Brian Ward, musican in Los Angeles.Read More
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.”
(Scroll down a couple of paragraphs to skip the preface to this novel 😋)
For those of you who still keep tabs on my blog posts, I’m still here! I haven’t posted in a long time but that’s not to say I haven’t been writing. I have actually written quite a lot that I would love to share at some point. I will most likely be posting more once I switch my site over to Wordpress because it’s a much more blog friendly platform, which is hopefully happening soon. Lately, I have been obsessed with this website called Medium (https://medium.com). Through Medium, I have come across some pretty phenomenal articles by different writers from across the globe about all sorts of topics that have inspired me to write creatively and to dig deeper into my inner thoughts and feelings. This isn’t an ad for Medium but if someone from the company is reading this, I wouldn’t mind a free subscription :)
I originally created this blog to be an extension of my social media life so that those who follow me can see that I am indeed a human that faces real life issues. My life isn’t just posting posed photographs and “perfect” videos on the gram. My life is “normal” with lots of successes and lots of failures. I strive to be as transparent and vulnerable with those reading this so that you can see that I, too, struggle. I intended for this to be a place where I share parts of my life that I go through and then potentially offer some sort of silver lining that encourages those that might be going through the same that everything is going to be just fine. In my recent writing sessions, this post being one, I have been able to write down my thoughts and feelings but with no real words of encouragement to whoever is reading this because I am honestly living and processing it as I write it. What I am noticing though is that although I might not be able to offer words of encouragement per se, I am growing, finding nuggets of truth and learning so much in the process. You can see first hand my findings and what I’m proactively doing to get through some of these hurdles. This post isn’t for anyone in particular, truly. If anything, this is for me by my very own self. “For Josh by Josh.” I am simply writing my thoughts out where you, too, can see me in raw form at my most vulnerable moments and see the stuff that knocks me off my feet.
The last eight months of my life have been nothing but a whirlwind of ups and downs. I have had some of my roughest moments as well as some of the best moments of my life within that same period of time. I have grown and learned a lot through every single one of those moments as much as they may have felt good or bad. The last eight weeks of my life though have been the hardest weeks I have ever gone through. When I say the hardest, I literally mean the hardest. This has to top it all. This time has been the hardest because it is the first time in my life that I genuinely felt wholesome with my emotions connected to every faucet of my life. When one thing went down, it challenged everything else because I felt it was all connected together. It’s the first time in my life I have felt this way so on that same token it is the first time having to deal with this. Within the last couple of weeks or so, I finally reached a breaking point. Here’s an interesting write up on breaking points for those who might not know what I mean. https://link.medium.com/Gw7gEtutTW. Basically speaking, at this breaking point, I completely shut down. I became so emotionally overwhelmed that it drained me to the point where I felt like I had nothing else. All of the emotional turmoil I was going through internally got the best of me and just took me down.
So, what happened and why?
A short, honest and completely transparent answer to those questions is literally, “I don’t know.” I have no idea what the heck happened. I have no idea why it happened. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I don’t know how to get through some of this because I’ve never been here before but I’m just now starting to scratch the surface as I am beginning to better understand my emotions which I can at least begin to express outwards and share my experiences.
(As stated above, it is my intention to be as transparent and vulnerable through my writing but with this particular post, I choose not go in to specific detail about what triggered this to happen because I’m not ready to openly share that yet. I’m sure I will at some point but it might take me some months to be able to get to that point.)
Simply put, I got hurt. I got hurt pretty bad. I felt like certain parts of me were taken. I felt void. My internal compass felt shaken up. I started to feel resentment and anger, which are things I truly never really feel. I couldn’t sleep and to this day I’m still loosing sleep over it. I felt burned. I got burnt out emotionally trying to answer why and it all just made me feel like I lost at this thing called life. I felt like the stars were finally aligning in my life and it took just one thing to make it all crumble down.
I started to question everything in my life. I started to question my worth. I questioned myself as a man. Am I good enough? Am I a good enough partner? Do I not love enough? Do I love too much? Am I a good enough friend? Am I good enough brother? Am I a good enough musician? I seriously questioned everything. I questioned my every move. Was I doing the right thing? I questioned my integrity. This seriously messed with me. What am I even doing with my life? I thought I finally had it together and was going in the right direction and in an instant it all changed. I tried to find something wrong with me. I tried to justify something wrong with my character to be able to have something to grab on to so that I could get out of this easier. I began to use my past as a reason why there’s something wrong with me. Too many restless nights trying to find something wrong with me. I thought to myself, “Alright, I have to be honest with myself, where did I really go wrong?” It all started to make me feeI like a bad person. I started to be really hard on myself and it wore me out. This all just wrecked me. I was just tired. Actually, to be frank, I still am tired as I write this.
It’s the first time I really started to understood that this is real. This happens to people in real life and it has the capability to take a person completely out if they’re not careful.
I lost ten pounds in the first four weeks because of the emotional stress I was under. It’s a strange but also interesting phenomenon that happens to the human body when it’s under stress. I increased my food intake to 150% and still dropped weight. I felt healthy in terms of the food I was putting in to my body but everything that was happening inside my head made me feel like I wasn’t healthy. I can also see how the physical loss in my body mass also contributed to this breaking point.
Breaking points can get the best of people but it’s also a great time to regroup and grow from it. It’s a time to gain fresh perspective and learn to increase your capacity as a human to handle life’s biggest challenges. That’s exactly the approach I have decided to take. I could sit here and bask in this feeling, although healthy to ride to some degree, I can’t completely let it take me away.
So what am I doing now to get through this?
You might be thinking that this was really bad just by the weight of my words. Yes, it was bad which is weird for me to say because I usually have a positive outlook on everything in my life. I wake up and think to myself, “what I’m going through right now, wow, this really sucks” BUT I can say that I never once have thought that my life sucks. This stuff is hard but I am fortunate enough to say that it hasn’t gotten to a point to where I literally give up. I’m not sure if anything could ever get me to a place like that to be honest. No matter what life throws at me, I have a solid enough foundation that would keep me from dipping to points like that.
I am human though and on that note these uncontrollable emotions are no joke.
It’s the first time in my life I can honestly say that I haven’t resorted to anything else to help cope and mask these feelings away. In my past, I have resorted to alcohol, drugs, sex, the accompaniment of women (I used to enjoy being around women to “affirm” me as a man, which I had to be honest with myself about as a problem), relationships, and even music, specifically trumpet playing, to hide all of my problems away. These, at whatever degree, were “solutions” to how I just dealt with everything rough that happened to me. I never wanted to deal with any of my emotions. I never wanted to dig deep into why I am the way I am and why I did the things that I did. It was part of the reason why many aspects of my life weren’t lining up the way they should have. Every time I resorted to any of those coping mechanisms for myself, I started the cycle all over again and went down this path I’m not meant to be on. I was hurting myself and those around me by going through that cycle again. Going down those paths are simple and easy to fall back on with no discipline. It feels comfortable….for a little bit until the same problems come up at a later time. With all of this breaking me down this time, I decided to tackle my emotions head on.
It has taken me some time to regain bits and pieces of me that I felt were taken from me. I was too serious for weeks because these serious emotions were all I could think about. Random urges to just burst out in to tears in the middle of a job made it hard to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures. How was I supposed to be me again when I was burned? How was I supposed to resume my life with all of this hurt inside of me? This forever shapes how I perceive and go about my life so how was I supposed to just forget it?
I was given a word of integrity some time ago and it’s the first time I began to live a life with integrity in everything I did. I felt wholesome which was truly a first for me and it felt awesome. I felt balanced. I continue to carry that into my life through this which has helped me stay on the rails because without it, I’d be going through a cycle as stated above. I’m doing this for me and not for anybody. I’ve been working on my own thoughts, tendencies, and character from within the walls of my own home so that I can be a better human outside of them. Pursing a life of integrity helps to keep me centered and helps propel this purpose I have in my life of who I am and where I am supposed to go.
For me, God has been the reason why I’m still here, alive and well. The last eight months of my life have been a challenge because I have been fighting, internally, all of my man made tendencies instead of pursuing a life where God is at the center of it all. I grew up in the faith but it hasn’t been the center of any attention for years because I was too busy living this life that I fabricated myself.
I have been spending time in prayer. I pray for peace, understanding and the wisdom to guide me through this season. Everything I stated above I cut out of my life. If I’m trying to grow closer to God, I need to have the clearest mind with the purest intentions. Something as simple as a sip of alcohol can cloud my mind which is something I am trying to avoid.
Embrace the season you’re in so that God can get the most out of it.
Whatever the Devine is for you, draw back to that for a sense of foundation when you feel off track. For me, the Devine is God and I am thankful that He has given me a sense of purpose through this time.
As well as prayer, I have been spending time journaling and reading. It’s amazing how much clarity you can gain from spending time in the Word, in prayer and journaling your thoughts. I have learned so much about myself as I physically write out what I’m feeling. I feel more in touch with myself which has been refreshing.
I have also surrounded myself with solid dudes that I respect very much who give me level headed perspective on life. It’s important to surround yourself with those who help you fulfill your purpose.
Embrace the season.
Being okay with the outcome.
Im finding that part of the reason why I have been having such a difficult time with some of this is because I’ve been living in this “what if” state of mind. I have always been this way. I sit at home and just think “What if this happened? What if I made this move instead?” It has been a challenge to get my mindset out thinking that way. I don’t have an alternative to that mindset to be honest. I did everything in my power to do everything right. I don’t know if I could have done anything different to change the outcome to be more desirable. I just simply have to be okay with the outcome. It isn’t easy and it is something I struggle with every second I breathe but I’m learning to embrace it.
It took me a little bit to realize this but the truth is I have been looking in the wrong places for answers. I wasn’t looking up to God for answers and guidance. I was going to man for answers. I fall short all the time and I’m the first to admit that I want answers now. It’s human of me but God is telling me to chill and embrace this season. Embrace the season you’re in so that God can get the most out of it.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. You’re not always going to have that gig you feel you deserve. You’re not always going to have the friends you think you deserve. You’re not always going to have the relationships your heart makes you think is right. I’m finding that it all comes down to timing but should be God’s timing. Anything in your life that isn’t in accordance with God will fall through which is something I’ve had to painfully learn and accepting that hasn’t been easy either.
As I go through all of this, I thought maybe God was testing me. But to test means to prove and that’s not what God is showing me. God is challenging me to rise up to the occasion of seeking Him and as I do, my purpose and full potential in this life is being revealed to me.
Why share this?
It’s the first time I really started to understood that this is real. This happens in real life and it has the capability to take a person completely out if they’re not careful. I am not invincible, like I once thought I was. This really affected me so it’s worth sharing to emphasize the fact that I am human. I cry. I hurt. I fall down. As much as I have always carried pride in being a “strong” and solid guy, this took me down. My emotions and everything I had gone through took the best out of me. Also, Mental Health Month was in May and it inspired me to share some of my story since everything I have been going through falls under that.
I’m finding that being vulnerable with those around me is what allows me to connect to people at a deeper level. We, as humans, have a deep desire to connect with people and by sharing my experiences of being broken with you gives me the opportunity to relate. Being vulnerable has also taught me to be more empathetic and sensitive to those around me. It has allowed me to become a well rounded guy as my capacity to emote increases. I’m a guy with a big heart. I don’t always give myself credit for that. I want to be the real deal. I’m learning that I don’t always love in conventional ways but I’m getting there and want to connect at a deeper level with those God brings into my life.
Wherever you’re at in life and whatever it is you’re going through, know that God has purpose and direction for you. Seek and He shall reveal. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised how difficult people make it out to be, myself included, to seek God because of excuses. Seek Him and it will set you free from whatever emotional bondage you have been through.
I’m not perfect nor do I ever claim to be. I make mistakes and ask why things happen to me all the time. I will continue to wonder why this all happened and want to have answers because I am a human. I may not know why, and maybe will never know why, this all happened to me but I do know that God has purpose for me and purpose for this season. It took this breaking point to get me to fully trust and let go to show me that this is how God intended it to be.
As for me now, I’m lonely but not alone. I’m getting back up on my feet. I’m rebuilding and doing it right this time. I want to be the real deal and for me to be that, I have to sacrifice some things that have been difficult for me to let go.
“Coffee has always been a significant part of my life. For me, it's a chance to start my day and gather my thoughts - it's fuel for my creative process” -Conner Franta
Having a space to create is important in any creative’s life. For some, that space can be in their own room, the local coffee shop, family room, spare bedroom, business building, and for those few, maybe even your restroom. Point is, every creative I know needs a set space where they can go to focus on their craft and not be interrupted. For those of you reading this who don’t have a designated space to create, find a space! If home isn’t an ideal option for you, there are plenty of spaces to freely create at your own liking.
Here’s a little about me in regards to my current space. I moved back home with my folks about three years ago now. I originally moved back home to help my family with my grandparents who were home due to illness. I had just moved from a one bedroom duplex in Hollywood, which I loved. Prior to that I had moved from a one bedroom back house in La Jolla which was minutes away from the beach. The plan was to stay at home until my grandmother passed. Unfortunately, she passed due to cancer about two years ago. So it’s three years now at home and I’m still there. Part of the reason why I’m still there is to allow me to pay off some debt and start saving some money to buy a house, which would be a dream of mine to check off. To have my own space to create and to say that I “own” it would be the dream, in my opinion. One day...now on to my current space…
My room is a decent size where I have too much stuff in it, mostly what seems to be car parts lately. I have most of the room padded down with sound panels and foam to absorb some of the sound to be able to practice whenever I’d like. My desk is giant, where I spend most of my time. I have a sixty-one key midi keyboard attached to my MacBook Pro, which I dock. Attached to my laptop is a twenty-seven inch 4K display, which I have hooked up via DisplayPort, a Focusrite Clarett 4Pre that is hooked up to Yamaha HS8’s and have a Royer R-121 next to my desk so that I can record whenever. I have some hard drives easily accessible on my desk at any moment to save and store what I create. So as far as a space setup, it’s an ideal space to create, right?
I don’t consider my own room at home a creative space for myself. I sometimes feel more creative at Starbucks around the corner than I do at my own house. You would think it would be my creative space since I have all of those tools right at my fingertips but truth is it isn’t the most ideal for me because of distractions. There are six people living in my home, two of which are kids that feel the need to disrupt whenever they please. I really don’t mind it but knowing that in the back of my head there is always someone home that could walk in at in moment is a distraction to me.
In analyzing myself and my workflow, if I were to look at an hour of creative flow, forty-five minutes is spent with my mind wandering, figuring out how I’m going to complete whatever I want to create and about fifteen minutes of me intently doing that creating. Now where I come short is, if I spend forty-five minutes with my mind wandering and you walk in, I immediately relapse and go back into that forty-five minute state of mind. It can, at times, be frustrating because I feel like I’m not productive. This is why I sometimes don’t come home because I’ll have a creative high somewhere else and I don’t want it to end. I spend lots of time at Starbucks because nobody bothers me there and I can sort out some thoughts and begin to create. Once I can grasp whatever it is I want to do, sort out a plan of how I am going to do it it, then I go home and finish whatever I started. I’m finding that my room is where I go to finish my creative flow and not to start it. The creative juices don’t flow at home so I don’t spend my time there. I like spending time at friend’s studios where I can draw inspiration as well.
My creative space will change as I move. With the exception of being back home, every place I’ve lived previously on my own was my space because nobody could interrupt me. I could turn off my phone and sit and let the flow begin. So why haven’t I moved yet if this space is so important? Honestly, part of me not moving yet is because I’ve been lazy and quite frankly, comfortable. Ideally, I’d like to buy a house but it isn’t doable right at this moment because I still don’t have a nice down payment. I also hate moving. The older I get, the more stuff I’ve acquired and it’s just a lot to lug around nowadays. Good news though, I am currently looking for a place. I would like to have a three bedroom house. Maybe rent a room out and have the extra room as my music/creative space. I should be in a new space soon!
The point of this post is to make light of how essential a dedicated space to create is crucial in any creative’s life. If your place of creativity is at the park down the street, then awesome! If you feel your space to freely and openly think is at your local coffee shop, then by all means create there! If your space is in the restroom, then that’s your space! I hear the acoustics are pretty awesome in a restroom…heard that from a friend….For those of you reading this who feel you deem yourself as a creative and don’t have a space, find one! Finding a place to be creative isn’t difficult. The important part in finding a place though is comfort, at least in my opinion. I have colleagues that have access to buildings of business after hours so that they can sit quietly and think. Maybe you know somebody that owns a business that closes early where you can go rent their space after hours to create your art. There’s no harm in asking.
When entering your space to create, make sure you are prepared. For you drawing artists, bring your art supplies to draw whatever it is you imagine. For those of you looking to write melody and harmony, bring some staff paper, pencils and plenty of erasers. Bring a recording device too to remember melodies for later use in case. For you music production creators, make sure you have your laptop and midi keyboard with your sounds accessible to create freely. I could go on and on as far as making sure you have the right tools when entering your creative space but I think you get the idea. Just be prepared! I always have my gear with me as well as a good pair of headphones to sit down and listen to draw inspiration.
To conclude this segment, a creative space is crucial in any creative’s life. Where’s yours?
To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail. - Giorgio Armani
The season is here folks! The season to create!
In talking and hanging with multiple people over the course of the last couple of months, it seems as though it’s a good season for everybody. Friends and colleagues are recording tunes, putting out albums, painting beautiful images, capturing beautiful sights, and the list goes on. It truly is inspiring to see so many of you creating art despite what is going on in the world today. It’s inspiring to see people push through no matter what brings them down in their own personal lives.
I, myself, have been creating. I’ve been working on writing tunes for a while now but took a break because of work. Every summer I work too many days and hours and used that as an excuse to take a break, which I really shouldn’t do. No more excuses! I’m in a season of creating because I feel inspired and on fire. This current fire to create is honestly fueled a little by heartbreak but sometimes that’s all you need to get it going, right? I mean, I’m not going all Gloria Gaynor status during this time and writing songs like “I Will Survive” to say “screw you, loser” but this heartbreak has forced me to face truths about myself that are causing me to dig deeper and reflect on my own life which have been beneficial in writing. All of these truths I am facing have allowed me to take a step back, view certain aspects of my life from different perspectives and write from a more honest point. I’m drawn to music that is soulful and raw which is what I’d like to convey.
I have been taking the time to listen deeper to records that inspire me. I’m talking about listening deeper as in putting a good old pair of cans on and staring at a wall as I listen to music. I have been freeing myself of all distractions and surrounding myself with this music. I’ve been listening to lyrics, melodies, harmony and nuances that make a great song with closer attention to detail than I ever have. There are millions of songs out there but not all of them are great. What makes a song great? It’s a hard question to answer because I think it’s so subjective to everyone’s personal tastes but as I listen deeper, I think what makes a song great in any genre is balance. When I think balance in a great song, I think how well melodies fit in with the harmony around it. Of course sonically speaking, balance in the mix is important as well but for me, balance between melody and harmony is where it’s at. It’s what draws my attention and makes me want to listen closely.
As a horn player, I naturally gravitate towards horn players and instrumental music. I have a huge list of favorites but at the top of my list lies Roy Hargrove. His ‘Earfood’ album is killin’! It’s all acoustic and funky. That album is what I’m basing my writing off of. The whole thing is soulful and honestly simple. Nobody is trying to outdo anybody. It’s raw. They’re all playing together and they’re all playing tasty. Roy wrote some genius melodies that, in my opinion, fit in perfectly with the harmony on that entire album. When I listen to the album, I hear well thought out ideas and melodies. There was purpose behind everything on that record, including mistakes! Roy left a lot of mistakes on the album that give it character, which is something I like about it too. It gives it that human factor that inspires me. The album is not perfect which makes it perfect, if that makes any sense?
Here’s a live recording of a tune called ‘Soulful’ that Roy wrote. Listen to it. It’s so simple yet so beautiful. There are literally like six chords in the tune yet they make it soulful, see what I did there?
Another favorite artist of mine is Emily King. She’s someone who inspires me with her melodies and her lyrics. I would also consider her music as simple but very elegant. Her music has balance with her melodic voice soulfully fitting into the harmony. I’ve always admired musicians who can write lyrics and fit them so effortlessly into melodies. Maybe one day I can write some lyrics myself! But first, instrumental album needs to be released!
I can sit here and list every one of my favorite artists that inspire me but that would just take forever. The reason why I named only a couple artists were to give an example of what I would consider balance but also to state that you need to listen out to music that inspires you to grow in your own craft. I really want to write tunes but I never learned how. My way of learning is by listening with more detail and trying to emulate what I hear. If you feed your imagination with what you’re trying to do and sound like, you’re more likely to sound that way. That’s something I picked up at Citrus College studying trumpet performance with Bob Slack. It’s how I go about learning music.
A good friend of mine, Brian Ward, who is an amazing musician, has taught me some about honing in on specific types of music. I did a gig with Brian up in Northern California and since I decided to fly back on this trip (I always like to drive myself), I asked to ride in the car with him since he was driving himself. It was interesting watching him select the music he wanted to listen to. I respect Brian soo much because he is such a great musician. We were listening to Tom Misch in the car and I said , “Hey, since you like Tom, you’d like so and so!” He was like eh, they’re great but I’m listening to these kinds of artists because this is what I’d like to play and sound like. It may have seemed picky from my end but it was very oddly cool for me. It explained why he gets soo good at the styles of music he plays. I get distracted very easily. That’s why it takes me forever to write my own stuff because I listen to everything and I want to do everything and although it’s cool that I listen to everything, it doesn’t always help with productivity for me. That is also another reason why I only named two artists above because I’ve been listening a lot to them because I want to have that sound.
So to conclude this post, I do believe that this time right now is the season to create. Find what inspires you and use it as fuel to recreate and make it your own! Put it out there for the world to see. Take a risk! You never know, maybe in a hundred years, someone could come across your art and love it and inspire them to creat their own. You also never know how it night inspire someone to better their own life.
I’ll keep listening and writing out what inspires me and moves me to be a better human. Keep an eye out for my stuff!
“We are not in the playground anymore. There are new rules. We have to be mature, but we can't lose the spirit of childlike wonder. What is love anyway? Maybe it's supposed to break all the rules. Like me and Jan. Or Oscar and some guy. Life is short. When two people find each other, what should stand in their way? It is very easy for you to be a hero. All you need are honesty, empathy, respect and open-mindedness.” -Michael Scott
Michael Scott has over time become one of my favorite characters. He’s awkward, funny and will from time to time spill out some words that make you think.
Dating has been an interesting area in my life that I don’t talk about much. I have always kept it private because I always felt it should be but maybe I’ve kept it too private. I figured I’d share with you all some of the things I’ve been through and I continue to go through to give you insight on how I deal with all of this in my life. For any of you that are gentlemen reading this, maybe you’ll learn a few things from me on what not to do!
Dating for me has been complex. It has been complex because honestly, I’ve made it complex. In my attempts to keep everything “simple,” I’ve made everything much harder for myself and anyone involved with me. Is it possible to over complicate by trying to simplify? Is that a thing? I feel I’m a pretty simple guy but I’m learning that it isn’t always the case. Part of this post is to give insight but also admit some faults that have held me back from experiencing some of what could have been the best moments of my life.
I believe what makes this so complex for me is that my life isn’t going where I thought it was going to go ten years ago. My parents just celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary. THIRTY YEARS! That’s a long time, at least nowadays, and I’m blessed to have them as examples in my life on how to structure a functioning marriage. They have their fair share of hardships but they always get through it together which is something I respect and admire about them. Growing up, I thought I was going to be just like them. I thought I was going to find a nice girl early on, get married by the time I was twenty then spend the rest of my life with this person. I’m twenty-eight now and that clearly hasn’t happened. I, instead, chose to live this musician life that has changed the way I view relationships and go about them. Sure, financially speaking, being a musician early on isn’t an easy way to be able to support a family but I used that as an excuse to justify why I haven’t settled down. Things are different now though. I finally feel I make a good and steady living to where I can sustain supporting a family but no one to do it with. In seeking therapy, I’m finding that a lot of why dating is complex for me stems deeper than just justifying in my head being able to financially support a family. It stems deeper into admitting truths about myself that I have chosen not to deal with. Basically, facing the reality of what my life is and the consequences of all of my combined actions. After spending lots of time in deep thought and reflection, here are some things I have come across in my life that I feel comfortable sharing.
I completely fell in love with a woman who I adored very much. I also adored her entire family and wanted to be a part of it. I can, with confidence and honesty, say that she has been one of the best things that has ever happened to my life. I don’t say that lightly either. Life with her was amazing and so easy. I have never gotten along with someone so well before who had similar views and made me feel comfortable with everything going on in life. I could look into her eyes, see into her soul and feel calm with her. I would get excited seeing her name pop on my phone. I thought I had found my person, my companion, my soulmate. I was convinced that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person and have a family together. As I was figuring things out myself, I always thought she was going to be there with me as we went through stuff together. I thought she felt the same but then came the day where she told me she didn’t feel that way and I saw her slip right through my fingers. I truly had a hold of something special and I let it slip away because of truths I wasn’t willing to admit to her and myself. I let it slip away because of my prideful and selfish ways that I wasn’t always willing to admit. I let it slip away because of my fears. Then came the painful day where I had to see her walk away with someone else and oh man did that hurt. I feel I’m pretty strong emotionally but that experience definitely got the best of me. She moved on and I was too late. It hurt because I let it happen. It hurt because that was supposed to be me with her. I don’t usually question my own decisions, especially when I feel so confidently in something, but I questioned this. Maybe I was wrong about everything.
Why share all of that? I share it because it literally made me question everything in my life. It made me question music. It made me question family. It made me question myself. It made me question this so called structure I uphold in my life. The first real heartbreak I encountered was when I was about twenty-three but that was a different time in my life. I was in college thinking about music, classes and figuring out how I was going to pay for my lunch the next day. Forward to years later, I’m thinking about how to buy a house and thinking of what kind of father I’d like to be so it hit differently and quite frankly hit deeply.
Through reflecting on everything that has happened in my dating life, both good and bad, I’ve realized there was a lot I wasn’t doing to follow through in maintaining any healthy relationship. I believe in my heart that I am genuinely a good person in this life, with good intentions, but that alone isn’t always enough to justify being good in a relationship. You have to work at it, just as I’ve seen my parents do for thirty years, to make it grow and make it stronger which if I’m honest with myself, I wasn’t always willing to do. I don’t always do well with change. I justified the “this is the way I am, always been and this is what you get” attitude to essentially not put in the work. I was lazy. Being lazy was unintentional but that’s the way it came across. If you deem a person worth it in your life, some change is going to have to happen. I’ve learned that the hard way. I’ve been too stubborn to change. Changes that I would now consider small.
So, why realize these things now? What sparked all of this deep thought and reflection? In therapy, it was said to me that the prefrontal cortex finally developed allowing me to form a deeper sense of value. I’m not saying that’s wrong at all but I think it just comes down to me being tired of things not working out in my life. I grabbed dinner with a girl I dated a long time ago in the recent months and we talked about how things went down when we dated since I ended that relationship and moved on. She said that she felt, although we dated briefly, I wasn’t invested emotionally into her. The whole conversation was great but that’s what I left with. It got me thinking, man, I need to change that. I need to be emotionally invested in people. My relationships weren’t deep enough because I hadn’t invested enough time and emotions into them. It was time for me to grow up a little and develop deeper connections with people. As much as this is a “dating” post, this also applies to any relationship I have encountered. I was too busy for people and wasn’t investing in them. I’ve been changing that and spending more time connecting with those I love, no matter how tired I may feel. I have been spending more time with my friends and investing into them because they are worth my time and I want them to know that. I haven’t been dating but when I do in the future, I will go in to it with all of these thoughts because I don’t want to go through this again.
Here are some things I have learned. Some of these I would deem as complete failures in the past and some not but I can at least now acknowledge them, learn from them, grow from them and implement them as I go about my life.
Be intentional with what you want out of whoever you’re with. If you want someone to be in your life for the long haul, be clear about your intentions and be deliberate with them. “Hey, I want to date you.” “I want you around for a while.”
Make time for talking. Talk about how you each feel about things going on in life, whether about each other or whatever else is going on. Keep an open dialogue and learn from each other.
Don’t be afraid to tell each other how you feel. Look into each other’s eyes and say what you feel. Just that can go a long way. Tell her you love her.
Make time to date. We all get carried away with how busy our lives get but don’t forget to make some time to date and get to know each other on a deeper level, whether fresh into it or years into it. Make time for date nights and spontaneous trips.
Respect each other. Respect each other’s decisions about the relationship, whether it works out or it doesn’t.
Trust. Trust each other. Always.
Hold her hand. This one is for the fellas like me. I’ve never been a PDA kind of person but holding her hand isn’t going to hurt you. Hold her hand when you’re out. Hold her hand when you’re with your friends. Hold her hand when you’re at home. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t.
Post about each other. In today’s culture, social media is a huge part of everybody’s lives and posting about each other is just another way of acknowledging each other and making each other feel special. I’ve never been one to post much but it’s also something I’m working on. Even just posting about friends I’m with I didn’t really do but now I’m getting better about it.
Grow together spiritually. This ones important. Faith is something that is important in my life and sharing that with someone else is just as important in building a great foundation to a relationship.
Lead. Maybe I say this because I grew up in a traditional household but I believe as a man, you should lead your partner. You do things together and share responsibilities but as a man, take charge and lead your family through adversity.
Support each other through whatever endeavors you go through. This one might be easier than said but always support each other.
Laugh! This one comes naturally to me but sometimes we can forget to just laugh at the nonsense life throws at us. Laugh together! Send each other fire memes!
Most importantly, create valuable memories together that you can go back on and smile about. Those memories are what keep you together in the toughest of times. Take some pictures together. Write together. Draw together. The world is your oyster!
There’s lots more that I can list but those are just some of the big points I can think of that I have reflected on that I feel I’ve lacked. At the end of the day, I’m human just like the rest of them. Every morning, I put my pants on one leg at a time like everybody else but recently I’ve been getting up with more fire to fix things I wasn’t good at. I don’t want to go through some of those feelings again so I’m going to change myself so that I can be better equipped to handle some of these situations in the future. It might be too late to rekindle an old love but it’s never too late to change yourself to be better for the next thing that comes into your life.
To conclude this long “love document,” that’s just a taste of what dating life for me is. I hope I have been able to provide some insight on my personal life, what I’m doing to get better at some of these personal issues and hope I was able to help some of you reading this along the way. I had dinner with a real close friend of mine recently who’s been with his girlfriend for a lot of years and I asked him, do you see yourself marrying this girl and having her around for the rest of your life? He replied “Yeah man, I do.” I said, well, let her know and don’t ever let her go! Marry her! Take that risk because the reward will payoff tenfold.
As for me, life is in a great spot right now. If the person above were to enter my life right now, to be honest, I don’t know what I would do. I’d do all of those things above because I’d want her in my life and more but the reality is that she isn’t coming back into my life. That love is lost. Life goes on. You move on and try to be a better human in this world, which I am trying to be. I will continue to love and to establish deeper, more meaningful, connections with people.
I know I know, it’s been a while since my last post but I’m back now and will be updating this more frequently!
“You must not have a girlfriend if you’re spending so much time and money on your car.”
That is literally, word for word, what my mom said to me not too long ago. Sad part about it is that she’s not wrong.
For those of you that don’t know, I have recently, in the last year, become re-interested in cars. For the last four years now, I have been doing my own car maintenance which has led to becoming an enthusiast, a Volkswagen enthusiast to be exact. Because I have loved the process of maintaining my vehicle for all the driving I do, I thought about starting a blog geared towards car maintenance for musicians. I was going to call that blog something along the lines of “The Traveling Musician.” I know, very clever…don’t steal my idea! It’s still in the back of my head and I would like to still do it but at the moment, I have other priorities. If I were to do it though, I’d probably do it as a vlog series where I would get to be funny and dorky on video.
As my enthusiasm for cars and Volkswagens has grown, more and more modifications have been done to my car. Modifications to make the car cosmetically more appealing, to me at least, as well as mods (that’s what the cool people say these days) to increase the overall safety of the vehicle.
This has turned into a hobby, outside of photography and music for me that has kept me busy and out of trouble. It’s also been therapeutic for me. I’ve also made some new friends in the car scene that have proven to be great!
I drive a 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI (Turbo Direct Injection). Yes, it’s a diesel and I love it. Yes, it was a part of “Dieselgate.” Here is a Wikipedia link to a quick overlook on Dieselgate, for those of you who don’t know. No, I didn’t buy it to be “green” (I know, I’m soo dirty).
This VW is actually my second one. I totaled my previous 2014 Passat back in April after owning it for three and a half years and 175 thousand miles! I’ll explain the accident in another post down the road. This second one is the exact same car as my first one but a step up in trim level. I bought the same car because, well, I love the car and I also had parts from early modifications done to the first car. It made it easy for me. Because of Dieselgate, it also made prices on these cars cheaper which also made it a no brainer for me. If it wasn’t for the accident and the costs accrued from it, I’d probably have a pretty mean diesel machine right now!
Anyways, on to some of the modifications I’ve done to this car so far. Most of the changes I’ve done to the car have been done by myself. My dad has helped me when it comes maintaining my car. He has also helped in locating where certain parts are when I can’t find them, like the thermostat and water pump on this car (the location of those two are literally a pain!). After him helping me with a lot of those things, figuring out everything else has been done by me researching as well as trail and error. Anytime I get stuck though, you can bet I always call him! It has also been fun spending time with my dad as he has helped me through some of this. I am forever grateful for that opportunity to spend time with him. He’s the best!
The car is currently stock in engine performance. I got the ECU tuned by Malone Tuning as well as the DSG. I decided to get the car tuned to help with fuel efficiency since I’m big on trying to get those MPG’s up! I re-flashed back to stock because I took it back to the dealer to get some work done on it and didn’t want to run in to any issues with the warranty on the car. I haven’t flashed the tunes back on because I still feel the car isn’t sitting right. Once I feel it’s 100%, I’ll start re-tuning the ECU to make it run better. I also have a Neuspeed P-Flo Cold Air Intake that I have off, but will be putting back on shortly. I can hear the turbo a little big more which I enjoy.
I swapped out the suspension and added the Solo-Werks S1 coilover suspension package to the car and it rides lower and much better. I also added ECS Tuning strut mounts, bushings and end links to help. I started tracking the car and although this suspension offers a lot better rate than stock, because it’s a budget kit, it doesn’t perform as well on the track. I might upgrade to a Bilstein kit down the road, which is stiffer and geared for track, but costs a LOT more. One thing at a time…
The brakes and lines are upgraded as well. I decided to keep the car looking OEM by upgrading to the 2008 VW R32 brakes. The advantage is that the rotors are a lot bigger than stock and offer 2 piston calipers instead of the stock 1 piston calipers. They bite a lot harder and stop the car much quicker, even with stock R32 pads. Best part of it all is that it’s a direct bolt on without any modifications to holes and brackets. I bought EBC Red Stuff pads and ECS slotted rotors but haven’t put them on the car yet. I’m waiting to wear out the stock set first. The lines I am running are ECS stainless steel red lines, which help with brake performance as well as looks. At some point, I’ll probably upgrade the front set to a Porsche set which will fill the wheel in nicely and give that added performance of 6 pistons, but once again, that’s more money and for now, the R32 set is working great! The one thing I like about these OEM VW calipers is that I can put the “R” logo on it and make the car look clean. I also got them powder coated matte black so they’re less flashy when I’m out and about working in random places.
I swapped the stock 19mm rear sway bar out for a Neuspeed 25mm bar. Holy cow, the car handles soo much better! I added their brackets as well as their bushings that help out immensely. I bought a 28mm bar last month that I want to swap out to hopefully make the car even more nimble around the corners. I bought a 28mm front sway bar but because the car is front wheel drive, I might just keep the 19mm stock front bar to help with maintaining oversteer.
Interior-wise, I swapped the stock steering wheel with a GTI wheel with flat bottom which I really like and the stock brown trim was swapped for silver trim that also matches the steering wheel much better. I added a Polar FIS device to read all of the sensor values to the dashboard instead of installing gauges which has worked out really nice.
Finally, I bought two Neuspeed sets of wheels for the car. One set is a matte black 18”x8.5” RSE10 and the other set is a bronze 18”x9” RSE10. Both sets have an offset of ET45. The black set is my “stock” set which have Nexen 235/35/18 tires for my daily use. The bronze set have a set of Falken RT-615k 255/40/18 tires on them for the track. Those tires are definitely grippy!
That’s it for now. I’ll slowly add some more to the car but for now, that’ll be it. I can’t spend too much on it right now since I’m moving out and need extra money for rent cushion, for now.
Next on the list is the DPF, DEF and EGR deletes with a possible turbo upgrade 😈. That’ll push the car with a lot of power and somewhere around 50-60 MPG’s.
Here are some pictures I took of the car.
In the last few months, I have found myself checking out different blogs that are inspiring me in all sorts of ways. Blogs varying from DIY, cars and philosophy to music related blogs like recording, everything trumpet and music education so I decided I’d start my own!
The idea behind this blog is to share the things that I don’t normally share with people, both close and far to me. I’ll post content like details of cool gigs and/or trips I go on, new albums I’m listening to and nerdy tech stuff I end up getting in to. I’ll also post content pertinent to music and what life is like as a musician. I’ll post stuff about cars and maintaining them as well as post content that’s funny, or at least I think is funny. Basically, just post about anything that pops up in my head. Who knows, it might be cool…or not. The only way to find out is to write and get new content out.
I have no specific audience I am trying to target. This is all stuff that I want to share with those that would like to know what nonsense comes in to my head. This will most likely only be shared on my artist Facebook page and not meant to be pushed anywhere else. I never really liked posting the same thing on all social platforms. I like keeping things separate and if you’re reading this, it’s because you really are curious about what’s going through my head. I’ll, of course, put this out there once I post this specific welcome blog to see if any others from the various social platforms want to follow but this isn’t dependent on millions of followers.
In the last year I have experienced lots of change in my life as well, both good and bad. Changes that have made me think about everything that’s going on and have made me want to write about it, publicly, in a space where people could come and see how I go about things in my daily life. As well as all of the stuff mentioned above, I want to write content that is honest, transparent and representative of me. The reality of it is that I’m not always transparent in sharing my life with others. This will give me a different opportunity to be open and share the reality of my life. Life is great but it isn’t always easy and I want to share those things with you. I’m naturally pensive so everything here will come from that perspective. My hopes is to get some of this out. Who knows, maybe it might benefit me to do so. And don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a journal…”omg, she said this and then he said this…blah blah I hate life.” This is all meant to be positive. I won't be posting about food either lol.
This will be good for me. It’ll get me to write out my thoughts and get in a scheduled groove of posting them. It’ll push me to work out my thoughts quicker because to be honest, it took me like a week to write this and there isn’t much depth to this post lol. Rough…
Anyways, I’m excited for this! I’m always up for comments regarding any of my posts. I’m also open to grammar corrections because that isn’t my forte either. This is my first time blogging and also the first time using the Squarespace platform to do so...so we'll see how it goes!
Have a great day!
P.S. Kermit is my favorite character so here’s a gif of what I’ll be looking like writing blogs.