Ever get that feeling that you're exactly where you're supposed to be?
Since I’m new to the area, I decided to look up some local record and used book stores to check out. I spent most of the day with my friend Josh and dragged him to a few used book stores and at the last minute, decided to to check out this record store called Rock & Roll Heaven, downtown. So, we went down there and when I walked in the door, I was in awe at what I saw. I don’t know how many of you are vinyl junkies, but it is literally Heaven for the music collector. It was just…. wow. I didn’t know where to start.
(This picture does not do this place justice. This is just one of the 5 or more rooms filled with vinyls and collectibles)
I wandered around in the Rock music section and found a few Beatles 45’s, and pointed and “ahh’d” at some other outrageous finds (original pressings of Abbey Road, old Elvis vinyls in pristine condition) and then I started hunting. I went to the second room and found the R&B section, and immediately started looking for “Jackson.” I found it, and to my surprise, they didn’t have as much as I had hoped. (Meaning, they didn’t have Dangerous. But, oh well.) They did have an original German pressing of Thriller and a ton of old Jackson records (I got “Goin’ Back To Indiana” which I was SHOCKED to find. Put me back 20 bucks, but totally worth it.) As I kept walking down the isles, I ended up near the back wall which had a DJ’s booth and a wall full of records behind it. There are numerous trinkets and collectibles and framed pictures and gold records lining the ceilings to be admired, but out of all of it, something caught my eye. An 8’x10’ black and white framed photo with an inscription in red ink reading:
"Dear Jack, Best of luck with the fam. All my love, Michael Jackson."
My blood started boiling and my heart started pounding (I’ve never seen an actual authentic ANYTHING that he had touched or even been near) and I immediately ran past my friend Josh who was trying to tell me something to the front of the store and searched for the owner. When I found him, I breathlessly almost demanded “What’s the story on that Michael Jackson autograph back there?” and I was not expecting what he was about to tell me. He smiled coyly and had me follow him back, explaining that he had a few stories to share with me.
When we approached the picture, he was telling me how in the early 90’s, there was a man named Jack Gibson, or Jack the Rapper, and was a famous DJ in Philly. Apparently, Michael had known him, and at some point, Jack was relocating back down to Orlando to be with his family, so Michael, being the kind heart that he is, gave him that picture to send his best wishes for the move. A few years later, Jack died and his family donated everything he had to this record store, including numerous autographs and personal letters and gold records and the list goes on and on.
So, the owner continues on and says “And when Mr. Jackson was here…” and I just stopped him. My eyes widened and I said “HERE? HE WAS HERE? IN THIS STORE?” And he laughed and said “Ohhh, all the time. When he’d come to Orlando, he’d stay in the suite at the Bueno Vista hotel (The photo to the right of the autograph is of Michael and the head of security at the Bueno Vista hotel, which he was so kind as to bring to the store for Christmas, one year. Apparently, he’s still a frequent customer) and would almost always make a stop here. He would come in with his security guard and shop. Well, not shop. He never touched anything. He would just point and his security guard would write it down.” (At this part I started giggling because I know exactly how Michael shops, and he had it exactly right.) So anyway, he brings me into another room and makes me stand in a certain spot, and the said “Now, look up.” When I looked up, I saw this doll:
Which is obviously “Moe” from The 3 Stooges. The owner then told me that Michael stood where I was standing and pointed up at the Moe marionette and said he wanted it, but the store has a strict policy about selling the collectibles up on the ceiling… they wouldn’t even sell it to Michael. I had to giggle again, being that I know Moe was Michael’s favorite Stooge. Imagining him standing there arguing about wanting that damn doll just amused me to no end… and the fact that I was standing where he stood…. I won’t even get into how I was reacting.
Then, he took me around and showed me all the rare versions of Thriller he had and such, and we just mingled. He said, “It was a sad, sad day when he passed. News crews were in here constantly, we had him playing on all the tv’s and radios.” It was just really touching. He seemed excited to be able to share these stories with someone that actually appreciated them, and was beyond willing to let me photograph and look at whatever I wanted.
I spent the rest of the time there walking through the isles, imagining I was walking through the same isles Michael did, looking at the same things he did, enjoying being surrounded by so much magic and music and history. My friend, Steph, was about in tears because of how I was reacting… she said she’d never seen me light up so much. I couldn’t stop asking questions and gasping and saying “Wow, oh my gosh!” I felt like my heart was gonna jump up my throat.
It may have been an overreaction, but it was just weird… the fact that I just happened to stumble upon this record store and it had SUCH an attachment to Michael. The fact that he had been in those rooms over a dozen times… I’ve never felt that close to him, before. You would have thought he was hiding in the back or something and I was waiting to meet him. I was overwhelmed. It may seem silly and stupid to some people, but it was SUCH a huge deal to me, and it’s a memory I’ll carry forever.
I’ll also probably go back to that record store at least once a week for the rest of my life.
I have to admit, it’s positively horrid that I’ve yet to read all the Harry Potter books. I don’t even feel American. That doesn’t work. I don’t even feel human. I do recall reading up to book 4 when I was in elementary school, but they got so big and I got impatient and thought “I can read 5 or 6 books in the time it takes me to read this one,” and gave up. I’d had all intentions of reading them all in high school (as I adore the movies and apparently, according to true Potter Fans, that is wrong.) but I could never track them all down. Now, my roommates happen to have all of them, so my plan is to read as much of them as possible before I start school on Monday. It’s only 4 days, so I don’t know how far I’ll get. I read the first 3 Twilight books in a day and a half. But, it’s blasphemous to mention those two series in the same blog. So, anyway, the adventure starts here, with this ratty little book:
- The Departed - Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father - Love, Actually - The Green Mile - Detroit Rock City - The Exorcism of Emily Rose - Donnie Darko - S. Darko - The Boy In The Striped Pajamas - Life As A House - The Virgin Suicides - Steel Magnolias - The Exorcist - The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Twilight: New Moon - 500 Days of Summer - Brothers - Cherrybomb - Religulous - Sixteen Candles
With its and pieces of:
- Tropic Thunder - Greenberg - Some documentary on the band “Avenged Sevenfold” - I wanna say there was a Mark Wahlberg movie in there, somewhere
Oh, plus a season and half of Criminal Minds.
On the agenda for tomorrow:
- Casablanca (which I have been absolutely DYING to see) - Blood Diamond (I’m such a sucker for Leo DiCaprio) - The Great Buck Howard (Tom Hanks, anyone?) - The Poughkeepsie Tapes (which I’m kind of nervous about. apparently it’s a creepy and disturbing mockumentary from a serial killers point of view.)
My books are beginning to collect dust and my paint brushes are falling apart.
Things have changed for me, but that's okay. I'm on my way.
I suppose it’s time for a substantial update. It’s taken a few days to adjust to this new life of mine; but little by little… slowly, but surely… I’m getting there. It still feels like I’m just on vacation, even with my own room housing everything I own, my own bed to sleep in, my own groceries to buy… it’s an odd thing, starting over in a place where nothing is familiar; where you are virtually alone and separated from anything you ever knew, before. Although, that isn’t entirely true. I am living with 2 of my closest friends. They made the move over a year ago, though. They’ve done their adjusting, made all the changes, managed to create a home for themselves, here. I assume that’s the only reason it feels like this isn’t MY home, yet… because I just picked up from my parents home and moved into their home. Also because I’ve only been here a grand total 14.5 days. It’s so odd; I feel as if my time here is limited, yet it feels like I’ve been here, forever. It’s almost as if my past has been completely erased and I’m just starting over from scratch. Safe to say I don’t do well with drastic changes, even when I do crave them with all of my being.
But, enough with that. Let’s recap the last 2 weeks. Let’s see… I’ve gotten everything squared away with school, and even managed to work it out to where I only have class 2 days a week, with a 50 minute algebra class Friday morning. I’m even so awesome at scheduling tactics, I have no more than 15 minutes between each class. So, no sitting around campus waiting for hours on end for my next class like most of my friends. Just bam, bam, bam, (bam, bam) and then I’m home, leaving enough time in the week for a part-time job or just time to work on my numerous projects I’ve completely negleted since I moved here. I’ve watched more movies the past 2 weeks than I have the past 2 years (mostly due to the fact that Josh and Steph don’t have the luxury of cable tv), but I don’t mind it. I’ve been trying to find time to indulge in more films, anyway. I’ve made more 2 AM excursions to Steak’n Shake than I can count, and have aquired a new talent in bookshelf construction. I’ve seen more baby lizards than I thought even existed, and had more lazy, rainy afternoons than should be allowed. I haven’t gone exploring, yet, but on my way to school I found this gorgeously old and destroyed cemetary that just screams to be photographed.
I miss my sister like crazy, and am contantly trying to schedule times for her to visit. Being that she was my only real source of social interaction the past 2 years, I’ve found that it’s hard for me to interact with anyone else. Our senses of humor and so on are so in tune with each others that no one else really understands it, let alone finds it slightly amusing. I feel like I haven’t really laughed at all since I’ve been here, with the exception of the other night when I talked to Kylie on the phone.
I miss late night Criminal Minds marathons with my brother. I miss my dad’s outrageously lame but hysterical sense of humor and the stupid shit he used to walk into the room and say. I miss my mom’s cooking. I miss my cat so much, I think I’ve dreamt about him every night I’ve been gone (which is kind of frighteningly weird) but, in the dreams, he’s always sick or dying and I’m not home. I miss the tall and green Virginia trees and the smell of the ocean that seems to linger everywhere. I miss having memories on every corner, and the familiarity of home.
But, this is life. Change is good. I’m growing and learning and living and making decisions for myself and actually progressing in life instead of idely waiting for something to happen. Everything is new and exciting and I’m seeing things I’ve never seen and doing things I’ve never done and even though right now, it seems things are kind of at a steady hault, once school starts next week I’ll be faced with even more changes and learning experiences and people to meet and as overwhelmed and somewhat nervous I am, I’m ready. This is the beginning of the next chapter, and I can’t wait to see where this one leads.
“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me.”—Virginia Satir
On the eve of my departure, I feel a little odd. I guess that’s to be expected… in the face of such drastic changes, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to have not the slightest clue how to feel, think, or react. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself to justify these instantaneous highs that unexpectedly plummet to the ground and leave me in a fit of nostalgic tears.
I’ll admit, I’m slightly terrified. I’ve never known life outside of the comfort of parents arms, although I’ve longed for it since I can’t remember when. It’s funny how you can be so ready to break away from something until it’s actually possible, then you start feeling reluctant. I will say, though, I am ready. I’m so ready.
I know as soon as this thing gets going, I’m going to fall in love with living my own life, doing things I want to do the way I want to do them, having nutella and ritz crackers with wine for dinner, you know. Normal things. I’m so excited to get back into school… it seems like high school was a lifetime ago, as it kind of was. I’m beyond thrilled to have a social life, again.. to be living with some of my very best friends (despite the suffocating heat index. ugh.) I’m filled with nothing but good feelings… until I look around at my bare walls and imagine saying goodbye to my mother in the morning, let alone my cat.
Whenever I start getting upset, though, I remind myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity, and to have a family that loves me so much and to have friends that are so loving and supportive; to have this collection of people surrounding me that would bend over backwards to take care of me… it’s overwhelming and humbling at the same time. I am truly so, so very blessed… and I know deep in my heart and soul that nothing could possibly go wrong, because they will always have my back. So, when I think about it, I have nothing to fear and nothing to stress over. Except the fact that I can’t find my favorite pair of socks.
Also, taking note of the fact that everyone I know did this shit like, years ago when they were supposed to makes me even more ready. When I think back on the past 2 years… how miserable and sad and lonely and lost I felt… it just fills me with such optimism for the future, because I know that no matter what happens, that part of my life is over. I was at rock bottom, and now I’m climbing that ladder back up. It’s a big step, a giant step…a leap, if you will… but I’m ready to jump and fly and maybe fall and glide and skip and hop and run and swim and whatever else there is to do, because dammit, there is a giant fucking world out there and I want to see it all. I want to experience cultures and music and food and dance and love. I want everything this universe has to offer me.
And it all starts right now.
Well, I should probably take care of college, first.
Every Sunday morning, I go outside and grab the paper, shuffle through it and pull out the “Comics” section, along with the “Good Life” section, and then leave the rest for my dad. This morning though, for whatever reason, as I was about to roll the newspaper back up and put it back in the bag, I thought to myself “Eh, I’ll take a look through and see what’s going on.” I pulled up the top page from the side and saw the TV Guide, first noticing David Spade, then I honest to God, swear on my life, thought OUT LOUD “Aw, that’d be cute if Matthew Gray Gubler was in this.” (I have no idea why I thought this upon seeing David Spade… odd.) But, I pulled out the whole section, and LOOK WHO’S ON THE FUCKING COVER. LOOK AT THAT. RIGHT THERE. BOTTOM RIGHT. MATTHEW.
I have no choice but to believe that’s just a sign from God that we’re destined to be together. No way around it.