She asked me if I thought I had made the right choices in life.
I paused and said, “You know, it’s not just a yes or a no question - because both would be a lie.”
We’re compelled to respond one way or the other because we want to project the idea that everything we do is deliberate. We could say “no” because we’re all self-aware enough to realize that probably somewhere around half of all decisions we have made we know weren’t positive ones. One’s that progressed our lives in a healthy way. One’s that injected compassion back into the world. We look around at our lives and realize somewhere around half of all of our decisions cause stress, terror, worry, and regret. That’s if we’re being honest with ourselves. But if we allow those words to fall from our mouths, that is to admit we’ve been wrong. Impulsive in judgment. Faulty. That we are not in as much control as we let others to believe.
Or we say, “Yes, every decision I’ve made brought me here to the person I am today so I wouldn’t have changed a thing.” But that’s a lie as well. That’s just some secondhand bullshit we regurgitated from that super posi graphic we reblogged last month. One designed to make us feel good about all of our decisions so that we stand with shoulders squared and chins raised, with a face that proclaims, I have followed my heart so who I am is exactly who I am supposed to be. But ask yourself that same questions while you lie in bed at night tossing and turning in the dark and I guarantee you will have a very different response. This is it? This is your best? You sure you would have wasted all that time in that relationship, at that desk, at that job? You sure the energy you gave out and never received was well-spent? I’m not saying you would have been a different you - but with better decisions, more effort, and trying harder, there would be a better version of you. But we want to believe we are exactly who we are supposed to be, but let’s be honest - that’s just ridiculous and short-sighted.
I continued, “I could either be a pessimistic liar or a naive liar. Either way, neither would be true.”
Truth is, we do our best. No, that’s a lie as well. You don’t do you best, and I certainly don’t do my best. Sometimes I try. That’s about as good as it gets. Yes, I do my best to demonstrate my love and emotions and I do my best to be friendly and compassionate. I try. But do I do my best all the time in all the right ways in all the important scenaios? Hell no. Because after a cold hard and long as look in the mirror I would hate to think that this is me at my best. And that’s what I want you to do today. One full minute in the mirror, just staring at yourself and thinking about who you are and what you have become. Right at this moment. Forget about your accomplishments and indiscretions. Forget about your plans and goals. Right now. Is this the best you can do? If you can literally do better, then no. You are not doing your best.
So now what?
Well, I don’t know. I’m not you. My job isn’t to fix you. My job has always been to simply push you into a mirror. All I know is me. And for me, well, all I can do is to try. Because you can’t expect anyone to be making all the right choices at all the right times for all the right reasons. Who has that kind of energy? I mean, sometimes we need to eat like crap and make out with the wrong people and read novels about dragons and sleep in late and call off work to see a band and spend hours watching online videos of people being idiots.
Because you and I are not perfect and we need to stop allowing the expectations of others steal away our light and our fire. Your parents, your coaches and teachers and priests and neighbors and judgmental friends and me - we aren’t perfect either. No one is. None of us.
She said, “So what is true?”
I felt compelled to either lie to her or lie to myself, but instead, I chose to tell the truth and said, “I made a lot of bad decisions along the way. Those bad decisions made me who I am. I made few good decisions, and a bunch of decisions I thought were right but changed the course of my life, but am I the best version of who I am supposed to be? Absolutely not. But I tried and kept going. And as long as I keep trying most of the time, that’s all that matters.”
I told her it wasn’t about the right life choices, it was about the right life. And the right life is one where we keep pushing forward. Mistakes, inconsistencies, and triumphs - just keep moving. Stumble but don’t stop. Push through the bad choices, bad sex, wrong turns and wrong partners.
Because the only right choice in life is to try. And keep trying.
Giving away a pair of tickets to the Toronto @riot_fest (worth $400) - To enter: in honor of #fbf, post a painfully awkward scene pic of yourself on your IG (following the posted instructions) wearing a band shirt that is playing RiotFest. Winner will be chosen in 4 hours and the tickets mailed out this afternoon so hurry up and start combing through your old myspace account.
Like many of you, I have been asked to do the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for charity. And I have chosen to not participate. Here’s why.
This challenge is a positive charitable act. The Ice Bucket Challenge is simply a funny and palatable vehicle of getting people to do a good deed. While I truly believe that the challenge is inherently good, I just know that wasting water for attention doesn’t do shit. What DOES do some good, is donating money to a foundation that funds actual research. Unfortunately, most people who have done the challenge haven’t donated - even some that claim they would. While the ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease which is a neuro-degenerative disorder, has had a significant increase over the last month in donations. I read somewhere 1000 times the average month of donations. So if you have done the challenge and donated, that is awesome and amazing but I believe there are organizations out there that need just as much support.
All that being said, throwing money at an organization doesn’t mean shit if you click and donate and go back to being an awful human being who puts negativity back into the world. If you’re not trying to make your little corner of the world a little less shitty, well then your little funny video comes off as nothing more than a self-aggrandizing wank-fest. “See! I can play along and do funny things and maaaaybe I donated to this thing that I don’t even know about so now I can go back to telling racist and sexist jokes and being a victim-shaming rape apologist without feeling guilty because look guys, look! I dumped water on my head!”
So I chose to make a donation to RAINN.org - an organization that provides counseling to and support to victims rape, incest, and sexual abuse, where 92 cents of every dollar goes directly to programs and services. As a survivor of abuse and a friend to many other survivors, I made the donation in their names. Including a friend of mine who exactly six years ago to the day, was violently raped in her home by an intruder. She wanted me to share her story again for her as well.
And I also chose to buy food for a homeless person yesterday and give them a hug. Because sometimes treating people like human fucking beings is all you have to do to make your corner of the world a little less shitty.
And that is my challenge to all of you.