Philosophy of life Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about life in general. I can’t help but wonder, if I would have died in my early twenties would my life had been better? I know this sounds absurd, but when I was younger I was very intense on the believe that following my heart and my dreams would lead me to greatness. I was so intent on putting everything in to what I believed that now I’m in my late thirties and have nothing! I was so driven about accomplishing everything that I ended up broken and alone. I was so into music that I learned how to play many different instruments in many different styles. I wrote all kinds of songs, lyrics and all. I even learned how to sing and play at the same time (even though I must admit that singing wasn’t really my best quality). Writing and drawing were two hobbies that I enjoyed since I can remember. In fact, I remember in school giving drawings to my friends and they would go out and tell their friends that they drew the pictures. I have stacks of sketch pads filled with all kinds of drawings. If I dug deep enough, I could probably find just as many poetry books. Writing and drawing were always just a natural way of life for me. For example, when it came to English class, I always did well, because even though my grammar and spelling were horrible, I could write about anything with no effort at all. I always told my friends that when I died they would be very rich. I always thought I would become real famous, and then die young. You always see these movies where people pass up doing what is right to follow their dreams. Unfortunately, the movies never show you what happens to these people when their dreams don’t come true. The reality is, more often than not, life is not a movie and you just become like everyone else. I got my degree in computer electronics. I could have been like everyone else. Working everyday, settling down and making something of my life. Don’t get me wrong, if that is what you want than it is a great existence, but for me that would be like prison. I always saw myself as something else. Even if I tried, I don’t think I could have done it. You see I was always good at school, sometimes my grades in high school didn’t reflect it because it was too boring, but that’s something different all together. Anyways, I was really good at fixing things and good at computers. My parents wanted me to accomplish something, so I went to computer school. I got really good grades and my degree. I also realized that I didn’t really want to have a job in the computer field. When I started school I had dollar signs in my eyes and my motivation for getting into computers was based mainly on my parents convincing me I needed something to fall back on. I realize now that I should have gotten into music school or art school. Even though I am supposed to be really smart, sometimes I find myself doing and thinking the most stupid things. I always told myself that if I went to art school or music school, that it would corrupt my abilities. It would take what I loved and make it a job. I also always thought that I had to do it on my own and do it my way. I finished school when I was twenty three. Instead of looking for a job in computers, I started building a recording studio in my parents basement. I was getting really good at learning how to improvise with cheap equipment to get a pretty good sound. Of coarse, I did go on a couple job interviews, just to show my parents I was trying, but I knew these places wanted someone that would be dedicated to what they
were about, not a person that would just show up, do the job and leave. No employer is going to invest their time and money into someone that doesn’t want to be there. Most employer’s wanted people looking for careers. I wanted to do things on my terms. I even remember one interviewer asking me where I saw myself in five years ( a typical career question). I answered, either running a recording studio or playing in a good band, or maybe even a tattoo artist. He just rolled his eyes with that “why are you wasting my time” look and wished me luck. I did work on and off with a couple of friends building houses an other construction oriented jobs. I got pretty good at carpentry, in fact other than music and arts, it’s a job I actually enjoy. You have to make money somehow, and carpentry is actually a pretty good living. Unfortunately, it is hard work that will take a toll on your body and has a high risk of injury. Not to mention, it goes up and down with the market. The highs are great, but the lows make finding work at times very hard. Now that you know a little bit about my background, I will explain my reasoning behind questioning dieing young. If something would have happened to me when I was in my mid twenties, people would have remembered me as this great person with endless potential. Unfortunately, it never happened. Maybe I spread myself too thin and tried too many things at once, maybe I just wasn’t very social and should have brought my talents to more outlets. Who knows? There are a million ‘maybe’s‘. Also there are a lot of people out there that don’t have half the talent that I have, but they made it. Some of them didn’t even want what they got. My other perspective about dieing early are these legends that died young and are now immortalized. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and the many others. Would they still be the legends that they are if they didn’t die? I mean there are many others that share the same talents. For example, Eric Clapton, Chuck berry, Dave Growl, and many others. They have a lot of talent, it just seems that they outlived their legend status. Even people that have died, John Lennon and George Harrison are the first two that come to mind. I mean they were part of the biggest band ever and they still don’t live up to the legends that died young. Don’t get me wrong, all these people are great, they just don’t have that special status that the people that died young have. Even John Belushi, people give him this almost god status. Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray have all done work that is just as good as John Belushi, some may say even better, but John’s the one everyone puts on a pedestal. Is it because the others have lived long enough to make bad films? Is it just the fact that they got old? I think the biggest question I have is, if John were still alive would he have faded out like these others have? This last example came to me watching a movie the other day. I was watching Romeo and Juliet with Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio, all the sudden it dawned on me, this story is great because they both die. What would have happened if only one died, or both lived? Well, if only one died, the one who died would be glorified as the best person that the one that lived had ever known. Even know they didn’t even know each other. If they both have lived, they would probably would take the normal storybook ending and live happily ever after, yeah right! That is why it’s called a storybook ending, because it’s not true. Most likely, if they would have both lived, it would have ended like this. They would have gotten to know each other and started finding out that they really weren’t meant for each other and arguing and blaming each other for ruining the other persons
life. Or they would have had kids, settled down and gotten bored with each other. I guess since they were both very rich, they could have had no worries, but how many Hollywood marriages really work? I guess at best that’s is what it would be compared to. In fact, the only person I know that has actually gained popularity by living is Charles Manson. One of his biggest statements was “ You can’t kill me, I’m already dead!”. This has started a legacy that won’t stop until he has died. Even then, I don’t know if that would reverse what has been started. I guess the catalyst of this begin when Charles Manson was sentenced to death in California, and then the whole death penalty law was overturned. In the whole state of California! Not to mention, a few years later it was reinstated. This created a stigmatism that Charlie was to blame. People started to believe that Charlie WAS invincible. Furthermore, people in prison have tried to kill him also. To kill Charlie would make you better than he was. Through out the years his legend has grown and it all started because he ordered some kids to kill people and he didn’t even have to go. All I know is people seem to attach to death, holding on to the people they lost. Maybe even making them bigger and better than they ever would be if they had lived. Who knows, maybe living in peoples memories is better than living out your real life. I mean think about it, looking back on most of your past relationships, you mainly remember the good things. Maybe time just has a way of making things better; even if they aren’t! I always hear people talking about doing the right thing, living the right life and being a responsible person. What about being happy, living your own life or doing what you think is right. Which one of these describes how you lived? Are you glad you did it that way? Everyone has regrets, but does that mean these things were wrong? If you had a chance to go back and change things, what would you change? Do you think it would make a difference? Wonder if it made things worse? Wonder if, you got everything you ever desired and then were even more miserable (you know like Kurt Cobain)?These are all questions that I go over and over in my head. I mean I know people that have worked everyday of their lives, they do nothing but good things and are always trying to help other people. Both of my parents are like this. I never really understood it. I always wondered what their motives were, but it just seemed like a natural way of life for them. Some people try to be like this, but you can tell it is only for personal gain. They’re also the kind of people that cling on to people like my parents for verification. Me, on the other hand have tried to live a good life, it just seems like a good life and a happy life are two different things. One doesn’t always lead to the other. Life itself can make good people bitter. I always tried to do what I thought was right. Unfortunately, when you are a good person, bad people realize this and take advantage of you. I don’t know how many times I’ve warned my mom to not do something because the people were trying to rip her off. She would say I was being too paranoid, or I was just being jealous, or something to that effect. A short time would pass and sure enough she would end up losing. Over time she has just gotten more and more upset, but there is nothing I can do about it. Usually, my mom misunderstands me wanting to help and thinks I’m pitying her. Either that or she totally disagrees with how I’m doing something and it ends up in a big argument. When it came to helping people, I was just like my parents. I use to try to help
people, but in the end, it always turned out bad for me. I would help someone, help them as much as I could, but when I couldn’t help them anymore, I was the bad person. Either that, or somehow they would make it my fault. Like I was the one that made them such a fuck up. People always have a way of turning things around to make themselves look and feel better. It doesn’t matter how much you have already helped them, it only matters how much more you can do for them! If you can’t help them anymore, than they don’t care anymore. In fact, I started to wonder if any of these people ever did care! I doubt it! Some people are just bad people. Another thing I don’t understand are these people that live their lives for someone else. I not talking about people that have families and have to live a certain way for their family to have a better life. To me that is one of the most stand up and unselfish things a person can do. No, I’m talking about these people that work at some dead end job because that’s what a girlfriend or parent wants them or expect them to do. They live a miserable life and most of the time they could be much happier doing something else. Sometimes I feel sorry for people that just settle for whatever they can get. Believe me, I’ve been there and it sucks! I mean I understand, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and take whatever work comes your way. Unfortunately, for some people these temporary jobs become permanent misery. They say if you put a frog in water and slowly turn up the heat, you can cook the frog without the frog even knowing it. This is a goofy scenario, but it happens to people just the same. A person will take a job and even though they are completely miserable will slowly adapt to the job. Until one day, when they turn around and realize half their life is gone and they are still at the same dead end job. I’ve come to realize that there are millions of people, doing millions of different jobs to survive, and they have twice as many dreams. Luckily, everyone has a different idea about what it takes to obtain their dreams. I always thought that life was about glory and becoming something greater. The truth is that the majority of people just live a normal existence. 9 to 5, five days a week, with a vacation or two thrown in here or there. I’m sure most people had dreams of becoming more than what they are. Like I stated earlier, everyone has a different dream, but then I wonder if some peoples dreams were more simple. Maybe, just being happy and being an everyday, normal person WAS their dream! Maybe that is the secret of having a happy life. That old saying about do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life has to be one of the best quotes. It’s true, unfortunately, how many of us really get to do what we truly love and get paid for it? Most of the time are passions just become hobbies, put on the back burners by the rest of our lives. Even worse, time consumes every action and your passions are slowly lost all together. My problem is exactly the opposite, I spent so much time and energy on my dreams, that I never focused on a career. I never spent time going out for interviews, trying to get a job working in my degree field. I mean if a job was handed to me, I definitely worked as hard as I could. I just never tried to go out and be successful in computers, I always thought that I would make a career in music or art or a combination of both. By the time I realized my dreams were not going to pan out, it was too late. I made all kind of excuses to myself, like, I’ll just give it a year or two with my music, if I don’t make it by then; I’ll get a job as a computer tech. Unfortunately, I never even tried, I mean like I said earlier I went on a few interviews, but I knew I wouldn’t get those jobs.
By the time I realized I needed to try, it was too late. I just made the excuse that I didn’t like computers. Which is partly true, but it’s not really that I don’t like computers, I just didn’t like the atmosphere of my school. I didn’t really like the cutthroat, fake people! I have no idea if I would have liked working as a computer tech, I never even gave it a chance. I always took the labor jobs; brick mason, landscaping, plumbing and carpentry. Which after a few years, I did get to be a pretty good carpenter. The major problem with having jobs given to me is, I don’t have the confidence or gumption to get another job. The drug thing is definitely a major problem. Then again, I am my own worst enemy! I fail before I even try. It’s the same reason I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m comfortable being miserable, at least comfortable enough not to do anything about it. I mean I love working as a carpenter, I must admit that when it comes to construction, carpentry is the job for me. I’ve just found it almost impossible to do anything on methadone. I’m trying, its just that the methadone is winning by disabling me, for some reason I just can’t function while I’m on it. Anyways, I‘m trying to leave drugs out of this part because everything else in this book is about heroin, methadone and drugs. I wanted at least one part to be about everything that doesn’t involve drugs. I must say that I am trying to get back into my dreams. I’ve been drawing as much as possible, even drawing the same old stuff that I used to draw, if that’s what I have to do to get back into it, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Lately, I picked up my bass and started practicing. I’m finding myself back in that old dilemma, without other people, playing music can get kind of boring, but I’m sticking with it. I even pulled out some old drawings and my old tapes. Listening to that old stuff can weigh heavy on my heart. Especially when I watch the old video’s with the guitarist that died. I can’t believe he has been dead for over twelve years now. Wow, he died in 1996! I promised I would carry on his music, unfortunately I haven’t done anything. With his songs or mine! It ’s funny to look back and see the different changes I’ve made, not to mention what I haven’t. Back then I was almost like a skinhead. Not because I wanted to, it was because my hair use to be so nappy; black people would take one look at me and be like “Damn boy, you got some nappy ass hair!” Seriously my hair grew out, not down. I would have a huge afro. Furthermore, my hair always seem to stop at a certain length, no matter what I did. Believe me, everyone had a different idea about how to grow my hair out. I even used hair sraightener. I would have straight hair for maybe a day, if I was lucky! It was so bad, I would jump into the water, and when I came out my hair would be dry and full of little water beads. I’m not joking, dry hair and water beads, and I’m talking about being fully submerged after jumping in. First, I shaved just the sides, not quit a Mohawk, but close. My bangs always seem to grow really fast and the back wouldn’t grow at all. So, my sides were shaved. The back was nappy, like a brillow pad, and the bangs were down over my nose, and then some. I know, I know, but it was cool at the time. At least I didn’t have a mullet or a rat tail! Right? Finally, I just gave up and shaved it all. For once in my life I was actually happy with the way I looked. Believe me that is saying a lot! My hair was a major self esteem issue for as far back as I can remember! Now I was in heaven, I never had to brush my hair or comb it or anything. I never had to worry about bed head and I could always cut my own hair. I kept this look from 1990 until around 2004. Then I decided I wanted a big afro, if it looked bad I could always have it tied into corn rows or dreads. Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to growing dreads out.
Dreads were a whole new way for people to give crazy advice. I’ve heard them all. So I decided that I would just let my hair do what is natural. I stopped cutting it and even stopped brushing it. Guess what happened, no afro! My hair actually started growing out straight, with big bouncy curls! Why couldn’t this had happened twenty years ago? I do have a couple big dread strands, but the majority of it is just straight with big bouncy curls. Also, it has grown and grown. It’s almost down past my shoulder blades and my bangs are down over my chin, and then some. I’ve learned that long hair does have some major tie ups (no pun intended). It seems that everywhere I go, I find loose hair. Furthermore, driving has become a challenge with the windows down, that is if I don’t tie it back or wear a hat. I must say that the worst part of long hair is finding hair in my food, it does drive me crazy. I guess it is just a small price to pay for long hair, and to me it’s worth it! Another problem is, now that I’ve spent five years growing it, cutting it is almost like losing part of my family. I couldn’t even imagine doing it. I must admit though, sometimes it is tempting. I just know that I would regret it immensely. My mom is always bugging me to cut just the dreads out. She thinks they look horrible. She doesn’t understand that they are my favorite part of my hair, but what are mother for anyways? If she liked what I liked, I would know that something was definitely wrong! For the longest time I either had it pulled back or wore a hat. It finally dawned on me; What am I doing? Why am I spending all this time growing my hair out if I’m just going to hide it? I finally realized, it’s past that awkward stage. You know what I’m talking about. Not short anymore and not long enough yet. Kind of in between, that stage is a bad one. It’s usually where most people give up and get their hair cut. So now, I just let it flow. The only comb or brush I use is my hands! Well enough about my hair. Other than that, I basically look the same as I always have. I guess my piercings have changed, but not much. The only other difference, would have to be all of my scars! Shooting dope with a bad cut, leads to abscesses. I became an expert on how to drain and treat abscesses. Unfortunately, now my body is covered with scars. Luckily, I never got good enough to hit my neck. Or I would probably have scars on my neck, but from my shoulders down I am covered with scars. Yes, even my feet are covered. . I guess I would say my teeth are my most embarrassing quality. My teeth are probably the biggest reason I’m so anti-social these days. I mean talking to people is really hard when all you can think about is how bad your teeth look. They, for the most part have decayed all the way down to the gums, at least the top ones have. It wouldn’t be so bad, except my front teeth for the most part are also gone, and I‘m sure the little bit that is left will break away in a with time. Anyways, I’ve gotten off topic, this chapter is about my thoughts, not my looks. My other big philosophy is about winners and losers and what separates them. I mean a person can have all the talent I the world and be nothing and on the other hand a person can have no talent at all and have everything. It use to drive me crazy when I would hear these so called “rock stars” putting out this music that had no feeling, no talent, but everyone loved it. I’ll be the first to admit that I was jealous as hell! I should be up there making those crowds of people go crazy, I should be the one everyone has posted on their walls! These idiots suck, I wrote many songs that were much better(my singing wasn’t always the best, but everything else stood out). I can play guitar, bass, drums and a few other instruments. I had literally book after book of lyrics and poems. It took me a few
years, but I finally got smart and started putting the two together. The band I was in couldnâ€™t find a singer, so out of necessity I started yelling and screaming. I must admit, at first I was horrible, but as time went on I got better. I always had a loud voice, in fact I could be heard over drums and the amps without a P.A. system. It took a while for me to learn how to use a microphone, which in itself is an instrument, but like anything, it just took practice My biggest problem was drive and networking. I donâ€™t know why I always expected everything just to fall into my lap, but I did. I was always a hard worker, no matter what I did, but when it came to getting work or getting gigs, I always relied on other people. I never went out an did interviews, or applied myself to getting jobs. If someone needed help, I would work. Thatâ€™s how I got good at carpentry and other trades, I mean I got my degree in computer electronics, I even got really good grades, I just never really went out and tried to get a good job. I was offered work in construction and I took it. Also, I practiced my music for hours and hours on end, but never went out and tried to join bands or anything like that. All the talent in the world is useless if no one knows about it.