Love is a verb

It’s been one hell of week since my birthday. A friend asked me recently if I had recovered from my birthday yet. I assumed he was referring to the hang-over I instilled on that night so I answered, “yes”.   I’ve always been able to recover from the harm caused by alcohol. Now if he had asked me if I had recovered from my birth, that would have been a different story. I may not recover from my birth until the day I die. Until then, it may just be one long arduous process of recovery. What get’s me through is love.

Love has made this past week one of the best I’ve had in a long time. I finally saw my daughter on Monday for the first time in six months. I met with her and her therapist. This was my daughter’s condition and we had been trying for three months to bring it to fruition. For all that time, I had no idea what she was thinking or feeling. I had no idea why she wasn’t talking to me. I didn’t know whether she wanted me in her life of not.  I still have a lot of questions but I have the only answer I need. I know that she loves me and wants me in her life. She asked me to legally adopt her and I told her that I would.

I guess the biggest issue she faced in reaching out was that she didn’t want to burden me. She didn’t want to be an inconvenience. As ridiculous as that sounds to me, I’m finding that it’s a fairly common sentiment among the people I love. I find life to be a burden and rather inconvenient. I was doing just fine before I was born. Love is the one thing that gives my life meaning. The only reason I do anything is out of love. I don’t know what to do to help people understand this.

My daughter’s therapist tried to explain it to her. She said, “Love is a feeling but remember how we talked about love is also being a verb?”

At this point I was thinking, “Oh god! Not this shit!”

It’s not that I’m averse to pop psychology or meme philosophy or even song lyrics. They all have their place and they can all have value.

My problem with this “love is a verb” expression is specific to how it has played out in my life. For me it has been, “If you really loved me you would do _____”, or “How could you do _____ if you really loved me?”

For me, it has been more like the Janet Jackson’s song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

I get it. I understand that they way people experience love is through acts of love. We experience love not by how the lover feels but by what they do and what they do affects how we feel. It’s like how people experience God through religion. Most people don’t actually know God but they know that through religion they can feel God’s presence. Religion might be a verb but God is not a verb. To me, Love is God. I prefer this song by Ziggy Marley.

As with any religion, our faith is not measured merely by our belief but by our actions. As with many religious people I sometimes fuck up. As with many religious people, even when I am holding true to my faith I will sometimes piss people off.

All I know is that when my son was conceived it was an act of Love. All I know is that when I stuck by my pregnant friend and married her, it was an act of Love.

I know that when my friend called me in the middle of the night last Friday, I answer… because of Love.

I know that I spent three nights last week creating improvisational soundscapes for my band leader’s performance art piece… because of Love.

I know that I was sad that none of my close friends showed up… because of Love.

I know that when my band leader and h/ir wife made the cover of CityPages this week I was thrilled… because of Love.

I know that I biked across town in the middle of winter to see a friend who had a bad day at work… because of Love.

I know that I survived a fifteen hour day yesterday… because of Love… and enjoyed every minute of it… because of Love.

I know that I got out of bed today… because of Love.

—–

I also wrote this song today. It’s a Valentine to my daughter but it is inspired by everyone I love… which means everyone. Here are the lyrics.  Sorry there is no fancy video.

I love you today
As I do everyday

Whether together or apart
You are always in my heart

Everything that I do
Everything to you I say
Comes from the love that’s deep inside
It won’t ever go away

Sometimes love is painful
It don’t feel like you think it should
No one said love would be easy
But with love I know it could

We all have our doubts
What is love all about?

It’s hard to know what to feel
When we don’t know what is real

Love is not a box of chocolates
Or a Valentine’s Day card
But look inside and you will see
The reason why I work so hard

I can’t prove it to you
It’s really nothing I can show
But I’ll try with all my actions
In the hope that you will know

I love you today
As I do everyday

Whether together or apart
You are always in my heart

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To make a long story short

I had another birthday yesterday.

That makes forty-seven that I have had so far. I”m not a big fan of birthdays. I feel it’s a lot of pressure to put on one day. But, it is a good excuse to get drunk and spend money so that’s what I did. It was actually a really fun night.  I could tell you all about it but I don’t want to . If you really cared you would have been there. Hopefully you are living your own life and don’t need to live vicariously through mine.

All I know is that at the end of the night I took a cab home alone. Last night I was pretty pissed off about that. Today I am grateful.

Today I can remember that a year ago I did have someone to spend my birthday with. I also know that what happened that night was so disturbing that I couldn’t even write about it factually. I had to write it as fiction.

Today I feel grateful to be alone.

Tomorrow… who knows how I will feel. It’s a funny thing about time.

Oh, that reminds me. I did learn something last night. I learned that time itself is a made up concept. I might have to think about that for a while.

Birthday Suit

I woke up this morning to find myself lying naked on my friend’s couch. I thought to myself, “This seems like a perfect way to start my birthday!” You may be thinking that it’s the perfect bookend to a night of debauchery but last night was pretty tame. Tonight might get out of hand though. It’s my birthday so there is no telling what might happen. But last night I was just tired. By the time I got my friend home I could feel my brain starting to shut down. The drive back from Downtown St. Paul was really stressful, the roads were full of drunks after the Super Bowl, it was snowing and the road conditions were horrible. It just didn’t seem wise to attempt that again. The naked part I don’t know about. I was wearing pajamas when I went to bed. But it was really warm in her apartment and I’m not a fan of wearing any more clothes than necessary.

I did have some really crazy dreams however. One I want to share. I was in this town and it seemed like all the teen-age girls were coming-out as lesbian. I know that girls are coming-out at a much younger age these days but there was no way that all of these girls were actually lesbians. Then I realized that I was in a very conservative town and anti-gay sentiment was rampant. At least some of these girls were identifying as lesbian as a way to rebel against their parents. I don’t know how much that actually happens but I’m sure it does. I’m not offering this as hope for parents of gay kids who really want to deny who their kids are. That wouldn’t be helpful. If it is going on it is still caused by the nonacceptance of homosexuality. The only way to combat it is for people to get over their close-minded bigoted way of thinking and accept their children for who they are even if that doesn’t fit in with their perfect image of an idealized world. With any luck, this will be the last generation that will be able to use such a tactic to rebel against their parents.

I did have other dreams but they were all pretty sexual and I’m going to keep them to myself.

I am realizing that there are some things in my life that I am not writing about. My last post ended with me on my way to pick up Jazz. I didn’t mention anything about the studio party which you would think was the highlight of my day, and it was. It just didn’t motivate me to write anything. There was no drama, no revaluations or inspirations. Everything went just as I expected. I’m not saying that I find that boring, just that it’s not anything I wanted to write about. Plus, I can’t write about everything. There simply wouldn’t be enough time. There are a couple of tidbits that I have deliberately left out. These have to do with people with whom I’m experiencing strains in our relationship. I am avoiding writing about those situations, at least for now, out of respect for them and not wanting to make matters worse. I guess that’s what my therapist is for.

—–

Yesterday I started my first article for this website which is to be titled Fear and Loathing in Minneapolis. I’m finding the articles much more difficult to write than these blog entries. Also, The Bad Waitress may not be the best place for me to get work done. I have a lot of distractions there. The best distraction was when my son showed up with two of his band mates and another friend to have dinner. He was in town to play a show in St. Paul. He goes to college three hours away so I haven’t seen him since Winter break.

Funny story… we were sitting there at the restaurant when this song came on internet radio:

My table of college students all look at each other with faces half stunned, half filled with glee. “Are they playing Peaches?” surprised that they would be playing such a song in a seemingly family-friendly establishment. “No, you’ve gotta watch this”, I reply having experienced this situation before. At that moment Kate, one of the baristas, runs out from behind the counter towards the jukebox, has to double back to grab the key from one of her co-workers in a great feat of teamwork. Luckily the song has a long opening because she skips to the next song just as we hear “Sucking on my…”. As Kate walks back in triumph we greet her with round of applause – makes me wonder how many of the other patrons where aware of what just happened.

So I only got about a third of the way through my article. I did manage to get some bills paid and still had a few bucks left over to register my domain name. You can now find this blog at: lefreakshow.com.  That was all I could do before getting distracted by The Puppy Bowl which was playing on the monitor about the bar. Seriously, too cute!

After that it was time to head to St. Paul to see my son play at Station 4. He was playing a benefit put together by an Anoka High-school student called Young Musicians for the Greater Good. I was really impressed with how well it was put on. I think they raised around $380 to support local homeless shelters which is quite an accomplishment. I do this kind of work with an organization called Rock The Cause and it’s not easy. To see what high school students are able to pull off gives me a lot of hope for the future.

My son’s new band is called 8-bit Johnson. The original name was 8-bit Dildo but when they realized that the band could actually go somewhere they decided to change the name to something a little more radio-friendly while still being no less profane. I guess I’ve done a good job teaching my son about the power of language.  I have not taught him much about being a musician or encouraged him to pursue that vocation in any way; at least not conciously. That he did on his own. And he’s doing amazing. I couldn’t be more proud. To see him on stage with such confidence and command of his presence; it makes me think of myself at that age, were I to have been more well-adjusted.

This being a Sunday night and an all-ages show they closed up early. My friend and I stuck around to finish our beers and swap stories about the bar with Renee, the bartender/general manager. I seem to spend a lot of time in bars after the doors have been locked. It wasn’t my first time doing it here. This bar has a multi-generational history of musicians who got their first bar gig now returning to see their children play. There are not many bars like it and every time I’m there I’m overcome with nostalgia. While it’s gone through many name changes and a few cosmetic improvements it still has that seedy rock club ambiance that I remember from my youth. Back then it was called Ryan’s and I remember by first time there; drinking beers at age 15 after seeing Van Halen on their 1984 tour. For years, my mother tried to get the place shut down while she was on the St. Paul City Counsel but you can’t kill this place. No matter what, they keep pushing on. Now with the light-rail coming in and stopping right out side their door I expect that they have an even brighter future. Times may have changed but I’m glad that they are still around, providing a venue for our youth, the next generation of rockers and freaks.

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