That is, a letter TO MYSELF, and
TO ANYONE WHO HAS EVER believed their ‘success’ depends on the size of their physical selves and how their features are arranged. Or any humans who have quietly hung some of their self worth on what their bodies can or cannot do. Or believed they’re more worthy of love and joy based on what they think or believe, or don’t believe. Or anyone who has thought that their worth is in parallel to how much they give to or do for other people. Or who’ve totted up how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they are based on how much they’ve done or not done. Any humans who feel they’re living a more worthwhile life because they travel, or because they’re raising a family, or because they made a lot of money. And also dem who love themselves because they believe there’s a divine spark in every person.
Bollocks to all of that, all of it. Yeah even the last one.
You’re worthy because you’re alive.
We put a lot into deciding what advice to take on how to live a ‘worthwhile’ life, a life well spent. I know I try too damn hard to do ‘worthwhile’ stuff, and sometimes it gets in the way of me doing stuff that I, like, want to do, or it gets in the way of me, like, being nice to myself.
So, rather than being your own drill sergeant, (you can call her Sgt. Hookey if you like cos she’s a stone cold bitch) just chill –
The bottom line is that you, and I, are worthy simply because we’re alive.
Now the other stuff is important, the art and the compassion and the families and stuff, I’m not saying it’s dross. I have a lot that I believe I’m doing to grow and to hopefully improve the lives of people around me, simply by working to be less of an impossible bitch 24/7. Those things I’m doing, learning, working on, those goals, get me out of bed and doing shit like writing to y’all. The bottom line is though, and I have days when I can just about scramble for a bottom line, that all the stuff I’m doing, learning or working on isn’t what makes me worthy of love, life and all good things. I’m worthy of love, life and good things because I’m alive, because I exist, hi!, things that exist are inherently worthy of love, life, and good things. Not because we’re doing admirable shit, or because we’re strong, or compassionate, not because we make art and definitely not because we’re ‘pretty enough’, not if I eat organic or even if I’m actually a little piece of heaven, a little piece of god in a biped. I’m worthy, simply because I’m alive.
Cue worries about wasting my life and ‘not fulfilling my potential’…Today I decided I’m finished worrying about ‘fulfilling my potential.’ I mean, what does that even mean? It should mean ‘being happy’, because doing what you’re passionate about doing and exploring what you’re passionate about exploring is a generally accepted path to something at least close to ‘happiness’. But too often ‘fulfilling potential’ turns into some capitalist bullshit disguised as self-help: you’ll be happy if you keep on running, keep on reaching, push harder, go faster, you’ll get there eventually.
My mother died at 37. I’m almost 32 now. The closer I get to the Big Three-Seven the more I can see how I’ve been running to ‘fulfil my potential’ as fast as possible. It’s done me a world of good – I waste less time, I regret less often, and I suffer fewer fools. But it’s hard to un-see the clock hanging around my neck after spying it when my mother died, and I’m almost 32 now, see, and I’m getting tired of running this fucking fast and having no idea why. I’m learning to lean into the journey and let go of ideas of what a ‘worthwhile’ life looks like. And I’m learning that doing shit just because I can and I want to is way harder than it sounds.
I have no idea how many people struggle to balance pushing too hard for good things, like growth or healing or art, but this came up for me this week so I thought I’d share it. I wonder if other people’s partners have told them ‘you work too hard!’ and meant they’re ‘working too hard’ on being a better person, not just ‘work-work.’
I’m still going to aim for the other stuff, the growth and shit, but I’m going to be more careful to weed out the ideas of other people and of ‘culture’ when I choose what to aim for. And I’m going to be more careful not hang my entire self-worth on whatever it is I choose.
So even when we don’t do anything or achieve anything, we don’t look ‘good’ or smell good, when we’re not generally helpful or even particularly pleasant to other people, we’re still worthy and our lives are still worthwhile.
Even on the days when you’re not strong, or compassionate, or you don’t feel like little pieces of god in a biped.
We’re worthy because we’re alive.
This goes for everyone everywhere all of the time. And the planet. And all the non-humans too.
Except tiger mosquitoes fuck those guys.
P.S – Happy Sagittarius Full Moon. Email me ❤