My Flagrantly Gay Friend Roland is sad.
“I just don’t know, Matthew”, he tells me over drinks at a bar in the Lower East Side.
I’ve never seen him like this. His usually casual brilliant face, regularly full of power and strength, is wrought with worry. His hair, normally in pristine condition, is tussled as he habitually brushes it back with his hand, over and over again, in a nervous manner. I order a shot for the both of us, not liking seeing one of my rocks of existence so tense and brittle. I clasp his shoulder and lean in close:
“Roland, talk to me man. What the hell is wrong with you?”
Roland, bringing his sad eyes up in defeat, looks right at me.
“You know I’m a painter. You know I’ve been living all of my life just to paint. Working shitty job after shitty job just to afford oils. Slaving over the canvas, trying to make things look, if not genius, at least beautiful. I’m waiting on this guy who told me he could represent my work.”
“Well, fuck that guy, Roland. You’re super talented, and on top of that, a real nice guy.”
He chuckles bitterly.
“Sorry, Matthew, this business in New York City doesn’t rely on ‘nice’.”
“Then what is this guy’s problem?”
He reels back, lifting the shot. I clank my glass with him and put the shot down.
“It’s just this guy is really talented. He’s hot shit. He knows people.”
I roll my eyes.
“Yeah, whatever that means.”
“No seriously, Matthew. You know me. I don’t take anyone seriously, unless he looks like Ryan Gosling or fucks like Iggy Pop. But this is really fucking with me.”
I take a moment and look at the situation. The bar is full of drunks. We are at a dive bar, and most of the mess of drunks either are nodding out on pills or frighteningly staring at anyone who walks in the door that might pay attention to them.
Roland talks on: “This guy could really make a difference with my work. You think I want to manage retail all of my life, even if its retail in SoHo? It’s still gonna kill me. I can’t end up one of those F.I.W.’s.”
I stop, mid beer chug.
“What’s a F.I.W.?”
“Fags In Waiting, Matthew! Waiting around for the other gray haired bitch to come and pay my bills. A Fate worse than death. It’s the 7th plane of Gay Inferno. Especially for a guy like me. But I really, really, really want this guy to help. He told me he’s interested. He told me he could get my work where it needs to go. And he means it! But I’m waiting on him. I mean, what am I supposed to do? I’ve done my side. I’ve got numerous canvases of varying beauty. But I need this other person to bring it to the next level! And it’s killing me waiting!”
Suddenly, it hits me. There on my bar stool, I’m transported to another drunken realm. I think of every drunk I’ve ever served. I remember them telling me about the sadness of their lives.
And now, Roland, here before me, is currently being brought down by the worry of the world.
This cannot stand.
I will be the first to tell you that the world is a dark and terrible place. And I know that a lot of you are where Roland is right at now, especially here at the advent of the Fall Season.
Let me be the first to tell you.
Don’t let it bring you down.
If those same ghosts are haunting you right now, remember these very important 3 THINGS before you go about your day tomorrow.
THING 1: JUDGING
Yep. Know very clearly right here, right now, let me tell you that someone, or several someones, are talking shit about you right now. Yes, they are telling you who you are, what you are, and what you do (lies or otherwise). They are judging everything you’ve done, and everything you might do in the future.
Just accept that.
They talk all the time. And they judge. The Christians judge. The Crazy Muslims judge us. Our bosses judge us. Our significant other is judging whether they should stick around with people like us.
All these judging bastards prove is that we are worth talking about. That’s right. You certainly aren’t thinking about them in your day, right? But they are certainly thinking about you. That should be proof you are on the right track.
They are just jealous of what you are doing, wishing they had the balls to live like you do. Because you’re actually just being you, with no apology.
Otherwise, they would have nothing to talk about. Right?
THING 2: DOUBTING
Everybody will doubt you. Yes, everybody has that one friend who believes in everything you do. But the rest of them, yes, they are doubting you. They too have tried and failed in the world, so they have no choice but to wield their little sword of doubt against your dreams and hopes.
I wouldn’t worry about this.
They doubted Einstein.
They doubted Steve Jobs.
They even doubted that the Earth revolved around the sun.
Everyone doubts something they have not seen before. And if you truly listen to your heart, it will be original. I’m not even being a hippy here. It’s a fact. No one else can do exactly what you can do.
That’s the beauty of it. No matter what you will do, it will have that fingerprint of your style to it.
Like that guy said: “Argue your limitations and soon enough they are yours.” You start doubting yourself and you’ve just set the trap to your own killing. And the only thing you kill with doubt is the dream you thought you had.
THING 3: WAITING
Here’s Roland’s problem.
Waiting on someone or something to be happy.
Guys, come close to the fire. Let me share something real quick.
NO ONE OR THING WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.
It just doesn’t work. How many John Hughes movies do you have to watch to realize this? You don’t have to be Molly Ringwald to realize that it’s that little cool thing inside you that makes your world tick (even if she turned down Duckie in Pretty In Pink which, in my opinion, was the better choice over preppy Andrew McCarthy).
Roland doesn’t have to wait for this agent to realize that he’s the shit. Roland IS THE SHIT already. It’s that damn blind agent's turn to realize who the real talent is.
It’s important to remember that the world is not waiting on you, so, like a proper duel, you should not wait on it to fire the first shot.
You choose your life, it is not chosen for you.
So be careful about waiting for something or someone to make it all better. Or you might end up like that little girl waiting alone in a prom dress, for that date that will never show up.
SOMETIMES LIFE MAKES THIS HAPPEN
PEOPLE CAN THINK WHAT THEY WANT ABOUT YOU
BUT YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND TELL THEM THIS!
TOTALLY THE BETTER CHOICE!