Tag Archives: Friends

The Happiness You Seek

That’s an interesting statement, don’t you think? I used to be one of those people who bought into “seeking” happiness. “What do you really want out of life?” someone would ask, to which I would answer “to be happy”. Oh, the things we learn during our journey.

Something important I have finally figured out during my descent through hell in this last year is that happiness is not a thing you can obtain. It is not & should not be made a goal in life. It is not an ending to anything, it is merely a feeling you either allow or do not into your soul. 

At our core, I believe that most people, including myself, are good. Call me a fool, but after all I’ve seen & done, I am still an optimist. I believe in me & honestly…I’m starting to realize that may be all I need. Sure, it’s nice to receive approval from others, but I don’t really need it anymore, not entirely, or at least not from the people I sought it from for so many years. To quote Neil Young “it doesn’t mean that much to me, to mean that much to you”.

In the eyes of some, I will never amount to anything. I will never overcome the opinion of myself that I have put into their minds. I will always be a failure, a liar, a drug addict, a thief, a lost soul…I am finally okay with people thinking that of me. It is not my responsibility to change the opinions of others, nor is it my responsibility to argue the validity of each of these claims. It is only my responsibility to do the best I can at making every day I breathe the best day I can. I am my responsibility, no one else is nor is anyone else mine. Some days I fail at my responsibilities. Some days I don’t get out of bed. Some days I can’t shower. Some days I’m angry at nothing in particular. Some days are spent crying for the loss I’ve put myself through & some days are spent crying for those who have left the rest of us behind to miss them. Luckily though, lately, I am happy more. I smile sometimes. I work tirelessly to put this project I have dreamed of for years together so that we can share it with the world. My dreams are becoming a reality, against all odds & that not only makes me smile, but it makes me happy.

I do not seek happiness. I don’t need to. It comes to me whenever I allow it in.

I wish that for everyone else in the world, to allow happiness in, even if you feel like you’re drowning, you can’t breathe, you can’t scrape yourself off your sofa, you hate your reflection in the mirror, nobody loves you…whatever negative excuse we can all come up with at any given moment….let it go & be happy! Go for a walk. Listen to music & dance, even if you have no rhythm. Sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs, even if it makes the neighborhood dogs sing with you, jump in puddles~no matter your age, dance in the rain. Laugh until you cry. Do it for you & no one else! That is the answer to healing, smiling & finding happiness, at least in my opinion.

=)

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I’m Still Standing

When we lose someone we love, it feels as though that particular pain will never go away. What we learn along the way is that while the pain never truly goes away, we find a way to accept it as part of our reality. We learn to live with it, we adapt & go on. We have to. Whats the alternative? I can think of a couple, but none that appeal to me.

There are more than one way to lose someone you love. The obvious one is death. That one is final & out of our control. It is also possible to lose loved ones due to mistakes, conflict or from growing apart. These can also be difficult to move past for some.

Lets focus, however, on loss due to death. Before the second week in February of this year I had lost 3 friends to sudden & tragic death. I knew all 3 of these guys for more than 20 years of my life. One was lost as a result of a terrible auto accident that made it onto all 3 major network news programs that day in Detroit. The second passed due to a blood infection he caught from a chemical burn & the last died from a massive heart attack at the age of 44, 24 hours after having surgery to repair his broken ankle. Not a single one feels fair or makes sense…but what untimely death makes sense? I just know I miss them & know that there are plenty of friends who have already passed who can meet them & help them on their journey. I also know that there is some AMAZING music being made in “heaven” right now, if that place exists.

All this death got me to thinking about friends who’ve gone before these 3. I’ve never actually sat down & counted how many of my friends have passed since it started in 1996 with the murder of my buddy Steve, who was gunned down during an attempted car-jacking after a Motorhead concert. I know the number is somewhere in the double digits, but I prefer to remember them individually. They were all unique & beautiful in their own special way. Each gave something to our scene that could never be replaced & will never be forgotten. I do hope to honor my fallen brothers in some way, whether I write a story about it & them or finally follow through on that documentary that I’ve been threatening to film for years now. They deserve to be remembered & celebrated! I’m grateful & lucky to have known every one of these guys, because the color they added to life was breathtaking. 

Sadly, I’ve become a pro at moving on, but it’s what we do, we endure. When I first begin to notice I’m getting through entire days without crying I feel guilty, as if I’m forgetting. The thing is, I’ll never forget, they walk with me every step of my journey, sometimes carrying me along when I’m unable to walk myself.

You see, at a certain point, I remind myself that I’m still alive & I have to get back to the business of living. I’ve got work to do, a life to live, memories to be made….so much to see, to photograph, to write about…people to meet, faces to make smile, cities to live in for a year, lessons to learn, wrongs to right, maybe even lives to change (hopefully for the better)

I admit that I’ve wasted a lot of precious time in my life. That was one of the hardest lessons to learn…that I’m only ripping myself off by doing nothing, by not believing in myself. I’m done with that. I’m excited about everything that lies ahead for me. I look forward to seeing what changes. I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I’m lucky, you see, because I’ve got an army of angels surrounding me with love. 

Now, I’ve gotta get outta here….stuff & thangs ;^)

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Torn & Frayed

Many people in this world pack up their belongings & move away from the place they are from. They do this for a myriad of reasons ranging from job relocation, a new job opportunity, love, adventure or just to get away. While it seems so exotic & exciting, which in part it is, most people don’t consider how difficult, lonely & scary this is. The toll it takes on a person’s soul can, with some, be quite heavy. For some, it has no effect on them at all & for others the effects are mild. When you think about the strength that comes with such an endeavor, taking this chance is a very strong & independent choice. Sometimes we are very close to our family & friends, in which case putting a great deal of distance between yourself & those you love the most hurts immensely. Many people actually end up moving back at least once.

I am one of these people. Honestly, I never really thought I would leave Detroit, although I had wanted to for many years, mostly when I was young & still extremely troubled. I just couldn’t find the inner strength to leave my comfort zone, even if it wasn’t very comfortable. It was what I knew, it was home. I was a BIG fish in that small pond. I was known, had & still have MANY friends, real friends who I know to this day I can turn to if I need them for anything & they can with me. In the last 10 years my relationship with my family has healed completely. When I say family, I mean immediate, not the assholes I happen to be related to. I’ll never accept them into my life now that my Grandmother is no longer around to force them on me. It is a very healthy feeling after a lifetime of pain, fighting & the blame game to have such love & support. The one person who means more to me in this great big world we live in is my 2-year-old niece. She is truly the love of my life. She makes me laugh more than anyone I have ever known. She is beautiful & brilliant & no I’m not just saying that because she’s my niece, it’s true. Skype is a great helper to stay in touch & allow us to “see” each other, but I can’t hold her, tickle her, kiss her, chase her. I think of & miss her every single day I am not with her. My baby sister, who I adore as much as her daughter, is getting married this August. Knowing that I won’t be there for 80% of the planning for this event breaks my heart. We had a long conversation about this however & she made it very clear that she would be angry at me if I gave up my plans to move to Los Angeles. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. I hope with everything I have in me that this marriage lasts for the rest of their lives, because she deserves it & is VERY loved by her fiance’, my brother-in-law-to-be. He is a wonderful, loving & sweet addition to our family. Besides, he makes a beautiful child with my sissy.

Friends…….oh the space I could take up writing about my love for my chosen family, which is what I call them. The majority of these bonds were formed when I was at the end of my teen years, when life was so unbearable for me that I was rarely sober for any waking moments. What we have gone through together over the course of 20 years wouldn’t fit in a single blog, unless I wanted it to be 25 pages long. We grew up together, our “crew”. While we may not see or speak to each other nearly as much now that we’ve grown, with some marrying & starting families, others carving out careers for themselves, but we’ve never lost our deep connection & are always there for the important moments in life. I hate to say this, but Facebook has been very helpful in keeping us connected when life gets in the way. I have also formed some very strong bonds with people I have met along my journey through this beautiful country of ours. Mine is an amazing life. I have what I consider to be the best job in the world, unless you wanna be involved in a serious relationship. Sure, I’ve had “friends” in cities around the country, who I find comfort & affection in while I’m visiting, but that starts to feel empty after a while. These tour friends, ones I’ve worked with, or whose paths I’ve crossed while staying in their town, have become a part of my chosen family. It’s wonderful how many lovely people there are in this world & I am blessed to have met so many of them. I have the unusual ability to make friends with just about anyone I meet. What can I say, I’m really good at my job. I am overjoyed when I find out I will be spending time near certain road friends, as I enjoy them SO much.

Now, Los Angeles……I have said before & been told by others that this place can really put your dedication to your dreams to the test. It can make or break you. Most of the time, this is up to us. I learned that last statement from a new friend who pointed out to me that we make this place our own personal heaven or hell. I don’t believe in religion, but the analogy fits perfectly. Since he said this to me & opened my eyes to the idea, my life here has been so much more positive, happy & enjoyable. To be fair, I have friends who live here. They are amazing people & I love them. I don’t see them often, due to their busy work schedules. When I first moved here I had a very busy work schedule as well. I believe I have mentioned in an earlier blog that I moved out here for a job that didn’t work out. That was sad & difficult to deal with at the time, but I made the choice to stay here & fight it out. More than likely I will have to return to the road. It’s not that I don’t love it, I do. I’ve just gotten to a point where I would like to stand still for a while, maybe meet a guy to hang out with. The ability to do this is while living your life away from home for months at a time is made extra difficult when you are a woman. For whatever reason, men have a much harder time accepting a woman traveling for work, as if we are somehow less capable of controlling ourselves to the power of other men. I believe the reality of the situation is that the men don’t trust themselves in that type of lifestyle & project this fear onto the women in their lives. I have said this many times & I stand by it. I truly am comfortable enough with myself to be single. I like me & enjoy my own company. I have done many things alone that most people wouldn’t think of doing. It’s fine. I would, if I’m to stick to my full disclosure promise on this blog, prefer to find someone to look forward to seeing, to come home to, to be home for someone, to laugh with, explore with, cook with, watch movies with, etc.

There are so many thoughts that run through my head when I think about this topic, such as the thought that I chose to move to one of the most shallow places in the world to call home. I’m not sure my quirky style & look will be as appreciated here as it is in other cities. Also, with men insisting on dating younger “girls”, I don’t see me being comfortable or interested in dating someone pushing or already having passed 60. Lastly, this “cougar” phenomenon holds no appeal to me. I’m not down with dating 20-something boys, the idea makes me cringe. I do have friends who have found love with guys in their 20’s & I am profoundly happy for them, but it’s just not for me.

I am a firm believer that one shouldn’t actively look for love. If they do, they will miss it at every pass & settle for less than they deserve, only to have it end ugly as it always does when you make a choice based on loneliness and not attraction, connection & chance.

What am I gonna do about all this you may ask? Well, nothing really. I will continue to live my life. I will keep searching for work that keeps me a bit more stationary. I will more than likely continue to tour some, because I love it, probably not for 3 or more months at a time anymore though. I am ready for love & companionship. This is me releasing that thought out into the universe to do what it wants with this.

Hopeful still

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As Tears Go By

Ok, so…..I’m not a big watcher of television, it’s pretty empty to me, however there are certain actors & certain content that I do enjoy. There is a new show this season on NBC, I think, called Parenthood. It starts Peter Krause & Lauren Graham. I am a fan of Peter Krause from Six Feet Under, which is one of my favorite all time shows. I like Lauren Graham for many things, but mainly, I really liked Gilmore Girls. I can’t explain it, I just liked it, whatever.

So, I have watched episodes of Parenthood on Hulu & by the end of EVERY SINGLE EPISODE I am crying my little crybaby eyes out. I know why this is, I just don’t talk about it, ever. I am pissed, jealous & upset that I have never been the girl who got married & had kids. I’m not sure this is something I did on purpose, well, a few times it was on purpose. I’ve been afraid of everything all my life & it seems I have scared myself out of true love, marriage & children. I’ll just add it to the list of things I never had the nerve to do. That is SUCH a long list & I hate it! I hope to burn it one day.

I’ve gone through a tough time lately. I know this is obvious to anyone who knows me or reads this blog, all 10 of you. lol There are multiple reasons for this, some that I’ve already written about, some I haven’t & some I never will.

I am mourning the loss of so many people that I have honestly lost count. That’s a sad thought within itself. In the last 6 months alone I’ve known 3 people who have passed away from very similar problems. They all died from bad hearts. 2 were Congestive Heart failure.

1 of them was my grandfather, who I barely knew, but he was a wonderful man. I literally found out that he passed away because my step-mother reads to obituary’s & saw his name, saying something to my dad, who then called me. I just sat in silence while he talked, didn’t cry. I was with my younger brother, who’s only 22 & never knew him, so I didn’t want to get upset in front of him, because he worries about me, in that cute, protective brotherly way. It was March 18th, 3 days shy of his 84th birthday. With his second wife they had 7 children, who all grew up to be happy & successful people, because I  believe, they had a loving & nurturing family. I’ve been alive nearly 40 years, I could have had 39 years with this man, but I didn’t because the cross-family conflict ran too deep for me to EVER understand. All I know is that I was the biggest victim in all this conflict, well me & my dad, but he helped perpetuate it once he was an adult. I never did. I always wanted to know him, as well as my 7 Aunts & Uncles & my 18 cousins. I had a little under 2 years with him from 12-14 & I just LOVED him. I was just instinctively like him & that was so weird to me, because I have a hard time comprehending a close & loving family connection. Yeah, I’m close to my parents NOW, but that’s only been in the last 5 years of my life. I wish I could have known the man his 18 other grandchildren called papa. I wish for my dad that he could have felt loved by his father, maybe then so many things would have been different. Luckily for us, I broke our family cycle, someone had to. I wrote an entire blog about him after his passing if you want to know more about our story.

The second person who passed away from Congestive Heart Failure was my friend Kevin, 6 months ago. He was 42 & had a 12-year-old son who adored him & he adored right back. I knew Kevin for 20 years & he was a really wonderful, funny, sarcastic, talented & beautiful soul. He was like me in some ways, sarcasm being the prevailing similarity. He was always struggling to make ends meet, often found himself out of work, never had money saved. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Kevin struggled his entire adult life. He was stressed a lot of the time. He didn’t get nearly enough joy in his life before his heart gave out on him. That just doesn’t seem fair to me. I wish he was still walking the earth, spending quality time with his son, playing guitar, cooking delicious food, smiling, laughing, making fun of people, breathing. I wasn’t able to make his memorial, which was a sad affair for a few reasons, the obvious being his age, but also that his family refused to pay for a service & so his friends had to scramble to put something together. Luckily, someone knew a person whose family owned a funeral home & they let them use it for free. That was lovely of them. His body was not in attendance though, because that costs extra. Dying is not cheap! Anyway, I was still in Florida then & was struggling financially myself, so I couldn’t afford the plane ticket up. On the day of the memorial, my friend Amy called me several times to fill me in on the goings on; who spoke, what they said, how everybody was holding up. It was one of those moments that breaks your heart, because you know this event is going on & you so much want to be there, but can’t for reasons beyond your control. You feel so alone, because you are not with your friends, mourning, looking at photographs, telling stories. You are all alone, in a state far from anyone who understands the pain of this loss. There were many tears shed that day & night. I still don’t feel a closure with Kevin, much like my friend Angelo who passed away from an aneurysm in January of 2008, which could have been stopped, had he gone to the hospital, but I’m NOT blaming him, I just selfishly wish he were still here, mostly for his children. I couldn’t make it to his funeral either, being in Florida & not being given enough notice to get back up here. Or Amanda, oh Amanda……my ex-boyfriends niece, who I really did love like a daughter/good friend, who passed away in July of 2008 of a heroin overdose. Her funeral was one I was told I was not welcome to attend by my scumbag ex-boyfriend, who by the way copped the dope that killed her & he’s telling me I can’t go to her funeral? Afterward, I was told & saw photographs of the tailgating party they were holding in the parking lot of the funeral home. No wonder this happened, the adults in her life were/are walking disasters in their own right!  Amanda was 17 years old & less than 8 hours away from leaving for Tennessee to clean up her act. She never made it to morning. I’m not now & doubt I ever will get over her death.

Lastly, on March 1oth, I lost someone who I cared about in a special, sweet & unforgettable way. I don’t & won’t discuss it in full, because it is precious & private  memory that most people wouldn’t be able to understand. He was a special person. He was, as one friend put it so beautifully…..magic. He passed away from Pneumonia & Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which in lay terms is basically thickening of the heart muscles causing them to enlarge. He also had Coronary Artery disease, which is the build up of plaque in the coronary arteries. As I look at all these big medical terms, the only thing that comes to mind is that his heart was just too big & it couldn’t go on any longer. It’s like his heart broke & just stopped. I can’t express enough how much I wish this wouldn’t have happened, that he would have gotten treatment for this earlier in life or that the hospital could have kept his pulse, heart rate & blood pressure going once they got it momentarily stabilized, but his body was just done. It was done fighting. He may not have been done, but his heart was. He was only 38 & like myself never married or had children, although we both really did want that in our lives.

It is moments like this that cause me to ask myself why. Why do things like this happen? Why are some people SO blessed with a good & happy life, while others are doomed to suffer? A friend has a theory that I kind of agree with, but that’s between us. All I can say is that I hope my loved ones who left too soon find themselves in a happy & healthy life next time around. For my Grandfather (Papa, I guess) I hope he is enjoying his time with loved ones who passed before him & that he is looking over his wife & letting her know that everything is ok & he’ll meet her when it’s her time to go.

I am sad today.

I hope tomorrow to feel happier.

I have grief counseling in the morning & hope that somehow that helps.

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