If You Escaped What I’ve Escaped, You’d Be In Paris Getting Fucked Up Too..
SO! 2011 is finally over. And, can I say? Thank fuck for that. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good things happened that year, but it got pretty FUBAR’d by the end. I have to say, I haven’t been this exhausted since that time I was Jackee Harry’s Personal Grocery Shopper..
I think the important thing is though, when you have times like this, is to take stock of the things that did work and celebrate them, however small. The things that didn’t work are only useful if you’re using them to learn from. If you’re going to sit there and just dwell in them, then you’re wasting more of your life than you already have, and that’s more useless then a Miss America contestant in a geography quiz.
The last time I wrote on here, it was pretty much bordering on a suicide-apalooza. Truth is, it was less a cry for help as than it was just a way for me to let some of the pressure out that had been building up the past few months. Literally, the second I hit post, it was like a Jackee Harry-sized weight was lifted off my shoulders. And the funny thing was, pretty much not a single person in my life had any clue that I was feeling that bad until I wrote that. That’s a weird feeling to have. I mean, there was a point where I was genuinely concerned I was losing my mind and I had no one there to talk to. In all fairness, I didn’t really tell anyone things were that bad, but I guess you hope that if you ever get to a point like that that someone around you would know you well enough to notice. Or to try and help.
It’s all fine though. I didn’t really go into it in the previous post because it was literally just stream of consciousness writing, but I was so exhausted at that point, that’s what was putting me on the Crazy Train. I’d just spent two months straight working 12 hour days, five days a week and was spending all my spare time flying back and forth to Brisbane so I could hang out in ER’s and Hospital Wards and Funeral Homes. No wonder I went off the deep end a little..
One of the big things that it drove home to me though is how isolated my life is down here. It’s funny, because I have a great life with good friends, a beautiful home and a lot of little luxuries that most people would be grateful for. But even with all the good friends I have, I don’t have a single person really down here whose life I’m that essential to. I’m a lot of people’s ‘good friend’ but I’m no one’s Best Friend. I’m no one’s Go To Guy to hang out with. I just float around the periphery being friends with everyone, kind of. That’s a great strategy if you want to win Survivor or something, but it’s less useful when you need someone to lean on.
I don’t really know when my life got like this. It was interesting being stuck up for a week in Brisbane and having time to reflect on a lot of things. One of the advantages of being stuck in my old home town was I really got to reflect on things and where my life is (or, rather, ISN’T) going. Anyone knows me knows I’m definitely not the sort AT ALL to do the whole ‘blame their parents’ thing or start complaining about their childhood, but it was interesting having so much concentrated time where I grew up and kind of inadvertently ‘connecting the dots’ – for lack of a better term – between a lot of my habits that hold me back now and a lot of things that were messed up in my earlier years. Obviously, I can’t really go into detail about a lot of these for legal reasons, but it was a real eye opener. And, again, I’d like to reiterate that I’m not blaming anyone, but it was good to I guess draw clearer paths between them, so I guess I can shake some things off that I’ve been tied down by lately.
It’s funny, right after my 30th I started this big ‘Thirty Things To Do Now That I’m Thirty’ post that was all sorts of epic. And, like so many of my brilliantly epic posts, it’s now languishing in my Drafts Folder only two-thirds finished. One of the things that is clear to me though, looking back on it, is that I’m definitely getting too distracted and, in turn, overwhelmed by the end result that I want from this year and not being S-M-R-T and focussing on breaking this into down into prioritized, manageable goals. So, without further ado, here’s five smaller bite-sized (but still ambitious) goals that I wants to make progress towards in the next three months.
01. Lose Weight, Get In Shape and Strengthen My Core
So, I mean – CLEARLY this is the most pathetically common New Years Resolution this side of Bridget Jones, but it’s a big one (pun intended). But, if I look at all the things that really get me down at the moment, my appearance is a major one. The stupid thing is, it’s not like I’m overweight or anything – I’m actually in very good shape. I’m just not in the shape that I’m used to. I miss in my twenties when I was a good solid A, now I’m maybe a B+ at best. I think the thing is, being the Hot Guy has always been a really handy shield to hide behind. I can have what you might call quite a divisive personality. I’m actually a super nice, genuine guy, but for some reason it takes people a while to comprehend that all these really disparate strands of my personality (the super high energy levels, the hyper sincerity, the fact that I literally say exactly what I mean pretty much every single time) and understand that they’re all equally real. So, being a set of big arms and a hot ass is a nice way to kind of ease people in, so to speak. I feel so vunerable without it socially sometimes, because I can’t use it to distract people, so when I go out lately I feel almost like a snail stuck without it’s shell. Plus, from 8 til 20, I was the total fat kid at school (albeit one that got along with everyone). SHOCKER, right? So not feeling good about how I look is kind of my childhood ‘default’ setting.
The thing that frustrates me lately is how much of a ‘two steps forward, two steps back – Paula Abdul, Opposites Attract’ approach I’ve had to it the last few months. I go to the gym A LOT, but then I get caught up working twelve hours a day and I eat a Big Mac Meal for dinner. Or I end up getting five hours sleep a night which negates everything. The important thing for me these next few months is just to focus on the simple things – get a minimum of seven hours sleep a night, make sure I’ve done a proper grocery shop each week (I mean – I love me my Micky Dees, but I’d take a Glenny Home Cooked Meal any day of the week – provided I have a stocked fridge to stumble home to), stop snacking so much at night. If I keep a tight leash on those three things, the rest of my workout schedule will take care of the rest.
The other big thing is to make sure I do is make sure I do a major core workout at least four times a week. To be honest, I couldn’t give two shits about having a six pack (personally – I don’t find them very attractive on guys anyway, I like someone with a little softness there, it’s nice to cuddle up to and cuddling is pretty much relationship crack to me). But I’ve lost SO MUCH core strength the last five years in my current job. We just have the most awful chairs and desk set up that sees my wrenched to my left anywhere between nine to twelve hours a day with no back support. I’ve gone from having the balance of an amateur gymnast to that of a retiree on a bad day (and trust me – I’ve spent all my spare time last month hanging around them, so I’m qualified). The only thing I can really do short of quit my job (ahhh – happy thoughts) is just work as hard as I can on core-centric stuff, so at least I can minimize the amount of constant back pain I’m in the past year.
Another funny thing is, I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I look like anymore. Depending on what mirror in my house I look in, my waist seems to change for a 30 to a 32 to a 34 to a 36. It’s bizarre. The one thing I do know is, people treat you differently the way you look. And, even though that is a blog entry within itself, I’ve been around long enough to know that some of the best doors I’ve been lucky enough to walk through in my life were only opened because I had a cute face and a great butt, even if the way I monopolized those opportunities all came down to sheer force of actual personality. But I’ve got a lot of doors I want to force my way through this year and, if I’m truly going to play with the big guns, I want every single fucking weapon in my arsenal that I possibly can.
02. Get A Screenplay Finished
So THIS is the big one. It’s weird. I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember. But I’ve always alternated betweet stories, screenplays, music and blogs. To be honest, writing is about the only natural talent I have (besides maybe, just general being charming when needed), but I’ve never been able to settle and focus on one or the other or the other. I love all equally in different ways and, at stages, have made internal arguements for all potentially being the thing that would save me for the inevitable mundanity of my life. At the moment, I’ve spun the Glenny Writing Roulette Wheel and landed on Screenplays again. Mostly because, if I emotionally remove myself, I think this is the easiest to make a career of (provided you’re proffering a quality product). That it to say I think the margin for unpreventable floppage is least.
But who knows? With my songwriting (which a lot of me considers to be my absolute strength of the three) stagnating the past six months (mostly because – let’s be honest – I haven’t had feelings for anyone besides myself since 2007), it’s been my original love of screenplay writing that has got my attention. And, in some ways, I think it makes sense. I ‘GET’ movies. I’m the guy who 100% was confident that Bruce Willis was a ghost in The Sixth Sense because he never interracted with any actor in the film (beside the character who ‘sees dead people’) from Scene 3. I’ve got two good ones I’m working on at the moment. One in particular I think could be a giant smash hit that gets good reviews and one that I just think could be made for a Blair Witch Budget and get Paranormal Activity grosses. It scares me sometimes because, even though I have an innordinate amount of faith in my ability to plot and tell a tight story, writing dialogue scares me. Seriously? If I had someone who could just write dialogue quickly for me, these would have been doing the rounds in LA since back in ’98..
Still, if I go with my gut, these are the things that will get me to NYC in a reasonable amount of time and, hopefully, be something I can eek a modest living out of. Really, They’re actually very good. And if I can just get one optioned or made, that’s all it takes for me to have enough finances to work on more. Because I mean it when I say I get movies – both from a commercial standpoint and an emotional one. I get why people enjoy them. I get why they want to see what they want to see. Most writers are either very creative or very commercial. I’m driven equally by both. Not in a greedy way. But I’ve always believed that what is the point of making art if no one can enjoy it. An artists role is produce things that are both art but also capable of being appreciated – part of the role is working for an audience, especially if you’re going to expect them to shell out ten bucks for a ticket.
So yeah – the master plan? Get at least one of these three finished in the next six months (ideally, two of them) so I can take a few months off towards the end of the year, crash in NYC for a while and work on getting them into the hands of the right people. And, at the same time, use that three months to write uninterrupted by work and life and stuff like that. I’d rather fail spectacularly or, even, just find out I’m not quite good enough (or something equally mundane) than spend another ten years wondering and, quite literally, beating myself up about it.
03. Drink Less
Aha! This old chestnut. It’s funny. Because with my friends it’s evidently somewhere between a running joke and a surprisingly hot gossip item that Glenny has a bit of a drinking problem. And, you know, it’s somewhat true – my blood type is basically Grey Goose a lot of the time, especially in this past year. But a problem itself? Not at all. Even if I spent a good part of the last twelve months sauced off my rocker, it was never in any of those ways that lacked control or was used for coping or anything like that. I drink for two reasons – either socially, to heighten the fun I’m already having or, sometimes, when I’m bored. Last year was the first time in my life I ever discovered the joys of drinking at home by myself. But even then, it was always with cooking and a good meal, or a good movie. For a couple of different reasons, I didn’t really want to go out last year, and it was a nice way to unwind at home with a good Merlot or a couple of Vodkas. As anyone who knows me will attest, I’m 100% a happy drunk. Never angry, never argumentative, never dangerous or doing stupid things. Totally spazz, sure. But I’m a giant goofball at the most sober of times, so drinking can sometimes just turn me into the alcoholic equivalent of Tigger. And that’s not a bad worst case scenario to have.
But, look at December for example. The second I had serious life things happening, I didn’t touch a drink at all. I mean, I was going through some personal stuff that had me pretty much ready to kill myself, but I never once had a drink to numb any of that pain. Because when things get serious, I don’t like to feel fuzzy. Lord knows, it probably would have helped. And I run for the hills the second I feel reliant on anything, especially alcohol. If I feel like I find myself truly needing something, I’m more likely to cut it out all together because I don’t NEED things. Been like that ever since I was a kid. With everything that I went through with my family and my Dad and my Stepdad, and even later with Michael 1.0, I can’t stand feeling like I need anything other than myself. I’m not an idiot – I realised that’s emotionally not probably a healthy thing, but it always cracks me up when people think I have a drinking problem, just goes to show how few people in my life really know me.
The reason though that I DO want to cut back drinking this year is that, even though I’m still, at the ripe old age of 30, completely hangover proof, I am noticing that for the first time I do feel a bit drained the next day, like I’m sleepy. Even though I’ll still sleep solidly on a couple of bottles of Red, I wake up not feeling rested, which affects me the rest of the day. And between that feeling and being tanked at home, both are not conducive to writing, especially writing as mammoth an undertaking as a screenplay. To be fair, half these blogs have been written shitfaced as all out (actually, the whole ‘Lose Weight’ section of this I wrote totally buzzed a few nights back) and I’m pretty coherent, even quite good. But when selling a screenplay is my only hope of getting out of the godforsaken ass-backwards country, I can’t fuck it up getting my buzz on every second night. It’s not good for my waistline either..
04. Withdraw Socially
This is an interesting one. Because I’m not literally talking about become a hermit crab or cutting people off or anything. But for a couple of reasons, I think I need to do a soft pull-back on a lot of my social commitments. Which is a shame, as I ADORE my social commitments, and the socially-minded types I commit them with. But my goals the next six months are pretty clear – get one to two screenplays finished, save enough money to take a few months off and go and crash in New York for a few months and have a writing break. And in order to do this I need both (a) lots of spare cash and (b) some completed screenplays. And having too full a dance card saps funds, time and energy away from both. I love my friends. I really do. But I’ve got almost no one here in Sydney that is worth throwing what may very well be my only chance of making something of myself out the window for. Something like the last few months really opened my eyes to the degree of closeness (or lack thereof) I truly have with anyone in this city. When I was literally so exhausted that I thought I was losing my mind, I had no one who was close enough to me to notice. Which, let me stress, is no ones fault at all, but it is an interesting indicator of how shallow (somewhat) my broad social network is. It was a real eye-opener though to how easily I could fall through the cracks here. I mean, it’s no ones fault but my own in a lot of ways for creating a life where I’m never more than a second-tier friend to anyone.
The best and worst part of having lived all over the world is that your true friends are scattered in as many corners as you’ve been. It’s hard sometimes. One of the nicest things to come out of spending a week back in Brisbane was having time to see my three closest friends up there. For the past year, I’ve wondered whether my lack of close friends is something to do with something wrong within me, but that week reminded me that it’s not quite that. Being back home was like being a Hermit Crab squeezing himself back into one of his old discarded shells. It’s comforting and familiar, even though it doesn’t quite fit any more, but the memories are good. To be honest, that’s how Sydney is starting to feel to me as well.
I could make new friends here. Heck, I could definitely do my part to strengthen the ones I already have. But I think the time, focus and funds I need to have in order to try and achieve what I’ve set my sights on requires me to pull back a bit. Not cut ties at all mind you – I’ll still only ever be a phone call away from anyone who ever feels like making the effort, but I’m not going to be the one making the effort for a little while. Plus, anyone who is a real friend isn’t going to begrudge me taking the softly-softly approach for a few months. I’ve got Best Friends I haven’t seen for years at a time because of how certain cards have fallen. That’s what true friendship is. It’s just – anyone who values me being alive and able to live in this world knows that this is something I really need to try and do in order to be able to have any sort of peace.
05. Triple My Traffic on Here Over The Next Twelve Months.
Well, I mean – this is a no-brainer. When I started this a year ago, it was mostly a way to get the writing muscles in my brain to tighten up again, as well as giving me an outlet for all the obsessive gibberish that I like to babble about for hours on end. I never really expected it to get the kind of traffic it does. I always said that when I started getting more page hits a day than I have facebook friends, I know I’m doing something right. I’m almost reliably at that point now which is really nice. So, my next step is just to work on the basics – post more regularly, tighten up the main page and formatting and generally make it so it’s more professional looking and user friendly. If I ended up getting enough traffic that I could *just* eke out an existence doing this, I’d be as happy as Larry. That being said, I think my gut on this is more to use it as an audition piece, to show what I can do. The more exposure I get, the most I get the chance to get other projects and other options. Everything I write here is first draft. Almost nothing is proof read. Partially because I’m lazy but mostly because I’m so short on time, what with living in the real world and working 50-60 hours a week and all. But even at its roughest, I still think this is a good calling card and, more importantly, it’s something I really enjoy doing and really, truly hope, is entertaining or informative or just downright goofy fun for a lot of you. At the core of pretty much every single goal I have in this is the fact I get the most satisfaction when I’m making other people happy. So, here’s hoping..
Anyway, over and out, at least for now.