Sunday, February 6, 2011

#:11 Chapter 4: "I'm sorry"

This is a repost of a blog I wrote on MySpace on February 6th 2006.

It amazes me how your life can be changed completely with just one statement. Before middle school my life was changed when I was talking to my mom about what classes I wanted to take and I decided to take band to learn to play the piano. She said they probably won't teach that. We had a clarinet in one of the closets so I said, "then I'll play clarinet". That statement pretty much shaped every aspect of my life, and still affects things today. Maybe someday I'll go into more detail about that, but that's not what today is about. Today is about Michael Allen Belew.

To grow up with a brother who is 4 years older then you is kinda strange. You're not close enough in age to hang out and have the same friends, but your not young enough to be the cool baby brother. Growing up, we'd do a lot of things. We'd play sports in the front yard, which I sucked at. We'd wrestle all the time. We generally got together pretty well, until he got a car. Once he got a car all he cared about was money, and it was usually me that had to pay. He would steal my Nintendo and Super Nintendo games and sell them. That really upset me quite a bit. Once he reached high school he slacked off a bit. He ended up going to 3 different ones just because he was so bored with it. It finally reached the point where he was getting ready to graduate. A week before he ditched a class, and his dean expelled him. She had warned him, and so had my mom. She said that if he got expelled he'd have to move out. She was just trying to scare him. The day he got expelled he came home, packed up his things, and moved in with his friends family. My mom tried to stop him, but he went.

For the next few years I didn't really see him that often. He got his GED, and got 100% on it too. He decided then to move to Texas and live with our dad and go to school there. He went to the Art Institute of Dallas and got a degree in video production. I went down and visited a few times, which was actually the longest time I'd ever spent with my dad in my life. After 3 years, he moved back to Colorado. This was in 2000, so I was 19-20 and he was 23-24. Once you reach this age, the difference really doesn't matter, and we started to get along quite well. He had an idea for a movie that we would both star in, and that became his obsession. I have always wanted to be a comedian. On my 21st birthday we went to the Comedy Works and I got to see my first famous professional comedian live, Bobby Slayton. On Halloween 2001 I performed there on new talent night. I'd never really thought about being an actor though until he brought it up. He got a job working as the lead editor on the rocky mountain sports report on Fox Sports Net. It really seemed like everything was going amazingly well.

I met a girl at work that I suddenly became completely crazy about. But in December of 2001 she moved back to California with her mom, and I thought it would be the worst pain I had ever gone through because she truly was, and still is, my first and only love. That's what I thought until later that month. My brother hadn't really been eating much, and he was starting to lose some weight. He was waiting for his insurance to kick in from Fox before he went to the Dr. It finally did, and he finally did. What they found was a cancerous growth in his chest. There was some unknown tissue in his chest from when he was a fetus that was finally deciding to cause problems. He started chemotherapy in January. Things seemed to be going well. I was still grieving my loss. On February 3rd we watched the Super Bowl together. On February 4th, he had what was the best day he had had in months. He was feeling great and everything seemed like it was going to be fine. I've learned now, that's bad news when someone is sick. On the 5th I hung out with my best friend and I was taking him home when my mom called. She told me that my brothers girlfriend needed help getting him to the hospital because he was in a lot of pain. I took my friend home and went over. I helped him down the stairs and into the car. We went to the emergency room and my mom and step dad weren't far behind. We were in the waiting room for about 3 hours, everything seemed to be going good.

I was standing outside with his girlfriend and my step dad while they smoked, when my mom came running out crying. She said that a bunch of nurses had to run in the room. Her and his girlfriend went back in, and eventually they sent them out. They put us all in this family only waiting room. It was around this time his cancer Dr. showed up, and he couldn't figure out what was going on. Finally a nurse came in and said he'd stop breathing for a while but they got him to do so again. However, since he wasn't breathing for so long there might be some brain damage. I was so worried that with brain damage he wouldn't be able to attain his dream of becoming a film maker. I'm not a religious person. I don't really believe in the bible, and I don't really know who or what god is, or if he/she even exists. But at that moment, for the first and only time in my life, I preyed. "Please don't let there be brain damage. He's got so many ideas. He's totally pulled his life around. Don't do this please". All that really didn't matter about a minute later.

This is really the first time I've ever written this down, and it's really hard. It was at that time that the nurse came back in and said, "I'm sorry, we've lost him". It amazes me how quickly tears can burst from your eyes in extream cases. I never have and can't imagine ever will cry as much as I did at that moment. My mom called my dad who was driving home from somewhere and told him. I could hear him crying so loud through her phone. My step dad had to grab the phone and tell him to pull over. This really was the most devastating moment in my life.

So here we are, 4 years later. February 6th 2006. In April I will reach the day where I actually become older then my brother ever was. I have been to 4 major funerals since his, the last one pretty major, but nothing was as shocking as his. I miss him every day. I have continued to pursue acting, having been in a few productions around Colorado. But there's not enough here. I hope to move to California in July so I can get serious about it. It's because of my brother that I'll head down that path. Hopefully by moving to California I'll be able to regain my lost love as well. If he hadn't died we'd be living there already, so I feel it's right.

So when I'm excepting my first Oscar, and I'm thanking Mike Belew, now you'll know why.

So, now we're back to February 6th 2011. It has been 9 years since that day. I did move to California, and I actually worked in the TV and Movie industry for a year doing extra work. I then got into Video Game testing because I thought it was more stable (the joke was on me). At some point I lost the passion I had for stand up and acting. Maybe someday it will return, but there's just not enough of it right now for me to succeed in either of those endeavors. There are times where I feel I've let him down by essentially giving up on the dream, but I'm sure he'd understand that it's frivolous to pursue it if I'm not going to give it my all.

The pain of losing him never goes away, but eventually I had to learn to accept it and be thankful that I got to spend those last few years close to him. I will probably never win an Oscar, so I won't be able to thank him for that. However the dream is partly responsible for getting me to California in the first place, so for that I'm thankful. I've experienced a lot in the last four and a half years and met some of the most interesting people I'll ever meet because of that move. I find myself reaching a crossroads again very soon, and whatever decision I end up making, I know that he would support it so long as it makes me happy in the end.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#10: Chapter 3: "I Know...Right?"

In the past 2 blogs I have told you about the statement that has affected my daily life for over 15 years, and I told you about the person that was most crucial to my growing up. So where did the affects of said statement and the loss of said person take me? Well for that, we need to discuss VIP #2.

I had been working at Blockbuster for about a year. When I started we had a store manager that everyone just loved and respected. However he had finally reached a point where driving way out of his way to reach a store that was extremely stressful to run finally got to him, so he asked to be transferred. They then brought in a new store manager that was younger then everyone that was working there and really shook things up. By the way, when I say the store was stressful, I mean well over 2000 rentals and returns every weekend day. If I'm not mistaken we would make at least $10,000 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

This is the actual Blockbuster we worked at. It's amazing what you can find online.

One of the things that the new manager did was put me on the day shift. This sucked a little because all my friends worked nights. It was shortly after this that we hired 2 new girls that were seniors in high school. One of them was going to the high school that I went to (I was a senior when she was a freshman) and the other was the sister of a guy I had been in band with. She went to a different high school though. The ironic thing about them was that they were born on the same day, one in California, the other in Colorado. However that being said, they really couldn't have been much different. The girl from California that I essentially went to school with was named Denise Robb. I never really worked with her much because she worked nights. We would do inventories together and occasionally work together on the weekends, but I really didn't get to know her to well. One of the major times we worked together was on New Years Eve 2000/2001. Little did we know what that year was going to hold for us. Well, the end of it anyway.

In August of that year I went into work and she told me that we had to hang out outside of work. I having had no life (wait, having had no life like things are different now?) was fine with that. So we made plans and on August 15th 2001, we had a lunch date. We went to a hot dog restaurant she really liked called Chicago Mike's. We then went to the Denver Aquarium (Which has Tigers for some reason). Then we went bowling. I learned something that day. I had been working with the most fun girl I have ever known in life, and I was completely oblivious to it. It wasn't until later that I found out what the reasoning behind her saying we had to hang out was. Apparently, she would complain a lot at night about the fact that I was a horrible assistant manager. She actually rather despised me. Chris (my best friend, remember, from chapter 1) told her that she should get to know me as I wasn't as bad as she thought.

This is one of the tigers at the Aquarium. No they don't make them swim all the time.

Well she ended up learning that, and we ended up hanging out a lot after that. We really liked each other and I would dare say we ended up borderline dating (although we tend to debate about this to this day). We classified it as an Amish relationship at the time though. Everything was going quite well until about October. Her mother got laid off from her job, and not being able to find a new one in Colorado, had no choice but to move back to California. Denise had no choice but to go with her. I was devistated. For the first time in my life I had met a girl that I really liked, and who liked me back, and now she was leaving. In December of 2001 she moved back to California, and I had lost her. It was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through in my life.

Two months later the universe showed me what true devastation really was (that's Chapter 4, which will be written tomorrow). For the next year, I just kind of went away into an emotional haze. At some point I ended up going to California with my family, and I hung out with Denise for the day. She was dating a guy I really knew nothing about at the time. That ended up being a really bad relationship in the end. She came back to Colorado once to go to a friends graduation and we hung out. We'd talk online every now and then, but we weren't really as close as before anymore because we'd drifted apart.

Then in 2004, she invited me and Chris to go to Vegas for her 21st birthday. She was single at this time and I was finally back on the planet from my haze. I had it in my mind that we were going to pick up where we left off. Of course, that wasn't the case. She was a different person at this point. Still the most fun girl I've ever know in life, but things were just different. We did however end up seeing each other more after this though. She came to visit and stayed at my house in January 2005, (which was hard to explain to a grandmother with Alzheimer's) and I went and visited her in the summer of that year.

Chris, Denise, and I in Vegas. She's drinking out of a skull.

She had recently started dating a new guy when I went out there. While I was visiting I caused a few problems because he was a little jealous of me. I always find that hard to understand because if there was ever going to be anything between us, he wouldn't have existed in her life. But I digress. The two of us went to Disneyland and had a blasty blast. It was on the way home from that trip that I decided I couldn't keep saying goodbye to her. I knew I had to figure out some way to see her more often.

We got dressed up and went to Hollywood to see Dane Cook on Jimmy Kimmel Live. We didn't get in and ended up going to hooters and Ripley's instead.

It was then in December that my grandmother passed away. Two months later Denise came out to visit. On February 24th, 2006 our bond pretty much became cemented with each other. The two of us and Chris were going to go to an adult convention that was in town just for a few laughs. However when she woke up that morning, her stomach wasn't feeling to well. We went to a med center that her insurance was associated with, but they were getting ready to close so they gave us the run around and wouldn't see her. She was so upset about it that she just wanted to go back home. I called my mom and she convinced me to take her to the emergency room. We went to the hospital I was born at. An hour or so later I was on the phone with her mom telling her that her daughter needed to have her appendix removed.

Denise is an only child, and the most important thing in the world to her mother. She was flipping out and telling me to go tell them she needed to get on a plane and get home before any surgery was done. I did my best to calm her down, then went back in and stood by Denise's side. That's where I stayed until she went into surgery, and as soon as she got out, I resumed my post. Her family is forever greatfull for that, and her mom will always love me for it. For me the thought of leaving was never an option. Who would do that? Her mom ended up getting to my house about an hour after we returned from the hospital, and the next day they flew back to California.

Now we've reached the point where I needed to find a way to move as I had decided to do. Well if you remember I said my aunt bout me out of the portion of the house I had "owned". It was with this money that I made the move. So in July of 2006. I packed up my car, and with Chris's help, drove to California, with a stop over in Vegas.

Chris took this picture as we were driving to California. It's the reflection of my car in the hubcap of an 18 wheeler.

I ended up living with her and her mom for my first year and a half here. I will admit that I had the hope that things could go back to the way they were in 2001, but that just wasn't possible. Especially once August of 2006 rolled around.

This is one of the first pictures taken after I moved to California.

It was in this month that she went on a blind double date her friend had set up. It was on this date that she met Justin Hewitt. They got along quite well. In fact they started dating. I, being a bit more immature and delusional at the time, had a problem with this. We ended up having what I think is the only fight we've ever had because I was being a bad friend and not being supportive. Once I started to get to know Justin though, I really had no choice. I don't think I've met a nicer more caring person. After getting to know him is when I finally realized that there is no way a relationship could have ever worked between me and Denise. I'm nowhere near the man he is, and she deserves no one other then him.

When I moved out of their house, I actually ended up living with Justin in two different places over the course of two years. They are now engaged and will be getting married in October. I'm going to the bachelorette party...Jealous?

So, wait, what? Oh right. You see, once again if that whole Chapter 1 thing hadn't happened, I never would have worked at Blockbuster, never would have met Denise, and never would have been sitting here right now in an apartment in Long Beach. And if my Grandmother hadn't passed away when she did, I wouldn't have had the money to move here and bare witness to what is easily one of the greatest relationships I've ever seen in my life, and I wouldn't have been able to hang out with my bestest friend ever in life for the past four and a half years. Her, her mom, and Justin aren't just friends anymore, they're my California family.

This picture was taken just a few months ago outside the Irvine Improv. I just noticed I'm always on the left and she's always on the right.

P.S. Oh, yeah. So she is the first person I ever heard say "I know...Right?" Just one day her and her friend started saying it at work and I ended up adopting it as a result. It was after that that I started hearing it everywhere! That's not the first time I've hear her say something then a few months later it's everywhere. Coincidence? Well, yeah. That'd just be weird if it wasn't.