If you've decided to visit my website, I can assume you want to get to know a bit about me. I will also assume .05% of the people who start to read this will finish it. However, this is a very personal and honest description of myself, so I hope someone reads it...and appreciates it. If not, oh well. It did me good to write it.
After you reach a certain age, you begin to think about yourself in a different light. You begin to wonder about how you'll be remembered after you're gone. You begin to wonder if people perceive you differently than you really are.
If you've had a close call with life-threatening health issues and have been forced to face your own mortality, the desire for self-clarity and reflection will likely be amplified.
I have touched the face of death and it spat me back as a favor. Now I think about my legacy and how I'll be remembered. To do that, I must look at myself, and see into myself...honestly.
I have discovered I am a huge walking contradiction. I've always known this and it came as no surprise. However I want to share the self-awareness I gained and allow others to see how I see myself.
Because I want to inspire others to do the same thing. This kind of soul-bearing, heart searching introspectioin is good for everyone.
Something I learned long ago and live by is just be who and what you are. Some people will like you. Some won't. You'll never get along with everyone. If you can't be happy and comfortable with who and what you really are, I can promise you that no one else will be truly comfortable with who and what you are.
I can also promise you that, if you don't like and respect yourself, no one else will. There is a huge difference between being satisfied with and secure in the person you are, and being arrogant about who you think you are. If stranded alone on a desert island, would you like your own company? I would. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I am a heavy metal drummer. I like power metal, progressive metal, hard rock and classic rock. But I also like smooth jazz, big band and classical. Beethoven is my favorite composer. From the age of 10 I was into all the early pioneers of hard rock like; Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Grand Funk Railroad, etc.
But before that, I was exposed to show tunes, the Brat pack, classic lounge and concert singers like Andy Williams, Robert Goulet and Frank Sinatra. And all those influences stuck with me. Now, that contradictory taste in music is evident in my contradictory tastes in all other aspects of my life. Hence, the walking contradiction.
I'm a good drummer. I don't see myself as a great drummer. I've been playing drums for 44 years. Many people call me a great drummer. I'm better than many, but not nearly as good as some. I'll never be as good as I want to be. I've seen great drummers, and I'm a good drummer. I know I can still learn more, and hope to do so. Humble? Maybe. But still my realistic self-assessment of my talents.
I am a large, strong, burly man. I look like a biker...or a heavy metal drummer. Tough, rugged, macho, confident, sometimes intense. My presence can be intimidating, and I often forget that fact.
But yet, I love going to book stores and libraries. I love to read. I love to laugh and have fun and enjoy life. I'm really not into all that macho stuff, probably because I don't feel I have anything to prove to anyone but myself. But still I sometimes forget that other people may perceive me as intimidating simply because of my outward appearance.
So again, the contradiction of my outward appearance versus what I truly am inside. I have a huge, loving, caring, tender, gentle heart. Not necessarily a heavy metal trait. I just have very thick skin with which to protect that tender heart.
My heart is full of love and kindness and is capable of deep emotion. So, though I look like a big, tough, macho kind of guy, I'm really very tender deep inside...most of the time. ..unless you threaten me, threaten a loved one or challenge me just to be defiant. That is when my protective nature is called into play. Whether self-preservation or to protect my loved ones, I am like a vicious junk-yard dog and come out swinging, no questions asked, no regrets. My friends and family value that sense of protection. They value feeling safe with me around, because they know how deeply I care for them. So, even in my kind, caring, loving and peaceful soul, there is the contradiction of a tender, peaceful man and my strong protective nature.
I hate physical violence and would rather avoid a fight if possible. But I've worked as a bodyguard and a bouncer, where fighting was inevitable. And yet (another contradiction), I cry at certain movies. A big, burly bouncer/heavy metal drummer...who will cry during a movie.
For just one example, I can't watch “Saving Private Ryan” with anyone else. I'll cry during that movie every time...in two different places. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I love to hold kitties and puppies. Nothing makes me smile more sincerely than a cute little kitten licking my nose, or a playful puppy running around my feet wanting my attention. I love animals. They love me back. I have a thing with animals. They sense something about me and usually trust me quickly. Little in life makes me smile as wholly and completely as happy animals, just being happy animals. It makes my soul smile.
Contradictory for a big, beefy, burly heavy metal drummer/bouncer/gun enthusiast.
I love my dogs. I have three. And the three I have now are very special to me. I've had animals all my life, but never three like these. And when they pass, I'll fall completely apart. I'll be a wreck. I'll cry for days...maybe weeks. I always do when a beloved pet passes. Then I swear I'll never get another one because I can't suffer that kind of pain again...but I always get another one anyway, and am always glad I did. With great love will come great loss and great pain. But I'd never sacrifice the one to rid myself of the other.
My big, soft, tender heart....wrapped inside an old-school, heavy metal drumming, gun shooting, protective Master.
But people who do senseless harm to animals, cruel, mean, hateful people who torture defenseless animals, have no rights as far as I'm concerned. Thus, the contradiction to my big, kind, tender heart. All an animal wants is love. They want to please and serve and be loved. That's all. People who abuse animals should be left alone with me in a locked room for 30 minutes. Enough said about that.
I love professional football, but I also love going to a museum or a wine tasting. I love fine wine. That's not usually a drink you would picture a guy who looks like me asking for in a bar, and I usually wouldn't. But if I'm at home I much prefer wine to any other alcoholic drink.
I can hang out with bikers. I can hang out with geeks. And I'm equally as happy in both extremes. And for the most part I'm very welcome by both extremes of people.
I want people to like me, but I don't care if they don't. I wish everyone would, but I know that's not realistic.
I have friends who are gay. I have friends who are lesbian. I have friends who are jocks, geeks, nerds, gear heads and true intellectuals. I have friends who are blue collar and I have friends who are professionals. The only factors I concern myself with are the character traits they hold deep within themselves, and the quality of their friendship. Honor, integrity, strength of character, those are the things that matter. The package a person comes wrapped in matters not.
I don't have a lot of friends, but the ones I have are committed and faithful to me, as I am to them. They truly enjoy me and my company, and I, theirs. They'd do anything for me, and they know I'd do anything for them. I've been through good times and bad times together with many of them. And I don't desert them in the bad times. Anyone can be a friend when the going is easy. The hard times are what formulate bonds that last forever.
I do also have a lot of friendly acquaintances. And I value them for the place in my life they inhabit. Sometimes a friendly acquaintance will move into a deeper friendship zone, so I value that possibility with every friendly acquaintance. But if that never happens, that's okay. It's important to me that I never confuse the two. I'd rather have just a small handful of good friends than hundreds of friendly acquaintances.
About 95% of the people who meet me like me a lot.
About 5% dislike me a lot.
I can live with that.
I won't have a lot of people at my funeral, but those who are there will be heartbroken and feel a real sense of loss.
I've accomplished much in my life. I've seen a lot of things, been a lot of places, and endured many hardships. I've learned many lessons and I continue to learn as much as I can from everywhere I can.
I'm probably the kind of guy who could deserve to be the center of attention more than I give myself credit for. Hence being satisfied with being a drummer. Rarely, if ever, in the spotlight. But the band knows that, if I don't do my job well, the rest of the band will fall apart. The band knows I am the concrete foundation on which all songs and the band itself is based. A band will only be as good as its drummer. I don't need the spotlight and accolades of millions. I just enjoy having the respect of the rest of the band.
I don't feel the need or have the desire to prove anything to anyone, yet I've never been intimidated by anyone. I'm secure in myself but not arrogant about it. I'm confident in my talents, skills and abilities, but not an egotist. I like a modicum of attention just as much as anyone, but I don't toot my own horn to get it. If I do get it, cool. If not, I don't feel inferior or trivialized. I only care about being important to the ones who are important to me.
I'm happy for others who are happy, even when I'm not. I don't have to cut others down to make myself feel superior. If someone else has a stroke of good luck, I don't get jealous and wonder why it happened to them and not me. I don't begrudge them their good fortune because I needed it too.
I can be friendly and cordial to people I dislike. But if you're childish and whine and act like a 5th grade crybaby, I'll laugh at you and be anything but cordial, friendly and accepting.
I hate drama and try my best to avoid it and the people who cause it. But if you bring it to my front door, I'll definitely get involved. Some people say that to confront drama is creating drama. I should just ignore it and it'll go away. I've never felt tolerating drama would do anything to discourage the drama some people thrive upon. Perhaps confronting drama and slapping it down does create the appearance of causing drama to some. But why should I tolerate drama...even ignore it? If you confront it and discourage it from getting a foothold in your life, the rest of your life will be much nicer and drama free. I look at the long-term affect rather than avoiding the immediate confrontation. Eventually, you'll have to take a stand. I'd rather take my stand against drama before it gets any place in my life what-so-ever. I'm sorry. Confronting drama is not creating drama.
I'm the kind of guy people want to be friends with, and absolutely not the kind of guy you want as an enemy. If you don't like me, respect me or agree with me, then just be cordial and polite with common courtesy, as I'll be with you, and all will be well. (See that “Act like an adult” thing.)
I have my faults and they are many, but I try to learn about myself and improve myself in various ways. Some things I wish I could change about myself that seem...difficult. But I am human and I deserve acceptance just like the acceptance I show others...at my own discretion. (Again, see that “tolerating childish behavior” thing.)
There is a big difference between being accepting of people and their quirks, and tolerating behavior you don't want to be contaminated with. I draw the line where I want. After all, it's my life, and I don't want it contaminated.
One of the biggest lies modern society has perpetrated upon us is that, to love people and accept them as they are, you have to agree with them. Sorry. Nope. I can be tolerant of people's quirks, love them and accept them, without agreeing with anything for which they stand, or allowing them to bring drama into my life. I have as much right to build the life I want for me and mine as they do to build the life they desire.
I like myself and would enjoy my own company if I were stranded on a desert island with myself.
If I make a mistake, I'm man enough to admit it. Making a mistake, or admitting I don't know something, doesn't threaten my manhood.
I'm very much in touch with my inner child. I love to play and laugh and be silly and goofy like a big kid. But I also take my responsibilities seriously and fulfill my adult roles quite well.
In most every aspect of my personality and existence, I am a walking contradiction. But it takes all those individual parts of me to make me what I am as a whole, and I'm satisfied with that.
This is an honest bearing of my heart and soul. Your perception of me may vary.
And that's okay, too.