It’s a little after 6 am, sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t really matter which day it might be… I’ve stopped hanging on dates to feel alive, looking at clocks for momentary reassurance, and lost the will to make sense of any of those days that kept on disappearing one way or another. The view from my tiny writing place window tells me everything I need to know now. The city is asleep, so are my friends & bandmates Jeff, Ben, Miss Isabel, Sef, and Moose, who are staying home for a week or two. The wind blowing outside is just as calm as the Highlands’ trees offering the mountain view their bright autumnal colors with generosity. I admire the first gleams of light slowly forming what will become a soft and peaceful sunny day. Leonard and MacKaye are sleeping at my feet like they usually do when I’m writing or reading. I’ve learned to appreciate those moments of pure surrender, where innocence still flows freely in the freshness of the air. It’s that quietness, or its fragments, that I’ve been trying to feed my heart and spirit with ever since I drifted to Tangier, sick of a lifelong battle against desperation, and now all the way to the Virginian mountains’ serenity, where I delicately landed in the last couple of months.
It’s been an emotionally rich and paradoxically disorienting year for me, as much as it should have been for the other band members, let alone the whole YFE family team. Tangier has been rejuvenating for me, gracefully merciful for us as friends. I would have never believed what incredible measure of joyful life was about to be unfolded in my life, in our common adventure and creative journey, even if I would have been able to see it with my own eyes somehow. Maybe I failed too many times to believe in miracles any longer. But love… love never failed me, even if I kept on finding new ways to deceive its redemptive nature. Hopefully for me, love forgives an honest man knelt down, always. And I think that’s what last year has been for me; finding the will to stand on my feet and the courage to move forward, if only a little. After an existence of backward crawls, it’s still a learning process for me…
I’ve answered several welcoming strangers, respected writers, reporters, and dear friends’ questions – too many to keep the count on – far more than I have ever answered as Your Favorite Enemies’ frontman in its existence span, over a decade now. But I think it’s only recently that I have allowed myself to start looking for real answers to the most intimate of all questions, to fill the silence that comes after the numerous question marks, with something else than distracting white noise and echoing fail-safes. I have never wanted to look back, even though I somehow kept living amongst the reverberating specters shadowing in a short distance as haunting images and sceneries mirroring the pain of old mourning seasons that kept on unraveling before my eyes, too weary to close my eyes, but too proud to surrender. And after doing everything to avoid the whys, whys, whys – the everlasting whys – and trying to emulate every one of them with illusionary whatevers, it’s somehow special for me to simply answer “I don’t know… I honestly don’t really know.” And maybe it doesn’t matter much to know it all at this point. And maybe it’s all right to turn a fake smile into a real whipping instant after all.
Jeff and I were talking a few nights ago, having a good laugh at last year’s madness. It led to rejoicing tears as we went on communing about how privileged we are to have each other. Ben and Miss Isabel joined the conversation, followed by Moose and Sef shortly after. We shared about Tangier, music, life, grief, faith, hope, as much as fears and doubts, worries, insecurities, and precious loved ones. We talked about us, the six of us, and the ever-growing magnificent YFE family. We laughed some more, about our world, its nonsenses and its wonders. We talked about the totally dysfunctional yet wonderfully graced friendships we are so incredibly blessed to have. We talked for hours, all standing in my kitchen, so close to one another that it felt like a group prayer or something. We all went to bed a bit tipsy from the few tequila shots we cheered together as the morning awoke, a morning dressed with its glowing spectrum of divine and simple promises. We kissed ourselves goodnight in the wake of an uplifting morning, just like the one I’m presently admiring and dwelling in as I’m writing this message.
I intended to write about how determining 2018 has been for me, for us all, both personally and collectively, wanted to offer some glimpses of what’s coming up for 2019, but I’m hearing Jeff laugh from the hallway as Sef is going from a room to another to wake everyone up. And just like that, I know that it’s gonna be a great day, whatever date we might be, whatever the whys. If there ever is something or anything I could reflect on about 2018 before Sef crazily erupts in my room, it’s that I’m deeply thankful to accept that the very best moments in life, whatever they are, whatever how long or brief they might be, happy or sorrowful, greatly regretted or fully embraced. The best moments in life remain, always, the ones we have at hand…
“BROTHER, WAKE UP, IT’S TIME TO OPEN OUR GIFTS!!! LET’S GO, DUDE!!! WAKE UP!!!” is Sef currently screaming, not knowing I’m not in my room, and telling me it must be December 31, which is our traditional band gift exchange day, reminding me that Sef will be highly disappointed with his gifts, just like every year, as he will make sure we understand that it was a 1959 Fender Jazzmaster guitar that he wanted, not some silly poetry books and other non-1959 Fender Jazzmaster guitar “stuff” (I’m the one who picked Sef again this year!!!)
All that to say, thank you. Brothers, sisters, friends, fans, partners in crime and loved ones, your faithful support and your generous love kept the light brightly shining at our feet. You are not only showing us the way to go in the darkness of our doubts, but you are never short of a guiding hand when we lose ourselves in discouragement and hopelessness. And as we like to remember ourselves, you are the real everlasting moment we both hang on to and galvanize our unstable will on…
“ALEEEEEEEEXXXXXXX WHERE ARE YOU? IT’S GIFTTTTTTTTTTTTT TIME!!!!!!!!!” – Sef
Gotta go now 😉