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For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic

I’ve always believed in being an optimist, but strive to try to not be one to a fault. I guess I had no choice back in ’99 when I started thinking overtly positive, and yeah maybe always thinking on the bright side got a bit out of hand but I knew no other way to live.  I try to see the perfection in every thing, and by that I mean the positive AND negative and that can be a tricky game to play, especially when some things happen that I regard as “bad.”  Bad is just the opposite of what I want to have happen. See?  I just did it right there. I’ve trained myself pretty well.

This is my life, and I’ve chosen to try and find the good in everything even though with each situation that becomes a challenge, but just like the title says, for a pessimist, I’m pretty optimistic. There is a song with that same name and I have no shame in admitting I stole it for the title of this blog. It fits, and this is the realest I have been with myself all week. I’m sitting on my patio on Memorial Day drinking a skinny bitch and typing out my fuck yous to the world, all while I try to perfectly transpose my self inflicted rhetoric on a computer screen. I don’t know if this is what the war veterans had in mind for a celebration, but I thank them for their service today while I try to make my complaining look an art form.

I’m not really a pessimist at heart, but I swing so far to either side sometimes, that it almost makes me feel like I could be fooling myself into thinking I’m an optimist. But who cares if I am?  I’m rarely let down with things in my life for more than a minute and believe me, I can get over anything pretty quickly.  But if I can be totally honest, the only way I wake up disappointed is when someone else lets me down. I try not to let that happen a lot, but unfortunately, it’s not entirely up to me.

However, I do suffer from the case of the “slightly dramatics” and sometimes I’ve been known to make it out to be the worst thing in the world…. for about five to ten minutes.   Even though I’m still a member of the drama club at age 40, BELIEVE me, I’m not as bad as I was when I was eighteen, nineteen, or twenty, so in my head I think I’ve made progress and I’m cool with that.

I have to cry out loud some of the time, but then I have to laugh out loud the rest of the time because those acts remind me not to be so fucking serious. “Why so serious,” a dead celebrity once asked. Well, he certainly took his life, and took it seriously, and all that makes me think is I don’t want to be anything like the joker. I’d rather be the King.

The King of wishful thinking. Another song title that comes to mind. I don’t know if wishful thinking is the same as being an optimist, but it sure feels like I’ve been doing what works for me for 16 years and I’m pretty sure even in my darkest hour, I have found some light at the end of the tunnel.  When something is going the way I want it to, I’m highly optimistic about it, but when something is going backwards or when I don’t like the outcome, I’ll probably get bummed out for a minute before the phrase “I guess it wasn’t meant to be” comes creeping into my brain.  Sometimes that works, other times it’s all smoke and mirrors.

I believe that the shit gets better, and that the shit is never as bad as it seems, but I also believe that sometimes the shit needs to hit the fan, and I think it’s healthy when it happens every now and again. I think that I’ve been used to the worst thing always happening in my life, but I’m learning to train myself to think otherwise because I outgrew my fatalist quarter-life crisis attitude, and I’m outgrowing my foolish post traumatic stress way of thinking.

I’m learning to be the positive thinker with his head in the clouds, but his feet on the ground so that way I’m always connected to what I really know to be true which is that sometimes, I’m a pessimistic optimist, but it doesn’t matter as long as I’m a confident pessimistic optimist.

That’s literally all it takes.  I’m calling the shots in my life and I know what I know. I’ve gotten to where I’m at by being who I am, and so far I can’t complain about how it’s all worked out. So if I could sum it up in one ironic phrase, I’d have to say that for a pessimist, I’m pretty optimistic. You can just call me Mr. Brightside.

 

 

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Any Other Way

Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m doing the right thing, and other times I realize that the irony is perhaps there is no such thing as the right thing to do. There is a part of me that understands the touch and go philosophy, but I’m struggling to find my place in that mindset, and how on earth did we get to this point. I’m honest to a fault, and I’m an emotional wreck sometimes but I’ve learned to keep that second part to myself, even though every now and then you could be more than a mile away and still pick up what I’m putting down.

It’s hot and humid today on the patio and this is the first time in two weeks that I’ve been soaking in the sun as I attempt to drink myself into a state of sobriety. Who am I trying to impress with my shirt off and my sunglasses on? Who am I trying to be when I don’t feel like being myself, and how do you score the play that makes me feel like I’ve been hitting home runs for the last few months, but still striking out at the plate?

I’m getting tanner with each minute, and complacent with every second, and at least every hour on the hour I’m checking in with myself to make sure that my breathing is slightly more involuntary than the words that are coming out of my mouth.

Now I’m thinking that maybe the right thing is to be true to myself. And now I’m thinking that maybe being true to myself is to be ok with the idea of letting go of the things that I’ve outgrown. And now I’m thinking that this is why I chose to be where I am today, and to be completely honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The Only Way Is Up

I am not defined by the amount of time it took for me to be happy.

I am a culmination of every person I’ve ever loved, every girl I’ve ever dated, every guy I’ve called my friend, and every experience I’ve lived through that made me stronger and didn’t kill me in the process.

I took a calculated risk more than once and it paid off in dividends that can not be measured by any amount of material success.

I live my life on my own terms, hold myself up to my own standards, and if I fail I know it’s no one else’s fault but mine, and that level of responsibility makes me feel ok.

I do not blame anyone for the way things turned out except for myself, and when I wake up in a good mood, I know it’s because of the things I did to get me here.

I financed my present for a few years in the hopes that it would pay me back a hundred times over in the future, but what it really ended up doing was making me aware of the past fact that money doesn’t buy happiness, and that is a comforting thought which I’ve known all along.

I gambled everything for love a couple times in my life, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized every chance I took back then led me to have the patience, the luck, and the game face to finally know what to do when I hit the jackpot recently.

For a long time, I lived in the world of possibility days, until I finally made those possibilities a reality and chose to stop thinking that a better quality of life was simply a possibility that I didn’t deserve.

Sometimes I can’t believe how quickly everything I wanted in my life has become my reality, but then I remember that when I finally decided what it is that what I wanted, and when I finally figured out how to go about getting it, there is nothing anyone can say that will bring me down from this cloud.

The only way is up.

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I Am…

I am because I know how to get what I want.
I am because I’ve been through hell to get to heaven and I really love it here now.
I am because I have someone like you to remind of the fact that
I am the luckiest.

I am because I lived through a time when my life was the darkest.
I am because I have people in my life who told me not to give up.
I am because although I didn’t know what I was doing, I knew to follow my heart because
I am the luckiest.

I am because of all the things in my past that didn’t work out.
I am because of all the things in my future that certainly will.
I am because of the fact that there is a constant reminder of what I always knew to be true which is that
I am the luckiest.

I am because of how perfect the timing was.
I am because I took a leap of faith.
I am because I heard this song 11 years ago and it came back into my life again because
I am the luckiest.

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I Want To Break The Rules With You

I want to break the rules with you.

I want to light a fire and watch it burn from a safe distance while we sip champagne out of coffee mugs.

I want to read between the lines to understand you, until there are no lines on the page to read between anymore.

I want to polish those parts of who I am so I can be the best looking to you on the inside, as well as on the outside.

I want to reach the sky with you.

I want to look over and see you sitting next to me while we drive on a desert road, speeding  in the middle of the night with the sunroof open so the stars can guide us.

I want to jump in and splash everyone around us, and I want us to turn back and watch them smile even as the water cascades down their bodies.

I want to live the life that I never thought I could have, because for some reason everything I never thought of before seems perfectly possible now that I’m with you.

I want to break the rules with you.

 

 

 

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Leaving Los Angeles

Another one of my friends left Los Angeles recently. One by one my small group of East coast transplants that were living in Hollywood with me since the early 2000’s have come to the decision that the city of Angels just isn’t for them anymore, myself included. I had my own reasons for leaving, but the similarities as to what life path we took after we moved have been astonishing.

It seems like all of my friends have moved away, found good jobs, a level of happiness, and have gotten married, had kids, or got “wifed up” since they left Southern California, and even though it was never my plan to follow suit, it appears that I’m well on my way.

I am an artistic and creative person at heart, but a part of me knew how difficult it is to swim in the shallow waters of Hollywood. You can have all the talent in the world, but in the last 5 years, being rich and famous for nothing, has become the new being rich and famous for something. After a mediocre amount of success that allowed me to pay my bills without having a “in the meantime” job, I had to go back to bartending and it made me feel like a failure, even though I know I’m not. It got tougher on me as I watched every one of the friends I love leave southern California only to meet someone special and start a new life with them, until I chose to do the same thing.

I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my new life in Seattle to be, and even though I’ve only been here a little over three months, it has all fallen into place like some form of poetic justice. Sometimes I wake up in disbelief of how easy it has been and how smoothly things have worked out, but then I remember to stop thinking like a negative fatalist and just accept the fact that perhaps this time the other shoe is never going to drop, because I won’t let it happen.

When I lived in L.A I was stressed out all the time, and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was sad and depressed more times than I was happy, and I got used to having panic attacks because I felt like that was just part of the game. I did it for so long because I really believed in what I wanted to do with my life, but it never dawned on me until recently that even if I DID succeed and I sold that TV show, or I DID land that big role on Criminal Minds, would I have really been happy with coming home to an empty apartment and no one to share my life with except for my cat?

Would I have been able to look into the eyes of my bank account and know that it loved me too?  Would I have gotten into my car and felt alive and free stuck in traffic going eight miles per hour on the 101 at 11:54 pm on a Wednesday night? Fuck no! There is nothing about any of those scenarios that would have made me happy if that turned out to be my life. I think I just needed to admit that to myself, even though I knew it all along.

I know that this isn’t everyone’s experience in L.A., but the reality is that those examples I mentioned were what I was looking forward to. How fucking dismal would that life have been? What does it say about me that I couldn’t wait for the day when I didn’t have to struggle to make ends meet, or how I couldn’t wait for the night when I finally felt validated for all the time and effort I put into my career? I deserve better than to look forward to a life that is defined by how much money I can make.

I know a select group of people who are more talented writers, actors, and producers than half of the people who are actually making a living from it, but it’s kind of morose that talent doesn’t get you very far in Hollywood. I don’t want to feel like I wasted my talent in life, but what if my talent is to do the right thing and be a good person? What if I could be the best at being a great husband to my wife, or being the father that I never had? What if those things mean more to me now than a fleeting chance at fame ever did?

Even at 40, I’m still growing up. As I have watched and continue to watch my friends leave that town to follow their heart, I can’t help but be proud of all of them, including myself. Believe me, I understand it takes a lot of perseverance to stay in Los Angeles and to follow your dreams even after you are repeatedly rejected and told no.  I wish nothing but success for my friends who are still there who I know are going to make it, yet, at the same time, I feel like it takes a shit ton of guts to look around at the palm trees, the pretty people, and the 334 days of sunshine and tell yourself that this just isn’t for me anymore.

For me, it’s pretty simple. I left L.A. because all I’ve ever wanted in life was to be happy. It’s just that for the longest time I thought happiness was one thing, when in reality it has turned out to be something else.  And that something else looks a lot like my life right now.