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War All The Time
05/20/12 at 11:41 PM by anamericangod
When your life isn't moving forward in certain ways, or at least not in the ways you had planned, you start to question a lot.

Mostly yourself.

You don't move on because you want to. You move on because you have to. Moving on is not the same as getting over.

The truth of the situation is that whenever fantasy and reality intersect, the end result is almost never positive. Fantasy is fantasy for a reason. When the allure and the novelty wear off, you come crashing back down to a fucked up situation in which the only solution is to stop doing what you've been doing. And for somebody, that means they're going to get hurt really fucking bad. Maybe you're naive or maybe you're in love or maybe they're one in the same and you can only begin to differentiate between the two after the debris has been cleared and the dust has finally settled. There isn't much left for you to do other than pull yourself together the best you can and hope that some moment of enlightenment hits you and you can start to begin to understand why it all happened the way that it did. It won't necessarily make things better automatically, but the insight you will (hopefully) gain from such realizations will help you to recognize how you got to the low point in which you've found yourself.

When people fuck things up, they often do not have the burden of being in a position of self analysis. You have an opportunity to grow. They will carry being how they were and ultimately learn that all things do eventually catch up to you regardless of how fast you think you are running from them or how skillful you believe you are at hiding from them. It'll happen. You've been painted out of the picture, so it won't directly impact your life, but maybe it'll make you feel better knowing that it is bound to happen.

People are terrible to one another. They are vicious and they are selfish and they are fucking weak.

This doesn't mean you have to be terrible as well. To them, or to yourself. If you choose to endure and overcome a complicated or painful situation, you will ultimately end up as a better person. If you choose to ignore it or to remain trapped, you will end up an emotional catastrophe and your issues will fester until you hate who you've become.

There are good people left in the world. They are few and far between. They are scattered and strewn about in a haphazard way. You will never meet most of them. You will get to know even fewer of them. For the ones that you do find, give them everything you have. Don't think twice. Don't think about how it could end. Put yourself out there and gain as much as you possibly can, while you can.

And then it will end. And then you will do what you have to do to survive until you encounter another one of these long lost creatures. These hidden dinosaurs. Rare and beautiful and the most endangered of a species.

There are good people left in the world. You probably won't find them.

Hope that they find you.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life
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I'm Kicking Myself
03/18/12 at 10:58 PM by anamericangod
It usually goes without saying that heartache is a cure for writer's block. You may not enjoy or like what you have to write, but the words are there and they flow with an ease that rarely exists during times of contentment. There is a reason why the world's most brilliant writers have commonly been completely miserable for extended periods of their life. I suppose there are pros and cons to this situation.

There are some things which you cannot prepare for. All you can do is wait, face it, and eventually find some sort of acceptance. Accepting a hardship isn't even that difficult. It's rather simple, actually. Once the dynamic has changed, when that phone has hung up and that person has left, you begin to accept it. You do not communicate with them. You occupy your time to fill your mind with thoughts that do not involve them. Your existence is now neatly organized into Life Before/Life During/Life After. You don't have to fucking do anything to "accept" the situation. It's being okay with this change that is difficult, and it is equally problematic because you're not really supposed to be okay with it. It is a big fucking deal. It has been months or years or whatever and that constant is now gone. It would be more alarming if you were not upset over the sudden change. What do you do? Who are you now? The Life After category is a fucking miserable place to be.

At the end of the day I find myself missing the little things that maybe I didn't think too much of as they were happening, but as soon as they disappeared, well, they cease to be little things at that point. The little things become much larger things, and they eat away at you and make you question everything that you are doing or could have done and it still, nothing changes. You keep feeling terrible because that phone still doesn't ring, and you keep feeling terrible because you can't really make anybody do anything regardless of how much you believe it could fix your life or theirs, or what is right or what is wrong. Life does not work that way.

They say that it takes time. People say a lot of things. It'll get better. Stay positive. You'll be okay. You'll be okay. Yeah.

It is a profound and overwhelming heartbreak.
And I feel like I am sleepwalking through the days.
Tags: journal, blog, life
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My Heart
03/02/12 at 12:56 AM by anamericangod
I thought to myself of all the times I had felt like there would be no getting over it. As if that was the end and I couldn't begin to put together any sort of coherent path to recovery. You feel as if this one is different. Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. There's no telling. As you get older, regardless of how much you have learned and how much wisdom you have gained, some things do not get easier and some thing do not feel any less painful.

It takes time. That's really all we have.

You get to a point where it seems hopeless. You've had the foundation kicked out from under you. What can you do? Control what you can. The rest is a whirlwind, but you can only do so much. You can't keep killing yourself to try to make a situation work. Relationships take time, effort, work, all of these things. All of those elements are required in ways you can't even imagine until you're staring the issue directly in the face. You go with it. You struggle. You adapt. But you might get to a point where one person is doing much more than the other. It's supposed to be about helping each other, not avoiding each other. Not trying to see what you can get out of it. Not shrugging something off because it's inconvenient. You share the responsibility and you fight the burden together.

As an individual, you can only do so much. You can't just change somebody to be the ideal person that you've pictured them as for so long. Sure, things can change, but it's difficult for a reason. Meaningful things aren't meant to be easy or simple, and that's why it fucking sucks when it falls apart. If somebody doesn't want it as bad as you, then you are fighting a losing battle. It is a war you cannot win.

Do what you can, and do your best. At times it'll feel like hell, but if you truly follow what you believe in and what you feel, then you can't have that taken away from you. It won't fix everything, but you'll have that small shred of comfort. It wasn't you. You gave all you could. That's what it's really all about, that's the whole point of these things. Giving all that you can to somebody that you care about. That's love. It doesn't always balance out perfectly and there isn't always a happy ending. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Move on. Move forward.

And yet, there will be people who make such an impact on you, that you wonder if there really ever is any getting over them. Perhaps there will always be some fragment of them lodged in your heart. Some kind of memory or moment or a place in time that becomes a part of you. Maybe it's always there and you just learn to ignore it. Maybe it heals. I don't know. I hope that you find whatever it is that you need. You are loved and you are missed.

They tell me I am young, even though I do not feel that way. I don't know how it ends, I just know how I feel.

You are left alone at night to stare at your ceiling with nothing but a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and a mind full of doubt that you will ever experience a spark that intense, ever again. Loving someone isn't easy. I do not think I would want it to be. Sparks fade.

My heart is tired. My heart is sad.

I really wanted this.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life
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I Miss Those Nights
01/21/12 at 02:56 AM by anamericangod
I had written a few paragraphs about getting older and thinking about some events that took place a long time ago. I deleted most of it.

I don't live in the past. People talk about moving on, getting over, forgetting. There are a lot of things I don't want to forget. I don't want these memories to weigh me down and be a drag on my present life, but I feel they are important to hang onto. There is no time period in a person's life more existentially frustrating than that of the mid-twenties. The years between 22 and 30 are a fucking blur of overwhelming situations coupled with a lingering feeling of perpetual nothingness that begs the question, "What in the fuck am I doing?"

But, life goes on. You are who you are now because of who you were then.

I don't live in the past. But I think there will always be a part of me that misses the nights where the only thing that was important was being able to sing the songs I loved as loud as I could with the friends I loved even more. Music is incredibly important to me when it comes to the people I choose to involve myself with, in any sense of a relationship. It's such an important part of my life that I sincerely feel if another person cannot understand that attachment that I have to music, then they cannot understand me, so any form of companionship between the two of us is pointless.

I've had a few moments, like those nights, since those years a long time ago. As rare as they might be, I've had them, and they do still exist.

And when they do, it is overwhelming in the best way possible. It's a connection that means more to me than almost anything else. I've still got that little spark inside of me that tells me, hey, man, it's still there, you can still get what you've always wanted. It's not that difficult. It is not impossible.

I don't live in the past.

I miss those nights.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life, memories
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01/16/12 at 01:00 AM by anamericangod
I had a conversation about the future with a girl I know. The future can often be a very scary, very intimidating thing. For a person going through their 20s, there are all sorts of pressures to do things in a certain way. Expectations are placed by ourselves and by others. These expectations are not always fair, nor are they always reasonable.

She had a lot of uncertainty. A lot of worry. The conversation was littered with "What if's?" and "How's?" This is something I understand and can relate to with a great deal of empathy. We live in a society that tells us, essentially from birth, how our lives will be defined. The problem comes from the fact that these societal guidelines have left us with a feeling that one mistake will completely fuck up the path we are on. Your entire life will be determined by this one singular moment. A grade on a paper. A job opportunity missed. You lose and you're doomed.

I do not believe that life is so linear that I am defined by such individual events.

There are an infinite number of ways to arrive at whatever goal you have set out for yourself. The difference between these options and the "linear path" is the amount of work you are willing to put in to get what you want, and on top of that, how bad you really want what it is that you are working towards in the first place.

When you are overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, how can you feel confident in anything, much less in overwhelming and ominous future? How can you possibly begin to feel that things are going to be okay and that it's all going to work out in the end?

I guess you can only know so much. Eventually, there is an intersect of what you know and what you feel and what you believe. You have to find a balance in these elements. They all have their role to play, and if you ignore one of them, chances are you're going to miss out on something important in the grand scheme of things.

At times, things get bad. Things get awfully shitty in ways that you can't even dream. That is life. You can't change that. What you can do, however, is persevere. In front of you, you have something you want, but you have an obstacle in the way. You can call it quits, you can take the easy way out, or you can make compromises to try and keep things simple. But why would you do that? What do you really gain from that? How does that help you grow as a person? It doesn't. Even if you arrive at the destination you had planned on in the first place, when you look back, you will now see these compromises and regrets and mistakes staring back at you. Sure, maybe something worked out, but at what cost? Who did you leave behind? What did you sacrifice? Are you really happy with how it all went? With decisions such as these, you must consider the weight which will remain on your heart after the dust has settled.

Everyone is growing up. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirties and so on. These questions and situations don't go away. All they do is change. So what do you do? You listen, you learn, and you don't give up. The most powerful words of wisdom I can give to any person right now, regardless of what difficulty they are experiencing, is to just not give up. It's not easy. That's the point. Take a look at the people who took the easy way out. The dropouts, the druggies, the top 40 radio soccer mom trophy wives. They are all the same. They are one giant fucking sack of disappointing nothingness. They didn't have what it took to deal with the shit long enough to get what they really wanted, so they settled on being inadequate and they'll live that way for the rest of their shitty, TV dinner network comedy lives. Fuck that.

I would rather think "What if?" before I took on a challenge with everything I had, rather than think "What if?" and look back with a black hole of regret. A challenge, you can conquer. A regret, you can only try to find a way to live with.

I couldn't tell her exactly how it would go. I didn't know the specifics. Nobody ever does.

Life is about choices. These choices are yours to make, and yours to take responsibility for. They are for you to base upon what you want for yourself and for those that you care about. The pressures of society and misguided peers are worth absolutely nothing.

Work hard, stay honest, and don't give up on the people you love or the passions that you have.

It will all be okay.

"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."

- John F. Kennedy
Tags: journal, blog, personal
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11/15/11 at 01:18 AM by anamericangod
I had pages and pages written and I threw it all away. All of these fucking inventions, these devices that have been created to make us "happier." These concepts to make life easier. We've been duped. People are farther apart than ever before. We've discovered a new way of how to miss and want something or somebody, to such dramatic lengths that previous generations could not even begin to comprehend what has happened. This fucking Golden Age. Who are we kidding. Who are you kidding.

You get older and that feeling in your stomach comes and goes. The worst things you can imagine. Sometimes they do actually happen.

And you just lay there at night. What else can you do?

The minutes the hours the days pass by and you're just laying in that bed and you wonder if that feeling is ever going to come back.

You could build the most beautiful city.
But what good is it?
If nobody lives there.

And that friend of mine, one of the few that's still there for some reason, after everything that has happened. I can still hear her telling me, "If it's really working out, then today is the last day you will cry."

Sometimes the thing you most want doesn't work out. Sometimes the thing you never expect to happen does.

You have to convince yourself it gets better. I don't know how you do it. I really don't. I'm not in a good place right now. I don't know how I'm going to convince myself of that to the point where I really fucking feel it and believe it. Maybe it's just instinct. Some fucked up sense of survival that kicks in even when the house of cards is falling to pieces. I don't have the answers, man. I just know I have to convince myself somehow. I know what I want. I thought I had it. I thought I knew how to keep it. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know a fucking thing.

I was told that if you fight for what you love and if you stay true to what you believe in, you'll get what you want. Part of me wants to believe that. The other part has been shown so many examples of that just not working out. Why do people try so hard to ignore how they feel? How come it's so easy for people to just give up? Why is everyone so god damn scared?

This hurts. I don't want to give up. But God, it hurts.

Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad.
From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life
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Hold On
11/09/11 at 11:57 PM by anamericangod
And I do not think that it is too much to ask.

To find a person that is as excited to talk to you, as you are to talk to them.

Or to want to hear a kind word when you aren't in a particularly good place. Some sort of reassurance from somebody whose opinion you really care about. Any glimmer of hope that even if it doesn't feel okay at the moment, that hey, it's still going to be okay. Don't let it get to you so much. It's going to get better, trust me.

I miss that feeling of knowing I have somebody that's willing to risk just as much as I am. Not only believing the words they tell you, but really feeling them. It's a certain kind of trust that doesn't come around often. It's something that you miss like hell when you realize it's no longer there. I miss that feeling of really believing, in spite of overwhelming doubt and frustration and nervousness, that the big picture is going to work out because you have this person by your side. Hey. It's okay. These things will pass. I have you. It will get better. It has to. I have you.

I really fucking miss that. I got used to it, but I never took it for granted. I knew what I had was important.

You can't just love somebody when it's convenient. That isn't love. That's an excuse. Loving somebody is hard because it's a constant. You can't pick and choose when to turn it on or off if the situation becomes problematic. You can't conduct a relationship based on that sort of thinking. Stop thinking. Go with your feelings. They are there for a reason. People think too much when they shouldn't, and not enough when they should. Loving somebody is accepting and understanding the situation you have facing the two of you, whatever it may be, and knowing that regardless of the outcome or how difficult it might get in the meantime, you need this person, and they need you just as badly. You give up a little part of yourself, you carry that burden, you accept the responsibility, you make that sacrifice.

In the end, all those things are trivial. They're just technicalities. Yeah, it gets fucking hard because that's how these things go. Life is hard. The more meaningful something is, the harder it will be to deal with. In the end, it's a matter of realizing that this person makes all of those technicalities worth it, and that having them in your life is a far better option than saying goodbye and leaving them behind. I would rather fight for something I love than take the easy way out and live a life of wondering what could have been.

You do what you can with the opportunities you are given.

What do I know.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life, relationships
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10/28/11 at 12:55 AM by anamericangod
How do you let go of a person that you truly, never wanted to lose?

You tell me.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life
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10/19/11 at 10:36 PM by anamericangod
I thought about the times I had made mistakes. Times I had been forgiven. A second chance granted, even if I did not feel I was deserving of such a thing. Even if I could not understand why this person was willing to do such a thing for me. I would not be where I am, or who I am, had those people not been compassionate enough to care for me in spite of my faults. That is love. That is understanding.

It is another one of the hard lessons you learn growing up. It doesn't fix everything, it doesn't make it okay, it's not an excuse. But you have to take the value of a person and your relationship with them and weigh it against the alternative you are facing. Do you take a deep breath and accept the pain? Do you try to grow from it and not give up, on yourself, on the other person, on the situation you've found yourselves in? Or do you let that sinking feeling in your stomach spread to the rest of your body until it settles into a corner of your mind that you may or may not ever be able to remove it from.

You have a choice. You won't always know which way to go right away. Life is not that linear. The answers are not as obvious as we would like them to be. There is no Star of Bethlehem for us to navigate our way in the darkness. I wish there was. I do. I really do.

I'm trying to be a better person. In as many parts of my life as I can. It is not the easiest thing to do, it never has been, and it never will be. The more difficult a scenario you face, the more meaningful it is. You become confused because you want something, but are not sure of how best to go about obtaining it. You are scared because you do not want to lose something, and that fear can be paralyzing, but do you want to look into the mirror at yourself or into the dark ceiling when it's just you and say you let the fear win? You know what you want. You can answer that question. The "what if's" and "I'm not sure's" and "I don't know's" have to be pushed to the side at some point.

The conversation toes the line of heartbreak.

"You know it's not the same. There aren't many people like you."

I try to believe this, as I believe her sincerity, but words that do not match actions are frustrating in themselves. It isn't progress. If you believe this, if this is how you feel, why are things how they are? Why is it not changing? How is this okay?

She says that she feels like a lost cause.

I don't believe in lost causes.

Why not?

Because I used to fucking be one. Used to.

It only gets better if you're willing to stare it in the face, no matter how afraid you might be. And you let it know you will not let it win.

Look behind you. Look at the things you have done. Your accomplishments. Your successes in spite of defeat. Everything you have done regardless of whether or not you believed you could. Everything you have done even though they told you that you wouldn't be able to. You are building a legacy. You are writing a story.

Whether you realize it, or not.

Make it something with heart. Make it something you are fucking proud of. Make it something worth reading.

And this other girl.

Somebody who has been a constant for me. Somebody I honestly don't know how to repay for all the times she's been there for me when I had nobody else. She answers the phone when I barely have the ability to form coherent words.

She tells me, "If it's really working out, then today is the last day that you will cry."

I know she is right. It is not easy to accept, given my tradition of breaking myself to fix someone else, but I know she is right. You can fight with a person and you can fight with yourself until it turns into a catastrophe of frustration and a wreckage of a relationship that you'll never know what could have been because you didn't give it the chance you should have or because you let that fear take over your train of thought. I don't want to look back at any point in my life and feel those things, ever again. I lost too much time. I lost time I can't get back. I think about what would be different if people weren't scared, or at least scared to the point of freezing. If people followed through focusing only on what they wanted, not what could go wrong. If they really understood how little time we actually have here. I think about these things, and I wait for the brief and wonderful moments in which they actually come to life make themselves known.

I know what I want, and I know I will struggle, and I know it might hurt at times, but man, I tell you. After everything I've been through and all the times I didn't think I could make it, I did. I've made it farther than I ever thought I would, and I'm still going.

Hope isn't something you find. It finds you.

You'll know it. When you feel it. Then it's up to you to make something of it. Hope, it's just a spark. A catalyst. Once you get that, the rest is in your hands. It's your turn.

Keep waiting for that yellow bird to land on your windowsill. He's out there, he's on the way. He'll show up, eventually, if he hasn't already. Maybe you just haven't noticed. Maybe you've been looking too hard, or maybe you haven't been looking at all. Maybe you've been too busy or distracted in the meantime. Don't miss it. They don't always come back.

You'll see him when you aren't even looking. You'll see him when you don't even expect it.

I promise. I promise.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, life, love
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Drawing A Line In The Sand
10/02/11 at 09:28 PM by anamericangod
I entertained the idea of not writing this, not posting this, or attempting to not even think this to begin with. As if that would ever work. I realized that I've gotten to where I am today by being open and being honest. So, this is me being honest.

It's difficult figuring out where to draw that line in the sand. When you're dealing with such a mix of emotions and confusion, you're sad and you're frustrated, you over analyze every fucking word. When do you say enough is enough? How do you decide to finally pull that trigger? There is a point in a relationship where you have a choice of moving forward, or leaving. There is no going back. There is the future, and there is nothingness. Sometimes the only option is to disappear. And I'm scared of that. I know what that will do to me. It's been a long time since I've been in a position to feel like that. But there is no middle ground. There is no gray area.

It is strange knowing you will read this, but that we will probably not speak because you cannot bring yourself to do what needs to be done, and that this could very well be the last thing I openly say to you. That door is still open, but it won't be for much longer. I'm sorry if the lack of middle ground hurts, but there's no other option. I know you care, that was never doubted. But that doesn't fix everything. It's a starting point, but it doesn't make things okay. You have to care enough to be willing to work past the problems you're facing. That's life. Whether you're 25, or 50, that's life.

Go ahead and surround yourself with people who have no fucking idea what you're dealing with, and are nothing more than a cast of characters that perpetuate the issues that caused these problems in the first place. Avoidance and distraction only work for so long. Taking 22 years to realize something and then running away from it, well, you can tell me what kind of decision making that is. It wasn't enough for you to get out of your comfort zone, to be a challenge, to be something different. Say one thing, but do another. Thinking in the short term, or not thinking at all, is always the easier option. Things will catch up. They always do. Maybe it won't be as surprising to you next time, but I wouldn't count on that. History repeats itself for a reason. You can only run from so much.

I'm not angry. I'm sad, and I'm disappointed. You let me down. You've insisted on writing an ending long before I planned on having to do so.

It's particularly tough for me to give up on the things I care about. Even if it hurts me in the meantime. I become an optimist in the worst of situations. Catch me on a normal day, I'll give you all the negativity you can handle. Throw me into a situation that actually means enough to make me feel something, I'll lose my fucking mind trying to make it okay.

It's happened before, you know. You wouldn't be reading this right now if it hadn't.

They say that things get better with time. That doesn't mean it's right. Maybe it only means you've managed to push something away for long enough, to distract yourself long enough to the point of not feeling like you used to. Is that really "getting better?" Is that really doing what's right? If you lie to yourself enough, eventually you'll believe it. Eventually those feelings will fade. Time is a powerful force, for better or worse.

I take a shower. I close my eyes and I try to disappear into the water. I tell myself I'll sort it out tomorrow. That maybe I overreacted. That maybe it isn't all doomed. It's not all a lost cause. It's not all a mistake.

"It's not really her that you miss. It's the idea of her."

No, no. It's her, I swear, really, it's her. I realize how pathetic I sound. You can't just throw a switch and turn off those feelings. I don't believe I would even if given the option.

But it's out of my hands. You can only be brave enough for yourself and somebody else for so long. It is not how I wanted it, but it is not my decision. There's no negotiating with someone that just wants to be a hostage to sadness.

There is nothing more difficult in life than saying goodbye to somebody that you love, realizing you don't have any other option, and yet still having that little part of you that just says "Please, God, let this work." All those other pieces were in place. Everything was how I wanted it. And that's why it hurts so much, and that's why it's so hard to just walk away. Because I wouldn't have changed a fucking thing. Because at the end of the night, when it's just me stuck with the thoughts in my head, nothing changes. That phone doesn't ring. I still want something I cannot have. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I say goodbye. She says goodbye. I cry, I cry, I cry.

I close my eyes.

I hope for something to change. I hope for this to get better. To feel better. Somehow.

I hope for a lot of things.

I am not a man of strong faith by any means, but I would like to thank everyone that took the time to say a prayer for me, wish me well, or even just listen to me talk in circles at some awful hour of the night. Things don't always go as you plan, and I'm not doing very well, but gestures like those give me hope in a time where I feel like I really don't have much else. So, thank you, as sincerely as I could ever mean it.

No matter how much you learn over the years, some things just never get easier. You just have to keep your head up. You just have to keep going, man, you just have to keep going. What other options do you have? I'll take hope over sadness. I'll take love over fear.

Never give up.

Never quit.

she said that I'm a shining star in her sky
and I feel that far away
I'll make a wish for the best
of all the little things that i miss
and just walk away
Tags: journal, blog, personal, goodbyes
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Album Review - Charlie Simpson - Young Pilgrim
09/14/11 at 01:59 PM by anamericangod
Every now and again, a record emerges in the shellshocked, foxhole-filled musical landscape in which we live that reminds me of why I love music as much as I do. You get old. You get jaded. You get burnt out. And you just wonder, "When's that feeling going to come back?"

This album brought that feeling back to me. Maybe timing is everything, but God, it's like this record was specifically meant for this point in my life.

Enough said. Here are my thoughts on Charlie Simpson's debut solo album, Young Pilgrim.

Tags: journal, blog, music, album review, charlie simpson, young pilgrim
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Find What You Love
08/24/11 at 10:38 PM by anamericangod
I'm probably going to appear more philosophical in the coming weeks, or perhaps just go totally off the radar. Either way, I came across this article, and it reminded me of what I had last written, and further drove the point home.

It's Steve Jobs' Commencement Address at Stanford University in 2005.

It's amazing how far we stray from concepts that are so inherently simple. And for what? Money? Attention from people whose opinions don't really matter? Fleeting approval from others we shouldn't care about in the first place? People get so caught up in such triviality, vanity, and selfishness. This evolves into a rinse and repeat, monotonous cycle of self-serving bullshit. Maybe the idealist in me is slowly coming back. Maybe the bitter and jaded, the "extremely negative person" I once was (as Gabriel Saporta pointed out, at least) has started to crack. At times it gets hard to deny. I find my mind thinking in a different way. I notice my priorities shifting.

I see more and more, every day, that makes me want to be a better person. Not just for myself, but for everyone else that cares enough to listen. For all the other people who have taken the time to think about the things I've written here over the years. To try and make an impact on the people that I have yet to reach.

Yeah, I want to be a better person. But I want to leave this place knowing I did something that genuinely made a difference.

Knowing that I changed something for the better.

So that's what I'm going to do.
Tags: journal, blog, personal, goals, steve jobs
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08/23/11 at 09:41 PM by anamericangod
As you grow older, people are going to leave. The terms of their leaving can and will change, but the principle remains the same. I remember she left in November, right around my birthday, a while ago. Where she went, I don't know, and it doesn't matter. The other, well, she left after the new year. I know where she is, but that doesn't matter either, still. Different scenario, same end result. When they leave, that's it. After the initial departure, it's always going to be different, regardless of whether or not they come back around at some point. You're going to have that weight on you, you're going to have that little voice in the back of your head. I've tried to learn my lesson over the years. To shore up my defenses and not let people get to me like that, but it happens. You can try to avoid it, but it'll happen.

Being on the other side isn't easy, either. You get the guilt, the self-doubt, the wondering about time wasted. It's a lose-lose situation.

And it gets to you. It's like radiation. It's cumulative. Once you've absorbed it, there's no getting it out of your system. It'll wear off eventually, but the side effects are always going to be there. I spent a year looking over my shoulder after having the people I cared about most let me down in the worst way possible. Everything I thought I knew about friendships, about relationships, was thrown out the window. Five years later, I still have moments where it all hits me. You think you've grown up, and in many ways you have, but events of a certain magnitude stay with you.

Some things, I don't think you don't ever really get over them. You just deal. Maybe someday you'll find some kind of acceptance. I don't know if I am that kind of person.

On a different tangent, I think all those feelings are part of why I started making records. It gives me the ability to take something meaningful, something that people care about, and share it in a way I feel really makes a difference. A record you love isn't going to let you down, it's not going to lie to you, it's not going to give you some sudden and heartbreaking surprise. Sure, your feelings might change over the years, but you're always going to have those memories and emotions attached to that record. It's a little piece of infinity. While a record can't replace a person, it can give you some sense of stability. A foundation.

Just find something. Or someone. That you really fucking love. Give it your all, give it more than you think you can. Don't worry about the future. Don't be scared. Don't let trivial bullshit get in the way of something that matters. Please, don't take it for granted. It's difficult, but it's not impossible. Many more take the path of least resistance. Be an exception to that rule.

Anything you can do to make that feeling last, you should do it.

When it's gone, man, it's gone.
Tags: journal, personal
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The Truth Is
03/18/11 at 12:49 AM by anamericangod
I suppose I find myself writing this as it turns out to be somewhat of a more common occurrence than I initially realized, and I was bothered in a sense. It's nothing earth shattering, but for someone like myself who loves music on a level that not everyone can understand, it stirred me enough to feel the need to write something.

What are we talking about? The mixtape. We could cover the in's and out's, the do's and do-not's, the unspoken and the spoken rules. The sorts of things that Rob Gordon would have scribbled down on a piece of notebook paper sitting on his cluttered and disastrous desk to double check before he put the finishing touches on his current creation to hand off to his latest Number 5 With A Bullet.

But we're not going to cover those. Not right now at least. At issue is the recycling of the mixtape; the reuse, almost always partial, as few people who value the power of the mixtape are ignorant enough to make a true doppleganger of a mix and hand it off to another person. To another girl. Surely people are not/never were that naive.

So what's the protocol? How much is too much? Two songs? Two or three songs in sequence? Perhaps there's an intro or an outro that you've found to have a magic feel to them and you just can't resist from using them again. Where do you draw the line, and when does it get to the point where it becomes a personal issue and point of contention? In this day and age, if you hand a mix to a girl, chances are she's going to copy it to her computer. She's going to listen to it. It will probably be mentioned in order on some sort of social network where she will also be giving in depth and insightful commentary to these songs and how much they mean to her.

Your ex girlfriend will be sitting at home in a pair of sweats from whatever sport she played in high school, hair unkempt, the blue hue of her Hewlett-Packard value priced but exceptionally shitty monitor illuminated her makeup-less face at 3 in the morning. She will be pressing the refresh button as fast as human possible. She will be viewing the page of this new girl, wherever it may be. She will become filled with rage and hate and begin a relentless and absolutely unstoppable descent into madness.

And why? Because you used the same songs. Because those songs were for her. You've transferred something that was personal to her onto another person. Onto another girl. Perhaps you do not have much experience with ex's yet, but the general rule and the point that should be understood is that anything now being placed "onto" a new girl that was once placed "onto" the previous girl will potentially cause a fuckfest that you just don't want to deal with. This goes well beyond mixtapes and can be applied to numerous things. Get creative.

So, what's the point? There isn't one. People are ridiculous. People are emotional, needy, messes of skin and bone and electrical impulses that compel them to say and do crazy things. At this point I don't find myself asking "Why?" ask much, rather "Why not?" Insanity is almost expected to a certain degree. The fact of the matter is that these songs, while they may be the same for various people across various mixtapes, or portions of them may be identical.

The fact is, it doesn't fucking matter. These songs evolve as the relationships you have evolve as well. You can have memories attached to a specific song that that meant the world to you in 2006 mean something completely different in 2011. There's no one usage only rule. Music isn't stagnant. Neither is emotion. Memories and nostalgia, well, what else triggers those things more than emotional music that you've loved for years? Picking up the faint scent of a fragrance a certain somebody used to wear might make you think about that individual for a moment, but with a song that's been ingrained into your mind year after year after year, you get the complete flashback. You're 18 again it's the early days of Spring and you're in love, sitting on campus waiting for her to show up before class. You're 21 and you're crying in a parking lot, too drunk to stand and too fucking sad to care. You're 25 and you're trying to figure out just what you're doing with your life. These songs don't belong to anybody. They belong to everybody. Share them. Become connected to them.

The song might be the same, but the meaning is something that can, and often will, change. As you grow older you find this happening more often as life is put into a different perspective. It's not a bad thing. It's just how it is. It's just how things go for somebody who holds music as close to them as they hold people. The two are bound to intertwine. Embrace it. Don't avoid it.

But who are we kidding? It's not the songs that they're upset about. It's the moving on. It's the being replaced. It's that feeling of inadequacy you get when somebody you care about does the smallest thing to indicate that somebody else just might be better than you. Maybe they are. Perhaps it's one of those, "live and learn," "better to have loved and lost," "growing pains" sort of things. Maybe it isn't.

And the best part?

Is when it's you.

When you're the one sitting in the dark. Spinning the same sad songs over and over, one after the other. After she leaves you. After that "one time with that one guy." After the "there's something I need to talk to you about" conversation that hits you in the fucking gut like nothing else can and nothing else ever will. Yeah, you know what I mean.

They're not so jealous of those songs then.

Are they.

Simple words connecting thought
Just pieces of the background until they're gone
I was only there to sing your song
What were you protecting yourself from?
Tags: journal, blog, personal, mixtape
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So, You Want An Announcement?
03/13/11 at 07:36 PM by anamericangod
Well guys, here we are. I've been been teasing "big news" for a while now, and it is finally time to let the proverbial cat out of the proverbial bag. It's not just one grand announcement of awesomeness, but also a series of other bits of news and updates as well. Ready?

After all the time I have spent over the past seven years on Absolutepunk, I have come to know many incredible people, and I have had opportunities and experiences that would have never been possible without such an amazing community. While the industry and state of music in general may always be changing (and not always for the better), Absolutepunk is pretty much the best representation of whatever the "scene" still is today, and without that outlet, things would not be the same for many, many bands, and many, many individuals. Myself included.

Not long ago I decided it was time to do something else. Something more. Yeah, I realize I get a lot of attention on AP. But that's not what this is about. This is about doing something more than sitting around and simply talking about music. Something bigger than the individual. A reputation. This is about giving back what I can to the people and the community who have given me so much, for so long. This is the least I can do.

That being said, here's the big news: I've started a record label. You can check it out at American Dream Records

Things came together not even two months ago, and working with another AP member (Ryan from the band Augustine, you'll get to know him eventually) we progressed from what began as a post on the message board to a legitimate record label already working with several bands. Currently, we are focusing on vinyl releases for bands, both active and no longer with us, that for whatever reason were unable to give their records the treatment they, and many fans, felt they deserved. While the vinyl format has been making a comeback as they say, I feel that many are still intimidated and confused by the concept of owning records. In a world of digital everything and instant gratification, that is understandable to a point, but we will be doing whatever we can to help change that.

As you have seen if you clicked the link to our site, our first release is with The Graduate. It has been a pleasure working with them, both from a personal and professional standpoint. We are proud to bring you the exclusive release of their new album, Only Every Time. The record is gorgeous, both musically and visually. There's a bonus track included as well, and I have to say it's just as good as the rest of the album and the b-sides they recently put out. The band has been awesome to work with, and we couldn't have asked for a better record to have as our first recently. As a little bonus, if you grab two different colors, you get entered to win one of the test pressings, which are extremely rare. If you buy all three colors, you'll get two entries. We're already at work putting things together for the release of Anhedonia. The Graduate are heading out on tour this week with The Dangerous Summer (who have an acoustic album coming out in a couple days that I strongly recommend), Sparks The Rescue, and The Scenic. I highly encourage you to check out this tour, and the band will be selling the record at shows along with all their other merch.

We are also proud to announce we will be releasing The Agreement by Lakes. We will have a pre-order on the site as soon as the artwork is finalized. I'd also like to announce that the band will be releasing an EP in the very near future, followed by their next full length. If you were ever a fan of Watashi Wa and wondered where they went, Lakes is the answer you've been looking for. We're excited to work with them on The Agreement, as well as some other projects which we'll keep under wraps for now.

Last but not least, and I don't mean to be too much of a tease...just kidding, I really do...There's something else amazing that I'm waiting a bit longer to announce, but it's something that a lot of you are going to love and we absolutely cannot wait to bring you the final product(s). It involves a band/artist that's been around for a good amount of time, so we are very much looking forward to bringing you something we feel is long, long overdue. We'll let you know soon enough.

I want to thank everyone who has helped make this happen. I also want to thank everyone who kept this very secret up until now. It has been an amazing and exciting experience, and the support and interest we have already received even without anyone really knowing this was happening has been astounding. There are so many other things already in the works, we are amazed and we are thankful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you're a band and you think we can help you out, let us know!

Let's make some records.

- Joe

American Dream Records

Check us, The Graduate, and Lakes out on Twitter:

Tags: journal, blog, record label, dream come true
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