Preface: I was going to write an essay about the shameless commercialization and overall cheesiness of the holiday that is Valentine’s Day and the utmost importance of small intimate romantic gestures, but I felt this post (which was long overdue) was more important. And seriously fuck that teddy bear rose bullshit, my heart is a barren rock anyways. But please trust me, that essay will come soon. And with a vengeance that only the Old Gods would know.
Another small tiny preface: Be aware that I will post this drunkenly and on a whim without proofreading. I am well aware that his post will be a convoluted loose mess. Which is fine because at this point in my life, I am too. I have written these posts as a form of venting and to be truer to myself. Know that I hope to one day alter, perfect and shape these posts to be something coherent that I can compile in a larger collection of my own thoughts at this point in time. That being said, consider this a first draft. Provide me with criticism and I will do my best to turn these pieces from drunken rants into something more…eloquent.
So, the only thing I can say is that it’s all about perspective. The lows or highs you once cherished or lamented will one day look meaningless or oddly symbolic (trust me angsty young ones). There was a very distinct time in my life when a much chubbier version of me stood pissing in his underwear (solely blue Haines for you undie perverts) into an unwashed slop sink in a basement apartment in a decrepit house where the water never ran and rain water dripped through the ceilings. Drunk on whiskey and shaking the last few drips off my dick tip, I would begrudgingly (as I had nowhere to walk) crush the crunchy squishy bodies of the cave cricket horde that bounced excitedly around me (sometimes three to four feet in the air!). After each of their tragic demise I would crouch next to them as the life left their oozing corpses and mutter a vaguely atheist prayer. I apologized for having to kill them and pleaded that in their afterlife they would be kind and forgiving to me in mine. I considered this at one point in my life an all time low. I had recently totaled my car, broken up with my first major girlfriend of two and a half years, discovered my father was fatally ill, and was soon to be evicted. Not to mention I was just beginning to grasp the concept of “game” in my Upright Citizens Brigade 201 Improv class. All in all times were tough. And all in all that last reference was very niche.
I know I got away from myself there and that’s dandy because I find these to be honest words. Although writing them on an excessive of confidence driven by lots of deep thoughts and acted upon by excessive drug and alcohol use is troubling, I find the need to rant therapeutic. So excuse me if I am too wordy, long windy, aloof or “all over the place”. If your oxford sensibilities can’t handle my erratic grammar, please take your left handed (as I’m left handed) and lick your palm nice and moist. Then promptly proceed to, and this is the most important step, stop reading and fuck yourself. Either by violent masturbation or fisting. Whatever suits you.
Christ, do I come off as a snarky and bitter cunt.
Although it could be, the main point of this essay is not depression and bipolar disorder (although anyone that knows me well knows I have a very intimate relationship with both), the point is all about what we perceive as the all-time lows of our lives. They are all very personal and subjective to each person. I mean how many times have we heard the sobs of a sullen drug addict saying he sucked dick before getting high? I mean, Christ, I could often do both of those voluntarily at the same time just for kicks. The point is that it’s different for everyone and very close to the heart. That being said, I will share with you some of my NOW “perceived” lows in the hopes that it may help a lost soul and that I may share myself with you in terms of loving myself.
So, where do I begin? I suppose from the beginning. And please if this whole thing seems a tad too self-indulgent, sign off. But if it seems interesting or if you can relate, please read on. What I consider my first real low was actually combined to my self-confinement in the strange hell that is New Jersey. A colorful but affluent barren wasteland filled with friends, loved ones and the promise (at least to me) of a brighter future in either ‘grand’ city adjacent states away (Philly or NYC).
I don’t currently hold any harsh feelings but with the promise of an easy commute to my dream of comedy (in NYC) I was somewhat duped into moving to northwest New Jersey. A friend of my cousin (fellow punk rocker) convinced me into moving into this massive house beside a creek that was to say the least falling apart. Often the fresh water didn’t run and I had to resort to using bottled water to drink or wash my hands. The shower was clogged up to my knees with gross dirty piss water and my ingrown toenail swelled to unbelievable sizes with infection. Rain water leaked through holes in the ceiling and I lived in a basement apartment (that I unsuccessfully tried to harvest large yields of psychedelic mushrooms in) with large otherworldly insects. Soon, my friend moved out leaving us unable to pay rent and me destitute.
In that year I nearly lost everything including my sanity, moved six times from house to house and eventually found myself homeless. With not many options left I moved into the cold unforgiving attic of a very welcoming family’s house (who had recently lose their mother, god bless them). In this time frame I was a complete animal. I fucked my girlfriend (kinda girlfriend, I really owed her a real relationship. Sorry Katie.) with no regard to her feelings, did pull ups from the beams in the ceiling, pissed in a collection of two litter bottles (not unlike Howard Hughes), fought constantly with a cat who pissed everywhere and popped my air mattress and huddled like a rat in rags with nothing but a space heater to keep me warm. I did copious amount of drugs and held solace in the kind band of sisters (Casey specifically) who would endure me. I thought at the time I was living the dream by attending UCB (the famous Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, founded by the quirky goddess Amy Poehler) and as much as I could commuted to the city to do shitty open mics.
I eventually had to move (at the request of their father) to an even colder house with an unbearable comic, his two dogs, filth and again no run had running water before I finally had enough.
Despite meeting some lovely supportive people and deeply bonding with an amazingly beautiful autistic young boy (I lived with his mother, and to be honest I owe him a post of his own), I had had enough of not being true to myself and trying to actually realize my dreams. As a preface, I just want to say that these times while dark for me personally and my ambitious goals, were not met with great people. Particularly, a fleeting unsustainable romance with a spacey hockey loving star child of a mother (a different one from the other) which I will always cherish. But this lifestyle of grinding and drug use was tiring. My strange complacency of living the lifestyle of an unheard tragic artist kept me from actually moving. It felt oddly justified but false.
It was only when this comic I lived with (a white man named Eddie Murphy) had financial troubles and I was given a week to move that I made the single most influential and important decision in my life. I was going to be homeless (again) in a week and despite moving several times with the goal in mind had of not having reached the false oasis that was New York City. Disgruntled, I was forced to quit my job and crash on my father’s couch in his apartment in Pennsylvania. Having made in my mind, massive steps backwards. I had tried to save money going back to my days in the attic “dwelling” and had found myself short of what I considered able to move to NYC. I, at this point, said “FUCK IT”, took what little of my pathetic savings I had, scourged craigslist and purchased a Uhaul with all my meager belongings. Within a week of having to leave my last ‘home’, I moved to NYC on a whim ultimately deciding that no time was ever going to be good enough.
And this is my advice for people that want to make that leap and follow their dreams. Those dreams as outlandish as they may be, can seem hopeless and unreachable. But to you I urge to “FUCK IT” proverbially and just go for it.
Make the leap. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
It may seem scary and you may have no idea of what future you may have. It may feel so alien and so unbelievably frightening, but I urge you to just do it. We’ve all heard unlikely success stories of that artist who with nothing but a shirt on their back and perhaps a car trekked to their destination to ultimately find success. I am in my mind specifically talking about Bill Hick’s journey to Los Angeles.
I am here to say that this particular dream is a dreamy crap chute. You won’t find immediate treasures in your travels (as I didn’t, and still haven’t) but you will have made the first important step in your colorful ‘story’ of having realized your dreams. It may seem like things won’t work out and that you will be a cardboard sign carrying stinky bum asking for change (and in reality I’m not going to sugarcoat the truth, it may happen) but that first step will inspire you and feed the burning hunger in your soul necessary to realize yourself. As sappy as this seems, it appears that lucky fancies the bold and will favor to those who take chances. As much of as a fluke as it is, with no job oppurtunities, I luckily found two very profitable waiting jobs within the first two weeks.
Will you realize your dreams? No, maybe not. But will you rest assured that you made an effort and tried? Yes, you will. No longer will you have to be plagued by the troubling What If’s? Instead knowing first-hand what they exactly entailed.
It’s struggle. It’s hardship. And for an artist it’s anger and loneliness caused by what you perceived as your shortcomings. But trust me it’s worth it. If not for the opportunities you deem ‘important’ but for the comfort that you at least tried to reach your dream.
And I know, I’ve had many ‘lows’ which have been changed by my growing perception and I’ve not gotten to them in this essay (Perhaps I will in a post about depression), but I do have an ultimate point to make overall-
The point I’m trying to make is, Make The Leap.
Do it. Trust me, although it seems like it you might now, you won’t regret it.
My dreams are ambitious but not grandiose. All I want to do is make a simple living doing what I love, telling jokes from my point of view. And I may not be the success story everybody is hoping for, I am still waiting tables in Greenwich village. I am making numerous stand up appearances throughout the city, running my own stand up burlesque show at a prominent (up and coming creative) comedy club and I have now finished UCB’s main long form improv program. I am not the epitome of taking chances, but I am the epitome of a first step in realizing yourself and what you want. And I’m still growing.
So as my father once said ‘Stop Being A Goddamn Pussy” and do it.
Because I wasn’t happy pissing into a sink hopelessly and neither should you.