I grew up a big fan of stand up comedy, yet I never once thought of going to a show. It just wasn't something in my world, but that all changed a few years ago. A few friends of mine invited me out to one in Dallas, and it was a hell of a show. Full of funny talented people, one of which was an honest to god cowboy. The man was funny and left an impression with his set. He stood out, clearly younger than most of the other people up there, we would find out later just how young, and yet he commanded the room. He had a presence. Watching him on stage you could see how alive he was up there. He seemed to be having such a genuine good time up there, that you couldn't help but have one along with him.
After the show ended, my friends and I wanted to grab a bite to eat at the restaurant next door, but we couldn't leave without joining in with the others congratulating the comedians. They were all very polite and friendly, but only one really engaged with us in conversation. So much so, that after we finished talking in front of the venue, he joined us at the restaurant. We all ordered drinks, but our new friend got a Dr. Pepper, because he wasn't yet old enough to drink. We were blown away by how young he was. You would never have known.
That night was so much fun. Just talking and joking around with a guy we had just seen on stage moments before, yet after talking to him, even for a little, you felt like you had known him for years. When the night came to an end, we all exchanged information and promised to keep in touch. The same empty platitudes we all give when meeting someone new. Nothing ever comes from it. You never hear from them again. Cowboy Kasey was different. He actually kept in touch. Even inviting us out to another show. Which was just as great as the first one. He was so great on stage, had such a presence that the last time me and my friends entered a film race, we reached out to him to act in it.
He was the only actor who showed up for every preproduction meeting. Every one. Always offering ideas and elevating our spirits when we hit walls. The rest of us have known each other for years, we were all very close and yet Kasey fit in perfectly. Never missed a beat. Due to scheduling, he was only in the first scene. Only acting with us for a couple hours on a single night, yet there was not a person on that set he didn't impact. The other actors still ask about him. Talk about his sense of humor, his laugh, the way he always seemed just so excited about everything. He was truly a personality in all the best ways. I am beyond thankful that I went to that show that night. That I got a chance to know, even briefly, someone as sweet and creative as Kasey "Cowboy KC" Lewis.
Rest in Peace
I can't seem to understand the emptiness that I feel inside. I keep feeling that if only I could understand the cause, than I could cure it, yet anytime I start to close in on the source, I realize that it's nothing more than a symptom. The hollowness inside me is so much deep and all consuming than I could ever hope to understand, yet I press onward. To do otherwise would court defeat. I do not like to lose. Giving up does nothing for me, in fact, it only makes this feeling worse and that is the last thing I need.
So what do I need? If I knew that, I would no longer feel this way. I would once again be myself. I long to once again be myself. The only hope I have, is that as covid starts to fade and I start to reenter the world, some of the old me may return as well. I've started going back to different sets, working on different projects. None of them narratives, which is what I love more than life itself, but it's still good to be back behind the camera. Back in the world of creating. I need to return to creating content for Blueroof Productions. I am wasting this gift that is life, waiting for a feeling of normalcy that may never come.
I can no longer afford to wait. I can no longer sit on my hands and let this feeling of defeat control me. I have to force myself into action, force myself to once again feel human. To once again bring my art to life and enjoy the world. Otherwise, what is the point of being alive?
I will find the old Jonathan, and bring him back to this world. I will find the old me and once more enjoy the day to day journey that I am on. I will no longer sit and feel sorry for myself. I will no longer let the pit in my soul control me. I will conquer this sense of doom and provide the hope that I am missing.
I'm going to take it one day at a time, one task at a time. I will be better. I will force my dreams into reality and live the life I have always dreamed of. Reality be damned.
What is it about the nature of man that we hold on so tightly to that which is familiar? What is that causes us to fear change, when change is the only thing consistent in this world? You would think, that after a lifetime of change, you would grow used to it. You would learn to embrace it like a long lost loved one. Yet we run from it as if our lives depend on it.
In fact, the older we get, therefor the more change we have experience, the more we fear it. The more hide from it. I can't help but ponder at this human trait that seems almost to go against survival instincts. For the ability to adapt is critical to survive. If that is so, than again, I ask, why do we fear it so?
If it is not from inside us, where does this fear come from? How do we fight against it? How do we learn to embrace change? Instead I sit here, on the edge of a massive change in my life, with a feeling of dread that I can not shake. No matter how hard I try to accept it, I can't help but feel lost. As if there is a void that I can never hope to fill.
I know that once I get to the other side, everything will be fine. Life will go on in the same way it always has. That one change will not alter the fabric of my reality even if it does change the direction, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. That doesn't take away the feeling of dread that hangs in the air. I know change is important and I should embrace it, but I'm human and that is not our way.
My whole life I've strived to do one thing above all else. Be a good friend. Time after time, I've put the interests of those I consider friends above my own. A courtesy that is rarely if ever returned. Not that I have ever asked for, nor expected such in return. I was raised that you don't do something expecting a reward. Expecting anything in return. You do it because it is the right thing to do. A belief that more and more seems to be mine alone.
I do everything I can to be good to those around me, even when they hurt me. Even when they let me down, because I care. Because I want them to be happy, to succeed. Even when it costs me the things I want most in life. After all, you must always put others first. You help them get where they want to go, where they need to go and you can worry about yourself afterwards. Only there never seems to be an afterwards.
One issue turns into two, turns into three. There are always other friends in need. Other emergencies that seem to be the most dire things in the world, when in most cases, they aren't. But you can't take that stance when someone is hurting. You treat the issue as if it is of the upmost importance, because to them, it is. Empathy is a way of life. But it cuts you deeply.
The more you make an effort to understand other people's pain, the more you see how little the care about your own. You drop everything when they have an issue, meanwhile when something goes wrong in your life you're lucky to get a "that sucks text."
You take care of the people around you, not so they will take care of you, but because you can and they need it. You should never expect anything in return. I tell myself that all the time, yet it doesn't mean that I don't occasionally want someone to put me first. To take my pain in consideration. To show consideration for what I'm going through.
But that's not why you put others first. You do it because they need it and you can handle it. I honestly believe that. I do. Yet when friends that you time and again, bend over backwards for, attack you the second you don't help them. The second you disagree on something. It hurts.
The number of people who will immediately forget everything you have done on their behalf, is mind blowing. It's as if you had never shown them support. You had never been there for them. All their trespasses against you lay forgotten in the past, but suddenly yours are up for debate.
If it was one or two friends, it would be a passing concern. Yet it is so much more than that. More and more it seems as if it is one or two friends who truly care. Who see friendship as I do.
Loyalty means everything to me, yet is meaningless to so many people in my life. I've thrown away relationships that meant more to me than I can ever express due to loyalty to friends who turned on me for strangers.
You don't do for others expecting them to do for you in return. I believe this. I do. Yet if I were to say that my heart doesn't break every time a friend doesn't return even the most basic of considerations, I'd be liar.
As I've gotten older, I've started to notice how people just use one another. As if the other person doesn't have feelings, doesn't have emotions. As if their point of view isn't valid. People get so wrapped up in their own narrative that they can't see from any point of view that isn't theirs. I've started to notice how it causes them to lash out at anyone who doesn't agree with them. I seen how you can have a conversation with someone and they don't listen to a word you say. Because while you may be having a conversation, they are just monologuing, using your replies as places to take a breath. Instead of listening to what someone else has to say, they just wait for a chance to reply.
You can't get anything out of those conversations. They never lead anywhere useful. The other person already has the whole conversation played out and they are determined to get it all out. No matter what it is you say in return.
I've had friends that I've gone to great lengths to defend even when they have been in the wrong. Only to have them turn around and take part in the assassination of my character. I've had friends who I've gone to bat for, only to later hear how it wasn't enough, or never happened. I've stepped in to stop friends from being harassed online, only to have them join in and attack me on behalf of my harasser.
You don't do for others, expecting to get anything in return. I honestly believe that, but I never expected that what I would get in return is disrespect. Outright contempt. I've sacrificed so much in my effort to be a good friend. To do everything, for everybody. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if it's all been worth it. What does it get you to be kind? What does it get you to be loyal? What does it get you to build the people around you up?
I don't know the answers. I wish I did. Believe me, I'd do anything to know the answers. Have I wasted all this time? Doing for people who wouldn't think twice about walking over my burning corpse? I don't have the answers, but I know what I believe. If you are able, you should always do for those around you. Even if they don't return the kindness. Even if they return the kindness with contempt. Even if they think nothing wrong with tearing you down when your back is turned.
Why? Because it is the right thing to do and because I am able. You can't control other people's actions. You can't make other people see the world as you do. You can't expect anyone to put their needs on hold to help someone else. So you do it. You build those around you up. You show them loyalty and respect. When it's not given in kind, you bite your tongue and help them deal with whatever is causing the anger inside of them. To do otherwise is not in the spirit of being a good friend. A task I've been working towards my whole life.
Black Lives Matter. A statement that should be painfully obvious and yet here we are. Centuries upon centuries of doing everything we can to pretend that that isn’t the case. So much so, that even when the world was on lockdown and people were isolated, we still found ways to deprive our fellow man of their lives. For what? There’s never an answer, just deflection to avoid the ugly truth. Our actions as a society hurt people. Destroy people and yet we go on, as if we don’t carry the burden. As if our hands are clean. The truth is, even if you didn’t commit the sins, you benefited from them. I know in my life that I have. I’ve seen friends get arrested while I got lectures about “being more careful who I hang out with”. I was given breaks for no other reason than how I look. You hear all the time about how far we have come. How much things have changed, but look around. Take a long hard look around you. Have they changed? Or are we right where we’ve always been? Treating others as if they aren’t deserving of the same respect, the same rights.
Black Lives Matter, a statement that should be painfully obvious is somehow controversial. Answered with chants that all lives matter. Did anyone say they didn’t? Is hearing how someone else matters that triggering to you that you feel the need to include yourself into the conversation? It isn’t about you. It’s about the men and women who are killed in the streets. Killed in their cars. Killed in their homes because it’s too much trouble for cops to check an address before breaking down a door. Let’s be clear, Black Lives Matter isn’t a slogan. It isn’t something that you can debate or distract from. It’s a universal truth. A fundamental fact that has been suppressed for far too long. You want to talk about the protests, the riots, the XYZ, cool. Let’s have those discussions. After we get on the same page about the indisputable fact that black lives have meaning. That Black Lives Matter. Because until that is understood, until that is no longer in question, until we stop killing and imprisoning innocent human beings, nothing else matters. There is no discussion worth having. No points to be made. No arguments to be had. Black Lives Matter or nothing does. You can’t have it both ways.
Panic. A feeling that seeks to overwhelm me day in and day out. No matter what I do it comes for me. Distractions are meaningless. They do nothing to move me away from this despair. Nothing seems to help. It is truly a living nightmare. How do I escape this shadowy phantom that haunts my every waking moment. The phantom that has dragged me down and left me hallowed out. That turned my 4 hours of sleep into 9 or 10? Will I ever be free.
God I hope so. I have dreams that I need to fulfill. I have goals that I have yet to meet. My tasks are not yet done. Many have yet to even start. I need to grit my teeth and pull myself out of this hole. No matter how hard it is, for that is what life is all about. Fighting against everything that stands in your way and making the life that you want out of sheer force of will.
Or at least that is what I tell myself. Am I right? Am I wrong? Who the hell knows, only time will tell.
This time in isolation has not been kind to me. It's not the first time I've been kept apart from the rest of the world. When I first moved to Texas and dropped out of high school to be home schooled, I was in complete isolation. No friends, no one to talk to other than my family. It was lonely on a scale that you could never hope to understand.
And yet, so much of who I am today was formed in that time. My interests, the stories I'm still telling to this day. My sense of independence. I was better for that time alone. Much better.
The truth can't be said for this time. I'm losing my mind. Slowly going crazy as I waste away in the house. Spending more time thinking about what I want from life than going for it. I'm not as isolated as I was back then. I have friends that I talk to daily. Even see from time to time. So why is this time so much worse? If I had an answer to that, maybe I wouldn't be so lost right now.
I guess the only thing I can do, any of us can do, is take it day by day. Try to make today better than yesterday. Make tomorrow better than today. It's not much, but it's all we have. So make the most of it, that's what I'm going to attempt to do.
Will I succeed? Who knows, only tomorrow can tell.
Day 1,592 of quarantine. I've lost all count of time. It could be 10:11 AM or it could be 2:38 PM. Who knows, who cares? All I know is that I've taken to eating my comic book collection. Paper is all the food I have left. When will this all end?
Okay, maybe we're like a week into it, but it feels longer. As I've gotten older I've started to like spending more and more time at home. Yet somehow, this is not the same. Being forced to stay home is a very different experience. The feeling of isolation is intense. I miss people.
While I do feel like I'm going stir crazy, I understand that this is important. That we need to do this to save lives. As an asthmatic, as well as the son of one, I see how badly this can go in just my own family. As someone with access to the news, I see how bad this is for the world. Not just the health of it's people, but also the poor. Many people are going to end up homeless if we don't start taking steps as a nation to protect us against that. We need to pause rent. Not just for apartment renters, but also for businesses. Otherwise many of them will go under, which would destroy this nation as well.
Our leaders are failing us, it's more and more clear everyday. We are are on our own. A fact that some apartment complexes in Dallas are already reminding their residents. Don't forget rent is do. Take out loans, empty out your savings. Do whatever you can to pay rent while you have no income, because we hate you. This trying time is showing all of us who we really are.
Don't be evil. Don't care more about money than people. Care about each other. History will remember who helped and who betrayed the greater good. This is a moment that is testing all of us, lets try to pass. Be better.
The world is changing. Faster and faster. It takes everything we have just to hold on. Where it'll stop, no one knows. Within little more than a week, all of our lives have changed. Possibly forever. Some people go about their day to day as if nothing has happened, but those people are far and few between.
The rest of us watch on with baited breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Where will this all end? What will the world look like when it is done? The truth is, no one knows. How can they? None of us have ever lived through something like this before. Not on this scale. Not where the government shuts everything down. Closing stores, disrupting lives. Blocking evictions, because they are coming. Make no mistake, they are coming. If not now, than when this is all over.
As I said, nothing will ever be the same. For course their is the health risk, as an asthmatic and the son of another, I dread catching this, but that's not all I worry about. If you listen to Clean Jeans, or have read past blogs, or even know me, you know I grew up poor, and by grew up I mean I'm still poor. And by poor I mean no money. Less money than you think.
Both of those facts are starting to weight heavily on my mind. If we make it through this, which I feel like we will. This won't kill us. It won't defeat us, but it will hurt us. Our numbers will plummet. And I can't help but wonder if the systems we live in will pick up the slack and finish the job?
That's very doom and gloom, I apologize. It's just what's been on my mind. I free lance and do Uber on the side, I've stopped doing that. My mother hasn't been able to stop going to work. More and more people I know are being forced from their jobs, while one of my best friends is being forced into crazy overtime on the front lines as a nurse.
I've spent my whole life thinking there was time for things. Making it, starting a family. Traveling. Catching up with friends. Maybe there isn't as much time as I thought. Maybe when this is all over, we should all start to focus more on what matters. The people around us. Having new experiences. Learning, growing. Chasing our dreams instead of wasting away on someone else's.
We don't have to wait until this passes to start taking advantage of all life has to offer. To reconnect with old friends. To build something for ourselves. When this is all said and done the world will be a very different place, we can't change that, but maybe, just maybe, we can help decide what it will look like when it's all said and done.
Life is hard. It's full of choices that decide our fate. Forever altering our destiny. So than how do you decide what to do? How do you make a split second decision that cuts you off from every other path you could take? Just thinking about it could be enough to paralyze you. Overwhelm you to the point of indecision, leaving you trapped in time as the rest of the world passes you by. Forgets you, as if you ever existed in the first place.
Life is cruel. It asks us to make impossible choices, while being unforgiving with our missteps. The longer you live, the more evident it becomes that it is all a game you can't win. A game that moves the goal post every time you think you are closing in on victory.
So than what is the point? Why do we play? Because what other choice do we have? To do otherwise would only lead to our own demise. A fate worse than death. Irreverence.
Jonathan Gutheinz vents about everything under the sun.