1/25/12

Love Notes From Bet Getter

As if it were a mystery. As if we just don't know why. And we reinforce this, we ask you why. We want to know why. We want you to convince us. You think that nobody understands how bad you feel, and that nobody can understand. That if you told someone, they wouldn't get it. Or they would pretend to get it. Or they'd say they understood, but really they'd have some other idea of what it is, some idea based on themselves, which is almost worse. So you can't tell anyone, there's no help available, nothing. You think there are only a certain numbers of ways out, and that finding those out is better than being bad. Feeling bad. You think it's a mystery and that no body understands. And I am here to tell you that I definitely understand. I know exactly what you are thinking about, I know what they are all thinking about, because I am thinking about it too.

We talk a lot about compassion and optimism and hope and faith and love and forgiveness and perseverance and strength. These are all abstract concepts, these are characteristics of some fantasy dream-date version of ourselves. These are the ideal circumstances we live without, who's unattainability, untenable maintenance bums us out and discourages us from being alive. These aren't real things, these aren't help or hope or solace.

I know what you are thinking. What you are thinking is what they have all thought before and what so many (you could even say "all") of us are thinking, which is not a fictional personality attribute, but a simple observation. It's not because nobody understands. We understand. I understand. It is because THE WORLD SUCKS. Awful things happen, in perpetuity. Suffering is endemic and not incidental, it is constant. Pain is a part of life, and such an awful and omnipresent part that it does yes tempt one into thinking that the baby has dissolved in the bathwater and why not?

You don't get treated the way you deserve, no matter what, ever. Some people have a really easy time and not because they deserve to have an easier time or have done anything to affect their circumstances, just because. Some people have a hard time, too, for the same reasons. And I know that it is awful but it is also not something you can opt out of.

The secret to becoming a successful artist is the same secret to staying alive and that is to really bear down on this certainty. To really know, intimately, this bit about how the world sucks so hard. Art and being alive don't celebrate the beauty of life.

Anyone who tells you that they are simply noticing or celebrating the beauty of everyday life is either on drugs or lying or both.

Art and being alive work and are necessary because they come from a place of profound disappointment, disillusion and anger. With the world and how much it sucks. And so you want to make it better, or at least make it through it, by staying alive and/or making art. The sad fact of the matter is that this is the first part. You have to really get down into it, really be committed to rubbing your nose in the shit of life, participating in the torture of talking to other people, show up for your daily tribunal. You need, in other words, to be acutely aware, on a very fundamental level, of how hard the world sucks, the great unfairness of it.

Because only after that, by staying alive and making art and fucking and talking and singing and writing and dancing and complaining and making jokes and telling too much and being alternately scared and then brave about how much the world sucks, do you begin the process which culminates with you realizing that you have imagined a world beyond the one you know.

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