Words To Live By

A couple of years ago, I began reading Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.  For those who don’t know, the earliest of this series started out as a recurring installment in the San Francisco Chronicle, the local news paper.  I imagine it was sort of like reading a soap opera.  The books take place in San Francisco and center around a young gay man, Michael, and his naive, mid-western suburbia transplant neighbor turned best friend, Mary Ann.

One night, while reading one of the early volumes, a reference was made to an actor by the name of Tab Hunter.  The first thought that popped into my head was that “Tab Hunter” sounds like a made up name (it is) of a porn star (it is not), yet, in spite of not being a connoisseur of pornography, the name seemed vaguely familiar to me.  I never did find out why, but in my investigation I pulled up his IMDb page to see if I would recognize him, or might have seen him in anything.  While I’m sure to have seen him in some of his late career television guest roles, nothing jumped out at me, but as luck would have it, he had starred in a film adaptation of Damn Yankees!, a play I had the opportunity to see in the mid ’90s and very much enjoyed.  It also happened to have significant relevance to my, as yet unpublished (in fact, still unedited) novel I was writing at the time.

While I perused Tab Hunter’s IMDb page I noticed that he was quite a handsome man in his youth, though, to be fair, he’s not a bad looking man now, considering his advanced years.  Anyway, I became curious about him.  Along with adding several of his appearances to my Netflix queue, I also checked out a copy of his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, from the library.  It was there that I learned a lot of interesting things about Tab Hunter.  Most notable to me, especially at the time, is the fact that he is gay, and while Hollywood (and society) would not allow its leading men to come out publicly, in that day and age, Tab never really made much effort to hide the fact either.  In fact, he claims, in his book, that he never really gave it much thought, never questioned whether it was who he really was or what he was supposed to do or be, and he never felt the need to make a declaration about the subject either.  It was just who he was, and he never gave it a second thought.  Too me, that seems like some pretty forward and progressive thinking, even by today’s standards, not to mention in the 1940s and 1950s!  Tab Hunter Confidential is Tab’s life story beginning with his birth on July 11, 1931, in New York City, as Arthur Andrew Kelm (later Arthur Galeen) and ending with his quiet life on a secluded ranch near Santa Barbara, California where he still lives with his “partner” (I hate that word in this context) of 30 years and their many animals.

In the final pages of the autobiography, Tab describes being at his mother’s bedside as she lay dying.  His mother had been a hard and difficult woman who never quite accepted who he was, choosing instead to ignore that part of his life and never discuss or confront the situation.  His description of the woman reminded me quite a bit of my own mother and her general reaction to the news when I came out to her, and so when he describes reading a poem to her on her deathbed, a poem that I felt was very poignant, I found it quite moving:

A powerful poem I discovered while reading Tab Hunter Confidential, an autobiography.

A powerful poem I discovered while reading Tab Hunter Confidential, an autobiography.

I felt that this poem was a powerful message, and words to live by.  It became the foundation of an idea; an idea which began to shift and grow in my mind.  Over time, it began to take shape until it became something real.

I hadn’t planned to write about this, or share any pictures, until all the touch ups and augmentations were complete and it was completely healed, but circumstances intervened, and here we are.

Today’s prompt (and it actually still is today, as I’m writing this.  Go me!) is Words To Live By.  While I originally thought to find a way to photograph my favorite quote, “Stop laughing!  You can’t fix stupid!”, I decided to try for something that is hopefully a bit more uplifting.  So instead, I now present, in all it’s imperfect, incomplete glory, my fifth tattoo.  The largest, most elaborate tattoo I’ve gotten so far, and certainly the one with the most meaning and significance behind it.  (Not to be confused with the most sentimentality, which is still tattoo number four, all the way!  Which, as it turns out, I don’t think I wrote about here…  Hmm…).

I gave my basic concept to the tattoo artist who created a more elaborate, and better than I could have imagined, design.  The poem, I think, is pretty self explanatory.  The rest represents baring oneself before God, concealing nothing, and basking in the knowledge of God’s grace, mercy and love.  With this tattoo, I proudly demonstrate the certain knowledge that I am a child of God, loved and blessed, free of judgement and condemnation, and that it is not a contradiction to be gay and a Christian.

The finished product is not perfect, however.  As you can see in the third image, the first line at the top, “If I relax” the I and the r are too close together.  The artist assures me that he can fix that and I certainly hope he can.  It was definitely a disappointment when I took the bandage off after I got home and realized that the letters were so close together that it looks like an h “If helax”.  The sun rays, in the colors of the pride flag, need to extend further onto my shoulder, chest and back than they do, and they definitely need to be filled in more.  He told me as he was doing the tattoo that they would need to be touched up.  Blocks of solid color that large rarely heal perfectly on the first pass.  It is also my preference, and he says he can do it, for the colors to be a little more bold and primary, as they appear on the pride flag.

Pride Flag

Pride Flag – Photo credit not mine.

Finally, only after I’d had the tattoo for a few days and had looked at it regularly did I realize, it just doesn’t quite look complete to me.  I have an appointment for this coming Wednesday to have the touch-ups and corrections done and at the same time, I’m going to have him do some augmentation to frame the tattoo in a little better.  I’m thinking more flourishes, similar to what’s at the bottom of the poem along the sides and around my arm, meeting on the inside.  That should be quite an exciting experience since the skin there is quite tender and soft.  It does not go through a lot of abuse, being on the inside of the arm and, therefore, it will be much more sensitive than the outside of my arm was during the original application.

I’ve written about my first three tattoos previously, here, so I won’t get into them now.  If you’re curious, check that post out.  I had intended to link to the story of tattoo number four as well, but it seems that story hasn’t been written…  yet.  I will.  I promise.  It’s a good one.

Advertisements

I Wish I Could Write Lyrics

Remember when I said all anybody sings about is how happy they are to be in love???

Today on the way to work Adelle came on my iPod in the car!  Where was she two months ago?

Here’s another song that sums things up pretty perfectly…

“Set Fire To The Rain”
By. Adelle

I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

My hands, they’re strong
But my knees were far too weak,
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

[Chorus:]
But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

When I lay with you
I could stay there
Close my eyes
Feel you here forever
You and me together
Nothing gets better

‘Cause there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you’d say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you’d play
You would always win, always win.

[Chorus:]
But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time!

Sometimes I wake up by the door,
That heart you caught must be waiting for you
Even now when we’re already over
I can’t help myself from looking for you.

[Chorus:]
I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name

I set fire to the rain,
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time, ohhhh!

Oh noooo
Let it burn, oh
Let it burn
Let it burn

Are You Happy Now?

I’ve always liked this song, but I guess I never really paid close enough attention to the lyrics before.  It played on my iPhone the other day and I’ve been listening to it on a loop off and on since then.  I’m not sure if it makes me feel better or worse, or if it reminds me of what I lost, or that I didn’t lose anything.  Maybe I’m even lucky….  after a fashion… not to have ended up entangled with such an emotional cripple.

I really don’t know what to believe.  I do not want to believe that he was playing me the entire time.  I don’t want to think he could be that cruel.  And maybe he wasn’t being cruel.  Maybe he really is just that oblivious to how things work in the real world.  Maybe I am.  I don’t know.  I just know that he told me so many conflicting things that I can’t trust anything he says anymore.  I just know that he told me enough of the right things to think we were nearly on the same page, and in truth he wasn’t even reading the book.  I just know that I went from falling in love, to being incredibly angry and feeling just a bit of hatred toward him.

And then this song came along, and I thought….  “Yeah!  That!”

“Are You Happy Now?”
by. Michelle Branch

Now, don’t just walk away
Pretending everything’s ok
And you don’t care about me
And I know it’s just no use
When all your lies become your truths and I don’t care… yeah, yeah, yeah

Could you look me in the eye
And tell me that you’re happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now?

You took all there was to take,
And left me with an empty plate
And you don’t care about it, yeah.
And I am givin’ up this game
I’m leaving you with all the blame cause I don’t care, yeah, yeah yeah,

Could you look me in the eye?
And tell me that you’re happy now, oohh oohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now? yeah, yeah, yeah.

Do you really have everything you want?
You can’t ever give somethin’ you ain’t got
You can’t run away from yourself

Could you look me in the eye?
and tell me that you’re happy now, yeah, yeah
come on, tell it to my face or have i been replaced,
are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
are you happy now?

Would you look me in the eye?
Could you look me in the eye?
I’ve had all that I can take
I’m not about to break
Cause I’m happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Are you happy now?

 

Those two lines are struck through because they don’t ring true.  I am broken and I’m not happy.  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.  I’m sorry.  Not again.  I’ve never really been happy.  I thought I was getting there for a minute, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong and only deluding myself.  But the things I’ve learned about myself, and about my disease, and about life, these last few months…  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy.  It’s chemically, biologically impossible.

Anyway, I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here, so in case you were worried, don’t be, I’m not dead…  not yet.

Moving Melodies: The First To Fall

This song came on my iPod today.  I think it speaks for itself.

 

The First to Fall, by. Terri Clark

I’ve had love and love’s had me
I’ve been held and been set free
And I have lived enough to know
That you might stay or you might go
So here I am one more time
Call me brave call me blind

I’m gonna count to 3
I’m gonna hold my breath
Try not to be afraid
Though it scares me half to death
I’m out here on a limb
Although I know that it might break
My heart is gonna want you anyway
And if this love has any chance at all
Someone’s gotta be the first to fall

The best is just a touch away
We’ll make forever day by day
It’d be a shame to let this go
How sad to think we’d never know
How the morning light would fall on us
After we make all night in love

I’m gonna count to 3
I’m gonna hold my breath
Try not to be afraid
Tho it scares me half to death
I’m out here on a limb
Although I know that it might break
My heart is gonna want you anyway
And if this love has any chance at all
Someone’s gotta be the first to fall

So here I am one more time
Call me brave call me blind

I’m gonna count to 3
I’m gonna hold my breath
Try not to be afraid
Tho it scares me half to death
I’m out here on a limb
Although I know that it might break
My heart is gonna want you anyway
And if this love has any chance at all
Someone’s gotta be the first to fall..

Moving Melodies: The Difference

This hidden Track at the end of The Difference on Matchbox Twenty’s album More Than You Think You Are, pretty much sums up how I’m feeling right now…

I found out on a late night drive
In my winter coat with my blood-shot eyes
oh my faith ain’t been no friend to me
and the way I sin is hanging off of me

and I’m sorry you can`t take me anywhere
pretty soon we`re almost there
baby one more night
it`s been a long, long drive
and I’m way, way tired
I don`t need no back-up plan

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
hell I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

one more time with a sad, sad smile
and your white bread friends in the circus life
all the one way rides and the sweet beginners
passing on the left-hand side with a sideways smile

and I’m always one step from startin’
bad trips can make great stories
baby dance all night with your ass on fire
and your hands up high
and feel me one more time

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
well I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

well I learned to love myself and I don`t need no one else
when love moves on cause it gets cold
then love moves in and it can fill the hole
well I’m one more hopeful lyin’
on the bedroom floor no sense tryin’
when the whole thing drops you lose your nerve
I hope you get what you deserve

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
and I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
and I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

Moving Melodies: Save You

SAVE YOU  By. Kelly Clarkson

I can tell, I can tell how much you hate this
And deep down inside you know it’s killing me
I can call, wish you well and try to change this
But nothing I can say would change anything

Where were my senses
I left them all behind
Why did I turn away, away

I wish I could save you
I wish I could say to you, “I’m not going nowhere.”
I wish I could say to you, “It’s gonna be alright.  It’s gonna be alright.”

I didn’t mean, didn’t mean to leave you stranded
Went away cause I didn’t want to face the truth

Reaching out, reach for me empty-handed
You don’t know if I care, you’re trying to find the proof

There were times I’d wonder
Could I have eased your pain
Why did I turn away, away

I wish I could save you
I wish I could say to you, “I’m not going nowhere”
I wish I could say to you, “It’s gonna be alright.”
It’s Gonna Be Alright
It’s Gonna Be Alright (Save you)
It’s Gonna Be Alright (I wish I could save you)

We can pretend nothing’s changed
Pretend it’s all the same and there will be no pain, tonight
It’s gonna be alright
It’s gonna be alright

Save you, I wish I could save you
I’m not going nowhere
I wish I could say to you, “It’s gonna be alright.”

It’s gonna be alright, It’s gonna be alright (save you)
It’s gonna be alright (I wish I could save you)
It’s gonna be alright…

Moving Melodies: Listen

Listen

By.  Beyoncé Knowles

 

Listen to the song here in my heart
A melody I start but can’t complete

Listen to the sound from deep within
It’s only beginning to find release

Oh the time has come for my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own, all ’cause you won’t listen

Listen
I am alone at a crossroads
I’m not at home in my own home
And I’ve tried and tried
To say what’s on my mind
You should have known oh
Now I’m done believing you
You don’t know what I’m feeling
I’m more than what
You’ve made of me
I followed the voice, you gave to me
But now I’ve gotta find my own

You should have listened
There was someone here inside
Someone I thought had died
So long ago
Oh I’m screaming out
And my dreams will be heard
They will not be pushed aside or worse
Into your own
All ’cause you won’t listen

Listen
I am alone at a crossroads
I’m not at home in my own home
And I’ve tried and tried
To say what’s on my mind
You should have known

Oh, Now I’m done believing you
You don’t know what I’m feeling
I’m more than what
You’ve made of me
I followed the voice, you gave to me
But now I’ve gotta find my own

I don’t know where I belong
But I’ll be moving on
If you don’t, if you won’t

Listen to the song here in my heart
A melody I start, but I will complete

Oh,  now I am done believing you
You don’t know not what I am feeling
I’m more than what you’ve made of me
I followed the voice you think you gave to me
But now I got to find my own
My Own