two photos in one album


I’ve spent much of the past week doing work to shift something from being an idea to being a thing. I’m still not sure it’s going to be the Thing I thought it would be, because in a way it wants to be a whole other Thing and … you know what? It does not matter. This doesn’t make any sense outside of my head, however.

The point is, I spent a lot of time reading my blog last week, and I was so grateful to Past Wil for writing and posting those things here when he didn’t even think for a moment that Future Wil would want to see them again. I also noticed huge gaps where I didn’t post anything, which made me a little sad about whatever Past Wil was going through.

Today I received one of those Facebook reminders that I was very surprised to find that I haven’t posted on my blog. So I’m copying it here, today, for Future Wil, and also for Current Anyone Interested.

This is from October 2, 2019:


When I was at a scam a couple of weeks ago, I met a lovely woman who shared her 80s album with me. It’s kind of a time capsule of me being around 13 to 17, filled with photos and clippings from all the teen magazines my mom made me a part of, even though it was * very * out of my comfort zone being in these photos, or to talk to people I didn’t know about my personal stuff.

Based on the faux turtleneck, the largest photo is probably from around 1988, when I was 15 or maybe 16. You can see this was during a hot minute where I was trying to lean on my wayward tuft and make it a little big dumb to stand up which I tried to convince myself didn’t look as stupid as it did.
The photo in the box is from when we shot the Stand By Me music video. This was taken * a lot * at the beginning of the film’s commercial cycle. I’m pretty sure it even predates the first thing I had to do for a teen magazine. Dude, I remember how much conflict I felt that day. On the one hand, I was so excited to be a part of something that was going to be on MTV (guys, you have to know that back then, for teenagers, being on MTV was the coolest thing ever). But I was also terrified, because I didn’t (and don’t have) rhythm, didn’t like (and didn’t like) dance and felt like an alien in my own body.

River and his family were incredibly musical. He could play guitar and sing, and they were all so comfortable on that set, I wish I could settle down like they did.

During a break, we all ended up in a dressing room on stage with Ben E. King and River and he just started playing together. River took a guitar – remember, he was only 15 or 16, and Ben E. King was a legend – and started strumming. Ben E. King started singing, and before we knew it, everyone in the room was singing with him. Someone took out a harmonica and started playing it. Someone else started drumming on the back of a chair, and River’s mom danced that dance we always see people do at Grateful Dead shows.

I remember feeling so excited to be in that room, and also so sad and anxious that I couldn’t join them. And that’s really sad for me now. I couldn’t vocalize it at the time, and probably wasn’t aware of it then, but I had been so relentlessly bullied by the man who was my father, I had no confidence, terrible self-esteem, and lived in constant fear of being humiliated.

I wonder what that day would have been like for me if I had had the confidence to dance, sing and participate, without the ever-present fear of someone making fun of me or making me feel small for not being the best. At the very least, that photo wouldn’t make me feel sad, like I need to hug that baby and mentor him like the man who is his father should have.

Someday I will see pictures of myself young and I will not feel sad. I don’t know how I’m going to get there, but it will happen. One day.

Here is the video. I’m super awkward, but I still have to be on MTV which was pretty cool.


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