Random Thoughts #151 - the "perspective" edition

Hello and welcome to this edition of DJ's Random Thoughts.  After ther reveals of the last edition, you'd think I'd have less to write about given the transition I've been working on to turn the blog into a show.  For this particular edition, however, you'd be wrong...really wrong.  I have a ton to get off my chest here and some of it has to do with some unrevealed changes in perspective that came out of that aforementioned last edition, hence the subtitle.  With that in mind, let's do this.  Enjoy.

 -  When I returned to blogging after I moved back up here to Northeast Ohio, I had talked a lot about being at a crossroads in my life.  I was really in a bad place at that time and I didn't have much actively going for me.  Before and since that time, I've written about a lot of things that have affected me and hurt me and changed me and whatnot.  I hope that what I'm about to talk about here will put a lot of those things from the past several years into a more cohesive perspective that might give folks a sense of why or even how some of those things actually came about.  A lot of this is a rehash of things I've written about before but there is some stuff that only a few people knew about because it affected them directly but it's time to let that stuff out because it is connected to other events.  Now, doing this might reopen some old wounds, some of them self-inflicted, and remind some people of tiffs and unsettled disagreements from back in the day and even in the last year or so, but I'm hoping that what I'm about to do here might actually help start healing that stuff and put some closure to those old tiffs and wounds and start moving those of us affected forward...and hopefully together.  With that in mind, I need to go back to one big thing that happened that has underlied a lot of the stuff I've talked about and where that aforementioned crossroads truly started...the death of my friend Roger Byrd.

I've talked about how much Roger Byrd meant to me as one of my best friends and all of that stuff is still true now.  However, there were a couple of things regarding him and his passing that I haven't let too many people in on that shook me to my core.  As for the first thing, at the time of his passing we had not talked much for several years.  We'd see each other at some points and even danced a couple of times...heck, he even paid for some towels I got at Meijer as sort of a joke.  As much as he was my friend and I thought of him fondly, apparently the feelings weren't as mutual as I thought they were, for him and maybe a few others as well.  Way back in 1998, I left Columbus and unsuccessfully tried to return in 2000.  I was really struggling with mental health issues in that time and those were apparently really evident during my attempted return.  In 2005, I was informed rather reluctantly that many people were spooked by me from that and one of those people was Roger.  Honestly, I was really unsettled by that and I started looking at several people much differently.  I already knew things weren't the same...heck, I had changed thanks to getting some help...but I didn't know how much they were affected by me in apparently a negative way.  It hurt...a lot.  It wasn't going to change what he meant to me especially in those early days but I blamed myself a lot for not being the kind of stable person he and others expected and for not being around and letting them in on what was really going on with me.  That "not letting them in" thing was a big motivation for when I started a personal blog again (I had a website years before that went nowhere) so that I would let them in and hopefully I wouldn't be left out.  He had already moved on with his life, with a wife and family and friends and work and, I have to admit, I got kinda jealous of what he had and wanted the kinds of things he had for myself.  However, that jealousy was based on me trying to cope with the fact that our friendship had changed to a point where it wasn't as close as it once was.

Even though the friendship wasn't the same, his passing in 2008 itself was the second thing that shook me to the core.  It led me to question my own mortality and my existence seeing as I was only a couple months older than he was.  There may have been some folks that thought I was coming off as desperate to show how "genuine" I was but I went through a ton of turmoil and I did my damndest to keep people at a distance so that they wouldn't be affected by that turmoil.  That was likely why some of them may have thought that.  I should note that despite that turmoil I was hoping to spare others of, many of those same people claimed I was "family" but after the funeral barely kept in touch with me, not even for a quick check-in.  The bottom line was his death completely upended my life at that time.  I stopped going to the church I was helping out at because I was questioning my own faith in light of the death.  There was a temp agency I was working at where my prospects for jobs through them seemed to just dry up right around the time of his passing.  I was getting really argumentative with some other friends and distancing myself from others.  Does anybody remember the events surrounding the "single" edition in 2009?  Well, that actually has a big connection to Roger.  The night before I wrote that edition up, I had a great conversation with one of my best friends about some of the stuff I talked about in that edition.  Though this didn't come up in the conversation at the time, I had a very similar talk with Roger and one other person back in 2004...actually, it came off more like a lecture from them on their end...that at the time I had trouble making sense of in 2004 but my friend helped me to understand it and put in into perspective through the stuff he was going through.  I was so pumped when I wrote that next edition up but because of the examples I used and me not making it clear what led to why I wrote it up in the first place, some folks read a lot into it and there was a four year estrangement where in order to end it I had to reveal to connection to Roger.  Believe me, it was emotionally charged for me to do that but friendships with many people got back on track from the revelation.  There are other things that happened that resulted in the years since that were a direct or indirect result of Roger's passing including the anger I had much of last year and for a long time just kept me underwater, for lack of a better term.

You're all probably wondering...why open old wounds or even talk about this stuff?  What's the use?  Well, there has been a recent sea change on my end...a big one.  Several times in DJRT I've talked about being aimless and not having goals or dreams set.  Roger's passing changed all that.  I didn't just question my existence...I wondered if my existence had any meaning for others and for myself.  I had to do some serious soul searching in order to "find my way" so to speak.  As most of you can probably tell by now, I have found that way.  The last edition of DJRT where I revealed my intentions to start up a show was the culmination of that soul searching that started around Roger's death.  Despite whatever has happened between the two of us I have actually been mourning his death since then and, though I will terribly miss him, the time for grieving is over.  Seven years is long enough and it is time to move forward.  I can honestly say now that because of and as of that last edition of DJRT, that crossroads is now over.  The passing no longer has the emotional resonance it once had.  Now, I bet you're all wondering...why bring this up at all?  Well, one of the big things I'm going to do with the show is that once it really gets going I'm taking it on the road and I will be visiting and revisiting places such as Columbus and other points around central Ohio.  It is very likely I will be meeting up with some of those very same people who have been spooked by me over the years and might still be looking over their shoulder for me in some regard.  That "looking over the shoulder" stuff needs to stop.  I'm no threat.  If those people have wounds, they need to heal them.  If they have grievances, they need to be redressed amongst themselves privately because those issues are likely more about their hangups than anything affecting me.  If people have worries that whatever happened way back when might happen now, those worries need to end.  I also don't want any more intermediaries getting involved and trying to soften the blows of opinions either from me or them or "solve the problem" so to speak.  Despite any good intentions, they just aren't necessary anymore.  The past may be prologue, but the past is the past and it needs to stay there and not be used as an excuse or a hammer to beat anybody over the head with.  However those people get over their drama or issues regarding me or how they do it, that's on them.  I don't need to be necessarily involved in the healing...they just need to go do it so we can all move forward together.  If Roger's death has taught me anything, it's that tomorrow is not promised to us so the sooner the drama ends the better.  I'm hoping that I can get as many people alongside of me as I can on this ride that will be the show DJ's Random Thoughts and it'd be a shame if some of the people who've been around me before decide to stay stuck in the muck, so to speak.

 -  Before I move on, I want to reveal a couple of things that helped me get to the point where I could get past all the grief that haunted me since Roger's death.  Remember that woman I talked about previously who I've been crazy about the past few years and who helped inspire me?   I met her in 2009 at a time when I had trouble seeing people and things clearly but I met her and things changed.  Just by being who she was and is and doing what she does, I was inspired to do things for myself for my sake and dream again.  I don't think I would have a lot of the good things that have happened since I met her.  Maybe someday I'll be able to tell her in person how much she has meant to me and if that day ever comes I hope she doesn't get freaked out or creeped out by what I tell her...it is a tad intense.  Meeting her was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me and helped me a lot here.  The second thing that happened occurred back in February of this year.  It was the wrestling show Jayfest and it was the final one.  Years ago, one of the brothers of the promoter of the show passed away and the promoter decided to put this show on in his memory.  At the end of the show back in February, the promoter talked about the passing and him finally letting things go and ending Jayfest.  It was something that really affected me and if not for going to that show and hearing that, I probably wouldn't have been inspired or maybe even able to let go myself.  Aside from what I've already acknowledged about who and what has helped me before, these two events...meeting that woman and going to Jayfest...may have done more for me in regard to letting go than anything else and I didn't want to forget that when talking about this stuff.

 -  Regarding the DJRT show, I have had some interesting feedback on what I'm planning.  Most of it was positive and there was some criticism but I appreciated it all nonetheless.  I have to admit...I wasn't camera-ready but I will be working more on becoming that so by the time the show hits I'll be more ready for the spotlight.  Since the last edition of DJRT I have been getting more inspiration and more signs of good things coming and it has been amazing.  I've still got a long way to go but I am so excited about the prospects.  BTW, don't forget that you can donate and participate beforehand to DJRT.  The more that stuff happens, the quicker the show gets here so do both often. ;)

 -  The pic for this edition up top is the DJ Logo against a backdrop of Summit County.  Let me know how that looks because I'm considering it for putting on shirts and other merchandise in the DJRT Store.  Speaking of the store, I do have new shirts up with some of the past few edition pic designs.  Go check them out and buy one if you want to help me out here, even if it is just as a nightshirt or something.  Every little bit helps.

 -  Last Saturday, I volunteered as a VIP host at the Soap Box Derby.  It was my first time volunteering since I left Columbus so it was a nice change of pace.  It was really hot out but I was in the shade for a good part of my shift.  I helped out where I could and it made for a good experience.  I'm hoping to do more volunteering in the future.  Maybe in the future I'll share my volunteering experiences on the show so you get to all see them first-hand.

 -  I found a very great site for anybody who is looking to volunteer for different organizations and events.  It's called VolunteerMatch and it lists a bunch of opportunities with many different things such as local events, animal shelters, wildlife, hospitals and healthcare, etc.  This is the site where I found out about opportunities at the Soap Box Derby and will likely be the place where I find more volunteering opportunities in the future.  I can vouch that it is an excellent resource for such opportunities.  Go check it out at volunteermatch.com.

 -  A couple of weeks ago I got to check out this year's Mogadore Summerfest.  I missed some of the fireworks because I thought they would be cancelled due to an upcoming storm but I got back just in time to watch half of them.  It was my first fireworks show of the year because I decided to bail on the July 4th fireworks in Akron because I just wasn't feeling up to watching those.  Anyway, I was also able to take in the yearly professional wrestling show put on by Ohio Championship Wrestling.  It was as good as past ones and I got to speak to the wrestlers after the show as well.  I was also able to get some inspiration for a segment that I'm planning to do for the show that I'm hoping one of those particular wrestlers will be available for...this segment, I promise you, will be interesting once I get going.  Anyway, I had a great time and an even better time afterward at the Red Fox.  It was a good night all around.

 -  Staying on wrestling for a moment, I want to talk about a new promotion that is getting ready to start up in Columbus.  It is called New Ohio Wrestling (NOW) and it will be having it's first show this Saturday, August 1st, with a 7 PM bell time at the Resolute Athletic Complex at Easton.  I'm not going to be able to go there myself but I wanted to give my friends and fellow fans in Columbus a chance to see some of the talent I've had the pleasure of watching perform up here in NE Ohio in a place closer to them.  It will be the first promotion to try to run Columbus regularly since before I went back there in 2004 so go check out the show and help support the return of indy wrestling to C-town proper.  I believe the building the show is taking place at used to be the Sports Barn and to get there, get onto Morse Road around Easton and turn south onto Morse Crossing...take a right on Chiller Lane, at the corner where McDonald's is at, and it will be right past the plaza that's on the left.  It it being sponsored by Adobe Gilas at Easton and there will be a pre-show party there from 3-6 there.  Here's a poster with more information about the show...remember, it's this Saturday:

 -  As of early this month, the Red Fox has new owners.  I guess the old owner decided to sell and I don't think that is a bad thing at all in this case.  He apparently burned a lot of bridges especially in the past year or so and conflicted with several people.  It was noticeable that so many of the people who used to go there when I started going myself are now returning with the former owner gone now.  It was a shock but as long as my friends still go up there and have fun I will too.  I'm hoping it might lead to some better things down the line, maybe including some plans I've had that have been on hold but we'll see.

 -  Going back to something wrestling-related for a moment, I want to talk about Hulk Hogan.  In the last week or so, he was released from his WWE contract over racially-tinged remarks (I'm being diplomatic here) he made about 8 years ago that appeared on a sex tape he was on and is suing the web site Gawker over.  There are a couple of things that come to my mind that are indirectly related to Hogan here.  The first is the revelation of the remarks publicly.  The sex tape has been known about for a few years now and yet the remarks are only now being exposed.  There are many people right now wondering about the timing of the release of his remarks, yours truly included.  Speaking of Gawker, recently there was a scandal over the outing of an exec at a rival company who was not that much of a public figure where the ownership pulled the article from the site...and rightfully so IMHO...and the two top editors quit over the pulling of said article.  As I mentioned earlier, Gawker is also embroiled in a 100 million dollar lawsuit with Hulk Hogan over that videotape.  The conspiracy theorist in me tells me that the pulling of that article and the release of the racial remarks are connected in that somebody, maybe an insider or one or both of those editors, released the remarks to gossip sites in retaliation for the owners pulling that article.  If anybody from Gawker released those remarks to the media, they could easily be found with a default judgement against them in their case with Hulk Hogan including huge penalties on top of a potential 100 million dollar default judgement against them.  Given some of the comments from the Gawker site folks who felt slighted over the editorial judgement of the ownership, I wouldn't put it past any of those particular staffers if they were trying to screw over the owners and put them out of business as revenge...potential nine-figure penalties are no joke.

The second thing that comes to mind for me regards the circumstances behind why the remarks might have been made.  When that tape was made, he still had his reality show with his family going on and it was near the end of his marriage to his ex-wife Linda.  His daughter Brooke was also starting to work on leaving the nest as evidenced by some of the remarks made on the tape.  I'm not making excuses here for Hogan as to why he made those remarks, which are offensive as all hell BTW, but I wanted to show what was going on in the timeframe where that video took place.  Now, for me, this situation posed a particular question for me that I'm fairly certain many of us have asked at one time or another.   That question is this:  would I be proud of my actions during my lowest points or when things are going bad?  I can say for certain that there are many times where I held my head up high in facing down the bad times...not all the time, mind you, but there aren't many instances where I have been that far into the dark side of reactions if there were any.  This is definitely something I cannot say for Hulk Hogan at this point.  He used some very hateful language with the racial stuff but the way he was going off about his daughter was extremely spiteful in itself.  That goes to intention and he intended to be selfishly spiteful and degrading to his daughter with those remarks and that wasn't right, then or now.  The way he is still trying to reach out in the media is troubling in itself as if he wasn't sorry about making those remarks until they were released by the gossip media sites.  This is a time he needs to be contrite and with the way he's been handling the media as of late that doesn't seem to be the case.  If he doesn't stop being an idiot, he may be in for some serious trouble for a long time to come.

 -  Song on Repeat:  "The Man" by Aloe Blacc.  I have a confession to make...there have been only two times in my life where I truly felt like I was "the man".  The first was at my first dance in the 8th grade where I showed off some of my moves for the first time.  The second was when I put out the last edition of DJRT.  Regardless of my demeanor or circumstances in the past, these were the only two instances where I really felt that.  Outside of those, I felt like much less than that...less than human in some instances.  I don't want that anymore.  It may be my own ego talking here but I desperately want to be the man in every aspect of my life and I am hoping the upcoming show gives me a real shot at becoming that.  This song, usually found in sporting commercials, embodies where I want to be as a man in general and it will probably be one of my theme songs in the future.  It's a lot to aspire to and I still have a long way to go but that's where I'm aiming.  On a side note, the artist behind the song, Aloe Blacc, performed "America the Beautiful" at this year's Wrestlemania.

 -  Shoutouts:  Sarah & Dave, Sean D., Cory, Chad M., Mary S., Ernest W., Holly, Anna, Ron U., Ron & Teresa, Alan, Melissa, Stan, Jen D., Stephanie, Jay, Desirae, Margie, Fran, Griff, Scotty, Walt, OCW, Jimmy Shane, Justin Diaz, Stephen, Diane, Tony C., April K., Aunt Sue and Todd.

There is one more thing I want to say before I take off here.  A former classmate of mine, Josh LeBorgne, suffered some pretty serious injuries a couple weeks ago and he needs all the prayers he can get in his recovery.  He's already got mine but the more the better.  With that, I bid you all adieu.  I've got to get back to work on ideas and stuff for the show.  Until next time, folks.  Take care and God Bless.