(WITH A SMALL TYPE DISCLAIMER THAT FUCK YOU FUCKS YOU).
Everywhere you go there is a self-help book, a diet, a new fad, all saying the same thing. Be present. Have faith. No white flour. No sugar. Work hard. Be gritty. Workout. A least a half hour a day. Meditate. At least a twenty minutes a day. Twice a day is better. Write morning pages. Free yourself from habits. Do the same thing every day for 21 days. Don’t smoke. Express yourself. Actually, that’s Madonna and she used to be the envy of all but now she’s old. Relevant, but old. Don’t get old. And if you do, Botox. A lot. Buy it at a discount on Groupon.
I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences life can offer. Truly. I’ve traveled. I’ve worked at the top companies in the world in their field — Creative Artists Agency, Microsoft, The AIDS Rides. I shot high definition footage of an NFL game when high definition was just a pipe dream. I’ve presented my work to Bill Gates. I had lunch with Amy Tan and dinner with Jeff Bezos. I’ve worked with Rock Stars and spiritual leaders, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I trekked through Nepal to Everest Base Camp. I’ve meditated for 10-days straight without speaking. I’ve consulted for startups. I lived in Nicaragua and spent a year traveling from one tip of South America down to the other tip. I’ve been in love, a lot, and out of love, a lot. At 45-years-old I married for the first time and was told it was the best wedding people have ever been too. Even the catering staff said so. I really like hearing that. I’ve been backstage more times than I’ve been front of house. I’ve jumped out of an airplane. I’ve owned a convertible BMW. My home for many months was Room 1111 at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Even though my hips hurt from too much yoga, I am healthy. Very. I am strong. I can walk, run, jump, swim, bike, do yoga, climb mountains.
And there are a lot of things I haven’t done too. I haven’t blown my own mind by exceeding my expectations and accomplishing my dreams. I never had kids. I was pregnant for a minute. I miscarried. It wasn’t the worst thing. I knew I was in a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling so I opted out of doing it again. I don’t go on annual vacations with my best girlfriends. As a matter of fact, I don’t keep in close touch with anybody from high school or college. I’ve been fired from jobs. I’ve had a lot of jobs where I got paid for doing nothing. The things I dreamed of being, of doing, seem further and further from reality the older I get. The people who I used to know are getting awards, acknowledgements, written up in newspapers and magazines while I sit on the sidelines and wonder about every decision I’ve ever made (except the gay marriage, that was a good one).
You could say I’ve been quite privileged, which is true. I’ve had more opportunities in my short life than most people. And yet, I’m not fulfilled. It’s nonsensical really. I feel disappointed in myself; a shame of despair envelops me. Seems like bullshit doesn’t it? It is. It’s self-inflicted. It’s the eighties version of cutting yourself, the envy of others and disdain for self. Feeling lost and stuck. Like the belly of the beast is my only constant so I better get used to it.
There is a key and a point and a lock. It’s quite simple really — it is about the gratitude attitude and Oprah and Deepak and even Tim Ferriss and his Four Hour Everything. It’s an awakening and a practice and a growth mindset.
It’s breaking the habit and the habit is old and cranky. The habit doesn’t fit. It is totally out of fashion and accentuates my love handles.
It’s about ridding yourself of Fuck You. Fuck You. It feels so good to say. Yet the fuck you habit is a barbiturate that will hold you under till you drown. Whatever. Fuck you disappointment. And fuck you friends who are more successful than me. Fuck you Facebook and how lonely you can make me feel. Fuck you Global Warming and climate deniers and people poaching the elephants for their ivory. Really fuck you people who are buying the elephant ivory. Fuck you petroleum and plastic and milk cartoons with plastic on them. Why can’t we just open them the old fashioned way? Fuck you Shell Oil for drilling in the Arctic. Fuck you Obama for permitting it. Fuck you Congress for attacking women’s rights and Gays and anything that is different than you and saying it’s in the name of God. Fuck you for making God a bigot. Really. Fuck you. Fuck you car in front of me going so fucking slow. Fuck you developers tearing down the old and replacing it with new. Fuck you old friends who don’t call, friends who don’t forgive, friends who have so many friends that they never feel lonely.
The fucked thing about this fuck you thing is that it only feels good for a minute. For a brief moment Fuck You feels powerful. Bold. Freeing. Scream it. Spit it. Mumble it. However it comes out, it feels like I got it all going on. I’m strong. Watch me strut down the street on my red carpet of fuck yous. Can’t touch this, can you? Hammer Time.
And then that minute passes and all the power drains away and you look around and see yourself, standing alone, looking at your phone and wondering why you haven’t heard from anybody, looking at Instagram and liking every photo, just to connect, and wondering why everybody is so witty and having so much fun and you’re sitting here, phone in hand, posting alone, lurking for some connection that will never come in cyberspace.
Another minute passes and you think about that article you read this morning about gratitude and you think about that time you worked your ass off and it felt so damn good cause it feels so good to work hard and give it all you got and you remind yourself to end your sentences with yet. I haven’t blown my mind yet. Yet. So much friendlier than Fuck You.