Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Concrete Jungle Where I Lived For Awhile and Then Left

By: Kelly McClure

A week and a half ago I left New York to move to New Orleans. The week or so before I left I wanted to write the traditional "Goodbye to All That Yadda Yadda" post, but I was too busy, stressed, and exhausted to even do it. Which is perfect, and makes sense perfectly, in actually describing by not allowing me to take the time to describe, why I left New York. 

So now I'm here, in a new Not New York place. It's been a week. I saw a slug yesterday. I don't know how to begin to write this. I don't know how to begin to describe what it feels like to experience the essence of a city drain out of your pores like nicotine. It's like that scene in The Crow where "The Crow" found that drug lady in the bathtub and squeezed morphine goo out of her needle holes and was like "morphine is bad for you." And while I wouldn't really say that New York was bad for me (and I'm probably only not saying that because I'm still addicted to it, and that's what addicts say) it definitely left me curled up in the bathtub a few too many times. 

Maybe this is a good place to start. I'll list of a few options for what this post could be titled. Let's do that.

1) New York, concrete jungle that you dropped your ice cream cone on and then couldn't afford to buy another one so just went home and ate old crackers.

2) New York, concrete jungle where you left an ovary in the Staten Island hospital.

3) New York, concrete jungle where you sometimes didn't leave the house for days because you'd rather do without something than have to walk to the train and hear no less than five guys say something about your ass.

4) New York, concrete jungle where you woke up every morning driven to do something great with your career, but you already did that great thing and it turned out to be horse shit. 

A lot of people have written about living in New York and then leaving it. It's a thing. There's not much new to say about it, other than the fact that it is "a thing" enough that a shit ton of people HAVE written about it. I can't off the top of my head think of a time I read a post called "Goodbye to All That France," so, it must be something special. 

I think what it comes down to is that whenever a person moves to New York, and then leaves it, they struggle with the nagging voice inside them that says "you didn't do it well enough. You failed." What I learned after my six-ish years living there though is that that nagging voice *IS* New York. The whole time I was there, no matter how great I was doing, how many successes I had, I always felt like I wasn't doing enough, not using New York to it's full potential. And that's the hateful slime under those city streets (now I'm using a Ghostbusters reference. Just really bringing all kinds of shit into this) that will hollow you like a nasty dried out apple.

The thing that allowed me to loosen my sweaty grip on my trite "NYC 4-EVR!" dream was the realization that I could just stop. I didn't HAVE to live there. I didn't HAVE to pay an actual asshole's amount of money to live in a shitty studio in an up and coming area just because it's an up and coming area and just because "that's just what you do." 

Hear me now: There is no such thing as "that's just what you do." You have ONE life, and you can do whatever the fuck you want. Forever. Period. 

Hear me twice: You don't have to live in New York. 

But I get it. I do. Even as I'm typing this I'm thinking about how I watched Gotham while I was exercising yesterday and teared up seeing a young Bruce Wayne walk around those assclappingly beautiful streets. To me. Even now. There can never be a city more beautiful than New York. But, like the job there that I almost killed myself working for, I'm done with loving something that can't love me back. 

So now I'm here. In Not New York. It smells like 50 different flowers at any time of the day or night. I talked to more people on my new street the first day than I did in the three-ish years I spent in my last apartment. I have a five room house for $200 more than I was paying for a studio in Crown Heights. I work from home doing the same damn thing I did in New York. And at the end of the day, when I stand up from my desk and walk outside, I can walk a good five minutes without seeing a single person. If I time it just right. 

(I'll probably move back some day.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Truth In Baltimore

By: Ben Johnson

Are Baltimore gang members more reasonable and compassionate than you are?

I couldn’t tell you for certain what’s happening in Baltimore right now. I have guesses. I guess that the organized, reasonable protests among blighted and forgotten segments of the population on the just and righteous and undeniably shitty end of the nightstick of history are a big deal. I guess that whatever elements of violence that are happening have been overblown, and are not a big deal, and are certainly not anywhere near as big of a deal as the other thing, the reason for it. Those are my own personal guesses.

I also guess that people are taking government paychecks from taxpayer money, and from all of the things sold from one person to another money, and from poor people court fee money, and from do you know why I pulled you over yes I have at least one guess traffic ticket money, and from lottery money and cigarette and liquor and please god let it stop for a blessed minute tax money, and also from property tax money begrudgingly handed over by the big money boys with a whole gravitational field of strings attached, the big grubby pool of money the collection and expenditure of which represents any city’s priority structure; and these employees are out there, tasked with an impossibly diverse portion of our competing collective responsibilities and trained only to wield blunt inherited tools of right and wrong, and also sometimes, as if by honest accident, killing people. Ending lives. And treating it very much like a cost of doing business, which of course it is. Those are some of my guesses about Baltimore.

I’m guessing also that we are all, by birth or by choice I will be so diplomatic as to call inadvertent, complicit in it. I’m guessing we know this. I’m guessing we all feel the silent, long-expired eyes of a stern native staring us down every time we look out a window and see a tree, or feel the shockingly recent heat bloom of 400 summers of forced blood harvest every time we put on cotton socks, or ride along with the ghost of an expended Chinese laborer on every morning train commute to work, or in a general sense toast to immense and unending and unendable suffering every time we raise a glass to life itself. I’m guessing this knowledge stings like hell, and I guess we have no choice but to ignore it to a certain extent just to stay upright and breathe the air and appreciate the divine luck of having lived. I’m guessing this for all of us, with varying depths of hidey holes in the sand for ostrich heads of varying neck length, some down to the lonely bedrock of pathology.

I’m guessing also that all of this started the instant some prehistoric ape thought I am me and you are not, and smashed some other ape over the head with a rock and took its dinner, and this weird ape glitch perpetuated itself because it turns out dinner wins. Dinner, then rock, and paper, and scissors, and a sincere apology in a very distant last place. The only question with the apology is whether or not it will finish, though it makes no difference in the record books. I’m guessing.

Those are all the guesses I have about Baltimore. The tragedy there is the one larger human tragedy. The one that says help us you’re killing us and taking our dinner, and worse you’re locking your own personal avarice into the genetic record, and there’s not a damn thing anybody is ever going to do about it past a certain point, because we all have I am me and you are not ape brains. This tragedy is an echo of all that we have gotten wrong and will continue to get wrong, and a further definition of the shape of our wrongness and the degree of burn and the stench of it, the willfulness and complicity of it, the absolute obvious needlessness of it, and the nagging sense that it is worsening, that hardwired into our basic wrongness is an uncomfortable maxim that when times get toughest we are induced to turn on each other with increasing viciousness, even while the opposite is our single favorite bedtime story.

But just as surely the triumph is the larger human triumph, the one that says that people together are worth more than people apart, and can cooperate to get the dinner flowing back out the other direction, and that it eventually won’t matter that the dinner hoarders and rock magnates and their unwitting sycophant business associates are running like terrified ninnies from the plain fact of their complicity to willfully shovel a portion of their dinners back into the mouth of whoever is buying ad time on CNN, a tidal clamoring to swallow the most ignorable I am good and they are not version of every story as a temporary ameliorant, hopefully with enough refills to last until death or doomsday. The triumph happening in Baltimore is another in a series of desperately needed reminders that the ape brain can extend to we are us and so are you, and there need not ever be a “them” if we can all just agree on a few very basic things like for instance not killing each other to protect another man’s dinner.

A further triumph in Baltimore is a propagation of knowledge. There is one rich gift, more precious than dinner, that life bestows but sparingly, and apportions independently of the struggle for survival that every living thing faces, and that gift is the truth. I couldn’t tell you for certain what truth is, just as I couldn’t tell you for certain what’s happening in Baltimore right now, but I do know that nobody gets any truth unless they look for it, diligently, in all directions.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why Jason Kidd Will Be Shot Into The Ocean: Ancient NBA Prophecy

By: Katie Heindl

Professional sports are rife with tradition. You could argue any composition of people with a shared interest or skill-set that forms to comprise a group will, at some point, take on ritualistic tendencies. This doesn’t equate necessarily to anything beyond butt slaps and wearing underwear for so long that in any other job it’d get you fired, but sometimes, every so often, the rituals of sport coalesce beyond their shared tendencies to leave you broke after 5+ stadium beers into something more celestial. Something more ancient.
On the 69th year of the National Basketball Association’s existence, when Goran and Zoran are traded to the same team in an environ surrounded by 3 different sources of subtropical, tepid water (né Dragić’s Long Drink né Not Without My Brother né Warlocks At Da Club), and the depraved, predatory eyes of Pierre The Pelican have wreaked cold terror on our lives for 3 long years in concurrence with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reaching peak cranky, at the Dawn of the Silver Age; when all of these conditions are met, it is NBA prophecy that Jason Kidd will be ejected to the bottom of the sea.
I hate Jason Kidd, it’s true, but this is bigger than me and as stone-set as Natural Law. It’s called the Scumbag Statute and it’s as sure as breathing and as primal as a bunch of old-ass farmers getting together every year and inventing an almanac. There were some chances it could’ve been stopped this past regular season – had someone dunked over a painting of themselves, if LeBron didn’t embellish the number of friends he has, the capturing and safe removal of the evil Plumlee from this earth, etc  – but without any of them having been heeded Kidd’s fate is sealed, the ancient wheels in motion.
It will unfold as such: The Bulls will defeat the Bucks 4-2, Derrick Rose revealing in Game 3 that his knees are the only part of his body affected by Mercury Retrograde. Going forward, his team doctor develops specially magnetized splints that reverse the cosmic reversal and he is able to transcend this once crippling condition. He is also sent to the spa more often because everyone realizes they were being a little hard on him. The Greek Freak and Gasol rumble around on the court like a couple of Titans but strike up a secret off-court relationship revolving mainly around arm wrestling that hurts both of their foul shots. Because the collective age of the Bucks adds up to one fake ID they spend most of their nights in Chicago holed up in the hotel while Thibodeau’s silhouette Hitchcocks itself against every alleyway and dark corner. The Bucks grow afraid, they stop checking in with their coach at night. At home, where a freak April deep-freeze has thrust the city back into winter, none of them want to leave their houses and even then, nary a PS4 gets touched. It is in this way the bloodlust rising in Bango goes unnoticed. When casting their memories back, a few members of the Bucks dance team will recall Bango mumbling guttural under his breath, “The Buck stops here” but thought it a new pump-up tactic given the poor performance of the players on home court.
The sun starts setting earlier in Milwaukee in what seems an eerie reversal back to Winter Solstice. In Chicago, everyone is feeling pretty happy with the warmest spring on record unfolding. Thibodeau wears a tank top and seems confident about the choice. Michael Jordan has been spotted a few times around town with what looks like a full trunk of scrap metal one day, and strange, futuristic looking mechanical parts the next. Derrick Rose is so loose from his spa visits he maneuvers around, over, above every Milwaukee player and once through the legs of Bayless, who shares his same identical height. Bango is looking less and less like the freewheelin’ Buck of yore and more like the severe, stylized 2014-2015 season logo. His letterman sweater seems to be unraveling in real time, a line of green yarn trailing him wherever he goes.
Jason Kidd disappears in the night. The only thing recovered from his home is a phone with some really out of focus selfies and a well-worn copy of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. Strangely, no one seems that worried and for the first day in many it stops snowing. A strange cannon-like structure is spotted on the frozen shores of Whitefish Bay by some dudes that were really out for a rip on their ski-doos. When attempting a closer inspection they swear they saw something hanging from the precipice cocooned in what looked like green yarn but they never got a good look because something with red eyes glared at them from the nearby woods and “fuckin spooked the right living shit fuckin right the fuck outta us” [sic]. The police are too busy with distress calls from people getting stranded on ice floes in Lake Michigan as the temperature begins to climb to start any kind of search and the NBA rules in favor of the Bulls taking the series, mostly cause everyone else has finished up their first rounds and is getting a touch chompy at the bit.
Waking from what seems like the kind of night he’d had back on the Jersey Shore Kidd comes to with a groggy smile on his face but soon realizes he’s lodged into what appears to be a tight, cylindrical tube. He pummels the glass panel with his palms and screams as an antlered head jerks into view. Bango stares down at him with blood red eyes, frothing at the mouth, returned to his natural hide save for a ratty, green sweater collar around his neck. His antlers are bloodied and Kidd makes out what looks like the remnants of a number 11 Heat jersey hanging from them in shreds. Kidd screams again and Bango makes what seems like the “hang loose” hand gesture before disappearing from sight. The machine around him groans and rumbles to life and Kidd feels his stomach sink and skin go cold in a feeling he realizes was described to him once as “fear of consequence”. He has about 5 seconds to reflect on it before he is launched into the atmosphere and goes unconscious.
He wakes again as the chamber hits the Atlantic. It was made by a rabid deer and the shoddy machinist skills of Michael Jordan so it begins to take on seawater immediately. He sinks. He is [coordinates redacted] off the [coordinates redacted] and he knows no one would ever think to look for him here. He thinks of his Nike Zoom Uptempo commercial, he thinks of his Century 21 bobblehead, his eyes roll back into his head, the ocean presses down on him in a way incurring all the luxury tax of the Nets never did.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Audrey Karrasch Opens Up About Being an Artist and Being on The Voice

By: Audrey Karrasch

I recently moved to Los Angeles, however I spend at least two weeks out of the month traveling to Kansas City, New York, or Nashville to write, record, and rehearse my songs. It’s always interesting trying to explain what I do to people, especially in Los Angeles. I’m just one in a gazillion people out here chasing dreams. It’s pretty common for someone to say “I’m an artist, I act, I write, I perform etc.” The biggest difference between me and many other aspiring young females is that I don’t have a part time job, I don’t do ‘a little bit of everything.' I’m not a waitress (anymore). Plan B doesn’t exist. 

I’m a 24/7 bag lady flying from place to place chasing creative moments. I have had so many part time jobs and gigs to stay afloat in this high maintenance life of being an artist and I realized I am completely content being utterly poor eating ramen for every meal while I chase my dreams. 

When I had part time jobs my energy was compromised and I consistently felt like I was missing out on my calling. It’s not that I’m above working as a waitress, it’s that I can’t hold a job long enough without having to quit a month later, or without getting fired because I was in the kitchen writing down lyrics instead of taking orders. Whoops. 

One of the most annoying questions I’m asked upon meeting someone is, “What do you do for a living?” It’s annoying for two reasons: First, we just met. Why in the fuck do I feel like you’re interviewing me? My answer is either going to disappoint you, I’m not going to measure up to your preconceived expectation for me, or you’re going to be interested and I’ll have to tell you more. That leads to the second reason it’s annoying: I’ll start explaining what kind of music I write, then I’m asked what bands playing on the radio I sound similar to, if I’m “signed," and then that person will try and connect me to the one other person in their life that does music and I’ll feel rude for rejecting the invitation and being uninterested. 

That may make me sound like a bitch and maybe I’ll regret admitting this later. When I meet someone who is a mechanic I don’t try and persuade them to be friends with another mechanic I know just because they both work on cars. I think that’s a pet peeve for me because when I do share my music with someone and the first thing they do is imply I should meet their producer friends I feel slightly insulted as if the music I’m writing now isn’t good enough. That their friends could “make me better!”
Photo by Joey Lingad 
Last week in Los Angeles I sat down with a gentleman buy the name of John Payne (LA WEEKLY,, who is writing a bio for me. I had a lot of anxiety walking in. Telling a complete stranger what I did for a living for a lengthy period of time didn’t exactly sound fun. What was he going to ask me? How could I convey who I was just by rambling on about my routines for over an hour? I walked into the cafe after sitting in LA traffic for over an hour, I was mad at myself for being late (as usual), my hair was messy and I wasn’t exactly having a cute day. He greeted me and we walked back to a booth that was tucked away in a corner so we could have privacy. The menu was a little overwhelming and I couldn’t decide if I was about to order a milkshake or a burger so I settled with coffee. That was a good choice as his recording device would have picked up my sloppy eating and I was thankful l made that decision. 

After five minutes of small talk he pressed record and asked me to share my story with him. I began my normal script. “I’m 22, I’m from Reno, NV. (Yes, like Reno911)  I’m a singer songwriter. I write pop music but it’s a little alternative. I want to perform at the Super Bowl one day, uhhhhh yeah what else?” I was pleasantly surprised when he interrupted me after 30 seconds and said, “I know what you do. Tell me about you.” WOAH, you wanna know about me? I didn’t know where to begin. For so long being an artist was just my identity. I didn’t really know what to say. So many areas of my life I thought were ugly, embarrassing, or just simply uninteresting. I reminded myself that he was a stranger and chances of me seeing him again were slim so I fired away. I thought about 10 minutes would be enough and by then I would have either scared the shit out of him and we’d wrap up or he would be intrigued and my real story would be told. 

I told him about my childhood, my brothers, my marching band days. I told him about being in a band and opening for Paper Tongues and Neon Trees when I was 16 and how that night has shaped the rest of my life. I could feel myself starting to open up and as the minutes passed by I was beginning to feel like I was talking a shrink, one that I actually wanted to talk to and not one my parents sent me to. It was in that moment where the F bombs and sailor vocabulary started to fly out of my mouth that a young family sat down at the table right next to us even though EVERY table in the restaurant was available. I tried to put a filter on it because I didn’t want to freak the youngsters out. I wondered what they were thinking. Who is the odd pair next to us and why is she just rambling on and on about rock shows and why is she speaking with her hands so much and maybe she’s his call girl that he just pays to talk loudly next to him? Ha. Whatever. 

At this point I was sharing with John my experience being on The Voice and how that show made me feel a like a money puppet. I felt like my artistry was compromised while being on The Voice and I never experienced anxiety or self-doubt until being on that stage. The show did not portray me as the woman I am and even though I thought it was a great opportunity for exposure and a chance to break into the industry I’ve had to do a lot of damage control since then. I explained that my addiction only got worse on the show, at that point I tried to speak softly because I didn’t want to set a bad example for the children eating their nuggets beside us.

John was pretty quiet the first 15 minutes and as I started to open up I think he was shocked at how different I am in person. He said, “You are not that girl on The Voice." That was the nicest compliment. 

It was so refreshing to share with someone, even a stranger, my story. I think every artist should be able to have a conversation with someone like that, at least just once. It reminded me of who I am, how far I have come, and how close I am to achieving what it is I want. It’s easy to feel like I’m just playing the lottery every day hoping my number gets called, and that I don’t stand a chance at all. Everyone wants this. I have always dreamed so big that I assume everyone else’s dreams are just as big as mine and/or the same. Before I was able to embrace being an artist I’ve had to embrace the person I am. 

Suddenly all of my pet peeves about people asking me what I do had vanished. I had just shared so much with someone that was just me. It wasn’t for a television show; it’s not a reality cattle call. I don’t need to meet anyone’s expectations or worry about what people think of me. If people think I’m crazy because I’m an artist, good. They should, because you have to be crazy to do what I do. There’s some good in some crazy. My meeting with John at the diner was an eye opening experience. Plus, now I can say I have a new friend (hopefully fan) in Los Angeles. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Housewife’s Guide To Voting

By Kathy Iandoli

For those who don’t know, I work at a gym. And by “work at a gym,” I mean I’m a writer who just goes to the gym all day because writers don’t really write.  So at my suburban New Jersey gym are a gaggle of Stepford Wives who hang out there just as much as I do and irk the shit out of me while they’re power walking on treadmills and talking really loudly to each other. Their favorite topics? Reality TV and politics. It’s like chewing on asbestos and chasing it with rubbing alcohol. 

They have no idea what they’re talking about in either arena, but politics mostly. So when the news arrived that Hillary Clinton was running for President, I sort of expected these women to remember they have vaginas and be down for the cause. Not so much. “We’re a Republican household,” was one comment overhead from the elliptical machines. “My husband doesn’t want her to win,” was another that echoed from the stair climbers. 

After spending six days a week in 65-minute intervals with these women, you begin to realize that many (not all) housewives do not adopt their own political views. They have no wants or needs of their own, so they just hold down the fucking house and get swallowed by the hive mind. And since it would be unfair of me to say that every woman should help place a fellow woman in the White House, I would just like to remind you of a few things when determining who to vote for outside of “whoever my husband votes for.” So listen up housewives. Here are five things you need to think about. #DeepThots

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice
Please stop pretending you weren’t a whore in high school who used abortions as birth control. Your five children now are not your salvation, and it gives you no right to decide what another woman chooses to do with her body now that you’ve resolved that you’re a baby-making machine. And even worse, “My husband is so against abortion.” Okay, who the fuck is HE?

If you don’t have a job, then you are not a part of the “we” when it comes to income. Go set up a fucking lemonade stand and claim your 30 cents a year, but please don’t act like your husband’s income is your own. What he pays in taxes is only a direct threat to your weekly allowance, and if he leaves you then you will be a part of the lower class so stop shitting on them. 

Health Care Reform
Chances are, if you can afford to sit at the gym all day, your husband is either an oil tycoon or a doctor. The fact that health care reform “really affected him” only really affected his ability to charge $87,000 for a mole removal. You’re winning here. You can finally get that chlamydia that you’ve been hiding from him treated free of charge now, so look into that.

The Military
I have heard housewives use the term “our boys” to describe the armed forces more times than I care to say. Your toddlers of today can be drafted tomorrow. You never know. So while you’re tying yellow ribbons around oak trees, just remember you might be voting in someone who wants to send your kid to Afghanistan.

I don’t really care that you can afford to pay all four years of your child’s tuition and look at kids with financial aid in disgust. Do you know what four years of fully funded privilege gets you? A frat brother who uses your weekly checks to buy date rape drugs because he’s never had to work for anything in his life or a daughter who pops Plan B — you know, that oral abortion that you’re so vehemently against.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Saw Sufjan Stevens Live And It Made Me Miss My Dead Father

By: Theodora Karatzas

Kelly McClure already wrote the piece that I wish I could write about Sufjan Stevens’ new album Carrie & Lowell. Even if I wanted to though, I don’t know if I can.

I only know my father from the photos I’ve found tucked away in boxes and the stories people have told me. He died when I was two years old, too young to have formed any memories about him of my own. I hear he was a brilliant artist. His friends tell me that I look like him. I’ve become well acquainted with the look of sadness that falls over my senile grandfather’s face when I have to remind him who I am by telling him I’m his dead son’s daughter. 

I’ve spent my life trying to understand my dad so that I can understand myself. When I was young and even still today, I feel like I’m uncovering missing pieces of my identity as I find out more about him, a sort of archeological dig on oneself. In the same way that I have poured over papers and photos from my own family, Carrie & Lowell feels like an exercise in self-exploration through the ghosts of a departed parent, as well as a cathartic process in letting go of the past.

Stevens’ own tumultuous past hits close to home for me in some ways. His mother Carrie took off when he was a child, popping back in and out of their lives until her untimely passing in 2012. Like Carrie, my dad suffered from various substance abuse problems and mental illness. Unlike Stevens, I don’t have any happy memories to temper the pain of loss. I’ve had to latch on to the memories of others to see the good in this stranger of a man that makes up half of myself.

Stevens’ music has always felt deeply personal. His lyrics are delicate but cutting, layered across lush instrumentation and beautiful harmonies. His live show is overwhelming and all consuming, like stepping into a James Turrell exhibit and watching as everything else melts away. As I sat in the Beacon Theatre for his recent New York show, I could feel my breath catching in my throat, forgetting to inhale and exhale as old photos and video from his childhood flashed on screens in front of me and lights danced across the crowd.

Hearing Stevens and the rest of his band chanting “We’re all gonna die” over and over again On “Fourth of July,” as the music reached a fever pitch, sent me into a state of numbness. When you’re confronted with mortality at such a young age, it’s a hard truth to shake and it only feels more and more real the older you get. I walked out of that show with a deep longing that’s gnawed at me for years. A longing that I’ve had to keep in check for my whole life so that it doesn’t completely tear me apart. There is a hole where my father used to be, a part of myself that I feel was stolen away from me, a part I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find. It’s a terrible thing to lose a parent at any age, but it stings in a particularly odd way when you can’t even remember them. You end up carrying the weight of their life on your shoulders, becoming the living legacy of a dead man. 

I wish I could write a record about my father. I wish I could fill the pages of a book with my memories and stories about him and how much he meant to me. The thing is, I can’t. I miss a man I never knew. Stevens’ relationships to his mother and her death are very similar, yet so different than mine. With Carrie & Lowell, he seems to be piecing together the things he had, weaving these stories into the woman he might have known and embracing her for what she was to him. I’ve had less to work with on my own parental quilting project, but I’m getting there with the borrowed stories and carefully collected scraps that trickle into my life. I don’t know if I’ll ever really know my dad or feel entirely ok about losing him, but I do know that I have to try and understand him if I ever want to understand my self.