Tag Archives: love

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.


“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

Rainbows and Puppy Dogs

"Rainbows and Puppy Dogs." 1/3/15. Acrylic paint. 10x8".
“Rainbows and Puppy Dogs.” 1/3/15. Acrylic paint. 10×8″.

The statement for this piece was written two and a half weeks ago (on January 13, 2015) and is proof that I’m really terrible at predicting my own future.

Coming out of my tumultuous autumn relationship in Chicago, I guess you could say I was kind of a wreck when I got back to Florida. And although the circumstances of the day it happened were somewhat unusual, it certainly didn’t seem like much of a coincidence for me to relapse so quickly. I started this new painting before I even had a week clean. And while the general premise of the painting is one that I’ve had in my head for months, the rest reflects the time in which it was painted.

Here’s how I spent December: I came down to Miami with Nicole; shipped her back to Chicago ahead of schedule and cancelled my pseudo-plan to return to the Midwest to reunite with her anytime in the at-all-immediate-future; I went to Jacksonville to rekindle my relationship with Heather; Heather declined to immediately jump back into it with me, saying she wanted to take it slow; I drove down to Palm Beach County for another one of my drug-addled ex-girlfriend rescue missions; I relapsed; I went to Sarasota and started painting this (the initial sub-caption was “nothing ever quite goes my way” but I later painted over that); I returned to Jacksonville, where Heather was now interested in picking up the pace but I, nevertheless, proceeded to start fucking up a storm; I started to feel better and I wrote a new sub-caption, incorporating the title: “Life can’t always be RAINBOWS AND PUPPY DOGS but I guess it goes my way often enough. (I certainly have a lot of sex at people).”

By the time it was finished on January 3rd, I definitely didn’t feel like “nothing ever quite goes my way.” I mean, how could I think that when I’m fucking a different girl every night? That sure seems like things going my way. And, honestly, while being promiscuous isn’t always the most fulfilling, in this case – right now – I’m pretty happy. Maybe it’s ‘cause I got so much other stuff going on with my art and ‘cause I’ve been so productive lately and ‘cause I’m not in a dysfunctional relationship anymore but… I’ve been on a pretty good streak of happy lately. And all the sex (and feeling attractive and desirable) is most definitely bolstering that. It’s a big part of it.

Heather and I hit the pause button on our relationship a week ago and are planning to talk about it / evaluate our feelings tomorrow. In writing this (and revealing the extent of my recent promiscuity) I’m almost certainly going to be destroying what little shot we had left together but maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen. I’m also seeing another girl with whom there’s been no discussion of exclusivity but who – nevertheless – probably won’t be super excited to read this. I’m supposed to meet up with her tonight and am planning on putting all the cards on the table with her as well.

So now that I think about it, I really shouldn’t publish this until I’ve had these two conversations. And I won’t. Which is to say: by the time you’re reading this, I’ll have already had those two discussions and there’s a good chance that I’ll have inadvertently hurt a lot of feelings and will be feeling pretty shitty about myself. Life’s definitely not gonna feel like puppies and rainbows by this time tomorrow but I guess that’s okay but – fuck – why does love have to be so exclusive? Why do the concepts of love and sex have to be so inextricably connected? Why can’t I be in one (or two) relationships and still have sex with other people?


It sounds so dumb when I put it that way – like I’m such a spoiled little brat – but, shit… I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Rainbows and puppy dogs, right?




So – as I mentioned – that statement was written in early January. If you’ve been following me, you probably have an idea of how it all played out. I told both girls that I was sleeping around and couldn’t be exclusive. And then last week, while on a date with a girl I met at my art show, I fell in love with one of that girl’s friends and wound up in an exclusive relationship. (That in itself is kind of a funny story but I’ll get to that later).

Coming very soon: images of (and statements for) three new works, including two from late last year that are among my biggest to date. We’re talking giant pieces with long, detailed, embarrassing, fucked up stories. I’m excited!

Fun fact: I first tried to paint “Rainbows and Puppy Dogs” in the spring of 2014, got frustrated with my inability to paint a dog, went in another direction, and wound up with this piece.

I’m so fucking in love with this girl

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I had been referring to my trip up to Normal to face my charges as a “sex vacation.” (I had six different girls I was gonna stop to fuck along the way up and back). Instead I invited this girl that I had just met a couple days prior and wound up falling in love. It’s a total aside but I feel a little bit bad because I had a few different things going with different girls that have now – consequently – been totally shut the fuck down, but when this sort of thing happens and just clicks, what can you really do about it? I’m in love and it’s wonderful.

I’ve got a whole, whole lot more to say about all this; some of it’s as dopey as that last sentence, some of it is sobering realizations that I’ve had about past relationships…. whatever – that can all come later. Here are some photos from our li’l road trip.

10949787_1019097941453596_769795759_nOur first stop was in Atlanta to visit Mary Beth. Wallis fell quick for MB’s new rescue pup, Barnsley.

10933179_1019097344786989_1976689001_nAfter my court appearance in Normal, we went to Chicago and found us a Chris Spillane. Which is sorta great, seein’ as I’m kinda givin’ Wallis the Chris-Spillane-treatment right now. And ’cause – you know – he’s my best friend.

10958723_1019097304786993_1244343040_nAfter playing tourists and eating Chicago deep dish pizza (something I never did while I was living in Chicago), we braved the winter night and headed out to the abandoned factory on the river to go exploring. The underground river in the basement was frozen but Wallis wouldn’t let me try to walk on it.

10947529_1019097178120339_1867015423_nBack at old 1752 (a place for Shitty Children), we reconnected with the old crew. Mike apparently hates me now and acted like a real bully and an asshole all night. It was a bummer but I did my best to take his abuse gracefully and (luckily) he passed out pretty early in the night. Travis, on the other hand, was definitely on his shitty-children-A-game and was really fun to hang out with.

10958845_1019097124787011_1764400944_nOn our way back down south, we saw a sign for Dinosaur World and decided we needed to stop and spend the night so we could go when it opened up in the morning. We were the only people there so we got away with climbing the ropes and taking photos. Wallis makes for a pretty cute dinosaur.

10950165_1019097008120356_1735745218_nI don’t think you’re supposed to climb up on the mammoth’s tusks but I do what I want.

10952172_1019096878120369_1744012000_nWallis uncovered the bones of a stegosaurus in the fossil dig. I’ve never been so proud.

10949787_1019096741453716_1449382224_nAfter Dinosaur World, we went to check out the world’s largest (400 miles) cave – Mammoth Cave (in Kentucky). Hung out there for two hours before heading back to Atlanta where we’re hanging out now, back at Mary Beth’s place again. For lunch I ate black truffle macaroni and cheese with lobster ’cause I’m a fucking millionaire now.

Today, I’ve got a couple people in Atlanta to meet up with and then we’ll head back to Jacksonville later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Good trip.

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!

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.

A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke

I drove past a bridge this morning that was so beautiful that I caught myself actually exclaim, “holy shit,” out loud. If I needed any evidence that I’m not the miserable, cynical little shithead of years past, I think that might be it.

Here’s a painting and a “story.”

"A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke." 2/20/14. Acrylic, spray, and watercolor paints, food coloring, and ink. 36x48".
“A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke.” 2/20/14. Acrylic, spray, and watercolor paints, food coloring, and ink. 36×48″.

My first large, expressive painting after I decided to leave my girlfriend, break my lease, buy a van, and devote myself entirely – not only to the creation of art – but to traveling the country, chasing after whatever opportunity may come along and getting serious about building a real life and career as a professional artist.

I’m happy with this painting as “art,” less so insomuch as it’s a personal artifact. The whole thing was fueled by a sense of inadequacy and complimented by anxiety and fear as I wrapped up the loose ends in my personal life and prepared to embark on the new course I had charted for myself. A lot of my art is chaotic and busy but – in this case – I was adding to it and making changes everyday (for more than two weeks!) because I just didn’t feel like it was enough.

There’s a good deal of small print spread around this piece, addressing a veritable shit ton of emotionally-bananas nonsense.  Regarding the large caption (“Sometimes I’ll see a plume of my own cigarette smoke in my peripheral and mistake it for an approaching human; so – NO – I wouldn’t say that I’m all that lonely”):

“I don’t think I’ve felt lonely since I started this. I wrote that shit in my phone a month ago and pulled it out [just now] to show the world how god damn clever I am. It was real when I thought it though but that was before I even broke up with my girlfriend.”

One of the primary objectives from my continuing care treatment plan reviews was always to go out and interact with HUMAN BEINGS more often. The night I wrote this, I went to see some bands play at Rain Dogs but was (of course) set up to sell prints and working on this painting as well. At one point, it was actually in my lap as I painted in a corner. I realized it and scribbled, “I’m out but I’m holding a four-foot canvas. AREN’T I QUIRKY?!?!” (Because I’m still not comfortable simply existing in a crowd. It makes me anxious to be seen when my presence doesn’t have an obvious purpose). Painting, or selling something, gives me one.

Between starting and finishing this painting, I met a girl that I maybe kinda sorta like a little bit. The story of our first two nights together is thoroughly documented in my EPIC POEM, “The Long Con.” On that second night though, when I FOLLOWED HER SIGNAL and made my move (only to be shot down!) I was pretty confused. At the same time, it was a relief to know that I could just hang out with her and not worry about whether I was saying or doing the right things to eventuate our sleeping together that night. After all, did I really even like her? Maybe I just wanted to feel validated by getting her to like me

“It’s sort of a relief, it’s nothing that matters, it’s just insecurity, it doesn’t add up to shit. The day I understand anything at all… whatever. BUT HOW COME I LOOK OVER AND SHE’S SMILING AT ME LIKE THAT? WHAT DOES SHE KNOW THAT I DON’T?”

For the most part, I was able to sort of laugh off what, in that moment, I perceived as rejection. (It helped that a friend had told me she was only interested in girls). Even still, I don’t get all that bold that often. I usually find a way to guarantee that there’s a green light before I put my fragile little ego on the line like I did. The aftershock of the incident had me feeling a little shaky. This was the eve of a much bolder risk; this was the night before I started the next phase of my life. My next scribble said, “I’m leaving tomorrow and scared and on edge and cry and shoot drugs.” While I didn’t actually cry and I definitely didn’t shoot any drugs, that’s the kind of self-pity/doubt that I was slipping in and out of. (Girls are DANGEROUS for me).

I was still struggling to find happiness in my painting. I was trying too hard. When I finally went back to basics and scratched out SOME FUNNY FACES, I had an epiphany: “I am reinvigorated by funny faces. Sometimes I try to expand and grow as an artist. FUCK THAT! Write what you know (my own mental instability); paint what you know (funny faces).” I started to feel better immediately. Not that that stopped me from finding new and exciting ways to fuck up or otherwise complicate my life! Within a day or so, I had cause to add…

“I’m in the middle of a 61-day crystal/herb spiritual healing. I was told that my [ultimate] spiritual goal should be “to be an excellent father” even though I said I didn’t think I wanna have kids [‘cause I’m too self-absorbed / preoccupied to ever be a decent father]. Long story short, cumming on her face tonight seemed too IMPERSONAL so – between the two things – I decided to make her the first girl I’ve ever intentionally cum inside of. She wasn’t mad but I’m OUT OF MY MIND. (Her too).”

So now I was mixed up and sleeping with four girls but only excited about one of them and – in moments – questioning even the authenticity of my feelings for her. BECAUSE I DON’T UNDERSTAND MY OWN BRAIN SOMETIMES. And I definitely have trouble trusting my feelings. AND I’M EMOTIONALLY FICKLE! As I concluded with my in-painting journal:

“I keep trying to get girls to fall in love with me AND IT KEEPS WORKING. And then I sort of lose interest and feel like an asshole. It’s not like I’m fully planning it that way but it keeps happening and I should probably know better by now. MAYBE I FINALLY DO??”

 I stopped and seriously considered it. “Am I done? Do I finally get it? Am I ready to stop fucking around and validating myself by (as I love to put it) tricking girls into thinking I’m worthwhile?”

“J/K LOL,” I added, and my painting was finished.

The Long Con

Remember when I wrote something along the lines of, “I just spent three hours writing poetry in a coffee shop so I figured it’s about time I grew my first beard?” Well, here’s the product of that (from February 13th and 14th).

BUT FIRST – because I know how you kids like pictures – here’s a photo of me working on “Another Painting  By My Favorite Artist,” the night before it was finished.

Me 'n' Mikey Twohands, workin' on some art. Photo by Rosaly Natera.
Me ‘n’ Mikey Twohands, makin’ art. Photo by Rosaly Natera.


“The Long Con”

She was drunk and I flirted with her.
She said we were friends on Facebook.
I said I didn’t know.
But I knew.
Just a little bit.

 She had liked one of my photos.
I think I liked one of hers.
The internet is fun.

I got back to Hembrough’s apartment and asked him for the scoop on this girl he worked with.
He told me that she was gay. Or that she was bi.
“More into girls” and “done with guys.”
I smiled.
“I can work with that.”

At the bar,
When she acknowledged that she knew who I was,
I asked if she had seen my art and read my stories.
“Just Facebook.”
So you don’t actually know just how special I am yet.”
She said she had an idea.
“Scale of one to ten,” I asked.
She gave me a seven and a half.
Which was totally unacceptable.

I hit her up the next day.
“I’m leaving town soon. Let me know if you wanna hang out before I go.
I can TALK MORE AT YOU about how special I am.”
We met up that night. At the marina.
We walked around a little, talking, getting to know one another.

It was going well. We got along well. Connected on a lot of levels.
We related. Seemed to have similar worldviews. Mostly similar.
I liked her attitude generally. Her notions about the universe. How things work.
The brightness of her spirit.
At one point, I was overwhelmed by my adoration; I hugged her.
Her enthusiasm for an animal, a tree.
For living.

It struck me (and I told her) that, not so long ago,
I’d have thought that shit was retarded.

She told me about crystals.
It was awesome.

The next day, I wanted to see her again.
I asked her,
“If I don’t leave town until morning, would you wanna hang out tonight?”
I was really hoping she’d want to.
(And I kinda held off on leaving for just that reason).
For the chance of it.

She invited me over to her house.
I had intentionally waited until it was late enough –
When it wouldn’t make sense for us to go anywhere else.
I’m calculating like that.
But she didn’t lead me to her room.
The pretense of our late night meeting:
She said she wanted to see my new in-progress painting.
I brought it in and she pulled two chairs together, in the living room.
We arrived to a point of joking; the painting needed a literal silver lining.
I told her I’d do it. “I’ll do it right god damn now.” I threatened.
“I’ve got all this stuff in the van.”
“Do it,” she said.
“Well… um… do you… would you wanna paint with me?
It was already after 2AM. She said yes.

We painted together as people filtered in and out of the house around us.
Kind of hanging out, doing their own thing, talking to us, but mostly we painted.
We would talk together, occasionally one or the other to someone else.
Some kids on the couch sniffed cocaine from a bag.
I walked by to change the music and they tried to hide the drugs.
“I don’t mind,” I told them as I returned to my painting.
“I was in middle school once too,” I whispered to her.
Cocaine is a funny joke.

We listened to pop punk and I talked passionately about self-loathing and cheerful melodies,
Grit and sparkle, light and dark.
I focused on my canvas as I worked.
A few times, I looked over and noticed her – beaming at me.
With that smile. The one that really says…
The kind that I interpret as: “I’m really into you.”
She had that kind of Radiant, Outstanding, Beaming smile.

I didn’t even know how to react to it.
It made me kinda nervous.

The night before:
When we said goodnight. I gave her a hug and she hugged me back really well.
When I let go – this is when I would have kissed her – she said,
“I think you’re really cool”
Or something funny like that.
I smiled and I took it as a “don’t even try” sort of signal.


But tonight, I had been wondering,
“Is this girl into me? Is she not?”
When I saw her beaming at me like that, I decided:
“This girl is twenty-two.
She doesn’t know what she wants from me.
She wants whatever it is I decide she wants from me.”
I asked her if she wanted to come outside with me while I smoked a cigarette.
Before I lit it
(Because she doesn’t like the smell of smoke
(Especially menthols))
I pulled her in toward me. Hugged her. Embraced her. Put my hand on the back of her head.
She did the same, really pulling herself in close.
But when I started to pull slightly back,
To tilt her head, to kiss her,
She said,
“I think you’re really special,”
And I laughed.
“Is that your way of saying ‘Don’t try anything?'”
“I think so.”

Fair enough.

I didn’t feel rejected. I felt kind of relieved because –
You know –
There was no longer any pressure of
Having to have sex with this girl.
It wasn’t gonna happen; we could just be…
We could just be buddies.
Just fucking hang out, paint, whatever.


So we did. That was the rest of the night and then I left.
But I remember thinking:
I don’t know what’s what, I can’t figure out shit
But I feel relieved.
Because I’m just trying to sleep with this girl because of my own insecurity.
To show myself that I can.
That this girl would want me.
Like any girl would want me.
It’s a stupid game of validation.
I didn’t need to have sex.
It’s not like wanted to FUCK her.
It’s not that.
It’s just… what I do.
I validate myself through sex.
So I felt relieved. And I noted it.

But still – if she doesn’t want that
(It was an intense smile).

 In the morning, I thought about her,
About her rejecting me,
And a big smile crept across my face.
I think I might like this girl.
Even if she doesn’t wanna let me do TERRIBLE THINGS to her.
Maybe that’s even part of it.
I told her so.
She reciprocated.
And indicated
That she doesn’t let people do “terrible things” to her
Until she knows that they’re for real.
Or real friends.
Something like that.
And then with a flirty sort of emoticon.
Which isn’t especially poetic.
But this is 2014.
So it’s cool.
And I was re-energized.
It was cute and it made sense.
I was re-energized for The Long Con.

Hembrough and I like to talk about everything.
Really honestly, sincerely but
We also like to play
(As anyone who’s seen our Kendra Sheetz video knows)
Off the whole “fratboy, fuck-yeah, pickin’ up girls” thing.
Any effort to win a girl – for sex, for love
Even if it’s genuine – more than a sex thing
(Which in my case, it always is)
(Sex is the least important facet of my operation)
It requires a degree of skill, of deception.
A girl has to be tricked
Into believing that I’m worthwhile.
If the effort spans more than a single evening,
That’s what Hembrough and I like to call

We’ve kept in touch; we’ve been talking.
Things are nice.
But I realized last night,
(When I didn’t get all that far out of town)
I was wishing she was with me.
Wishing she was there,
Wishing that I was falling asleep next to her.
I didn’t want to have sex,
I just wanted to fall asleep with her.
Which is really sweet
I said I wanted to do “terrible things” to her
Well, the things I do are pretty terrible.
And girls are turned on by that; that works.
But THAT’S not what I had tried;
Not what I had led off with.
I had tried to kiss her.
Which isn’t terrible; it’s just… sweet.
And I realized that – since breaking up with Heather –
I have not done anything sweet.
Good, welcome, appreciated, but not sweet.
The last girl: I fucked four times;
I kissed her no times.
But I wanted to kiss this girl…
Is that because the dynamic between us
Is more of a personal / getting-to-know-you
And not a “we’re in this to fuck so let’s fuck”
Or is it because maybe there’s something else there?

It’s hard to say.
It’s always hard to know what’s real with me.

Is it just because she denied me?
Do I want what I can’t have? Is it that?
I don’t know.
I told Chris: I might like this girl.
I might actually be developing feelings for her.
But is that totally crazy? I don’t know
I don’t know
But I’m enjoying it for what it is right now

I’ve left town but I told her I wanted to call her,
Talk to her about these things.
I don’t know to what extent.
But she’s on my mind.
She’s the girl that’s occupying my thoughts.