Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Engagement Party

Brad and I had our engagement party on Saturday. First off, even though I HATE wearing them, I look fucking AMAZING in a suit! Our party was originally supposed to be at a home but the guest list quickly ballooned out of control, so we ended up having it at this private beach club in my hometown. Mrs. Tyler took care of all the specifics because planning anything causes me to break out in hives. It’s bad!

This month has been INSANE for me! I shot a music video for the most famous person I have ever met, came out to my agent and my manager (because they would’ve gotten all butt hurt if I hadn’t invited them to my wedding and they found out about it from somebody else) and for 10 seconds I thought the airline had lost one of my pets on the flight to LA. My nerves being as frayed as they were, I made the decision to not invite my parents to the party. I needed to be all smiles and good humor and my parents were a distraction that I just couldn’t deal with.

During the party, Brad and I were ROCKSTARS! He and I have some of the best friends EVER! There were a million toasts, speeches, funny stories about us, first impressions, etc; it was all very sweet. At first I wasn’t sure why we were even having an engagement party, but as the night went on I figured it out.

At some point Mr. Tyler asked me for permission to give a toast. He was basically paying for this whole event, so I have no idea why he even had to ask, but I consented anyway. He spoke about teaching me how to surf, how to tie a tie, giving me my first beer and teaching me about the ladies, how to drive a car, and finally how proud he was to watch me grow up and become a man. Hearing how proud he was of me, gave me this sense of pride in myself that I haven’t felt in a long while. It goes without saying; there were tears.

It wasn’t until later when somebody commented on the sweet speech “my dad” gave, that it hit me, I felt like an unwanted bastard and the most loved boy on the planet all at the same time. I got up and ran away as fast as I could because I was feeling one of those full body sobs coming fast and that was so not happening with 80 people around me. Eventually Bradley caught up with me and I basically just started talking.

Mr. Tyler taught me how to tie a tie when I was 8. A couple weeks earlier he’d taken Tyler and I to go buy suits for our 5th grade graduation (my mom was too poor to afford a suit for me and my father wasn’t speaking to me because he’d recently found out about my years of abuse at the hands of his wife and was still figuring out how he was going to deal with it.) and this was the first time I had a tie that wasn’t a clip on. Both Tyler and I were determined that we were going to tie our own ties. So Mr. Tyler sat there patiently and went over it repeatedly until we were both able to make semi-presentable knots. It was a big moment for me, I felt so independent!

By mid-summer my father still wasn’t speaking to me and I was getting very depressed. It was late July and Mr. Tyler told Tyler and I that he was taking us to Hawaii to learn how to surf. Mr. Tyler bought me my first wetsuit, my first surfboard, and my first congratulatory sundae after I caught my first wave. Later those sundaes would become our own little tradition after I started winning surf competitions up and down the coast. It would be two years before my dad would decide to let me back into his life again.

As I shared these memories with Brad I realized that every time my dad decided to ignore me because he wasn’t mature enough to deal with his son, Mr. Tyler would always be there. All of a sudden I was seeing all of this through his eyes. Hearing the love in his voice as he spoke of my accomplishments and our shared moments; I felt like the guy in that stupid “footprints in the sand” poem, every Christian has hanging on a wall somewhere. The dude asks Jesus why there was only one set of footprints when things got really hard only to realize it was because during those moments he was being carried.

Brad wiped away my tears and sat with me until I was ready to face the crowd again. If people noticed our absence, they didn’t let on. The rest of the night was nice and uneventful. Tyler and Johnny got up and told a bunch of embarrassing stories, Brad’s friends did the same. We drank until we were all pleasantly buzzed, piled a crap ton of gifts into our cars (who the hell knew that you got presents at an engagement party AND at the wedding!?) and then the night was over. It’s strange how after 26 years on this planet I am still learning things about myself that I should’ve know all along. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012


When I first started school, I had no friends. I was the weird kid who sat by himself and read books during recess and painted strangely detailed landscapes (watching bob ross was my crack the way that normal kids took to Barney or whatever) during art class while the other kids ate paste. I wasn’t normal and I had no idea how to interact with the other kids because the other kids all seemed like fucking morons!

I met you on my first day of school, after having switched schools and being placed a grade ahead. You were all smiles and confidence (so really nothing much has changed on that front), you grabbed my hand, introduced yourself, and then proceeded to drag me all around the playground of my new school. From that moment, 21 years of brotherhood happened.

You taught me how to be a kid. You gave me the confidence to go out and make other friends. You got me to smile when nobody else could. You saved my life over and over again. You are my hero, my role model, my mentor, and my best friend. You are my big brother and I love you.

Tomorrow morning I am going to ask you to be my best man, and I am going to do my best to get the words out without crying. With you there by my side taking care of me like you have always done, I know I can do anything. Why the fuck am I so nervous right?