I wouldn’t really say that I’ve changed all that much over the years.
I mean, yeah, I’ve changed, of course, I’ve changed. We all do. Change is really the only constant.
Nah… not so much.
Here’s what I’ve noticed though…
Over the years, I’ve always, and constantly got better at digging my heels in around the things that don’t feel right for me. I won’t do them. As the years have gone by I’ve done even less of them. Sometimes on principle, sometimes out of sheer defiance, and sometimes simply because I don’t even realise they’re a real thing.
If it doesn’t feel right to me, you can bet your ass I’ll fight to not do it.
and by “fight” what I really mean is just ignore it altogether and act like it’s not actually a real thing.
It’s just how it is. How I am.
But there’s another side, one I didn’t notice so easily that’s slowly crept up alongside… simultaneously hiding in the shadows.
I’ve somehow managed to increasingly convince myself that if I’m not willing to do the things I don’t want to do (or even acknowledge them in some cases) then that must also mean I don’t deserve to do the things I want to and live the way I want to.
It’s as though my very soul, the heart of who I am, is a bargaining chip, and if I’m not willing to sell it for the stuff I’m “supposed” to do, or “expected” to do, then there’s just no way will I ever have or deserve all the things I want.
There seems to be an omnipresent way that people talk about life, and about how we go about our days, our lives, and what makes someone deserving, or not.
It’s as though you need to trust in yourself, but you also need to be willing to hand yourself over and give up the idea of what you want, and how you want it if you’re ever going to be “rewarded”.
You almost have to sell your soul.
Give it all up, these ideas, these notions of how things could be. You need to be willing to work, to grind, to hand your life and all responsibility for it over to someone else. Some unnamed, unknown entity. And it’s not of the religious kind (I’ve never really studied, or paid attention to religion), No, it’s a more real-world entity. It’s a boss, a corporation, a way of life predetermined by someone else. Someone other than you that doesn’t even know of you… you’re a number, a paycheck, a cog in a machine. One that clocks in and out, and is rewarded for your daily sacrifice…
That’s something I opted out of years ago. It never felt right, never felt true to me. Yeah, sure, I’ve had jobs. I went to work, did the shifts, got the paycheck, went home, went to the pub, paid the bills… but that was at a time when I didn’t really feel like I had much else to do or to offer. That was as good as it felt for me back then.
But things change.
The way we view ourselves and our lives change.
What we’re worth, what we’re providing and putting out into the world.
Change is the only constant.
And I realised long ago that my priorities changed. I finally had some! I had things that were truly important to me. Things I felt I needed to do, and not just on a surface level, a soul level… I couldn’t ignore if I tried.
I did try, it made me ill. Physically and mentally. It plagued me daily; the guilt, the shame, the depression that took me over while I constantly told myself I was wrong, I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I can’t… because I had to do the other things.
It took me 2 weeks sitting on the floor of my living room desperately trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me, that I eventually realised that I had no basis in the belief that I had to continue doing the things I was doing, that I had to keep living the way I was, and it wasn’t so I could just “toss it off, and do nothing” like so many people assumed.
No, it wasn’t that at all. It was because I finally had something more important that I needed to do. Something bigger than just living my life.
I felt like I was going insane, a bit like Jack locked away in his lab “what does it mean? What does it mean?!” Eventually, I realised it meant nothing… it was just some hearsay, some story that had been passed on to me from all around. It wasn’t one source, it never has been, not for any of us.
You can’t have it all. You can’t just “do what you want all day” and live happily ever after (that, by the way, is exactly how you live happily ever after). Something has to give, something has to go. There’s a cost, a price, a debt to be owed, dues to be paid!
You have to sell your soul and let go of everything you believe in and know to be true in your heart in order to be allowed the things you want.
You HAVE to make the sacrifice.
You HAVE to pay the price.
You HAVE to pay your dues.
You HAVE to earn what you want before you can get it, or even see it on the horizon.
You need to live at the expense of your life.
It doesn’t matter what you want to do, or how, or why.
It doesn’t matter that you feel like your life would be better lived some other way.
Heck, why do you even pay attention to something as wishy-washy and pathetic as ”feelings” where are they ever going to get you? You need to stop that shit immediately! Use your brain. Think. Look around you, pay attention. No one is doing that, they’re all doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and you should be too! Follow your head, not your heart. Damn your feelings, screw them to the sticking place! (As a misquoted Lady Macbeth would say)
THAT’s what you should do!
You should step away? Really?
Take that thing you know deep inside, and ignore it. Lock it down, let it drift away, and if it won’t drift on its own then drown that fucker by whatever means necessary. Push harder, work more, drink more, drugs, sex, all of it meaningless as you try to cram out that feeling, dull that spark, and try to replace it slowly, gradually, crushingly, blow for blow.
And if it dares to rear its weird little head, you attack it harder, you beat yourself up some more – you’re not doing enough, you need to do more, try more, try harder. Fuck you and your empty little soul. You don’t need to be happy! No, you just need to keep doing what you’re supposed to.
What else are you supposed to do, be? Be what? Happy? Get a grip. Happiness has no place here… you don’t need a lit up soul, you don’t need to feel happy, content and secure in who you are. No. No, you have to earn that! Constantly pushing, trying, doing, all the things, all the time, and when it doesn’t work, and that little voice, that whisper inside screams “ME! Let ME lead! Let ME show the way, and I PROMISE YOU that it will all work out” You tell it no. You refuse to listen, you refuse to pay attention because it hasn’t earned its time yet. It hasn’t earned its seat at the table yet, and it probably never will because this whole time it’s trying so desperately to drag you away from what you’re “supposed” to be doing.
And the more you resist following that little voice, that nudge, that inkling, that feeling from inside, the more you’re convinced that you’re not going to deserve the things you want.
Those dreams, that life, that sweet little idea that brings a smile to your face, even a half-smile, as you allow you mind to wander to that other place, that daydream, that allows you to feel happy, free, and like you have a damn chance before you snap it shut. Snap back to reality… turn it off, push it down.
Stop kidding yourself.
You can’t do that.
You can’t have it both ways.
Can’t live both ways.
It’s one or the other, and things always change.
What was right then, may not be right now.
What’s right for now, may not be right tomorrow.
It could change in a day, a week, a month, year, even decade from now.
But you have to be willing to roll with it, to trust the changes.
To believe that you know what’s best for you, right now, at this moment.
And you have to be willing to accept that it may change. It probably will. And you have to be willing to change along with it.
There’s no point in digging in your heels and refusing to budge on something if you’re not even willing to go the other way.
Especially if it’s because of something you believe in so deeply.
They say you can’t have it both ways.
But what’s the benefit of having it none of the ways? Just stuck, stagnant, hating and refusing all that you don’t want to do, and yet still being unwilling to do the things you do want to do?
And why? Because someone might think badly of you? Someone might judge you unfairly? Criticise you? Make some underhanded comment, and give you the side-eye cos in their mind you’re not good enough, because you aren’t living in their ideals?
Do you even want their life?
My guess is no, cos if you did, you’d be doing what they’re doing and probably better than they are, cos you’re stubborn like that, and you like to be the best. In fact, you probably don’t even like to be the best, or even try to be the best. You just are, naturally, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it. It’s just how it is, how it’s always been.
Except, you could sit there refusing to do what you don’t want to do while also refusing to step up and do what you do want to do at the same time. Then you’re just… nothing… and that’s no use to anyone.
It’s a bit stupid really when you look at it that way.
And the thing is, it doesn’t even matter what it is you want to do, how you want to do it, or how you want to be. As long as you go all-in on it, the way you feel pulled to do, with as much intensity as you’re putting into not doing the other shit? Then you’ll be fine. It will all be fine, and it will all make sense, and be great in the end.
And the end? Well, that’s just going to be the beginning of something else. The next all-important role or responsibility, the next movement, the next change. The next idea, priority, goal… you’ll find once you get started there will be no shortage of those things. And the more of them you go towards, the more you’ll have. And the more you go all in, the more you’ll wonder why you ever held back.
What’re you waiting for?