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,…
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.