I have a very vivid imagination. I always have. I remember being a 12 year old in Maine and looking up at the ceiling of Grandma and Grandpa Lodge’s house and realizing how fragile life was, and that at any moment, life could be taken away from me. That thought would haunt me almost nightly for a few years and even randomly now. It would show up in my dreams. It would be the last thing I’d think of before I went to sleep and the first thing I’d think when I awoke.
Flash forward 15 years. In many ways, I’m still that same kid, but with a lot more living under my belt. I’m much “cooler” than that kid was… But i think that means that im just better at hiding all of the same insecurities. I’m still afraid of dying, but I think some days, I’m more afraid of living.
The last time I was truly in love with someone who loved me back was 2007. She and I hung out last night in my dream. She was just as kind and loving as she always was. Understanding, caring, patient, and even though I was being a total pompous jerk to her, she calmly told me that she loved me, and let me know that I was doing “alright”. ::pausing to wipe some tears:: A little later in the dream, she started calling out all the ways I had changed. Whenever I would reply with a snippy comment, she would ask why I had become so sensitive to people’s jokes. When I would talk badly about someone, she would ask me why I wasn’t loving others the way I used to. She gave me a big hug and a kiss at the end of the dream and I watched her walk away, again.
I woke up in tears… And my eyes are making this post so much harder than any I’ve posted before. A few years ago, I graduated college and started chasing my dream of following music, but at what cost? I’d start throwing away friends who didn’t come to shows, guarding myself from anyone and everyone, because I was scared that they would see who I really was and walk away or even worse, not like my songs, and then i got into this habit of trying to go out with girls who weren’t really that into me to begin with… Why would I do that??
My best friend from high school posted this quote by Albert Einstein yesterday, “Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.” I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing with my life, and I need to fix it.
So where does one start at changing his life? How does one react to the realization that he’s been trying to be so cool, that he’s pushed everyone away, and he’s now all alone?
One of the things that has been constant is my music. I wrote it from the same “Josh” that I’ve always been. When I hear songs like “Love Again”, “If I Had a Dollar”, and “Something’s Telling Me”, I realize that somewhere trapped inside of me is that same gentle 12 year old boy who just loves to love people. I just need to figure out how to make this 28 year old version of me figure out a way to love others and not be so hurt by their insensitive remarks.
Sometimes I think I’m not cut out for this business. Not because I’m not a good writer or singer, but because I take the things that people say so personally. My roommate Jeff has told me over and over that I’m opening myself up to public criticism by trying to be a public figure. Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a rude text, email, tweet, or Facebook comment from a stranger/person I hardly know/have never met, that absolutely brings me down. Just the other day, I randomly woke up, and went to the grocery store. I started making breakfast and heard my roommate waking up. I decided that he had been having a rough couple days and since I was up, I should make him breakfast. Later on, I jokingly put all of that on Facebook, and received comments that really cut, from people I don’t even know! “Hope he doesn’t have health problems and can enjoy all of that”, “I wouldn’t have liked that meal, because it seems like the only reason you made it was to get recognition on your Facebook post”, “I don’t like bacon”, “did you already finish your p90x workouts?”. All of those comments completely ruined my day. There were probably more.
When I was moving to LA to try working on this album, I got a letter letting me know that, “I was making a huge mistake, and that leaving SD was terrible/unfair to all local artists because it made them believe that they couldn’t make it on music and still live here.” huh?
When I was moving back, I ran into a girl I had met in the LA music scene and actually really liked until she opened her mouth and said, “Oh, you can’t cut it here, huh?”
I get text messages letting me know that “hey bro, you should get healthy cause you’re looking fat”, facebook messages telling me all of the things I SHOULD be doing to lose weight, like “changing my mindset”, and emails from people from my own church who hear my struggles and say, “Crying about it isn’t going to help…” The truth is, none of these people have any clue what I’m going through. They just want to write their opinion down on my Facebook post, bring me down via text, or “help me out” by recycling random quotes they once heard about problems that they’ve never faced.
But then, there are the little, kind things people say. “Hey man, I go jogging on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wanna join?”, “Hey Josh, not a day goes by that my son doesn’t want to listen to your album, please come to his baptism here in NY”, “Today feels like a Josh Damigo kind of day…”
Those positive words are SO MAGICAL. I mean, I’m a nobody! I have a cheap 6 song ep that I released in ’07, and an acoustic album, but that’s all! How do these people even know who I am? I’ve never toured to the cities they live in, shaken their hands, or even have a degree of separation to them, yet they’ve used their kind little words to motivate me to continue to play. I say it all the time at shows, “I’d quit playing of it wasn’t for you guys.” but it’s so completely true. I think of James, who films every show and I can hear him singing along… and even singing the right lyrics when I mess up. Maddie and Francesca, who feel terrible if they miss shows, and even send apology notes sometimes. All of the donors for the new album and some who offered extra money if I needed it, but didn’t want to be named. And all of the people who have offered a shoulder to cry on, place to stay, second home, who love me without knowing me and care about me, even if I mess up a hundred times. You guys are the only reason I’m still here. You guys are the only reason I blog my thoughts, write “cheesy” songs, and play shows. I’d go get a desk job and fade off into the corporate machine, make money, and just live life without my guitar if it wasn’t for you.
So anyways, I guess this dream, “woke me up.” As the new album is released and as new relationships come and go, if you see me, or interact with me in any way, please just be kind, and I’ll do my best to do the same. I’m just a hurt little boy, trying to figure out what’s next, and I hope that one day I can end every night with a hug, a kiss from my best friend, and a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I’m part of something special.
I guess dreams are pretty powerful. Thanks for being part of my life. I love you.