Desire Part 2.3

February 2, 2012

 

Desires of riches through

Creative means means means everything to me.

Drawings,

Novels-how novel,

Music paid to play and

Photography.

I want it all.

Desires of riches of the spirit

With God

Through God

My Guardian Angel

Speaks to me

And takes care of me.

Desires of love

Of another person

Mutual, true, deep

And understanding love

That lasts forever

That knows no end.

Desires of happiness

Through satisfaction of self.

Inside and out.


Mugged

December 7, 2011

I got mugged. Mugged in my own town just because I ventured out of the house at night in Camden, NJ. Since I haven’t had a car for the last few months I’ve had to walk to the stores. I used to only venture out in the day but things seemed ok at night after a while. As a matter of a fact I’ve been feeling safe in my neighborhood for weeks. It only took me a year.

I was walking to the store in the main square in Fairview village section of Camden and I had a guy start talking to me like he knew me. He mentioned something about quitting drinking and I thought he knew me. It’s a little blurry right now. He followed me talking to me and had my hand in my pocket clutching my money out of habit. He reached in my pocket pulling my hand and the money out. He told me he had a gun so I better give it up. I wouldn’t let go of my money as he pulled it from my hand. We struggled. It was all I had and I tried. I got hit and thrown to the ground and banged my head on the ground and my glasses bounced off and I didn’t even realize it. I still tried to get my money back. He finally got away and wanted me to follow him to give me some money back.  I walked off and realized I lost my glasses. Luckily, I found them intact. Unlike my sense of security in my own neighborhood.

Just when I was getting used to not driving and walking the neighborhood and felt safe after living here over a year. It only took 2 months to get mugged and fear my own street. I’m lucky to be alive. He could have had the gun he threatened me with. I’m lucky I didn’t have a heart attack. I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt besides a cut on my hand.

I’m a lover not a fighter. At this point I’m not either but you get it. I got it. I don’t have it. I’m not a violent person. I fear it. I’m rarely an angry person. I don’t fear it. I have been pissed off since the shock and fear subsided. Anger whenever I think about it. You know how it goes. I replay the event in my head and think I should have done this and could have done that. If only I didn’t go out.

When I moved in my landlord (also my friend and next door neighbor) warned me not to walk the neighborhood at night. He said he doesn’t go anywhere without a car. “Stay on the road. Stay off the moors” like David and Jack were warned in the movie An American Werewolf in London. Instead of a werewolf  it was another type of animal that preys on anyone that looks off guard. I was off guard. I was comfortable in my own neighborhood. It doesn’t sit right that I have to keep my guard up all of the time now. I thought about buying a gun (if I could afford it) but I’ll stick with pepper spray.

Life goes on and I’ll deal with it one day at a time. I’m sure the fear and anger will pass. As long as I try and learn from it and move on. I can take comfort in knowing that the mugger’s life is worse than anything I could wish on him.


Today Again

July 28, 2011

Shit. It’s today again.

Lazy. Not so much. I sit. I lay. I spend the day trying to make my meets end or end meets or meats.

Pay bills. No money. Get money. Owe money. Pressure. Stress.

Mail. Social Security sent me 5 separate 10-page packets to fill out. Explain my disabilities. I tell them that the experience of filling out the forms triggers all of my disabilities. It’s true. I get almost halfway done and have already medicated myself with over the counter and prescriptions.

A night of watching Kevin Smith movies and eating the sheet of dried seaweed my roommate gave me. Wash it down with any liquid I can find to dehydrate and rehydrate me.

I create imaginary masterpieces to get the toxins out of me and into you.

Piss more toxins and negative energy away in the toilet every hour from drinking too much water all day. It’s good.

More pain. More anxiety. More pills. More time.

I sleep peacefully.

Dreams are so much better than my life sometimes. I wake up disappointed and sweating. My bladder is full. I spend 5 minutes straight unloading.

Stumble in the hot house turning on every fan and I play with the thermostat.

Drink water and wait for my coffee. Cigarettes and water.

Shit. Today again.


I Live to Avoid and Void to Live

July 14, 2011

I live to avoid. I avoid to live. My Mantra. Was my Mantra. Not now. Not sure I have a Mantra. Right now. This moment.

It started when I lost my job last year. It was still livable.

I floated. For the first time in my life I had money in the bank. A savings. Comfortable. Unemployed and comfortable. Besides the creeping anxiety and blossoming agoraphobia I was comfortable living at home.

 

I move. I found a great deal. Bargain. A roommate. Money in the bank and unemployment checks. I was set for a while. A while comes fast my friends and enemies. I had enough money for a few months. The plan was to get a job when the money got low. Plan. Plans come and go. Low. Half assed job search. Job offer from a friend.

 

The face pain came back. Trigeminal Neuralgia. Over a 2 year remission it came back fierce. I lost the job on my second day of training. Pain held me down and kept me from working. Ego went down. Depression went up. The social anxiety got worse.

 

Since the end of 2008 I’ve been become more reclusive. More agoraphobic. More social anxiety. I was happy but didn’t . . . couldn’t go out much. I didn’t. I stayed home and felt better and worse. The money problems kept piling.

 

I applied for disability at the advice of my mother who is against people collecting disability. She read about bipolar disorder and trigeminal neuralgia. She understands it can be crippling and maybe just maybe I can’t work. I applied through an agency that takes a percentage of my retro pay if I am approved.

 

Somewhere along the line a few months ago I started feeling social again. I went out everyday starting off to save money on the air conditioning. Central air is expensive. Not cheap. Can’t afford. I’ve been begging and borrowing just to pay basic bills. Yeah. I was talking about socializing. I’ve been motivated to apply for other things, look for other ways of making money. I sell things. I sell my art. I do art for money. I sell my novels. I sell and sell and sell. Sold. I still have nothing. I have several web projects that will take a while to generate money. Nothing right now. Nothing. Nothing is my Mantra.

 

I neglected my car registration and a silly surcharge NJ issues if you get over 5 points in a year. I got 6 points on my license in 2009. Flukes. I’ve had zero points for over 15 years and now I am paying $150 a year for a surcharge. My insurance went up and up again because I live in a low-income town. Low income. Raise the premium. Makes sense. I was pulled over coming out of a store a couple weeks ago. I knew I had no registration. I figured I’d get a ticket for that and that would be it. I go get registered and bring it to court and pay a fine. Nope. My license was suspended for non-payment on my surcharge and it showed that my insurance was invalid.

 

I begged and borrowed the hundred to get my license and registration. The insurance company assured me that I was covered on the date I was ticketed. I went to court and asked for public defender just to have the date pushed because I have no money. Money. Ha. The Judge read each violation and told me the possible fines and threw in a possible jail time. Too fast for me to comprehend. I heard over $3,000 in fines and possible jail. I was freaking inside. I filled an application for a public defender. My next court date is in a week. No time to get money. Money. The even charge me $75 for the attorney. Isn’t that illegal? Should be. I have right to an attorney and if I can’t afford one then one will be appointed to me. Should I beg, borrow and steal to pay a real lawyer? Will it be cheaper? Run out of people to beg. Beg. Maybe Ill start panhandling. Busking would be better. At least I provide a service. A friend said to sell my body. Who would pay for me? Money. It all comes back to money..

 

Weird thing happened after I left the court house. I felt a rush of hope and happiness despite the stressful situation. Money situation. I still feel the stress and the usual anxiety but I am still in what I’ve been calling solution mode. I can’t come up with one. A solution. I might not but if I go down trying it’s better than waiting for more balls to drop. The balls. Drop. Life is problems and sorrow a lot of times and it’s my job as an American artist to work through them. Create. Produce. Sell. Maybe make money.

 

Today I am just worried about today. What can I do now? I’m doing it.


Epiphany Shmiphany

June 20, 2011

 

I’ve been waiting to sit down and write about an “epiphany” I had a little over a week ago. Epiphany. For such a soft word that is almost pretty as it rolls through my mouth it is a powerful word. I’ve had these changes in attitude and  realizations ( a harsher sounding word that’s way less powerful). I was basically going to tell you about the “epiphany” that I have told you about and have experiences over and over. I guess I should mention it briefly then move on, huh?

 

I was watching a documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, author of classic novels like Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream that were made into fantastic movies, about a week and a half ago. Learning about the struggles of the life of an artist is just rehashing what I already knew. An artist is born that way. Born to struggle through life so he can create art. That is his purpose and contribution to life. In a world of money oriented and materialistic people, we the artists, are giving instead of taking. As soon as we share our creations with at least one other person our art is art.

 

Ok, I’m not going to go on on and on about my purpose in life and your role in it. Basically I was just reminded of what I need to remember and keep forgetting. The struggle is the burden and consistency and I have to comment, react and create from it then give t away.

 

“I am an American artist I have no shame.” Patti Smith

 

The past few weeks have been terrifying, incredible, amusing, and on and off weird.

 

I’ll start with right now. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I just finished talking to a friend I’ve hung out with only a few times but when we see each other there is this bond we have and we end up in deep conversations about art, music, addiction and sometimes the meaning of life itself. Ha. He’s in a similar situation as me and we always get along.

 

I went to the welfare office at 7 am this morning and spent over 2 hours trying to get some kind of assistance. I followed it up with a visit to unemployment to waste another hour or 2. It wasn’t a complete waste. My unemployment is back on. I just had to fight for the weeks they held back. This is fantastic news after waiting almost a month without the money and bills are adding up.

 

When you’re broke. Really broke. You start thinking about every coffee, donut, dinner out, pizza delivered, soda, etc and you over analyze what you wasted money in the past while still spending the same money on the same things. Oh yeah, the air conditioning is killing my roommate and me. Both he and my landlord suggested I turn it off and leave the house each day and hang at a coffee shop or somewhere with internet connections. These days that’s pretty much every coffee shop and eve restaurants and bars.

 

I went home after the unemployment office. It was about noon. 5 hours spent on trying to get help and it was semi successful. I still had the entire day ahead of me. I still do. I rubbed one off watching Judge Pierno or whatever her name is to relax. Not long after I got a phone call from the lady I spoke with at the unemployment office to tell me that all of the past money owed to me will come through. I was more floored by the fact that the woman called me back as soon as she found out than I was about the money. That was just really nice. I was ready to get out again and head to the pharmacy and then relax at the coffee shop. I am relaxed despite the caffeine.

 

I just ran into a girl I knew from a group I used to attend. Young, beautiful and great body and she is a fellow writer. A talented writer. I had such a crush on her a while back. I had so many fantasies about her in the past few years. I haven’t seen her since this past winter when I fist grew my beard and hair long and she called me a Wooly Mammoth and I was embarrassed and I was already anxious borderline agoraphobic. Weird. It was just a cute little name-calling and borderline flirtation that helped speed up my already progressing reclusiveness.

 

Irony. Now that I am leaving the house I run into the girl that I not only had a crush on but made me not want to go out anymore. I have to admit when I first laid eyes on her I got a little anxious and I pretended not to see her. I wanted to hide and jump up and call her name. I didn’t. I went back to writing what you just read. What I just wrote. I felt comfortable when she approached me on her way out. She was actually working, looking for a story to cover for one of the publications she writes for.

 

We talked a little bit about writing and how good it was to see each other then she left and here I am. This is the message of my writing today. Random events that mean nothing and mean everything to me.

 

When I got here I randomly started talking to a guy I never met before about misery versus happiness. I happen to be learning and relearning that life is a struggle and it’s what you put into it. This is before I met the others here today.

 

Last week I went to Philly to sell my cds to a shop where I’ve known the owner for a while. We had a great talk and he gave me a great price and I left a happy man. I wandered to a coffee shop I’d never been to greeted by 3  barista angels that worked the registers and coffee machines. People talked to me and greeted me like I was someone. I grabbed my drink and tipped then sat right outside so I could smoke. Huh… I haven’t had a cigarette yet since I entered the coffee shop. Usually I jump right out side and smoke. If I did that I wouldn’t have run into my friends. Shit. Now I want a cigarette. . .  .

 

*Dramatic pause for Rich Hillen Jr’s cigarette break*

 

Great smoke break. I’m texting my friend maybe girlfriend that lives in New Orleans all about my day. She’s another story. We’ve been talking about moving in for a while but we can’t afford it yet. A long drive and she has a pooch.

 

Just 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 and a half weeks) I was so desperate and stressed about my financial condition and it’s slowly pulling itself together.

 

Once I had my “epiphany”, I felt better over all and knew things will work out if I make the effort and try not to feel or come off desperate. I was ready.

 

My roommate told me about a music shop in Collingswood that would probably give me a good deal on my amp I’ve wanted to sell. I headed out one night to sell the amp and I ran out of gas within 4 blocks from the store. I laughed. My gas gage isn’t always working right and it says that there is less gas than is in there. I was on empty and was planning to get gas after I sold the amp.

 

This teenager appeared out of nowhere and started pushing my car. We couldn’t budge it for some reason. I was a foot from the corner street wedged on the curb. I called my close friend that lived in Collingswood and he was on the road going to a show and couldn’t help. I was pretty far from a gas station. I racked my brain finding someone in the area that could and would help me out.

 

I called my filmmaker friend who I’ve worked with on a few projects and he came through for me. I was still in a decent mood. I was also lucky enough to have had a gas container. So my friend picked me up, took me to the gas station and back to my car. It worked out because he wanted to talk to me about his upcoming projects. Just as we pulled up near my abandoned giant red beat-up 1994 Lincoln Towncar there was a Mini-Cooper in front of it and my cell phone rang with an unrecognized number. I just said to my friend that it looks like my mom’s friend’s car and it was my mom on his cell phone. I laughed again. My mom and her friend were parked there checking to see if I was ok. I was. They left. It was starting to get windy and a storm was on the way. I gassed the car up, thanked my friend and drove off to get gas.

 

I debated going to the music shop because of the gas problem and the storm brewing. I went anyway. It was a great decision. There were 2 women sitting in there with a guy that worked there. I jumped right to business and didn’t even check out the ladies. I wanted money. I knew exactly how much I wanted for it and the guy looked at and tested it. He left to get the owner to look at it and appraise it. While he was gone I looked at one of the now noticeably pretty women and she said “Hi Rich.” I knew those eyes of hers. It’s been over 20 years but you don’t forget her eyes. I said hi and I was a little uncomfortable yet happy. Memories rushed through my head of all of the nights I hung out with her, her friend and my weirdo friend. Many drinks and many other things. I tripped on acid with this girl at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was at my college graduation party. One night we got really stoned and went back to her place to look at her art (she was an incredible artist). We had a most memorable passionate night that we agreed not to tell anyone about. I wonder if it made it special because it was a one-time deal. It doesn’t matter. Here she was face to face 20 years later and looked the same.

 

I knew she lived in the area for years and heard about her musician boyfriend/fiancé through a friend of mine. I did run into her once 10-12 years ago and it was a brief conversation because we both had somewhere to go. So you can probably guess who owned the music shop I was standing in hoping to make a buck from. It was the infamous boyfriend/fiancé or whatever. Then I talked to him about the people we had in common. We talked after he paid me righteously for the amp of course. I left feeling good.

 

Then came the storm as I was leaving. A physical storm followed that Sunday afternoon after “helping” out my uncle who is really my great aunt’s live in boyfriend clean offices. I pulled muscles in my arms and shoulders. This triggered my infamous Trigeminal Disorder. The pain was at its’ worst since I was first diagnosed with it in 2005. I was running out of pain meds and I couldn’t refill them for a week. I took migraine aspirin and sleep aids. I spent most of the next 3 days away to escape the explosions in my face. I was in extreme pain for 3 days then the recovery took a day or 2. I was finally back in the world and that’s when I sold my cds and hung out in Philly.

 

This past Saturday I did my usual “helping” out my uncle whose not my uncle. Afterward, I met up with my adopted mother, the one that raised me, to have lunch in honor of my adopted father whose 2nd year death anniversary that also fell on Father’s Day. We were supposed to meet up the next day but she changed her mind and we had a great dinner and conversation.

 

On my way out I ran into another friend I’ve known for years sitting on a bench and I voluntarily joined him. This is a big step for me to be social and I hung out with him for an hour in the hot sun drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks. I was in a good mood. I headed home and watched some movies and did a little writing.

 

Sunday was Father’s day and my adopted father’s death anniversary. It was an awkward day. Having 2 dads can be difficult. My focus was on the dead one who raised me and not my biological father who came back in my life as an adult and has been there for my for over 20 years now. I called him and text him. We decided we will celebrate when I can afford it. It ended nicely.

 

Shit. This was a random bit of writing that went on forever. If you’re still reading, God bless you and thank you for sharing my life as it’s still spinning in and out of Epiphanies, pain, poverty, good memories and hopes of tomorrow, meanwhile, living in the moment no mater how good or bad it gets.

 

Ride on.

 

Right on.

 

Write on.

 

 


Broken

June 6, 2011

Never say, “it can’t get any worse than this.” It always does. Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it’s self-sabotage. Maybe it’s fate. Maybe it’s a “jinx”. Whatever it is, it can and most of the time gets worse.

I’ve been writing through it. I can’t seem to finish anything to post. I’m afraid to post certain things about my life. I am breaking my entire life’s goal to hold nothing back in my writing. I find myself holding many things back for various reasons. I don’t want certain people to know certain things about me. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my life conditions at times. I am afraid of letting you in.

The more down hill my life seems to go I am les inclined to write and post about it anywhere. Fuck it. I’m going to start letting things out. I am helpless and feel hopeless on and off through this past year. It’s mostly due to my Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) and Bipolar Disorder and related depressions and anxiety. These conditions led me to my financial condition and create more stress, which is the key activator of my conditions.

At first when I was fired last year I was devastated but I had things under control financially because I was living with my mother and had a lot of money in the bank. I didn’t want to work right away. I wanted the summer off to publish my novel and promote it to minimum prevail and create videos and more books to sell. It was the ideal life of a single artist from my viewpoint. By August and September 2010 I noticed that my mother was increasingly unhappy with me around the house all day with the exception of my AA meeting attendance. I was less and less interested in socializing and I even started getting anxiety when I did socialize followed by depression when it was over. Since I was fired I lost my health insurance and stopped seeing a psychiatrist and therapist. My family doctor kept up my prescriptions.

I started looking for ways to make money and jobs and made a little bit here and there. My savings started dwindling by September 2010. I knew my mom and I wouldn’t get along without my getting a job. At the same time I was talking to my friend from meetings and he mentioned in passing that he was getting a house he owned ready to be rented out. I asked how much and how many bedrooms. The price was cheap and it had 2 bedrooms so I immediately jumped on it mostly to save my relationship with my mother. I didn’t want to move. I had no ego about living with my mother at my age like I would have at one time due to the circumstances. I had a friend in mind to move in with me that I’ve known for years and we’ve talked about living together despite our similarities and differences.

I admit I was excited about the house when my friend told me about it and the first time I took the tour. The day I drove to the house to sign the lease and pay our deposit and rent I got a really bad feeling that it was a bad idea. My blinders were down and I looked around the bad neighborhood I was about to move into. Camden. Camden, NJ has the highest crime rate in the country. My new neighborhood id the nicer part of Camden. I grew up here years ago before it got so bad. My friend now landlord assured me that he has had no problems in the 30 years he lived here. My roommate and I went out to celebrate the house at a big steak house and chowed down and I repressed my feelings pretending to be happy.

I moved in reluctantly October 1st 2010 and I have yet to be entirely comfortable in the house, the neighborhood or with my roommate since. Once in a while I would be ok. At first I couldn’t find my creative inspiration. After living in the house I grew up in with parents that were successful artists supplying me with inspiration on a daily basis it was a huge adjustment.

I was set financially to cover the first couple of months or so. I was collecting little unemployment. My great aunt’s boyfriend who I consider an uncle threw me a little work here and there with his business but not enough. My bills were barely getting paid but there were getting paid. I cashed out my 3 401ks to help pay bills. Each month something would come up to cover my bills. From little jobs here and there to selling my serial killer collectables and my personal artwork online.

In November 2010 another friend said he could get me a job doing phone collections. At first I was hesitant but I eventually got excited. He set me up with an interview in November 2010. I fell in love with the job and I was hired on the spot due to my experience in phone sales. I was given the runaround with a start date. I was told I’d start the middle of December 2010 and didn’t get my start date until the middle of January 2011.

After a 2 year remission my TN came back a week before my training date. I went back on painkillers and increased my anti-seizure meds. I made it to my first day of training and it went well. That night I had a major TN attack and had to take pain meds and was up all night. I woke up at 12 pm and I was supposed to be there at 10am. I blew it. I tried calling. I thought about going in anyway but didn’t want to waste the long drive. I eventually talked to the boss and he fired me. I was devastated. My pain got worse and my depression kicked in. I was in shell shock. This hasn’t happened since I was an active drug user and alcoholic 20 years ago but I was sober.

I was a wreck. I had such high hopes for the job and the money. I had started a social network called Novaboon with my roommate and I was going to out money into that and many other internet projects. I had goals and reams again before I started the job. It all came crashing down in one event as a result of my TN and Bipolar.

I got through the following months selling things and spending less. It was barely enough. I was coming to the conclusion that perhaps I am one of those people that needs to be on Disability. I’ve always viewed people on disability as copping out unless they were seriously and visibly disabled. I was also worried about my mom’s opinion. She always said she would disown me if I were on disability. Maybe not that extreme but she would be unhappy. The day came months ago that even my mom suggested I apply for disability. I did. I am. I used a service that a friend recommended to do the work for me.

I have a friend that has been on SSD for the past 15 years or so and I used to watch him having to jump through hoops and go crazy to meet the requirements to stay on it. I remember thinking that it’s easier just to get a job because it’s less work and aggravation than trying to get SSD. It’s a catch 22. Most people that are disabled whether it be mental or physical have trouble making appointments, filing paperwork, meeting deadlines, following through with things and functioning on any “normal level” therefore it’s a fight for us to get the disability. That’s why I used a service. I still had to follow through with paper work and phone calls. When I get depressed I can become immobilized. I am literally unable to move or do anything. I used to think that I was a lazy person. I’ve come to realize that it’s depression that keeps me from doing things. Most people don’t see the difference.

The last week of May I was committed to traveling to Indianapolis, IN for a true crime convention called The Crime Scene to sell my art, my books and perform my songs about serial killers. One of the guys in charge who I call friend now, took care of my flight and a place to stay. I was taking a big chance buying a bunch of my books to sell there when I barely had enough to pay my rent. My car broke down the week before. I had major bills due as well. The travel was a pain but the event was a nice escape and I sold out of my books and sold some art. My agoraphobia disappeared for the weekend. It was like a fantasy escape. No thoughts of my problems for a few days. I came home and I was worse. More pain. More anxiety. I was short paying the rent.  Owe my cousin money for helping me with the rent. I owe my roommate money for my car because he got it fixed since he was driving it at the time. My registration expired and my insurance payment is over due. I have barely enough money in my pocket to buy food and smokes for the next couple of days.

To top the problems of the month off, my unemployment is being held and reviewed and will not be settled until June 15th 2011 on a phone interview. I was informed it’s because I was fired. I might lose the little unemployment payments I was getting.

I am planning on going to Welfare and apply for food stamps and see about rental assistance. My depression is getting so bad combined with my fear and agoraphobia I am having trouble getting out to the office. I ried calling and the phone system hung up on me several times after 20-30 minutes of waiting.

My roommate suggested I try and get a job yesterday and work the minimum hours allowed when on disability. He went on line to find out the minimum etc. I’m afraid if I get a job I will be rejected on the disability. Not to mention that I might not be able to handle working which is why I applied for disability in the first place. I called the company handling my case and asked them about working. I can work 10-15 hours a week and I can’t make more than $800 a month. I have to call them if I get a job and fill out more paper work. I asked the representative to be honest with me off the record. I asked if I worked on record would it affect my case and are the chances good that I will be turned down if I am working. She said yes it would look bad if I worked.

So here I am. Depressed. Afraid. In pain. No income. I am selling nothing and falling into more debt. I have projects in the works but no motivation to get them going. I’m living in a house and neighborhood I hate with an unpredictable roommate that I like but I am uncomfortable living with him.

Through my life I have always survived. I know I will survive again. I am an artist, writer and a creative mad man. I am a Bipolar, agoraphobic, anxious artist with the worst pain known to man and as hopeless as I feel I know this will pass and I will come out alive.


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