life history (01) portrait of the artist as a young man

Since I started this site, I’ve received tons of E-mails asking about my past, where I came from, what got me to this point, what I was like as a younger person. I plan to elaborate on a lot of the events I mention here, but for now, you get the short and sweet version.

I was born in Sacramento, California in 1986. I’m Irish mostly, my roots don’t go much further past the dustbowl, both sets of grandparents had the Steinbeck experience in Oklahoma. I was the second child to my parents, my father a truck mechanic and my mother a corrections officer at the time. In the hospital I was given a little stuffed lamb I still love. I have very few early childhood memories, probably my first being an earthquake that shook our house while playing Atari with my brother. My parents got divorced when I was seven years old, my Dad kept the house and my mom kept my brother and I. I stayed with my father every other weekend for most of my young life, I don’t feel comfortable writing about him, so I won’t. I went to Christian school until the divorce, my head was full of religion and I thought the world was a safe place, until my Mom could no longer afford it and I transferred to Public School in the slums of Rosemont.

I went from an 99% upper/middle class private school to a dog-eat-dog environment of ruthless bullies, meth-head teachers and prison yard segregation. We moved around all over the Sacramento area as my mom tried to build a new life for us, her and the man that would become my ex-stepfather were always working so my brother and I learned to fend for ourselves, Latch-Key kids in the purest sense. I went to at least 7 different elementary schools, some for as little as a week. Every new school had new bullies looking to victimize fresh fish, and my short, skinny stature and glasses made me easy pickins. I learned how to joke or talk my way out of beatings, and how to hold my tears when they came.

We eventually started to settle down in a central location, my Mom remarried and I started middle school. My stepfather was a drunk, mentally but rarely physically abusive, he’s responsible for my love of art and film, as well as many of my insecurities. My brother and I were programmers at a very young age, building computers and writing code before going to sleep-over’s or summer camps. Queer-boys my stepfather would call us, and racism, government paranoia, chauvinism and homophobia became a part of my life during stay in the family, I was toughened up and taught that nothing is beautiful and everything hurts.

In 8th grade a popular, over-sized and particularly heartless bully in my gym class picked me up out of the locker room in my underwear and carried me outside for the whole world to see. I was helpless, and as we got outside I struggled enough to make him throw me down a small flight of stairs, breaking both of my wrists. I could no longer program, and was ostracized for “crying like a girl” and getting the kid in trouble, they never fully healed due to the constant “accidental” bumps and stray footballs and basketballs my wrists endured. I still to this day can’t type for more than an hour, I went from a straight A student in the accelerated classes to barely passing, and my Mom still considers that incident to be“the day I stopped giving a fuck”. I started focusing on extracurricular, primarily Drama, and started to get back to good with the social crowd after doing a few plays and stand-up comedy at talent shows. At the beginning of 8th grade, I was dog meat, a crippled wimp, and by the end I was the “will you remember me when you get famous?” kid. This is also when I started to realize that I really liked girl things, and the cycle of guilt had begun.

I know life seems kinda depressing, but I’ve always believed you learn more from sadness than happiness, and as Oasis said, don’t look back in anger.

More tomorrow, thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “life history (01) portrait of the artist as a young man

  1. You know, they say that people who had a more troubled past are drawn to theatre, so it's no surprise you're fascinated with drama/film. Then again, it's an amazing art to begin with…

  2. I suspect your story resonates very strongly with many who have suffered much at the hands of our so-called 'peers'. It does so with me. Thank you for sharing this.

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