Did you ever hear that if a drunk person falls down the stairs he or she will sustain far fewer injuries than a sober person? The reason is that the drunk person is relaxed and therefore more flexible. The sober person, anticipating the fall, will brace him or herself for the fall. She will stiffen and tense up. As a result, she will tear tight muscles, break bones, and be far more hurt by the fall than the drunk person.
I’m not advocating drunkenness. Easy as that may sound as a solution, we all know the other drawbacks. I am advocating for you to chill the fuck out. Relax. Loosen up. Roll with it. Life is going to throw punches. It will throw them whether you are ready or not, whether you are deserving or not. Whether you are pretty or not. Even if you have everyone including yourself convinced that you are doing things as perfectly as possible, life is still going to slam you with an uppercut from time to time. It will throw you down the stairs. It will pants you in public. It will throw cold water on your desires. How you respond to it will determine your ongoing resilience and how many injuries you will sustain.
Social media is a museum for staged lives. Just the right angle. Only the good stuff. Get the right props. It is no longer a means of sharing a life, it is a tool used to carefully craft perfect images of ourselves. But we know the people behind the profiles. Behind the profiles, there is so much sadness, so much disappointment. It is all hidden.
Here’s the thing so many people didn’t seem to learn.
No one thinks about you as much as you think about you. In fact, even when you are thinking about other people, you are still probably thinking about them as they relate to you. You are so much harder on yourself than anyone else is. And paying much closer attention.
It’s similar to the metaphor about grasping sand so hard in your hand that it falls out but if you keep a loose grip, you will hold more sand. I think we can relate to relaxed drunkenness better than we can relate to sand. The point isn’t the drunkenness or the sand. The point is that the more you try to control how other people see your life, the more you try to convince yourself that if your life looks a certain way then it will BE a certain way, the more injuries you will suffer. You won’t just have the pain from the event but you will have the bruised ego, the shock, the betrayal that your perfect life did not sustain a fall.
Someone tricked women into thinking that if they act perfect, put up a perfect image, convince everyone else they are doing everything right that they will be protected from disappointment and pain. No one is protected from the pain and disappointments of life. And putting all your energy into preventing the pain will make it hurt more because you will be unprepared when it inevitably strikes.
As a result women seem to be obsessed with image. Staged pictures, staged expressions, fake calm, fake happiness. If you’re so happy, when are you ever mad? I don’t believe there is only a good side. I don’t believe you are only calm and happy. I don’t believe the plastic stares and cheerful selfies and the wrinkle-free clothing. If you’r life is so great, why don’t you fall apart and fight like hell when it starts to run away from you? Why do you put more energy into making it look good than into wearing it out.
Who wants eighty years of self restraint, doing the right things and looking good? Who wants to die and thing, yes, I barely made an impact, I made no messes. I left it how I found it. That’s advice for visiting not living. Use what you have. Use it up. Love what you love, love it to death. Feel what you feel. Feel it in the open without shame. Live your life don’t just visit.
Life is ten times more fun and 100% less stress and effort when you accept that no one is perfect. Perfection is not worth it. Image is bullshit. Life is short and it will hurt but it will also be a lot of fun if you let it. Let go of control.
In Scott Adam’s book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, he mentions one trick he uses on himself in the face of adversity is to consider the worst that could happen and recognize that the chances that the worst will happen are pretty slim, but even if it did happen, in most cases, the worst is still manageable. You will get through this. If you aren’t dead, it’s not over. Fearing failure or disappointment or pain the way you would fear death is a stress on your emotions, energy levels and physical health that is far more dangerous than looking like an ass.
One of my favorite quotes is from Harold and Maude.
“Maude: Harold, *everyone* has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.”
What is the worst that’s going to happen? You’re going to make an ass of yourself? You’ll be embarrassed? You’ll get hurt? You’ll fail? Who fucking cares? You know there’s something worse than that right? It’s wasting your life. Besides that, wasting because you are worried what other people will think of you when they are not even thinking of you at all is such an enormous waste it should be criminal. More wisdom from Maude:
Maude: A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. *Reach* out. Take a *chance*. Get *hurt* even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.
Find people to lean on when it’s hurting, to laugh with when it’s wild, to play with like a game and to fuck and hold when things get rough. If that’s all the same person you won the lottery, because that’s all you’re going to need. Honestly, no one else matters. If you can’t find that in one person, find it in a few. Find your own little tribe and be that person to them. Everything else, just roll with it. Would you rather have a life so pristine that everything looked good on Facebook or a life so fun you pee yourself laughing? Friends so appropriate you are well connected and would always agree with each other without asking, or friends who will hold your hair back when you’re sick, remind you of both your best and worst moments with a laugh, love you when you are acting like a whiny little bitch because she’s seen it before and it won’t last. A love so perfect you screw on a schedule in all the right positions saying all the right things or one so messy and wild you race out the door without underwear with a hickey on your neck thinking fuck yea I had a great morning. Life is going to punch you either way. Make it worth the recovery.