Let’s Start With a Bang

Lately, I’ve been singing to myself…
I  d o n’t  w a n n a   be here no  more.”

October is over, a month that made me wax and wain with a purpose. A purpose I’m still trying to figure out as there is a goofy sideshow election going on that perfectly represents what this country, like myself have become. Divided.

I’m divided in half like a bi-polar nightmare and I don’t know if I keep challenging myself to see how far I can go, or if I keep making the same mistakes because I know it’s a challenge I can win. I started with a bang seven months ago and blew up my world by moving to a city I haven’t lived in since fucking George W. Bush stole the election in 2000.

I got a job that pays me well, and pays me benefits. I found a great apartment, some cool friends and a pretty girl and I loved that I loved everything in my life until it all stopped reciprocating that love to me right before the short lived summer of Seattle, 2016.

It makes me wonder… was it really love at all?

Maybe it was infatuation that changed my world and turned me upside down. Maybe it was the start of something new, and the journey to get to the destination that once I got to, I subtly started questioning if I really wanted to be there. It was obvious by my actions, so naturally those actions have caused me to question the reaction I’ve been having to my troubled, self inflicted life. Maybe I don’t know what I want, and maybe that’s ok.

What if instead of living a bi-polar life, I am living a world of multiplicity as I’m pushed and pulled into half a dozen different scenarios in my mind. Jesus Christ was NOT perfect, and neither am I, but I don’t think it’s wrong to be a saint and sinner simultaneously, just like him.

I came back to the west coast last week with the option to leave early, but since those first  72 hours have past me by, I’m starting to think that maybe I need to slow my roll and give it a chance. Maybe I need to stop trying to blow up my life and start trying to piece it together through finding out what I want, a little bit at a time through observation, and the patience to see it through to the end, or the beginning depending on how I look at it.

After all, I spent 13 years in that God awful place they call L.A. and I didn’t sell my soul for anything less than a million dollars of my own self worth that comes in the form of credit card which I don’t really care about anymore. It’s not real, it doesn’t really matter, and really the only thing that I can do is take a deep breath, maybe get a little artificial sunlight and go out there and live my life and discover what it is that comes next. I got to admit, It’s kind of exciting that I can still be this much of a free spirit in the summertime of my life.

For awhile I’ve been singing to myself
I  d o n’t  w a n n a   be  h e re  no  more”

…but I’ve been flowing like a samurai and stinging like a butterfly. Now I don’t feel the need to blow up my life again, but I do love the excitement, so for better or worse, let’s start with a bang.

 

 

The Love & The Hate

Is it possible to love something so much but go through fleeting moments of hating it too? Like for example, I love my life, but I hate the fact that I’ve been so complacent about it recently. It’s like I know I can do better than working at a bar and writing an interesting blog, yet although I’m glad I’m writing again, I hate the fact that I am writing this blog about how I’ve resigned to feeling nonchalant about my life.

I got to be honest, I haven’t given it 110% in the writing part because all summer I worked like 40 hours a week at a hip (or sometimes very UN-hip) rooftop hotel high volume bar, and I’m 40 years old and been doing this for 16 years so in my eyes, 40 plus 40 plus 16 equals tired as fuck on your days off, and all I remember doing was drinking, eating and watching TV.  Thank God it was an Olympic year.

I was physically and mentally exhausted, but now I know that the physical demands of my job are slowing down as the bar does in the fall and winter, and my mental problems have gone away on a vacation for awhile. With this new found level of calm, my goal must be to kick the complacency, try something new, let go of the issues I had this summer, and not allow them to come back.

No more hate.  I want to fall in love with my life again.

On the other hand, I can love and hate things outside of my life to fill that void of feeling the desire to love and hate things.  For example I hate Nicki Minaj, but I LOVE this commercial she is in, and I also simultaneously hate the fact that I love it.

There’s something about her that annoys the shit out of me,  but maybe it’s because of the way she is portrayed in the media.  Plus, I know everyone raves about her ass, but  I think her butt is just not that attractive.  It’s too big for me anyway.   I don’t know.  I’m trying not to objectify and make light of her, but come on…it IS a little obscene don’t you think?

But wait. Before you judge me, here’s the point of me bringing up her ass and how it perfectly reflects my life right now.

MY ass has gotten too big from not doing anything constructive on my days off.  I mean figuratively, because my butt isn’t actually larger or anything like that.  In fact I’ve actually lost ten pounds this summer, so I can’t really complain, but what I’m getting at is although I have been ecstatic about cruising through my life and having the means to do extravagant things with extraordinary people, I hate how complacent I have become and how I have spent my free time not learning anything new, with the exception of how to relate the size of a pop star’s derriere to my current state of life affairs.

The bright side is through all the love and the hate I have learned how to protect my heart and I learned how to be alone, and now I have the understanding and mental capacity it takes to be ok with BEING alone for right now.  I suppose those are two important things to remember how to do, even if I’ve tried to do them before and failed like a champ. I think I’m ready to stop hating the down cycle, and start living for the upswing.

So what’s the upswing?

I’m still in debt, and I  need to work five days a week to pay all my bills and get ahead of it, but I think what it comes down to is I’ve been missing that connection with something outside of love and hate. I want the passion back, the passion that comes with admiring who you are and what you do in spite of the fleeting moments of indifference.  Some days I’m really proud of myself, and other days I know I could do better than me.

For now, every time I see that Nicki Minaj commercial, maybe I will have to cause it to remind me to be a little more proactive in my life and stop hating the fact that I have been kind of lackadaisical. But what if it was necessary?  Maybe I needed it. Maybe it was therapeutic.  Maybe it was the next step, like a purging of old ideas but maybe enough is enough and now it served it’s purpose.

I should pat myself on the back for escaping from the drama pretty much unscathed, but not too confidently as to cause me to be cocky. In the most sincere and humbling way possible, I’m ready for the next phase of my life, whatever that is.

I’ll tell you…sometimes I hate trying to figure out my life at 40, but I love the fact that at least I still have a life to figure out.

Four Days in L.A. (Part 1)

I got off the plane at LAX around 3pm on a Saturday. The air was dark and smokey, probably because of the wildfires that had been raging in Santa Clarita the night before. I immediately take a picture of the ominous sky and the sun that is barely shining through as I wait outside of the International terminal for Tasha to pick me up.

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I think about how I haven’t been back in L.A. since January.  On Monday it will be exactly six months to the day that I moved up to Seattle. Was it ironic that my trip back happened to fall on the six month anniversary of me leaving southern California?  Probably, but I think everything happens for a reason and here I am back in Hollywood after having gone though a roller coaster of emotions since June. I guess I needed a little grounding and I’ll be the first one to admit I didn’t think that such a toxic place like L.A would have been able to offer me that, but that’s exactly what it did.

It all started a few hours earlier while I was sitting at a bar in Sea-Tac airport having a drink with a stranger from Alaska, and a well known celebrity from California.

I got to the airport with an hour before my flight was scheduled to take off, and being that this was a well needed mini vacation for me, I started drinking early. I went to one of the bars in the terminal and found nowhere for me and my bags to sit, so I ventured further past the parents and kids flying everywhere and into uncharted waters and found a seat at Anthony’s Fish Bar. I ordered a bloody mary and some chowder, and stared at my phone like most people do in airports.

Sitting to my right at the crowded bar was a guy in his early thirties with tattoos and a bald head, and to my left was another guy who I never really spoke to. I settled in drank my drink, and ordered another bloody mary. Right around the time that my second cocktail  was delivered, I hear a woman’s voice ask the bald dude next to me if anyone is sitting at the empty stool next to him. Naturally, I look over and when I see this blonde woman in her early thirties, I immediately recognize her from TV and the movies, but I can’t remember her name to save my life.

What was that movie she was in that I never really watched but I kept seeing trailers for it waaay back in 2005? Oh right. It was called “The House Bunny,” and sitting two stools to my left ordering a pinot grigio was none other than Anna Faris, well known actor and wife of the immensely popular Chris Pratt. I guess this is how the trip is going to start.

A few minutes go by and I can hear the dude next to me and her conversing and even though I’m not in the middle of the conversation, I really want to be, but how on earth do I segway myself into a private conversation between two total strangers at a bar in the airport? Does this guy even know who she is, and if so, is he ever going to let on? Not three minutes go by until she leans over, and asks the bald dude a question.

“Who’s your friend?” Anna asks as she motions to me.

At this point, the truth comes out that neither one of us know each other, but apparently, we are all about to. She introduced herself as “Ahh-Na,” not “Ann-uh” which I already know is the preferred pronunciation of her name because I watched that episode of Entourage when she played herself and crashed into the back of E’s car in the Hollywood Hills wearing nothing but a towel.

Anna is extremely nice and sweet and at this point me, Anna, and our new friend Dustin all clink our glasses and cheers and start having a three way conversation about life, love, and tattoos.

Anna is considering moving to Seattle and not living in L.A. anymore and she asks me why I chose to move up here and without letting on that I know who she is, I’m honest with her and I tell her hey, if you don’t need to be in L.A. or you can fly in when you have work, there is really no need to live there, especially since the air and the view in Seattle is a lot cleaner and healthier for your mind and body and soul.

We talk about Dustin’s job in Alaska on a oil rig and how it’s a difficult position to be in a truck with a guy for 14 hours a day in the middle of nowhere drilling for oil and whatever else riggers do. He’s a really nice dude and he tells a story about how he recently got divorced from his ex wife but they are still best friends and they have a 21 year old son. Anna chats about how she once worked the coldest job ever in Canada in a city called Regina.

“When I got there, I saw a billboard that read “Welcome to Regina. It rhymes with fun.”

Now we’re all laughing because we know Regina actually rhymes with vagina and I’m trying to figure out when the director is going to call cut because what is happening now reminds me of being in a movie where you meet a celebrity at a bar in Sea-Tac airport, but then I realize that this is just my life, drinking alcohol at 12:15pm with two strangers, one of whom happens to be famous.

Dustin takes out a picture of his son and somehow we start talking about tattoos and he shows me and Anna the ink his offspring just got. It’s a new school tattoo of a green alien sitting indian style on the floor wearing Birkenstocks and giving the double middle finger while a big fat joint protrudes from his mouth.

“Yeah, he’s gonna regret that one.” I say

And believe me, I would know because I have a tattoo that I wish I never got.

“Show us!” Anna says.

And this is the point when I caved into the pressure of my new friends at the bar and rolled up my left pant leg and showed them the most regrettable tattoo I have on my body. A cat getting electrocuted

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“Wow, what is it?” Anna asks as she pokes my leg with her finger, trying to figure out exactly what I’m showing her and I’m somewhere in between a little nervous that she just touched me in the worst tattoo ever, and slightly impressed that I currently have a celebrity poking my leg and none of us think this is weird at all.

I go on to tell her that when I was 18, I had a guy who used to do tattoos out of my kitchen back in Jersey and that I must have been pretty young and stupid at the time to get a multi-colored cat having electro shock therapy from sticking a fork in a power outlet.

“But you know what, you should never cover it up because it will always remind you not to make impulsive decisions in life.” Dustin says.

He’s absolutely right, and he makes a good point, and it’s at this time that Anna asks me why I’m going back to L.A. I tell her the truth because that’s what people do when they first meet each other in airpot bars and I explain how the last month in Seattle was kind of rough on me as I lost my cat and my ex within the same week, and before I know it I’m showing Dustin and Anna pictures of both of them. But what am I really doing in L.A.?

I’m going back to take care of an apartment I have had under my name since I moved to Seattle almost six months ago, and I’m going to see friends of mine who I’ve missed these last 180 days and who have been there for me for years. I’m going back to get a sense of where I came from and perhaps get an idea of where I’m headed next and believe me, even though Los Angeles can be a toxic city, I think I’m able now to avoid the toxicity of the Hills and the San Fernando valley even though the the news reports are saying not to be outside for very long because of the smoke from the wildfires.

It’s nearing the time that I have to board my flight, but if I can be totally honest I kind of want to miss it and continue this random conversation I’m having at a bar in Sea-Tac airport with an oil rigger and a comedic actress, but I know that there is something waiting for me 967 miles south of here.

I say goodbye to Dustin and I tell him it was nice to meet him, then Anna extends her hand and as I shake it she reminds me that her name is Anna, as if I still don’t know who she is, but perhaps she likes that level of anonymity, so I never let on that I know.

I grab my bags, wish them both good flights, and I head over to gate 38 and board the plane for Los Angeles, but not before I text three of my friends telling them that I haven’t even landed in Hollywood yet, but I already have a great L.A. story to tell them.

Sixteen

I miss the way my cat used to greet me at the door.
and the way it always felt like an endless summer almost every day in L.A.
I miss the down to earth mentality that I feel from people back east,
and I miss the brutal truth they are so good at making me realize when I need to hear it the most.

I miss the times when I felt like nothing could go wrong in my life,
and how I looked foward to the nights that I never wanted to end.
I miss the drunk texts she used to send me after the sun set,
and I miss the smile in her eyes that only I could bear witness to.

I miss the times leading up to how I got here again,
and how the thrill of not knowing what was going to happen was like a drug itself.
I miss when living in the moment was an after thought,
and I miss the moment when I realized that it was all falling into place.

I miss the slow, sultry seduction that comes with  discovering something new,
and I miss the grin on my face when I finally got what I wanted.

But as far as the struggles I’ve been through the last two weeks, I ain’t missing you at all.
Yet I miss the last sixteen words I’m about to write,
cause now I know it’s time to say good night.

Sick Of Being Sick

I’ve had my cat for 14 years.  In some ways, I think that means she’s been with me for almost all of my adult life meaning that I mentally became an adult around the age of 25. She’s been a really amazing companion and a great pet, aside from being a little mouthy and complainy.  I wonder where she got those traits from?  Sadly, I have noticed her losing weight and showing signs of age.   I knew it in my heart that she was getting sick, but I just didn’t know for sure yet.

My thoughts were confirmed today when I got the report from the vet.  Dapple has hyperthyroidism, and her kidneys are failing her.  She only weighs 4 pounds, half of what she should weigh, and although it’s treatable, there is no guarantee that the medicine will work, or if she’ll take to it naturally.  The doctor told me it’s tricky and that one illness has to be treated before the other but again, there is no guarantee that it will work.

I always knew this day was going to come, and I guess I must be ready for it if it’s here right now, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t fucked me up a little bit in the head the last few days wondering and worrying about what the results might be.  Now I know.

Five years ago my ex’s cat Jose got sick, and we did everything we could to keep him alive including having him go through a costly surgery that we hoped and prayed would yield a good result.  Jose died the day after the surgery, and it was probably one of the saddest days of my life.

I remember coming home from the vets after seeing him after he passed. I put on the song “Breathe Me” by Sia and I sat in my bedroom and cried for an hour.  In the days that past I would still hear the jingle of this little bell he used to play with as if he was still there in the apartment, haunting it with his presence.  The last few days of his life were probably some of the most stressful and painful for him, and I vowed I would never put an animal through that kind of torture.  It drained me, and it killed him.  I remember I had just moved into a new apartment in Hollywood when he died, and here I am in a new apartment in Seattle finding the irony in this deja vu.

Things have been  going really well for me lately.  I have a good job that sometimes frustrates me but is lucrative enough to keep me there. I have an amazing girlfriend who has patiently put up with my drama as I try to learn not to make the same mistakes I did in other relationships, and I love the city I live in, and I have some friends that are also co-workers who like and respect me, even though I sometimes freak out when I get stressed in the well.  And now, there’s this.

Dapple has been there for me through everything.  She always runs to the door when I come home, she always likes to “make bread” on my stomach by kneading it when I feel down, and she always called me out and let me know I was fucking up by pooping in the hallway back when I was addicted. She never held a grudge, and she is always happy to see me.

I don’t know where to go from here, but I know that this is beginning of the end of her life, and all I really want for her is to live it out as painless and stress free as possible. She deserves it. I’ve been down this road before and whether the course of action is treatment, or just making her as comfortable as possible these next few months I’m going to do what I feel is best for her.  I just wish I knew what that was right now.

I paid $20 at the shelter to adopt Dapple when I lived in Las Vegas, yet they say money can’t buy love?  Well, considering everything she has put up with and done for me over the last 14 years if that’s not a prime example of unconditional love, then I don’t know what is.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

I’m a NJSS & I Won’t Let it All Go to Shit

Back in 1998, I was running an independent magazine and working for the man waiting tables. I had money coming in, some level of stability, and I was dating a girl who would turn out to be the first one of her kind that I fell in love with.

A few short months later I would be overcome by greed, and found guilty of being a striped collar criminal and pretty soon the job, the magazine, and the girl would disappear into a fond memory of mine that I would look back on and wish I could have had the chance to nurture every day of my life.

I had it all together then, and I just let it slip away.

Three years later I would find myself on the receiving end of a job I was under qualified for, but I had talked my way into it by simply being confident enough and putting on a good show. It afforded me a rock star lifestyle, and I was writing and dancing to music and living with a girl who turned out to be the second one I fell in love with, and my muse for years to come.

By the end of that summer I would learn that neither the job, the inspiration, or the girl lasts forever, especially if you do things in life to sabotage the gifts that you had worked so hard to receive. Years later I would find myself looking back on those events and repeating the notion that I should have appreciated what I had when I had it, instead of reminiscing at all those journal entries I wrote during that time that were bound together by disappointment and remorse.

I had it all together, and then I acted careless with the things in life that really made me happy. I came to long for that happiness for years to come, even after I left that state of mind, and the state I was living in at the time.

It took another 7 years for me to be set-up for success again. In 2008 I had two lucrative sources of income, I was a talented undiscovered nobody, and I was riding high while coming out of the low tide of my life. Through a set of dramatic and matrimonial circumstances, I found an amazing woman who would afterwards go on to be my ultimate lover and my best friend at the same time.

However, because of my own dark addiction and my blatant stupidity and stubbornness, both of those cushy jobs stopped being such a commodity, and started being the catalyst that broke me down. Due to my insecure course of action, the woman who helped me so much who I still adore had gotten so unsure of the power and the strength that brought us together. By the time I was ready to make the ultimate commitment to my ultimate lover, we found ourselves more comfortable as spectators in that ceremony, than participants in the union of the two souls that invited guests come to bear witness to.

I had it all together, but I kept fighting it for a chance at some sort of selfish freedom that now makes me feel isolated and alone.

I’m writing this 8 years later on the 29th day of a month that only comes once in every 4 cycles. I’m starting to look around at my new life in the new city I left some 14 years ago, and I’m starting to see things becoming set up for another possibility day when I can take pride in the fact that I’ve learned from the past, and I’m ready to make the most of the present. I’m beginning to see a pattern in my life where I’m living out when things start to go well, and I don’t want to fuck with that process.

Hopefully now, I can take advantage of this new scenario that so perfectly reminds me of those old scenarios when I had it all together, and maybe this time I will use it as the jumping off point to something great, instead of jumping off into a ditch that I so don’t want to dig myself out of anymore.

I know that this is shaping up to be a what I call a true New Jersey success story, and for me to make that statement a reality, I have to realize that it is something I’ve been working for all my life, and I am accepting of the fact that I deserve it this time around.

This is the first time in awhile I can say that I’m starting to have it all together again, and this is the first time when I can consciously and confidently say that I’ve learned from my mistakes, and this is the first time I can say that I won’t let it all go to shit again.