What is it about our past that it always comes back to haunt us? Why are so many people focused on hiding or hating so many things in their past that they hold onto those negative feelings and cannot release them? Why does the past hold some people prisoner and for others it makes them kings or queens? Welling up negative hindsight gets you nowhere, unless you channel it into ambition or drive, but even then it can cause wreckage if you are not wise about how you deal with your past pains or pleasures. I have been sought out for advice on things like this time and time again. I am young compared to others, but I am often seen as “wise” or “knowledgeable” about these issues of self reflection and philosophical ideas. I have no idea why, because I am just as torn and broken as the rest…I just choose to use my past wisely and I allow myself to let it go.
At one time I was so caught up in all the things I haven’t done and that I had lost that I was not dwelling in the present and not living for a better future. I was in a dark place filled with many dark people and no direction. I thought I was a failure with nothing to offer. I had dipped to my lowest point, my highest weight, and I was stuck. For the first time in my life I had been stuck.
When I was younger I had a very solid identity. I was ruthlessly loyal to my friends and family; I took pride in caring for my ailing father; and I knew exactly where I was going in life, but then everything came to a screeching halt. I felt like my life was a cup of sand pouring out of my hands, through my fingers, careening onto the ground and being swept away by the wind. The harder I tried to grasp that sand the faster it flowed out. What had made turn from the happy go lucky fun girl that was not afraid to challenge authority nor stand up for what was right into a miserable ball of angry who now regretted her own existence? Life. A series of major failures and crashes that I did not see coming. I believe in everything misleading I was told. I would be great. I was special. I was wonderful. I would rule the world. And everyone should share. These are all myths–myths that I still sometimes want to believe in–and when I began to see the truth and reality of life I could handle it. I dug my own pit of helplessness and hid in it just to spite everyone and that included myself.
I am not saying that life is perfect nor am I saying that it’s a dark, dank world where a bunch of sedated goons walk around all day, but we would not experience pleasure without pain; joy without remorse; love without hate. Life is wonderful even in it’s darkest moments.
So what spurred all of this insight? A few things, but primarily this: the only thing I dislike seeing in life are people in pain who refuse to see joy. These are people who are afraid of who they are and reject themselves. These are negative people that I really despise trying to help, because there is really no help. It’s like a drug addict or a vampire, but these people feed off of negativity and their misery loves company. You cannot bring the light to them, because they won’t look at it no matter how many times you tell them to. The only difference I had from the aforementioned people is that I wanted so badly to be happy again. I wanted so badly to be out of that pain and I decided to listen. I mean really listen.
So I have provided 5 things for my readers to ponder:
None of us are special. There’s 7 billion people out there, what the hell makes you think you’re special? We’re individuals and unique, but certainly not “special” or “chosen”. Be prepared for some tough love, kids.
1. Remember that person you were that you did not like and reinvented? Well, you’re shit out of luck, because they’re still there and the reason you are the way you are.
Whether your life is happy and you are hiding the skeleton or two ton elephant away or you are miserable and wish you could be someone or somewhere else, this is completely true. I know a lot of people who have thought losing weight would make them so happy and change their lives…but losing weight is not the whole thing. You know what helps? Exercise, a good diet of balanced foods, good friends, and a healthy attitude. Believing that losing the equivalent of another physical person will suddenly transform you into a new person metaphysically is ridiculous. For example, after I had decided to get my shamble of a life together I decided “hey, I’m going to lose weight”. I had some fears about losing weight, however. I had seen people lose weight and lose control–become alcoholics, anorexic, etc. I did not want to lose control. I lost 150 lbs, yay for me, right?! I seriously did not give a shit about how much I lost. I was so happy from exercising, eating correctly, ENJOYING my food, enjoying my life, and being social that being able to fit in smaller clothes was actually just an added bonus. The added bonus was actually that my clothes were cheaper and easier to find. Seriously, I looked as professional and as fashionable at 316 lbs as I did at 250 lbs or 200 lbs or 170 lbs. I had fixed my thought process long before the weight came off. After dealing with my problems, I really liked me. I accepted me. Then I lost the weight and I was like: “yeah…no change, still me.” Some people with weight issues want to hide their “fat” pictures. That is so stupid. Some of my “fat” pictures are with the people I love–in the last years of their life–and I look fabulously happy. I am not ashamed of myself for any reason. I had a problem of eating too much and I dealt with it–that’s still me in those pictures. I still loved people, I still was a good person, and that was the person who made me what I am today. We all change, but you have to do it for the better. Have we learned nothing from the movies people? Everyone who pretends to be someone or something they are not has things blow up in their faces in the movies. COME ON! Look at Wall Street!
Hi. I’m Bud. I fucked everything up and you know what? My dad still loved me and I came to my senses.
2. You know how you want to do all of that stuff, but you can’t? Bullshit. You can. So go do it.
We all have these excuses: “I can’t, because I’m busy” or “I can’t, because I’m poor” or “I can’t, because I’m not strong like you.” Bullshit. Grow up. These are excuses to STAY miserable, because you are comfortable with your misery. Being comfortable with anything never sat with me well and therefore I move on once I feel “stuck”. I wanted to Study Abroad, not for too long and not too far. I did it. I wanted to go to Cosmetology School and then when I got tired of that I wanted to go back to college. I did it. I want to sit around and have cocktails all day with my sister Skaggs? Fuck it. I’ll do it. I want to work my ass off for a paper and fail that paper and then do another paper and get an A+? Fuck it. I’ll do it and prove everyone wrong. I want to skydive? I’ll do that. I have a bucket list? Oh shit, I’ve crossed over 1/2 of the things off. You know what my secret is? It leads us to number…
We all make this mistake. It’s totally okay…after being embarrassed for about 3 weeks or months you’ll get over it and so will that person.
3. You know you were told you can reach for the sky? Yeah, well you need an airplane and there’s a lot you have to do for the airplane before it takes off.
You have to build that airplane, gas it up, climb the steps one at a time, probably learn to fly, and the list goes on. Climb the ladder of life ONE RUNG AT A TIME. You know, so if stuff goes wrong you won’t go ballistic. Sometimes the rungs are broken or you fall back down a bit, but that’s totally okay. That’s life. One step at a time. One day at a time. One whatever at a time. So what if no one promised you tomorrow–go do stuff and do it right! Get out of the house and be better than you were yesterday. Take a break every now and then just to enjoy watching the sky from below and appreciate the wonder of it. You cannot reach something that you’ve never seen or imagined.
4. You know all those people who got you down and fucked up your life? Reality check: you let them do it.
I am a perpetually good person who does good things for people, because I like to see a smile on people’s faces. I can say this, because I am. I also accept that I am high maintenance with high standards and fairly narcissistic. I hide nothing. You know what I used to do? Get pissed off at people who did not show me the same respect or kindness I had shown them. You know what I do now? I really do not care whether my kindness is reciprocated or not. If you choose to walk away that’s cool, if you want to stick around and buy me a coffee then that’s really cool, too. You cannot blame other people and what they have done or haven’t done on ruining your entire existence. You have a choice: let them ruin your life or choose to use that experience to better your life. Life is full of lessons. Life is life and nobody knows the true meaning of it, but you know what’s awesome? When you stop searching relentlessly for a meaning or getting back your abusive soul mate (which soul mates are the BIGGEST crock of shit in the universe so stop believing in them-women are the most notorious for falling prey to this bullshit philosophy. Your god or gods did not guarantee you a soul mate. Get over it.) you start to realize the meaning of your own life. Stop worrying so much about other people and how they feel/act/behave and be selfish for once. The good selfish. You know, filled with self reflection and self empowerment. Guess what else you’ll learn? You have a choice in life! You can choose to live in misery. You can choose to be happy, too. Yay! You can do it!
Sad Hipster Pug: “I am so sad and lonely. My life has no meaning. Why am I so sad and lonely, Shabbo Doo?”
Shabba Doo: “Sad Pug, you are the cutest sad thing ever. And Grumpy cat is the cutest grumpy thing ever, but you guys need to buck up. You’re only sad and lonely because you choose to be. You are so awesome and cute and your owners love the heck out of you! Now go be not-sad and realize all of the good things in your life!”
Sad Hipster Pug: “Yay! I know the reasons now!”
5. You know all those people who have hurt you and haven’t apologized to you? Well don’t expect an apology from anyone…except for yourself.
I have talked about this before. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all the terrible things other people have done to you and you have done to them. Don’t deny that you have done awful things, we all have–it’s just the level that we perceive as awful is often different or based on differing senses of morality. Forgive yourself for being weak. Forgive yourself for being mislead or misjudged or overlooked or cheated on. Forgive yourself for being too fat or too thin or too anything. Forgive yourself and if you want to forgive those people too, that’s okay. If you don’t, that’s your choice. This whole ‘forgive and forget” stuff is nonsense. Do what makes you happy. Forgive yourself for not picking up that shirt at the mall. For not sticking up for that kid. For lying to your mom. For cheating on your ex-whatever. For spreading that pregnancy rumor about your BFF…or whatever you did or didn’t do. Stay away from people who constantly try to change your base personality. Unless someone says: “listen, you’re being very hurtful to myself and others…what’s wrong?” then you know you’re doing life right. Stop trying to make sense of why people do what they do or why you did or didn’t do what you did or didn’t do. It will never make sense so move on. Let it go and move on. You will be a better person for it. Be kind to yourself in your head language. Yes, it’s not just for mental people, we all have that head voice. Reword your inner voice to be supportive and forgiving. It actually works. People will continue to hurt you. You will continue to hurt people. Even the ones you love. You are not the problem and they are not the problem. Human nature is imperfect and embrace it. Ups and downs will come, just ride the roller coaster babies. Start managing the chaos and stop trying to control it.
You know that drug on Limitless that made Brad Cooper go from zero to hero and then get chased by thugs? Well you have that awesome inside of you. All you have to do is realize it. And you won’t have to face down thugs either.
What it all boils down to is this: happiness is a choice. So is misery. You can either be miserable and make others miserable or move on with your life and accept that happiness is NOT perfect. Happiness is accepting imperfection and striving to be the best that you can be. Setbacks happen so that we can learn from them. I still dream in science fiction. I want to be an android lounge singer with a robotic kitty, a hoverboard, and a cool phone watch. I still have an odd obsession with Jason Isaacs as Captain James Hook…I mean really odd. I may be able to accomplish those some day, but until then I’m pretty content with the chaos that I currently manage. Now go forth and be awesome.
No further comment needed.
So I leave you with my favorite detectives for real this time:
Sonny: “Moral of the story, Tubbs?”
Rico: “We’re awesome good guys with issues, too. Be cool, babies.”
Sonny: “Damn straight, now let’s go get some drug lords.”