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I wanna sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover’s bed, with a wide open country in my eyes, and these romantic dreams in my head

If you’ve spent an amazing portion of your life listening deeply to the music that has carried you through the highs and lows of your life like I have, you should remember the very first time when you heard or saw that one song or band has punched you so fucking hard in the heart and danced with your soul. Some of the music I’ve discovered skipped right over the dancing with your soul aspect and went right to fucking your soul in a bubblebath with candles, roses, champagne, and punk rock blazing out of the speakers.

I’ve certainly had my share of one night stands with punk rock, but I’ve always called them the next morning, adding them to my playlist and mastering the art of musical polygamy.

This is what I feel every time I put on a bouncing souls record, or rancid, or bad religion, descendents, no use for a name, pennywise, h20, the specials, lagwagon, social d, beach slang, against me, less than Jake, and so on… and so on… and so on…

Last night while I was driving around my current town, the beautiful and magnificent city of San Diego, I began to reflect on the night that I discovered a new sound that I’ve never heard before.

On this night, my girlfriend who eventually went on to become my fiancée, and then my wife of 11 years had told me that her and my best friend Darren were going to a show at the Court Tavern in the STD infested college town of New Brunswick, NJ. At first, I wasn’t going to go. I know I know, that is way out of character for me to say no to a show in a tiny little club “where the air is hot and the music is loud”. But I went, and the music was loud, and the air was extremely hot, probably the hottest show I’ve ever gone to. They said that I should go with them, they told me that I do not want to miss this band. They sound a like Bruce Springsteen with a punk rock twist. I thought that sounded awesome being that I am a huge Springsteen fan. So there we were, in line waiting to pay for admission. The band took the stage and as soon as Brian Fallon opened his mouth to spit out the first line from the first song “I took a drive today, I thought about you, I thought about a friend who passed, and how much we just went through” I started to feel my eyes fill up with water and I had peaceful smile on my face. This was the night that made me realize that I’ve been taking living in New Jersey for granted. It was the night that I fell in love with the place where I got my name from. It was the night that I KNEW not only was the next 45 minutes going to be absolutely fucking magical, but also the night that my wife and I would begin our journey together. This was the night that I discovered The Gaslight Anthem.

I remember driving home from the show that night on the pitch black Rt. 18 listening to the only record they had out at the time, “sink or swim”. I just couldn’t believe what I was listening to. I couldn’t fathom how I have never even heard the name before tonight. The show was sold out, and when they were playing EVERYONE was dancing and singing along to the songs. I was definitely living under a rock, there was no way I haven’t even heard their name before. But I hadn’t. That didn’t matter though because I was so fucking in and there was no way I was going to try and get out.

My friends had surprised me by throwing a bachelor party at a Gaslight show held at the Asbury Lanes, the greatest venue that god ever created. The thing was though, my soon to be wife and her girls also surprised her by bring her to the same show. So you can look at this either way:

1: It ended up being a dual bachelor/bachelorette party

or

2: Fuck the bachelor/bachelorette party and lets just go to the show all together and have an amazing time.

Girls think its cute to walk around town during a bachelorette party with straws that look like dicks. And so they walk in the lanes with a bunch of cocks and it was really funny. Bonnie had a penis sports bottle with a straw coming out of the tip of it. Now I don’t remember if it was her idea or not, of if I hijacked it. But either way, we had the entire band autograph it along with Pete and Bryan from the souls who were there spinning records and getting drunk off cheap tequila. This was almost 12 years ago, and guess what, we still have that punk rock cock somewhere hidden in the closet so our kids don’t find it.

Those really were some amazing times we had. Some good memories. I really do miss nights like that. I’m not saying for a second that I wish we could go back and remain in those years. We aren’t kids anymore and I know that. But what I really do miss with all of my heart are our personalities from that time. I lost myself after the first couple of years in North Carolina. I forgot who I was. I dressed like a dork, I had a dorky haircut, and I lost my personality and developed a lame new one. And now that we’re in San Diego, I’m starting to come back down to earth and continue where I left off before I left Jersey forever. I’m not acting like a 20 something year old, I’m trying to get my responsibilities in order because I want to be able to move forward while still keeping my authentic heart. Unfortunately, I think Bonnie has forgotten where we came from and just isn’t into the things she was into all those years ago. While on the brink of divorce, I attempted to help her remember the things that we used to love together by bringing her to a bouncing souls show a few months ago. The souls gave us a shout out just like they did the night we got engaged. But her expression just wasn’t the same. She just doesn’t have the same flame in her heart that I do. It’s selfish of me to try and reach her in the way that I won her over all those many many years ago. It’s selfish of me to try and “change her”, which I’m not trying to do. I just don’t want her to forget all those moments we’ve experienced together. From falling in love, to picking out her engagement ring, to losing a friend who lost his battle with mental illness, to the music that brought us together, literally. She stalked me at a bouncing show the night before we actually started talking. We got engaged at a bouncing souls show. And if you believe in fate, the bouncing souls played in San Diego the night that she came home after living in an airbnb for a week because she had to get away from me. When I was sliding her engagement ring on for the first time in the middle of a mosh pit at a bouncing shows show on December 10th 2007, not for a second did I think that we would eventually move 3,000 miles away to San Diego and mention the word “divorce” more times that I can count. This being the most depressing time (for me) in our 14 year relationship just doesn’t seem real. It’s more like a fucked up nightmare. My only mission right now is to hold on as long and as hard as I can before my heart inevitably deflates and I lose myself. Right now all I am is a lost soul, emotionally alone in an amazing city where I know absolutely nobody. San Diego is full of amazing and beautiful people who share common interests with me, but nobody will ever know me here the way people from the other side of the country ever will.

Before I turn this into a pity party, I’d like to point out that we still do have fun together. I can’t read her mind, so I don’t know everything she is thinking about, but I have to believe that she still gets that spark in her eye whenever I walk into a room like before. Just like I still do today whenever she walks into a room.

Hey wake it up! Hey shake it out!

Does anything still move you since you’re educated now?

And all grown up and travelled well

Do you still hear the sound of thunder while you lie up by yourself?

Like you waited on this call and made your plans for great escapes

And there used to be a movement in the way your dress would wave

From your hips on down like electric through the ground

Now do you blow it out come Friday night?

See if you wanna, you can find me on the hood under the moonlight

Radio, oh radio, do you believe there’s still some magic left

somewhere inside our souls?

Like I waited on your call and made my plans to share my name

And I love the country movement in the way your dress would wave

From your hips on down like electric through the

Sound of the cars rushing the rain on the boulevard

In this city by the sea that has always haunted me

And belonged to me somehow

Bless your waters and your doubts

Bless your waters

Bless your doubts

❤️⚡️ The Gaslight Anthem ⚡️❤️

☠️ NJ ☠️

The reason I went insane

The moment you meet the person who will be the one to share such a huge part of your life with all seems like far away dream. It begins with that new taste of romance that consists of being young and naive, partying, cuddling, sex, love notes left on your car, and sleeping till noon. Sure, the others guys you work with, the dudes who have at least 20 years on you will try to mess with your head by telling you not to get married, don’t fall for it… they change… you’ll eventually resent each other… one of you will cheat on the other, its just a matter of who will cheat first… she’ll leave you if she meets someone else who can offer you more than you could…….. This is what I had to put up with for the entire year I was engaged. Don’t get me wrong, the guys I worked with were good people and I enjoyed working with them. And I knew they were just busting my balls because I was a just a “kid” in my mid-20’s. What did I know? Once you know that this is it, that this is the one, you envision your entire future. You see yourself laying on a grassy field with your significant other and children staring up at the clouds. You see yourself and the career you’ve chosen. You see yourself having family bbq’s in the backyard of the house you own, the one with the white picket fence. You see yourself having all the answers when your kids come running to you with questions about life, about the entire universe….

This is a post about my wife, Bonnie. She is going to kill me for posting these pictures, but I don’t care. At 39, she is still as beautiful as the day I met her almost 14 years ago and I love to brag. I am proud to be her husband.

The reality is this.. life is still incredible, but we get so caught up in this overwhelming tornado of stress, finances, homework, runny noses, car issues, bad nights at work, the kids fighting with each other, having dinner on the table, looking for last minute babysitters so you don’t lose your job, my evil mother in law telling me I’m wrong, HER evil mother in law telling her SHE’S wrong, EVERYONE’S evil mother in law putting their noses where they don’t belong. And just to be clear, I am not putting my mother in law down, I’m just saying this out of love. Because lets face it, almost every mother in law out there gets in the middle of things that should ONLY concern you and your partner. My mom is the perfect example. I love her, she is my mom and I will never stop loving her, but because she doesn’t always mind her business, it can sometimes lead to a little tension in the house. And that causes stress, perhaps even a little resentment towards one another. With my experience in this matter, at the end of the day I need to come to a decision: side with my mom, or side with my wife. Well, I am no mamas boy, so of course I’m going to side with my life partner. But thats not to say that I won’t play devils advocate and listen to both sides, I’m fair. But still, this is my family and no-one matters more than my family. WE get to make the final decision with how to move forward with our lives, not them…. where was I going with this? I forgot… Oh, what I was really trying to say is that these are prime examples of how things start to slow down in a marriage. But the important thing is to not lose site of it. If you start putting every about of attention on your everyday struggles, of course you’re going to put that romance on the top shelf, where it will be easily forgotten about. You need to take care of those struggles, but at the same time keep at least one toe on that one thing that made this all possible, your love for one another. If you had never gotten together with your partner like this…

then your body wouldn’t have looked like this…

and you definitely wouldn’t have smiled as hard as this..

and you wouldn’t have pictures to show off how your little creations are adapting to this new universe…

I don’t care if your the toughest, most unbreakable man with the thickest skin on the planet. If you love your family, you will break down and become a pathetic shriveled down lost little soul just by the thought of after being together as best friends, soul mates, life partners for the past 14 years was about to end. Everything that the two of you have built over time, every kiss, every laugh, every tear, every life made, every diagnosis, every friend we lost together, everything that the two of us had been through together flashes before your eyes like the way they say that your life flashes before your eyes right before you die. It’s so easy to lose it, and so hard to hang on. The moment that I lost my mind was the night that I had a gut wrenching suspicion that my wife was cheating on me. It was painful to think that she can have the energy to not even betray me, but betray our children like that. I was torturing myself by putting the pieces to the puzzle together one by one. And I had it buried so deep inside of me that everything was making sense. I lost my mind. I couldn’t take it. I was so sad. I was crushed. I was in denial. There was NO way she would or could do anything like this to me. But what about that one time she said she was going out to…… or, she said she is leaving for work, but where is she really going? It was fucked up for me to believe those voices in my head, but as desperately hard I tried, with every amount of energy I had left in my soul to ignore those demons, I just couldn’t. The voices were just too loud. I was wrong for believing it. I just had this painful idea that she is a grown woman capable of anything, and some things can easily be brought to the grave with her that I will never find out about. I want to skip all that hospital shit in between and go straight to the bottom line. I know my wife had never been with another man. I have faith that I am the only person she has been with during these last 14 years. Has there been any sort of attraction between her and another man? maybe. But thats alright, she’s human. You can’t control being attracted to someone, but you CAN control your behavior, and thats good enough for me.

But I think I’ve finally figured out why I am in such a state of paranoia, I’ve finally figured out the main trigger to my depression..

It goes like this:

We had moved 3,000 miles away from the east coast to the west coast while not having a clue of what expect here. We were strangers to a new unfamiliar territory, but we were in it together. Adapting to this new world we chose to make for ourselves. We were on the same level me and her. But as time started moving along, so did she. She landed a solid new career and I couldn’t be more stoked for her. She is making friends. She is moving forward, as she should be doing. But she’s moving so fast that I can’t even keep up with her. She has already adapted. She is a California girl. And it seems like she no longer needs me. She finally found the world that she didn’t even known she’s been looking for. She no longer needs me. In my sad little brain, I feel like I am nothing more than an annoying little thing hooked around her ankle, preventing her from going out with friends or coworkers on the weekend, and I’m just following her around because I don’t have any friends or a social circle, so I’m mooching off of her. I’m holding her back. These new demons are even more controlling than the last demons. They are convincing me that I am not the person she is supposed to be with, and that idea fucking kills me. And I’m trying so hard to talk about it with her, knowing I’m wrong, but just try and let her know the reasons for my unexpected tears. And thats another thing, when I do try and open up to her, I cry. I fucking cry. I sound like such a baby, a much much older baby, an emotionally fucked up wreck. The past month has been so amazing, and if I ruin everything again because of how emotionally stable I am, I’ll just hate myself that much more. I am going to ask her to read this because its a lot easier than dealing with confrontation.

She loves getting tattooed, and I love watching her get tattooed…

and when it comes to Halloween, we don’t fuck around…

and she can hang with the rockstars…

As I reflect on the past several months and try to make sense of it all, I strongly believe that the only thing I am guilty of is loving my wife. I love my family. Yes, we have as many struggles as the next family, but I am so proud of all of our accomplishments. But I’ve fought so, so, so ridiculously hard to keep my family together. I’ve fought so hard that I ended up in the hospital because I was too paranoid of losing her forever. I lost my mind. As I said earlier, I saw the past 14 years of my life flash before my eyes when it seemed like this marriage was about to come to an end. The idea of loving someone more than they’ll ever love you is impossible. This is my family, and I don’t plan on losing it. We belong together, all of us.

My favorite thing about her is when she smiles. She smiles when she is in the moment. She smiles when she is enjoying life at that exact moment. When I notice her smile, I just take a few steps back and watch her forget about her stress and worries. She’s in the moment, and that’s a very important moment because she isn’t alive yesterday, she isn’t alive tomorrow, she is alive in this moment. And if I can walk over and put my arm around her, pulling her closer to me, I have a chance.

I know she loves me, she always has and always will. But the effort goes both ways to make a marriage work. We are in this world together. We built this world. We own our world. It is ours.

For better or worse, till death do us part…..