Just a few more days….
The blog becomes a book!
5/29/2012 DAY 50!
This is the last day of 50 Days of 50. And yesterday was my actual birthday so it might be confusing to someone who didn’t know me but, if you did read all “50 Days,” you’d know that numbers and proper English are not my strongest gifts. So, to official wrap up my 50 Days of 50 blog I’d like to thank every single person who made a comment here at WordPress, on my personal Facebook page, the Mafia Hairdresser Page or on Twitter or Google+ etc. I felt the love. To give you some love back I’m giving you my first eBook, Mafia Hairdresser. I figure if you liked my blog, you’ll like my book. All you have to do is go to the Mafia Hairdresser Facebook page, which I hope you’ve already liked, and it will direct you to Smashwords.com where you can use Coupon Code: FG77P which will Expire on June 29, 2012. You’ll be able to download the book just in time for a fun summer read. The Glow Stick Gods is the sequel and I know you’ll be hooked enough to buy that one too and I will discount it in the fall just before book 3 comes out: I’ll announce that on the Mafia Hairdresser FB page too. The last and third book in the series will be called Murder, There’s an App for That. Again, I’ll let you know when it comes out on the Facebook page.
Did you have a television series you loved and watched only to have the last show of the last season just stick a knife into you? Like LOST, WTF was that? Or Dallas, where Bobby Ewing was back and the two prior seasons never happened? Completely dissatisfying, and bad writing! Well I won’t do that to you, my loyal readers. I’m not that cruel. But I must confess that I’m not really 50. Ohhhh. What?!
I’ve just only turned 39 years old–yesterday.
You’re sitting down now, right? Yes, well, as I have told you in my 50 days of blogging, many times and many ways, I’m just a narcissistic guy who needs more attention than most people and, as pathetic as it sounds, I’d rather have you think I’m crazy than old. And I’m a fiction writer. So I could never actually reveal my inner most thoughts and damages. Who would let it all hang out and do that? Not me.
I wrote 50 Days of 50 as a social experiment and it was my way of taking the main character of my three fiction novels and seeing what he would be like at 50. And, frankly, I didn’t like him at fifty, so I’ll just end the trilogy in the 90s when he turns 39 and be done with it. Its weird how reality and fiction sometimes blends, ya know?
Anyhoo, I hope you aren’t too mad at me. I’m just so happy that we could go on this little experiment together. Funny, huh?
And if you are hurt or feel betrayed, I know it’s just because you had hope that when you reached 50 that you’d look as good as me. Well, you can’t. I just need you to “Face-it” now, while you’re still listening to me. You would have to jack your face up with multiple cc’s of injectables to look as good as me because I’m really only 39. And 50 is not the new 40s or 30s. It’s 50 and it’s stupid, and I’m doing you a favor by letting down before it happens to you. Personally, I’m done with it. I’m 39. And as long as I’m writing, I’ll never be 50.
I’m going to take a break for 2 weeks and fly out to California to help my mom get well and then I’m going to come back and do another blog: “50 Days of Women!” Who knows women like their hairdresser?
50 Days of 50 will be published as a book this summer and will be announced on Mafia Hairdresser FB page. Everyone who has been following will get free ebook copies via FB.! Again, Thank You so much!
50 Days of 50 DAY 49
Well this is it. It’s my actual birthday and an American Holiday, Memorial Day. If you don’t live in the United States of America, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. I could say something droll here and say how fitting that my 50 birthday fell on a day associated with battle, death and remembrance, but I’m 50, I have more respect for those who never had a chance to make it to 50 because they were (hopefully) fighting a good cause for our country. I have just been fighting death by remembering for the good of me.
As the full title of this blog states : 50 Days of 50, One Man’s Sobering Realization That It’s Not The New 40s, I wrote for 50 days leading up to my fiftieth birthday. This whole project was read by many and I’m super thankful about that. You seemed to like it and I’ll give you an encore performance chapter–directly after this one-tomorrow. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m 50 today and it’s only day 49. So when I thought of this blog 50 days before my birthday it was really 49 days so the universe wasn’t really talking to me at all. It was my dumb-ass ego. And, if you haven’t discovered this by now, I am not the guy you give the dinner bill to at a restaurant to divide up who owes what and what the tip is. I’ve had waiters run out to my car and kiss me while my friends look at each other and say, “I knew he f__ked that up. Why do we always let the drunk guy do the bill?”
Why do we always let the drunk guy do the bill? could have been the title of this blog. And as I stated, on day 1, I began this blog with a declaration of not drinking so I could keep up the energy that the extra one to two hours a day doing an extra blog would require. But as my birthmonth kicked in gear and I attended social functions, charities and events after work, and normal daily stress bounced in and out of my life, I caved and took that promise off the table. I now think of my drinking like pensions: you might as well spend as much as you can now because you’ll never know for sure if you’re going to have enough for later…and could die tomorrow anyway.
Which brings me to that point of all of this: What wisdom and brilliance came through me during this blog? NADA. In fact, I feel more tantrumeque and explosive about turning 50 today than I did when I started. I swear if anyone looks at me sideways to day I will stab them. It could be that I have this hideous Quasimodo sty in my left eye so I’m going to have to wear sunglasses where ever I go, night or day, and all week to work. Of course, my co-workers are going to, once again, talk behind my back and call me “Mr. Celebrity,” or “Mr. L.A.,” referring to my I’m too kewl for school attitude I walk around with while I bark my above-and-beyond requests at the assistants and desk managers which is just due to my own personal overscheduling, ineptitude at details, and exhaustion.
Remember “Jon-David’s spiritual laws” that I bestowed upon you? Well, I didn’t just hand them out all in one blog. I humbly scattered them throughout the fifty days so you would not put me on a pedestal once when you realized that I was a transcendent and mystical guy. I wanted you to feel as if you too could reach the divine levels of awareness that I have. You can’t. Why would you aim so low? Well, of those spiritual laws, under the “Reap what your so-what,” or “I know you are, but what am I?” categories, I have ended up at 50 being everything that I thought I would move through: So, I’m still a mess.
Sty in my eye. I’ve gained weight. I worked out less. My allergies are at an all-time high. I’m sunburned from yesterday at the beach which means more sunspots on my face. I’m still bald. My liver did not get the rest it needed. And I’m obviously more physically superficial than when I started which make me a hug hypocrite and, even as I write this, all I can think of is “Just one more paragraph, J-D, and you can have your birthday Bloody Mary.”
And I do care what people think about me. And only in a sick I need more love than most people way. I realize that I’m going to have to write another blog that you will like to get more attention. Only it can’t be about me. I can’t handle another truthy self-flagellating journal where I’m the one who ends up being humiliated. I want to humiliate others. I’m good at it. It’s a gift. And I’m going to use it, God damn it!
I love you all. Happy Birthday to me. I have nothing planned because I made all of my friends scared to do anything for me so I’ll probably just start with the Bloodies and see what happens. Something always happens. Today it will be something to do with being fifty and I don’t have to be happy about that; or sober and present for that either. Fifty is stupid. Agh! There’s what it’s all been about. I knew it would come to me.
If you want to read 50 Days of 50 from the beginning click here.
Tomorrow’s bonus will include a free download of my book, Mafia Hairdresser. But, if you friend me on Facebook through my Mafia Hairdresser page, (look to the right), I will also give you a free download of 50 Days of 50: because of you, I will be publishing that as a book too! I will announce that on the Mafia Hairdresser FB page in a month or two.
Again: Thank you. God Bless. This has really been fun.
So you know I changed my name when I was younger because I always wanted and knew I was “going to be a star!” Oh yes: when I grew up in L.A. County I always hung out, shopped, dressed, acted like and positioned myself as if, at any moment, I was going to be “discovered.” I just knew that a Hollywood agent was going to see how special I was and then put me on TV with my own show, “The Bionic Boy,” “Charlie’s Angel-Dudes,” “Knott’s Landing’s Kids,” a reboot of “Lost in Space” (I always wanted my own Robot), or “Mork and J-D.” My parents did a terrific job at raising me and my brother but every child has to have something to blame their parents for and mine is that they never were good stage parents.
It was always, “Sure, I’ll send your ‘audition reel’ to Irwin Allen, just as soon as mow the lawn,” or “Acting lessons? You act like you’re high and mighty every day. Why do you need acting lessons?” My parents never really took my ambition seriously. Who knows where I’d be today if they could have just seen that they had that one in a million child who could have withstood the perils, the hardships, the hard work and survived the loss of childhood itself by putting me through the child-star Hollywood mill? For I was special. And not like today’s kids who never have to do chores and who only aspire be on TV for being the spoiled people they were raised to be. They couldn’t even be real actors in this day and age anyway: There are no scripted shows to show off any talent even if they had any. I was willing to learn a craft. I had the discipline and the ambition. I just didn’t have the parents. Of course, I have forgiven them. But can the rest of the world?
I have long ago released the heavy weight of blame, the anger, the hurt, and the agony of a child-star career that never was. It’s been a long road of forgiveness fraught with many heart-mending hours of reading self-help books, years of therapy, and frightening my friends, as much as I could, with insincere threats of suicide. For me, being a person who could not be who they were meant to be was like living another person’s life, or purgatory, and I think I have wasted a great part my life reaching out for the attention that I always knew should have been mine. It’s clear to me now that I am one of the people who have always needed much more love, tons more attention, and many more pictures of myself on my Facebook wall than regular folk. But now my face is sagging. And I’m not cute and cuddly anymore. And my friends are on to me. “Don’t spatter yourself on my new car if you jump off the roof the building. I parked on the street.” And I have to realize that Irwin Allen is never going to remake Lost in Space because he’s dead.
I’m moving on, dear readers. I’m finally letting it go. Turning 50 has changed me. Matured me. I’m going to proudly wear my “I’m not a TV Star but neither are you,” badge proudly. And it’s okay. Because 50 has done something wonderful and that is that I won’t need the love and attention that a star would need anymore. As I mentioned before, my women clients and friends have extolled so much wisdom on me and they told that 50 was a magical number. They said, at 50, they stopped caring what other people thought of them and they became empowered. And that is what has occurred for me too! I don’t need attention. In fact, I don’t give a flying-f__k what anyone thinks of me at all. I love myself. OH God! I can say it now and I truly believe it! You see, in my heart, I am a star; and I have a dog named Lassie and a Robot and my best friend is an alien and I can solve crimes for a mysterious unseen man’s voice on a speaker box and I can see through walls and I live in a cul-de-sac in near the ocean and people are afraid of me and worship me at the same time.
Thank you, friends, for being here for this life-energizing and empowering epiphany. It’s been a long time in coming. I truly forgive you, my dear parents. I guess there’s really no more point to living anymore though. I’ve got life’s entire lesson under my belt. I might as well kill myself.
5/26/2012 DAY 47
[This is a big day for me. I’m taking Saturdays off this summer to write. I never had Saturdays off as a hairdresser and that’s been since 1982.]
As it was pointed out to me yesterday when I was doing journalist and TV personality, Noeleen McGrath’s hair, I have a visual memory. (I’m totally name dropping because I just actually met her and I love what she does and I love her!) I’m not Noeleen’s primary hairdresser (whom, by the way is wonderful and out of town), she just needed a touch up before an assignment and we knew each other from Twitter and we both just wanted to meet each other. Anyhoo, she and I began to get to know each other and as I repeated back to her what she wanted on her hair she said, “You have a visual memory.” I told her yes, and that whatever travels and reporting around the world that she was telling me about, I would remember it as if it were on TV or like I had actually been there too. It would become like my own memory. Noeleen has a visual memory too, so it takes on to know one…
My next client, Elaine, had not been in to see me for over a year. Her roots were way to long but she lives in Michigan and had been pulling her hair up in a ponytail because, as she explained, she’s been cah-raaaayzee busy. (See Day 42) As she began oversharing about the extensive renovations and restorations she had been doing for the past (yawn) two years on a Victorian house she and her husband had bought, I asked her how the tiles and the windows were coming along. She was amazed that I remembered where we had left off a year ago: she was making and firing the tiles herself via special kilns via the Art Institute of Chicago and she was using vintage colored glass for the windows. Who wouldn’t remember that?
If you read yesterday’s entry, you may have thought that it was about weddings. Those pictures were actually of my last client of the day, Deb. She’s not on Facebook or Twitter so she had no idea that I had written about her so I let her read it on my iPhone and explained the full reason I wrote about her and she was touched and please. You whom did read yesterday’s blog may have thought that what I was writing about was Deb and her wedding. It was not.
My mom went into the hospital and it turns out that things were not so good. She’s going to have to have a piece of lung removed. She stands a good chance of surviving the surgery and, because she was a smoker, and because of her age, it is her recovery that is in question. But I didn’t want to write about that yesterday. In fact, I had been up the whole night before thinking about things like flights, rearranging my clients’ appointments, should I take Junebug my Yorkie with me?… I was also driving myself crazy, not only thinking about the “what ifs,” I was going mad thinking about the “OMG’s,” such as, I don’t want my mom to die!
I was able to calm my mind down partly because I had been listening to meditation recordings all week and I kept remembering a mantra that kept coming up, “It’s alright. It’s always going to be all right.” And then I remembered Deb and her wedding. I also remembered when Deb had her twins and then, within the same same week her mother suddenly passed away. Am I sucker punching you today? Not intentional– I assure you. And it’s certainly not as hard a punch as what Deb had to endure. I remembered the pain I felt and how much everyone cried at Deb’s mom’s funeral. Her own pain is still unimaginable to me. But I know that, when the time comes, I’ll cry at my own mother’s funeral.
The problem with having a visual memory is that, if I’m not remembering, my mind is making up stories and scenarios like my mother’s funeral that has not happened yet or of my clients flinging themselves off tall buildings because I needed to reschedule their appointments, or picturing myself late on my bills because I had to pay thousands of dollars extra for a quick airline ticket. It’s alright. It’s always going to be all right.
I had to stop making things up with my mind. When I thought about it, I knew from my past experiences, and Debs and my clients and my family and friends’, that everything was going to be alright. I know that I have done my research and learned many lessons in this lifetime. And I know that I can plan and move forward on all of my plans. And I can and will handle all of the bumps in the road. From practice, I’ve become tenacious and strong, and I will achieve my goals (without stepping on toes). So I also know that I’ll be able to handle whatever goes on with my mom. This is gold here and I wouldn’t see it were it not for turning 50.
More: I believe it was because of yesterday’s blog that I was able to let go of the movies I was making of a future that did not exist. And I’m very thankful that I was able to use the visual memories of my past to help me stop making those movies. I’d also like to thank you who have been reading along. There was a part of me that didn’t want to bum you out yesterday. And there was a part of me that wanted to go through my worry for my mother as I would advise you to do if you were in the same situation: It’s alright– It’s always going to be all right.
Not to leave you hanging: My mom goes into surgery today. She’ll be in the hospital for a week and then she will recover at home. I’ll fly out for the first ten days of her home recovery because that might be the tough time. I plan to be her cheerleader and hope that she uses whatever gifts she’s been given to recover and then use the rest of her life to be as healthy and joyful as possible. But if she has other plans I’ll know that it’s all right too.
If you would, send a few prayers my mom’s way after my birthday. Marie Elshere might need them then.
Thank you, again.
*Oh, are you wondering why I only use the name Jon-David and not Jon-David Elshere? Well, my dad’s name is John, so my ‘rents named me sort of after him, and my grandfather, Don/Donald, and then mom and dad threw in a bible name for my middle name: David. So I was Jon David Elshere.
The name, Elshere dies with me and my brother because neither of us had biological kids. The original family name was Elshire is still being used by the faction of family that family who kept it when an ancient family feud caused one family to change the name to Elshere.
I know it’s pretentious (and I completely own that) but I never thought Elshere was particularly marquee, so I legally changed it to Jon-David. I would have kept Elshire. It just sounds better then “El-sure.” Maybe I would have just shortened it to Shire… but I’d still put the hyphen in Jon-David. So now have no last name, like Cher, Sting, Flea, Madonna, and Ann-Margaret. [Shut up. Whatever!] But, as I have stated before, Karma is a bitch and I have such a hard time filling out forms where they require a first and a last name and I cannot even have a Google+ account.
In my heart I’m still Jon David Elshere. Especially lately.
It’s so funny: I was looking at my mom’s Facebook page and she has erased all of her old wall posts-from herself and everyone. I don’t know if she thinks she was being more “private” or not. I had to bring her to Facebook, kicking a screaming and now she likes it but I can still see she’s leery of it. (And rightfully so–if used incorrectly.) If any of my friends wishes her well on Facebook I will make sure she doesn’t erase it and I will assure her that her privacy will still be intact.
5/25/2012 DAY 46 I am a hairdresser who has had the privilege of doing a lot of bride’s hairdos on their big days. When I was a younger I might fret or worry because there can be so much built up tension in the hotel room where the bride and her bridesmaids gathered to get ready. The mother in law would pop in to see if she could steal me away, for just a second for her hair. The flower girls would be pulling and ripping at the wreaths of flowers I had just sewn into their baby fine hair. There’d be multiple calls from the hotel catering manager downstairs saying things like they were out of bagels and could they substitute them with biscuits? And the mother of the bride would be in an overly “helpful” mode by telling the bride, in great detail and in retrospect, they should have chosen the Hilton over the Ambassador, the yellow white was not as pretty as the pearl white on the wedding dress, the flower girls look darling but she wished her other daughters’ kids were still young enough to be flower girls because they could actually behave and, no, biscuits are for poor people and the hotel simply must have bagels or fly them in from somewhere.
By the way, the wedding that I just mentioned was a real event and I was a seasoned hairdresser at this point. I did not worry the night before if the bride was going to flip out by having a panic attack or throw me a curve ball by deciding to wear her hair down after I had already done three trials where her hair was pulled up. I was ready for anything because I had the hair skills needed and I knew that whatever mishap or non-planned event happened on her day that I was equipped to love her through it. I see it as my job to help bring the focus back to bride (in many ways) that this was about getting married to that guy whom she won’t even see for another 3 hours. I actually took the phone out of the mother’s hands and said into the phone, “Biscuits are fine.” And then I hung up the phone and looked straight into the mother’s eyes and said, “Get out.” The rest of the day was immediately filled with laughter from the bride and bridesmaids, and mom even came up to me later and said, “I honestly don’t know who I was a while ago. I just wanted everything to be perfect.” And you know what? It was.
I had a point here. But the story part is too funny, right? Some of you married women, bridesmaids and former grooms want to chime right in and tell your story too, I’m sure. Here’s another one: My friend Deb (who happens to be my 3pm client today when I go to work) was getting married to great man, Larry. Deb is and always was a fine business woman. She was exacting with her scheduling of clients. She was fair. And she was professional. A real hard worker. So when it came time to get married, she managed it like it was a new business and she organized the details and schedules of the flowers, caterers, rabbi, the signings, the hairdresser, the photographer, the band and so forth. This woman now has twins, works full time and manages her household and I cannot hold a candle to her when it comes to organization.
I was in the bridal room of the hotel doing Deb’s hair. I was nearing completion of the final production of pins and spray to make her pulled back hair look like a chic Grace Kelly do as Deb was overseeing the final details with her bridesmaids. There were calls and deliveries from the hotel. And calls from groomsmen concerning the photographer waiting for all of us downstairs. Deb personal attention to all of the input and her response was like a robot-octopus, each tentacle doing its task with ease and elegance. And then the phone call came in from her groom to-be. Larry called to say that his mother was having chest pain and was being rushed to the hospital. Jewish wedding: right?!
This is the part when Deb got to have her moment. The moment every bride is entitled to. The moment when you get to throw the hair brush at the hairdresser for absolutely no reason other than he should not have listened to the bride when she begged him to cut bangs on her on her big day. The pressure has to be released and there will be blood. And, in the end, everyone will be happy, and the bride and groom will be one. Deb’s moment came in the form of worrying about Larry. She went into co-dependent mode and began to slow up the schedule. She became irrational and began to bark orders at flower delivery guys who came into the room. She began to care less and less about her own hair and more about the “what if’s” such as, was Larry’s mother going to die on her wedding? Was this a sign? Every second she wanted to call Larry to see if he was okay. Needless to say, her makeup was getting ruined and that is when I had to put my foot down.
I don’t remember how I said it, but I told Deb, “Hey, we have a show to put on here. The things that are not in our control will have to be taken care of the people who need to step up to the plate. It’s not our problem. Now put on the god damn veil and let’s get those outdoor pictures done so you can get married!”
In know! I sound like such a scary control freak but I don’t usually have to do my tough-love act at weddings. Just these two. But the fact of the matter is both wedding came off without a hitch. Deb’s mother-in-law was fine and she got to hear the whole ceremony over the phone. Each and every small thing that happened that day was part of what was memorable and perfect in its own way: both the things that were planned and those that were not.
My point, finally, is that’s it’s all right. It’s always going to be alright. You’ve done the research. You’ve made plans. You’ve gone through the motions. So when the time comes to let your project become a reality, you’ve got to let it go. But only brides get to use a get-out-jail card free.
Three days short of a week ago my mom went to the hospital via ambulance from her house in Redding California. It was in the middle of the night when my dad thought the weakness in her body and the blood in her cough was enough to warrant an emergency medical exam. She seems okay now. I’ll tell you that right up front.
My dad had left a voice message on my phone (my ringer is always off) and by the time I heard his voice tell me that mom was in the hospital I immediately called my brother in Houston because, like father, like son, I knew my dad wouldn’t even have his cell phone on at the hospital. My brother Jess filled me in on the details: mom, who has a rare autoimmune disease, was bleeding from her esophagus or her lungs. This sounds alarming to most people but part of the disease (KREST) is that tiny little blot-dot clots burst, both in the body and on the surface, but they can heal pretty quickly too. When I heard that she was intubated I worried but it was my brother who decided to fly out to California and hang out with dad for a week. If things got worse, we’d deal. If things got better then all my brother lost was time at work and gained some time with dad which, I’m sure, he appreciates.
So mom seems to be on the mend and one of the first concerns that she had, when they stopped sedating her and pulled the tube out of her gullet, was that she didn’t want me to write about her. This concern was relayed to me by my brother and when we both laughed at how funny it was that this was one of her first thoughts off a respirator, in my mind, I thought, “How am I going to get around this?” It’s not that I’m some hot shot reporter and this was a scoop, it’s just that this daily blog has been what it’s been but, if anything, it’s been real and in real-time. How was I going to not write about what I was feeling?
So, I decided to do what I always do and just start writing and see what happens.
My mom as a young girl was the middle child of fourteen children, twelve of which survived. Her young life began in Colorado but by the time she was a teen ager my grandparents and aunts and uncles moved to a small town called Antioch, California. It was there that my mom tried to get her siblings to stop speaking Spanish because they were starting a new life and new schools and she wanted herself and her Mexican-American family to fit it.
I love that little story because, even in retrospect, I think she and my aunts and uncles get a kick out of it. The times were different in the 50s but my family was pretty cool so they fit in just fine. But my mom was and still is very unique in the sense that she had a big picture in her mind of how things should be and she went for it. I think I get a lot of my boldness from her.
Cut to: my young dad working in Turkey for one of his uncles building condos. My parents were in their early twenties and dad calls my mother up and asks her to marry him. They had been dating from high school on. She said yes. Marie Lopez flew from Antioch to Istanbul, Turkey, and was married by a justice of the peace in a simple white wedding dress in a simple ceremony. What an adventure!
Unfortunately, 9 months later, they both flew back to the United States to birth me. May 28th, 1962. The adventure was over. The work began… And I’m sure I was a piece of work, but my mom was one those super-moms. The house where I grew up was the one where everyone wanted to come over and play because she always had crafts of fun project for me and my brother and our friends to do. She always had food. Good stuff too. Like a real home-made cake or Snickers bars. Even when dad was a scout leader, for both me and my brother’s troops or Indian Guides, mom always kept the house kid-ready and she fed us all and cleaned up afterwards.
Both my mom and dad taught me how to use my hands and make thing with tools. They were both arty in their own way which was an added gift they passed on to both me and my brother. But mom was exceptional with color and she was quite the artist. I have the very first charcoal drawing she did hanging in my living room. It don’t look like nobody’s first anything. I didn’t learn to draw from mom, I never had the patience, but I’m a great hair colorist and I just finished staining the ashy cabinets that David bought for my new office because they looked too “cool” in my warm toned room. (It’s 3am now-thank you very much Muscinex D!)
I could go on and on about the gifts my mom passed on to me and my brother but I only have time for two. For those of you who read Mafia Hairdresser, it does chronicle the coming out process of the hairdresser. His controlling mother has a hard time with his being gay and comedy ensues. Bla-bla-bla. Just like how that story was not the main story at all in the book, it was a blip in mine and my mother’s history together too. We both look back at that time, the real version, and laugh: What was that all about? That wasn’t one of the gifts per se, but I think it’s a good set up and shows you how close we are.
The first big gift (that I have time to share) I got from my mom was when I saw a movie on television. It was called. Twilight of the Golds. It was about a grown gay man whose sister and her husband have the means to know if their unborn fetus is gay or not. The family deals with ramifications of what if we could just have a straight child, wouldn’t that be easier on the child? On us? The gay son even struggles with how he feels about the situation and what of his existence if his mother could have found out if he was gay too? I was bawling after that movie. (It’s sooo good. You should rent it!) I remembered I called my mom that day, but I skirted around the issue until she finally asked me, “Are you asking if I have any regrets that you’re gay? I wouldn’t change any part of you or what you or I went through together. I love you just the way you are.” I cried with love, joy and release then. I’m crying as I write this now.
The second big gift from Marie Elshere was when I came back from Canada. I felt broken. Way before that I still hung on to the regret that I had couldn’t hang on to my high school sweetheart, Chuck. We only lasted 8 years, from our Jr. Year in high school till I was 24. My ambition did that relationship in. And then I serial dated for what seemed like the next two decades. Canada came about when I became engaged to a man whom I long distance dated for 2 ½ years. I thought everything was going to be great and I’d finally settle down. When that relationship broke, I broke. Was I ever going to be happy?
In between Canada and moving back to Chicago, I stayed about 3 weeks at my parent’s house. I think I stayed in bed for a week of that time. I was so sad and I made myself sick and tired. I cannot remember what conversation or subject prompted my mother to say what she did about my situation, but I remember when she said it, a weight was lifted and it has changed my life ever since.
She said, “You know, dear, having a relationship and getting married is all fine and good. I’m proud that your father and I have lasted so long. But, you know, it’s not for everybody. You might be one of those people who don’t settle down with one person. And that’s okay.”
When my mom told me that, I began to heal. And I also realized how blessed I was that I didn’t come from a home with divorced parents but yet their marriage had placed an ironic self-imposed pressure on me to be in a successful marriage myself. I don’t think I would be in a happy relationship today had my mother not lifted that burden off of me.
Well, this went on too long. I didn’t write this for mom or for anyone but me and I just kept goin’. It’s 5am. I’m gonna walk the dogs and take my Claritin.
Mom, if you do read this: I love you. And quit smoking. Think of it as a new adventure.
“I did not write much about more about my mother after this entry but continued writing in real-time and added that to the ebook.
R.I.P. Marie Elshere; Your son loves you very much and is happily single AGAIN!”
5/23/2012 DAY 44
So what have I learned from 50 Days of 50? That I just want this all to be over!
But, for now, I would like to stay with the spiritual tone for today’s “lesson” and begin by saying that when I began to write this 50 days of 50 blog I was kind of worried I was going to be exposing my inner self a little too much. Being honest is over-glorified and much more boring than fiction but I’m sure I was drunk when decided to this or I was just jealous of someone who had a more popular blog than mine. (I can’t really remember which shows how quickly one succumbs to age at this age.) Either way, I knew I was beginning an unknown mysterious journey less traveled and I knew I was going learn something about myself and, even if I didn’t know what I was going to learn, I was certainly going to pretend to my fullest extent that I was a real writer who could write real…um…trueness. Anyhoo, onward with a few of the spiritual things I got out of this:
Being mean is part of the spiritual process.
Just because I am good and a spiritual person, I need not have feared loosing my edge or my sense of humor. In fact, being mean can even be part of the spiritual process. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, and Confucius all have quite the funny bone. For when they told of their spiritual parables, spoke of the journey being the enlightenment, and stuff like “Chop wood and carry water,” they knew it was all a crock of bull. With a wave of wand, or few sentences, they could have given us all the answers to your life’s quandaries or granted us what to our heart desired. But they all wanted all people to go through what they did to get theirs. Of course they’d tell you that the prayers, sweat and mistakes you make along the way is a required part of your spiritual fulfillment. Jesus, ha, ha, ha. They’re all probably laughing at all of us right now as we all begin our next struggle. So that’s what I’ll continue to do too: laugh at your struggles. It is a spiritual validation knowing I have gained so much from my own journey and I can’t wait to laugh at yours.
Karma’s a bitch.
As I write today’s entry, I sit in my new office without windows and I am miserable. It has been a year since I was first diagnosed with allergies and the past two weeks have been the worst for all allergies sufferers. The global warming has made the plants, weeds, pollens, mold and dust explode into the breathing air not just in a particular season or span of a week or two for each allergen, but altogether at one time for longer spells–weeks, months. For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to suffer from allergies, let me tell what it feels like. It feels like that cold sweat that takes over you when you are about to barf, except that the bloaty-pressure that you feel in your stomach is in your sinuses. You have about as much energy as when you have a flu and you sniff, cough, snort, garg, hack and sneeze where ever you are. It only escalates when you are in social setting or styling people’s hair, especially if you’ve been outside for any length of time before being around other human beings. I’m happy I don’t have window in my office. To me, outside is about as inviting as nuclear fallout and I want no part of it.
How did this happen to me? Why did allergies wait to plague my body and my social life till I was 49 years old? Because I’m old and I’m obviously supposed to get a hint that the whole body-temple thing has an expiration date. Thanks, God, I get it and I can almost hear you chuckling.
Another reason I now suffer is because before I had allergies I had no empathy to those who suffered from them. As I was growing up, my dad and my little brother were, like, totally gross to me when they were hacking and snorting and having my mom rub menthol products on their chests at night so they could breath and sleep. I can remember thinking that I just wish they would put corks up each of their nostrils so I wouldn’t have to listen to the sniffs or see them blow their noses for the 100th time during family dinner. And, up to now, I had no patience for any of my friends who couldn’t come out to “play” because of their allergies. Well, I get it now. You people were doing all the same things that I’ve done all my life only with one hand behind your back, with a headache of death and zero energy. Karma is a f___ing bitch!
So I leave you with my special Mafia Hairdresser advice to think only good thoughts about everyone you come in contact with and pray for those who suffer and Karma will probably reward you. But if you would like to feel better about yourself don’t try and help anyone by giving out any good advice. You’ll only be wasting your time and they probably won’t listen to you anyway. Just let them go through their life-shit themselves so you can be the one laughing at them when they fall along the way. And it’s okay to laugh at other’s people Karma comeuppance, that’s just frosting on the cake.
Now that I’ve helped you, I’m sure I’ve gain a few Karma-chits, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to blow my nose and then take a drug that will make me feel as if I’m sleep walking all day. Then I’m going to walk my dogs, and hack, snort, sneeze…
Go ahead, my fellow allergy sufferers. I know you’ve suffered longer than I have so you can laugh.
If you go to mafiahairdresser.com you can buy my two book which are based on my life in the 80s and then in the 90s. You can read all about how much more karma is coming to me.
5/22/2012 DAY 43
You can’t believe in miracles unless you have faith and have made your own miracles. I’ve been a guy who has had many miracles happen in my life and I believe that they are natural and should be expected. My faith in this fact has grown and been confirmed over and over because of I’ve proved them to be miracles and now I expect them in my life.
If you don’t believe in miracles, and you would like to, all you have to do is think back to the times when you needed or wanted a certain outcome or an actual thing and yet the odds were next to nil that you’d get it. And then you got it. When you thought about your miracle, did you know that you were going to get it before it happened? Oh good. There is your faith. Don’t be hasty and pass your miracle off to luck, for there are “lucky people” who have had lots of miracles in their lives and I bet all of them will say they had faith; faith in themselves and some form of God or higher power.
One of my favorite assistants at the salon where I work had to quit. She’s a lovely young lady named Tracy who has been working with us and supplementing her income while going to college. She gave the best shampoos and my clients loved her! Tracy had to quit because her hands became sensitive to the colors and shampoos and even the water her hands came in contact with while shampooing. It made me think about the time I had the same problem in beauty school and I was told I should find another profession. I prayed and just knew that my faith and the power that I prayed to would help me heal my hands. The next day my hands were fine and, ever since, I’ve been blessed with hands that have stayed limber and healthy and practically impenetrable!
I cannot comment whether Tracy should pray for her hands. Maybe the miracle here for her is that she finds the next perfect job that moves her forward towards her goals? Maybe she already prayed, consciously or unconsciously, to move onto another job more in her immediate career trajectory?
My miracles have come in many forms. Of one of the ways that miracles are apparent to me is how the very people who I used to hate or despise now have a place in my heart and I have forgiven them. I didn’t set out to forgive that ex who treated me badly. But I did intend to remove the pain and hurt I felt “because of him,” forgiveness was a byproduct at the time, and the forgiveness was the miracle.
Every time I set out to accomplish a goal, such as produce & direct a play, write a book, or become an actor or a hairdresser, I had envisioned a clear picture in my head of how that goal was going to look when I achieved it. But whether the goal was completed or not, or whether it looked exactly how I thought it should be (it always turned out better!), I had faith in myself that I was going to get there and faith was the force that was going to help me do it. My “Faith Force” is sometimes my deceased grandfather, my deceased best friend, Dennis, and sometimes it’s God, or “the Universe,” but your Faith Force is your own. Jesus? Buddha? Mohammad? Elvis? Madame God? I don’t think it matters what your heart chooses to make your Faith Force, but I believe it matters that you connect with it if you want to achieve or have anything worthwhile in your life.
Along the way to getting or not getting what I was going for, I encountered naysayers & hardship. If I had listened to the world or gave up because everything took longer or was harder than I thought it was supposed to be, I would not have had my miracles. I would have not seen that at every step of every impossible goal, I was given the next step, or just the right person would show up to help me, or some instant problem-solving epiphany would pop up into my head. All of these things were miracles and now, in hindsight, it was a miracle that I didn’t actually achieve some of the things I set out to get.
The Miriam Dictionary says that miracles are an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs–an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment. And many people, who believe that the science of living itself is a spiritual manifestation, believe that a miracle is a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law.
My miracle this week is that my home office is put back together and this time it’s better than any office I’ve ever had. I am so thankful. THANK YOU DAVID! Another miracle is that I don’t feel so bad about turning 50. If you told me that I was going to feel this way 42 days ago, I would have told you to go f__k yourself.
5/21/2012 DAY 42
How do I make everyone I have ever known afraid that I will mortally hurt them if they ever again respond “I’ve been so cah-raaayzee busy,” whenever I casually ask them how they are doing? Oh, I know: I’ll write this daily blog and send them the link and post it on their Facebook wall–with a computer virus. Nobody’s so crazy busy as to miss their daily Facebook time. Maybe I should just stab the very next person who says it? It’ll get around.
Look, I get it: You tweet, you Facebook, you Google and you pin on your boards. And your friends and clients, your boss and your co-workers constantly email and text you 24 hours a day. You also work harder for the wages that you made ten years ago and you are in credit card debt and your monthy bills are continuously on the rise. Your kids keep you on your toes and you don’t want to miss an appointment with your personal trainer. But you are just like everybody else so I hate when you tell me you’ve been busy when I say, “Howsit goin?” Busy is now an assumption.
And, boo-hoo: you come home and your boyfriend is in the same boat so he doesn’t ever want to hear your minute by minute blow-by-blow list of activities that you accomplished through your exhaustion, complications and adversity. You want someone, anyone, to know how hard you’ve been working. But you need to also keep it to yourself when I haven’t seen you for a long time. Think about it. I was also too busy to call you; so, obviously I have my list too. And I’m probably going to top yours because I get to go second. Think of me like your boyfriend, except that I will point out how haggard you look, the black circles under your eyes and your fast-food chins if you dare to yak that shit at me.
When someone first words are, “I have bee so busy taking care of everyone else, I hardly have time for myself,” I can actually feel the forty extra pounds of blood pressure jettisoning from my heart on the way to my brain as I begin to lose the ability to see straight because of the red sparks of rage impairing my vision. The compression in my head obliterates the part of my intellect that operates sanity and civility and I can only pray that I lose consciousness before I say, “You are just like Jesus, except he let his work do his PR for him.” You’re busy. Everyone is busy. Be it for yourself or you taking care of your friends and family events obligations. But don’t you see the visually accentuated veins in my neck? Doesn’t that scare you? Did you not see your Facebook today?!
And I know you feel guilty for not calling before we ran into each other. That’s the main reason you’ve jumped the gun a began your busy rant. Of course it was just wishful thinking when you said, “We have to do this more often,” the last time we went out and had a few beers together. But I don’t feel guilty and neither should you. We have both grown up and have different posses now and *you’re still single—and trying to get laid every weekend. (*Feel free to insert this here too: “you had kids and you’ve let yourself go, and I didn’t.”) The fact of the matter is we probably don’t have that much in common anymore and we’re not going to be that interested in hearing too much of what the other one has been up to anyway. You don’t want to hear my list and I certainly don’t want to hear yours.
As a busy society we have to collectively come up with a new kind of greeting. I guess I really don’t mean, “How are you?” when I finally run into that friend. That’s just going to get the “I’ve been sooo busy.” And then it becomes as exciting as tic-tac-toe, where it’s always ends up the same: “Okay. Bye. Call me!” as we both wave and walk away. Maybe the first person should just say, “It’s good to see you.” Then the second person is put on the spot and has to say the exact same thing. But, then again, someone has got to say, “So, what have you been doing?” Even I couldn’t just stop at, “Writing a novel.” And even when ya don’t ask, most people tell you anyway: “I’m still in real estate. But the kids are at that age…they drive me crazy…” When this happens I say, “Well, that was your choice, so…” And then they’ll say, “Well, you know, that’s why I’ve been so busy to call you…” And then I’ll stab them before they can finish their sentence which is always the same anyway lately: “In fact, I never want to call you lately because you’ve been such a dude-bitch. And that blog you’ve been posting on Facebook is just mean.”
And then I’ll tell them that they don’t know what it’s like to turn 50. And then I’ll stab them again.