Saturday, February 13, 2010

What happened when I "grew up".

What is it?

I thought I knew. Back when I was 12 it seemed so clear. I wanted to be a rock star AND a painter. Looking back and looking at myself now, I'm not sure I ever REALLY knew what I wanted to be. I could never understand why I had to be anything at all. Why couldn't I be a little bit of all things that I like? I guess I am, but the problem with that is that it isn't very lucrative. Here I am, 37, and working in a supermarket for $12 an hour, paying a thousand dollars a month for rent and hundreds in credit card bills (not seeing the balance drop), laying awake at night, wondering how the hell this happened. What happened?

When I graduated art school in '94 (with one of the most useless 3-year certificates one could get), I was angry, hungry to go somewhere, live a new life. "The future was wide open" as Tom Petty said. Lancaster felt like a prison to me then. Just like Boston does to me now. Hitting this sort of rut feels a hell of a lot worse at 37 than it did at 22.

I came up here to Boston with a goal, lofty and without any plan-B if it didn't work out, but I did everything I came here to do. Back in '96 I wanted to move to Boston simply because I wanted to collaborate with members of Morphine and their circle. I got it into my head that it would be good for me to play with people who shared a vision. Of course, I found out over time that maybe our visions weren't that similar after all. It's okay. I don't regret moving here. I've made some incredible friends, music, and have experienced a lot. In fact, the big problem these days is that I work so much for so little money that I feel I am experiencing nothing at all. I'm not learning anything. I'm not feeding my head in any way. I'm not meeting new people. I feel as if my creativity is slipping away from me. The worst part is, all this work and I'm not making any progress. I'm just existing.

(Actually, as I'm reading over this again, I realize I am experiencing a lot. It's just no fun is all. I'm learning hard lessons:
1. Never count on anyone. Not your family. Not your friends.
2. You cannot predict the future.
3. Things will get better if only you can get out of your own way.
4. Just because you're into something doesn't mean anyone else gives a fuck about it.
5. Money makes everything more possible....yes, and this is a shitty, dismal truth.
6. You AREN'T what you eat. I don't eat humans. Do you?)

I'm in love with a guy who lives far from me. Long distance relationships are always tough, but I just connect with him in so many ways that I never had with the guys I've dated here, in Boston. We share a lot of feelings about life, and we seem to be in similar places, in that we thought there'd be more to life than this.

So wait. Let's get back to the question again: Why can't I be many things? I want to be a musician. I am. I want to be a visual artist. I am (even though I haven't been able to produce any visual art in almost 10 years). I want to work with animals (I used to be a vet tech in an animal shelter here in Boston). I want to cook in a test kitchen and develop recipes and product ideas (I do, at home at least). I am these things. I have a ton of knowledge and experience and can't figure out how to make a dime from any of it. I'm tired of being poor and working 3 jobs for what feels like nothing. I've only myself to blame. I can't help but feel like I'm overlooking something that would be hugely helpful. More and more I'm just feeling pretty stupid.

It's never my intention to use blogging as a means to vent or bitch about the world, but here I am, venting, bitching, whining. Yes, I am aware my life could be much worse. But it's all relative. I only know the life I'm living. If I had grown up in a third world country I'd probably have a better idea of how to live within my means and I might also be more socially adjusted and be able to tolerate living with others (roommates, family, whatever). Instead, I was raised a spoiled child, and raised like an only child. I'd be saving a boatload of money if I could just suck it up and live with roommates, but all of my roommate situations were so terrible that I feel I can't go back. I know I need to get over this fast if I am to live as a sane human and pay down debts, but I'm just not there yet.

This blog is all over the goddamn place, but whatever...

This guy I'm in love with, I dream of living with him in Austin or somewhere in the desert. I wish we could just do what we want to do. I wish he could just play music and build guitars and do all the things he wants without having to break his back for shit-money. I wish I could play music, paint, and record. I also have this weird dream of running a sort of "underground" bed & breakfast exclusively for touring musicians. A place where they could crash (for low money), jam, record, recharge, and I'd be in my glory cooking whatever they want. I have this vision of living in a desert environment with a compound of small buildings, linked together by beautiful stones, with cactus, exotic plants, and some kind of pool or hot tub. A fire pit. A BBQ. Rooms painted vivid colours with artwork everywhere. A place where my contemporaries could also bring their kids, seeing as it seems unlikely that I'll ever be able to have my own.

I want everything that feels good and seems worthwhile.
Self-employment, money, status: these things feel so empty to me. Yet I feel like my life is shit because I don't have them.
How does this happen?

I just want to wake up next to the man I love, make us breakfast, step out onto a desert patio with a cup of strong black coffee, and ponder which tracks I'm going to record that day, then check my email to find 20 European tour dates that I need to prepare for. In my heart it doesn't feel like it's asking that much, but reality speaks a word to me flatly. It feels cold and calculated, and the word is "No."

I hate you, reality. I feel that I'm days away from cutting and running without a real plan, just so I have a pulse again. Just so my mind wakes up. I feel the urge to just deepen my debt to rent a Uhaul, pack the bare necessities into it and head west.

There must be others out there like me, who are feeling this. Where are you? I miss you and I've never met you. I'm trying to find you. Please try to find me. I'll do everything I can to build an arc with you so we can all sail happily off to a better place. My cat would love to come along and she's highly adaptable with a warm disposition. Find me. Meet me in Austin, or tell me where to meet you.


  1. Hey. I'm in this same hole. I wonder if it's being 37. I'm guessing though that it's my bipolar and big ol' 4-0 threatening. But I keep writing, and I hope you keep playing (I love your music). Being creative is half hell, half purgatory. Heaven is for hedonists. Love ya mucho.

  2. poignant and painful as ever. 'we'; the lost, the disillusioned, are wandering through, just like you. Some of us hiding from ourselves more than others, or perhaps haunting the selves we wish we'd become...

    good luck in Austin, cant wait to hear how you sound when the desert wind blows through you.