As a kid, growing up in a shithole nothing of a town—voted as the No. 3 and No. 4 area in America to raise a kid—I wanted nothing more than to set the world ablaze.
And I did. Trust me, the statute of limitations has expired so I can admit it in public. I wanted to watch people run around in terror based on the destruction I’d caused. However, most of the fires I set were metaphorical.
I wanted to create pain to match the one I was in. Whether self-inflicted or not, I wanted my pain to envelope everyone and overcome them like the deadly fire in myself.
That was then. This is now. Or so I was getting good at telling myself.
I’m older. That pains some people to admit, but the longer you stay alive, the older you’ll get. If you wanna die young, that’s fine, but at least give us something pretty to look at….
But fuck that shit. We waste our best years chasing something—and we usually don’t know what—but we’ll all wake up someday with either regrets or good memories. If we’re smart, that’ll come early. If not, that’s all good too.
See, the problem people have with getting old is that they believe they have lost their best years. Yeah, it’s cool being carefree, doing what you want, dispensing dispensable income, and fucking around, but as you heard Kennan Scott say in WAV3, “Thirty’s the new 20, bitches!”
For those of us old enough to remember, but young enough to forget, life isn’t easy. The hardest part is learning where you fit in. There are some people—as Haffey illustrated in the beginning of Two Feet—that some people are made to be good at everything. Fuck those people. They’re rare, like a Geek Love freak show attraction you saw when you were ten.
The best parts of life aren’t when you can do anything you want, but when you find what you love and the courage to work everyday towards that.
That could be a small human being who shares some of your DNA, or as big as the part of society you serve, like the homeless, hopeless, or prideless. You might work a job you hate to provide for those you love (and love you back).
You work at something every day, and although you may lose sight of why you do it, the consequences of losing everything you love would break you.
Still, the hardest part is finding what exactly it is that you want. That might take years, decades, or never come around at all.
Yeah, this shit sounds like a downer if you’re 18, but you won’t get it until you get it. Frankly, a lot of times I still don’t get it.
Some days, that moment of silence you get when traffic outside your place goes blank, and the sun shines just right, and your girl looks at you like it’s that moment she first loved you…
They don’t come along every second, but when they do, you’re alive because you’re motivated by love, hope, peace and everything else a 40-minute commute, beige-walled cubicle job can’t take away from you.
Any kind of pain you carry around with you is gone because you can’t see anything before or after that moment.
Unfortunately, that pain is inside you because you never let it heal in the first place. It’s your fire.
So, just like you did when you were young and stupid, you began fanning that fire, projecting all of you inner pain out onto everything else. It pains you, so you have to spread the flames to keep them from engulfing you.
But that needs to stop. The more you burn, the less you’ll have.
You need to stand there, in those flames and let it do their worst. When it’s all over, you need to scrape the char off and keep going, fueled by a passionate fire that you should never neglect to feed.
When you’re not paying attention to what’s important, that pain will come and unleash a beast all over the best parts of your life.
Maybe that pain takes your brain and twists it around so badly that the closest thoughts unravel into hot garbage. When those thoughts twist even further into words, they leak out the bottom of the bag and ruin everything.
The only thing that can fix broken words is strong action.
Sure, life is hard work. From the moment your parents let their grasp go for a bit, you have to learn as much as you can, work to achieve a certain level of independence, and search endlessly for happiness. That happiness will never stay as long as you like, so you have to miss some sleep and trudge along to make something, whether that be connections with another human being or just trying to leave a positive mark on the planet you’ll be on for a short time.
Again, that shit isn’t easy. That’s why the lure of booze, drugs, and other vices are so pleasing because even if they don’t fix anything, they sure help put your mind in a happier place. Still, that’s a dirty place to get lost in and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to pull yourself out of it in time.
Or you could end up with an amputated arm, puking in prison mashed potatoes, or going ass-to-ass for a wee little baggie.
These are probably just nonsensical ramblings of an old man who’s trying to do something worthwhile, but I see a lot of pain and fatigue in people whose smiles don’t last as long as they should.
While doing all that work, you need to stop. You need to pause and realize how good things are, even if they seem entirely shitty and hopeless. The important thing is to step out of your own head so you can differentiate what’s real and what you’re twisting around in a convoluted bowl of emotions. It’s hard, but it’s always worth it.
At least we have the opportunity. We have opportunities to fail, fall, and get back up and again. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s how champs are made.
Life will try to leave you a bloody, scabbed mess, but everyday you can look at yourself, know you faults, and work to improve them, the edge of the knife gets a little duller.
Somewhere in the mess, we’ll all gain some knowledge and try to make it easier on ourselves and those we love.