#IgniteAfire, Spark Change // Just dance with your eyes closed. It’s less scary that way.

Brent & I during a photo-shoot for his band, the Badd Habbits. We were laughing because we accidentally wore matching outfits. May 2013

I had most of this post typed up three months ago.Three months it sat in my drafts; three months completely unseen. (Not even by me.)

This week I promised myself to get back on track, to update my portfolios, webpages, client lists, and….. frankly, start clean. I began thinking what I should post first. What should I update? What should I push myself to review?
The answer was in change, rather than past work. I am now more engrossed in where I want to go rather than where I have been.

Funny thought, that registering now as I type it. I see the words before me for the first time. It is real.
But it wouldn’t be without him.

During the past three months, while an ode to my friend collected cyber dust, I changed as a person. Changed my views, actions, and my mouth. I wasn’t sure what to post first. And in flipping through my phone for ideas, I came across photos of his art work.
Finding what I wrote before the idea solidified.

Before I share what I’ve been working on, I would like to share his.
(There is a large chance I wouldn’t have made any of it without our time together anyway.)

Brent Grassie is an eternal shining face. From the flood of posts on his wall and comments on his photos, it is quite obvious what a positive impact he had (& still has) on people.

Brent’s sassy stance while taking a break during our shoot. May 2013

Brent was one of those guys who could have nothing but a (designer) shirt and still offer it up to you. – With a smile to boot!
(Designer boots.)

He was kind, and caring, and everything you expect a good human to be. He took time to listen to people; friends new or old, even complete strangers. He would support people; be it by showing up to their gig, helping them transport gear, or just sitting around when you needed it. He inspired so many, to pick the brush back up, keep jammin, or just hold one for one more day.

This man was a home for so many talents. His musical career was by far the most active, but he was also know as an artist, lady killer, and, of course, local beardo.
I, personally, was obsessed with his style. His attire was always note worthy, and some of those ridiculous things could only be pulled off by Grassie.
He was a wonderful man to frolic with.

Brent’s art in our last show. Nov 2014.

He was that friend who would pop by to see me at a show, slink in, deliver a powerful hug, enjoy the band, and sneak out.

He was that friend who always had girl friends asking, “His number, please?”

He was also that friend who moved me three times! Plus one storage unit emptied. And two, maybe three art shows facilitated.

A few weeks before he passed, we indulged in our black humor, asking “How many times will we carry this damn coffin before one of us is in it?!”
It was a friendship always on point with that. Dark thoughts could be laughed at and welcome.

You never had to beat around the bush with Grassie. (I honestly didn’t even try to word it that way.) He was a man who loved it straight up, and wouldn’t judge you over anything you had to say. A stand-up man. Believing actions speak louder than words – but words are pretty effing important  too!

Words were always something he soothed with. Be it in a song, a txt, or captions from his pics. The man had a way with words.

He had a Habbit of always telling me I am beautiful. Making sure I understood it. – Never as a come on or with alternate motive; but as you would tell a stranger you like their hair. Or appreciate a fawn down the lane. Naturally.
Sheer. Genuine. For the sake of nothing else but inflating your soul. Just to speak his mind on a positive thought, and then onto the next topic.

Brent’s art in our last show. Nov 2014.

He had a Habbit of singing and playing music for those all around him. He loved music, and often spoke of it when he wasn’t tangled in a casual performance.

His musical drive is the reason my spell-check no longer recognizes “habit”. Only “Habbit”.

I met Brent at the Media Club. He was playing in The Badd Habbits and I was there to see friends, The Shrugs.
Perhaps “met” isn’t the best term. I saw this dude with amazing long blonde hair and said, “Who the hell is that babe?!” He walked past and said, “Hello.” Grinning as he did.

Weeks, maybe months later, a Facebook banter turned into drinks out at Club 23.
Only problem being, my friend and I were already wasted. (And Brent didn’t drink.)

My lady bird flew the coop. (Blame it on blacked out removal of stomach contents.)
I was determined to dance. To stay.

Unicorns have a way of attracting attention. Sometimes it’s cute critters…. But sometimes it’s shit-flies.
And that night reeked the stank.

Brent was happy to sit at the tiny table on the crowded dance floor, holding the keys/purse/phone I had flailed. Maintaining a concrete death-stare with anyone who attempted interacting with me.

The club closed. I had danced off my stupor, (or come out of it) and Brent drove me home.

When I should have been testing the waters to see if this guy was just another creep, he was proving to be the perfect gentleman bulldog. And that pretty much set the tone of our friendship.

He was someone who would be there with undoubted trust, love, and embrace whenever needed. He often teased me later, repeating the words I had slurred from the club floor. “Just dance with your eyes closed! It’s less scary that way.”


Henrdrix & Brent broing down at their home. Dec 2014.

As things we did at group functions were slim, our bond grew between silly texts and long walks, talking about everything that made us feel all the different things. Many hours with Grassie, in the grass, at Trout Lake or some other park. Shootin the shh and giving Hendrix some love.
He was having a tough time then, battling vices and voices. Shit creek was near, but he was upbeat and still determined to find a paddle.

The majority of our friendship was one on one. (Or whatever makes three, when Hendrix was around.) Some serious quality time, no matter how spaced out it may be.
We did have our share of musical outings, be it for his band or another. The last show we caught was The Speakerphones at the Railway Club. He slinked in, delivered a hug, met some friends, and snuck out.

Funny enough, this is also the last stage I saw him on.
However, he was a completely different person then. (And so was I.)

Brent’s self-made signage. 2015

A new solo act was Brent’s new lease on life. He was writing music and lyrics, proud of it, and receiving much praise.

We lay in a bunk bed one night laughing about taking over the world, what this year would bring. He was so excited to be thinking in a new way and passed that hope on to me. This year we would nail it, level up, put our feet in the ground.

This mood in mind, I signed Brent up to sing in GlassCity Collective’s Tattooed Talent Show at the Van Tattoo Show in March. But a persistent cold took his voice hostage, and the premier of Ignite Afire didn’t make the stage.

The trend of Grassie was to pollute the internet with his amazing ways. Selfies worthy of poetry, street scenes, and recordings of his musical magic; there isn’t a time where I flip through his posts and don’t find myself both smiling and laughing out loud.

“Just dance with your eyes closed. It’s less scary that way.”

That must have been five years ago. So long, it’s ancient history. But, his words are always fresh.

“Just dance with your eyes closed.

It’s less scary that way.”

I followed that advice. His advice, making fun of my own.

Truth from a slurring drunk girl.
Who would have known?

(Derp. He would love that accidental rhyme.)

His words and kindness brought me through so much. Times when I thought life was over. When others had abandoned me, Brent came by to sweep up the pieces. Chunk by chunk, he would fit together what happened, let me know I wasn’t alone, and hug me tight.

He did this more than once. He understood depression and anxiety and what my mind was going through. For the most part at-least.
And when he didn’t, he just shut up and hugged me.

He understood living with chronic pain, emotionally &  physically. Understood the struggle to be “normal” when your body doesn’t function the way you want it to. The secrets I could share with this man were unreal. Things just flowed effortlessly between us. And I feel he was easily like that with many.

It wasn’t all fighting off the bad. We certainly got giddy over the good too. And for the last four months, Brent was incredibly stoked on life.

Smiling selfie 🙂 Sept 2014

I came back in January a mess. My Relly had passed, my housing situation was hell, and my health was erratic, if not failing again. Most people would try to avoid someone in this state. Truth be told, many did.
As they did the year before and the one before that when I slipped into the trench.

Few understood the slop of words and emotional vomit I was trying to work with. Prescriptions rattle my brain. They leave a heavy fog to crawl through. Exhaustion had ceased reason. But Grassie was there the whole way.

We talked about life. We talked about death. We talked about loving and loosing. Escapes and praises. We’re both busy. And while the furry of txts were great for catching up, there was just so much more in person he wanted to share with me.

After a poopy day feeling down on my luck, Brent made me get out of bed so he could come over for a hug. It was late already, it was suppose to be a quick hi/hug/bye/”Let’s met again after some sleep.” But of course, as usual, three hours later we were still talking about endless stuff.

One of our agreements was to always discuss something positive. I told Brent about this boy I met and was falling for. He informed me of his new love for life.

Hand selfie Brent posted to Instagram. Aug 2013

January had changed him too. And while I was crumbling, he was rock hard.
(I realize how bad that sounded after, but I know he wouldn’t want me to edit it out. 😛 )

Loosing Relly really took it out of me, but Brent reminded me our loved ones stay with us, inside. He sparked a fire in me, and started the wheels turning for a bright future again.

I will never forget that night, laying on a bottom bunk in a closet, our feet kicked up against the wall, talking about butt tattoos & solving world problems.

It was that night that he told me of his new life plan. The life he had been preaching as of late. And the ideas he honed.

He wanted to share his story, his struggle and rebirth. The life of a Phoenix. A message of love and strength, of courage and compassion. A message that you shouldn’t give up, because somewhere inside is an awesome you.

And that you is not alone.

But maybe the people you’re around just suck right now.

He helped me slough off a lot of negative energy. Gave me the courage to push those people away. (If you know submissive social anxiety, you’ll understand why I’ve always felt guilty to do so.. why I felt obligated to give these people time.) He wasn’t the first person to say it, but for some reason, he was the one to drive it home. And maybe that’s why. Because he constantly reminded me, “You are not alone.”

Ignite Afire. Spark Change.

Just dance with your eyes closed. It’s less scary that way.

I love you buddy. And I miss you very much. I think of you every day.
We had that deal… where the one left behind engraves the other’s name.
I have yours now friend. BG Forever. (On my rear end.) ♥

BG❤️ forever

—– If you have a story, photo, or video you would like to post, please feel free to share them. I will be releasing unseen images from one of our past shoots and the art show at the Smiling Buddha (SBC) soon. I wanted to share one of his recent videos, but he has the privacy set for only Facebook friends to see. Here is an older one. One for the public. Just drift and jam. Like he loved to do.

He helped me find peace and understanding for a lot of things in my mind. And I guess, as he mentioned, I did for him too.


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