Lately, I’ve been having the same conversation again and again.
For some reason, some people who know me think that I’m special. That I have some kind of superpower, or luxury, or something, that has made it possible for me to live my life on my own terms. That somehow, the Specialness Fairies have decided to bless me with all sorts of talent and good luck and just specialness.
People tell me that they couldn’t live their lives the way I do because they’re just not special. They just got the short end of the stick – they’re just the average Joe Schmo, and could never do what I’m doing.
Just to clarify, I love (most of) these people very much. I think they are lovely, kind individuals.
But I want to ring their necks when this kind of bullshit comes out of their mouths.
After these kinds of conversations, I usually find it necessary to rant for no less than 30 minutes straight on the idiocy of this conversation, much to Jesse’s chagrin.
Can I let you in on a little secret?
THERE IS NO FREAKING SECRET!
There are no Specialness Fairies. I am not brave. I am not especially talented. I am intelligent but I know lots of miserable intelligent people.
What I am is terrified 99% of the time. I have no idea what I’m doing. I kind of just try shit until something works. A lot of the things I do fail. I have no magic wands or secret recipes.
I do have a few things on my side, but they’re not very glamourous.
You know what I do have?
A bloody-minded determination and refusal to just lay down and die. For all intents and purposes, the world wrote me off when I was 18. No one (with the exception of a few close friends) was expecting anything of me. I was told to go home, and maybe one day I’d get to be a secretary or something low energy that I could manage. I stupidly told one doctor I wanted to use my situation to change the world. He sadly shook his head at me, told me not to bother and that it was impossible. I was told to go find something more manageable, more feasible.
For a while, I listened to these people.
But then I decided that I didn’t really like this prognosis.
So I picked a new one.
I decided that I wanted a life that meant something. I decided that I was going to have an impact on the world. And I decided that nothing – not disease, not naysayers, not nothing – was going to stop me. Because what I have to say and what I have to share with the world is important.
And because living a life that is meaningful to you is important.
If that is the only thing you ever take from anything I’ve ever painted or said, I’ll be satisfied. You do not have to take the path that’s laid before you. There are a million paths surrounding you, at any time. You just don’t see them.
For example, you could go to jail tomorrow. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from robbing a bank. The only thing stopping you is your choice to not do it. You don’t like the consequences, and that’s just fine.
But don’t act like someone else is stopping you. Someone else has set consequences that you don’t like, but as the penitentiary systems of the world demonstrate, that doesn’t bother lots of people.
You have choices. You have the ability, within you, to create the life that you want – one of meaning, of possibility, of love.
No, it’s not easy.
That’s what I think these people don’t see – that I worked my ass off to get here. That I’ve worked all night. That I get up at unreasonable hours to work on projects I care about. That 75% of the time, I fall flat on my face. I fail a lot.
And dammit, I am scared. Of course I’m scared! I’ve got a brain. I know what conventional wisdom says. I’m an artist & entrepreneur. I’m basically supposed to fail.
But at the end of the day, I just don’t care. I just don’t. To me, it is more important to try – to try and make a difference, to try and change the world, to try for my dreams and desires. Because when I’m dying, I’d rather look back on my life and say “Man, what a ride! I tried all sorts of stuff!” than “Wow. Now I’m dying and I’ve done nothing.”
My friend, it’s a choice. A very conscious choice. A choice to live life on your own terms. A choice to consciously engage with the life that you’re living, and to start making choices that bring things you love into that life.
It’s not easy. It can be very scary. But it’s your choice. So no more coming and telling me that I am some kind of special person and you can’t do what I do because the Specialness Fairies like me and not you. That’s one excuse I’m not listening to any longer.
Right, so this can be a touchy subject. I get it. And if this has upset you in some way, then please accept my virtual hug. I get that this is hard to hear for some people and I really feel for your pain. That must really suck. And maybe you wanna yell and throw things which is totally fine in the limits of your own home.
But it’s not something that I allow here. This is a place for reasonable, respectful, compassionate discussion.
With that being said – discuss away!