Because sometimes I change my appearance, do things I say I never do, and contradict myself. And I don’t give a fuck.
A wonderful warrior sent me an incredible passage to me a few days ago that he said reminded him of me, and it moved me absolutely. I’d love to share it with you today.
People spend their lives doing everything in their power to fend off that possibility: they beat themselves up with every kind of insecurity, sabotage their own efforts, undermine love affairs and cry sour grapes before the world even has a chance to defeat them… because no weight could be heavier to bear than the possibility that everything we want is possible. If that is true, then there really are things at stake in this life, things to be truly won or lost. Nothing could be more heartbreaking than to fail when such success is actually possible, so we do everything we can to avoid trying in the first place, to avoid having to try.
For if there is even the slightest possibility that our hearts’ desires could be realized, then of course the only thing that makes sense is to throw ourselves entirely into their pursuit and risk that heartbreak.
Despair and nihilism seem safer, projecting our hopelessness onto the cosmos as an excuse for not even trying. So we remain, clutching our resignation, as secure as corpses in coffins (“better safe and sorry”)… but this still cannot ward off that dreadful possibility. Thus in our hopeless flight from the real tragedy of the world, we only heap upon ourselves false tragedy, unnecessary tragedy, as well.
Perhaps this world will never conform perfectly to our needs—people will always die before they are ready, perfect relationships will end in ruins, adventures will end in catastrophe and beautiful moments be forgotten.
But what breaks my heart is the way we flee from those inevitable truths into the arms of more horrible things. It may be true that every [human] is lost in a universe that is fundamentally indifferent to [her], locked forever in a terrifying solitude—but it doesn’t have to be true that some people starve while others destroy food or leave fertile farms untilled. It doesn’t have to be true that men and women waste their lives away working to serve the hollow greed of a few rich men, just to survive. It doesn’t have to be that we never dare to tell each other what we really want, to share ourselves honestly, to use our talents and capabilities to make life more bearable, let alone more beautiful. That’s unnecessary tragedy, stupid tragedy, pathetic and pointless. It’s not even utopian to demand that we put an end to farces like these.
If we could bring ourselves to believe, to really feel, the possibility that we are invincible and can accomplish whatever we want in this world, it wouldn’t seem out of our reach at all to correct such absurdities.
What I am begging you to do here is not to put faith in the impossible, but have the courage to face that terrible possibility that our lives really are in our own hands, and to act accordingly: to not settle for every misery fate and humanity have heaped upon us, but to push back, to see which ones can be shaken off.
Nothing could be more tragic, and more ridiculous, than to live out a whole life in reach of heaven without ever stretching out your arms.
(via CrimethInc. Texts– emphasis mine)
You know what my greatest fear is? I never told you. I don’t think I even knew, myself, for the longest time, after I first tasted that lofty ideal of “happiness.” I was scared of even having fear, I was scared of admitting I was human, imperfect.
My greatest fear is being torn apart by the people I love, the way I– perhaps, we all– have at one point in our lives.
My greatest fear is heartbreak.
And I haven’t been aware of this fear in the past few years because I refused to put myself in front of it, to face it. I stayed inside. I stayed with the same people I’d always known, even though we’d grown apart. I stayed in a comfortable, easy relationship.
But this is what facing fear means: opening up to that new friend, admitting that you care, talking to strangers– and letting yourself entertain the possibility of not only getting hurt, but also the possibility experiencing ridiculous happiness beyond your imagination.
If I don’t risk anything, I don’t experience anything.
Here’s a quote I love from the incredibly sexy and charismatic Colin Wright:
There’s a big difference between comfort and happiness: being happy means that you are overjoyed about what you’re doing, who you are, the people you’re meeting and the things that you’re doing. Being comfortable means that you’re not feeling too bad or too good… you’re neutral.
Neutral is what suburbs are for.
Comfort is for people who are looking to relax, not to grow and learn and experience new things. You may save yourself from any potential lows by keeping yourself comfortable, in an easy-chair, watching reality TV and eating Doritos, but you won’t experience any truly happy moments, either. You need the bad (or even just the possibility of bad) to truly experience the good, and to fully appreciate the difference between the two.
Do you know what I told myself a year ago, after realizing in the winter of 2010 that I had effectively made very few friends in my whole time in San Diego and that I was essentially scared of taking any risks?
I told myself I’d say the fuck YES! to life as much as possible, and get myself out there.
So I stuck to an intention of hanging out with someone different every week. I reached out to all the people I had been telling “Let’s hang out!” for the entire time I’d been living in San Diego, and finally got to know them.
I finally hung out with Grayce, whom I’d met in 2008 but never actually talked to– and she eventually became my roommate and one of the most awesome friends I have.
I met an awesome woman named Linh from Hanoi who worked for an environmental NGO in Kenya over the summer and is going to change the world (along with my future wads of philanthropic donations to her future organizations, hehe).
I talked to tons of random people, met a singer-songwriter-sitarist who walked the Pacific Crest Trail and all across India, connected with bestselling authors and revolutionaries, and met my first new friend in Montreal via a Tumblr tag!
I began talking to “strangers” more.
Something I’d been wanting to learn how to do since the second time I came to Montreal in 2008, when I first started realizing that my mission for my life was to inspire happiness in the world as much as humanly possible.
And you know what? I started out complimenting people. (And I still do!)
I would just randomly tell people how much I liked their style, their smile, their hair.
And most people were shocked.
And they loved it.
A year ago, the amazing Holly of Eating a Tangerine wrote her 2011 intentions:
My wide intention for the year is to risk more. Especially:
To do more things that I’m not certain I will succeed at or enjoy.
Simple enough; another assault on the dreaded inner tyrant Perfectionist. Less hesitation, bolder ambitions, more attempts, more new things… more messes and failures, and more learning.
And to lower my guard a bit.
I sometimes hold bad grudges with people I know, and I can keep friendships with new people at a superficial level almost indefinitely. But trust will never not be a risk, as long as people are imperfect—and when I do not trust enough, my friendships stagnate and I start to feel very lonely, and it’s no good. Yet how to stop being afraid of the pain of being hurt by a friend? I suppose it’s like any other emotional fear: If you wait to act until it’s gone, you will never move, so you acknowledge it and then you make your way through it.
I am not going to let myself simply hold my ground this year.
“Trust will never not be a risk, as long as people are imperfect.”
Holly asked me, which do I think is scarier– giving up perfectionism, or trusting others: the vulnerability that comes with a new friendship, a new connection?
I told her the vulnerability. Because perfectionism, ultimately, is something we can control for ourselves. With lots of practice, I can learn to control the insidious effects of the monster called perfectionism. But other people…?
How other people treat us, how much they love us or don’t love us, how they respect or remain honest and open with us– we can’t control that. We can’t even know it, either, sometimes.
And that’s what makes it half (or most) of the fun.
This isn’t just about relationships or other people, but anything that holds us back from being what we could be, what we already are, deep inside.
I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this journal entry with you, and I think now’s a better time than ever:
Living, truly living my passion, today on May 18th, 2011, is scary.
In fact, it …
I can see it now.
My life. Two paths. Or a million and one. And that one is the one I need to take, and that other million might just be one.
The one is the safe path. The one where I get a paycheck; where I don’t have to worry or challenge myself or face my fears. The safe path. The easy way. The path I live to be happy. Just happy, content. Almost… obedient. Submissive. Submitted. Surrendered. (And probably in not the best states of health.)
The other is the true path for me. Exciting, exhilarating. Doing what I love, living my passion and not caring if I fail. Not caring if I fall flat on my face. Loving life, loving what I do, being excited and feeling blessed and grateful every, single, moment. Enjoying everything. Challenging myself. Growing. Giving myself ridiculous challenges and strengthening myself with each new victory, with each conquer. Sharpening my sword with life.
And the first path is tempting. Because I want a simple life; I don’t need much. I have tons of abundance regardless of the number in a computer at the bank.
But the second path is unknown. Requires my own hustling. Requires rapid, insane, radical growth. Requires changes and challenges.
And that’s why I know in my heart that the second path is what I’m meant to take if I want to have a life worth living. That if I settled for anything less, it would be the end of me.
I will remember what it’s like to be a kid again, to be playful with this. I will be excited just because I’m trying something new and I don’t know how it’ll turn out. Oh, childlike wonder..!
I will take it step by step. I will go as much as I can, building up my strength and courage until I can blaze a new trail and travel on that trail.
That was the day.
That was the day that I decided, whether I bled out gold or coal, whether I sweat out inspiration or simply found myself in tears, I would set myself on fire and use everything in my being to make my dreams come true and live a life I wouldn’t regret dying with.
I’m moving to New York City in a few weeks, simply because I want to– with nothing holding me back from flying or falling.
Shaving my head didn’t terrify me one bit.
Jumping out of a plane didn’t really faze me.
(Piloting a plane did, on the other hand… but that’s another story.)
Letting go of my relationship, and therefore my past life, was frightening.
Letting go of the myths of being thin was terrifying, because it meant that I had to take responsibility for my own happiness and my own life instead of thinking some mythical body ideal (or anything else, for that matter) would complete me.
Letting go of all that was holding me on the ground– by leaving everything I had known and letting myself fall without any certainty or security instead– made me depressed, lonely, scared shitless. And then I cried uncontrollably for a week straight. And then I woke up in 2012 with lightness in place of the hollow that my sorrow had carved.
And then I realized that if what I thought was happiness made me feel stuck, idle, and unchanging– that it was comfortable to the point of stagnation– I didn’t want it.
I don’t want stability. I don’t want comfort. I don’t want to live my life hanging on to who I was yesterday or even a moment ago.
I want euphoria, I want to chase dreams, I want to feel so much of life that I cry and laugh without restraint all in the same moment.
Life is meant to be delicious and full of passion.
Life is meant to feel alive.
If you’re ready to live, please go drown in your passion, chase your dreams, and set the world on fire.
We need you.