Seminally yours…

According to my dictionary widget, “Seminal” means “(of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments.” Now, I’ve no idea where I came up with that word when suggesting to Jen the Twisted Mix-Tap Tuesday prompt for this week, but… Oh wait, actually I do. I heard it way back when, during the days when I used to listen desperately to the radio, in the hopes of finding through it a new life. I heard it from DJ’s who were hell-bent on impressing their audience with the use of big words. An audience, mind you, that wouldn’t recognize a big word even if it jumped out of the dictionary and gave them a right-good drubbing. But we didn’t care, the words sounded cool anyway, and provided us fodder to name all of the imaginary bands to come that never quite did.

But I digress. Or as my college professor recently said, “I regress.”

Seriously.

Anywho, below you’ll find (5) lil’ ditties that made me who I am today – or in other words – had I never heard these, I would most likely be happily married, successful, and sitting around combing my pounds and pounds of luxurious hair while sampling a steak right now, instead of writing this post late at night while shoving chips and vodka into my soup cooler instead.

But alas, I did hear these songs. And as a result – well, much like the ghost in the machine – “‘ere I am, Jack…”

Too cliché to start off with? Maybe, but this truly was the song that first got me off my duffless duff, and on my way. Or at least it alerted me that it could be done – some sort of Grand Journey – once and if the good Lord allowed me to hit the golden age of 18. This song had so much impact in fact, that it was the first and only one I considered using to start off my musical autobiography with…

OK, I had no real idea what this song was about at the time, but to me it meant (2) things – 1) I would forever more see myself as much more of a Punk than a Head, and 2) I now knew that there were others who longed like I did. There were others who held themselves to standards normally frowned upon by the “popular.” There was – at long last – the possibility of tribe at least somewhere out there…

And it was Tribe that I would find. Tribe that I thought I would never lose. Even though I eventually did. At least for a spell…

Fast forward quite a number of years, and we can find a troy who is now a father, a husband, a self-perceived failure and a man on the edge of a breakdown. A breakdown I eventually muscled through (and to a certain extent, still am) all by my lonesome, or so I thought. Leave it to the boys of Therapy? to come to my aid in embracing that particular darkness…

And leave it to the boys of Pearl Jam – plus an unexpected groundswell of previously forgotten and new tribe, all of whom came rushing to my salvation – to pull me back out. Much like the rubber band that has been my life, there is Someone Up There who seemingly likes me, and that Someone never allows me to stick around in the gloomy spaces for too long, before “snapping” me back into The Real.

And yes, that brings us to your bonus track for this week…

This track, while seemingly a counter-balance to the cliché that started this post, is not. No, this song has been with me throughout my journey. Spurring me on to cross every bridge that has snuck up upon me along the way. That’s what life is after all, right? A series of bridges that we can either cross or not. Regardless of our choice, isn’t it nice to have a song in your heart to help you along on your travels? All the better still, if they’re musical milestones that will guide along your way…

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PS: As life doesn’t stop when our generational interest in music does, this bonus-bonus track is brought to you by an old man who refuses to totally give up, and one of his dearest friends, who said that this makes her think of him. My incoming New Life is now coming up on a rough patch wherein there is much to do, and little time with which to do it in. As such, I apologize if I’m not around here as often as I would like, kids. My hope is that until we hook up again, you will all stay…

The (Singing) Gay Divorcee

OK. As Jen decided that this week would be a “free for all” Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, I came up with an idea.

And then I had another idea. One that trumped the first.

And then a strange thing happened. And that strange thing was this. I went to oHIo (no, that in it of itself, is not the strange thing) in order to finally meet My Best Friend Ever Whom I’ve Never Met Before, and see with her the drag queen diva’s from RuPaul’s Drag Race perform live. I had a wonderful time with both her and another dear friend of hers as well, and it did my heart an immense amount of good to see that there are people out there, who truly are honest with you in mind and spirit, to the point where you almost know what even their inflection will sound like, before you ever even meet face-to face. People who – though they might live multiple states away  – are Good friends, vital to your survival, or at the very least your sanity. Ones that love you, simply because (and in some instances despite) of who you are; rather than who they one day hope you will be.

OK, so I suppose in retrospect, none of that was very weird at all, now was it? I mean, other than the fact that I lamented for hours over just the right outfit to wear to the drag event, and upon arrival, decided promptly that I had chosen incorrectly.

Regardless, the experience did make me scrap my second idea in a way similar to the first. Just a little more urgently, as I decided that the final draw for this week’s “free-for-all” would be inspired by my overflowing bucket of Joy resulting from last weekend’s adventure (one which we eventually decided to refer to as our “Big Gay Weekend,” or #BGW for short), in that the (5) songs will all be of a caliber such that, should you ever obtain a key and break needlessly into my sub-par apartment, you might very well catch me dancing about all girly like, while lip syncing the lyrics. And yes, if you found yourself peering into my private world in this fashion, just before I had you arrested for breaking & entering, you WOULD be thinking to yourself that I was Damned Good. So just relax, shut up and enjoy the show.

Beth, this is for you.

AND, because Ru’s tune didn’t actually count as a bonus (boys can’t technically “drag” to boys), here’s yours for this week. Possibly the most underrated song (drag or otherwise) of all time, and one that’s a sheer blast to “perform” to…

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Spreading the cure…

I’m uncertain as to how many untold thousands, if not millions, have been spent on spreading the disease.

The disease of making us feel that, to be anything other than “exactly like everyone else” is somehow wrong. The disease of being suckered into the ideology that having physical strength, cash on-hand, good looks or even simple charisma, makes you somehow more valued – better – than others. The disease that mandates that in order for you to feel good about yourself, you must first make another feel bad about who they are. The God-damnable disease that has us believing that Life is merely some sort of popularity contest, and nothing more.

I’m uncertain as to how many dollars have been spent in the pursuit of honoring these archaic and regressive beliefs, but I am certain as to how much it costs to help in spreading the cure.

Just $25.00.

Click for more info

Click for more info

You see, for $25.00 you can have a copy of “It Gets Better” sent to the school or local library of your choice (or they can pick one for you, should you have no preference). Aimed primarily at LGBT youth, and begun initially as a response to turn the tide on gay youth suicides that resulted from oppressive bullying, this book is a gathering of great minds, all of whom simply want to express to teens everywhere that life does, in fact, get better. My son received a copy this past Christmas, and I believe that it has helped him to understand that it’s OK to simply be yourself. And that it’s also OK to let the bullies angrily shake the ignorant cages of their own construct; as long as you don’t willingly join them in their prisons yourself.

True, a donation of this nature may be seen by some as a small step. But I feel it’s a step in the right direction. And to one who’s maybe never taken a step at all in this matter, it could prove to be a giant leap, for either themselves or for some fortunate recipient.

I know that I don’t normally like to use this site as a vehicle to push for particular causes, but I feel that this is important enough to break with the norm. I would appreciate it if you would click on the image above to learn more, and consider donating one or more of these copies to our youth. Lord knows I could’ve benefited from having a resource such as this when I was growing up, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of you could’ve as well.

Thanks for your time, kids. No music today, as I would prefer to end this instead, with one of my heroes advise to “really, anybody who’s being picked on.”

Oh what the hell, who’re we kidding?

Here’s today’s song as well. Another of my heroes, engaged in another, earlier anti-bullying effort of sorts…

An inconsequential diversion

It was at Club Harvey’s where I first heard them.

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Club Harvey’s, – a little nightclub buried within a Jacksonville NC hotel – where once a week all the pseudo punks and drunks, all the closet Goths and the geeks, all the Wilmington art fags and hags would come out to play, while DJ Jane Doe spun her wicked mix of subculture cacophony. I was a personal friend of “Jane” (Brenda being her actual name), and though it would be years yet before my own DJing Cherry was popped, she occasionally allowed me into the beloved, albeit claustrophobic, red carpeted booth in order to hand-select some of the – I must say – choicer cuts that were played.

I wasn’t in the booth the first night I heard them, but I wish I had been. As the first night they were played over the surprisingly good sounding speakers (for a hotel nightclub at any rate), there was a club boy in attendance. Just your normal average “douche about town” club boy. I’m sure in reality that he wasn’t dressed nearly as disastrously, but I recall that at first notice I thought to myself that his style had an uncanny resemblance to that of Vanilla Ice. And no, I don’t mean the “I resurrected my career through tattoos and bench presses” Vanilla either. Were his eyebrows replete with carefully shaven hash marks? I’m pretty sure not, but it wouldn’t have surprised me had they been.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m quite sure that he was a nice enough kid. And over the next several months that he spent bonding with us during our weekly temporary Punk O Rama hootenannies, this indeed proved to be the case. But that first night I absolutely hated him. Loathed him in fact.

You see, here was this average run-of-the-Chess King club kid. One who carelessly busted up well more than one fondling couple, all in an effort to get his skinny white ass to the dance floor when first their song came on. And he then spent the next six plus minutes or so simply obliterating every move. All while us supposedly more seasoned and “in the know” types stood there, simply dumbfounded. No industrial stomps, no voguing, no Gothic posing came from us in response, no sir. In fact, all but none of us even knew what this strange new – albeit decidedly alternative – sound was. No, it was left to just this one plain old (young) Vanilla Icean to show us all how it should be done. With almost every single part of his body at one point or another touching the floor – and I could have sworn in at least one instance – the ceiling as well.

The first time I heard them, this is what I remember.

I’ve honestly no idea why the memory is so strong. And I’m equally perplexed as to why I seem to feel the need – all these years later – to now regale you all with the tale, unless of course somewhere deep within me, I felt that maybe you too could also use a simple and inconsequential diversion for a spell.

Autumn

C’mon man. You say these things always start with a sentence – just one simple sentence. So write it down already, and get this damned post out, and off your chest.

OK.

Here goes…

November is wrapping itself around me like some sort of chilled cocoon, and while I can’t properly express it, I feel as if I must let you know of my experience. Each and every time I walk out to be met with the solidity of the season, I feel as if the air, pressing crisply up against me, almost seems to be saying, “It’s time to wake up.” The cold, reaching deep down within my lungs, seems to be saying, “It’s finally over. All of it, over.”

The world around me is once again dying for another year. While there is little difference to my outward surroundings from years past, there is a noticeable difference from within – a grand upheaval of sorts. It is over. I can feel it, know it. 2012 is slowly passing, and I know that all the pain, anger, loss and bitterness that it bore into my life, must go now as well.

But that’s not right. Well, it’s not what I wanted to say. No, this feeling I have is much more primal. This feeling, when the cold air first kisses my cheek, is almost a call from – well – from the dawn of creation or something… Listen, I’m trying hard to not use “religious” overtones, as I don’t want you to think that this experience is unique or exclusive to only one faith. But as I am who I am, I have to use the example I believe to be the correct one. So I suppose what I’m really trying to say, is that this year the frigid air seems to be Jesus’ way of whispering to my soul, “You made it through the storm. I’ve got you now, and tomorrow will be better. ‘I have made all things new.’ I wasn’t lying when I said that, you know. And now it’s your turn pally.”

Now it’s my turn.

Sounds stupid right? I know, but that is the feeling I keep getting this Fall. That it’s my turn. That He’s going to somehow reach deep inside of me, pummel my wayward heart, scrub me down from the stains of my ignorance and small thinking, cleanse me of all the bullshit baggage that I’ve been lugging around for the past year or so, and take me to a better place. I feel so bad speaking like this, knowing that one of my dearest blogging buddies is going through exactly the opposite experience during this time of year. But I feel as if I’ve been somehow commissioned to get these words out, to express to you all this whatever-it is that I’m undergoing just now. I feel as if it is not unique to me, and others could jump in as well  – into this indulgence of being stripped down, washed away and made anew.

The boy who lives with us now has been through more in his short four years than I have most likely had to endure in my forty three, and when he has a “bad” day, I use the same schpeel on him that I did my three so long ago. After all the apologies have been made, and all the tears dried, while kissing him goodnight, I’ll ask, “Hey, is tomorrow a new day?” The answer isn’t always quick in coming, but it is always “Yes.”  And as with my three, while resting my hand on his heart (I don’t know why, I just always have) my final thought to him then before the lights go out and I leave the room is always, “Well then, let’s make it a good one, OK?”

Listen, I know that this post is coming out all wrong, and not nearly as succinct or descriptive as I would like it to be in expressing how I feel right now – like an exposed nerve ready to be bandaged, or like a drought, just minutes before the deluge. But I suppose what I’m failing so miserably at describing to you is that this year, this time, this now, Jesus (or the deity/non-deity of your choice) is telling me – and apparently telling me to tell you – that tomorrow will be coming soon, and Tomorrow will be a new day.

Tomorrow will be a new day.

I, for one, can’t wait.

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God bless you my friends until then.