Gerard Canonico discusses backstage shenanigans at Dear Evan Hansen, American Idiot and Spring Awakening

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For Gerard Canonico, it has always been about music and theatre.

Currently he is involved in three different bands all with fellow Broadway actors, and now he is back at the Second Stage Theatre, this time in the smash hit Dear Evan Hansen. The musical was recently announced for a Broadway transfer this fall.

Canonico, who has been on Broadway since he was 12, starring as Gavroche in Les Miserables, is living something out of a dream with Dear Evan Hansen; from the cast and creative, to the story itself and the music that accompanies it, to the opportunity to play all three lead male roles he understudies.

However, he is no stranger to understudying, having done so for 5 roles in Spring Awakening before going on to take over the role of Moritz and embody the rock persona with an aversion for authority that would carry him to the original cast of American Idiot.

Canonico talked with Stage Door Dish about contract breaking tattoos, his preceding and following Moritz Stiefel, and working with theatre’s most prominent young songwriters.

What makes you so drawn to this production?

Oh my God, everything. First and foremost, Michael Greif. I’ve always been a very huge fan and admirer of what he does, especially Rent, which was my jam when I was a kid, as it was for most people my age, even older and younger. Everyone loves Rent. I loved Next to Normal, too, so the opportunity to audition for him was once in a lifetime. I’ve always known of Pasek and Paul, but I never had the chance to work with them and had never auditioned for them. It was a lot of big names I wanted to impress.

They sent the script, and I heard the music in the workshop, and from the table read, everyone was so committed to telling the story. Ben was in full tears by the end of it, just doing his performance from the table. It’s one of those shows where you have to do that, in order to get the full effect of what it is. You have to allow yourself to go there. The show allows you to do that, and it’s basically a play. It’s definitely a musical, but the way the book is written is not a typical Broadway book.

The guy who wrote it, Steven Levenson, wrote for Masters of Sex and has been working on this for a long time. Benj and Justin were also writing the idea. Benj has a lot of life experience from this show, he wrote a lot of it from this kid he knew in high school and what happened to him. That’s where the idea of the story came from, so it’s a totally fresh idea, which you don’t see very often. I could literally go on and on. The music is absolutely beautiful, the performing company is outstanding.

Working with them has been quite a dream, because everyone is on their game and they all want to create the best product and the most beautiful show. It’s one of my favorite shows I’ve ever seen, and now I get to actually be in it. It’s pretty cool.

There’s a lot of technology in the show with the virtual voices. How attached are you to technology in your own life?

To a fault, sometimes. I try not to let it interfere with my job, and when I’m at work I try not to be on my phone, because I have a lot of stuff to do. I have a pretty active social media presence. Somebody told me recently that I have a very impressive social media presence, and I guess I do, but it’s mostly just me sitting on my phone, finding really funny videos and re-posting them because I think they’re hilarious. Suddenly there’s 15 in a row, and then I have to stop and put my phone down. It’s a really great time waster. I love Instagram, it’s my favorite thing. I get to hang out with a really cute dog all the time, because my girlfriend’s dog is the best, so it’s an excuse to take lots and lots of pictures of him. I’m plugged in, like everyone else. Everyone needs to know what you’re doing right this minute, all the time, which gets a little annoying. For my emails, I turned off push notifications, so it’s empty until I choose to look at it. But I’m still plugged in. We are the digital age.

Has the show made you look at technology differently?

It’s interesting. When you see a show and someone puts technology in it, a lot of times it feels like they’re trying to be in the now and hip by mentioning Facebook or ‘I saw this on your post today.’ Stop that, just stay true to the story, it’s fine. But in this show, it is literally a character, because it shows you that nothing is private. If someone has the ability to post one little thing on the Internet, it can go viral in seconds and change your life. The virtual community is voices of people responding on Facebook to what they see Evan do in the play and what they are exposed to due to the gigantic lie he finds himself in, which I’m sure I will get into at another time- or you can just see the show.

I want to talk about Remy, because you’re so adorable.

Oh man, Remy Zaken. We have this joke that we can’t do shows without each other. We’ve done pretty close to our last three shows together: Spring Awakening, Brooklynite, and this one. It’s great. It makes the working environment easier. We’ve never had to fall in love, so that’s new. We’ve been working on that in the rehearsal room. While they do the show, Second Stage has a rehearsal room they used to rehearse the whole show. It’s all taped out, so we have all our numbers and where the panels are. So we’re up there during the show doing the scenes, and the first time we did a romantic scene where we’re singing a love duet to each other, we had that feeling of, ‘This is like my sister. I’m falling in love with my sister.’ But we’re getting past it, and she’s so great and easy to work with.

All of the understudies are on their game. We all have a lot of responsibility, but everyone’s very focused. If I have to be thrown on stage and do something, it’s nice to know that I’ve had enough prep with these guys backstage to actually be able to do some sort of a performance the one time I go on.

Remy and I texted each other as soon as we found out we got the part, ‘I got it!’ We’d be emailing things like, ‘When do you start rehearsal?’ and ‘What did they teach you today?’ We lived together in two different apartments for a couple of years, and one time was a studio. I’ve really gotten to know her family. They’re wonderful. Whenever one of us is in a show, the families are very supportive. Her parents have seen me do stuff, and when they saw me do Brooklynite, it was like a homecoming. It’s just Remy, my good friend Rem.

How is working with Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss?

They’re amazing as well. Literally the whole cast is a dream, and that’s hard to come by. Ben is one of those dudes who I always knew who he was through the community. I was more introduced to Laura recently. Ben and I, from the workshop, got along and vibed really well. He was like, ‘I know so many people who know you!’ We started hanging out, and it was a very natural friendship. He has so much responsibility on his shoulders right now, and he wants to chill. That’s just the way he is. He and Laura and I will have dance parties. He’ll text me ‘rehearsal room’ and we’ll go and blast the 1975 and dance around the rehearsal room for 20 minutes before the show to release that energy. There’s so much they have to do every night in the show, so I think it’s cool that they come to work with the idea of ‘Let’s get hyped, because it’s about to get really real.’ Some actors come to work and they’re focused on ‘I have to do this play, don’t talk to me, don’t look me in the eye.’ They’re not like that.

I want to talk about one of my favorite people in the entire world, Joe Iconis.

Oh my God, he’s one of my favorite people in the entire world, too. Joe is another dude in the industry who I knew and had never worked with. I had numerous auditions for Black Suits that I could never go on, and I felt really bummed because I wanted to play my instruments on stage. He’s a really great guy, and finally Be More Chill happened, and it was a perfect marriage of the Joe Iconis stuff I wanted to do, because the part was something I felt really connected to. I thought ‘Yes, I’m going to go into the audition and I’m going to sing this awesome tune.’

Joe sent me a demo for the audition, and it’s just him on the piano singing the song. He’s got such a loose, laid back rock and roll sound to his voice. It was so cool, it was unlike any theatre I’ve seen or heard. It’s true about the family. Once you’re in his family, he’s really loyal. I’ll be in his Christmas show, again, I’m sure. There’s like 70 people in his Christmas shows because he’s a true person in this industry and that’s hard to come by. Not to a fault, but he really trusts and respects his friends who do his projects. Now it feels like a friendship. We hit it off, and he trusts the people he hired to do their job and get it done, and he’s very supportive, like ‘Yeah, man, you know what you’re doing, just sing the tune.’ He wants you there. He has that vibe, and that’s what makes him someone that pretty much everyone in this industry wants to work with. And he’s a genius.

On top of everything else, everything he writes sounds like Joe. He doesn’t write stuff that sounds like everyone else, he sounds just like himself, and he’s been able to do that from the beginning. He has such a sense of who he is as a writer, and it’s so impressive.

What’s the difference between working with people like Benj, Justin, and Joe as opposed to more traditional composers?

Les Mis was interesting, because I barely remember it. They were so nice, and the music director taught me the songs, and I sang them the same way every night. I was so young. That experience was two weeks of rehearsal, and then I’m on stage for my first Broadway show. I was nine years old. My parents were terrified. I don’t remember working with them too much, just the conductor would give me notes every night.

With Joe, Justin, and Benj, since I’m with them on the ground floor of their project, we’re all experiencing what the show is together. With that, the composers have the opportunity to work with the actors they have and say, ‘Bring any ideas to the table here.’ In Be More Chill, there’s a rock scream I do in one of the songs that I was doing to be funny, and Joe told me to keep doing it. Next day, it was on the score. I was like, ‘I guess that’s in the play now.’ It’s the same with Justin and Benj. The show is written for Ben. Vocally, it’s all in his wheelhouse of what he does best. That’s the advantage. You get the camaraderie from that. They’re newer writers, we’re trying to make their material as great as it can be.

In traditional musicals like Les Mis, they’ve done all that and they just need you to execute it like it’s written on the page. Alex Lacamoire is great, too. As loose as it sounds on Ben or Will or Mike, everything is so written out and complicated, and Lacamoire is the brains behind it. He keeps the orchestrations and arrangements tight. He doesn’t let you learn things incorrectly, and he doesn’t let you keep doing things incorrectly if you’re doing it in performance. He will catch you and make sure you have it. That’s also important, because you’re selling the product. It’s that dance, that little marriage you have with them. I love it. It’s why I love working on new musical,s because it’s so collaborative.

I talked with Jeremy Kushnier, and he told me about your band, Canadian White Bread. What’s happening with that?

Yeah. I don’t even know what the plan is anymore. I’m calling him out right now: Jeremy, what is the plan? I knew him when I was a kid, because when I was in Les Mis, he was in Footloose next door. He would be hanging out outside the theatre, and I would see him when I was coming to work, and I knew Footloose. We had this friendship, but I was 9, and he was 20 something, so we’re reconnecting now. We did a reading of a show called Mortality Play, written by Scotty Arnold and Alana Jacoby, and it was great. I told him, ‘Jeremy, you won’t remember this, but when I was in Les Mis, I used to talk to you all the time,’ and he was like, ‘Oh my God.’ Then he reached out to me and asked to meet at McAleers on the Upper West Side.

When I lived on the Upper West Side, McAleers was my hang, I loved that bar, and he lived right near there. We had a couple beers, we talked about music, and he asked me if I wanted to be a part of a music project. He said, ‘I want to do rock stuff.’ He has two albums that are singer songwriter-y, which are fucking great, but he wanted to make a rock band, and he asked me. I was like, ‘Of course I’ll be in your rock band, Jeremy Kushnier.’ He asked what I wanted to do, and I wanted to play the drums. He also asked if I knew anyone who played instruments who could join, so I basically hired the band.

It was me, Alex Boniello playing guitar, my friend Mikey Winslow playing bass, and we had Luke Wygodny in there for a while playing some guitar, but he’s always working. He’s in Once on the road right now, because he’s a musical genius. We played a couple times, we had plans to make an album, but now Jeremy is in Paramour, so he doesn’t have time to do much.

I have a few other bands, too, so I stay nice and busy, which is good. Besides Canadian White Bread, one band to look out for is The Fractured Years. This guy Ben Roseberry, who is a musician as well, wrote all these songs, and they’re really good songs. They’re almost gospel pop. He’s a white dude, and he sings for Jesus. He has every octave, every range, and his music is fantastic. Brandon Ellis, who was in Once, and now he’s going to be in that Bandstand show, he plays guitar, he plays bass, he plays drums, he plays everything. He played cello on the record, Jeff Washburn on guitar, and I played the drums. We played these songs together, and we have an album coming out this month or next month. He’s released teasers, and he gave us some of the mixes, and they sound really good. There’s two singles out right now. One of them is called ‘Bullshit’, and it’s a testament to the industry, and how it messes with you and makes you believe things about yourself that you shouldn’t. One line in the song is, ‘You can take all that bullshit with you, and all those childish games you play.’ We live in this world where we get this opportunity, we try to do our best, and then some bullshit happens, like we lose a job. The industry is insane, and it can drive you insane, and I thought it was interesting that he wrote a pop song about musical theatre. The whole record, we tried to make it sound pop.

The final band is 5J Barrow, Jason Hite and Eryn Murman‘s band. They recently lost a couple musicians and they needed to hire some people, so now I’m playing drums for them. My buddy Drew is on bass, and they’ve been together for a while. They downsized, and now it’s just the four of us. We’re going to record an album in August. We’re going to fly out to Ohio and record in a studio with a producer that really likes the band. Eryn is from Ohio, and randomly, this producer who really likes her band happens to live near her parents. So we’re going to go out and live with her parents for a week and record an album. I record all the time, I freelance all the time for people. I’m always trying to put the word out there that if people need a drummer, I am for hire.

What secrets can you tell us about Alex Boniello or John Gallagher Jr?

I have too many. A secret about John Gallagher Jr. that I love to tell, because I’m sure he wouldn’t be mad about it: when we first started doing Spring Awakening, we would drink, and he discovered he really loves Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I don’t know if that’s still his jam, but I thought that was hilarious.

Alex Boniello is one of my nearest and dearest friends, so I don’t mind throwing him under the bus. I live with his best friend from life, which is really a treat, because Ryan knows him so well. We just sit there and sit there and talk about Alex all day. Alex used to be an athlete, which you might not know. He used to be a football player. When Ryan told me that, I laughed out loud, I could not deal with it. When he was in Spring Awakening, we were loving that he was constantly tweeting at Lin-Manuel Miranda. There are too many things that are hilarious, but I don’t want to divulge too much info on his behalf. I think he’s a spectacular human being, but I rag on him about everything. I asked if he wanted to hang out tonight, and he said, ‘No, but I’ll Venmo you some money to buy Jeremy a drink.’ That’s the type of person he is. You can’t say anything bad about the dude, he has a heard of gold. Same thing with Gallagher. I’ve gotten to do some gigs with him, which was super dope, because his music is amazing.

Both of your parents are teachers. What do you think people can learn from you?

Oh my goodness. Teaching is interesting in general. In the formal sense of teaching, I just started teaching little kids. I play music for kids when I’m not doing shows, and I thought I would hate it, but I actually love it. I love that someone can get something from me in that sense. It was very validating that I can make a child clap their hands and feel comfortable maybe singing a song. In life, I really like doing things where I can help my coworkers. I’m dance captain in this show now. I think it’s fun to have this responsibility to assist people in any way that I can. Acting is a pretty selfish profession in a lot of ways. I like that people get so many things from watching shows, but I get more from when I work with people and can actually interact and see that I’m making a chance. I’ve also been lucky that a lot of the shows I’ve done have an impact on people my age, and I don’t have to do anything other than the show for them to feel like they’ve had an experience. That’s the most validating thing. Even when I think I’m not teaching, someone is getting something.

I learned from watching my favorite actors. From being on stage with John Gallagher and watching him play Moritz then doing it myself, I learned so much about how to act. He had no idea, but he was teaching me every single day. Just like Ben Platt is teaching me every day, everyone on that stage is teaching me. That’s sort of the best thing about being in a room full of really good actors. You’re constantly learning. If I have that impact on someone, well shit, that’s great. That’s obviously what you want out of this career. You don’t want to just think, ‘Well he’s an actor, so he’s probably self-centered.’ We do it because that’s how we communicate and how we reach out, by saying someone else’s words and making you feel them how we feel them.

IMG_4556Of all your roles, which would you most like to return to?

I probably would like another crack at Spring Awakening. I’ve always thought that, because the amount of stuff I’ve learned from people I’ve worked with after that show is so valuable to me now. That was really hard, being young and not having college experience. I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants. Still, to this day, because I didn’t have college experience, I still think, ‘Everything you’re saying is a lie. Everyone hates you, you suck.’ But that’s just me being paranoid. We drive ourselves insane, and it’s really validating to find this center for myself, and how I approach a show or character is all about the words and less about trying to show you how I’m feeling, more about having the experience. That’s something I wish I knew back then, because it was very specifically directed. Even things like opening your mouth and turning your head to the side, that was a cue people were waiting for. A thing that Gallagher did every day, even though it felt so unnatural for me, I had to do it. It was about navigating those things and still trying to find a character and trying to stay true to it and not lose your voice or your mind. I remember he would ask me after the show sometimes how I thought it went, and I wouldn’t know how to answer it. I would say, ‘I guess it was fine,’ and he would tell me, ‘You know what you’re doing, just do it.’ What I didn’t get at that time was that he was telling me to trust and not overdo it. I think I overdid it, in my own personal critique, and I would love to go back and redo it with all the knowledge I have now.

Did you, John, and Alex all talk about the role?

Alex and I have. Johnny and I haven’t really talked about it. We had a nice moment when he saw the closing show. He came up on stage and hugged me and told me how proud he was of the work I did. We stayed pretty good friends. He’s a pretty busy guy, but every time I see him, it’s the same ol’ same ol’. We don’t necessarily talk about Spring Awakening anymore, because it was quite a while ago.

Alex was in it freshly, and Moritz was the role that made him want to be an actor in the first place. We’ve talked about it, because he’s been in love with it ever since. It was really funny when he started doing it to see how his personality was affected, because that show will fuck with your heart, especially that character. He was just exhausted all the time.

One thing I will tell you about Alex is that he has a tendency to be a little bit in his head like we all do, and with that character, it’s so easy to fall into this paranoid, ‘I suck, everything is terrible, I need to rest and everything is scary.’ He was just going home after the show, not going out, waking up, doing the show, going home. That’s kind of what you have to do in a role like that, and it will drive you insane, so we mostly talked about that. As Moritz, he stayed so true to the character Gallagher created, but he wasn’t fabricating an emotion, he was truly trying to follow Daniel [Durant]. That was on top of playing guitar, holding a huge box in front of his face for no reason, and having no spotlight on him ever. I thought he did an outstanding job, I was so happy for him and so proud of him. I thought that production was beautiful. When I first heard the show was coming back, I thought it was too soon.

That’s what happened with Les Mis. They closed, they did that revival for a year and it didn’t go well, and then they waited a little bit and now it’s back in full storm. All they had to do was wait a little more. I guess they didn’t plan for Broadway, just L.A., but everyone wanted it. I’m so glad it came here, because it was so informative in ways that I hadn’t ever seen, just the communication aspect with the actors. That was a real thing that happened, where people were deaf and teachers didn’t understand it; that’s a whole new level to this communication issue, and a deaf girl falling in love with a boy who’s not deaf but can sign. It was so beautiful, it added such a great thing to it. They did that right. That was a really excellent revival. I saw it twice, and I really dug it. I didn’t tell Alex I was at the Gypsy run because he told me not to go. Then Van Hughes offered me his ticket, and I told him not to tell Alex. I sat in the balcony and then told him afterwards, and he was so mad. He said, ‘I wanted to wait for you to see it, it wasn’t perfect yet.’ I was like, ‘Don’t worry, bro, I’m coming on opening.’ That’s Alex. He cares, and he’s determined, and he’s so talented, and once he started working here, he’s been consistently getting a good flow. I’m so happy for him. The world just needed to hear from him, and they finally did.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

Oh boy, I don’t know. I’m sort of an open book. Pretty much everything about my life is music or theatre, so I don’t really throw you any curve balls there. I was a pretty terrible student in school, but you can also probably assume that, because I went to a Catholic school, and hello, no way Jose. I really enjoy going to Kodama sushi by myself and eating a Broadway box and having hot sake all alone. Is that sad? I’m allergic to avocados, that’s something weird. It’s a new development. I’m allergic to cats, too, all of a sudden, which sucks, because I love animals. I was at a friend’s house, petting her cat, I rubbed my eyes, and it was all over. I couldn’t see anything.

If acting and music were no longer an option, what would you do with your life?

Interesting. I don’t know, I’d probably have to fall off the face of the earth. The problem is that I don’t have any school background to know how to approach anything other than this theatre world or music world that I’m in. At the moment, I’m curious about a lot of things, but I don’t necessarily want to do them as a career. I love to travel, I love to meet people and see different cultures. I like physical activity. I like exercise, so maybe I would do something with fitness. I wouldn’t work in a gym, but maybe I would instruct. I don’t have the best diet in the world, but when I’m going for it and I need to get in shape, I know what works for me. Maybe I would do something with exercise, anything that keeps me going. I can’t do a desk job, I can’t do things where I only use my brain and not my body because I get very antsy. I have ADHD, and when I was younger I had such terrible acne, and I was on that Accutane stuff, which gave me depression. That’s something people won’t necessarily know about me. I still struggle with ADHD, but I don’t take medicine for it anymore. That’s the thing, secrets about people can get a little too real in this industry. I wouldn’t want to work at a bar. Maybe I’d want to own a bar.

IMG_4555You, Alex, and John could do it together.

Alex would be there with his 10 Jack and Cokes. That’s right, he loves his Jack and Cokes. Alex loves to wear that one red flannel shirt all the time that everyone knows about. He literally just wears that shirt all the damn time. He likes to do his laundry at my apartment, that’s something I’ve discovered. I texted him one day, ‘I’m going to get coffee by you, want to meet up?’ He said, ‘Nah. Wait, can I do my laundry at your house?’ I have laundry in my apartment, so he and his girlfriend came over, did their laundry at my house, and went on their merry way.

Johnny and I would sit backstage at Spring Awakening and one of us would play guitar and we would sing American Idiot before we were even in the show. One day we just sat down, I had the guitar, he was singing and we just did the whole nine minutes of ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ together, and it was dope. And then we all got to do the show together, and that was cool. If you haven’t been to San Francisco, you have to go. You have to go to Berkeley Rep, because that’s where American Idiot all began.

I have some crazy Andrew Call stories. When we were in Berkeley, they would throw parties out there all the time. They kept their courtyard open, and they would throw these big bangers after the show, they would have a DJ, and people would chill and drink with the cast. One night, Andrew Call walks into the men’s dressing room, rolling a keg, piles it up in the middle of the dressing room, puts the cups on top, and says ‘This was in the lobby, so I brought it in here.’ Our stage manager came in and saw that, and Andrew was like, ‘What, Jim? Yeah, I took it. You want a beer?’ Jim said, ‘Maybe after the show, Andrew.’ We didn’t even have to take it out of the dressing room. We could just have beer in the dressing room, which was dangerous for us, because that cast enjoyed alcohol.

It was one wild night after American Idiot, we went to Bowery Electric, because the Foxboro Hot Tubs were doing a private show. That’s Green Day’s side project. It’s Billy, Mike, Trey, and then another guitar player, not Jason White, he’s just the Green Day guy. They write this old school, 50s and 60s rock music. You could imagine Billy Joe fitting into that genre really well. They did this wild show, until 4 in the morning, and we’re all just wasted. Everybody’s drinking and partying, thinking ‘We’re in American Idiot, Green Day is playing on stage, what is my life?’ So Billy invites everyone back to his house and asks who wants a tattoo. We’re in the middle of our run. I am not allowed to change my appearance. Once I sign a contract, they have me. I can’t get tattoos, I can’t cut my hair, anything. But when the writer of your show says, ‘I’m going to give you a tattoo,’ and it happens to be your idol, you say ‘Yes, please.’

We went back to his apartment, me and Theo Stockman decided to get tattoos that night. Theo got a little ‘x’ on his hand, which he now completed with an ‘o’ on the other that Billy also gave him. Billy was ragging on him the whole time. I asked, ‘I want a tattoo, what should I get?’ He said ‘Raging love, man.’ So we were doing the tattoos, and Theo didn’t want to go first, so Billy spent the entire time tattooing me. The sound engineer, Chris Dugan, was there making sure my arm was swabbed and the black ink didn’t get everywhere. It was a mess. I think I was on the phone at one point when he was giving me the tattoo, and he said, ‘Gerard, stop moving. This is going to look like a prison tattoo, I hope you don’t mind.’ I said, ‘Sure, no problem.’ He completed it and gave Theo the tattoo.

The next day, I woke up on Brian Johnson’s couch, because he’s my boy for life, and I guess we were closer to his place. I woke up with all my clothes on. I had clearly walked through the door and immediately fell asleep. I looked at my arm and went ‘Oh fuck, that did happen.’ You better believe I posted it on the Internet. I showed up to work that night and almost got fired. They said ‘You can’t do that’, and I told them that Billy did it, so I got a slap on the wrist. Then I shaved my head for a movie, which they knew about, and they almost fired me for that, but I had a wig built for them. So I had an interesting run with American Idiot.

I was so afraid I was going to regret it, but I’m not one to really regret. I like to live and experience, and if something happens, roll with it. This earring I have gauged, the only reason I gauged it is because when I was 16, my girlfriend told me it would be hot. And now it’s gauged forever. But that’s me in a nutshell. When I truly say I’m an open book, I’m not kidding. I literally wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s very corny.

I used to write this on my wrist in Berkeley all the time, and it as just a heart, and then one day I fucked up the other side, and Libby [Winters] was like ‘That’s cool. That’s like the two sides of love, one is good and one is not.’ I loved that idea, so for my first tattoo, the last weekend of American Idiot, my friend Chase and I went and got our little tattoos done. The artist sketched it up. I asked for a heart that isn’t perfect. At first it was huge, but I was looking for something way smaller. It took like two and a half minutes. It reminds me of that time, and it is appropriate that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m an uber-sensitive – to a fault – person. Afterwards, I thought it was very accurate, but if I tell people that, I hope I do it in an ironic enough way, that they think, ‘That’s cute, I hope that’s not why he got it.’ It reminds me of that time, it reminds me of California and all the friends I made, because it was truly life changing.

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About Nicole N.

"Say yes. Show up afraid, show up prepared, but say yes." - Renee Elise Goldsberry

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