Fuckin’ courage, man.
What is courage? Really, I don’t even know. Recently I’ve felt like a coward, but not for the obvious reasons of the whole world being in chaos. The whole world has always been a more or less chaotic shit-show; some people who didn’t know it are just getting a taste.
I’ve been feeling like a coward cause my heart tends to start beating just a bit too quickly when I sit in front of the keyboard, and stare at my wordpress account. That’s why its so sparse.
And I know the reason, but knowing isn’t enough.
Random person of my readership of two humans, who are either a friend or my mom (Hi Mom!), you should know the following fact about me: I have pretty severe anxiety. Now, that’s not too uncommon these days. Everyone’s walking around like something’s about to blow up; and slight inane gestures have blown up chaos-theory style before they even have time to be causal fuckery that puts a wide space between Brazilian Butterflies and Texan Tornadoes. Alliteration, nifty.
But my anxiety comes from my most potent friend, and my bosomiest of buddies: writing.
Now, I’m never not writing. Let’s get that clear. And if I’m not writing one day, then I feel like garbage. I wake up and go through my day and in the back of my head is that little man who presses a button and says “Write” and then the signal is sent to my inert hands which are like “No, man, I’m busy right now” because I’m really busy right now; but that dude is like “no, bro, you gotta write”. And then eventually, I start writing and I feel better, and that little man — let’s call him Craig — doesn’t even give me a high-five for doing what he wants. He’s just like “you did your job, want a cookie?” in that sneering sort of disgust that accompanies people who don’t have time for your shit.
(Minor Course Correction).
Now, it’s not the thought of writing, or the lack thereof of writing…yeah, that works, that’s the issue. It’s people.
Now, as any creative person knows, you’re going to eat shit when you put your art out there. For every person who goes “Right Fucking ON”, there’s some asshole who thinks you’re rancid shit and is not only unafraid to tell you, but is willing to write a ten page think-piece on why you blow a bag of dicks: it’s a whole cottage industry for especially popular people like the Beatles , Christopher Nolan, and any one else who happens to have following of more than 5 people.
So really, I shouldn’t worry: I have a following of 2 whole humans. Which, hey, I can dig it. But lately, it’s become much harder to sit in front of keyboard and do shit. And the reason is pretty straightforward: people are fuckin’ HATEFUL, right now.
I don’t just mean your run of the mill shitty, without a sense of Sonder (seriously, that word is so cool, I just found out about it), or general basic empathy. I’m talking about “I WILL CUT YOU FOR SAYING THIS GENERALLY INOFFENSIVE THING MEANT TO CHEER ME UP BECAUSE MY FEELINGS ARE VERY SPECIFIC”. It’s a real damper on any effort to say anything meaningful.
Cause I’m a nihilist…or I guess the correct term is existentialist (Hi Kierkegaard), and I don’t believe in A Priori Meaning (Fuck you Kant). And I don’t believe in it because I expose myself to lots and lots of stuff: Music, Movies, People; I make an active effort to expose myself to as much art and language as humanly possible.
At first, you get this sense of radical difference: Whoa, Jazz is so exotic. Then you go “How the fuck is this a movie, it’s just random images of shit”; then, the more you consume, the more you realize that Sonder thing: people see this shit, and it is like Sympathetic Strings on a sitar: they see the resonant frequency in themselves and they decide: dude this is great.
And in the case of language, your entire perception of the universe fundamentally changes. From the arrangement of Subjects and Objects, to the formality of speech. Suddenly, having a central view of people and things gets less and less tenable.
If I were to use a meaningful example that’s obnoxiously egotistical. For me, thinking the Beatles were the greatest group ever and then listening to everything else was like the realization that the earth was not the literal center of the universe, and that we’re not even sure where the center is; and, also, we’re totally fucking irrelevant.
And this is not a polite mentality. It requires that you treat everything as essentially meaningless. It means that something people get passionately — and oftentimes rightly — angry about comes off as silly and trite: why are you angry about this again?
And every time I have that thought, I become keenly aware of those things called Privilege that I have an abundance of; and how, every time I want to speak out against those methodologies — particularly the extreme ones — it is my number one weakness to saying anything that people will listen to. I’m just some straight white dude, raised upper middle, college educated, with some mental illness. No biggie for these things. my understanding of danger is too confined to emotional isolation.
And I could argue to myself that my inability to express myself through writing is an effort at showing that I don’t want to step on voices that I consider important. But fuck that.
The hard thing about Courage, at the end of the day, is the fact that it’s not about winning: it’s about surrender.
In order to be courageous, you have to surrender yourself to the idea that you’re probably fucked. You have to be afraid, and then still move forward. You have to say “Fuck it”.
And I’m not at that point, but I will be, I hope.