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Thomas L.

Dennis Brotzky
October 27th, 2015 · 3 min read
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What do you do for work?

I design and create custom clothing for men.

Who were some of your icons growing up?

Michael Jackson and Prince. It was just something about the way they carried themselves. They designed their life. I grew up with a single mother and Michael Jackson was like my father figure. Just the way he paid attention to detail and his passion for what he did, down to the way he walked and the way he talked.

Was it the flamboyance that was attractive?

I think it’s about an idea. Saying there’s something bigger than yourself, and that you’re trying to use yourself as a vehicle to communicate an idea. Any normal person wouldn’t be as theatrical as any of those people.

Do you think you fit in?

I don’t think I fit in. I always thought I was odd. My way of thinking and the things that interest me are not things that most people are interested in, or want to exert their energy into. Even from a very young age, I was conscious of that voice. I always kept to myself. I had a strong sense of my family treating me a certain way. I was like a golden child. I never got picked on or made fun of. It was probably the opposite.

What are you attracted to in a person?

I love witty people! I love people who are always making light of life in a really intelligent, observing way. I’m attracted to anything that’s pretty unorthodox, or esoteric even. In high school I was even good friends with a skinhead. I helped him meet his girlfriend, who happened to be black!

What are immediate turn offs?

Dependency and neediness. My mother was a very independent woman. I don’t want to have to babysit someone. You’re not my project.

If you had to leave the country where would you go?

Maldives. It’s in the middle of fucking nowhere and it’s beautiful.

Music, books, movies, or TV?

Can I pick all of the above?! I would say music. It’s the one thing that can dictate how you feel or how you carry yourself throughout the day. Even with a movie, 80% of what you experience is through the sound.

Did you grow up around other black people?

I did. From age 2 to 10 I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. A lot of black people. The only white friend I had in elementry school was actually half-black! My whole extended family lived in a house together. My mom, grandma, aunts, cousins… But then I Moved to California. Moving to CA was about making friends with people you didn’t relate to for the last 10 years of your life, and trying to find your identity within that. It was really overwhelming.

Did your concept of ‘blackness’ change?

Well, you’re totally aware that you’re black. Especially, when you’re getting to the age when you’re attracted to the opposite sex. You don’t do anything these kids do. I literally moved from the hood to a beach town. Everyone here surfed and skateboarded and played hacky-sack. I went from wearing basketball shoes to wearing Airwalks. I didn’t think of it as assimilating really, because I just wanted to try new things. Me being thrown into that situation at a young age prevented me from having a closed mind at an older age.

Did you ever want to be white growing up?

No, never wanted to be white. I never wanted to be black either. I was very comfortable with the color of my skin. I couldn’t get out of it, so why wish I was white?

How would you describe your world-view in 3 words or less?

Infinite possibilities.

Favorite historical figure?

Saint Germain. If Jesus Christ and the most interesting man in the world had a baby, that would be Saint Germain. He’s considered an ascendant master. Supposedly he’s still alive today, but the first records of his actions were from the 15th century. There’s speculation that his pen names were William Shakespeare and Francis Bacon. He was a Renaissance man to the fullest.

What do you try to do everyday to keep yourself sane?

Drive up the coast of Malibu at least once a week to Zuma beach. I’m a loner by nature. I just sit there on the beach, eat snacks and read. It’s a way for me to reset and reconnect.

Black or African-American?

African-American.

How would you describe your spiritual orientation?

I believe in the interconnectivity of all things animate and inanimate. The culmination of which you would call God. Not this white-guy-in-the-sky thing. I try to take a really pragmatic approach. Like the law of conservation of energy or matter. It takes away the scary idea of death since nothing can really die.

Have you ever described yourself as angry?

I was pretty angry when my father died when I was 14. I was angry because it just never seemed to end. This downward spiral of trying to make ends meet—things getting darker and darker, and feeling helpless. It wasn’t until I hit the bottom of that period that my journey of knowledge and spirituality started. I read this book, The Sun Also Rises by Hemmingway. That really put things into perspective. It’s one of the most important books I’ve ever read. It taught me that if I wanted to create a different life for myself, then there wasn’t going to be anyone to do it but me.

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