“Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow”
Alyric written by the late River Phoenix as delivered by his brother Joaquin, when accepting his Academy Award for best actor. As it is one of the biggest and most challenging emotions humans are capable of, I wasn’t going to avoid addressing love. The only question was how to come at it. After taking some time to reflect I realized that love is my biggest driving force.
I’m the kind of person who likes to find justification in challenges and failures. “Why did this have to happen to me?!” “Oh, it was so I could learn from that experience and apply it to the future.” Everyone has a different metric for what is difficult or hard and while the last couple years of my life were nothing compared to a lot of things, they were hard for me- you can only know the kind of pain that you’ve endured.
I’ve related tales of peaks and valleys in this string of blog posts, but the most important of them is this one. In my recent valleys so much was revealed to me about care, kindness, and love.
People talk about having a safety net, usually in terms of finance, but the net I found myself fully enveloped in last year was made of people. I moved from Washington back to my home state of Indiana to help my friends build a movie theatre. My best friend, who also happens to be one of my most trusted advisors, believes it was for a reset. I’ve thought a lot about that. I’ve talked a lot about that. As someone else, just as trusted, pointed out- building a theatre and needing a reset don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I had dedicated 2018 to really focusing on my art career- I took some big swings and took some great strides in it. I got accepted into a huge art show, I traveled across the country for shows, I had podcasts done about me, I had magazine articles written on my work, I had a studio in THE Pike Place Market of Seattle Washington. I am from a small town in central Indiana and these are the things I am doing with a degree in “studio art.” I am insanely grateful for every person who had a hand in all of that, but at the end of the day, and I remember it vividly, watching the sunset from my studio in Pike, I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for.
So, leaving all that behind to live with friends who are so close I consider them my brothers, may have indeed been a reset. But in leaving that I also left my job and a bigger city with more opportunities and artistic endeavors. When the theatre I had moved back to help with was thrown into limbo I was soon consumed with uncertainty and doubt.
For me, not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing, what direction to put my boundless energy in, or where I fit into this world is the greatest despair and question of my life. One I have contemplated fiercely. In my sorrowful, directionless existence I started down the path that’s led me here, talking to all of you.
It was from a feeling of pain that I came to realize how much love I want to put out into the world.
Read that again.
I believe the reasoning behind that thinking is entirely a result of circumstance. That safety net I mentioned, the humans it comprised of, has got to be why my response to darkness was light. My parents have supported me to a fault, in every step of my life. They will never let me fall. My family is kind, compassionate, and caring. My friends are the type who would come running no matter what. And on top of all of that, just by birth as a straight, white, male, in America I have so much more than so many people. To say it’s my responsibility to do everything I’m capable of in a helpful and loving effort, to me, is an understatement.
And so, the circumstances, the coincidences, the lessons, the anguish, the gifts, the love shown to me in my life have led me to a desire to connect with and support as many people as I possibly can. To offer the only things I am truly capable of giving- my time, my support, my love.
Love has kicked. My. Ass. Be it romantic love or the relentless pursuit of a passion, I feel I’ve been through the ringer. I also know it will continue to both let me down and lift me up. However, it is completely responsible for the person I am, and the person I want to continue to become.
I will strive to keep evolving, keep bettering myself, and through that continue to be able to offer more to others. I will choose to continue to do things out of care and support and love for people and organizations trying to do the same. We are going through an extremely difficult time right now, and I take it as no coincidence that I find myself partnering with an organization dedicating its efforts toward mental health. I want you all to know that they are here for you. I want you all to know that I am here for you. We have time for you. It’s hard and its complicated to just live, but even in your most challenging moments, your darkest valleys, when it feels like no one has been there and no one is there, know that you’re not alone. Know that you are loved.
In the end, if all I’ve done with these blogs, this live- streamed event, all of my art, my whole life, is let a few people know that, at the very least there’s a kooky blonde guy kicking around somewhere who has time for them, I’m happy with that.
No, I am elated by that.
Co-Founder Atlantis Collective Gallery