“APRIL IS THE CRUELEST MONTH…” T.S. ELIOT
I love this blog. I am more proud of what I have written, the way I expressed myself, through the music and images and my own words and the words of others found on here than of any other creative thing I have ever done. So, you may ask, where have I been then. Why the silence? Why indeed.
A little history, if you will indulge me. I started writing this WordPress blog back in December of 2011. I got sober in June of 2011. My last drunken night of terror and hospital wards and running down hallways bloodied and battered was December 2010. You do the math. I started writing because, I am a writer. I have been published in magazines, local and occasionally, National, since I was in my 20s. After sobriety I found that my thoughts, my natural obsessive nature, that was so enhanced, or diminished depending on your perspective, by drugs and alcohol was still in high gear, pardon the pun. I needed a place to write… to put the swirling thoughts and fears and dreams and resentments and lust and loneliness that I was hyperfeeling away so I could sleep at night. Perchance to dream of a new life that was now promised to me if I only admitted all of it, turned it over and LET GO.
I found that harder to do than I expected. You see, I have always been obsessed. Music was an early manifestation, Olivia Newton John and Shaun Cassidy were my secret loves when I grew up in small town South Carolina. I would steal away to the upstairs den of the last house my whole family lived in before the divorce, and stare into John and Cassidy’s eyes on their album covers. I practiced kissing on those album covers before I ever kissed a real girl or later, much later, boy. Cassidy’s perfect pout and that California hair parted and feathered just so, made me light up from within. I felt a connection with him and them that I just knew was different from my peers with their AC/DC and Foghat.
So great was my Cassidy crush that I wrote his first name on my left Converse sneaker and Cassidy on the right for all to see. And I look back and wonder how those very peers knew I was queer before I did. Through my seemingly innocent obsessions, I know now I was a budding alcoholic even then. “Therefore the biggest fact about alcoholism is its obsessional nature. It is one of the most subtle yet most powerful compulsions known…” Bill W. said. And so it began. And so today it continues.
Music, boys, love, fashion, movies, books and later sex and drugs and punk rock-n-roll all held me in their sway and I was at home with them. After getting sober, without the shields of pot and liquor to keep these obsessions in check, I realized that I needed a safe and healthy place to lay them, to out them from the darkened rooms of my mind and yes, my soul. I had always thought they were locked away in places that were down deep inside of me. For only me to see and feel and touch. I know now this was an illusion, self-induced of course, my specialty.
You see the obsession with music, movies and books and the people who lived through them and loved in them, who drank and partied with abandon, met their soul-mates and lived happily ever after, had changed my view of the world. In fact I had created my own world where I was at safe and in touch with all of this. All of them. And then, somewhere along the way I would inevitably unleash them on unsuspecting lovers and friends, crushes and the real world at large.
And real-life disappointments rained down on me, leaving me desperate for an escape. It’s no secret what I chose as my way of escaping from the escape I created. From that world in my head. From “theJohnnyspot.”
The cover photo for this blog reads “Come Undone.” It was inspired by the Guess Who song “She’s Come Undone” and Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.” More music, you see, speaking for me and most importantly, my Higher Power speaking TO me. Once those alcohol and drug induced shields were down, my HP began to clearly and without hesitation, speak to me through music. Maybe “He” always has. But now I was hearing and listening and grateful to know I was being spoken to.
So I wrote and left nothing off the table. The crushes and men I fell for, the heartache and loneliness, the pink clouds and the grassy knolls of my experience, all hung out to dry, flying in the wind for everyone to see. But mainly, I wrote for me. I needed to. Had to. That others read my thoughts and words, from India and Bulgaria, Australia and Italy? Well sweet. If you can relate or if in someway you can feel a little less alone or “weird” by reading what I’m flipping out over today, this week or this month? Great. To give is to receive, in fact helping others without regard for my own personal gain is a principle I strive to live by now. Quite literally the opposite of the way I lived prior to 2011.
So, why the silence of late? Why no posts in April, and only a few in March, February..even though they were some of the most raw and vulnerable posts I ever wrote? Because I felt exposed. You see, I met a man who changed my life. If you have read this blog before you will no doubt understand and even know to whom I refer. If you haven’t surely you have met someone who upends your world to the point of not knowing what is real and what is fiction. What is expectation and what is reality.
But, as this man and I began to uncover truths about each other, dig out the other’s warts, stains, fears and joys, hopes, dreams and desires…as we reflected them to each other… I began to hide away. I began to obsess in my head and not on this page about he and I, our future and present, those who would tear us apart, those who snickered and said we’d never last and of course in the end, “those” people ended up being me. And so I hid. It wasn’t on purpose, but I did, I know that now. And I killed a part of myself. I killed my truth.
But the funny thing is, truth cannot be killed. Not really. Just like my obsessions that I tried for years to hide away and ignore, after life beat me up and told me that they were ridiculous or unattainable or pathetic or worst of all, “wrong,” they resurface. That truth resurfaces. And as it does so often for me, it resurfaces in songs, or film or books…but mostly in music. This blog is about my truth. It may not be the truth, but it is my own. A week from today I will be in Denver to see the band Young Man. The lead singer, Colin Caufield, is one of the people that my HP speaks to me through. His first two albums made me weep and laugh and fly through the streets on my scooter, singing aloud this truth of mine and yet somehow his, for all to hear. I am traveling 1000 miles to see him, to sit in front of him and listen to what my truth is. So, I will leave you with these lyrics from his song “In A Sense” taken from the album “Beyond is All Around Me.”
“Reading, eyes wide shut
Across the room
Reading lines of all of this
Waiting for another
Stand up long in thought
‘Cause you’ve been giving me a line
Second in line
Making me regret my mistakes
Not giving me the time
Jealous in the line
Helping me exceed my mistakes…”
The story of my life, its and my truths and obsessions is not over. Not by a long shot. The story continues on, just like I do, one day at a time. With an obsessive mind and and ear to my higher power. My God really is a DJ and for that I am grateful.