Hey Baby, Let the Good Times Roll

2014. What a mothereffer you could be. The warmest year on record except for every day I spent in Los Angeles? You brat. You KNOW how cold I get.
But besides the usual shit, which has been documented so diligently, and perhaps maybe a bit too much, if you ask my family, this year had its' moments. And it is within me to be able to take the crazy along with the good.
Which is good.
Because there was a lot of fucking crazy. 
(There really was, guys.)
So, 2014. What good hath you brought?


This fucking kid.
Watching her become a person is probably the dopest thing I have ever seen.
She is so funny.
She is so full of light.
She is so snuggly.
She talks now. She has ideas and plans and she executes them. 
She is always making me fake hamburgers and they always taste the same, like disgusting plastic, because I pretend to eat them and inevitably taste some and I pretend to choke, and she always laughs, which we'll worry about later and give her Heimlich lessons.
 She is confident and assured. 
She knows when to go for the laugh. 
She knows when to be pouty. (I taught her that.)
There will never be another Christmas again where she is two, beginning to understand the wonder of the season. 
Where she rearranges the ornaments she likes and calls the tree her "Minnie tree."
There will never be another first time in New York City. 
She fit right in. She watched everything. She felt it, and I got to be witness to her growth, to her changing, to her being.
How could the year be so bad when I've got that?

Time Spent in Los Angeles
There is something so specific about the light in LA, the way it bounces and shimmers from the East Side to the West.
It's a special place.
I've tried to explain how to love it to my friends who live in New York, but they are snooty about surviving all four seasons.
I never had to try to love it. I went there, I was sixteen, and I knew I would end up there one day.
And so much shit has happened since, that every time I land at LAX (four times this year), I head outside, breathe in and out and feel immensely grateful.
There are few places I feel at home.
My parents' house, my grandmothers' house, New York, and LA.
(Genevieve and I are flying out New Year's Eve. We will be in Santa Monica by 4:30, just to watch the last sun of the year descend upon the ocean.)

This Ding Dong Doggie
This dog.
For never leaving my side, for keeping my feet warm, for hogging the bed, for being OK when I exchanged you for a human partner, for coming back when things ended, for being a dumb dog who doesn't understand a fucking word I'm writing. You are easy, simple company, Shea. I never truly understood the whole man's best friend thing until this dog refused to leave my side as I recovered from hospital stay after hospital stay. Way to kill it at being a dumb dog, Shea Stadium Bergin.


The sunrise

So many nights I did not sleep. Most nights I did not sleep. 
Most nights I forgot how to sleep and so I stayed up, watching The West Wing, being less productive than any of the guys on Tinder I meet who live in the parents' basement.
Shit was bad.
But I would always look forward to daylight, because I knew I would drag myself up to see the light.
On the good days I would walk East, Shea tied to me, and stride straight toward the great blue sea.
The sun would crack open, yellow as a yolk, and we would glide into the day.
(Usually by falling back asleep.)
My most peaceful moments are when I am within something bigger than myself. 
When I feel altered and changed by something that does not belong to me, but to all of us. 
Universal and whole.
Day light.

Travel, or: the reason I have no money.
I had to be so many places this year.
I had to go. I had to have momentum. I had to do something other than be alone with my sickness and my sadness.
And so I moved around. I glided, when I could glide.
I spent a couple months in Brooklyn, but that was not far enough.
And so I headed to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and down to Los Angeles. 
And then I had the opportunity to surf in Mexico,
and I did that, even though it hurt. 
And many times I could not get up, from bed or on the damn surfboard.
Some days my particular afflictions feel bolder than they were the day before, and these days sink me.
In Mexico, I swam.

The rest of you.
There are many things I've done or said or fucked up that I regret.
I treat myself pretty badly sometimes, and I can do it to others too.
What a jerk I can be.
And yet.
I still have this big beating heart that lives outside of me, that is there for me. I have numbers I can call when I need help.
I have my parents, who are saddled with the task of caring for me, yet never make me feel like a burden.
The same goes for my siblings, whose love is beyond measure.
And the friends I've had since elementary school, and high school and college.
We had great weddings this year, and gatherings in Denver and the Poconos. I got to move in packs.
Whether it was with family or friends,
I had a pack.
And that made this year all the more liveable.
So thank you all.
Because I can say eff this year, or I can see, look, I got to watch children grow and change. 
And while I am not grateful for sickness, 
I do believe that it has given me a bitter but knowing 
perspective of the way life can kick you in the balls, time and time again, while handing you over the most precious of gifts, time and time again.
See you all in 2015.


All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth (plus a bedside performance by Alvin, Simon & Theodore!)


I wake up coughing, choking on the something that is scratching the back of my throat. I throw the covers off and the light on and in my hand is blood and a piece of a tooth.
I think of the dreams, the countless nightmares I have had about losing my teeth, and how they are all coming true. And how somewhere in the midst of that unconscious knowledge–I knew I was losing teeth before I woke up–I bled before I woke, I choked before I could see.

It is almost Thanksgiving, and then almost Christmas. But I cannot think of turkey without thinking of the pain that would accompany each bite.

The next day, I see my dentist. A buzz fills the room and then a pause in the action. She is thinking. The dentist tells me to open my mouth wider and I am trying as hard as I can. I feel my lips stretch and break and I wish for Vaseline. She says I can close my mouth and the dental hygienist wipes my spit and blood.

The dentist draws all the air in the room as she looks at me and says that they need to go.

All the teeth need to go.

One, two...8 teeth, all on the top. She gives me the name of an oral surgeon. Eight teeth will be removed on December 19, the surgeon says, and the denture will come in on Wednesday, and we'll try it on to make sure it fits. Your Christmas food will need to be puréed, he jokes.


We are living older now, I think. We outlive our teeth. At some point, many of us will face the possibility of dentures. It will strike in the oddest of ways, sting you in a way you did not predict. Your health will fail and your teeth will rot.

I don't have a wrinkle yet, or a 401k. I have no plans to age.

I leave the office, my head pounding, my left eye threatening to jump ship. The pain in my left temple is as sharp as the craggy teeth still left in my mouth. What will it be like when they are all gone?

Dentures at 28. I don't wonder how this can be; I know. Twenty eight years of medicine and chemotherapies and radiation and steroids. Osteoporosis, and gum disease, type one diabetes, chronic candidiasis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid cancer. Each disease a sandpaper rub to my system, each disease burning me off, a little at a time. I look at the elders in my family and I covet their health.

I don't fight anymore. I don't scream. I take medicine to suppress the darkness of physical decay.

I get home and I lie in bed, in the apartment above my parents' garage.

When I thought of all the ways my body could destroy me, I did not think of my teeth. I relied on my teeth. They are bone. They are there, and they should stay there.

I did not expect this.

There is no Tooth Fairy visit for the 28 year old spitting pieces of molar into a sink. A gummy, toothless smile is not so cute when you're dressing up for Tinder dates, pulling down your lips when you smile. My body has learned to hide its flaws. My smile has changed.

I am giving up my teeth. I'm no organ donor; I'm just contributing to medical waste. There is no glory in this. There is no guts to admire in me anymore.

I ache thinking of the pull. I have lived this before. He'll take his eight teeth, and they won't grow back. I'll get my denture. I'll hope my bottom teeth don't spoil too.

I want to fight for these teeth. But it is no use. There is no way to salvage these bones.

I am so angry. The feeling surprises me, and it breaks me open, and I am flooded with the emotion I usually stow away.

I cannot fight for these teeth now, and I know now I never really did. The advice given to me ten years ago went unnoticed, and I carried on, knowing I was high risk and forgetting to floss most nights anyway. I was 18 and in college and passed out smelling like beer and cigarettes most nights.

These teeth never had a fighting chance in a mouth like mine.

I am giving these teeth up so that I can go on. Maybe these sharp pieces of bone, soon to be removed, will remind me of what is left of me: what is left to fight for, what remains at stake. They are a small part of a body that needs serious maintenance.

We are not invincible. Our strongest bones will one day break.

I didn't expect this fight so soon, and I am tired and weary. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't not my fault. Death comes for all of us, one tooth at a time.

The teeth are going, but I am not toothless, not yet.


Trigemenial Neuralgia

I swear to God, I must have been Hitler in my past life.

I actually hate this line of thought; that we are reincarnated and paying, karmically, for the sins caused by our former selves.

I'm also not quite convinced of karma. I have been an asshole many times in my life, many many times in my life, but I know even bigger assholes who walk around scot-free, without any karmic retribution.

Yeah. I don't believe any of that crap.


For the past few weeks, I've been experienced pain in my lower left jaw. My right jaw had gone completely numb when I was in Mexico. I had also been experiencing MS-like symptoms. Falling often, dizzines, blurred vision.I believed this to be from the bad teeth that would soon be extracted. 

Until Tuesday, when the pain in my gums, cheek and jaw was so bad, I was admitted to the hospital.

I needed IV pain medication to sedate me, to soften my pain. I cried hysterically for days, because a pain like this was even too big for me to handle.

I had no idea something could hurt so badly, I'd truly wish to be dead so that I would be free physical pain. 

I was released Thursday morning after they seemed to come to a conclusion. and had me scheduled to meet a neurosurgeon and pain management doctor tomorrow.

They hesitated to give me the diagnosis, because as my doctor friend responded to the news :"Fuuuuck. Noooo.."

I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia, where convulsions in the face cause pain that feels like electrical bolts. I thought my cheekbone was coming through my skin.

The diagnosis is more common over 50 but it is still very rare. LIke, one in 50,000. Sheeeeet.

I have to find a way to keep living despite this absolutely horrific pain.

It's absurd, for me, to be diagnosed with what they call

...the most painful affliction known to mankind. 

The suicide disease.

Like, Jesus Christ. 

My book is gonna be amazing now.

Thank you for all the love. It is appreciated.