A Boy With A New Football and A Boxer In A Dress 

Or 

I’m finding out the hard way. 
They say in AA, if you want to find out why you drink, stop drinking. It’s true, you find out the hard way. All the pain you’ve submerged and thought drowned just grew gils and kept living. 
Well I’m in Ann Arbor and my stomach is in knots. I really just want to lay in a room, write and process. I don’t think you can pick your time. When things like this flood out of you. You can choose to close them down in normal life and that’s the choice I unconsciously made for the first 45 years of my life. Give or take. But this flood right now? It’s not a choice anymore. It’s coming out like a drain you open that then gets stuck open. The water flowing angrily out with a drain that’s clogged so you have stand by with a bucket. This blog is a bucket. 

I spent the last six months touring very little. And mainly just working on myself. Focused until recently on just the recent stuff. The stuff that happened over the holidays and before that on what the psychopath had done. 

I hadn’t counted on this leading me here. I probably would have diverted the ship, had I known but here I am. 

It’s not like I’ve never done any work on myself before, but not like this. I saw a therapist for a time in Atlanta and that helped. But it really was a bandaid on a broken arm. And the fact that I could still be being “abused” as an adult was far from my vision. I didn’t understand how covert emotional abuse operated at all. When you’re an empath or a light worker as they say, all that means is that in your heart you feel love and care for people. And you have a strong sense of empathy because you project your love on everything and can sense people’s real feelings, which are usually somewhat painful, so that evokes empathy, I thought everyone was like that. Did not know. 
It’s not a moral high ground, it’s just nature. Being an empath or a light worker doesn’t mean youre a saint or not a total asshole from time to time, but it does mean that you almost NEVER try to hurt anyone else. Doesn’t mean you don’t from time to time. I’ve hurt people. And I think even in deep ways. But I’m very sorry for that. 

On a superficial level this blog would be hurting my family, but that’s just on the surface, because the truth sets us free. Or so they say. I guess I’ll find out. 

And my intention is to help and I know that the blog is helping. It’s helping me. Hopefully it helps other. At least that’s what I’m banking on. 
I was on a roll with this tour but Ohio knocked me for a loop. I made it out and felt good about the show (kinda) but that club sending me a shockwave after the fact. That was just the straw that broke the camels back for me and Ohio. At least that’s how I feel now. Feelings change. 

🤔🥊 side note (my manager said the club said sorry. I haven’t read the note yet. But I appreciate the apology, but the shock already happened. You know those shocks? When someone gives you shockingly bad news. ( in this context, I’m not using the word ‘shockingly to state the level of bad news, obviously in the scheme of things, it’s far from a big deal. But I’m using the word ‘shockingly’  quite literally. As in I was shocked, cause it was a good gig, and not only am I sober, but I’m like insanely sober. Or more sober than I’ve ever been. So yeah a shock. 

I guess that club and Ohio did push me to write that day and all day. I guess that was good. I guess. 

I’ve had lots of shocks like that or worse. Much worse. 

When I was a kid ,maybe 8 or thereabouts, walking around the neighborhood about two blocks from where I lived, someone wrote in spray paint for the entire world to see (in my child’s mind) 

” Joe Arthur sticks broom handles up his ass”

I kid you not. It was black spray paint and big letters. Covering a whole garage door. 

That was a shock way deeper than my manager wondering if I was on drugs because a club smeared me. 

I saw those words and panicked. Life seemed destroyed in an instant. I ran as fast as I could home and went into the basement and found a can of spray paint and then I ran back and covered over the words, just mortified. And then went home and didn’t tell anyone and hoped that would be the end of it but it wasn’t. The owner of the garage followed me home and soon after I got there, the strange knock came. He explained to my parents that I had vandalized his property. I explained what I had seen, and why I did it but that didn’t matter. I was done for. I even remember having the wherewithal to point out that it was already vandalized and I was just covering my name. Didn’t matter. No mercy. No understanding. No support. I said “would have made a difference if I used white paint instead of black. The words were black, the garage was white. I grabbed black. They said it would have. I was shamed again and grounded and made to feel like a bad kid. I already felt as low as I could.) the violence you receive in your home, follows you out into the world. You have no way of knowing what you don’t know. You don’t know why you always get bullied, but you always do. You don’t know why people hate you, but they do. 

The violence follows you around. 
I think had if I had not gotten a record deal in a fluke of fate, I probably would have never reestablished or tried to establish a relationship with my folks. I think it might have faded out. Knowing what I know now. 

Their interest in me grew a lot when I made it. 

And recently the tides turned when it looked like my career was tanking. 

In fact my first time ever at Real World, before I even made my first record, they came to visit me there. I never thought much of that until recently. It was a short visit. Just a stop in. I think they were traveling in europe or something I can’t remember. 

They broadened their horizons in later years. Escaped cocaine and the clutches of Vegas. 

I was still sober then but barely. 
That first time I was at Real World I met Joe Strummer and we smoked a spliff together. We got on. He was cool as hell and would hand me his black telecaster while holding a tambourine saying “come on let’s jam man! ” we recorded something on his four track cassette machine he set up in a drum storage room at real world. There was a recording week there and so many musicians and producers were there and the studio became a free for all of improvisation and recording. The album Big Blue Ball came out of there. Out those sessions. I wonder what happened to Joe’s tape? 
As much drugs and drink as I had done. I had never smoked a spliff before. Hash wasn’t exactly big in Ohio when I was there and I never saw anyone roll tobacco and weed together before. He just used tobacco and then sprinkled hash, and I couldn’t resist the moment. I mean, it was Joe Strummer. I smoked but barely felt anything, which led to my next question which was , you know where I can get any of that? Next thing I knew I was in the kitchen at Real World with One of their black frying pans and a gob of hash I was melting down in butter. 

This is the addict mind at work. To go from casually smoking a spliff to that. 

I spread the concoction on two pieces of toast and gave one to the producer I was working with, John Leckie, who produced the stone roses and Radiohead amongst countless others. We giggled and ate the bread and continued to work on a track I had actually written on Joe’s black telecaster called ‘Papa’ 

It was something I wrote while watching Joe play with his little girl. He was seemingly a great dad. They seemed to have fun. 

I loved the song and don’t know why it didn’t come out til many years later. 

But after about an hour the bread really hit both of us. At one point I hallucinated that both speakers were made of fire. The song was loud and the speakers were just flames in my mind. 

I said to John “I think I gotta goto bed” he agreed and then I proceeded to sleep until 6 pm the following day. 

I woke up in a panic. My phone was ringing, my parents had arrived. I ran up to the studio and said to John “I’m so sorry man, we were supposed to start at noon, I just woke up, I’m sorry I’m sorry” he said with a big smile “that’s ok man I just woke up too” we both cracked up. My parents were there and I saw them there smiling. I was happy to see them, happy to show them where I ended up and my memory of that visit, is innocuous and pleasant. all but for my behavior the night before. Druging myself like that. 

I was sober and then I stepped off the ledge right when all my dreams were coming true. 
This pattern of behavior revealed itself recently too me. 

The hash on bread story is fun and great and has no real negative consequences in and of itself. Whenever I see John, which is rare, we bring that story up and have a chuckle. 

But it came back in my mind in a different way when recently I wound up in that cell after the snakeskin grand finale. They’re related. 

The year before the SSGF , I was coming back from India. 

(That’s a huge story) and I was flying in after Christmas just in time for my nephews birthday, and then to see my folks and sister and brother and law just for a day before my folks went back to Ohio. 

And this is the missing piece of the pattern puzzle. 

Which is, I got arrested then too. I talked my way out of it and made it home but I was caught smoking my vape in the bathroom on the plane. I had done it before, but never as brazenly as I was then. I didn’t know an alarm would go off. It did. 

Shit can happen, but after waking up from all this, you do start investigating your past. Both distant and recent. 

What’s this pattern of getting in trouble before I see my folks? 

What’s that mean?
Seems obvious now, but I didn’t know then. 

Seems like maybe my inner child was kicking and screaming and trying to sabotage the visit. Seems like he was doing that  more and more aggressively as time went on. 

Outside of those two times. I’ve never been arrested and I’ve never been in a cell. Coincidence? Don’t think so. Not anymore. 
You wanna know why you drink? Stop drinking. 

You wanna know why you don’t think of your childhood ever? Start thinking about it. Start writing about. And you’ll find out why. The emotions are intense. 
I’m listening to John Bradshaw on YouTube lately. He’s got a book called ‘healing the shame that binds you’

And there are excellent clips about aquatinting yourself with your inner child. 

It’s actually really wonderful. I practiced some of those meditations while driving. (Don’t worry my eyes stay open.) But I listen to those clips and do as he says. 
I met my inner child. 

I gave him a hug and told him everything was gonna be alright now. I bought a football the day before I started doing that John Bradshaw work. I was at a homestore to get something for the road and then I saw those footballs. It had been forever since I had one so I grabbed it without much thought. I figured it could be fun, if I ever find someone to play catch with. But driving along John got to this point where he suggested you buy a gift for your inner child. The football was just sitting there still in the box and then it just opened up, another instance of synchronicity. That’s what it’s like when you’re on this path. The universe sends you messages and you get to know that you’re not alone. That God is very much with you, and is supporting you. 

I took the football out of the box and held it as I drove. 

Talking to my inner child and giving him the love he never got. 

He gets so happy now that I’m finally paying attention to him. 

Those things live on. I thought that kid was gone. But he’s not. He loves the football. I even slept with it last night. I love it too. I say “hey let’s play catch and I watch him run. I say go long and throw it in my mind and in my mind he catches it and throws it back. I tell him he’s got a great arm and he smiles so happy to finally be seen. I pick him up and hold him again and tell him that I got him now. That nothing else is gonna happen to him. I tell I’m scared too but together we can work this out. 
I resist the urge to think I should be off the road and just laying in a yoga retreat and healing and writing. Or even in some therapy situation. 

Yes I am very emotional now, but it’s a quiet emotion. I can do my job really well and I think it’s healthy to have work to do. I’m glad tho that I get a week off now. 

After tonight. 
There is so much synchronicity that it seems to me, I’m where I’m supposed to be. And obviously driving thru and playing Ohio brought out stuff I needed to deal with. Even the club smearing me and that show being the worst turn out just feels symbolic as hell. I can’t see it any other way. 
Writing my story allows me to see why I’ve been such a great target for the toxic kind. 

And even telling a few of the terrors of my childhood, I can see the way I was groomed. Or how the little fighter inside me was groomed. But he’s protected now. By Boxer whose tough enough to wear a dress. 

5 Comments on “A Boy With A New Football and A Boxer In A Dress 

  1. When I first started reading John Bradshaw I was seeing a therapist that would help me with guided meditations to heal this wounded little person in me. One meditation i remember, I was walking in the woods and I saw myself at about age 5 sitting on a rock, I was guided to approach her and tell her that she could trust me now to take care of her and that I’d never abandon her, I cried such a deep cry that day. I was told that when I felt shaky inside it was that little girl in me letting me know that she was afraid. I didn’t know any of that at the time, I just thought I should take something to sooothe my nerves. I couldn’t stand that feeling, that anxiety times a million feeling. When I would be getting ready to do some risky behavior I’d feel that feeling and I started to get addicted to it in a strange way, it justified my relapsing and I never made the connection. I didn’t know that being with dangerous people made me oddly comfortable but seriously stressed out at the same time. All the while I was ignoring that terrified little girl in me. I thought she was gone also. All of Bradshaw’s writings helped me. He understands that we need to re-parent that lost and scared kid inside. Once I could trust myself to not be involved with destructive people or situations, I began to pay more attention to that stirring inside. I still talk to my younger self and say don’t worry I won’t bring you there again, or I won’t leave you alone with that person. I definitely don’t ignore that pull anymore. I remember feeling like I had no skin, raw. It’s good to have some time off to comfort yourself, you’ve been doing incredibly deep work.

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  2. Joe, your words are so impactful. Thank you for being the impetus for me to revisit my own past by following your journey. You are correct, the Universe does send us messages. Your courage in telling your story is one of those messages for me to keep moving forward in my recovery.
    Keep your faith strong; never lose hope. Sending you much positive energy as you continue on your path.
    M

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  3. Have you tried psycho drama? I’ve healed so much though the process. I highly recommend. I know a woman in nyc who is excellent.
    Kudos for your courage.
    Love you. C

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  4. Keep writing my friend. Cry if and when you need to. Hugs. Hugs actually do help.
    Be well. Namaste.
    L.

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  5. Post after post , night after night, even at 1am when my eyes are burning from looking at my phone I keep reading this blog.

    When you started talking about your inner child I just had to get a tissue.
    As kids I think we would have been friends .. I say I think because I could never make friends when I was little. Not sure why. I was labled as shy and my curly hair gave a few girls something to make fun of To this day I dont know why I couldnt make friends or why no one really wanted to be mine. This leads up to the fact that I had my very first friend bday party — at 40. Imagine?  My friends could not fathom the fact that as a child i never had friends come to my home for cake when i was little. It was such an uncomfortable feeling to have all eyes on me that night! 😊 but it was fun.

    And now that I really think about it, I feel sad.  I haven’t thought about it till now. My mom had/has issues ..my dad too. maybe that had to do with it…. but its not until i wrote this that I believed it played a role… being honest here I wanted to delete this entire thing after i re read it.. but I guess deleting it doesn’t make the fact that it happened go away. I wont lie I took out my parents issues. Not the place for it.

    This blog seems to be helping out quite a few people from the comments I’ve read. Its helping me too.

    Stay on track joe . You are not alone out there. Xo

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