Sunday, January 30, 2011

In the eyes of my friends

I realize my last posting was kind of a nothing reportage, but some days, you just want to state that the moment is good. Not special; not exciting, just a solid, happy moment.

I think I'm in a state, currently, of what I would consider "perspective through objectivity". I've learned so much in the last year that I feel like an acolyte all over again. Changes, for good, bad or indifferent, have manifested themselves in me and I've taken what I could from all of them. I can say that prior to last May, I feel like I'm back on the road I'd been on previously--focus, clarity, rationale, drive, desire, improvement, solidity. In a word, returning to life in the world of the emotionally mature and reasonable.

Which leads to the consistency of writing new songs and gathering ideas. From the pride of the statement contained in "Don't Worry Baby, I'm Not Your Victim", which is something of an anthem already (one friend off-handedly commented "Dude, you may have written the song of your career right there"--quite a compliment; there's no price for that) and the stellar Punch Line-by-the-numbers "Wash Away" to the next cycle: "Best Thing" (with a line like "...the evidence is there for all the world to see/the best thing about you was me...", you know it's a classic pop song), "Hopeless" and "Can't Fight It Anymore (Won't Fight It Anymore)", I'm fairly certain that an album is being born. My guitar playing is beefier, aggressive and better than ever.

Twenty-plus pounds lighter later, you can visually see the changes in me; the positive body/mind/spirit waves continue to come in and light pours all around me.

Every day, more and more, I continue to pile up, inventory and count my blessings.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfect days

A holiday off from work could automatically qualify. Nonetheless, to be able to wake up at the first sound of the alarm is a great start. The morning coffee at sunrise while watching the local news gets my blood flowing--mind you, today is one of those "lite" coffee days; Maxwell House 50/50 blend of regular/decaf is a helpful way to not be amped to the eyeballs with caffeine. Shower and get in the car on a cold morning--off to the gym. The drive across the Island is traffic-free and filled with laughs as I listen to "Opie & Anthony" for the first time in ages. A full workout with no one around puts me in the best frame of mind. I feel refreshed, clear headed, peaceful. By the time I'm done, the gym is getting packed. Head home and decide what to do with the balance of the morning--my eye is on the guitar, so I have a feeling music is on the cards...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unfettered and ready

After so many years of cajoling, pushing, encouraging, etc., the time has come where I sit down and start to write a book. I know it is bound to anger a lot of people; I also know it will make some people laugh. I figure that with the idea of my life's absurdities, observations and ability to turn tragedies into triumph and triumph into idiotic disaster, why not? Sometimes wry, sometimes bitter--or even bittersweet--any story I write could be the perfect hybrid of fact and fiction. Why not write something when I've never been anything more than just a guy trying to get through this life without fucking up beyond repair? I have hands; I have words, I have eyes, thought and language which gives me all the tools I need to come up with something.

Not that this isn't a hackneyed theme; I've read it and it's been done poorly--I think I can come up with my own stamp on what it's like to think you've got it all only to realize what you think you want and what you want are never on the same plain at the same time. In short, sometimes I feel like everything is right and mine and other times, I ask why does it always rain on me at the most inopportune moment? It's about yin and yang, light and shade--me knowing what I've had, what I've lost, what I took, what I abandoned and what am I doing? Names will be changed to protect the guilty and the innocent; the places and circumstances will not.

I don't know--the motivation is simple. It's time. This isn't exactly the trail of rage and melody... this is more akin to the road of broken hearts, broken strings and broken promises only to be rebuilt at a later date... I guess. Who knows for sure? I'm looking at mid-May as my starting point. And I believe it will happen...

Friday, January 07, 2011


Number 46. While I'd anticipated and hoped it would be a happy, stress-free day (if nothing else), it has not been the case, even this early on. My arcane plans for gym/Target/groceries has been thwarted by the elements and as a born-and-bred New Yorker, I loathe the snow; I've always hated winter. Although I have an SUV, it makes no sense to drive across and around the Island in this, especially since other drivers are not as careful as I am--why, I've never understood. Nonetheless, I will do the laundry (another thing off the to-do list) and find other ways to enjoy my day (somehow, I hear the lure of my Guild calling...).

I have received innumerable e-mails and postings on my Facebook page for my birthday and for my prior postings. I have to confess, I thought the tenor of what I was trying to convey was a point of perspective and clarity with the necessary distance of objectivity. If I came across as embittered or still angry, believe me, I'm not. What's done is done. And I am not, nor have I ever been, the kind of person to revisit an unhappy experience that ended; I've never been the type to re-open Pandora's box. I have a great deal of peace and light and joy that may not always be exhibited, but I am happier than I have been since the upheavals of last year.

Now--not just with this being the start of another new, fresh year or it being my birthday--I have regained total control of my life. There is no one and nothing that is going to come before me or get in the way of what I may want or need; my happiness, health and balance are my priority and I will not allow even the slightest bit of interference. No one can dictate to or make demands of me; I stand and walk on my own. As I have stated previously, "constructive selfishness" is what makes a person complete--not other people nor objects. If you don't put yourself first, no one else will--and that is not an empty cliche. That is just the way of the world.

I am wholly alone on this birthday and I don't mind. Better to be alone than to have others bring their negative personalities and energy into a positive circle. Although I don't drink, I will raise a glass later in the day and toast myself for having the ability to see it all so clearly and to be able to savor my own reawakening. Joy is mine for the taking and I am taking it. So happy birthday to me. And to the others who see only the darkness: I'm sorry, baby, but you can't stand in my light anymore...

Thursday, January 06, 2011


"Gratitude" is not a word I use lightly--I've heard and read it thrown about like confetti in the past several months. Those who claim to be "grateful" are, frankly, full of shit. It's a word that should be adhered to by its definition. To have gratitude; to be grateful, at points, means you stop--look at--evaluate the people who bring you joy, comfort, love, understanding, respect, patience and all that will bring peace of mind to your daily existence--in short, life's blessings--not riches, nor possessions. A great many people misconstrue gratitude by taking advantage of/taking for granted the people that can do, care, rescue, help--being an emotional cripple is a bad mis-step in trying to lead a balanced life. And as it always seems to go, those who bark the loudest about being "grateful" are the most ungrateful of all--such a predictable cliche, but so sadly accurate.

I look at my life--past and present--and I admit that I have made some grave mistakes in discarding what was important; the people who mattered and truly being grateful for who is in my life and what I have that gives me daily, physical comfort. Over the last few years, I have begun to not only take stock in the "durable goods" but in many ways, minimize them by lack of necessity (why buy what you don't need? Why put yourself in harm's way for owning useless/frivolous items by racking up debt?). I purge non-essentials with regularity. It is an emotional cleansing, not just a physical freeing up of space.

I have been learning to do the same thing when it comes to people, which was something I was not adept at. I never "held on" to relationships that brought nothing to either myself or the other person, but I never would make the conscious decision to say "I have to let go; this makes me unhappy" or whatever the circumstances may have been. I always left it up to the greatest friend I've ever had: silence. Yes, that may be the "coward's way", but I have found that if someone is looking for a direct confrontation with me and I agree (begrudgingly) to meet them on the battlefield, then my side of the story is not to be heard--I am not afforded an equal voicing. So what is the point of arguing or worse, defending myself? To be pushed until an emotional outburst occurs and something is said wrongly, hurtfully? I prefer the more diginified (depending on your point of view) "let me quietly walk away". It may be seen as passive-aggressive, but it saves you from tears, anger, shouting and reducing yourself to being as "bad" as the other person.

In light of everything I've learned in the recent past, I find that there is far less risk in sounding stupid or childish by saying nothing. I will use a definitive example: in the final phone call exchange between myself and a former friend, this person (literally) shouted from the moment we began speaking. Machine-gun bursts of verbiage were fired at me with accusations that went: "I'm emotional. I know I'm emotional but you're cold. You're too rational. You deal with people better than I do. When you're angry, you become cold." And so this went. As I could physically feel the anger rising in me, I took a breath and tried to explain as best as possible: "I am rational because I do not want to make the mistake of saying something that can be hurtful or completely inappropriate. I need to digest and process things before I say anything. I have to be sure I'm right and justified in taking up an argument instead of blindly shooting my mouth off without having the facts straight. Once something is said, it cannot be taken back and I don't want to ever put myself in that kind of situation just because I didn't think before I spoke." Since that phone call, I have not spoken to this individual. I felt on that day, my own final straw had been snapped; however, that person still occasionally tries to communicate. I (with two poorly-judged exceptions) do not respond to this person. Letting go means not only pushing their memory out of your mind, but to not answer when they attempt contact. It saves me a lot of headaches and heartaches. It isn't childish avoidance. I have nothing to say any longer. I said my piece when it had to be said; then I walked away completely. Silence speaks louder than anything else.

On the flipside, taking in all that I have--not just my home, my cats, my guitars, clothes, books, etc.--makes me feel I am truly a blessed individual. As I have said so often, look at the experiences I have had--I have lived every dream I ever hallucinated (!) (pretty much); I have had a very charmed life. I may not have financial wealth; I may not own a house or any of the ecoutrements that most people misappropriate for "happiness" via opulence but at 46, I have so much more than many people I have called friends/lovers and I seem to gain more with every passing day that I learn and see and think and know. I am surrounded by good, kind, loving, decent people--these are people who tell me when I'm right and when I'm wrong; they offer praise when warranted but call me on my bullshit when it's time. I don't have servile yes-men/women who do my bidding and kowtow to my dictatorial whims. You know, I'm nobody special--and no one is.

You know, 46 is a pretty high number. There isn't that much sand left in the hourglass and while there is time, I want to keep improving and thriving, emotionally and spiritually. It's all I think I really need. Eveything else is almost secondary. And for all that I have and all that I am, I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Past tense

In the two days since I made my last posting, I have been overrun with communiques, questions and negative responses concerning the "birthday e-mail"--not against me, but toward the person who sent the aforementioned. I do appreciate the support and the understanding, but I'm not sure I made my point clear. And this I say with all love:

I don't feel it's worth anyone getting annoyed or aggravated about. I reported it, since it fit the moment and the emotion, but on a greater level, it represents absolutely nothing. Whether or not she meant it to be anything more than a simple birthday acknowledgment is immaterial; I would prefer to not hear from her at all. She forced me to suppress and dissolve any feelings, sentiments, et al. when it came to her, our friendship and everything else. She is now persona non grata. If she expects me to respond to her e-mail, she would be wrong. I have nothing to say, written or verbally. I'm sure she will write again, most likely with some kind of vitriolic attack and play the "wounded bird". Or maybe she will finally understand there's no reason to pretend; that the friendship - from my view - is dead and she will cease communication.

This is a game I despise; the kind that no one ever wins--thus, I will not play. I don't need to speak or write about it; I don't need to speak or write to her. I only feel coldness when she comes to mind. Nothing can be changed; I will not compromise nor retract. That is clear. Not after faith has been broken. I wish it were not so, but it is. So silence is the order of the day.

And again--there is no anger here; along with the other emotions I had for her, that too evaporated. I simply wish to be left alone. There is no reason for her to contact me. When I was with her, it became trying; since we ended, she's been equally difficult. I don't wish her ill--I don't wish her well--I have nothing to offer when it comes to her. I can only say I hope she has a peaceful life and please leave me to mine.

I cannot be more grateful to the people who were with me from the moment this sad chapter began but it's time to set this whole thing on the bonfire. It's left now as a pile of ash in the past...


And on another note, I would like to send a "THANK YOU" out to the person who wrote some very kind words on the "comments" page for the last posting. You made 6 years of this blog worth it all. Please keep in touch.

Monday, January 03, 2011

See a little more light

As I navigate the waters of every day, there are moments when, naturally, things become rough and your emotions can get the better of you. Having learned the art of moving on and forward when a relationship ends, I find myself a little thrown off course, though not surprised, at receiving an e-mail today from someone who I no longer have any contact with.

Understand, I made peace with what happened in September; I closed that door and walked away. I meant it when I said I no longer would allow myself to be hurt by someone I loved. That includes the ending of a "friendship" that no longer had any merit. I lifted the clouds from me; I saw a little light and walked out into the brightness of my life and living it again. When there ain't no water in the well, the trough is dry for good.

I was not pleased me to hear from this person today. Maybe because my view is a bit biased, I would have believed that after all this time she would just let things be where they are--in the past. I may be overreacting, but this e-mail smacked of her "poking" (J's term) at me, even though it was meant to be seen as a harmless, hand-outstretched-in-friendship "early birthday greeting". Nothing she ever does goes without having some ulterior motive behind it. I apologize in advance for my cynicism, but I cannot take stock in a single word she writes or may say.

I contemplated writing back a simple, two word "thank you" response, but I have no desire to do so. Being polite is one thing. Being negligent with myself is another. To respond would mean to her that I still care or want her in my life in one fashion or another by opening an avenue for dialogue; I do not. This is not high school or college; these types of games are exactly what I have wanted to get away from completely. I'm 45 going on 46; I will not be drawn into it.

2011 is now upon us and I'm not returning to the saddest thing about 2010. I worked very hard to regain who I am and had always been--not the person I became when I was keeping company with her. I haven't looked back; I haven't wished for us to have some sort of reconciliation - I am not that kind of person. The past stays where it belongs--in the past. I don't relive, revisit or recycle people. And I do not want to continue writing about this subject. It is over in all manners - and it will not change or be repaired, etc. I will not allow people I may have loved but who have hurt me with no cause to do so to have any place in my life. That is where I find the light--in the truth. I share this here because it would be deceptive of me to not use this blog for what it was meant to be--my diary. I have a strength and calm that led me to say all that I needed with no hesitation or regret. My conscience is clear. Her self-fulfilled prophecy came true; when she once asked me "please don't ever shut me out of your life", well, I have. And I am not sorry.

This is a new year; a new beginning again. Out with the old. You open your eyes and everything that was murky and uncertain is now sharp and focused. You see a little light and bathe in it. Instead of delivering platitudes and in actuality being a hypocrite, I prefer silence--it is a far more eloquent and powerful language.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Terms of psychic warfare

Yes, it is a Happy New Year. A sunny Saturday morning, a cup of good coffee after a solid night's sleep--all of last year's discomforts are now for the ages. Life rolls on as does another year and I see yesterday as nothing more than material for my book.

As always, I don't have any "resolutions"--those questions were truly resolved as situations unfolded. I'm not one to make proclamations about "I need to lose weight" or "I need to quit smoking"; there are some simple - and tangible/obtainable - goals, which can be achieved by discipline, focus, belief and work. This includes wanting to find a new job, as I want better--I am tired of hearing the concessionary nonsense of "oh, you have a job--why look for one?". Because I want more and you should always strive for and want greater in your own life, let alone for the others who are part of your world. Settling for complacency is suicide. I look back over many of the people who have entered and exited my life and I think how some of them just roll over. I'll be 46 in a few days and I don't believe in the notion of simply accepting "oh, this is my lot in life". I may not get what I want, but at least I have the courage and the desire to try. I will be continuing my positive health direction; I'm actually heading to the gym in a little while. I will hope that my relationships maintain their strength and continue to solidify in greater measures; I will not repeat past mistakes. I would like to see the songs that have now begun to appear get a public hearing; my goal is to perform again. I have begun reconnecting to higher elements; I want to continue exploring that path. I will discourage any kind of negative energy or people from my life. Even if that means further amputations of friendships, etc., I will no longer accept corrosive beings in my orbit. I have no debt--neither realistic/financial or philosophical/personal. I owe nothing to no one and that possibly makes me as free as one could hope to be. The ability to write; not just songs, but begin focusing on actually writing the book so many people have told me to write. Using this blog will be a helpful tool in making sure I can refine this skill. The songs will continue to come--the reins are firmly in my hands. Let this not go misinterpreted--no one re-ignited me as a songwriter--I never lost what I already always had.

Who I am now is not who I was yesterday, nor 3 months ago, nor 6 months ago, nor a year or two or twenty five ago. I am in the now; be here now and into tomorrow. Whoever I evolve into is who I become. Facts are facts: time moves, but it also runs out. There is no time for hesitation or procrastination in my life. Look at the number: 46. I'm not a young man. I see it for what it is. Tick, tick, tick.

In short, the plans I make are realistic and not lofty. They are simply the things I want and feel I need.

And so a heartfelt Happy New Year filled with joy and satisfaction to us all.