The Death of Rollo Tomassi

Rollo,  I’m only 17 (soon to be 18..) but I am looking for some wise advice from some older men..

Anyway, I am in my Senior year of high school and throughout it all I have slacked off completely. I am actually half a credit behind, in order for me to graduate in June. I am just barely scraping by. I have not taken any foreign language courses so I am very unlikely college/university bound.

For these past 4 years I have been obsessed with the idea of becoming a rockstar. I have been playing bass since I was little, I am very good from what people tell me and I have talent, but anytime I get a band going it becomes a failure.. I really don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere in life. My friend (who is also the guitarist in my “band”) wants to go to music school up in Hollywood which would help us out a lot, and maybe even find more/better musicians.. but I do not come from a very wealthy family. This school is just like the cost for a university, and I don’t think they give loans to these kind of schools.. even if they did. There’s no guarantee I could even make a living afterwards. My mom has been pushing me to go to graphics art school, which is what I wanted to do for awhile, but I don’t think I can make it because of my grades.. and to be honest, I really don’t feel like that is what I want to do with the rest of my life. So not only am I in my last year of HS and have no idea what I’m going to do.. I’m so far deep in a hole that even if I choose to do something it would be impossible to get there. I just feel really hopeless right now.

Have you ever been in my situation and got out of it? Can I still be successful?

After reading your initial post I feel like I’m typing this response back to my 19 y.o. self because over 20 years ago I WAS you. So please bear with me by reading this carefully.

In 1987, at 19, I wanted nothing more for my life than to be in a band. I’d actually learned this from the time I was 14 when I discovered that just by saying I was in a band and had long hair girls would be more interested in me. I muddled my way through a big inner-city high school in L.A. as a C student just doing what was necessary to get passable grades since this was a hinderance to what I wanted to do – be in a band. Notice I didn’t say “be a musician”; the music had to be good and rock hard of course, but it was the status and social proof that came from being a band member and the effect this had on girls that really prompted the desire.

I didn’t know how to play a guitar and I literally stole my first guitar. I HAD to learn how to play it. I’d always been a very creative kid, I acted in drama, and I could write well, but my true, natural, God-given gift was my ability to draw and paint. I loved guitar as well, but it never came to me naturally, I had to want to do it and to this day I still study and practice it because I want to be good at it.

By the time I’d graduated, I’d had my first real girlfriend and my first ugly AFC break up. I had no direction to my life and my very passive aggressive, and masculinity-deficient AFC father had never had the interest to guide me or prepare me as an adult. He too was more interested in securing a nominal supply of pussy than be a father, but in all honsety his father before him was kind of whipped too. So I went and did what any metal-head kid in the late 80’s would do, I joined a band.

I worked at a music store in L.A., not because I was trying to live the dream, but because I had to have a job and go to community college to rent what was my own room for 18 years with my dad and his ’empowered’ 2nd wife. I met up with a LOT of musicians, but back then you didn’t have to be a good guitarist, you had to be a guitar god (which I wasn’t), so I joined a band and played bass. I stole a bass and I “borrowed’ long term a good amp and some other equipment to play. To my surprise the bands I played in became very popular in the Hollywood metal scene, but I certainly wasn’t playing for the money – because there was none. In fact we payed to play more than we actually made money. No, it was the top shelf ass I was pulling every time I played that kept me going at it. I loved the scene. The music was great and it was a new adventure every weekend we played. I bought a motorcycle and would literally roll up to gigs with my bass in a gig bag slung over my back.

I lived the minor league Hollywood rock star fantasy for about 4 years. Eventually I got good enough at guitar to play as a studio musician and do session work. I played on TV several times as a hired guitarist for up and coming solo acts. I played in about 4 original projects, 2 of which were openers for national acts. My hair was blonde, down to my ass and I was rail thin (I did start bodybuilding at this time though). All of this was going on and I was getting into networking with L.A. producers, just looking for an opening to get on with a national act, until I met her,…

Lucifer’s Daughter

I didn’t meet Lucifer’s daughter at a gig, I met her in the community college bookstore; you know, the place chumps tell you is the best for meeting ‘quality women’. I still had my education to entertain in order to get what was basically a free ride at home and I met her buying books for a semester. She was a ‘good’ girl, but hot as hell – close to an HB 9 by my high standards of that time. I had to actually work to get with her. I took her out on real “dates” rather than banging her the night we met like the girls in a club as I was used to. Nothing prepared me for the living hell of an LTR I had with her. Once I’d locked into a monogamous relationship with her the party was over. The band I was in disintigrated and she was so insanely jealous of my previous fuck buddies that I didn’t even consider looking for another band to join. I was a prisoner of hers. She went off to a university and I played the good sacrificial savior. My life was ruined because of this woman. In actuality I was trapped in her borderline personality disorder (BPD) cycle and associated myself as being the source of her problem.

After a 4 year psychotic episode of an LTR I was a shadow of what I was previously. She had a degree and was moving on, I had shit. At 26 I was ruined. After this I decided it was time to grow the fuck up and do what I needed to do, but I was starting over with absolutely nothing. I started using my real talents, I got into commercial design and became a successful art director for multi-million dollar companies and only later, at 32 did I get my BFA and Psych degree. My wife and daughter had to pay the price for my lack of foresight and earlier decisions.

I did well for myself once I’d made that cross over to real adulthood. There was no manosphere then and no men I knew who could open my eyes to anything. I had to come to terms with the direction I’d let my life go. I still play guitar and I’ve been in 3 bands since then, but I play now because I love to play, not becasue I get payed or laid. I use my real, natural gifts to pay the mortgage. I write, I’ve played the lead role in MacBeth in theatre, I use my artisitic talents everyday in my work, I do video and web work, I’ve done peer counseling, I lift weights and I’ve been a B class competitive fencer all in this time. All that and so much more.

You have to live your life. Life is a process of doing. I can sit here and type and everyone else can too, but it’s ultimately you who’s going to do what you will. You’ll still probably get into the scene no matter what us mature men will tell you. I WAS you. My advice is to grow yourself up now rather than later. You can be independent, you can live on your own, but ask yourself what are your real gifts and talents? How can you best enhance them? College? You CAN go to college if you want. The thing I lacked at 19 was this insight and the courage to act on it. I wanted pussy and I got it, but I was unprepared to deal with being an AFC in the long term.

I had to kill the old Rollo Tomassi after my hell relationship. He needed killing.

33 comments

  1. Every man these days who’s good with women has a story like that. Ever single one. It’s a necessary right of passage.

    And, like lions born on the savannah, not every one makes it through the trauma of those initial trials-by-fire.

    Yours is a great read, Rollo. Thanks for writing about this chapter in your history.

  2. “I started using my real talents”

    “Life is a process of doing.”

    “grow yourself up now rather than later […] ask yourself what are your real gifts and talents? How can you best enhance them?”

    Fuck yes.

    Focus on your talents, how to groom them, and how to plug that into the world.

    Forget about other people telling you what you should be doing, because most of the time they are just projecting their own fears (and none of their ambitions) on you. If your drive is about playing music, you are going do to better at it than anything else where you dont have the drive.

    So, use your real talents, groom them, enhance them, and trade them for what you want from the world. The sooner the better.

    Can you still make it? yes. But if you´ve been failing, find out why, and fix that.

  3. As someone who is approaching 40 and had a similar dream (and decent talent) at your age, but was convinced by my parents to pursue a traditional college degree/career, I say GO FOR IT.

    You only live once, and while the odds of you making a career out of “rock star” is incredibly slim, you can at least say you went for it – you gave it your best shot. Some of my high school buddies gave it a go during/after college, and they were fairly successful regionally. It meant working crap jobs to make ends meet, living in poverty – and eventually drug use ended the band once and for all, but I envy them. They pursued their dream, and no one can take that away from them.

    If I had completely pursued music from high school graduation until I was in my mid 20s, *then* gone to college and pursued a traditional career, my life wouldn’t be that much different at this point – other than the lack of regret from not pursing my passion. Besides, the whole notion of hitting college directly out of high school is outmoded and outdated at this point.

  4. When I was 22 I used to bang the manager of a band I was in. She was 41 (my first MILF) and the ex-wife of a record producer who had some very significant albums to his credit.

    I remember I was waiting around after a sound check and she caught me scribbling in my sketchbook and asked to see it. After she looked through it she said “You’re gonna be a millionaire someday, but it’s not gonna be playing music” inferring she was impressed with my drawings. It was kind of prophetic, but I should’ve took her seriously right then.

  5. It was really kind of a fuck buddy situation in the beginning that morphed into a sugar momma thing. She had connections and liked the band, and in hindsight probably had her eyes on me and it was an easy progression from there. Originally she had something to prove to her Ex both professionally and personally. She didn’t even mind me banging other girls to begin with, but after about 8 months she was done with my carousing and that was it.

  6. I’ve heard that in the late sixties a lot of men coming of age didn’t feel pressured to get on with their lives, and drifted for a while. Some say that the healthy economy allowed them the luxury.

    I was a some sort of slacker or bohemian myself, and had a composition containing zero percent financial ambition. Mostly I was into meditation, so much so that I found my way to living in a Buddhist monastery, and even living as a meditating hermit in remote forest cabin.

    At that time I had a passion and direction, but it was unrelated to income. People asked me how I managed. And other people answered for me – if you want it bad enough, you tend to find a way to do it. It may not have been the wisest life script in terms of financial planning, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunities for lateral drift.

    Since that period I drifted into a hellish 2 year marriage with a BPD woman, left her after my sanity finally crumbled, then built up and crashed several businesses. It’s been serial monogamy and serial businesses, and parallel monogamy and parallel businesses ever since. Another form of drifting, but after that marriage, it was from then on drifting like a race car drifts as you maneuver it around a corner. A controlled drift with only me at the wheel.

    If I knew then what I know now, the only thing I think I’d change is try to let go of failing business and relationships before they drag me down with them. It would be so much easier to ride from crest of success to new crest, rather than have to oscillate. However overall I find that controlled drifting was a lifestyle that suited my temperament. Something I had to do. Even if it included much failure and occasionally horrendous poverty. I always had irrational trust that despite chronic struggle and frequent business failure I’d do well. And now I am, and can look back on a life I’m glad to have lived. I did it my way.

    I doubt there is any advice in there for anyone. I’m basically saying that I was too lazy to fit my temperament into some mold that felt constraining, and am glad for my willfulness. That would probably be stupid advice to give anyone else. But I’d still give it to my young self.

  7. I’m curious Rollo, how the hell you survived 4 years, with a BPD, I barley made too 6 months. Only reason I stuck around that long was cause I got some hot tight ass.

    Phemonal post btw, perhaps your best one this year

  8. “I met her in the community college bookstore; you know, the place chumps tell you is the best for meeting ‘quality women’.”

    Ha ha. They do say that all the time.

  9. That was a surprising title. Glad the “improved” Rollo is still here. Interesting story. Stay thirsty my friends.

  10. Fantastic post and great advice.

    One problem for people deciding which of their talents to pursue is that talent can make something difficult seem easy. We think to ourselves, “This can’t be a big deal. It’s not hard to do so it’s nothing special.” Of course, it’s easy for the person who has that talent but difficult for everyone else. Better to ask someone else, “What do think I’m good at?” As in your post, others are often better judges of our best talents than we are.

  11. “My advice is to grow yourself up now rather than later. You can be independent, you can live on your own, but ask yourself what are your real gifts and talents? How can you best enhance them?”

    amazing.

    *this* is the question that is not asked enough in the community. how to become a better man is not just game, frame control, posture, and big top hat — it’s identifying our unique talents, working hard at maximizing them, taking chances, failing, taking more chances, succeeding — and capturing value by mastering a marketable skill.

    *this* is the key to becoming successful and becoming a true alpha.

    again, it’s like susan said, four words:

    passion, talent, mastery, anal sex with teenage groupies.

  12. One thing I have learned in life is, “nothing ever comes out the way you would expect” no matter how hard you may try. Life will always throw a curve-ball your way and it’s all a question of what you do with the opportunities as they crop up.

    Everyone is different and no two people have the same life path – although sometimes it is staggering the choices I’ve had to make in life, and the ones that I can say truly altered my life in ways that were unexpected.

    Since you cannot see the future, all you can do is make the best choice you can at the time, with the information you have. If you can always say that you did that – no one can ask anything more. You did what you could. That doesn’t mean things will work out for you – but you don’t have to worry about the “what-if” game, since you can be content that you always did what was “best” at the time. It may turn out to have been a monster – blunder, but as long as you can look back and say you would do the same thing again, with the information you had at the time – that is all anyone can do.

    That is how I have lived, and my life is completely different from what I expected it to be. I can’t say it’s better or worse – just very different, and it’s always been fun. So who could ask for more?

  13. Pingback: Fidelity «
  14. The description of meeting and dealing with your BPD is spot on with something I experienced recently – your writing is an outstanding resource. Question – if you had been red pill aware when you met the BPD would you have had a normal relationship with her by not falling into her frame, or would you just have left her earlier?

  15. I’ve contemplated this before. Hindsight being what it is, ejecting would’ve been the best course of action.

    No amount of management on my part would’ve made her ‘normal’ and never worth the investment.

  16. Rollo – thanks for the extremely quick reply. I dove into the literature on BPD for the first time last night and totally agree – seems to be something that requires serious therapy, which is not the role of a new friend or boyfriend.

  17. Rollo,

    I want to thank you for the article and add a few comments on how I’ve been using it.

    I have returned to this article many times as I get my head back to normal after my first experience with a NPD. And while there is a host of material on finding and keeping an LTR, there is not nearly enough like this article on screening to filter out bad fits from the beginning.

    I realized that this dearth of material mimics one of the problems I see in my professional financial career. It is my belief that the biggest mistake most investors make is starting with a reward/upside focus as opposed to a risk/downside focus, and that this separates the good investors from the best investors.

    Most investors will look at a potential investment opportunity and try to understand all the ways it will be worth more in the future – ie increased sales, pricing power, costs savings,… What this strategy misses is how easy it is for a company to underperform in the long run. Which is why the best investors start out focusing on the potential risks – ie increased competition, R&D dead ends, management failures,… The strength of this second strategy is that if you can get comfortable with the risks and believe that they can’t hurt you, then every investment you make will have a better chance of being financially successful – ie ‘I’m safe because even if sales fall 30%, the company has patents worth three times the purchase price and a competitor will acquire them”. A side effect of this is that you will make many fewer investments because the risks disqualify most opportunities.

    I’m just now understanding how well this dynamic also applies to LTRs and finally applying it. So instead of focusing on the benefits of a new woman (hot, sexy, well behaved, cool,…), I’m laser focused on potential risks (doesn’t dig my humor, self-centered, disrespectful,…). It is not that I’m looking for someone with no faults, but for someone whose faults are such that even if they get worse they won’t negatively affect my life.

    Thought you might appreciate these thoughts, feel free to improve upon them in your own writing, and happy to go into more detail if you’re interested.

  18. Rollo,
    On the dating vs investing analogy, I fleshed out my thoughts for Christian McQueen, which he just posted. Check it out if you’re interested.
    BK

  19. Rollo, recently came across the term ’emotional unavailable’ – do you find this to a degree of BPD or something else entirely? Any thoughts very much appreciated.
    BK

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