Sunday, November 29, 2009

Passion Lost

At 14 I picked up a guitar and sat down to play for the first time with vigor. Over the next few months the blood on the strings from hours of playing wasn't the only proof I had found my niche, I was getting good fast. For a beginner, I picked it up quick and thus began my love affair with music.

As I learned more songs I began to write my own. Looking back on it, they were some of the worst songs ever written, but to me they were legendary. Over the years I've written and recorded many songs, learned to play many instruments, played countless shows with a few bands, and played for fun for hours on end.

But in the past year and a half I've fallen away from the thing I once loved more than anything in the world. I don't play my guitar anymore. I haven't touched a piano in months. I have a lot inside me that I want to put to song, but when I sit to try and play...nothing comes out. I feel as if I've lost all I worked for.

So now what? I suppose I have to start at square one. I have to re-learn the basics. I want to be the musician I always hoped to be. Not in order to play in front of people. Not to be loved. To gain a better understanding of my life...of those around me.

So tomorrow, I'm getting new strings put on my guitar. I'm looking into buying a cheap piano (my old roommate got one for a dollar). I'm going to return to the world I belong to.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Slapsgiving

On the one day a year we, as Americans, give thanks for the blessings around us I normally spend it being upset with my family's tradition. My dad, as a pastor of a small church in a small town, holds a Thanksgiving feast at the church every year.

I hate it. I get there half an hour late on purpose. Most years I eat alone, and I go home to take a nap. And I don't keep it bottled inside. My family has always known that Thanksgiving has been my least favorite holiday since we started having a feast at the church.

Although...this year was different. My sister and her boyfriend (of whom I approve) were there along with a few other people I felt comfortable around, and we sat at a table and shot the shit while eating food. Afterwards, I talked with some more people, helped to tear down the tables, and went home to take a nap. My nap this year wasn't because I was pissed off though. It was because I actually ate and spent time with people.

Then I woke up around 5 and we went to my sister's boyfriend's parents' house. I was uncertain of what to expect because I knew that he's 10 years older than I am and figured his siblings would be as well...leaving me to read my book aloof. However, once I got there, we were immediately greeted and his whole family was very pleasant. Matt (Jordan's boyfriend) is a great guy, and he's the first guy she's dated that I liked to hang out with. Also, he had a friend he teaches with there, so it made it that much easier.

At dinner, we all talked and it felt like a Desmarais family Christmas transformed. When we went around saying what we were thankful for, I said I was thankful for this Thanksgiving...and that my life is finally achieving what I've been looking for for so long.

For once, I know what it's like to have a Thanksgiving that gives you warm fuzzies. This year, I'm thankful for a family that loves me, friends that are there for me, and a life with promise.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tension continues.

No number of hot showers can relieve the pain my lower back. And apparently no amount of rubbing can get rid of the knot just above my right shoulder blade. That's because I'm stressed and the only way I can relieve my back pain is to relieve my stress...and that's the path my life is taking me down right now. Where to start when there's so much to do?

First, my car. I got a 1997 VW Golf when I was 17. I've loved the little 5-speed VW ever since, but it's been nothing but a problem. The speedometer doesn't work most of the time, meaning the odometer doesn't work either. I just replaced the starter 2 weeks ago (and twice before since buying the car) and the starter went bad the next day. I replaced the starter today and it went bad within a few hours. I replaced the battery and alternator 2 weeks ago. Last year, the entire back wheel, brake, everything fell off while I was going 70 on the highway. The list goes on, but I'm just trying to get the car to South Bend so I can sell it. But I can't even do that right now. I had to get it towed today.

Second, school. I've had quite a rocky college career, but I'm attempting to be rid of all distractions by this next semester so I can work toward getting done with a degree and maybe getting a job worth working. But I have to jump through hoops because distractions in the past have led me to put school last on my list of priorities, leaving me with poor grades. Meetings with my advisor later, I've handed in my appeal to the Financial Aide office and I await their decision to grant me aid or not.

Third, money. I'm working a normal amount right now...not too much, but I can't seem to catch up financially. As soon as I have a tiny surplus of money something comes up that causes me to be back in the poor boat. I've taken more hours for the holiday season to save money for my trip to Germany in late December, but I'm afraid I'll just end up being even more stress since I work on my bicycle and it's about to get real cold.

Last, personal relationships. This last one is a kind of catch-22. The amount of stress I have in my life is affecting my friendships. This is what happened, among other things, when I broke up with Allison. My best friend, who is also my roommate, and I hardly talk because I become irritated when we do...so you can only imagine how I feel when I talk with coworkers and other friends. I'm always frustrated.

So what's a guy to do? I suppose there are a few things.

1. My car is in the shop. It should be taken care of by tomorrow morning, when I'll pack my things for the Thanksgiving holiday and head to South Bend and be RID OF THAT CAR FOREVER. Then I'll be able to take my sister's old car back with me. No more car problems. And if I do have problems...at least it's not a German scheiƟhaufen (pile of shit).

2. I just have to wait for school. Once I get the results of my appeal, I can register for classes and be fine until the first day of class. That I can do nothing about right now.

3. Maybe things will be better monetarily once I have my school loan and don't have to worry about working so much. Having a car I don't have to spend 1000 dollars on a month will help. I should see if there's anything I can do for some quick money. Something legit?

4. I'm trying to weed out the bad friends anyway...maybe this is my chance. I need to just leave some friends behind and spend more time with the ones I care about.

I need to start playing music again. That always helped me through things.

All this will help, but my attitude needs to change. I'm an unhappy and judgmental person right now. I've always been a firm believer that you can change your attitude just by saying it's different, but in the past couple years I haven't been able to do so. I'm trying but it's hard to do alone.

So God, if you read this, check your voicemail, I've been calling for years.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Peter Pan Leaves Neverland

Change in my life has been seemingly constant for the past 3 years. I moved from a small community of roughly 5,000 people in the Fall of 2006 to Indianapolis, which is closer to 800,000. I had always felt like a big fish in a little pond and I was ready to stretch my fins. I dove into dorm life and school head first, taking part in different activities than I normally had at home and within a few months and joined a band.

After the school year was over I spent the summer working a minimum wage retail job about 10 hours a week...the rest of my time was spent with music. I traveled around Indiana and Illinois with 3 guys I cared a lot about. I played in front of a lot of people and had a lot of awesome experiences. During all this I also moved twice, once from the dorm to an apartment, then into a basement apartment with the band's singer.

I transferred schools from University of Indianapolis to IUPUI to save money on school and have more time for the band. After about November, though it had started to turn into something I didn't love doing anymore. They had turned it into more of a job. Also, my girlfriend and I had called it quits, leaving me feeling a bit lonely. So I decided to leave where I was and move back home. I enrolled in classes at IUSB with intentions of regrouping and moving back to Indy when I was ready. Within a month of living back home I had started dating a girl from Elkhart, and was going to see her quite often, taking my focus off school.

After about a month and a half I decided to stop living with my parents and moved into a house with 5 guys in South Bend. I got a job at a restaurant as a server and spent my free time with my friends. I took my focus off school and worked too much. Then I decided I would go back to Indianapolis.

An hour after my last final at IUSB, I was on the road back to Indianapolis. I moved into an apartment with an old friend in Greenwood, a suburb south of Indy. I started a job as a server at another friend's restaurant. Allison's parents owned a restaurant called Pipers in Indy and it was a great place for me to work while transitioning back to "big city livin'." Allison and I started dating after much persistence on my part.

I spent the summer working two jobs, as a server and also as an Automotive Glass Technician. I was spending the week working 10 hour days on top of Semi trucks in warm clothes for shit pay. My weekends were at Pipers and with Allison. She and I had been getting along so well...it was the easiest relationship I had ever been in. Toward August of 2008 everything had begun to wear on me. I hated my job as an auto glass technician and by the middle of October I was laid off. Also, my relationship with Allison was taking a hit. We broke up in late November (the same time I had left Indy a year before) and I kept working at her parents' restaurant.

I had taken the semester off that fall, but Spring of 2009 I went back to IUPUI. Allison and I were still broken up and I was still working at Pipers. I had taken up cycling (fixed gear) which was lucky because my car had broken down. I was riding to class every day from my apartment in Greenwood, to the mall bus stop where I'd take the bus downtown and ride to class...in -25 degree weather. After a while I needed a break from serving and got a job downtown doing maintenance at a banquet hall for which Pipers often catered. I also got a job working delivery on my bike at Pita Pit. So now I was working 2 jobs, going to school, riding my bike everywhere, and attempting to get back together with Allison. It was a busy few months.

At the end of March my lease was up and I moved in with a family from my church, very close friends of mine. Allison liked this because I was closer than downtown and with friends of both of ours. My car still didn't work and after the semester was over I was working at Jimmy John's doing delivery as well. So now 3 jobs.

I quit the banquet place and stayed at JJ's and PP. Then I moved downtown with a girl I had met once and lived in an old school building. My bed was in the living room, which was my domain. The girl was a nutbag...and it only lasted about a month and a half until I got my own house with my best friend Charlie and an old friend, Jordan.

About a week after I moved in, Allison and I broke up again. Everything had been going fine, but it was reaching that time again...Fall. At the end of every summer and during fall I become someone I'm not. I burn bridges. I become very selfish. I broke up with Allison and it was foolish.

I don't know why I do this, and it keeps me up at night. I'm conscious of it, yet I still do it. I don't want to. So now, 3 months and 3 days after we broke up, I'm sitting and writing this. I've been attempting to mend things with Allison. I've been someone I don't want to be and she has always been there for me. Only two things have been constant in my life since I graduated high school: change and Allison.

So now, I'm proposing to myself a new challenge. I'm attempting to achieve some normality. I have a lot to prove to Allison, but I will. She has been my best friend for so long. Someone I don't have to try with because we think the same. Someone who all other women will never live up to (except my mother, of course). Someone who belongs at my side, and I at hers.

So it's time for another change. A change to becoming the man I will be, not the boy I used to be. It's time for normality. It's time to grow up.