Grounded.

Ready to give up hotel life.

I’m having a hard time getting grounded right now. There are too many variables and too many options. One of the squad has literally been MIA for almost a week and my mental energy has been spent contemplating their whereabouts. I have four different job offers in three different states and the deadline to make a decision is looming. I am no closer today than I was a week ago when the offers started coming in.

I have always been programmed to believe money equals success, but I hate money. And trust me, I understand how the world works—the one with the most money always win. But at what cost? And who really wants to win? What is the prize?

I hate money. The lack of money or having too much money changes people. It turns them into people they are not. It changes their character, sometimes for the good and most times for the bad. I am as guilty as anybody of both offenses.

I am really trying to look at all the pros and cons of each job offer. I am trying to step back, think about the cities, the work load and all the responsibilities involved with each one. I know which one was my knee-jerk choice right off, but all the others have a lot to offer too.

As independent as I have always been, I suck at making major decisions. When I do finally make a choice I will second guess it into oblivion. I have already overthought it to death. As much as I trust the squad and their advise, I have intentionally left them out of this one. I’m 45 years old. I should be able to make this decision on my own. But now I think I should bring them in. They usually see something I do not, and right now that is what I need. I feel like I am missing something and hopefully they will see it. I need their perspective.

Although I have spent much of my professional career traveling and living out of my suitcase, I think I am ready to give that part of my life up. My suitcase has too many miles on it and I miss my own home to come home to.

I have crunched so many numbers trying to figure out the least amount of money I have to make to build my place at the lake, live there and have no debt. I am just not there yet. It is not the right time.

So, I have to make a decision about which job to take by the end of the month. Until then, I will keep my suitcase organized, enjoy hotel life and invite the squad for beer and pizza to seek their advise.
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Love Print to Frame (Freebie #011)

loveinframeThis is one of my favorite Bible verses. I always have this verse somewhere with me. I have it in my wallet, it’s always in my briefcase and it hangs on my office wall. Although I know fairy tales are not for me, I always believe something amazing is about to happen.

This print is 8″x8″ so it can be printed on a standard printer with standard 8.5″x11″ paper. I always get my frames at Target. This could fit in an 8″x10″ frame, but I always like square. The file is a PDF file for simplicity.

Luggage Tags (Freebie #010)

luggagetags-buttonSometimes finding my bag in the airport baggage claim can be a challenge. I have a generic black Samsonite suitcase (which is awesome) and evidently everybody else on the planet does too. So, I designed a few different options for a tag so I can spot my bag as soon as it pops up.

I print these on Avery business cards and slide them into the tags I bought from Amazon. Links for both are provided below. The tags themselves are a PDF file for simplicity. I suggest opening it in Acrobat instead of your browser. Acrobat gives you more print options. To ensure they print perfectly on the business cards, make sure your print at 100%.

bcbuynowluggagetagsbuynow

Dear unrequited love.

Dear Unrequited Love,purple_hearts_by_rockleefreak13-d56vlqw

Thank you.

I finally got to the point where I can see that I have to let you go, or I’ll just end up destroying myself.

But even though I feel like I am losing someone I never had, I have to let you know all the things you taught me while I loved you from the distance, eagerly waiting that something would happen, that maybe, someday you might be able to see that I was the one to make you happy. But now, after I literally poured my heart out in front of you, I am now ready to love myself, and put it right back to where it belongs.

Thank you for making me a dreamer. A daydreamer mostly, who smiled in the car ride all alone imagining all of the possible scenarios of how you would realize you loved me too. How we both were going to kiss passionately under the rain, we would have endless conversations, laugh eternally, and be happy.

I was going to be so happy because somehow I rescued you and you saved me too. And finally I was going to feel at peace because I knew I at least had you, not like it has been this whole time feeling like I’m trying to reach the unreachable. How I had to be so careful to not destroy what little we had. But anyway, you made me a wanderer, a soul that could escape at anytime so I could connect with you in some other world.

I am now a better artist. I can write ten times more than what I used to. I can find more ways to try to describe all of the things you made me feel in one minute. How I could be at the top of the world, for some stupid thing you said, and then in the blink of an eye a tear came down through my face because I had to face the truth. And this happened millions of times, I had to deal with the fact that you were never going to see me the way I saw you. It hurt so so bad, the problem was I didn’t want to get used to that idea.

Now I can dance more truthfully to my feelings, I can show passion in my movements, and I can create new stories within music just because of you. Everything I felt for you was so raw and childish maybe, and I am not a good speaker (I hope you know that) so, I found writing my way to love you more, to hate you, to want you, and now, to let you go. You made me better at what I love doing. There has been and always will be a piece of you in everything I do.

You made me a better listener to my inner world, more sensitive to myself, now I feel like everything gets to me, and even more when it has to do with you.

Every time I saw you wanting someone else, I could feel how the walls that kept my lungs together crumbled down and left me breathless. Hoping that you would rescue me, but fighting the pain of knowing that you won’t. I felt really empty, worthless because I had always been there for you and you were never really there for me. But that’s ok.

Because you also taught me that I could save myself, that I didn’t need you at all. How important it actually is to love myself first and know when to walk away. It took me more than two years to understand that but I am finally here, taking care of myself.

Sometimes when people are in love with someone they can’t have, there is something strangely enjoyable in the waiting, in the pain of holding on there is something to enjoy too. Because there is hope, because even if you know it will never happen, there is always the chance that it might. So it keeps you hanging. And you taught me what hope really is, you taught me to fly and detach myself from reality and in the end you taught me how to land to.

At first, every time I had to come back to reality I just crushed against the earth, leaving me wounds that will leave scars forever. But today, I could land softly, gently surrendering to what my eyes saw but my heart didn’t believe, and my mind knew was true.

And finally, you taught me how to treasure moments and remember. Oh boy, I do remember everything you said, did and move when I was with you. You were my true love. And you’ll forever be my true love as much as it hurts, I am happy it was you and no one else. Because I thought you were worthy to my lips, and all what I have to give to you. Maybe I am just happy that I now have a reason to keep you inside of me, in the deep ocean of memories a woman holds forever. Now you are there.

And even if it is tearing me apart to let you go, now I know how to fix myself, how to heal, and I know it won’t be easy, or quick. This phrase truly shows how I feel about letting you go, how it is to me saying goodbye to someone who was mine for a few minutes.

I hope that one day, I’ll find someone who loves me as much as I loved you.

XOXOXO,
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Epic fail.

So, today my web servers crashed. Of course, the last backup was July 11, 2016, so I lost quite a few great posts from the past two months. I called out the creepers from Charleston with screenshots, talked about how great my friends and family are and then wrote about my boycott of Facebook, just to name a few. I also had to redesign a few elements I have previously changed. Like a broken record I exclaim, “don’t forget to do backups.” I’m guilty of the pot calling the kettle black on this one.

I have to write about my squad again. They have came to me, protected me, listened to me, tried their best to help me and were just generally great. My squad is 10+ years strong and these special people are my greatest assets. There is not anything they would ask me to do that I wouldn’t do for them. They epitomize unconditional love. It’s strange how until 2 months ago they had all never been in the same room together. But they all showed up at The Four Seasons August 10th and they have been as close to each other as they have always been to me. With all the crap, seeing my people come together has been a positive in this sea of negative.

Rockin' my 'Listener of the Day' t-shirt, 9-23-16.
Rockin’ my ‘Listener of the Day’ t-shirt, 9-23-16.

It was fun to take them out on the town and really show them a small glimpse of my world in the big city. They had all visited in the past, but never as a group. Our only worries that night was where everyone was going to sleep and what to order from room service. I voted for pizza from down the street and Bud Lite, but in the end, there was pizza, Chinese, a little Thai, a few burgers and fries and lots of wine and beer. The girls all thought I had lost my mind for drinking Bud Light when they know my choice is Coors Light. They know my heart was still bruised and sometimes my emotions override my brain. I am sentimental from time to time. A boy in Albion broke my heart, and I’m still not completely over it.

In the midst of all the craziness I have still been extremely busy. I have reconnected with some business folks and everything seems to be working out pretty well. I haven’t found a permanent gig yet, but the offers are sitting there just waiting on me to make a decision. It has turned out to be a harder than I anticipated. But with a lot of thought, a little prayer and listening to the advise of the squad, I’m getting closer to making a choice.

I have also gotten to mark two different items off my bucket list. First, I was chosen as KSHE 95’s ‘Listener of the Day’ September 23, 2016. This has been on my list for quite some time, and now I can join the ranks of one of my BFFs who also held the title back in November 2015. And then I had the privilege of being on the field at Busch Stadium taking pics of the St. Louis Cardinals. Yeah, two bucket list items in less than 30 days = winning for now.

The next few weeks are going to be hard. Lawyers are involved, lots of money will exchange hands, a move will be made and life-changing events will take place. But I have my family, my squad and my faith in myself to get me through.

I still dream of the lake almost every single night. I didn’t get to spend near enough weekends there this year. Patience is there waiting on me and an empty lot is waiting on my pole barn house to be built. It will come in time.
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Best friend.

IMG_2728So, my best friend and I aren’t friends on Facebook. Don’t ask, it’s a long story. But everything I post on Facebook is public and anybody and everybody can see it. I’m kind of a public figure, so folks like to see what I am doing. Him commenting out of the blue on something is phenomenal.

Someone I care about very deeply is threatened by the relationship me and my best friend share. I couldn’t stop my daily text to my BFF. It hasn’t been the first time a boy has made me choose. I can’t seem to stop my daily 10 AM text.

But the thing is, I need my BFF right now. I need for him to look into my eyes and see my soul and then explain what is going on in my head. I need his opinion on business, life, love, everything. He literally knows me better than anybody else on the planet except my mom. He has always given me unselfish advise and always pulls me back to look at things with a different perspective. I also need construction tips.

And I know some of the things he is going to tell me. He is going to say my mask is too heavy and don’t smoke. He is gonna tell me to get my head out of my ass and use my brain productively and quit over-thinking everything. He is gonna say my hair is awful. He is going to say my home is Carmi and I can’t run back to St. Louis (or anywhere else) every time life gets too real. He is going to tell me how hard I have worked to get where I am and not feel guilty about it. He is going to remind me how important perfect solitude is. He is going to tell me to get back to my sketchpad more often. And hopefully he will tell me he loves me just the way I am.
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Fairy tales.

I want the fairy tale. I want him to kiss my forehead. I want him to hold my hand, every day. I want him to bring me one flower for no reason. I want him to drive 2 hours, even if it’s just to see me for 2 minutes. I want him to protect me. I want him to make me laugh. I want him to pull me towards him in the middle of the night. I want him to know everything about me. I want him to take away all my self-doubt. I want him to think I am adorable. I want him to gently brush the hair out of my eyes, cup my cheek, look into my eyes and see my soul. I want him to fight for me.

And I want to hold his hand every day. I want to cook his favorite foods. I want to make his coffee exactly how he likes it. I want to do his laundry. I want to kiss his forehead and make him believe I can fix anything in the world. I want to make him laugh. I want to tell him everything about me, even the ugly part. I want him to show up on my doorstep when he knows I need him without me telling him. I want him to see me cry and wipe away my tears.

I want us to be a team. I want us to know exactly what the other one wants and then provide it. I want us to want to be together and not let anything or anyone keep us apart. I want us to curl up on the couch, or go out on the town or just take a road trip. I want us to be “that couple” everyone talks about because we are so happy. I want us to be happy.
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Yeah, I know.

I know I have neglected this space lately. No, I do not have a good excuse. Of course I’m busy, but everyone else is busy too. The truth is, I haven’t had too much to write about. I have a love life I don’t ever write about. I also have a crazy ex of an ex who still after two years is trying to convince everyone I know that the FBI is watching me. I have thought and thought, but can’t come up with any good reason for this. If they are, they must be very bored with my life by now. Anyway…

SeitzLife Art & Design has keep me super busy for the past few months and I’m super proud of me and my staff. We have worked our butts off to produce super stuff. And we just keep getting better. We have a HUGE eCommerce site going live on April 1 and I can’t wait. These great people were my first big client when I moved back to my hometown and they believed in me when they didn’t have to. I will be forever grateful for their business and their friendship. We’re kinda family now.

IMG_0062I’m trying a new look with my hair and geeky glasses. I think I want to go a little more blond, but the boy doesn’t think so. Oops, not supposed to write about the boy. (He’ll never know, he refuses to even have Facebook. He has no digital footprint and sometimes I’m a little jealous.)

Southern Illinois weather have been all kinds of screwed up lately. Four seasons in 3 days is a bit much. My sinuses have went nuts as well as everyone else within a hundred miles of me.

I’m battling a little insomnia right now, but it will pass. When my mind puts itself into overdrive, sometimes it has a hard time shutting down. It’s 12:44 AM and here I sit, rambling on about absolutely nothing.

I have really gotten into living back in my hometown. I’ve been away from Carmi for too long. It’s always been home, I was just too stubborn to admit it. It’s been really fun reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in 20+ years and it made me realize just how important these people have been to me. So many of them helped jump start the success of SeitzLife Art & Design and I will be forever grateful.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the perfect solitude. And right now I think I’ve found it.
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It’s been awhile.

FeelingsI fear I’ve lost it. I’m not sure when. I’m not sure how, but as I sit here today—and really the last several months—its occurred to me that there’s nothing left. This is difficult for me to even think, let alone say.

When I was little my parents went through what they went through and in turn as a 6 to 7-year-old, I went through what I thought was the worst thing a child could go through. Surviving that ordeal is, well, still is a process. Having the rug of a normal life pulled out from under me, it was a life goal to be what I thought was normal. I wanted nothing less than to have the perfect life, the perfect wife, the perfect kids and the perfect little house with the white picket fence. Odd for a guy to think that way maybe, but its the way it was, nonetheless.

I’ve always considered myself a very loving and caring person; nurturing, thoughtful. If you ask me I’ll swear I’ve always put everyone else first. In my life, I can remember putting myself first in only one instance. Lets just say that turned out horribly. Not because I put myself first but because I was blind and stupid (but that’s another story). Bottom line is I have always cared about others more than I cared about myself. I always have had so much love to give and with the lack of confidence in my physical appearance, I’ve always tried to be creative in the romance department.

One example of this is the way in which I proposed to my ex wife. I surprised her with a very public proposal on a sign in the middle of town, had the flowers and ring and all that you could think of that goes with the occasion. Over the years there have been many times I’ve went the extra mile to make moments with significant others very—no, extremely romantic. I’ve never been one to use anyone. I’ve never been the type of person looking for the quick, easy, good time. I’ve seen this many times with others, and to be honest, it always made me ill to see guys using women.

I’ve always been honest. If it wasn’t a long-term relationship I was looking for, I stated that up front. If it was an issue, then nothing else moved forward and there was no issue at all. I hold no grudges. I never pressured or got upset. For the most part I’ve always been too shy to be aggressive. I guess you could say I’ve always considered myself the hopeless romantic.

For some time now I’ve been in a funk of sorts. It’s the best I can describe it. With all that I’ve been through the last few years, its a wonder I still have any of my faculties left. With kids having kids they cant afford, a daughter who can’t ever seem to get her life going in the right direction, a father I never talk to, a job I hate, an ex that is nothing short of a black hole for money—I could keep going but I think my point.

With all this and more, I am nearly convinced that I’ve lost it. It being the operative word here. And it being the ability to care, to have feelings about anything. or anyone, the ability or maybe a better word is the willingness, to let anything or anyone get inside my mind, or worse yet, my heart. I’ve not ever had the empty feeling I have right now—empty and dark, closed to anything or anyone, outside of my own mind; even to the point where all I can stand anymore is to lock myself away in my truck and seclude myself from the outside world. Netflix has become the most important thing to me.

As sad as that is, I have no desire to talk to anyone. I have no desire to be around anyone. In fact, its so deep I get depressed more on the day I know I’m coming home than I am the day I am leaving out. I never thought I would get that way.

I used to enjoy conversation. I used to enjoy talking for hours. I used to love the fact that someone on the other end of the phone line was missing me. Now I really don’t care. I have a few close friends I could talk to. I have maybe one or two I could call right now or anytime and they would be happy to hear from me—at least I think they would. What I’m missing is the desire, the need. And honestly it’s nothing to do with them, it has nothing to do with anyone but me.

I don’t know when I became this way, or the reasons why. I’m not sure if I will ever know. What concerns me the most is will it ever end. What will it take for me to care again, to care at all about anything?


Mike-Michael Collard is one of my life-long friends. We cruised many back roads in his vintage ‘70 Mustang “back in the day.” Professionally, he has driven a truck over-the-road for as long as I can remember. Too many long roads have given him time to overthink everything and hone his outspoken, independent, hell-bent attitude. With a little coaxing I convinced him to share some of his writing with me to publish here. When not on the road, he spends a lot of weekends spoiling his seven grandkids.