Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just...I Don't Even Know: An Ode

The human ability to live, sometimes for whole lifetimes, in contradiction to one's real desires is a thing I will never understand.  Doesn't it hurt people to be separated from what they love? I spent three years pretending I wanted to do something with my life other than be a writer, and it was the most miserable three years of my life. I was a motherf*cking mess.  I lied, I hurt the people I loved the most, I spent time trying to love all the wrong people, and more time trying to be loved by all the wrong people (which is an exercise in terrifically painful guaranteed failure, btw, just in case you ever want to experience misery to its fullest (and also, "the wrong people" can be simply defined as everyone who doesn't already love you which means, guess what, you don't need to try at all)), my hair went grey, I slept with my hands curled into fists or didn't sleep at all, and nothing was ever enough for me. I don't know how to explain fully what I mean without going into the details--but all of the things I said and did were in direct contradiction to what I really wanted, and I didn't even know it. I found ways to obsess over the details of other people's philosophies and actions in order to avoid thinking about my own. I positioned myself against ideas to try to define myself so that I didn't have to say the simple sentence, "I want to be a writer and I'm scared that I won't be very good at it." 

But for the love of God, it was painful.  Anytime I experience that kind of pain, now, I know to shut the f*ck up about whatever I think is bothering me and have a little chat with myself. And sometimes it takes me a few days or weeks and in the meantime I do stupid sh*t, but after a while I remember to ask: What is it that I really want, from myself, that I am not doing or giving or creating? The answer never has to do with other people.  If that's the answer I come up with, I'm wrong.  Have I been forgetting to spend time alone? Have I been spending too much time on work that isn't writing? Have I been cold to people I really care about because I am afraid of what they will say or do in response?  Am I getting enough g*ddamn sleep? (Sometimes that's all it is, which is when I feel really stupid.)

And, even though I know that it is out of my control, and that I have been there before, and that really it doesn't matter and I need to be a loving and kind person to them no matter what, sometimes I get really mad when the people I love are obviously not doing this. Sometimes I really just can't fathom how they can live in that kind of psychological pain and not see that it hurts.  I consider all of my own discomfort and loathing during those three years to be the greatest blessing, not because it was fun, but because it made me stop doing sh*tty things that I didn't like doing. It was the rusty nail that made me stop running around junkyards barefoot. And even though I know that it took me years to figure that out and learn to see it that way and that I was lucky I figured it out at all, some small part of me is constantly crying out, "Holy sh*t, man, your leg is broken, STOP RUNNING ON IT!!"

If it hurts, that means stop. If you think your life sucks, and it's other people's fault, or that if you could just get this one thing to happen or this one person to love you or achieve this one goal and then you will be happy, or that "that's just the way it is and I can't do anything about it," or that the system is like totally f*cked and you're just a cog in a wheel and we need change, or that people are inherently evil and/or apathetic, or that it is your destiny to be lonely or never to get what you want, F*CKING STOP. Just stop. It's not true. None of it's true. What do you want? What would you want if you didn't have any obligations or limitations at all?  Who would you call right now? What would you make? Okay, now go do that.