You must have had so much fun

Sunrise in the deep playa, Burning Man 2014

I’m back from touring with Against Me!, Burning Man and Shangri-la. I see the awe in people’s eyes as the ask me about my journey. It certainly has been an amazing journey. I am extremely grateful for all that I experienced over the past month. I had never been to Burning Man  before nor had I been on a tour of this caliber.  Very few people will ever have the opportunities bestowed upon me over the past month. They want to live vicariously through me. They want to hear my tales of adventure and triumph. They imagine me having the time of my life. Well I did, but you know what? It’s still just life and as we know… life suck. I think the imagined is probably far more exciting that the reality so in an attempt to be kind I will let you imagine how much fun I must have had.

I will say that life on the road sucks a whole lot less than life at home. I still don’t know about this concept of fun however. I enjoyed virtually every minute of

[I started writing this on September 9th and that is as far as I got before I broke into tears.]

The reality is that being back in Minneapolis has been really painful for me. I’ve spent my whole time back here trying to figure out why. The obvious answer is that I have depression, that I’m mentally ill, that there is something wrong with me. I’m fine with the depression label. I’ve got the t-shirt and I wear it proudly. What I reject is that having depression is somehow a defect. That there is something wrong with me. That I need to be fixed. If it is what I am, then so be it. If anything, it’s a super-power that I just need to learn how to control. There is no need for judgement about it.

Feelings are not wrong. Feeling are guideposts. They help us understand our world. But, feelings can cloud our perception of things. They can become overwhelming and distort our view of reality. They can accentuate each other and create a feedback loop to the point where everything just looks shitty. I’ve been there. I know about how that works and it can cause a whole lot of problems. When our choices are based on a false perception of reality we make some pretty fucked up choices. Nature has a way of correcting this though. In time, after a series of fucked up choices, reality and our perception of reality merge and we no longer feel insane. I think that is the world in which we live in, and it’s kind of fucked up.

Depression is not wrong but this pain which I’m feeling is an indication that something is wrong. And oh boy is there a lot of shit wrong! That is reality! My goal, is to not add to it. One solution would be to do nothing but to my brain, my depression brain, that literally means death. Now I know some pretty spiritually enlightened people who have become fairly good at doing nothing. I just don’t think that that is my path. It sounds awfully selfish to me. I’m not judging. I have no problem with people being selfish in this way. It’s all done in the name of God after all so it’s not really selfish, right?. I just think that we are all God so it looks selfish to me. Also, I kind of like people. If I’m going to serve God I’m going to do it by loving people. If I have to put anything out into the world I want it to be love.

So back to this idea of fun. I have a hard time with this concept of fun. It seems really important to a lot of people but I don’t worry about it that much. I have fun sometimes but it’s never my motivation. I don’t go out trying to have a “good time”. It just kind of happens sometimes. My motivation, first of all is to survive. For me, that means doing something, anything. My intention is for it to be meaningful and purposeful. My intent is to give. I want the fuel which puts a fire under my ass to be love. If along the way I have some fun, if I have a good time… that just a bonus.

So what do I find fun? I guess I can find fun in just about anything if I look for it. Breathing is pretty amazing if you think about it. I don’t need to go on a national tour. I don’t need to go to Burning Man. I don’t need to go to Harmony Park. That said, the most fun experience I had was sitting outside our camp at Burning Man, sipping my morning coffee while three naked women biked by. I’m pretty sure that if I started every day that way I wouldn’t have depression. Unfortunately you don’t see much naked biking  in Minneapolis. As amazing as that was, it still couldn’t compare to the awesomeness of watching the sun peak it’s head over the mountain range at the edge of the playa while sitting atop scaffolding that we weren’t suppose to be on. Some would say that I am wrong for this but I don’t see how that could possible be true.

Advertisements

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.

%d bloggers like this: