The human experience is filled with such an overwhelming variety of challenges that many of us will spend our entire adult existences lost in a turbulent sea of cumbersome thoughts, barely keeping afloat, and choking down far more salt-water than we bargained for.
From the moment we recognize that certain sounds being uttered in our direction have specific meaning and intention behind them, we begin a lifelong process of documenting all the instructions, rules, and crazy ideas constantly thrown our way.
Our mental filing cabinets fill rapidly, but we don’t always take the proper time to categorize or organize the information as effectively as we should. We all have the same bright red metal box labelled DANGER, beautifully alphabetized for a quick reference to any of the less than positive experiences we’ve had over the years, like the time you poured gasoline into a sewer and subsequently lit it, to see what was down there. The eyebrows grew back, but future rapid access to the “N” files provide the extremely helpful “Never do that again, stupid!” documentation that helps to prolong Earth existence.
When we’re young and naive, we have no reason to mistrust the guidance we receive, especially from a parent, teacher, or recognized authority figure. We take their information at face value and incorporate it into our personalities. The thought that “these people are just making this shit up as they go along” doesn’t cross our minds when we’re at this impressionable stage. We adopt habits and routines that might not end up serving us all that well farther down the road, and the programming can be difficult to change once we’ve written it into our software.
The basics are good. Eat, sleep, wash your face, shit in the toilet not the closet. We learn these lessons quickly and we make use of them all our lives. But as we progress into our teenage years, the onslaught of messages starts to weigh us down. The black and white “Don’t dangle your balls over an open fire” type of instruction starts getting replaced with the much greyer “Wear these shoes and you’ll be popular” advice. We begin to notice favouritism being disproportionately handed out to the taller, the faster, the smarter, the better looking. Popularity, fame, and success are words that get misfiled into the “Stuff that will make me super happy” folder. Entire worlds are built on the crumbly foundations of being being accepted, loved, or respected at any cost.
By the time we’ve figured out that most of the “wisdom” that’s been imparted to us should have been stuffed into the “B” files for “Bullshit” (or possibly in the “F” folder for “Fucking Bullshit!”), we’re so entrenched in our quagmire of houses, cars, debt, broken relationships, and shitty jobs that we just don’t have the energy left to climb out of the muck. See “A” for “Apathy.”
Luckily, one of the greatest traits of the human creature is its ability to adapt. Determination is a powerful thing. Tenacity is not just the name of some fictitious metropolis (yeah, I don’t get that line either, but I wrote it anyway, fuck off). We can open up the filing cabinets at any time and start the process of reorganizing our worlds into something a lot more sensible and simple. I would suggest creating an entire bureau labelled “H”, as you might end up realizing how much horseshit was misfiled in the “Valuable” category.
Under “W” you’ll probably find a reference to worry, with many sub-references to “What will they think of me?” Worlds of human thought are conditioned by that sentiment. Some people’s entire lives are spent dictated by the concern of how they’re perceived by others. Fear of judgment has crippled western society into a zombified existence, lovingly dictated by a media doing its best to provide every natural solution to alleviate anxiety issues (insert massively sarcastic emoticon graphic here).
We can keep ourselves caged in an imaginary world of ego-coddled insecurity, or we can adopt a slightly different perspective, one that brings about the realization that no lock exits on the cage door.
The message of this post is pretty simple. Fuck impressing others. Fuck all the wasted time worrying about what everyone else thinks of you. Fuck the second guessing of each and every one of your natural instincts that don’t conform to the standard.
You want to impress someone?
That’s all that really matters.
Spend each and every one of your remaining moments in this freakish realm being true to the things that matter most to you.
When you stop giving a flying fuck what a complete stranger might formulate in their head because of your appearance or actions, you might just find yourself feeling a tad more relaxed and at ease.
Don’t dye your hair pink and orange because you want to one-up the bitches down the street, do it because pink and orange always put a fucking smile on your face. Don’t do abdominal crunches because you think a six-pack will translate into your dick being sucked by bikini-clad floozies hanging at the beach, do it because you respect and love your body enough to chisel it into a work of art. Forget every single piece of store bought shit that the TV-machine tells you is essential in securing the envy of all the random humans milling around you, and start paying attention again to the serene whisper that’s consistently been in your head. Your wisdom has always been there, it just got drowned out by surround sound and Netflix.
No matter how positive, bubbly, and perpetually happy you condition yourself to be, someone will always have a derisive opinion of you. No matter how selfless and giving your actions are, someone will always mock you or find fault behind your back. And if you take their judgments to heart, you’ll keep finding yourself caught in a familiar black hole of grief that keeps you wondering why you’re just not good enough.
If no one wants the buy the avant garde images of Yoko Ono you painted with a mixture of tempura and cow shit, then hang them on your own walls. If no one wants to read your book of poems dedicated to the masturbatory habits of Indira Gandhi, then share your stanzas with your buddies as you sit around the campfire tripping out on mushrooms.
If you stop telling yourself about all the things you “have to” do, you might just find yourself spending more and more time doing the things you love to do, and, someway, somehow, your inspiration will find a way of keeping enough food on your plate and a decent trickle of hot water in your pipes.
Unless you push your limits, you’ll never have any clue what you’re capable of. And the genuine reason to push those limits is because you’ve decided to stop investing your energies into what everyone else expects of you, and started channeling your passions into a more evolved life form, one that you still might refer to as “self,” but no longer carries the rigid labels and descriptions previously imposed on it.
See “F” for “Freedom.”
Impress yourself, and forget what the world thinks. Reach for stars that no one’s heard of. Put a smile on your own face first, and, before long, you’ll notice all the pearly whites reflecting back at you.
File that one under “H” for “Hell yeah!”