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  It also happened to have significant relevance to my, as yet unpublished (in fact, still unedited) novel I was writing at the time.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.

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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 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

Stumped

What do the following songs have in common?

 

Lose Your Way, Sophie B Hawkins, Bounce motion picture soundtrack

Just Another Day, John Secada, No. 1 hit Mix

We’ll Be Together, Sting featuring Annie Lennox, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason motion picture soundtrack

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, The Righteous Brothers, Top Gun motion picture soundtrack

Dancing on the Ceiling, Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling

What Kind Of Man Would I Be? (Remix), Chicago, Chicago – Greatest Hits 1982-1989

Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do), Basia, London Warsaw New York

Love Is, Brian McKnight & Vanessa Williams, Beverly Hills, 90210 – The Soundtrack

When The Heartache is Over, Tina Turner, Ally McBeal:  For Once in My Life

Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, Sophie B Hawkins, The Best of Sophie B Hawkins

Cruisin’, Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis, Duets motion picture soundtrack

All Night Long (All Night), Lionel Richie, 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lionel Richie

Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers, The Very Best of the Righteous Brothers

White Christmas, Robert Downy Jr. And Vonda Shepard, Ally McBeal:  A Very Ally Christmas

What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner, Tina Turner:  The Collected Recordings

Georgetown, David Foster, St. Elmo’s Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

We Can Last Forever, Chicago, Chicago – Greatest Hits 1982-1989

Bette Davis Eyes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Duets motion picture soundtrack

Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire (Instrumental), St. Elmo’s Fire, St. Elmo’s Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Lonely Teardrops, Huey Lewis, Duets motion picture soundtrack

 

I don’t know either, but my iPod seems to think they belong together in the Genius Playlist I just listened to, based on Lose Your Way by Sophie B Hawkins.  Sometimes the genius confuses me.

For those of you really in the know, and paying attention, you’ll notice there are only 20 tracks and not the usual 25.  What’s that about?

Sunday Fluff

I’ve had a busy week-end and had no time to write anything today.  Maybe I should just let the day pass, but it’s the 15th day of the year and I’ve posted something every day so far.  It’s kind of fun to be able to say that and would like to keep the streak going if I can.

So since I didn’t have time to write anything of substance, and “today” ends in 38 minutes, instead I bring you this fluff.  I saw this somewhere the other day and thought it was pretty fun so I’m sharing it here with you.  Enjoy.

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