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That Brilliant Bearded Bastard- Meet RJ

I know lately, the name RJ has popped up on here quite a bit, so I’m here to bestow to you the true story of RJ, a freelance artist, scareactor, friend, and the hot topic of debate, my ex. 

In Spring of 2009, I accepted an internship with a local performing arts group that specialized in over the top puppetry and props, doing research for venues and coming up with classes and camps for local school kids. RJ was a performer there, as well as a stage hand and prop builder. We became really close in a short amount of time. Started as friends trying to get an apartment so I wouldn’t have to move back home after the semester, and it eventually led to the demise of me and Bill’s relationship back in the day.

At the time of me meeting him, Bill and I were trying to convince his staff that I wasn’t this bad seed they saw me as. I used to take Bill everywhere with me, from night clubs to dorm partes, even took my whack job friend’s idea and took him to a strip club. His staff weren’t pleased and tried to control our visits as if I was some sort of dangerous drug addict, which I never was. This time in my life, only a few months away from graduation, led me at a crossroads. I had the cap and gown, the potential of my first apartment, a part time job, all I needed was a man and I had an instant adulthood with no strings attached. Me and RJ got along awesome, so why the hell not? And that’s how it came to be, much to Bill’s dismay and with cheers from his staff, who are no longer with him. 

RJ and I spent seven years together, multiple states and towns in search of stable work, at one point, we were engaged. But things didn’t go so hot, and due to him not finding stable work and other issues, we have called it quits. It was a tough call, but it was the right decision for the both of us. We still remain close to this day, just not the way it used to be, because I have Bill. And he is OK with that. 

Like Bill has been part of my acceptance with my physical disability, RJ has helped me in my mental health journey. He has dealt with a lot in his life to get to where he is as a person with ADHD and Bipolar. Upon meeting him, you couldn’t really tell, in fact, he kept his appointments hidden as well as his meds for almost a year before I found out why he was always going out at random. At first I threatened to leave and had him drop out of his treatment so he could man up, because I didn’t want to deal with ruining the illusion that things were perfect, little did I know a few months later I would be diagnosed with PTSD. Guess this is a case of foot and mouth at its finest. 

I learned a lot about how he copes with society, combating anger with meditation and Buddhist relaxation techniques. I learned some awesome things about how plants and essential oils can effect the body. I also learned that even when the holistics won’t do, it’s OK to ask for help and reach out for guidance. 

I also learned dealing with your demons can help you channel your inner talents, in RJ’s case, it’s being a scareactor.

As a kid,and even now, RJ has been obsessed with horror movies and Halloween. One of his favorite things to do was check out the local haunts with his father. At age 5, after a scareactor jumped at him with a chainsaw scaring the piss out of him, he swore he would work at a haunted house someday. 

Now he works for two, a local theme park and an attraction called Zombie Outbreak. 

Talk about chasing your dreams.

People say I don’t give him credit for what he has done for me, and it’s true, I haven’t for many reasons. Our break up ended badly and the scars from me walking out on Bill in the past never healed. But after he helped me out when I was jobless and fighting to go back to Disney, I owe him the credit and kudos he deserves. 

Cheers to you, RJ. A great friend and one hell of a bearded bastard. Thank you for being you and for helping me find myself. 😁

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