Monday Rant: Helplessness Blues, Depression, Anger, and Hope

•August 24, 2020 • Leave a Comment

 

I post opinions and diatribes and funny shit, but I don’t usually go deeply into my personal life or my feelings because honestly who gives a flying fuck about one more white, middle-aged, middle-class dude’s personal shit?
God knows I don’t.

I mean really I’ve got it all. I do.
I have a pair of sons that I love and who love me. We are all very close and it gives me unending joy. They are strong and beautiful and they are the most important things in my life. They are also my only blood relatives. I don’t know how much that really matters, but to someone with no genetic familial history it feels important.

I have a wonderful partner with whom I share my life. I love her and she loves me. She is lovely, intelligent, stylish, funny and kind and cares about me and my kids.

She even tells me I look nice now and again.

*** Not to go too far into a tangent, but folks, tell your partner that you like they way they look every once in a while. Most guys are so starved for positive feedback that one simple, kind word from you (or literally anyone) will probably stay with them as a treasured memory for the rest of their lives. I had a coworker tell me that they liked my outfit one day. I still think about how nice that felt. I can say that I’ve been in relationships with people who don’t provide any sort of positive feedback. If you have you know it leaves long-lasting damage to your self image. I know that there are other people who feed off feedback and treat people like crap. They are jerkoffs, but the rest of us like to hear we’re pretty or handsome or loved now and then. It really is that important. ***

I have beautiful parents with a strong faith that raised me to love and respect people no matter how they look, what their faith is, where they’re from, or how much wealth they appear to have. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the whole of the new law according to Jesus in portions of the New Testament (KJV). I would like to think they raised me right because we’re all God’s children.
Every. Single. Last. One. Of. Us. No exceptions

I live in a beautiful home in a great neighborhood. It’s an oasis. Really it is. Forestdale, respresent!

I have a job that is really more than I could’ve hoped for. I’m an art guy who fell into IT for financial reasons and wound up being in charge of tech at a really cool art museum. I work with people who are smart and funny and kind. Thinking back 20 years I couldn’t imagine I’d be at this point.

I have great friends. Not enough can be said about them. They’re the family I got to choose.

I’m in a band with skilled musicians who are also my friends. We play music we like to play. We have a lot of fun. I think we sound pretty good. The neighbors don’t hate it when we practice outside. They bring chairs and drinks. I love our impromptu concerts.

I also have a freaking awesome cat. Jack is more than a pet. He’s a companion. My studio buddy. We’ve been together almost 12 years. He’s smart and sensitive and handsome. Borderline human.

I mean c’mon… that’s a lot to be thankful for.
Really it is. I’ve got a great life. A pack of blessings light upon my back.

I’ll be brutally honest tho.
This morning I woke up with a heavy heart and a heavy mind. I’ve been struggling with tears all morning. For what it’s worth I’m tearing up a little right now writing all this down.
It’s not the first morning I’ve done this. It’s normal for people to feel overwhelmed. It’s ok. But I do and I feel like I’m struggling harder these days.
I’ve got it all, but I feel like I’m drowning.
There are people out there all over our country and the world with no jobs no futures no help or hope and fighting for their rights and their very lives. I get to work today. I get to eat today. I get to spend time with my family today. Tonight, assuming no major issues, I will go to sleep in a comfortable bed next to a warm, sweet person who will kiss me goodnight.
She always does that even if she’s asleep. 🙂

I know I have zero problems when compared to the rest of the world.
But I still wake up and cry. Sometimes uncontrollably until my whole body hurts. My heart aches and I can’t stop. It’s not what’s considered appropriate for an American Midwestern guy. We’re told to hold those feelings back. I still hear people telling me to ‘Suck it up’ when I’m on the verge of dispair.
“Man up” when I feel like there’s no hope.
“Pussy” when I feel like no one cares.
“Fag” when I want to express my feelings.
“No one wants some guy they’ve got to take care of” when I feel like i’m about to open up to someone.
So for the most part I really don’t. I try not to cry even though part of me knows that there is a chemical release in the process that will undoubtedly make me feel at least a little better when the session’s done.

It’s not like I’m a weak person. I don’t think I am at least. I’ve worked hard. I’ve tried to cultivate a sound mind (as sound as is feasible at least) and a strong body. I’ve got discipline and self-motivation. I’ve raised two sons who’ve turned out at least reasonably well. I’ve learned loads of skills over the years both outdoorsy and domestic. I can fix a drier. I can do basic automotive repairs. I can make fire. I can pitch a tent. Gut a fish. I’ve learned combat skills that I practice routinely. I do yoga. I clean. I do home repairs and landscaping. I’m an artist. A hobbyist gardener. A musician. I read. I write. I cook like a motherfucker (refer to the “raised 2 boys part”). I’m a well-rounded guy… more or less. A student of Life you could call it.
Not necessarily a manly man so-to-speak, but not someone prone to crying at the drop of a hat is, I guess, what I’m getting at.
See how that fear of perceived weakness crops up? I just felt like I had to justify my manliness before I could proceed.

So what in the ever-loving fuck could possibly be so wrong that I wake up feeling so hopeless so often?

My beautiful mother has been fighting lung cancer for quite a while now. She’s more frail every time I see her. I take comfort in the fact that her spirits are high, but I know that it will win in the end. There is no cure at this stage of the fight. It hurts knowing how much I will miss her. I try to visit when I can although we have to be careful about our interactions lest I accidentally infect her with something her body can’t handle.

My handsome father is fighting a war of attrition with skin cancer. What’s left of his face, head, and shoulders are a mass of scars and he’s been in constant pain from one tumor or lesion removal or another for years. At the moment he’s missing a large portion of his nose… I take comfort in the fact that despite the disfigurement this has caused him he’s still as charming as ever. He’ll fight it til the bitter end until it finally metastasizes to another organ or to his bones. There is no cure.

My oldest son has had the last 2 years taken from him. He made a stupid mistake and someone lied about him to cover their own. I won’t go into details, but even though this individual recanted and admitted to their dishonesty the State wanted its pound of flesh. The experience has left him shaken, introverted, and distanced from his friends and his life. While it might take me a few years to pay off the legal fees he will carry the marks of this on his psyche for the remainder of his existence. To add insult to injury, just as he was regaining his freedom of mobility and had plans to travel, Covid19 hit and grounded him before he could fly. The Deuce, you say. I take comfort in the fact that his name was cleared and that he’s making plans to moving forward with his life despite of everything else going on. I look forward to feeling the warmth of his confident smile again.

My youngest son should be out with his friends enjoying his teen years. He’s should be meeting someone sweet and learning about love. But he can’t go hang out with people the way teens should be able to. I feel like he’s being cheated out of some of the best years of his youth… I take comfort in the fact that he’s taken this unprecidented opportunity for independent study and has spent this time learning about physical fitness. He reads on the subject constantly and has completely changed his body in the last 6 months. He’s worked hard and is proud of his progress as he should be. He even encourages others online to get smart and get fit. That is something to be proud of. I feel that pride whenever I look at him. But I cry for his forced isolation because for all of his positivity I know that it weighs on him heavily.

To many of my coworkers I am a means to an end. It’s kind of the job honestly. They’re doing their thing to move the museum forward and it’s my job to make sure they can do that work. I AM a means to an end. It sucks sometimes tho. It feels dehumanizing. You understand on one level that they need your help and you want to help them. Being the sole individual doing my particular job means that whenever someone has a problem I am compelled to help… even if I’m on vacation or sick or dealing with something else. I want to help them because it’s important even though many times their problem could be solved by a reboot or 30 seconds worth of Googling or double-checking their typing skills before asking someone to intervene. Everyone’s got their areas of expertise. Tech is not their’s nor should it have to be. That’s why they pay me. But sometimes you’d appreciate a little recognition or a full day off without having to drop everything and tend to someone. I stopped posting Out Of Office messages because their net effect was only to add a preamble to their help requests that always reads something like, “Sorry to bother you on your vacation, but…”. Now they just ask for what they need and save me having to say, “It’s ok. No problem. What seems to be the issue?”
I genuinely don’t feel like I’m taken seriously or appreciated all that much at my work. It shouldn’t matter, but sometimes it does. After my boys are grown I will find a line of work that doesn’t involve fixing anything for anyone anymore.
Believe it or not I am still thankful for my job and my coworkers. I just get tired sometimes and feel like it doesn’t matter to anyone. Which really… it shouldn’t.

I still wake up some days and have elaborate fantasies, not fleeting thoughts mind you, elaborate fantasies about offing myself. I lay it all out. How to do it quickly. Lots of options there… How to arrange it so that family, friends, or innocent strangers will not find me before the authorities/coroner have time to deal with my remains. I’ve laid it all out. Dozens of scenarios over the years. I pay attention to the details. They’re important to a successful plan. If you’re going to do it do it right. Don’t half-ass your final act in this life.
If it matters to you at all don’t worry yourself. I won’t do it. I honestly won’t. I value my life and know that ultimately suicide is not in my future. I would not do that to those around me no matter how much I might feel, in the moment, that everyone would be better off without me around. Deep down I know it’s not true. So don’t worry. I got that particular coffin nailed shut.

Without me in it, thank you very much.

The thoughts still come tho. I don’t tell anyone. Not the full extent. Not like I just did in the previous paragraph. This is a first.  But Fuckit. Why not just put it out there? Everyone else these days wears their hearts on their Facebook profile or Twitter or whateve the hell they use.

This fucking world… I see so much blind hatred and stupidity and hubris and utter bullshit. People who I thought were, if not rational, at least semi-sensible appear to have taken leave of their senses. Our current leader is a hippotamic buffoon who, when given the chance to actually take the reigns of a crisis and be the leader that he so feverishly imagines himself to be, sputters and redirects and shifts blame and lies and opines and spins fairy tales about a virus that would “just disappear”… viruses don’t do that. We still have the Black Plague and Leprosy and a host of others, but nevermind all that. Instead he’s “cracking down” on people he should be trying to understand so that we as a nation can heal and come together. He never learned you can’t punch your way out of certain situations even if you are in control of the world’s most advanced military. He and his kind never will, but they’ll keep trying all over the world and they’ll sacrifice you all without a second thought to serve their own vanity. I don’t know if it’s ever been any different. I can’t say that it ever will.

I see people the world over isolating themselves. Losing hope and getting no help. Others are hoarding money like it was a virtue even though, in the end, it won’t make their lives one minute longer or make them better people. It may as well be doll heads, old newspapers, cat litter, and cockroaches they heap in piles around them in the end.

Then I see people who would never be considered by those ultra-wealthy folks to be their equals defend them because they want a piece of that pie too. They won’t get it, but the ol’ carrot and stick routine always works on jackasses so long as they get just a little piece to nibble at the end of the day.

It used to be that most bad ideas were born and died in the same localities. Some still made the big time (nazism, eugenics, reality TV), but there was a vetting process. A really shitty idea had to work to get traction outside of its area of inception. These days any knuckle-raking, mouth-breathing dipshit with a dumb idea can post it to the world and find other, like-minded knuckle-raking, mouth-breathing dipshits who will back them up. Embolden them. They make a FaceBook group. Their stupidity spreads like cancer. It infects others. It grows like a malignant tumor in our collective psyche… I think it was Douglas Adams that suggested human thought was a virus. He was not wrong. Ideas are like that.

I hope that someones comes along that people WILL listen to. Seems like every time someone tells us there’s a better way… the secret to a good life and happiness and a kinder society… we nail them to something or shoot them or burn them or a hundred other cruel, stupid things we humans perpetrate on each other out of fear and ignorance and greed.

I feel like I could go on for a week, but ultimately it’s just blowing smoke into a hurricane. The world at large will not notice and in the end it won’t matter what I’ve said. I don’t feel like anyone really listens which is what makes me feel the most hopeless. I feel like maybe there’s something I could contribute to help, but I don’t ever feel like what I say has any real value. Nothing new to add. There are so many other smarter people you should be listening to. Who needs one more middle-aged, middle-class white dude’s opinion?
I sure as fuck don’t but here I am typing away like a fool hoping someone will read this and maybe feel like they’re not so alone when they’re breaking down and feeling weak or hopelessly frustrated by the World at large.

So if you’re out there and you’re feeling weak or depressed or frustrated or angry… it’s ok. You’re allowed to feel that way. It’s ok to acknowledge that you just can’t manage some days. Today I fought the very strong urge to curl up into a ball and do nothing. Ignore my calls. Disregard my inbox. Stare at the TV or the walls or nothing and wallow in the mire my subconscious has prepped and ready for me.

But I didn’t because people are counting on me for help. For guidance. For love… and for dinner.

Maybe even more importantly I’M counting on me to make it through another day to the end. You can too. If on the off chance you need to chat I’m here for you.

Stay strong. You are loved. You are NOT alone.

Take care.
We’re all in this together.
Love ya

Catch you on the flipside.

 

For all of my Quad Cities (Iowa) friends!

•June 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’m going to be up in your business in July!

WHAT: Quad City Arts Art @ the Airport Exhibition

WHEN: July 3- August 29, 2018

WHERE: Quad City International Airport Gallery, 2200 69th Ave., Moline, IL

WHO: Pat Bereskin of Bettendorf, Matt Moyer of Columbia, MO, and Robert Reeves of Des Moines.

Quad City Arts Art @ the Airport presents artwork by Pat Bereskin, Matt Moyer and Robert Reeves for the months of July and August 2018.

Pat Bereskin of Bettendorf is a prolific painter, as well as a dedicated teacher and world traveler. Her latest series, “City Lights,” gives a unique view of the architecture of popular cities she has traveled, including New York, Chicago, Paris and the Quad Cities. Her paintings depict city lights and the way light plays on the architectural structures. Viewers will sense the vibrations, sounds and grittiness of the city when they ponder Bereskin’s paintings.

Robert Reeves of Des Moines also depicts scenes of urban life. His oil paintings portray specific moments in time during the daily life of average city dwelling Americans. Drawing from his surroundings and using architectural and figurative themes as a backdrop he employs his understanding color and perspective to render everyday locations and objects from his unique point of view; Seeking to draw the viewer into a setting and illicit a personal re-examination of the familiar.

Matt Moyer of Columbia, MO. (formally from Moline) presents abstract, welded steel sculptures that represent self-contained mechanical systems. He uses new steel and then works on the surfaces with paints and grinders to achieve the appearance of something old and worn. Moyer’s public sculptures have been around the Quad Cities for years as part of Quad City Arts’ Sculpture program, but his latest sculptures will fit inside the glass cases in the airport gallery and interact with the cityscapes of Bereskin and Reeves.

Back in Black… And White and kind of a tan because newsprint

•May 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Just wrapped up some large, very involved commissioned oil paintings. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to do those pieces. I’m also glad to be changing gears a little. It seems like it’s been forever.

This is today’s quickie charcoal sketch. Mostly a tonal study but the final piece will continue to be relatively devoid of heavy detail. Going for more light and pop than photo-accuracy. Sticking with the charcoal tho.

You all know how much I love my willow dust.

Here’s to getting dirty.

Cheers,

R

Biiiiig Waterfall

•May 9, 2018 • 1 Comment

Greetings, faithful readers (all 6 of you)!

Been quite a while since I posted anything at all. The upside is that means I’ve been busy. Very busy. Busy is good. Keeps me active. Keeps me moving.

And this piece has certainly kept me moving. Creating this work was a physical experience. Every aspect pushed the boundaries of the spaces I have to work with: from building the canvas to crating and every bit in between. I enjoyed the process immensely.

The work came about by way of a phone call at the end of last Summer. It started its last leg yesterday when the freight truck came to pick up the 82″x64″x6″ crate. My clients had retired and moved to warmer climes, but they were missing some aspects of their place here in Iowa. Namely a large water feature from their yard that gave them a lot of enjoyment and peace in their leisure time. They wanted a piece of that for their new home. We chatted. We took photos. Discussed options and away we went. Several months and a lot of work later we’re nearly finished.

I’ve managed to document the process from beginning conceptual sketches to the end when it was packed into the crate and readied for shipping. I’ve skipped a lot of steps along the way to spare you the (sometimes) ugly details, but it was a wonderful project and I’m glad for the opportunity.

Looking forward to seeing it hung.

So anyway… here’s the pics.

Cheers,

R

 

 

 

 

 

New Work in Progress

•August 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

No spiffy titles today, kids. Just a quick update from your old pal, Rob, on a new Chicago piece. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s big!

Ultimately my goal here is to play with the relationships between the cool and warm colors this image provides. I’m also adjusting figures and elements to rearrange their relationships to each other. There’s still work to do so keep your eyes peeled for updates, true believers!

Cheers,

R

Providing a Little Detail

•March 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

A small detail from the last session spent working on this New piece. Hoping to wrap it up in 1 or 2 more. I’ve got just enough time before I get back into commission mode. 

#wip #painting #oilpainting #urbanlandscape #nyc #nocturne #rain #originalart

Still Life

•February 1, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Greetings all,

I just wanted to post a few of the production stills and a couple other images from the political comedy series, “Embeds” that premiered recently on go90. Thanks to a friend I got a call from their production crew looking for some local art for set dressin. Even though the work only shows up for a few seconds here and there it was still a fun idea. Special thanks to Mr Eric Wickes for taking special care of my work while it was in his capable hands.

I honestly haven’t had a chance to watch it yet because I’m so busy jetsetting with my new Hollywood friends, but I going to because how often does this kind of thing happen to you? Well maybe you, but not me.

Oh… and by “jetsetting” and “Hollywood friends” I mean “sitting on the couch in my robe drawing” and “cat”.

Check out the pilot here: PILOT . There’s an agreement on the page before the video FYI. You have to watch out for those things. You never know what you’re agreeing to.

Check the pics below. You might have to squint to find the art in a couple.  Thanks to my friend, Buffalo Bonker, for grabbing the first 2 shots.

Cheers,

R

 

Embeds production still 7

Embeds production still 7

Embeds production still 6

Embeds production still 6

 

Embeds prod still 2

Embeds prod still 2

Embeds prod still 3

Embeds prod still 3

Embeds prod still 5

Embeds prod still 5

Embeds prod still 1

Embeds prod still 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been much for politics, but…

•January 6, 2017 • 2 Comments

When you’re asked by the production team for a new polit-com from Megyn Kelly, “Can we use some of your work for our show?”, you say, “Why not?”.

So there you have it in a nutshell: My Artwork. New comedy. Political incorrectness (we can only hope).

Here’s the trailer. I hope it’s good.

Megyn Kelly-produced comedy ‘Embeds’ shows mayhem on the campaign trail in first trailer

Cheers, 

R

 

Thank You, Masked Man

•November 9, 2016 • 1 Comment
I had the opportunity to help someone today. I feel some shame in writing about this not because I’m ashamed of doing what I did, but because I believe making such acts a public event cheapens the act itself. I believe receiving undue praise for being a regular, decent person can lead to expectations of praise and reward. A slippery slope if there ever was one. Not everyone’s an ultra-altruistic superhero ready to lay down their lives on a daily basis save the world out of the sheer goodness of their hearts… and even those are susceptible to corruption. A true altruistic act requires no dog and pony show. No medals. No press conference… And no expectation of thanks.
See, “Thank you, Masked Man“, by Lenny Bruce if you have not. I warn you it’s crass and more than a bit homophobic. Not something I condone but it is, after all, Lenny Bruce. The sentiment’s there: once you start looking for gratitude you start to have expectations of just what that should entail. Best to not start at all.
I saw a woman stuck in a broken-down car at one of the busiest intersections in town during morning rush. For those of you familiar with Des Moines I was by the giant A&E Dairy cow sculptures. As I pulled up next to the disabled vehicle I saw her: Visibly sobbing and looking very afraid. On her cell phone frantically trying to call someone for help as angry morning commuters struggled to make their way around her. Everyone was in a hurry. Too busy. Busy getting to work. Busy with their own lives. Being busy is no sin. We all are pretty busy all the time. At least most of the people I know are. But there she was: Another person struggling and I realized I couldn’t pass her by and feel OK about myself. I found a place to park and ran back. Asked her about her condition and the situation with the car. It was completely without power. She was at a loss. Still in tears. I told her it was going to be alright and then told her my plan. She braked & steered and I pushed. Around a corner, down the street and into a parking lot we went together. Luckily there’d been a break in the traffic on the adjoining street and we were able to cross without blocking too many folks *. In the end she got a call from a friend who would come to get her and traffic was flowing happily. All was right with the world again. I checked to make sure she was good and headed to work. The day seemed a little sunnier than it had and I’d considered leaving it at that. Then I got to thinking there was a parallel with what we see happening all around us. People living in fear of lack. People afraid that if they took time to help or deviated from their planned course that they would somehow miss out or that the cost to themselves would be too great. People looking to get (or stay) ahead of others. The greater cost is to ourselves when we pass people by.
I don’t tell this story to illustrate what a good person I am. I’m not. I don’t expect or want any accolades for being a human being. I will delete any and all comments praising my actions, etc. I’m not looking for thanks. I DO want to set an example in my life and for others. I hope that every person who watched the two of us move that car by ourselves feels a little twinge of guilt when they think back on it. That maybe they’ll feel slightly diminished that some average guy in a less-than-average Honda got out and helped when they didn’t think to. That maybe the next time they see someone in need… in distress they’ll think about that and instead rush offer their hand first. To work together to help solve problems instead of making sure they “get theirs”.
This is how we make our land… our world great. This is how we combat hate. This is how we extinguish fear. This is how we come together. This is how we raise ourselves up.
We have a world full of people in need. We can, in small ways, each and every one of us make a difference every day right here in our own back yard. Today is your day.
Be excellent to each other.
Cheers,
R
* I’m really glad I haven’t been skipping leg day lately and I’m seriously considering upping my cardio game. When did compact cars get so heavy??

Panoramapalooza

•October 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been loving me some horizontal formats lately… and graphite or charcoal on toned paper. Maybe it’s because I was such a huge movie fan as a kid and I wish the world was filmed in Ultra Panavision. Maybe it’s because I have this huge roll of gray-toned paper I’ve been sitting on for a couple of years. Who can say for sure, but the format really appeals to me. As such I’ve done a number of works over the last couple of years that extol the virtues of the panoramic.

I decided to get all (or at least most) of them together in one post.

Lately figures seam to be taking on a more prominent role. Alone or in pairs…Clumped together. Perhaps I need to get out of my basement.

Enjoy!

 

Cheers,

R

 

 

 

 

robert-reeves-western-gateway-graphite-on-paper-50x8-2015-1

Western Gateway, Graphite on paper, 50″ x 8″, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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