Monday, June 23, 2014

I should be dead.

I really should be. I’ve had such an… “interesting” life shall we put it? So many times when I was younger I got to the point where I didn’t think I could take any more… but I did. And I grew past those depressing times. With the help from family, God and some really incredible friends.

Bullying back in my day was different from today. There was no “title”. There were no hotlines or programs focusing on getting help. You quietly got your ass kicked; lunch money stolen and the cruel words were spoken when no teachers were around. To say anything meant you got your ass kicked all over again. Or they would find an even weaker friend of yours and beat the crap out of them. Moral in being, you kept quiet.

I didn’t keep quiet. I sought revenge in unique ways. But that’s another blog and actually one of 3 books I’m writing. Another story for another time. This blog focuses on friends and one I’d like to honor in particular. Janet.

I was a very different child. I’m sure for those who know me from TV, live music shows, social media, that’s not a hard statement to swallow. Different got picked on and no matter how strong, cruel words, kids, teachers and life can get even the strongest down. I speak so many times on “choosing your friends wisely”. I think that is one of the biggest keys to success. But I never really go into detail about what that means to me.

I met Janet when I was in my teens. I was working at a recording studio trying to get noticed. Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, The New Power Generation, Janet Jackson, George Clinton, Shelia E and The Family were just a few artists on that block where I was paying my dues. I worked at the studio there as a photographer, costume designer and general shelper. (Toilet cleaner)

I tried to get everyone’s attention with my cool creations. Hoping maybe they would ask more… dig deeper. “I can sing too ay know” was always JUST on the TIP of my tongue… But usually I would just show my costumes I made for all the bands in the Minneapolis Scene. At least I had a job. I was around all the stars…

One day one of the engineers had his girl friend come by. Everyone made a huge stink about “Janet.” Ohhhhh JANET sews, JANET paints, and JANET does Upholstery… Bla bla frickey da… Who WAS this chick anyway? After all, “I” did that stuff too damn it!

In walked this cute blond chick, about my size, stature, sh!t… she looked a LOT like ME! She had on a hat she made and a jacket she painted. She might as well have just walked out of a video of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” video because this chick had chic style coming out of her arse!

I sneered. Competition… Hmphh.

The more I was around her the more angry I got. This chick was really cool. My speed. Up my alley…

I said something to the studio manager about how I wanted to get her number. Maybe I wanted to go “thrifting” with her sometime. NO! I was told! That would be a “conflict of interest” because she dates a co-worker? WTF… not cool. I wasn’t allowed to even talk to her. My controlling boss and EX really had a hold of me, my finances, and my career. I felt really trapped. And didn’t see the foreshadowing that it would get even worse with the control he’d have over me. It would turn into abuse, depression and over all YUK…

One day in the studio Karl my co-worker was crying. “What’s wrong I said?” Janet left me he whimpered. I gave him a hug, but as I held him, trying to give some consoling, I caught a reflection of myself in the vocal booth glass. There was an expression of some diabolical mastermind as my eyes widened with a newfound plan… “I must get Janet’s number now. For NOW we can hang out!”

That’s all I cared about. I MUST be friends with this COOL chick. And from the next day forward, Janet was one of my best friends. She still is. She has saved my life so many times with her care, concern, attitude, help, support and her non-judgmental attitude towards me.

I’ve done things that you just don’t tell people about. They would all pass judgment. Not Janet. She accepted me as I was. She would say helpful and kind things to let me know my decisions would not be “hers” but that I needed to figure things out on my own. She’d give me a kind and unconditional guidance.

She has helped me through more abusive relationships, situations. Picking my a$$ up off the ground with no commentary. Just help. I already knew I screwed up. Like a kid getting thrown into jail, having a parent come bail them out… they don’t need a lecture. Chances are, they know what they did. Tough love doesn’t always work for the already broken. Sometimes someone needs to know they are loved and cared about.

Janet didn’t always say, “I love you.” In fact for years, I don’t think she ever said it verbally. But she didn’t need to. She was always there.

I remember trying to get a record deal. The producer I worked with was abusive. He pawned me off to another. The new one saw potential. Janet was visiting Hollywood, and sitting with me in the dark vocal booth. I wrote a new song unbeknownst to the old producer and new one was cutting it. Old producer walked in, didn’t see Janet, or me heard the cut and smiled. “Now THIS chick can sing!” He proclaimed… He never knew it was I on that cut. But Janet was there. She was in that vocal booth and saw. Great friends always see what others can’t in you.

Great friends also stand by your side. I remember my dad holding up an iPad, showing my mom with a blank stare looking into the distance. 
I canceled my shows and got on a plane. I knew this was it. I asked my best friend to pick me up at the airport and to be with me. “I’m hosting a theme party she said. My house will be filled with people dressed crazily, but I will come.” I told her not to. I’d figure something else out. But she insisted. I told her the only way was if she stayed in her costume.

I cried the whole day of travel. But I knew my best friend would see this chapter through with me. I could go to my mother’s house with her by my side. I waited. Where was she? A strange and creepy woman stood in front of me, silently beckoning me to come with her. WTF I thought? You pervert!  Get away from me. I was looking for Janet. The woman came closer, my feathers ruffled. “It’s me stupid,” she said laughing. “Janet?” I said. I laughed so hard I cried and she drove me to say goodbye to my mother. Even at my darkest hour, she was there.

I think back to a guy wanting to date me. He made some asshole comment about, “I can see we’d already fight on that topic…” To which I replied, well buddy, you won’t even get the chance for a fight. Because I don’t fight with anyone. I don’t raise my voice or argue. My friends are the most precious things I could ever have in my life. They have earned that title and I don’t take it lightly. I don’t throw around “I love you’s” and I would take a bullet for my  friends. They are tried and true. And to this day, I have NEVER had an unpleasant word with any of them. True adoration is all that comes to mind when I think of my friends. I cherish them.

Today, all I ask is that you take a moment to think of the friends in your life. A best friend, someone who has been there for you. Call them. Thank them. Reach out for no other reason that to say, “I love you.” If that’s too weird for you, kiss my arse. Cause I’m telling you it’s a GOOD idea!

Call that friend when there is NOTHING wrong. When you DON’T need a favor or help. Let them know that you care also… unconditionally.

If you are reading this, and are a little mad, jealous or envious, saying to yourself… “I don’t have anyone in my life like that…” Then open your frickin eyes. Because somewhere out there is someone who digs you. Who probably actually has done kind things for YOU and wants to be your friend. Recognize them. Maybe they don’t have the same beliefs as you do, or political views, social status or wear the same clothes. It doesn’t matter.  Learn to see the good in folks. See them for who they really are. DO what I do NOW and CHOOSE the friends who CHOOSE YOU! There may be someone just around the corner who could be straight out of YOUR “Raspberry Beret Video”

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

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