I Knew You Were Trouble

I knew it from the first time I saw you. I knew it when we made eye contact through the glasses that you wore that one time because you once told me you were blind as a bat, but I’m positive that you have twenty twenty vision when it comes to me.

I knew it when you used deflection as a way of flirting to make it seem like there was no way in the world you would be caught dead next to me, but somehow that’s exactly where you ended up for most of that night.

I knew it that moment we sunk into our leather chairs at a table full of coins the night you showed up out of the blue.  I knew it that moment when we declared a thumb war, because when I tried to take mine away, you held onto it as if you knew neither one of us wanted to let go.

I knew it when I could see the smile in your eyes that is hard to capture with a common camera phone, so in my head I took the perfect picture and I didn’t need to add a filter at all.

I knew it that night because we both felt like we were keeping a secret, and I knew it the next day when I woke up wanting to tell someone about it so god damn bad.

I knew it that time when you added the cream to my coffee in mid sentence like it was something involuntary, and I knew it when you did it out of courtesy that time I took you out to breakfast at night.

I knew it when we started talking about the future while we were still living in the present and I knew it when all my friends blew up my phone over some image that they thought was righteous because of a hashtag we decided to use.

I knew it over the next few days when I kept telling myself to play it cool and to take it slow, and I knew it when I tried to follow through with my own advice, but for some reason I kept stumbling through my words and actions like the greenest of actors who is auditioning for the role of a lifetime.

I knew it when I woke up thinking about a Taylor Swift song that we listened to one morning and I knew it because it reminded me of what I already knew.

I knew you were trouble when you walked in. But that’s ok, because I like trouble.

The Midnight (Drive)

When I was younger and lived in New Jersey, I used to go on late night drives by myself around town. I would start out at point A and blast my music for the duration of the calculated loop I made around the city as I tried to clear my mind by speeding on the empty highways and letting the midnight wind blow through the open windows and sunroof in my car. It used to center me and it used to help me deal with what ever stress I had been feeling that week.

I loved taking those drives. There was never anyone on the road except for me, my car, and the occasional random vehicle or copper I would pass in the night.

As I got older, these late night drives stopped happening as much due to the fact that by the time I was 27 I was living in Los Angeles and regardless of where I was at midnight or 1 am, there was always traffic, not to mention I was reluctant to drive anywhere for fear of losing my parking spot. I remember taking one trip around the city looping around the City of Angels via the 101, to the 405, to the 110, and back to the 101. It was the most stressful forty five minutes of my life and had the complete opposite of a calming affect on me and my psyche.

Motorcycles passed me at a high rate of speed on either side of my car drowning out the tunes on my radio and making it almost impossible for me to enjoy the ride, and due to the overwhelming population of the city, there was almost never a place to go where it didn’t seem like everyone else was driving too as well. I thought to myself it was ok though because at least I had made it out of New Jersey and I was doing something with my life. 10 years have past since that night, and come to think of it, that was the last time I took one of those late night drives by myself.

Last night I got home kind of early from my second job, went upstairs to sit on the couch and sometime around midnight I decided to go for a drive. I guess for years I didn’t think about how driving in my car alone listening to music actually helped to calm me down and made me feel stress free, even if it was for only a fleeting moment. I put on a song I love to hear when I am driving, I sang along to the lyrics, and I drove up and down the hills of my North Seattle neighborhood heading down Rooosevelt and ending up at the QFC to pick up some coffee and some gummi life savers.

I started singing along to the lyrics of the song playing in my Prelude.

“I’ve been asleep in the drivers seat. I’ve been lost in my head for weeks. Trying to find what it is I need. Too goddamn tired to sleep.’

I had this flashback to when I was driving around in my late teens/early twenties and there was nothing that could get in my way. It made me smile. It was the perfect retro moment that was topped off by the perfect driving song by a band called The Midnight. I could actually enjoy being in my car and accelerating up to fifty miles an hour with no one else on the road even though I knew the speed limit was half that. I could drive till the coast was clear, or at least until that part of my brain felt less clouded. It just made me feel so much better.

I haven’t been very stressed out lately which I am happy to report, but I’ve been tired as fuck and restless at night, even though most of the time I can fall asleep within half an hour of getting home. There is a part of me that understands why I’ve been working a lot and how my routine of going from one job to the other has kind of burned me out, but it has made me more appreciative of these moments in life. It’s not that I couldn’t do it when I lived in L.A., but I was always felt so irresponsible out about wasting gas, or getting into an accident, and these were NEVER things I thought of back when I lived in Jersey when I tried to drive my problems away. I think I truly missed that part of my life and I’m so glad it is back for good.

Sometimes the only cure for the late April blues is to get into my car, put on some really good music and drive aimlessly. It’s probably the only time in my life when I don’t mind not knowing where I am going because I know where I’ve been, and I know where I am, and of course, I know the road I’m on will always take me back home.

The Question Answers the Question

In honor of throwback Thursday, here is a little post from over 9 years ago.  I started blogging on MySpace back in 2004, and every now and then I re-read some of the things I wrote and I try to figure out how that work applies to me today.  It was clear to me after reading this that I was in some sort of love/infatuation triangle.  These three women had been coming in and out of my life at different times since 1997.   In some ways they still are, if it’s as a memory, a phone call, or a rumor I hear through the grapevine. But just like I wrote in the blog, I don’t expect anything, I wait for no one, and ultimately I go my own way.  (and yes, that is a legitimate photo of me from 2007, beard and all)

Originally posted on MySpace.com/*starduster   

January 10th, 2007

I always believe that I will find out the reasons why something happened when I’m ready to hear it. Sometimes years go by and you think you’re ready every second that passes without hearing a single thing, but if I truly was prepared for the information, it would be here by now. Recently I have had to let go of some questions that were not being answered. It’s a hard thing to do & I would love to know why this happened, but life somehow has a way of timing every thing so perfectly.

So perfectly that when one handful of questions go unanswered, I now find out the answers to other questions like whatever happened to Seattle… three and a half years since I lost contact with her. For the time being I’m taking what’s on my plate one bite at a time even though I’m not sure what it is I’m looking at again. There’s this girl that once existed in my mind and recently she has had a change of heart. There’s another girl that exists in my body and I haven’t heard from her in months. I don’t know when I will see her again, but I’m sure it will happen someday. And then there’s the girl that lives in my spirit and she knows how to see right through to me, and she knows how to get my attention after three and a half years of remaining incognito.

There’s something about the way I walk down the street now that even I notice is different about me. There’s an air of positivity and confidence that along with a million other attributes helps to make up my aura that you can see from across the street on a cloudy day in L.A., or a rainy Thursday morning in the Pacific Northwest. I’d hope that my light can be seen to the shores of Jersey and perhaps as inland as Ohio but I’m not able to find that out right now, so I go with what I know and I let life show me the path I choose to take. I wait for nothing, and I don’t stop for any one because I’ve lifted my anchor for real this time and I’m out to see about a past destiny I almost forgot was ever an option again, until now.

Through it all, I’m sure I’ll have questions answered and new insights spring up.  I’m not sure what to expect anymore so I don’t expect anything, but if I know my life well enough it won’t let me forget what’s meant to happen, and it will never lead me any place I don’t want to be.  And right now, that’s right here, when this is right in front of me for the first time in awhile.  So I go my own way.

Learning to Love Yourself, Permanently.

I got my first tattoo when I was 18, and I didn’t really think much about what it meant to me. Afterall my first tattoo was a Dr. Seuss blue fish, just like the book you’re thinking of. I mean really, how deep could the reasoning behind getting an animated children’s book character tattoo really go? As I got older, I would continue to get more tattoos over the years and I think after the first few, I knew that each one meant something special to me. Then in 2006, I just stopped getting them.

I figured 15 was enough, and for a long time I didn’t get any new ink because I was afraid of being rejected from legitimate acting jobs in L.A.. Then, at some point last year, the urge to get another tattoo hit me. I had decided to put my fears behind me, rebel against the system, and tell Hollywood to kiss off. I knew acting wasn’t for me anymore, so one bright sunny day after my workout I went straight to True Tattoo on Cahuenga and got “qualcuno da amare” from the inside of my left elbow all the way straight down my left forearm.

In Italian that translates to “Someone to Love.” Yes, I am of Italian decent, and no, I don’t speak the language but that’s ok because this tattoo means something to me that no cartoon character can touch. I thought about this one a long time, and I knew it would symbolically ruin my short and fleeting career as an actor, but I didn’t care anymore. It HAD to be done.

I can only assume I was passed over for a few jobs in my life because of the fact that I have visible tattoos. I was barred from being a server at a restaurant once in 1999 because the uniform required me to wear shorts and I have four largely visible tattoos on my legs. That artistic racism would continue into my thirties when I guess I lost out on some acting jobs because sometimes it’s just easier to hire the guy who looks like me, but who doesn’t need to spend an hour in the make-up chair. Believe me, 90% of the reason actors get hired actually has NOTHING to do with their talent as an actor.

I was aware of this fact for years as I was quietly coming to the realization that the pursuit of acting just wasn’t making me happy. Fucking life in Los Angeles wasn’t making me happy, and I was sick and tired of how Hollywood works and unable to see my place in it anymore. Then one day I heard this song which reminded me of another song, which then prompted me to get my first new tattoo in almost 10 years in a place that is very obvious. Let me explain.

I’ve never been the model boyfriend, but I am still a hopeless romantic and by that I mean I have fallen in love, made mistakes, been in a bunch of self inflicted traumatic relationships, and to some extent I’m hard to handle. I may not be the first person people go to for relationship advice, but at some level I understand that you can’t love someone unless you yourself are lovable. There’s that old saying that says “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Ok, maybe it’s not THAT old of a saying and maybe it’s actually a real quote from a writer whose words made it into the script for the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it’s an astoundingly accurate statement.

 

Maybe that’s why some of my relationships didn’t work out in the past. Maybe I didn’t think I was deserving of the love I was getting in return. After all, it’s not like anyone can teach you a specific way to love somebody because everyone defines love differently and there is no guidebook that tells you how to do it right. It’s one of life’s greatest prizes, but it’s also that one that seems to elude a lot of us as well. Aside from the the obvious explanation, there is a double meaning to this story. It all started because of this Queen song by the same name.

I have listened to that song over a thousand times in my life, always questioning when and where was I going to find that someone to love, or if anybody was going to help me with that feat. For 20 some years I think I had good intentions, but the whole time I think I was doing it wrong. I truly believed that there was someone out there for me, but in some silly and drudgingly romantic way, I figured I wouldn’t ever find her, or if I did find her, it would somehow never work out. It became like a self fulfilling negative prophecy that kept me out there looking for someone and therein lies my tragedy.

I fell in love with the idea of being in love, and at no point until recently did I realize how backwards as fuck that was. I was trying to love the other person, when the whole time I should have been trying to love myself.

Years had gone by since I first heard Freddie Mercury sing those lyrics that became the theme song to my late teens and early twenties. Also years had gone by when I didn’t get any new ink because of my fear of missing out on work, otherwise known as FOMO. Wait, is that how the kids say it today? I honestly don’t know, but eventually one day in the Fall of last year, remnants of that Queen song came back into my life in a completely new way. I heard this new EDM track by Deorro called “I Can Be Somebody.” Listen to what she is saying….

Sounds a lot like the same message from before, right? Now, I’ll be honest, it’s not the most masculine sounding track about love that I have ever heard, but new appealing rock n roll music about love doesn’t really exist anymore. Plus I have to remember that even though I was thinking about that elusive female love interest when I would sing along to Queen, I’m 100% positive that Freddie Mercury probably wrote that song about a dude. I digress.

Regardless, it only took me about 24 hours after hearing “I Can Be Somebody” before I decided to get “Someone to Love” tattooed on my arm, an idea that had been implanted in my brain since the early 90s when I was first introduced to music that was inspirational. Yeah, I may be a little dramatic, but I don’t feel bad that art and music mean something to me and the fact remains that a beautiful and important message hidden in the lyrics of a song always seems to find me at the right time. I needed to hear that song and I needed to get that tattoo so I could remind myself that I was lovable. I don’t think I ever thought of myself that way before, and what a shame it would have been if I never had.

I don’t think “giving up” is the correct phrase for how I decided that Hollywood wasn’t my bag. Let’s just say the day I got this tattoo, I left something behind that wasn’t working for me anymore. I had been through hell the past few months, and I decided I needed a constant reminder of what really mattered to me now. Truth is, I came to an awareness and realization about myself that I had been ignoring for far too long. I know now that I’m a good person. I may be a “single” good person, but just because I don’t have someone to love in my life right now doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of being that someone.

Tattoos don’t hinder me from getting work anymore, in fact I think they have helped me. They have become a conversation starter and talking point for everyone I serve a drink to up in Seattle. I would go on to get three more tattoos before last year was over, but it all comes back to this one on my forearm that really means the most to me because it has such an important message.

I’m able to love myself permanently now, and I’m sure love will find me when it’s right. And this time, I’ll be ready for it. It’s imperative to me to be that person to love first before I am able to meet and reciprocate the type of love that I think I deserve. And me, we all deserve to be loved.