The Friendship Has Hit The Reef

I am not a very good friend.

Or rather, I am a really good friend.  I just haven’t been lately.

I’ve been doing some soul searching as of late.  I have been thinking about what friendship means.  There are people who have been in my life for almost all of it.  There are people I’ve met twice.  And yet I refer to everyone as “my friend.”  And I mean it.  To me, a friend is someone I will help if I can, in whatever way, if possible.  Someone to talk to.  Helping them out with a project.  Going to see their band/play/movie.  Giving them extra money if I have.  Telling other people about their projects.  Wishing them happy birthday when it is their birthday.  Basically, someone I’m there for, and who is there for me.  I call that my friend.  And I mean it for most people.

But maybe that’s not accurate.  Because I’ve never been very selective in my friendships, I’ve done kind of a piss poor job of cultivating them.  We just started a garden a few months back.  And only now we’re seeing the little tomatoes redden. Or peppers pepper up.  Or basil, um, basiling.  And it fills me with joy.

But I haven’t been doing that with my friendships.  I’ve felt like a lot of people I genuinely care about are slipping away.  Or deciding that they aren’t getting enough from me on my side of the friendship see-saw.

I’ll be the first to admit.  Most of the time, I only reach out to people if I need something from them.  It’s shitty.  Like when I did the Kickstarter.  Or when I want people to “like” my author pages or write reviews for me.  I don’t write to see how they are doing.  Or what’s going on with them.  Part in parcel of that is the social media world we live in.  It lets us keep in constant check with each other, so we’re almost always up to date with our lives or at least the major events therein.   They say true friends can be apart for ten years and then come together as if nothing has changed.  Well, yeah, but why test that theory?

A lot of it is just that we’ve got families or responsibilities right now. Some of you have children or jobs that are most of your lives and that take up a good portion.  Some of you just lurk.  I’m terrible at consolation.  When people have deaths — be they pets, family members or parents — everything I type is empty and meaningless.  So many messages of “I’m sorry, I’m here, I love you” have been deleted or gone unsent.

The truth of the matter is, I’m just kind of shitty and self-absorbed.  I’m struggling out here with the acting. I keep doing what I’m supposed to — going to casting director workshops, keeping my pages updated, poking my representation, going on auditions.  But it’s just the nature of the business that I’m not getting work.  And I’m writing away, but not able to put together marketing or even worrying about pursuing representation there, so that’s not going great.  Seriously, my eyes light up when people write a glowing review — like Sarah Wesson’s awesome one — and when another little purchase comes in on Lulu or Amazon.  But those are few and far between.

I fucked things up with people.  A bunch of people are mad at me about Pajiba, and how I handled that.  And that was me.  I fucked that up.  Did shit happen to me that was uncool and fucked up?  Yeah.  But I handled that like a fucking spoiled superficial whiny little asshole. I pissed on people that were my friends.  I got snarky and paranoid.  I was unprofessional, immature, and generally a fucking asshole.  I fumbled that one, and then I spiked the fucking football and then I punched four people in the face.  I compounded my dumbfuckery.  And I lost friends that I will never get back.  And that’s on me.  I’ve been pulling that fucking trick since 2004.  Claiming that I’m the victim and rolling around moaning like a castrated moose.  But frankly, I haven’t owned up to my own roles in the circumstances.  I shouldn’t have said what I did.  I shouldn’t have complained.  I shouldn’t have been an asshole to people that care about me.  I shouldn’t have been a prick.  I shouldn’t have worried about what other people think.  I should have shut the fuck up and walked away classy.  And I didn’t.  And now, that part of my life is past.  I cut away a lot of friends in the aftermath.  And maybe they’ll have me back some day.  But I haven’t really given them any reason to want to come back with my pettiness and petulance.

The Kickstarter really pissed people off.  That I made mistakes on for other reasons.  I’m not sorry that I asked people for money.  I am sorry that people felt like I cheated them on the Prisco Relief Fund when I raised money for SAG/AFTRA.  People gave me money to join the unions.  I had to use part of that money to stay out in LA and survive.  Otherwise, why join the union?  And then I did join the union.  So I didn’t lie.  I didn’t scam anyone.  I legitimately thought that Jenny and I would have to leave LA.  And we made it.  Through the kindness of friends, through some insanely random circumstances.  So if you think that I snatched your funds and bolted, I’m telling you.  I didn’t.  I still have the list of everyone who helped me.  And I will keep my promise about reading it out loud at the first acting award I receive.

After the Kickstarter, I said somethings that in hindsight sounded pretty shitty.  I said that while I was grateful for the money, there were people who didn’t give me money and I wondered why that was.  That was not me saying, “Me got money, but me want more!”  Of course I want more.  But what I was saying was a twofold thing.  One, there were people who would not share my Kickstarter or tell their friends about it, but would support other Kickstarters.  They would not give me money, but they would give it to the other projects.  And I legitimately was curious as to why that was.  Was it something I did? Was it my project in particular?  Was it me?  If you don’t want to or can’t give money, believe me, I understand.  But I just didn’t understand why it was my particular Kickstarter they wouldn’t want to support.  I assume it just tied in to the whole “me being a shitty friend” thing, compounded with the — oh, fuck you if you think we’re giving you more money, deadbeat.”

I do not want to share in great details on this point.  The reason I did the Kickstarter in the first place is a personal one.  I used the auspices of “following my dreams” and “paying my student loans.”  Both of which are true, but let’s face it.  Writing a book of silly little flash fiction is not going to make me an actor or raise the exorbitant amounts of money I owe.  I needed money, and I needed it fast.  The reason I needed it: someone very important to me is not doing well and I needed money in case I need to transport myself to be with them.  That’s all I’m going to say about it.  I needed the money in case I need to uproot my life in a heartbeat.  Their heartbeat to be specific.  I just didn’t want to hinge my project on “Give me money while I wave this placard of pity before you.”  It wouldn’t be fair to them.  It wouldn’t be fair to you.

But all of this aside.  The real matter is, I’m kind of a jerk and all I do is mooch.  I don’t really pay off.  I’m trying to.  I’m trying real hard to be a good guy.  I’ve got a lot more work to do on myself.  But I hope I’m worth it.  I hope it’s not a matter of “We don’t have time for your bullshit.”  Some people feel that way, and they’re gone from my life.  And let’s face it.  Distance matters.  I’m over here in California with a limited batch of folks.  So I don’t get much social interaction.  And when I do, I let the problems on my back show on my face and play out in my voice and deed.  And that’s not much fun.

I hope you still like me.  I hope I haven’t irreparably severed ties.  I said with pride that I burned bridges.  And some of those bridges should have been burnt.  It was a toxic situation.  Mostly on my side.  And I while I can’t say with all certainty that I’m 100% drama and depression free, I’m working on it.

And for those who rode the waves of woe, I’m hoping it’ll pay off for you down the road.  I promise I’ll pay off some day.  And I love you more than I can fit in a long winded blog post.

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