Yesterday. All my troubles seemed — to be taken out on stage by the happiness of my love for writing, revising, rehearsing, and executing musical compositions. With my friends. For a superb audience.
I am grateful for my band mates and friends and family and fans who joined us for my 23rd year of playing at the Capitol Hill People’s Fair. Too many people in my life have passed on and I remember them being there for me for so many years, so many shows, good and sometimes *not so good* and absurd, bizarre, impossible to explain memories. I remember almost every show I have played, when and where, with whom, and the experiences and the people who have come, gone, stayed, and the ones who aren’t here anymore to laugh and play with us. We work hard, sometimes I may be obsessively diligent and proud of working 60 hour weeks — but that’s what I think keeps me rollin’ along. I love my life because I can write it out and play it for you in less than five minutes. And I love my band. And I love the friends who are kind enough to keep coming back and motivating me to be as good as I can be at this game of musical wars that it tends to be — but I don’t let it get to me — I won’t see someone as or let them be more important than anyone else because they have the power to make or break you on the scene. Of course it’s healthy to be competitive, but we aren’t competing. We aren’t judging or criticizing. We are still playing music that we composed and not in this for the money (although we don’t turn it down) and hell, we are not going away as long as we still are being asked to show up. No apologies. I speak for myself and the kids in the band when I say we wouldn’t do this if we didn’t have the balance and ability and joy to play well with others. Enjoy what you gots. You can have it all and set your standards however you like. You can do what you say you are going to do -and- carry through. No one is better than anyone else or has the right to take away what you love in life — not with their words, actions and behavior, or their demeanor.
I have to be grateful for those who have destroyed me as much as I am grateful for those who have mended me.
I have written this statement once before and I have to think to myself that maybe it is more significant than ever.
Saving a person’s life when he is seconds away from stepping off that ledge was not part of the plan. A few years ago, saving a life was important to me until this turned on me as something that was my fault; I knew this was clearly not the case — I was so glad I was there at the right time and place to prevent this — but I was no hero to the people who I loved. I learned what it was to be the anti-hero more than I ever believed possible. But no no no, I can cleanly admit that I learned that I was a hero, damn it, and to let go of the ones who made an effort to destroy me from that moment in time that I walked into a bad situation, to the phone call I made for help. (Note: Call 911 when someone tries to commit suicide because he or she will certainly try to do it again, sometimes that same day.) The strangeness of thinking — that seconds later, I would have found this person dead and maybe I would never recover from the guilt of not showing up in time, shadowed the years of the disrespect and evil that plagued me because I got in his way of getting out the easy way — and retaliation takes on a wretched anguished ghost who is always there to let you know, “Hey, dude. You are going to hell for getting in the way of destiny,” and shreds pieces of your life and limited time on the planet in order to carry on and live well, and then what happens:
Your life changes you; you change your life.
I’m not dwelling on the reasons I have been destroyed. When I was in those moments, it was difficult to avoid the sick feeling of reflecting for and with no reason, and empty hopes and pure loathing of self, but yes: I am out of there now. I have been for awhile. But I’m better than that — I am fucking lucky that I saved his life and so are the people who weren’t so sure. Those people will never know how to thank me, yet I thank them for teaching me who I am and being myself and happy about it all. Their hostility is common and I know to let it go when I see it. You can have it. Keep it; I can’t sail that ship, I will swim back to shore, please send me my mail and keep the rest of my stuff, or give it to someone else. I don’t want you to give me another gigantic piece of anything- tangible or intangible – that it takes every last drop of sweat to mend for myself so I don’t end up on the wrong side of the rope (so to speak).
Right now, the circumstances are trying to break me again but have not done so. Right now, I am mending and letting it go. Right now, I have myself to rely on — no one else should have to help me — and although the damage is done, I am not finished and I need some letting go. I will be on the other side of this situation and then I can bury it. And write about it.
Saving a life and saving yourself are both similar and equally dangerous. But I get to try to meliorate and rehabilitate myself and spare myself the long ride on the wave of mental erosion and psychopathic entities who betray in the most unfathomable manner, and who hate and break and enjoy it. Watching you struggle is what they need to be happy.
I’m grateful anyway. I never promised you a rose garden. I’m not the sharpest pencil in the pack. I’m not unhappy either.
I know who I am. I’m grateful for that and for losing so much that I never really had – and being a rock star for getting back up, dusting myself off, tipping my hat and exiting the theatre rather than the sharpening the stick and returning with the blackness of hatred I was meandering through too long. I sharpen the stick to make a point; the point of it all is how you find your way back to the shore, back to the mountain after a cliffhanger, back to music after the silence stops making so much noise.
You are allowed to be happy and to laugh despite yourself.
Today is the first day of the rest of your series of other first days of your life.
Please keep off the grass and don’t feed the dog and don’t stay with someone who makes you truly feel bad about yourself.
You should be playing anyway. That’s what I would do.
Credits: Thank you for the media Michael Kuhl.