Monday, October 6, 2008

Feeling yourself disintergrate

"Suddenly everything has changed"
The Flaming Lips

I guess I was in a bad place.
Its been hard to write. Hell, its been hard doing anything, everything. Fixing up my fixxer upper. Moving into said fixxer upper. Shooting my short film, reading or maintaining any sort of real balance. For the last 8 months or so I've been on a schedule, if you want to call it that of waking up wicked early. Driving a long way, working, driving a long way home eating and then falling asleep.
With a life like that, I guess I sort of shut down.
Looking back, its easy to see how this was the culmination of about of about 2 years and change of unchecked emotion. I know every one's life is full of challenges and catastrophe. I guess the ones in my life had started to get the best of me.

Lets take a trip down memory lane...

A couple of years ago I was feeling like things were going my way. I was living in an up and coming neighborhood in Brooklyn. A place I truly truly love. I was working as an set lighting technician on all the big movies. I had great friends I saw regularly. I was even playing music again. Life wasn't perfect, but I really couldn't imagine a better setup. As a kid I always felt that NYC was the place to be. I think whether they admit it or not, a lot of native Bostonians feel that way. Then over the course of 3 months, things became completely unraveled. Completely. First off, I had a accident. Working on a The Devil Wears Prada, I slipped on a plank, fell out of a catwalk and crashed on the stage below. I fell about 15 feet. Although I was truly the luckiest man ever to fall 15 feet, I managed to escape with relatively minor injuries. It did have a detrimental effect on my working life. I meant I had to be out of the work loop for a little while which was bad for a couple of reasons. Obviously, No dough. But also I was trying to get into the union there and it was essential to stay in the loop in order to have the support necessary to have people to vote for you. A month later I was being kicked out of my apartment. The building was sold to a young rich couple who did what was popular in NYC at the time. Find a brownstone in an just about to be up and coming neighborhood and turn it into a brownstone mansion. I started spending more time in Boston because I was getting calls and it was worth it to me to spend 15 bucks and 10 hours total travel to get a union days pay. Then the unthinkable happened. Someone I cared about very much became very ill due to a severe bi-polar spell. She then took her own life in a horrible fashion. I'm pretty sure I was the last person she talked to.

I had kind of an emotional meltdown.
I think on the surface, I hid it pretty well. I settled back in Boston. I kept working. Inside was a different story. I let myself die too. I guess I was in shock. Looking back now, it seems as if I just stop living inside. If I wasn't working, I just wanted to be alone, even when I was in a group. I lost contact with a lot of dear friends. Then I think I entered into a death wish phase. I took an unusual(for my age) interested in extreme sports. I started mountain biking like a man possessed. I started rock climbing, especially the particularly hazardous bouldering, which is basically rock climbing without safety equipment. Often, I would combine the two for these full days of terror in the woods. I used to get myself in some real scary spots. Riding off cliffs without clearly establishing a landing pad and that sort of thing. I really enjoyed jumping off of stuff in my neighborhood, which would freak out my neighbors I've had a unusually high number of brushes with death in my life. Some due to where I grew up, some due to really bad choices and like the fall, a couple at work. I've had this sneaking suspicion that I can't be killed. I'm not saying this in a cocky way. I'm saying this in a this probably means that I have a few more horrendous brushes with death ahead of me kind of way. My experiences on my bike both on rocks and cliffs as well as hostile Boston city traffic, oft times without helmet, confirmed this grim fact for me. I also started to become the kind of film technician that would lose his shit at the drop of a hat. I considered myself unlucky in love.
Slowly but surely the light started to come on inside. I had energy again. I went back to being a nice person at work. But I definitely felt a change. I clearly wasn't going to be the same person going forward that I had been. My priorities seemed to change. My crazy,loving family became more important to me than ever before. I became a best pal to my very young nephew who doesn't have a dad around.
I started volunteering for stuff. This has become a very important part of my life. Teaching film lighting to kids, organic urban farming and bike riding for good causes have become my favorite activities. I became far less interested in clawing my way up the ladder at work. I met a woman who cared enough about me to make me promise to stop with the death wish activities and to always wear a helmet.
The next thing you know I'm working full time, all the time. I got this huge loft space that requires a lot of time and money. My nephew is five now. I've got a girl fiend who wants and deserves a lot of attention. She has a job that literally makes mine seem like child's play. There simply not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want and need to do in my life. Organization is key now. I Think about Valerie Burgher every day. But its time to move on. At the time of her death, Valerie was a producer on a very interesting documentary about aids research in the South Bronx. It has since been released. Its called "All of Us". It made by the great filmmakers at Pureland Pictures. I encourage everyone who reads this to find a way to see it. Its dedicated to Valerie and its a lasting testament to the kind of things she cared about deeply. She certainly made me want to live my life differently. I think I'm still figuring out exactly how that's going to work.

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

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