Tag Archives: girls

I Could Never Love Anyone More Than I Hate Myself

"I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself ." 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36x36".
“I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself .” 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36×36″.

For as much as I talk and write about Wallis, I’ve never really shared the full story of how we first came together. I’ll save the cute elements of the story for later and just give you the important part that hasn’t seemed relevant until now.

When I met Wallis, she was actively addicted to heroin. She was trying to not be on heroin but (like most addicts) she was finding that to be a little tougher than she could handle. We hit it off really quickly but I told her on our very first night together that I couldn’t be around that sort of thing. I told her that if she wanted to continue spending time with me, she couldn’t be using drugs. (I’m way too fucking fragile to not relapse if a pretty girl has a needle and a bag of dope to share with me). She told me she didn’t wanna use. I invited her to go with me on a road trip for a week – up to Illinois and back. In the course of that trip, we fell in love. Which was a problem because it meant we needed to figure out what we were gonna do to keep her from going back to heroin once we got back to Jacksonville. We decided that she’d need to quit the strip club and get another job (nobody can stay off drugs in that environment – no addict anyway). I told her I’d cover her ’til she got a new job and then – when it was time for me to leave Jacksonville – she’d quit her new job and come with me. Sound familiar? I did for Wallis the same thing I had done for my best friend, Chris, a year prior. I brought her out on the road with me to keep her off drugs. To show her another kind of life. Like Chris had done, in exchange for “all expenses paid” she’d just help me with my set-up, selling art, whatever. (And like Chris, it pretty much worked. She never used once; not while traveling with me anyway).

When we left Jacksonville, it was for Minneapolis, where I was to be featured in a gallery exhibit. Halfway through the exhibition’s run, we returned to Jacksonville for a week, so I could bank at One Spark. On the drive down, Wallis started talking about going to see old friends – friends that she had, historically, used drugs with. I told her that this was a terrible idea. She argued that I needed to have faith in her. I responded that I’d heard that same exact sentence and had this same exact conversation many, many times in the past (with another girl) and that I knew perfectly well how this was gonna end. I told her that if she wasn’t willing to forego the reunion (and the inevitable relapse that’d come with it) that I couldn’t be her boyfriend anymore. One Spark was going to be an incredibly important week for me financially and I didn’t wanna fuck it up by spending the whole time worried about whether Wallis was safe. She said okay (as in okay, then you don’t need to be my boyfriend anymore). There was no hostility or drama beyond that but when we got to Jacksonville, we went our separate ways. Wallis relapsed that very first night (thought she wouldn’t tell me until later), but called me the next morning and spent the rest of the week by my side like a lost puppy. On the night before I was to return to Minneapolis, she broke down crying, told me she had fucked up, and that she still wanted to be with me.

And I took her back.

I first had the thought years and years ago, upon hearing Rivethead’s “In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You.” The last lyric in the song is “I love you just as much as I hate the man.” I’m not exactly the biggest fan of cops or authority figures of any kind but when I’m really fired up and full of hate, there’s only one target it’s ever directed at: me. I still listen to that record (The Cheap Wine of Youth) all the time so the idea of captioning a painting with “I love you just as much as I hate myself” had occurred to me on a couple occasions but I didn’t wanna be derivative. Then, when I bought Pretty Boy Thorson’s An Uneasy Peace (the final song of which is called “I Love You Even More Than I Hate Myself”) I had a bit of a god dammit moment. That should’ve been mine! The song’s awesome and it doesn’t matter that the lyric is similar to another. I started thinking about it though – that line – and whether or not it was actually true (for me). I was dating Wallis and I absolutely loved her but did I love her more than I hated myself? I wasn’t really sure. I decided that sometimes I’m afraid that I could never love anyone more than I hate myself. After all, we had weathered the storm of her relapse but I was sabotaging our relationship bit by bit with my low self-esteem. I wrote about some of that anxiety in the bottom-right corner of the painting:

It’s so much harder to travel with a second person. Staying with friends feels like a much bigger imposition and I can’t stay with girls I meet. That’s probably the hardest part. But I love Wallis. (And I really like fucking her). And I think she needs me. I tried to leave her in Jacksonville but it didn’t work out. I hope she’s with me because she really loves me and not just ‘cause she’s scared to go back to “real life.” It if doesn’t work out, it’s probably gonna be because I can’t stop thinking about fucking other girls, which I know hurts her (and is really so selfish and dumb - and even mean - on my part) but really has nothing to do with her. (She’s so fucking hot and sexy and cute and beautiful). It’s just my insecurity and my compulsion to fuck every pretty girl, to prove to the world (and myself) just how fucking wonderful and desirable I am. It’s not helping that girls are throwing themselves at me these days. But I know (or think) that shit won’t make me happy. And in the end, I’m just gonna want someone to love me and I love Wallis.

There’s another, shorter string of text higher up in the painting, similarly inspired by punk rock: “I was listening to that Gateway District song where they sing, ‘I’m always falling way behind and you go on and on and on.’ If only I knew someone like that. Maybe I’d have someone to look to. Everybody I know is struggling. Everyone I know is as hopeless as I am. (Or worse).”

There’s a brighter, happier pair of sentences in the top-left corner – the product of a moment when everything was right in the world. Amazing sex with Wallis and I’m driving to the gallery showcasing my art while listening to “Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers. The thought occurred to me that “nothing in this world makes me happier than an energetic, upbeat song about suicide.” I gave it a second thought. Is that true?  I concluded, “Except (maybe) hitting girls in the face during sex.” I smiled. That’s pretty funny. I’m pretty fucked up. The things that I enjoy are – well – a little odd. This was all well and good at the time. I posted a close-up of that part of the painting online and it was met with positive feedback and just a little bit of “Oh, Sam…” But before I even got the chance to write the statement for this painting (as I am now), that photograph – that caption – would make the rounds on the internet elsewhere and garner a very different kind of response. You see, when I wrote that, it was about sex with Wallis. Sex which includes light consensual fake-violence (or whatever the fuck you wanna call it). Wallis likes getting slapped in the face during sex. And I like doing it. Win-win, right? Well, yeah – until you get accused of a violent rape and the media picks up on the story and uses your art to support the idea that you’re the kind of person capable of violently raping a nineteen year-old girl you just met. Sitting in jail, I wondered how I was going to break the news to my friends and fans that I had been accused of this horrible fucking crime. I bailed out, Chris Spillane picked me up, and after ten minutes of discussion he tells me, “There’s one more thing we’ve gotta talk about, Sam. The publicity on this story is not good right now.” Publicity? This story? “What the fuck are you talking about?” I googled my name and discovered that I didn’t need to worry about breaking this news to anyone. Some reporter knew or figured out who I was, wrote an article about me complete with images of my art (like the “hitting girls in the face” one) and everyone else picked it up and ran with it. Suddenly, strangers on the internet were talking about how I was the kind of person who PUNCHES girls in the face. I was a scumbag and I was definitely guilty. What the fuck? I’ve never punched a girl in the face! I slap! Playfully! And only with girls that WANT me to! But none of that mattered. What mattered was that it was incredibly easy to paint me as some kind of violent sexual deviant who had finally gone off the rails and just started violently raping people. Freedom of expression has its fucking consequences apparently. The charges against me have since been dismissed by a judge who (after hearing all of the prosecution’s evidence and the girl’s testimony) ruled that there was no probable cause to believe that any crime had been committed but the evidence in the case isn’t all public yet and I’m still having to deal with (well-meaning) assholes who think I deserve to be castrated for something I never did. At the time of this writing, this is all still incredibly recent so I’m still working out exactly how a person does deal with something like that. (I’ll let you know when I figure it out).

Flashback to five months before that nightmare though – back to when I was still working on this painting (that’d later incriminate me in the court of public opinion). I wrote that I was feeling “stuck in a rut. This spot [on the street] isn’t super profitable [for selling prints]. I don’t even wanna write about what else is going on. I don’t want to muddle up this painting that I’m not even happy with. My little sister is killing herself and today I blocked her phone number because I’m tired of her asking for help, not taking my advice, and then texting me updates on her self-destruction that she knows will just upset me. I really need the validation of some sales to cheer me up today. If I make less than $100 today, I’m gonna feel super depressed.” And then – to remind myself what a dipshit I am for worrying about how much I make in one particular day, I added: “I’ve made $7,000 this month.” True as it was, it didn’t really help me feel any better in that moment. I continued writing – about an interaction I had with a guy who stopped to watch me paint: “Someone asked me yesterday if I really hate myself and why. I had a hard time articulating it [the way that I feel sometimes]. He said he thinks I’m not as unhappy as I let on. I’d do a much better job explaining it to him today: I’M UGLY, PALE, OUTTA SHAPE, MEAN, SHITTY, POOR, FEARFUL, AND IN A CONSTANT STATE OF STARVATION FOR VALIDATION.”

Reading that now, remembering that day – it’s kinda scary. Everything in my life was going so well and I still had this monster inside me, gnawing at my insides, telling me that everything was awful. That I was awful. I’m really grateful that I don’t feel that way about myself all the time. Arguably, my life is way more fucked up now (on account of the VIOLENT RAPE ACCUSATION) but – I don’t know – I feel better today. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to fight this awful thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to become stronger. Maybe it’s because enough other people hate me now that I can take a break on the self-loathing. I don’t know. I’m not sure. But after separating in late-June and spending two months mostly apart, Wallis and I are back together full-time. We’re living together in an apartment in Chicago and it’s been really great. And you know what? I love her WAY more than I hate myself. Not just ‘cause I’m not hating myself so much right now but… This girl… After all we’ve been through. After all I’ve done for her and all she’s done for me… Words are insufficient to express my gratitude, affection, and love for her. I’m probably gonna marry her.

And you know what? When it comes to “falling way behind” versus “going on and on and on,” maybe I do a little more of the latter than I allow myself to recognize sometimes. Maybe I do a lot more of it.

HAPPY ENDING.



“I Love You Even More” by Pretty Boy Thorson & The Falling Angels


“Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers


“Waves and Cars” by The Gateway District

“In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You” by Rivethead

Don’t move in with a girl you’ve never met

“Joy” is a fake name. Sometimes I have to use fake names.

Incoming Facebook message (May 27th) from Joy: I haven’t spoken to you since high school. I used to think you were just the coolest.
Sam: I don’t recognize you but you’re pretty cute so I sure wish I did!
Joy: I remember you from some parties… AND MYSPACE.

And so it began. She told me she was a model and an acrobat. Asked for my phone number so she could text me some photos. I happily obliged because I’m an incorrigible flirt. We started texting back and forth pretty frequently. She told me she liked my blog, complimented it as “raw,” “honest,” and “brave.” We talked about potentially meeting in person one day, we talked about having sex, she sent me a lot of really suggestive texts, I responded in kind to a degree but not like I would with a lot of other girls because she had already told me that she wasn’t into the kind of rough sex stuff that I am. After about a week though, I started texting less. I wasn’t going to be seeing this girl in real life anytime soon and I had – you know – a life to live in the meantime. I can’t be wrapped up in all day text message conversations all the time.

After a couple days of not much interaction (about two weeks after we first started talking) I hit her up. “Does it even matter?” she said, “You hate me.” That was my first red flag. I wasn’t texting her as often and her interpretation of that was that I hated her?? The next day, she apologized and started texting me more often. My responses were far less frequent and far less detailed than before but I kept the conversation going.

Toward the end of June, she told me that she might have an opportunity to stay for free in a really nice apartment in Manhattan – for two months – as a house/catsitter. A few days later, she sent me a long message:

I think you should come stay with me and sell your art here. No rent. No parking fees. A warm bed in a plush place. If it goes well, you can stay as long as I stay. Maybe you’ll make really good money. Hustle to get in some galleries. […] You help out so many people… And so many people have helped ME out… I wanna help someone. And you’ve been on my mind the last few days.

“That sounds amazing,” I told her. I had been wanting to get out to New York, to meet with galleries for a long time. But the city is so big and the art scene is so big that the prospect was a little overwhelming. Having a place to stay, a place where I could feel welcome and not like an imposition – that made it a lot easier. This was going to be an outstanding opportunity.

But I was just a little hesitant. I thought it was strange that – despite growing up in the same city – we didn’t seem to have any mutual friends. I asked some of my friends about her and their responses weren’t exactly comforting. She was – as I was told – not an easy person to get along with. (And that’s putting it lightly). Going to New York, to stay with her, would be a little bit of a risk. But when I got the go ahead from the court to leave the state of Illinois, I was too excited to not take her up on the offer. It’s not like I had any other city I needed to be in at the time; my next exhibit was in Seattle and I wouldn’t need to be out there until October.

I started driving to New York but along the way, I got a phone call. It was her and she was crying. “I’m having a panic attack,” she told me. I asked her what was wrong, what was happening. She said that she felt trapped in the apartment but felt like she couldn’t go outside either. She was anxious and uncomfortable and nothing was wrong but everything was wrong. I did my best to talk her down from the ledge. She regained her composure and said she was going to go out to the fruit stand across the street. We hung up. Fuck, I thought. This doesn’t exactly bode well.

The night that I got there, she said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to have sex yet. I said okay but that night in bed, while I was falling asleep, she started to fool around with me and we wound up having sex after all. I was really gentle, really vanilla, really boring. We had talked about what I was into, she had said she wasn’t sure she could handle it, and I had told her that that was fine. That we could do whatever she was comfortable with and maybe slowly try to incorporate some more dominant/submissive stuff and see how she liked it. That’s kind of how it always goes whenever I have sex with someone the first time. Unless they explicitly tell me “yeah – I want you to do this, I want you to do that,” I’m not gonna chance it. So I played it cool and just had regular-people-sex with her. When I was just about done though, I whispered in her ear, “I’m gonna cum on your face.” “Do you want to?” she asked. “Yeah.” She said okay. So I pulled out and I came on her face.

And she immediately started crying.

FUCK.

I gave it some time. I didn’t wanna upset her any more than she already was. I didn’t wanna make her feel bad. But, eventually, I had to tell her, “If you’re not comfortable with something, you’ve gotta tell me.” “Well, it’s just that no one’s ever done that to me before,” she said. “Okay, well, that doesn’t really change anything. I don’t wanna do anything that’s gonna upset you. You had even told me before I got here that I could cum on your face so long as I ‘was sweet afterward and cleaned you up with a warm cloth.’” “I know,” she said, “I’m just… I’m sorry. I don’t know.”

We had already broached the topic of “what if we’re not sexually compatible” before I even got to New York but it quickly became a regular topic of conversation once I was there. “It’s not a big deal,” I’d tell her. “We don’t have to have sex. We can just be friends that don’t have sex.” Her response: “I know but I wanna make you happy. If that’s what you’re into then I wanna do those things.”

This was awful, terrible news. I told her that I was already happy and that – even if I weren’t – she couldn’t make me happy. And what’s more: if she wasn’t into [whichever kind of sex act] then I wasn’t gonna wanna do that with her. I’m into violent shit and I’m not gonna do that kind of stuff with a girl who isn’t enjoying it just because she wants me to enjoy it. That might technically be consensual but it still sounds like abuse to me and it definitely doesn’t sound fun.

We tried to fuck a few more times over the course of the next week, sometimes with better results than others but it didn’t feel natural or right or good. And there was other stuff going on too. By my third night in town, she had told me that she loved me – and that she was in love with me. “You don’t know me well enough to be in love with me,” I told her. “You’re in love with some idea of me that you got from my art and my writing. You hardly know me as an actual person.”

But even that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst was her mood swings. One minute she’d be perfectly fine, the next she’d be having an anxiety attack about a delivery coming to the apartment or a scheduled meeting with a photographer. I’d do my best to soothe her nerves, calm her down, and everything would be okay. I could handle those mood swings. The ones I couldn’t handle were the temper tantrums. In an instant, she’d FLIP THE FUCK OUT over some insignificant little thing that – more often than not – had nothing to do with me. One morning she woke me up, SCREAMING at me. Holy shit, I thought – what is happening?

DON’T USE FUCKING GLASSES AS ASHTRAYS!” she screamed. “THIS GLASS IS FUCKING FULL OF CIGARETTES!

The glass she was holding, she had picked up from the counter by the window where she smoked cigarettes (I had smoked all of mine out on the fire escape the night before). I walked over. “These are all Pall Mall Blues with the exception of one Camel Menthol that you bummed from me last night. I don’t smoke non-menthol cigarettes; these are all your cigarettes. I didn’t use that glass as an ashtray; you did. Why are you screaming at me?”

After episodes like that one, she’d eventually calm down, apologize, become sweet and affectionate once more. But it was too much. It was more than I could handle. And it was every day. Several times a day. I told her that I could continue to stay there if we could just be friends. No more kissing, no more touching, definitely no more fucking or physical intimacy – and I’d be sleeping on the couch instead of in bed with her. She said she wasn’t sure if she could do that. That she was in love with me and that it would be too hard. I assured her that not only did she not know me well enough to be in love with me but that people don’t treat the people that they love the way that she was treating me. This was seriously fucked and it was seriously not okay. I left but she invited me to come back later that night and I did, to sleep on the couch. She woke me up in the morning, yelling at me again. I told her that it was totally over. That we could still be friends but that it wasn’t a good idea for me to stay in the apartment at all. I told her that she could call me anytime – if she was freaking out, having a panic attack, if she needed a friend. But that that was all that I could be to her: a friend.

A few days after I left, there was one night when I needed a shower and I was in her neighborhood. I didn’t wanna go all the way out to Brooklyn just to shower and then have to come back out to Manhattan. I offered her five bucks for the use of the shower. She asked me to just pick up some toilet paper on my way over. Deal. I stopped at the store, went to the apartment, and took a shower. Before I left, she offered me some leftover pizza. We hung out and talked as it heated up. Everything was okay, we got along fine. After I finished eating, I gave her a hug and said goodbye. She texted me later and said that if I wanted, I could come back that night and stay on the couch. I told her it was nice to see her but that we’d better not push our luck.

About a week later, she called me and invited me over. I took a shower and – again – she offered to let me stay over. This time I took her up on the invitation but told her I’d need to move my van (to somewhere it could be legally parked overnight). After I moved it, I went back upstairs and told her, “I’m gonna go downstairs to the deli and get something to eat. Would you like anything?” This was not acceptable. She got really mad at me. Told me that if I was going to stay, then I needed to just stay. She yelled at me for leaving to go move my van and for not having gone to the deli (which is literally underneath the apartment) before I came back upstairs. She called me “gross and manipulative.” She told me that I’m a bad person.

So… that’s about enough of that. I left and I blocked her number. The convenience of a place to shower or sleep isn’t worth the way that this girl treated me. I was in one shitty relationship before and this time I wasn’t even dating the girl. I barely fucking know her. I understand now why none of my friends from Sarasota had nice things to say about her. I understand now why (as she herself told me) she’s never had a “boyfriend.” I feel for her because she’s clearly lost and in a lot of pain but I’m not gonna be her fucking pincushion.

Is New York more difficult without having the apartment as a base of operations? Yeah – absolutely. But if I really need a place to sleep (an air-conditioned place to sleep) I’ve always got my friends in Brooklyn and Queens, I’ve always got Tinder, and I’ve always got the option to just sleep in the van. It’s been about two weeks now since I stayed with Joy (and a few days since that last time I went over) and I’ve been doing just fine. I’ve started hitting up some of the galleries around the city; I’ve set up my table out on the street a few times and made a little bit of money; and I’ve gotten to see a lot of friends I hadn’t seen in a long time (and gotten to make some new ones). Now, when I need to do work on the computer during the day (like writing this blog post), I just stop in at some coffee shop and buy a fucking lemonade and take a seat. It’s not so bad. Some of these places even have bathrooms.

Cool.

My first day in the city, my little brother was passing through New York with his girlfriend, Valerie. Since both of my sisters live here in the city, we all met up. It's probably one of just three times that the four of us have all been together in the last five years.
My first day in the city, my little brother was passing through New York with his girlfriend, Valerie. Since both of my sisters live here in the city, we all met up. It’s probably one of just three times that the four of us have all been together in the last five years.

I Have Borderline Personality Disorder and I Accept Credit and Debit

“I Have Borderline Personality Disorder and I Accept Credit and Debit.” 9/26/14. Ink. 40×32″.

You could call this piece the second in a series of three, detailing my second “romantic entanglement” in Chicago last year. The caption/title of the piece is (obviously) an acknowledgment of the way I’ve commercialized my “disease.” The text scattered throughout this piece is a pretty good document of that disease. It was all written as the piece was created (between August 15th and September 26th, 2014) and is as follows:

AAAANNNNNDDD – emotional attachment severed in 5… 4… 3… 2… gone.
And I don’t give a fuck about anyone.
Good thing I told Spillane earlier how much this girl likes me – and how (obviously) that means I need to be cutting it off soon. By nonchalantly bailing on our (admittedly) tentative (but – as of an hour ago – confirmed) plans for tonight, she’s given me all the cause I need.
Except I know she’s gonna materialize by my side tomorrow when I’m downtown working on this piece and selling prints.
So we’ll see how the fuck THAT pans out. Or – fuck it – maybe she won’t and maybe we won’t.
Did I mention that I don’t give a fuck? ‘Cause I really wanna stress that point. Does it sound like I’m trying really hard to prove it. If not to you, then to me?
Whatever. (Forever).
If I were feeling mean (and I am), I’d say: “That ‘love letter’ I wrote you is nothing but another product for my inventory. You’re just a couple pages in a chapter in my story. A subplot, a side story, a tangent.”
ON/OFF. ON/OFF. I still keep my feelings wired to a light switch. And I don’t care anymore.

Oh – wait – new day. Don’t care about any of that nonsense yesterday. Switch back on! I’m “in love” again!

Ink requires so much more precision than paint. I’m having a hard time finishing this drawing without my Adderall, which the police took, as evidence, the other night. A little over a year ago, I got out of Tranquil Shores and turned myself in for an outstanding warrant. As I sat in jail, I remember thinking, “This is the last time I’ll ever have to do this.” And now I’m facing charges again. FELONY charges. Felony DRUG charges. For my fucking Adderall. I need to get my shit together for my case. Letters from doctors, counselors, Tranquil Shores – to prove that I’m not some kid abusing this stuff – I just happened to let my prescription lapse (irresponsibly, I know). But that’s hard to do [manage my prescriptions in new cities] without my Adderall. Everything is. Everything is more difficult. And I’m overwhelmed. I can do it. Call a lawyer, call the doctors, get my suit shipped up here from Florida.
It doesn’t sound like much but the anxiety of it all has me almost to panic mode. I want to shut down, block it all out, and just leave the state [of Illinois]. If this had happened in Kansas or Oklahoma, I’d just never go back. But it was on this side of the Illinois line. I hate it. This court doesn’t care about me. The judge, the prosecutors, the system. None of them care. I hate it so much. It’s cold and mean and awful and it makes me wanna give up.
Two Saturdays ago, I got invited to two parties. I invited Nicole to go with me to both. I went to pick her up, anxiety set in, I told her to forget it, and I went out to my car to… I wasn’t sure. She sent a text: “Are you okay? What are you doing?” I was online, researching dope spots in Chicago so I could go cop. I told her ‘cause she’s twenty, might not understand how serious that is, might be naive enough and like me enough to just want to do it with me. But she knew better. She stopped me. Saved me from myself. Not that I didn’t put up a fight. She cried. I felt terrible. It was a mess. But she stuck it out. She really cares. That’s scary. We’re still seeing each other. That’s scary. I’m [this] close to referring to her as my girlfriend. If I were a better person, I’d probably break it off with her and stop getting involved with girls. IT ALWAYS ENDS THE SAME. Or maybe I should quit playing fortune teller, just live life, and let what happens happen.

OUT OF ADDERALL PROBLEMS: Meanwhile, I won’t shower or even get dressed until I have clean socks to put on. But I won’t have that until I go to the laundromat and I can’t go to the laundromat unless I get dressed and I can’t do that until I have clean socks to put on.

We’ve been seeing each other for six weeks. Became “boyfriend/girlfriend-official” last week. I haven’t put it on Facebook because I guess I just figure it won’t last. We got into an argument this morning. I started repeating “idon’tcareidon’tcareidon’tcare,” she goes “and you don’t care about me so FUCK OFF,” and then she hung up. (I think – I did anyway). I think that’s it. I think we’re done now. I talked to my south Florida girl last night. It was great except she sounded high but assured me she wasn’t. She invited me to come stay with her when I go back down there. If she’s clean, that’d be great! She called again this morning, moments after hanging up with my girlfriend. It turns out she is getting high and everything’s a mess.
I’m stuck in Illinois on bail. Mike and I butt heads. I don’t feel secure here. I’m always walking on eggshells. My relationship with Nicole is dicey if not over. I’m ready to get the fuck out and go somewhere new. Sometimes I feel like I’m floating – for what? Is it about art? A career? Or do I do it all for girls, sex, love? Is it for myself – ego, fulfillment, ACTUALIZATION? What am I looking for? What am I after?
UGH – WHO THE FUCK CARES???
Oh – WAIT – SHE JUST TEXTED ME. We’re still cool. (Or cool again). Game on. I feel better, I guess.

Don’t let the fact that I usually sleep indoors fool you. I might be charming but no place feels safe. This is what it means to be really homeless. I’m reinventing homelessness. And I do technically live in a minivan. If you did, your art would have unintentional creases and pressure spots too.

Depression, isolation, giving up…
I started this piece over a month ago. My life was different then. It’s gotten worse. My faith’s been shaken. I’m so sad. It’s cold outside. I don’t wanna kill myself…

The first piece in this series was “Love Letter;” the third is “The Last Unfinished Work.”

I Finally Understand All Those Straight Edge Songs on the Radio!

"I Finally Understand All Those Straight Edge Songs on the Radio!" 8/11/14. Ink. 6x6".
“I Finally Understand All Those Straight Edge Songs on the Radio!” 8/11/14. Ink. 6×6″.

The four drawings in this series were all completed following (what I guess I’d call) a “break-up.” We weren’t officially dating but we spent virtually every night together for a month straight. I was the one to end the relationship but I wasn’t happy about it. I don’t think I even realized it at the time but – in hindsight – it’s hard not to recognize that I was outright mad. At what exactly, I’m not sure. At the time, it was easy to fault her drinking for all of our relational issues but (while I definitely think it was a factor) I think my own emotional insecurity and low self-esteem was just as much (probably more) to blame. Maybe that’s what I was so mad about – my inability to feel okay in a relationship. The slightest bit of criticism or the slightest disagreement would push me over the edge and I’d find myself instantly packing my things until she was able to soothe, comfort, and calm me. The night she was too drunk to manage (or too drunk to care) was the night I finally left for real.

This is the angriest of the four drawings – the one in which I really get mean. It says:

What about any of this [me, my lifestyle, my personality disorder] made you think that I’m boyfriend material? Enjoy me for what I am or don’t.

I don’t wanna come across as one of those “I wouldn’t belong to any club that’d have me as a member”-types but – seriously – if you wanna date me, something is seriously wrong with you. Your emotional issues are worse than mine and that’s saying something.

If your past is littered with broken friendships, there’s a reason your past is littered with broken friendships. It’s got nothing to do with the universe. It’s YOU. It’s the people YOU choose to surround yourself with. It’s the way you behave and the kind of people that behavior attracts.

I’m a bit of a broken fuck-up but I’m not so broke to stick around for this. You could’ve chosen to be better. You’re on the precipice. You chose not to. You chose old habits.
Enjoy “drinking [your] dinner.” It makes me sad but not that sad.

I finally understand all those straight edge songs on the radio!

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the “Hindsight’s 20/20 Recap.” 1) When I got to Chicago, I was in no fucking shape to be any kind of a partner to anyone. 2) We attract (and are attracted to) people who are about as emotionally healthy/sick as we are. 3) I thought I was leaving because I was too well for this girl but we were probably at just about the same level. 4) I might be flighty and insecure but drinking (as a coping mechanism) sucks and will only ever make everything worse; it precludes so much as the initiation of any real, lasting solution.


 

It’s worth pointing out that this drawing was finished in August and the relationship to which it refers is not the one I bailed on last week. (This one ended a day and a half before that one started).

Love Letter

"Love Letter." 7/2/14. Ink. 14x11".
“Love Letter.” 9/2/14. Ink. 14×11″.

The main body of text says:
Okay – so I’m makin’ this in the car so it’s gonna be sloppy. I forgot to get you a California souvenir but that’s okay ’cause I figured it’d be cute/funny to just pick something up on the ride back. It’s a keychain. I think it says “Kansas City Wildcats” but I forget and I might have lost it already, even though I just bought it five minutes ago. BUT (since I like you) I figured I owe you one better than that. And I don’t ever make free art for ANYONE anymore so I thought it’d be real sweet of me to do that. It’s fucked up but I already had the thought that – the next time I make a gesture like this (presumably for some other girl) it’s not gonna mean as much. [That’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say in a “love letter” / piece of art dedicated/for the girl you like]. That’s okay. That’s me. Maybe I’ll leave Chicago next week, maybe never. Maybe you won’t like me anymore tomorrow and it won’t even matter where I am in relation to you. Also, you’re twenty so whatever (“forever“). Here are some funny faces. They are SYMBOLIC of the crush I have on you.

After that, there are a couple smaller bits of text. First:
This is more honest and less cool than it should be, so you don’t like me too much. But if that’s my intention, why am I making it at all? OOOOOHHHH – I’m so complex!

Second:
Between this and the love song Chris and Mike are listening to on the radio, I’ve decided that the whole enterprise of love letters is bullshit. It’s all ego and vanity. Or maybe this song just sucks and I’m self-absorbed. I don’t know but your smile makes me really happy sometimes.

So there you have it. A Sammy thrashLife love letter. More about me than it is about the object of my affection but just charming enough to sort of perform its function. Equal parts “fall in love with me” and “don’t get too invested.” One thing’s certain: it’s definitely a thing that exists.

I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You

"I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You." 3/9/14 - 6/4/14. Mixed media. 11x14".
“I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You.” 3/9/14 – 6/4/14. Mixed media. 11×14″.

I started this piece the night after I met a girl in Jacksonville. She was just visiting, from Tampa, but we went out once before she went back home. Over the next few weeks, we texted a whole lot and made plans to spend a night together the next time I was around Tampa. She may or may not have sort of had a boyfriend that she lived with. About a month after we had met, I was on my way to Sarasota for the premiere screening of No Real Than You Are. I invited her to go with me. She didn’t respond. I tried to call but she didn’t answer. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if the reality of my actually coming around didn’t quite mesh with her boyfriend situation, but I never heard from her again. That hurt my feelings, especially since it coincided with similar developments in my “relationships” with three other girls (all in the span of a couple days)! This particular rejection was the only one I didn’t acknowledge at the time ’cause it felt the worst and struck me as being the most petty / trivial. On the one hand, it was really casual and I obviously wasn’t taking it too seriously. On the other hand, I really liked her! I did my best to not let it get to me but it made the next rejection hurt that much more.

Luckily, I fell in love with another girl a few days later and everything was okay again.

—-

Some less interesting details: I worked at this piece on and off for three months because I just couldn’t seem to get it to look like anything I could be happy with. Somewhere in there, I glued some cardboard and a piece of a reflective sun visor to it, even though I sort of hate collage / mixed media stuff; I just felt like I needed something  to sort of shake it up a little bit. It’s also on a small canvas board (11×14″) – way smaller than anything I’ve got any interest in painting these days, but the board was given to me on a night when I didn’t have a fresh canvas with me and I figured I’d roll with it. I’m pretty sure I spent at least forty hours on10409694_866552430041482_8420832531891564025_n this tiny little thing – every bit as much time as I spend on my
huge canvas paintings. I got the idea for the pattern in the lower-left (“mummy”) figure after painting the white slip-on shoes I bought at Walmart for ten dollars.

What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder

"What I Do When I'm Not on Tinder." 6/21/14. Ink. 11x14".
“What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder.” 6/21/14. Ink. 11×14″.

Check me out! I’m being an angry crybaby ’cause I heard second-hand that someone (that I don’t even know!) implied that I can’t really be trusted because I’m a drug addict.

You know how long it’s been since I injected drugs? You know how long it’s been since my compulsion to inject drugs inspired me to do something dishonest? Not to mention: I’m itinerant as fuck! Nobody knows me. I’m in a new city every day. I can be whoever I want each time I roll into a new city. The only reason anyone I encounter these days knows that I am/was a drug addict is ’cause I fuckin’ tell them. I wear everything on my sleeve ’cause I’m okay with who I am. I’m fuckin’ proud of who I am. Good and bad.

So fuck off with that shit.

What’s this have to do with my new piece, “What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder?” Very little! I’m just trying to kill two birds with one stone by venting and simultaneously writing a statement for a new piece. But if I wanted to contrive a connection, here it is: Even my Tinder profile introduces me to “potential matches” with an opening salvo of, “I don’t shoot heroin anymore but I still have a personality disorder. It’s nothing you’d notice most of the time.”

“What’s Tinder?” you ask. Well, you poor unfortunate soul, it’s a dating app for smartphones that matches people based on geographic proximity (“[this user] is two miles away”) and whether or not you swiped left (“nope”) or right (“like”) on their profile – which is comprised of no more than six photos and 500 characters of text. It’s superficial, shallow, and lots of fun! Once two people have swiped right on each others’ profiles, the lines of communication are open for messaging and (potentially) making plans to meet in real life. And now that Tinder’s introduced their newest feature (the hilariously-named “Tinder Moments,” a Snapchat-like feature which allows you to upload an additional photo, revealed only to your “matches” for 24 hours (who are then prompted to “like” or dismiss it by way of swipe)) it’s also become one more social-networking-avenue for a sad little boy like me to collect the validation-via-clicks for which I’m so desperate.

My mood right now is definitely corrupting my usually joyful description of Tinder. It’s shallow, superficial, and a lot of fun. It’s super speed dating. Say the wrong thing to some girl? Who cares! Just scroll down to your next match and start again! It’s totally meaningless (just like everything else in the known universe)!

I finished this drawing three weeks ago but have held off on sharing it on my website, Instagram, and Facebook until now because I only just got a proper high-res photograph of it. There was one venue through which I shared it immediately upon completion though – and it proved to be my most popular TINDER MOMENT to date!

I’m ridiculous. (And pretty okay with it).

Full disclosure: As revealed in the statement accompanying my commissioned “Bleed Blue Tatoo” piece, I’ve “started getting laid again,” am getting all the female attention I need, and have consequently been inactive on Tinder for a week or so. I’m also taking bets on how long ‘til I fall apart again and rediscover its utility. Hit me up for the current odds! Who knows? Maybe this very entry will be the spark that burns it all to the ground!