People have started to reach out to me on social media platforms and ask me for advice. I am honored but I feel so inadequate. What am I to tell them about their lives when I am so completely baffled by my own?
A nice young man reached out to me the other day to ask how to deal with a break up. I asked a few background questions. Then I told him the only thing that I know for sure:
“I think the best thing you can do is to feel the loss. Don’t numb it. Date it. Eat it. Fuck it. Shop it. Just feel the exquisite pain of having to let go of someone you loved. Breathe. Then figure out what you can do better next time. And enjoy the hell out of your life until you meet someone worthy of you again...”
Good advice...funny, how often I do not take it.
Being asked for advice feels like the ultimate fuck you to humility. It is almost as if I loose any and all semblances of humility the moment I begin to answer. So I often times, just want to tell the other person that I haven’t a clue, don’t ask me, clearly there is someone else that is better equipped to answer pretty much anything one might ask me...
And yet...people are asking me.
Here is what I know with absolutely certainty: I have no idea what I am doing and so consequently I have no idea what you should or shouldn’t do. I can only share my story with you, my pain, my joy, all the ways I have fucked it up, tried to fix it, fucked it up more and had to begin again...feeling the loss, the pain, the anguish and the exquisite burden of being human.
I have to share with you how often I fail, how often I get it wrong, how often I am completely stymied, thwarted, misaligned and totally off course. I do this not to be a bigger fuck up than you, not to garner sympathy for my hardships, but so that you can meet me in that place where we are both vulnerable, real, authentic and human. That place where we get it wrong, right and everything in between.
So let’s be clear. I am barely hanging on over here. I am living my life and it is often a shitshow, dumpster fire and looks like someone with five minutes of recovery not twenty-six years. I still make poor choices and then laugh my ass off that I did it again.
I guess what I would like to share most, is that I am having the time of my life...with all of it. Parenting teens, working hard, dating (Sweet Jesus, dating...fuck), uncovering who I am underneath all The Who I thought I was, failing, recovering, laughing, crying, growing older and not always wiser every Goddamn day.
I have only one piece of advice, ever, for anyone, including myself. It is this:
Do it. Whatever it is. Take the chance. Make the mistake. Laugh in the face of fear. Hold on for dear life. Be real. Be alive in this life.
All of my writing, living and truth telling has brought me to the same conclusion over and over again and that is that my entire life has been about coming to know myself. To see how I abandon myself repeatedly, have to find myself again and do more work to improve my relationship with me. I do this with others, but it is this relationship with myself and in turn God that kicks my ass the most. Returning to myself over and over when all I have really ever wanted is to be someone else.
So here it is: my best and only advice for everyone, everywhere, including me: Be you, that is all. Nothing more, nothing less. And I can tell you from my experience, that will be the greatest adventure of all. Keep going. It is totally worth all the hard work, tears, pain, stress and demon confrontation. Being me is the hardest more rewarding thing I have ever refused to do but ended up doing it anyway. Fuck if I know how or why. I just know that no matter where I go, I am returned to this place within myself where God resides and I fear to tread. Over, and over, and over again. And when I am really lucky, I can see, that this is the only job I have, the only life task I can actually manage...to be unabashedly me while letting you see all the fucked up parts along with all the beauty, love and joy too. Throwing it all out there for you to misunderstand, judge, hate, leave and grossly under appreciate. In the end, it matters only what I do with all of that. Where I allow it to land within my soul. And that, as it turns out, has been the hardest best lesson so far: that no matter what you think, it is my own opinion of myself that really matters. And so it turns that the only advice I have for anyone, to include myself, is come to know who you are, how you are and then then endeavor to do better, every single fucking day of your life.