Dante came into my life when I lived in Portland. It was the first time I lived there. I used his name on a dateline. A phone number you called to meet singles. I didn’t think much about it. And I only met two people.
One of them however became friends with a friend of mine. She shared the name with him. And he started using it. I didn’t have much of a relationship with Dante. For years it stayed this way.
When we traveled across the county. I used the name Dante all the way across. Meeting the women in Upstate New York, I was Dante. It was there I got the addition of Prince.
We had planned to go to a festival. Before hand I hand been singing a song. One of the lines way about going to the festival, “and dancing with the prince.” When the time came I went with the girls. And my friend stayed to watch a movie. Dancing at the festival, they figured I must be the prince.
Over time I started to get to know him better. And when I worked at Silver Lake I borrowed his identity again. At the camp everyone called me Dante. It was fun to think of myself as Dante. And not Chris.
I think there has always been a dark draw to Dante. Something about him made me come closer. His name invoked the story of Dante’s journey through hell. And later through heaven. I remember a quote about having to go through hell. And then you find your treasure. It is about struggle. About going deep. But also understanding our wounds. Loving our shadow.
I don’t believe in sin. And it has been years since I have believed. We don’t sin against God. But we fail ourselves. The only crime is failing to love ourselves. And the punishment is not being loved by ourselves. We hold the key to our own chains.
Dante was a recluse. A lover of knowledge and poetry. Not a person happy at parties. Unless he could hide in the corner. There was a very secret part of him. A part which wanted to be invisible. Just to watch the world. And not be a part. But he loved getting to know people one on one. Hearing about their lives and stories.
In Yosemite I got to know Dante better. But at the same time Dante hid away deeper. It wasn’t a name I spoke often. When doing art of writing, I spent time with Dante. But it was always alone. No one else in Yosemite knew Dante. I was growing. And Dante was growing. We spent a lot of time together hiking.
He was still creative. Still a dreamer. It was his dreams which helped me fall in love with the girls in New York. Laura whom I lived with for a few months. And Shaylyn whom I saw rarely.
In Yosemite I decided I wanted to be a writer. And I choose to go into the news business. I do like news. But it was for the writing. One of the first stories I recall being acutely aware of was Scott Peterson. On my blog I gave a lot of space to Dante. But when I left, I almost left him behind. Which is sad because he was part of the reason I want to be a writer.
Working and going to school in Stockton took a heavy toll. I didn’t have time for friends. And I didn’t have time for Dante. There were a few paintings. And a couple times I took photo walks. But Dante wasn’t a part of my life. He would become less a part of my life for the next few years.
It isn’t because I didn’t value his energy. Or because I wasn’t pulled to be alone. But because I ignored those things. And I ignored his needs. Dante is a loyal friend, like Lilith. But things were strained with both of them during this time. All I had time for was me. Run to work, to school, to sleep, to work, to school. Run all the time. Well I had a bike.
Dante may be loyal. But has wanted to die a number of times. Alone, but not alone.
The one exception to all this is my roommate in Arcata. When I met her online I used Dante’s name. And she still calls me Dante to this day. There was a part of herself which touched him. And it would appear a part of him touched her. Could they not be alone anymore. But she wasn’t making time for Dante either. And I pushed him away after moving to a new place. He didn’t feel like a friend. He felt more like a shadow.
My first online identity was TheSanePoet. A name I still use online often. But when I first got Facebook I used the name Dante. It was a way to be honest. But to lie at the same time. Dante wanted people to know him. But also wanted people to know nothing.
His desire was different than Lilith. Less about fear. More about presenting the perfect image. A perfectionist artist. I would be his work of art. There was only one way to turn me into this work of art: control everything. I could share anything I wanted. But the way I shared was important to Dante.
While living in Portland the second time I used the name rarely. M didn’t like it. Because I did love Dante so much. And because I loved M so much it isn’t a surprise they have the same middle name: Rose.
A rose is about a passion. Maybe a passion for life. Or for a person. Or truth or love or the passion for words. These ideas were becoming more important to me. It was while living in Portland this time I started my real art career. I’ve created little over the years. Most of what of it in those years. Dante inspired me as an artist. There was a world of feeling he could touch. But I could not.
I know this is all over the place. But this is the nature of Dante. He isn’t like me. I’m going back even further for the next part of this tale.
Living in Santa Cruz I met an amazing woman. At the beach one day she told me I was a Pleiadian. This is an alien race. But I think she was wrong. What she was seeing was behavior I had learned from Dante. He was the being from another world. A number of years later I started to pin Pleiades to his name to make this point. A point he was aware of, but didn’t discuss. A point he seemed not to care enough about to argue for or against.
If other people know Dante, they may use a different name. But as of now I refer to him as Prince Dante Rose Pleiades. And I still use his name online. He doesn’t like Facebook.
It is interesting Dante is more passive than Lilith. But as friends I know they both look out for me. Dante shares dark secrets with Lilith. Things they will not even share with me.
But Dante is more optimistic. When I first was getting to know him, he wore a skirt. These were the good years. We were good friends. He believed in the world. Thought life could and should be better for all. He pushed me to get out much more than I do now. Maybe because getting out is my own hell. One he knew I needed to experience.
I believe he still wants to wear a skirt. And if I allowed him, he would.
Now me and Dante are getting to know each other again. Like lovers parted for long years. I am writing again, which is creative. This makes Dante happy. My dream of being an artist is being re-awakened. Dante is a part of this dream. I can’t write or be an artist without his help. But still no one else knows him. It is only online I share anything about him. And I don’t allow many people from real life to know me online.
We are growing together in the last couple years. And it has been good for both of us.