It started off just like a normal ride. I called Uber to go to rehearsal. I was riding with a guy who lives in my neighborhood. He’s really nice and I have a lot of respect for him. We just instantly bonded. He’s one of those guys, you know? Sometimes I meet someone and we’re instant friends. More about instant friends another time. Let’s get back to the Uber driver.
It’s that time of year, and we quickly got to the “How were your holidays?” and “Happy new year, indeed!” Then for some inexplicable reason I felt this connection to him, and to everything. I felt similar when I was opening up about myself on the Guided B.S. podcast. We started talking about everything, but mostly my things. And it felt so good.
So here I am, telling a stranger that I’ve recently been diagnosed with M.S. Telling him that I’m staying positive, still playing music as much as I can. Enjoying edible treats in a way I never understood was possible. I tell him that this is making me kinder person, and it might make me a better musician.
I’m listening to myself saying that, saying that all this may make me better. I can’t believe I just said that. I can’t believe I thought that, and then vocalized it to a stranger. Do I believe that? Am I going to be better because of this?
I really don’t want to second guess myself on this. Let’s go with it.
“Of course, I wasn’t sober” he says to me while describing the time he saw Stevie Ray Vaughan – a month before he died in a plane crash. When I first got there, to order my salad with salmon steak, he asked to bum a smoke. Yes, salmon steak. It just sounds so much meatier that way. I told him I only had a couple cigarettes- which was true, kind of. I had four and a half.
Then I thought of those long bus rides, stopping at bus stations in the middle of nowhere. No gas stations in sight. Out of cigarettes myself. I thought of the older African American woman who bummed me a smoke when I really needed one.
I looked over to the door, and saw this guy frantically searching the park for anyone who might be smoking, anyone who even looks like they might be a smoker. I took two cigarettes out of my pack, grabbed my coffee with my other hand, and walked out the front door. “Here you go, man. I had more than I thought” I tell him. His eyes lit up and he thanked me profusely.
We talked about music, and shows we’ve seen- actually just shows that he’s seen, I was just enjoying listening to the stories. I let the fact that I am a musician come out, and his eyes widened and lit up all over again.
I went back inside and he followed closely, pumping me for more information about playing music. I gave him my number and told him I would be happy to help him out with some guitar lessons. I haven’t heard from him yet, and I doubt I ever will, but the way he treated the bartender makes me happy about that. She is a friend of mine, and he was doing that thing that a lot of men do to women they don’t know. Just can’t get past the fact that she is beautiful. Just can’t respect her for who she is- another human being.
After I ate, I took my last two cigarettes and left.
I started on my medicine this morning. I’m nervous. Also, the fundraiser goes up today, with the video attached to it. I’m nervous about that too.
Why am I nervous about taking medicine that is supposed to make me feel better? I’m also nervous about asking for help, and my friends have done all the work.
I saw the video that Donna made for the fundraiser. I thought it was gonna make me uncomfortable, everyone talking about me and stuff- but it made me immensely proud. Proud of my life, proud of myself, proud of my friends that I love so much. I couldn’t wait to send it to my mother and make her proud.
The fundraiser is already taking off marvelously. I had to turn my phone off for a little while- it was just too many notifications. Too many emotions. I am humbled and so so so grateful.
Here’s the fundraiser https://www.youcaring.com/mattysheets-734356
And the video from Crossover Productions
It’s the second day of the new year and it’s another early morning. We got up around 7:30 to clear out of the house. The pest control person was gonna be here at 8:00 to kill bugs.
Turns out we didn’t even have to leave the house this time, and it was very fast, and we bonded with the bug killer over having a mutual respect for all people, and hating fascists. It’s tough living in North Carolina sometimes- a lot of the time.
I listened to some great podcasts while I worked from home. After work I moved to sad songs and missing her. Then I exchanged some text messages with her as I continued listening to sad songs. I was very happy to hear that she misses me too, but there may have been a tear or two. It was the first time I wanted a drink since I quit two weeks ago. Having a drink would have been worse.
When you’re hard on yourself and just think you suck, that’s one thing. When you’re hard on yourself, and think you’re gonna get better, because you don’t suck, then you’re on to something. I’m trying to do the second thing.
Last night I spent New Years Eve doing what I love. Missing friends and sleeping. It was the first New Years Eve I can remember that I was asleep before midnight.
I thought of my friends that live in other cities. I thought of my friends here who were gathering together to celebrate. I thought of my love, gathering with friends in the city she lives in.
Then I woke up. I woke up to many people shooting their guns. In the air, I’m assuming, and hoping. I looked at my phone and saw that it was after midnight.
I fell back asleep thinking of everyone again, but mostly you.
It’s 2017. I woke up to a very gray morning, pretty early, 8 AM. I lit a cigarette although I should be quitting smoking today.
You never know what someone else is going through. Just that one simple truth is a such a great reason to treat everyone with remarkable respect. Today my friends are making a video for a certain fundraiser that is going up next week. More about that another time.
Mo told me I should just pretend that my life is a play within a play within a play. That made me feel great. “Act 2 is gonna be sooo funny” I said. She laughed and said “In Act 3 there’s a twist!”
Donna is setting up her camera and Frog is howling at the door to the porch, hoping we will let him out. “Nah, Frog, you don’t want to go out there- it’s a really gray day out there, and it’s all rainy” I tell him. Frog is my new cat buddy.
I had a fun time telling stories to Donna and her camera. We went through my musical history, and all the bands I’ve played with, and the history of the open mic I have been hosting for 14 years now, and people, and times changing, and transitions, and life.
Kit Dean met us at the house when we finished. We found an open restaurant, and ordered some food. Donna reminisced about playing paper football and pencil fighting back in elementary school.
She recalled how boys would always smack her fingers instead of the pencil they were trying to break. “Boys are stupid” I told her.
Donna and Kit were nursing a bit of a hangover after their New Years Eve festivities at the studio last night. I thought about all of them a lot last night, but I was very tired and fell asleep before midnight, for the first time on a New Years Eve that I can remember. I awakened to people shooting their guns in the air, and looked at my phone.
We made it through 2016.
I went back to sleep.