Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Jesus Complex

Amidst the lonely corridors, crevasses, highways and bi-ways of this life, it was great to spend a night in the big city with some true friends. In my life, I've had a ramshackle ride when it comes to people being there for me - and in the same breath, me being there for them.

But when you find the friends who will speak out to you - across the chasms of doubt and darkness and worries - and who will say 'Who gives a fuck about everything else because YOU are what really matters', those are the friends we need to embed ourselves within.

Often, and in many circumstances, our biggest problem as humans is that we can forget ourselves. We march through the shuffle and demands of this life, but we do it without an identity...or a soul. We become people who are solely and squarely concerned about that age old trap of 'making other people happy'.

Let's call it 'The Jesus Complex'.

We feel like that because of the way we've been raised, or because of the things we believe deep down, we need to constantly put ourselves second in life. Second to your wife. Second to your husband. Second to your children. Second to your job. Second to your church. Second to your community.

But what kind of life is that? Sure - Jesus really did that. But I ain't him. I'm only me.

So onward we plod down this lonely path - this secondary trail that is filled with expressions like 'It's ok - it's ok - go ahead, sir'. Or 'I'm fine, really. Go on ahead'.

I'm not saying we can't look out for others - I'm not saying that at all. We need to get out of our eye-bleeding, smartphone, cell-phone, text and image based realities that we use to placate ourselves with. So often now, instead of truly reaching out to a friend for a suggestion or a helpful idea, or to talk about a struggle, we can get mad and then go online and tell thousands of people exactly how we feel.

We publish the things that don't need to be published. We live in ones and zeroes and not reality.
We watch fights happen when we know we could easily make that 911 phone call - or at least yell something in distraction. We see old people struggling with groceries and think 'next time'. We bombard sidewalks with our strollers and project an attitude that says 'clear the way for me, because I'm a mother or a father - and damn you for thinking I don't deserve to have a red carpet rolled out'.

We need to get our heads out of our asses.

But when it comes to our happiness, that is something we cannot fuck with. Sure - we can't be happy all of the time but when it is within our control, and we turn towards that secondary trail willingly, there is something wrong, there.

I've been unhappy for a long, long time. And so many times, I questioned that thought. I thought 'maybe there is something wrong with me - maybe I'm at fault, here for wanting to be happy'. I thought that the secondary life I've been leading was the way to peace - to joy - to ultimate fulfillment.

But I now know that statement is a lie. We cannot go on in a darkened world when a light switch is within our reach. If we are a people of belief - a people of any sort of form or semblance of hope, we will strive for happiness. We will want to infect and inspire others with it. We will no longer be playing a dusty piano in a boarded off room - we will throw open the windows and let the notes out into the evening air.

This Jesus Complex - it might have right beginnings but in the end, we need that happiness. We need that meaning. We need that substance. We cannot be held accountable for the actions of other people - we can only be accountable for ourselves.

If there is a loving and all-knowing God, I believe that he would want us to be happy.

Luke 11:46

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."

Friday, February 01, 2013

Room To Breathe

"Rock n' roll is a voice that says here I am...and fuck you, if you can't understand me."
-Jeff Bebe

What a few months. Months of hard nights in Barry's Bay, and rough, dark mornings on a long road that stretched the start of every week into a bear of a day. Nights of whiskey reflection, sitting in my living room and smoking menthol cigarettes, as the bay light burned into an orange trace of a skyline.

Since then, I have retreated to a strange place. It's not a place that I enjoy and it is a place, in more ways than one, that I wish to leave but which I must endure for the time being. 

I have drifted from the starry-eyed, youthful betweener I was last year, where I spent two weeks sleeping on a bus with Doc Walker and waking up in a different city each day, along the string of the astral-like map of Eastern Canada.

But tonight, I am alright.

Tonight, I have found it. That space. That enjoyment. That room that I go to that plays the distant coo and tinkle of a grand piano; a piano that is entrenched in a catacomb of disappointment, past mistakes and hollowed out, forgotten dreams.

In the room that used to be my brother's - and in the quaint suburban house that I grew up within - I have touched on something, and on this arid beast of a dead-breath winter's night, that something has been deep down and set aside. I pump my fist into the terse January northwind, and I open the door.

Enjoyment. Understanding. Enrichment. Peace.

Sometimes, I get lost in who I am. I don't like to admit it, and I like to pretend like I'm that fairly together, laidback dude, who you can usually chuckle and drink with, and forget the pressure with - but I am not that guy.

I am uncertain, I am self-conscious, I am an average artist and I am a compartmentalizing, self-obsessed child.

And tonight, I think am okay with that. Because I found the space. The magnificently lit, motorcade of dreamy thoughts, acceptance and light within the heart and being.

It's the space that we find as children, but only rush to forget as quickly as we can, as our responsibilities and bills increase, and our bones creak and gain rings in diameter, like the trees of our lives.

Some will talk of regret - and that regret shaping the paths of their lives.

But broken down rock bands in dirty suburban basements will be a testament of the things we tried. Playing Lenny Kravitz at the volume level that goes off the knob, with a shy best friend but thoughtful drummer, a loyal guitarist, a lanky bass player, an unsure lead man with artistic skill that is otherworldly -  and only to be 'ear-plugged' by a parent sitting in the audience.

There may have been a girl, at one point in my life, who I should have told something to - but I never did. That may haunt me a bit, but timing is timing, and its heavenly clock is above and beyond all of our earthly minds.

How about...

Starting a music festival for kids to come and enjoy themselves within. Traveling across Canada as a musician. Playing a shitty show in Calgary,  squabbling with the staff about how money was owed to me and my musical partner, and hating everything about that town. Connecting with an old friend who I thought was lost forever, but who has some dark nights ultraviolet in brightness. Being there for a cocooned, childhood pal who is going through a world of shit, depression, hurt and pain. Supporting a friend who is losing a dad, faster and faster, with every waking hour to the horror of cancer. Losing a young friend to suicide, who I dreamed that made it to heaven, after I prayed over his coffin, and he emerged from while taking deep breaths and hugging me. Having the cigarette-wielding Dave Marsh tell me, outside of the Carleton in Halifax, that I have a great voice, and saying with a conviction and honour.

You and me, kid - we did the things.

Sleepovers at my grandma's house, under starched sheets with my brother or my cousin, continue to replay in my mind. I would be staring at the wild, flowery wallpaper with an interest and an engagement that is all too easily lost, as the daylight quickened away and scampered into a tight darkness. A distant and strict grandfather that actually recited scripture in his sleep, would often haunt the dreams of my brother, and even to this day, the figure sometimes returns.

The distant notes of a Wakefield church hymn, to the tune of 'great is thy faithfulness', reminds me of my grandma and how good of a lady she was. She set the tone. She promised and she followed through. She was tender - but she was fierce. A woman of God she was - and beyond the doubt of the hardest, cloudiest atheist heart, this lady had God in her. You better fucking believe it.


God like we used to talk about in sunday school, when we wanted to help and love everyone, and think was impossible. God beyond any culture-obsessed, hipster home-group, misanthropic cell church could speak so lustrelessly and hiply about. God beyond any oil baron's trophy wife, convertible-driving, multi-bling wearing, status-figure and appearance-lover of an excuse for a pastor. God beyond any home-field advantage wielding, self-righteous church that preaches love and exudes hate and segregation.

The God.

The God that touches your heart, and makes you feel scared shitless, because you don't ever want the natural soothe and stinging wind of that encounter to fade.

The God who is sometimes absent, but who is, most of time, working behind the scenes, like the princess in the room, weaving the loom and unraveling the string that leads us home.

I don't know what happened to that kid- that kid who slept over at his grandma's house with dreams and characters and books floating in his mind. That kid who rode the purple trike in a field of grass. That kid who remembers the Hatcher boys making movies and kick the can with Trevor. He grew up, got scared and adapted to an easy path.

I want to find that kid again, and I want to tell him that even though being me will be tough, it'll be alright.

I have taken some lumps, made a few mistakes, and I will continue to trod along the rocky path that is beset, but I will navigate. I will jag when I hit a red light. I will push beyond the mediocre and be excited of the potential of the earth-shattering and the inspiring. I will not be imprisoned by my thoughts, by my fake lovers but true haters, and I will shake those motherfuckers to the core and make their eyes come alive. I will take down those old, passion-less robots, who squat on a land that is not theirs, and cast judgments upon the hard-working and the pure of heart.

I will write circles of intense expression and cogent communication around those who arrogantly think that they understand journalism, and the essence of words.

I will dive inside of them like Neo, and come out the other side in a ball of fire and truth from their comfortable, posery, deceit-filled, deadened bodies.

Think what you will, but the best is yet to come.

I'm going to make you believe. Just you wait and see,

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