Long time, no see. Two musical references in the title this time, eh?
This year was long, really long. It's felt like he longest year I've ever lived so far. I honestly don’t remember much of the beginning of it.
Trailing back on my facebook timeline I can see that New Years Eve 2013 was a sour note. As my brother and I drove through a snowstorm to go see Death. (the proto-punk band, not Death To All/Death, [R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner]) We went only to realise that they were sold out completely. It’s pretty easy to imagine that the rest of the year would be shit if it was gonna start off with disappointment like that… almost symbolic.
I don’t think that was the case, however… Missing that show was my fault because I didn’t plan ahead. We should have ordered them weeks in advance. This year was long, and in ways it was interesting. A lot of unexpected things happened and it was kind of crazy. My parents finally divorced and my mom has been dating someone. It all seemed jarring yet… it made sense. Around about late Feburary, my friend of over 5+ years was having some hard times and needed a place to move to. That led to OrangeDemi/Rebecca
driving from Ohio to Illinois to live with me and my family. She was my friend who suddenly became my assistant and roommate among other things. It was because of her and a trip to see Kayo Dot & Clad in Darkness that I ended up meeting Kyle Gaddo. If it wasn’t for her and then him, I would not have gotten to see Final Fantasy’s “Distant Worlds Symphony” and Nobuo Uematsu himself. However, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The months, were rough, but they had some good times within them. For one, I got to know what it was like to not feel so lonely, as I do spend a lot of time alone. For that, I’ve got a lot to thank OrangeDemi
for. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, she and I had to part ways and we hadn’t really kept in touch. We only saw each other one other time, and at that point she had moved a few hours south and got a job as a rail line driver for a train company
In the general time frame I was seeing a lot more of my father, whom I had not really been in touch with in years. It went from him occasionally visiting to eventually taking up space in my home. I’m not one to air out dirty laundry regarding family, but the long story short was: He swore up and down that he had changed as a person, and in actuality, his abuse was just more cerebral and his behaviour, while subtle at times, was just toxic. Eventually my family and I had to choose peace over having my father around. To this day, his re-introduction to my life makes me feel a bunch of things. Particularly negative feelings regarding myself and it’s affected my interaction with people to a degree.
I hadn’t seen him in ages, and honestly, I’m fine with that. ‘cause the person I am and the person he is are unsuitable for one another.
I spent my birthday (May 30) in serious pain caused by wisdom teeth that needed to be removed. It was so bad that I was drugging myself to sleep for months just to cope with it. Eventually I managed to get the medical care to have them removed and I’ve been much better as a result. No more wanting to bash my skull in for ages. I also got around to making/releasing a book, which I’m really proud of making. I never thought I would ever produce a book, much less a book full of street and portrait photography. It hasn’t sold much, but Nouns (of The Person and Place Variety)
is still something I’m glad to have made.
A while later I was able to go with Kyle Gaddo
to see Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Where they played a bunch of classic songs from various Final Fantasy games. I myself was a bit teary eyed at the performance of “Eyes on Me”. I even got my picture taken with, and my press pass signed by, Nobuo Uematsu
himself. Needless to say it was one of the highlights of my photographic career.
Near the tail end of my father’s departure, I ended up going to college for a semester. The problem with that being that while college was in ways a good thing, it was hell on my health, mentally and physically. I was falling apart and it started leaking into my general behaviour. It made me doubt my artistic abilities and everything else about myself. I went in for an education and went out genuinely wanting to kill myself… keywords: want, wanting.
While the turmoil of college was taking its toll on me, life was taking its toll on someone else. Late October, shortly after her birthday, OrangeDemi
passed away. She committed suicide, which I ended up hearing about through a mutual friend that she introduced me to in the past. When I heard about it, I shrivelled up in my seat and cried. I was beating myself up for a lot of it, feeling like a terrible person. I mourned online with a few of her friends and eventually made the choice to skip school to make it to the funeral. I’m glad I did, because I got to see her family and her other friends. All of them are lovely people and they loved her very much. It was a testament to her character what kind of people she had in her life. It was still odd, as Rebecca had been cremated, which was jarring as I’ve never been to a funeral without a casket and the body of the deceased. Usually that provides some sort of closure, a sense of finality to seal the pieces together. As if to say: “Yes, your loved one is officially gone and will never come back.” It’s sad… but it’s better than guessing… even slightly. Instead it sort of gave off an Andy Kaufman vibe… Like, because you hope that someone is alive still, you almost imagine that they didn’t pass away. As a result, I still get weird whenever I see a burgundy SUV around. Not in the sense that I’m traumatised… but… deep down I kinda hope that she’s in it… clowning about, just being Becca. I’m still healing from it, ‘cause regardless of how things were, she was my friend before anything else and I grew to love her deeply. That’s not something that goes away easily, and even if I was mad at her for any reason, I’m glad it didn’t.
Sometime after, around November, I was able to get a press pass to see Monuments
, Animals as Leaders
and Devin Townsend
at The Metro. My family had already made plans to go, purchasing tickets well in advance. (We learned our lesson from the Death fiasco last year
) This meant my brother had an extra ticket, which we gave to a family friend and I got to photograph Devin Townsend AGAIN! I also got to see Animals As Leaders and Monuments for the first time ever. They’re excellent bands and absolutely worth going to see. Quite the highlight of the new year.
That was in November. Since then, I’ve found myself growing more confused about many things including myself. I admit that I’ve been unraveling, depression doing it’s best to leave me in shambles along with a number of other mental issues. I’m still trying to move forward, and see what happens though. I just ordered a backdrop holder so that I can do shoots in other places. (finally) Thanks to Becca in a way, I’m going to be writing music with an accomplished engineer and musician named Samantha. It’s a sludge metal project, and it’s probably gonna rip your face a new one.
So here we are, December 31st. I’m sipping a strawberry milkshake with oatmeal in it. (PROTIP: You blend the oatmeal and strawberry in the milk first.) I’m in my room, typing this blog post without any huge expectations. My family may possibly be out of a home again and unfortunately drama appears to us in ways that continue to confound. Also, there’s a chance that I might not be the same person anymore if some choices get made… and these choices are the heaviest I’ve ever considered in my life.
That being said, it’s been a long December… and there’s reason to believe: Maybe this year will be better than the last.
Happy New Year, I wish you all the best.
Oslo Redgrave (Reaper-X