I’m pretty sure I left Chicago immediately after writing my last blog entry. We packed up that day and were on the road within 24 hours. We came to Jacksonville, which is mostly where we’ve been ever since.
I started work on the eight by twelve foot canvas that I had been planning since Spring. I set it up in front of Sun-Ray Cinema everyday and work on it with a table of prints set up to sell as I paint.
November turned out pretty well. After not even attempting to make any money the last two months in Chicago, I started to sell a good deal of art and am no longer in the dire financial position that I was in when I left Illinois. My emotional state improved significantly too.
December has been kind of rough so far. I stopped setting up to paint and sell quite as often so I started to make less money and I started to not feel quite as good. December’s Art Walk in Jacksonville was surprisingly bad and the rain at Art Basel pretty much fucked that up too.
I also finally had my first run-in with some idiot who wants to believe that I’m a rapist. Wallis and I were out in front of Sun-Ray and some girl walked by.
Without stopping, she asked, “Hey – didn’t you rape that girl?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yeah you did,” she said, by that point already a ways down the sidewalk, barely within earshot. There was no use trying to argue with her. She (and people like her) don’t care about the truth.
Though I’m not sure exactly what it is that they do care about. Condemning me does nothing to prevent violence or to aid victims/survivors of violence. It’s a showing of support for an anonymous girl that told (or at least went along with) a really disgusting lie. And it hurts me.
There are a thousand things I could write or say in an attempt to convince people that I was innocent. None of that really matters though. There are only two people in the world who really know what happened that night. And though the news stories about the alleged crime are sensationalistic and factually inaccurate, the little bit of information that is publicly available is more than enough to suggest a reasonable doubt.
If someone wants to believe that I’m a rapist in spite of that, their belief really doesn’t have anything to do with me, my actions, my character, or my history.
This isn’t really what I set out to write tonight, when I sat down to write this blog entry. I just wanted to give an update to the people that care about (or take an interest in) me.
For reasons I don’t want to discuss, I’m less comfortable disclosing the more sensitive details of my life right now. (The reasons and details have nothing to do with what I’ve just written about). Suffice to say, in the time that’s passed since my last update, I’ve experienced plenty of highs, lows, and middles, and tonight I’m just feeling very introspective and a little somber.
Here are a bunch of photographs:
And here are a series of photographs to show the development of my current work-in-progress. It’s the biggest thing I’ve done thus far (eight feel tall, twelve feet wide) and I’ve been at it for about a month now.
If you’re in Jacksonville and wanna buy something, meet me, or just see how the painting is coming along, I’m out front of Sun-Ray most days from around noon ’til 10pm or so (unless it’s raining or I’m depressed or… whatever). Come say hi and then go inside and see a movie or get a pizza or something. Right now they’re playing Krampus and Room. Thursday’s the last night for Krampus and then on Friday they’re opening Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room and the new Star Wars movie. Oh – and on Thursday night they’re throwing a huge fucking party out back (in the parking lot behind the theater) where they’re gonna be recreating the cantina from Mos Eisley (which, for you non-nerds, is a setting from the original Star Wars movie).
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.
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.
“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
Yesterday was my first appearance in court since my bond hearing. The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to establish probable cause (to believe that a crime was committed). As such, the charges against me were dismissed.
There were a lot of reasons behind the judge’s rationale and (unfortunately) the reporters that covered the hearing failed to note most of them in their articles. I was hoping to get my hands on all of the evidence from the case and share it publicly, here, through my website. I want very badly to clear my name. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that I cannot do as I had planned. Because the state could supersede the court’s ruling yesterday (with a grand jury indictment) this is still (technically) an open/ongoing case.
So – as much as I want to run my mouth, tell the whole story, share all of the evidence – for the time being, I have to continue holding my tongue when it comes to that night.
I will however be getting back to creating art and writing. I’m currently working on a book. I have a painting in-progress. And I’ll soon be sharing new work completed before this whole ordeal started. (I didn’t get much done post-arrest, save for some writing that – as noted – I’m unable to share for the time being).
This has been one of the most emotionally painful experiences of my life. It’s second only to the final (worst) years of my heroin addiction (2011-2013). The media’s coverage of this event shattered my reputation. The punk community has been especially awful in their reaction. (Not the people in the punk community who actually know me and know that I’m not capable of committing such an awful crime but the random internet commenters who feed off of shit and negativity and never actually contribute to our scene). If any of you are reading this: you’re a bad fucking person.
It’s been very difficult as late to focus on the positive things in my life but there are many. Before I was arrested (which was the same day I found out about the accusation against me) Wallis came to New York to spend a week with me. As soon as we saw each other again, we knew we didn’t want to be apart anymore and we resolved to work out the logistics of getting back together. It was just three days after her visit ended that I was arrested but as soon as she found out about the charges against me, she hopped on a plane and moved up to Chicago to be with me. We have an apartment here now and (even though I’m legally free to leave the area at this point) we have a lease and will probably be trying our hands at having a relatively “normal” / stable kind of life for a little while. She’s been a wonderful source of support and I love her very much.
Similarly, in stark contrast to the anonymous know-nothing dipshits that frequent the internet, there have been countless friends, fans, and loved ones that have reached out and lent support of all kinds ever since this started. Whether it was financial help with legal fees, helping me find an apartment, making sure I ate or slept, or just a kind word or two, these people made all the difference in keeping me relatively sane and stable this last month. When that first batch of articles came out (branding me as a rapist) I didn’t know if this was worth the fight. At times, I wanted very much to die. But I didn’t want to go out before my name was clear. I didn’t want people to interpret my suicide as an indication of guilt. So I held strong and kept my head up. If it weren’t for those of you that were there for me, I don’t think I would have survived. In fact, I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t have. Thank you. I got a lot of anonymous hate mail when those news stories broke. A lot of strangers threatening me or wishing terrible things upon me. I’m happy to report that love won out over hate.
There’s still so much that I want to say but – for now – I think I’d better wrap it up. Here’s a picture of Wallis and I outside the courtroom after the judge’s ruling. I wasn’t quite ready for the picture to be taken and am mid-blink but that’s okay. You guys know what I look like when my eyes are open, right?
In September 2014, I was arrested for being in possession of 40mg of Adderall. Adderall is one of three prescription medications that I take daily. It was first prescribed to me in January of 2005 and I have been on it consistently ever since. My prescribed dosage has ranged from 20 to 40 mg/day.
The Adderall for which I was arrested was in a bottle with my friends’ name on it. She gave it to me when I babysat her for two days, leading up to her entrance into a detox facility (for which I made the arrangements) on account of her problems with crack and heroin. I was happy she offered it to me because – as I travel for my career – it’s not always easy to get my prescriptions renewed on time each month. Finding a new psychiatrist in each new city that I visit can be incredibly difficult. Waiting lists for new patients to get a first visit are regularly as long as two to five months. I’m rarely ever in the same city (or state) for that length of time.
After my arrest, I brought in my pharmacy records, doctors’ notes, as well as newspaper articles and letters from friends and fans, testifying that – not only am I not a drug addict but that my life is built around that very fact and that I regularly help those still struggling with drugs to overcome their addictions.
The prosecuting attorney was not interested in any of these facts. At the time of my arrest, my own Adderall prescription was not current and it didn’t matter how long I had been on the drug or that I wasn’t abusing it in anyway, or that my life, career, and essence are diametrically opposed to drug abuse. I was offered a deal: “complete two years of probation and keep a clean (felony-free) record.”
My lawyer advised that we file a motion to suppress the evidence in the state’s case against me, as I hadn’t consented to the search which yielded the Adderall of which I was “illegally” in possession. If it didn’t work, I could take the deal. The motion failed, as the judge ruled that my friend’s consent (obtained outside of my earshot) was valid for the entirety of the vehicle in which we were traveling.
After that hearing, the prosecution withdrew it’s earlier offer and replaced it with “take the felony conviction on your record and either (1) complete two years probation or (2) serve one month in jail.” I requested a continuance to give the matter more thought. I sent in more records, proving that I had managed to keep my prescription current in the (now) nine months since my arrest; I had more letters mailed in – this time from family and people with whom I’ve dealt in my art career. I hoped this would sway the prosecution to reconsider. They did not.
On Wednesday, I went back to court resigned to accept the jail sentence (as probation would prove too great a hindrance to my career and the travel which it necessitates. Moments before I stepped into the courtroom, I allowed someone’s advice to sway me into choosing probation. I figured that I could serve it in Florida (which is still my permanent legal residence) and I had a few personal reasons to return there that I let myself believe outweighed the importance of career and travel.
It was so ordered. I left the courtroom and went to the probation office to sign up. It was there that I was told that my “residency status” in Florida was insufficient to warrant a transfer of my probation. In fact, I had no residency status sufficient to warrant a transfer anywhere outside of McLean County, Illinois (where my arrest took place). I would have to serve my two years of probation in the middle of Illinois where, needless to say, I would be unable to maintain a career as an artist. (There is no art scene there; there is no market for my artwork there).
I went to speak with my lawyer. “They can’t transfer my probation to Florida,” I told him, “I’ll need to take the jail sentence instead.” “Okay,” he said, “We’ll file a motion to vacate.” “Am I free to leave the county and the state in the meantime?” I asked. He nodded. “Should I go back to the probation office and tell them?” I asked. He nodded.
I went back to the office, told the woman at the front desk, and drove to Iowa City to visit my friends. And then I got a call from the probation office. “Until a judge approves that motion, we’re still legally required to complete your intake for probation,” I was told. “If you don’t come back and complete your intake by Tuesday, you’ll be in violation of your probation and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.”
I called my lawyer but only got his receptionist. He’s yet to get back to me.
I have an outstanding opportunity waiting for me in New York City right now. It’s one of the most important cities for the arts in the world and one that I’ve had on my list since day one. I need to go to New York and capitalize on the opportunity before it’s too late (which would be approximately two months from now). But – at this moment – not only am I unable to pack up and head to New York, it seems that – by Tuesday – I may be trapped back in McLean County for who knows how long.
In spite of this, I remain optimistic but my optimism doesn’t snuff out my anxiety, which is sometimes pretty overwhelming. This level of anxiety is not good for me. The last few days, I’ve caught myself entertaining stupid, self-destructive thoughts.
I won’t give in to them though. I’m going to be okay.
Hopefully, I’ll have a better idea of what’s happening by tomorrow or Tuesday. Wish me luck. (And/or buy some art).
Here’s a picture from the 4th of July party/punk show at the Cedar Falls Skate Park yesterday. I’m the one in the middle, clearly having the most fun, without a care in the world. (I’m actually less of a bummer right now than this picture indicates; I just wasn’t 100% comfortable posing for a photo with a bunch of other shirtless dudes, even if they are friends). I’m awkward. I was never in a frat. Whatever, dude.
Wallis and I were parked in some lot when three cop cars surrounded us. I’m not gonna say what we were up to just two minutes prior to their arrival (’cause I’m a GENTLEMAN) but I will say that Wallis was still very much naked when they started in on us with their lights and questions.
Anyway, it was a shockingly brief encounter and we both made it out alive and handcuff free. And considering my last run-in with police, just earlier this week (see Facebook screenshot below), I think it’s safe to say that I’m on a god damn trouble-free roll.
Tomorrow I’m gonna try to set up at/near the May Day Parade and then at the show at Pork Avenue. Monday, I’m super excited to see Unwelcome Guests play at Memory Lanes. My exhibit at Instinct Gallery ends in just a few days. You can read a killer review of the show from The Wake and you can go buy something Tuesday through Saturday between noon and five (and Thuraday ’til 8pm).
I’ve neglected my blog for so long that it’s hard to know where to start. While anyone who follows me on Facebook is pretty up to date with the gruesome details of what’s going on in my life, here’s the gist of it for anyone who’s not up to speed:
I moved in with a girl in Chicago in July. We broke up in August.
A day and a half later, I started seeing another girl in Chicago. That lasted three months, until Thursday, when I finally left.
I love the girl but the relationship was incredibly dysfunctional and it had me more fucked up, twisted around, confused, depressed, anxious, and suicidal than I’ve been since December 2012.
While I’ve neglected writing the statements for my artwork, I’ve still been actively creating new pieces. The lack of updates can be accounted for by (1) not having had the new pieces photographed yet, (2) not having their statements written, and (3) the fact that these new pieces are HUGE and the last two have each taken more than a month to complete.
My charges are still pending and still stressing me out but I’m still (sort of) optimistic that some kind of a resolution can be reached – or at least resigned to accept the punishment that’s being offered as part of the plea deal that’s currently on the table.
As the weather got colder in Chicago, I saw a dramatic decrease in my print sales when I’d go downtown to set up, paint, and sell. Consequently, my income this last month is lower than it’s been since January, which is stressing me out but not killing me.
I desperately needed to get out of Chicago to escape my shitty relationship, so I’m in St. Louis now. On November 22nd, I’ll go to Minneapolis for the Rivethead reunion. On November 24th, I’ll return to Normal/Bloomington, IL for my next court date. From there, I’m not sure what I’ll do but if I have to accept the plea deal, I’ll be put on two years probation and will need to choose a state to serve it out in, since my movement will be restricted and I’ll have to be physically present for monthly check-ups. My art career would warrant that I choose either New York or California but I would probably have to choose Florida for the sake of my mental health, as that’s where I’ve got the most emotional support. In theory, I would be able to apply for travel permits to leave the state for my “job” (for example, to go to Minneapolis for my exhibition in March).
When I left Chicago on Thursday, I left without Chris Spillane. It was six months ago that I petitioned the court to have him picked up by police and put into detox and six months since I picked him up from detox and brought him out on the road with me. He now has six months clean, a job, a place to live, and everything else that could be reasonably expected of relatively well-balanced kid of our ilk. When I return to Illinois for my court date at the end of the month, he’ll have the option to rejoin me but I suspect that he’s gonna keep on in Chicago, building up his new life.
In September, I started seeing a psychiatrist in Chicago. In October, she put me back on antipsychotic and antidepressant medications (in addition to the Adderall that I’ve been on for ten years). The last time I was on antidepressants was as an inpatient at Tranquil Shores in February 2013. The last time I was on antipsychotics was (I think) as an inpatient at the Wellness Resource Center in February 2012, though I almost went back on them in January 2013.
Anxiety and depression destroyed my appetite the last month or so and I’m skinnier than I’ve been in at least twelve years. That’s good because I have body dysmorphic disorder and being this thin makes me feel good about myself. It’s bad ’cause… I don’t know… ’cause people say it’s bad…?
I have no idea how this all comes across as a whole but here’s what I think should be the important point to take away from it all: October was a bad month but – here, in St. Louis – I am safe, and cared for, and feeling eight million times better. I am no longer suicidally depressed and though I am afraid of what will happen once I leave St. Louis in two weeks, I am okay and I am once again grateful.
I’m going to spend the day with my current work-in-progress, possibly do some layout work for a new flier or work on written statements for finished pieces, and – tonight – I’m going to go downtown to see Rational Anthem play with The Copyrights and The Murderburgers.
If you wanna buy some art right now, that’d be pretty great.
I’m facing felony charges for possession of a controlled substance. These are not old charges pending from my days on heroin; I was arrested earlier this month for possession of Adderall, the prescription medication I’ve been on for nearly ten years. Adderall is one of those meds that can’t be refilled with a phone call each month. The patient has to actually go in to the doctor’s office for an appointment every thirty days, physically pick up the prescription, and bring it to the pharmacy. My prescription lapsed before I found a doctor, here in Chicago, and a friend with a prescription gave me a few pills to hold me over until I could get my own. (I have an appointment with a new doctor tomorrow but – a little late).
My case is still pending but the offer from the state that’s currently on the table includes two years of supervised probation, a shit ton of fines and fees, community service, and enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program. Everyone can always benefit from counseling but, these days, I get invited to speak at substance abuse treatment facilities; I don’t need to be a patient in one.
At the moment, I’m optimistic about a resolution to my case but don’t necessarily have any reason to be. For a while, it looked like the state was actually going to push for a conviction and, possibly, even a jail sentence. No one (defense lawyers included) seems to care that I’m not actually abusing drugs or that my entire life and career are pretty much based on that fact. No one cares that I help other people suffering with addiction and other mental illnesses, on a daily basis, both directly and through my art and writing. In the eyes of the court, I’m just some faceless degenerate that got busted with some pills. Just to get released on bail, I had to pay $1,025 in cash. Getting that money together (without even being allowed access to my bank account) through collect calls in a city three hours from anywhere that I know anyone was not an easy thing to do. Being stuck in Illinois, on probation in Normal, is not conducive to what I’m doing with my life. Two years of criminal fines are not in the budget. And god forbid I somehow fuck up, get tagged with a “violation of probation” and actually get put in jail after all. I’m caught up in a shitty, unfeeling system that doesn’t care about me and it hurts and it’s scary.
This was the last painting I finished before my arrest so the journal written on the canvas isn’t actually about this situation but … it seems even more relevant now than it was when I wrote it.
My world gets pretty dark some days. I try to smile, try to have fun, encourage other people to do the same but sometimes the world just spits at you. At me. Negativity is poisonous and infectious. I don’t let tragedy beyond my immediate vicinity affect me these days but a single mean word directed my way can still obliterate me.
I understand why people kill themselves and I don’t fault them for it but, today, I’m gonna try my best to not succumb to my darker impulses. I’m gonna listen to pop punk songs with my friend, Chris, and I’m gonna walk into five galleries, bare my soul, and try to get my funny faces and emotional instability up on their walls. I believe in myself and what I do and if you don’t get it or you don’t like me, that’s nothing I need to focus my energy on.
The world can be cold and mean but I’m gonna try to do my best anyway.