Friday, December 06, 2013

A short philosophy from a short person

My biggest first world problem right now is deciding what I want to be famous for.

I know.

So many possibilities: woman single-breastedly fights patriarchy, turning coffee into cash, live your best life- lessons from the loudest person at the party, communicating with class - it's English 'innit?, parenting for people who don't really like children, stylish gowns - dressing goes on.

We're repeatedly told you can 'have it all' but when it comes to being famous, you really can't. You have to get famous for one thing and only then is anyone interested in what else you have to say about anything else. Actors who pontificate about politics only get the platform through being, you know, a star.

It's not even fame I'm after, it's influence. Why? Because there are so many fucken idiots giving advice and encouraging others to behave like prats and it's ruining the planet I live on. Too many people I meet don't know what the hell to do, with their lives, their marriages, their jobs, their lack of fulfillment. I'm not critical of that - I don't know what the hell I want to be famous for - but I can help! So forthwith, my short philosophy of everything that matters:

WHO TO LOVE: Yourself. First of all, learn to love yourself. Everything else comes after that. Loving yourself is not the same as self-indulgent pampering princess bullshit to compensate for deep seated feelings of fear and inadequacy. It is a steady, resolute belief that you are worthy. Without makeup. Meant to be here. Here for a reason. Here to contribute. 

If you grew up with messages of being a useless, good for nothing piece of shit, you should know that the people saying those things were wrong. Wrong. Just like 1+1 does not equal 3, and Brad shouldn't have cheated on Jen, even emotionally. Wrong. You are not useless or unlovely.

It can be hard to love yourself when you are bombarded by messages and images that perpetuate idealised fictions. Turn off the TV and stop reading women's magazines. Recognise that every article showing celebrity bodies is an attack on our souls by cynical charlatans selling diets and the disease of unease that can only be cured by conspicuous consumption. You're smarter than that. Aren't you?

You can love others too. There's room. Love them first with actions, and then with words. People who talk a great game but fail to deliver are wankers. There are other technical terms, but I prefer wanker.

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE: Something. Anything. Just not nothing. Clarity doesn't come from a meeting with a career counsellor. It comes through doing. Try a job, and if you don't like it, try another. If you hate your job but have to pay the mortgage, see the point above. Sometimes loving others with actions means doing a shitty job to pay the bills. Suck it up. And make what you do with all your other time beautiful and meaningful.

Sing. No, truly. Sing. Children under the age of 6 laugh more than 300 times a day, the average adult is lucky to crack a chuckle more than 20 times. Singing's the same. This is one area where North Korea really takes the lead. Mass singing and unicorns.

If you're really stuck with how to be fulfilled, you're very likely asking the wrong question and seeking the wrong outcome. Consider instead how you can give. What you have to offer. Time, physical labour, a listening ear. Our lives are not measured in the the end by what we got, but what we gave, and what we made.

Make something. A marriage, a family, a garden, a wonderful noise, a difference. Find something to do that helps others, find a way to charge for it, and you'll never have to work again. You'll just be doing life.

WHO TO VOTE FOR: First of all, vote. For all Russel Brand's charismatic, polysyllabic encouragement to ignore the current political process, you should vote. Vote for the party who gives the best attention to the things that matter most to you. So far I have voted for National, Labour, Green, Legalise Marijuana NZ and Act. It made sense at the time. Vote for people who treat others as you would like to be treated. But only ever vote for people who have facts at the foundation of their beliefs. Most of the mainstream parties in NZ agree on most facts. The dispute is what to do next. Colin Craig isn't sure about the moon landing. Others deny climate change. And evolution. Don't vote for them. They are dicks.

WHO TO PRAY TO: I don't care who you pray to, and what you believe. I don't believe in god, or God, or gods. But I value highly your right to believe whatever you choose and to practise those beliefs freely and without oppression. If your beliefs oppress others we're going to come unstuck. If your religion doesn't allow women into positions of authority I truly believe you should stop with that shit. Find a version of that religion, praying to the same god, that does. If you believe that men shouldn't have sex with other men, good for you. Don't be a man that has sex with another man. The instant you want your views to have some kind of standing in law, and restrict other people's freedoms, we're going to come unstuck. If your religion makes you less tolerant and loving towards the people with whom you share this planet, I think your religion is dumb.

WHAT TO EAT: Food. Mainly plants. Just go around the edges of the supermarket. It's where all the food is. Nearly everything in the middle is a blow-up doll masquerading as the real thing. Processed sugar is not your friend. In years to come our children's children will consider coca-cola the heroin of our time and wonder why we didn't do more to ban it. For integrity I record my medicinal use of coke. When I travel overseas I drink coke knowing that it will destroy everything I've eaten before it can kill me.

WHAT TO THINK: Happy thoughts are a great start.  I don't actually care what you wonder about, I just care that you wonder at all. Yesterday I compiled a 60 second list of all the things I'd been puzzled by over the previous 24 hours but knew nothing about: how we came to drive on the left, displacement of hot water into a luke-warm bath, how the internet works, counting in Chinese as an aid to better maths, the political tension in Thailand, the effect of tomato fertiliser on my lettuces, how much botox is too much for me, the origin of  the 'lo he abhors not the virgin's womb' lyric in Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and then time was up. I am a know-all who is constantly amazed by how little I know about anything. The world is full of mystery and enchantments and so many of us are too busy watching unreality TV to notice. Nothing good can come of Keeping up with the Kardashians. No great scientific advancements come from those who accept the status quo.

Challenge yourself and those around you to think. To wonder. To be in awe. To risk an opinion. To give voice to a contradiction, a niggling doubt. Pause and ponder. Remember to breathe.

WHAT NEXT: How to balance the paradox of surrender with the unassailable truth that what you focus on gets fixed?  I don't know.

But action is always better than acquiesence.

Do something different today.

Cuddle instead of criticise. Give instead of groaning. Alliterate an action plan.


No comments: