It’s so goddamn important to tell the people in our lives who truly mean something just how much we cherish them. For just a few simple words can mean the difference between them feeling like shit and feeling the shit. Take it from me, the proverbial ghost in the tree. There have been numerous occasions over the past year alone when I have yearned for something which has not been forthcoming. It’s funny, here in my hometown, it often feels like I’m trapped beneath frosted glass. I certainly cast a shadow but nobody can discern the sadness in a smile which hangs awkwardly from my face. Furthermore, I can count the amount of times a single person has inquired as to how I am doing on a leper’s hand and that is an incredibly depressing statistic to report.
Fret not as it is not my intention to sadden on this or any other day. You see, there are certain souls who make it their business to raise my spirits and I am far and away exceeding grateful for them. Indeed, merely a few moments before I sat down to compose this piece, I was reminded just how precious a commodity I am by the lady who wears my Lionheart within her Rabbit chest. And I don’t care to imagine where I would be right now without her tender love, boundless support, and naturally attentive nature. Thus, I feel well positioned currently to explore the epidemic of indifference which appears to have spread way farther than I first feared after my “mid-life crisis”. More critically, I can do so wearing a genuine smile; on my face and in the other place. The Secret Garden as I have just now decided to refer to it.
I guess it comes with the territory for a guy who calls himself Keeper. And, for long periods of my life, I’ve more than justified my pseudonym. In 2014, I traveled to Los Angeles to shoot my very first full-length movie and had a moment of extreme self-doubt the very second I stepped off the plane and into instant thigh cramp. However, after spending the next 24 fretful hours convincing myself that I wasn’t an actor and had no formal education to call upon, I heard the words “and… ACTION!” and something entirely unforeseen occurred. Not only had I nailed my scene like a Christ but, judging by the crew’s stunned silence, I’d only gone and hit myself a bona fide sixer. I too was speechless, momentarily at least, but then it all flooded back like a Tsunami on rewind. I’d actually been an actor for pretty much my entire adult life.
Having worn a mask of conformity for over twenty years, it felt daaamn good to slacken the straps some and grab my long-awaited snap shot. For as tempted as I was to break out into my 9 mm “What did you expect? A monster?” rendition, I simply soaked up every last drop of appreciation and promptly relocated the trusty A-game. It’s all about the passion see. Without it, I’m Joe Schmo. Just another listless plank of splintered driftwood with a termite allergy and rusted nail through its lumber. Has been that way ever since I was a kid. While the faculty were hailing me child genius, I was busy growing increasingly disenchanted by curriculum and falling woefully shy of true potential. The reason I fell through the educational cracks – no passion. Not so much as a mental knee tremble.
Mercifully, this period of grossest underachievement coincided with me landing my very first part-time employment. Run by a close friend of my father’s and general “salt of the earth” kind of working class hero, the local video store became my intellectual home from home from the day I turned thirteen to the one where the quaintly titled Movies closed its doors for the final time seven years later. I never cared a rat’s rump for reading literature growing up as it seemed a more laborious way to cram my toploader with the higher state of consciousness I craved like a Monk does a prostate exam. Given that my greatest superpower appeared to be extra-perception, it seemed a no-brainer to announce the medium of film as my go-to learning tool. So I did precisely that and gave myself the very best kind of Scanners headache in the process.
Suddenly the pistons were firing. And I lurched from job to job until the forties loomed, growing ever more despondent as the spark plugs of my mind steadily corroded. No prizes for guessing what was missing from assuming my true flawless form. Uh-huh – fucking passion. I can just about cope with receiving no mental stimulation, so long as there’s appropriate alone time to grab myself that all-important third quarter team talk. But my soul needs care and attention also and it’s so much bloody easier when you have yourself a carer. This masseuse has the ability to knead your unspent essence into a balloon animal, then magic away any knots. And not a solitary day passes when I don’t remind mine how much I adore her very bones. Or vice versa.
Passion is downright intoxicating. Infinite love and respect happen to tally up rather tidily as it transpires and the result of such two-way displays is all the fever you could ever hope or dream for. Fever all through the night no less. The kind that strokes the hair from your face first thing in the morning and whispers “you can” into your ear, brushing the soft fur of your lobe with its lips as it does so. The kind that can start a fire or, more accurately, start two. Make every last pang of pain nothing more than something new to push through. Enable you to unlock potential long since holed up with the beast in the cellar. Then go one better and spread the word to all those who truly see you.
Just the other day, one very special member of my chosen family referred to me as “a genuine person who although raises a finger at conformity, raises your soul to feeling like royalty” and my heart damn near burst a valve as I read this beautiful observation. For I am ultimately love and, should pure love be nurtured, then you just watch it blossom. I am ever thankful for beautiful gifts such as the above and for the one I am currently clutching like an excitable infant. That is when I am at my happiest. Second childhood. And, for all the lack of understanding I am faced with in my life, not a solitary day passes when I don’t skim stones across the river with the girl for whom my love is omnipotent; in full view of all those who choose to truly see us. Thank you for reading this and, from the very bottom of a heart which has no more floor than ceiling – I wish you all of the love in the universe and much, much more.