Hard as it may be to believe, I've had a lot on my mind of late. Recent events have slapped me with a reminder that life ain't all fart jokes and gleeful scotch benders.
Over the last few days, I got to thinking about this amazing list my friend Sarah compiled some years back, when she was going through some serious personal turmoil. She sat down one night and wrote down, in painfully honest detail, everything she had learned from the shitty situation she was in. It was brilliant. I still have it.
It occurred to me that putting such things down in words makes them much more retainable. I dunno about you, but I've killed enough of my own gray matter over the years that I need all the help I can get with retention. So, in response to my current state of discombobulation, I made a list of my own.
Buckle up, kids, here we go:
- Getting wasted is a lot like dating someone you're crazy about, who doesn't quite feel the same way about you. At first it's tremendous fun, you feel great, and you never want it to stop. Midway through, you realize you're on the verge of fucking yourself all up, but you forge ahead anyway. Even though you know you shouldn't, you just want more and more and more, and will do what you can to get it. Then things get blurry, and often messy. When the party's over, you feel like twice-baked shit and wonder what the hell you were thinking. And then, not long after you recover from the agony of your own folly...you do it all over again. Oy.
- Self-pity is not natural. It's a learned response. If animals sat around feeling sorry for themselves after something shitty happened to them, they'd get eaten. People should maybe learn something from that.
- Fear, on the other hand...fear is a natural response. But in nature, fear applies almost exclusively to situations in which one is in physical danger of some sort. Thus, in most contexts that we humans use the term, "fear" is a total bullshit catchall excuse for our actions, or lack thereof. "I cheated on you because...I got scared!" Bullshit. You cheated because you're a pathetic douchebag with poor impulse control. "I didn't try out for that band because...I was afraid!" Bullshit. Were your fellow musicians going to cut your head off if you if you sucked? Of course not. You didn't try out because you lack self-confidence. Quit crying. There's a difference between real, true, physiological fear, and plain cowardice. Call it what it is.
- Lying to yourself is still lying. And lying is for cowards.
- Being a good person, by your own definition of the term, takes work. Becoming a better person than you already are takes even more work. I'm pretty sure, but not positive yet, that both are worth it. I'll get back to you on that.
- Narcotic painkillers work just as well on emotional pain as they do on physical pain. Wonderful, and, of course, dangerous.
- When using/abusing said narcotic painkillers, keep a fair quantity of high-fiber cereal on hand. You're gonna need it. Trust me.
- It's a really good idea to let other people's problems remain their problems, rather than taking them on as your problems. I realize that on paper, this sounds like a job for Captain Obvious. In reality, however, it's not always so clear and/or easy.
- There are some seriously rotten, fucked up people running around out there. Some of them are rotten because they're fucked up, and some of them are fucked up because they're rotten. It's best not to bother trying to differentiate between the two. Just run like hell, and don't feel the least bit guilty about it.
- When someone fucks with you...and I mean really, really fucks with you...it's cool to be bitter, and it's cool to be furious, and it's cool to let them know it. In fact, you should do all three. Then, when you're ready, you should consider letting it go and moving on. The opposite of love, after all, is indifference, not hate. Hating someone takes energy that they're usually not worth expending. (There are some people who qualify as notable exceptions to this rule.)
- No matter how crazy you think you are, take heart; there's always someone crazier.
- Whatever fucked up things you're going through or have been through in the past, it could always, always be much, much worse. Keep that in mind the next time you open your mouth to whine about something inconsequential.
- People who use expressions like, "Okey dokey artichokey!" should be immediately...chokied. Jesus christ on crack cocaine. Shut the fuck up.
- The words "I need" need to be removed from my vocabulary, and replaced with the more accurate "I want." Everything I need, I already have. As for the things I want...I should be out getting them, not running my mouth about it.
- If women stuck together instead of treating one another like competition for dick all the time, we would undoubtedly rule the world. We really need to stop being such cunts to each other. And yes, I said cunts. Cope.
- You're not at fault or responsible in any way for anything terrible anyone did to you when you were a little kid. You are, however, completely responsible for yourself and your own shit as an adult. If you decide not to make the effort to work through that stuff, quit using it to explain and/or excuse your behavior. Otherwise, you're really just an asshole.
Thank you, Sarah, for this, and countless other things.