and I tilt my head back onto the edge of the rim, and close my eyes.

Breathe. 

The air jets buoy our bodies in a slow, rhythmic flow. The stranger uses this fluid motion to brush up against me…it’s a request. I answer by not pulling away. Our legs rest against each other, pushing, pulling as the ebb and flow of the bubbles mimic the unspoken carnal connection to follow. 

But this not some public animal rutting between two lust-hungry youths. The stranger is older than my forty-two years, with a devilishly light and gracefully slow touch.  

Hands trace my form. The stranger moves in time to the serene music, barely audible over the roiling jets of hot water.

Is it getting hotter in here?

Breathe. And sink down under the waves. A light touch bears down as the stranger’s nails dig in to carve a souvenir from my chest. 

“It’s too hot.” Ambiguous words refresh reality as the stranger rises up from the water and wraps up in a towel. 

A glance back, a beckoning to follow somewhere into the darkness and the sound of more strangers’ most urgent wiles…but my eyes close and I sink back into the boiling water.

I connect with water and all the games I play take place beneath the surface. If you want to play, that’s where I’ll be.

Our moment has passed; the connection made in a stranger’s touch is broken. 

Breathe.

I’m done.

© Dave Luis 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: the adult nature of posts like these respects and promotes a culture of consent and safe practices. Do not ask if these are fictional or real life encounters. What matters is the words about sense and the emotions they describe. If you are unable to read material like this without a knee-jerk reaction, please scroll on to another blog. These are not the posts you seek. 

And the beat goes on…

Johan ‘Junior’ Botha 1956.03.19 – 2016.07.24

My amazing, talented cousin! 

We were not ready to say goodbye. How could we be? A life as full as yours should never come to an end – a man so loved for the smiles he brought through the music he made should never have to be mourned. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Johan, we can never understand why you chose to leave us. The shockwave after your Facebook farewell post and the awful news that followed has touched innumerable lives. Proof, if it was ever needed, that you were so deeply loved. 

The ripples spread out and sting. Family. Friends. Fans. Your mom and dad; step parents. Sister. Your brother. Your beautiful daughter. Your soulmate, Laetitia. 

God! If only we knew your pain! If we knew beforehand, we would have stopped you. Could we? Would we have a right to? Could we understand and protect you? Could we help you find healing, and peace? We’ll drive ourselves to the edge of sanity trying desperately to answer these.

But perhaps we shouldn’t. Perhaps as we alternate between intense agony and numb despair, we should accept for ourselves that your soul has done what it set out to do in this lifetime, and it’s on its way home, to find its own peace and rest. 

You’ve gone home, Junior. And we have to find a way to let you. 

Though you’ve discarded this life, your touch cascades out through Candice’s eyes, and through your mom’s; it warms in our hearts as we think of you in happier times, and it roars out loudly through your music, drowning out our pain as we close our eyes and see you take up the sticks once more, test the cymbals and kick off in a raucous celebration of everything that you were: a man, and a musician, and a father, and a friend. A son. And a brother. A mentor. And our beautiful, creative, thoughtful, sensitive Junior Botha.

May your soul rest in eternal peace. 

For those of us left behind, we’ll hold the memory of you tightly in our hearts.

And the beat goes on…

© Dave Luis 2016. 

Day #1479

Day #1479

One thousand four hundred days ago, I scribbled on a red paper serviette and stuck it to my sister-in-law’s fridge and posed next to it for a photo.


Day 79 it said. 79 days without alcohol or narcotics. Drugs. The crutch I’d used for 18 years previously. 

79 days without a crutch. Back then I felt each passing day rolling off the calendar slowly. Sometimes painfully. Some days I could feel each hour dragging its slow, sober feet, minute after minute.

In those days it was very necessary to mark each day as a milestone. Now, four years later, I am resilient enough to count only the milestones of each year as it passes. 

But Lize-Marie kept that red paper serviette, and each time a milestone was reached where the number 79 could be added to or altered, we have had a family gathering to celebrate my clean time.

So day 79 became day 179. 

Day 179 became day 479.

Today that became day 1479.

1479 days without drugs or alcohol.

Lize-Marie, Jeff, Robyn and I met once more for love, dinner, laughter and to honour the clean time and the very special people who helped me get there.

This victory is not mine alone – it is ours. 

Thank you for the hand up – the trust and the belief that the addiction could be beaten. 

Every. Single. Day. 

See you on day 4479! 

© Dave Luis 2016. All Rights Reserved.