An Open Letter to Whomever

a (1)Attention Whomever:

There is a good chance that we don’t know each other. But that’s okay. The beauty of written words is that they can communicate anything to anyone at any time, so you don’t actually have to be among my elbow-rubbing, stein-lifting companions in order to benefit from what I have to say. (I don’t really have any elbow-rubbing, stein-lifting companions, but that is neither here nor there.)

Not that you necessarily need to benefit from anything anyone says. I mean, you could already be perfect for all I know. Okay, well, I suspect you’re not perfect. But still, you just may be the best possible version of a person anyone could be, and as such you have no need to read the rambling rants of a fuck-up like me.

Or, perhaps (and this is way more probable), you’re just as fucked-up as I am and, well, shit, you might as well see what I have to say because, you never know; I may just say something you’ve needed to hear in precisely the way you have needed to hear it because, yeah, sometimes that happens. In any case, whether you’re a perfect fucking specimen (unlikely) or just a schmuck like the rest of us (very likely), you should read this little blurb if for no other reason than that I explicitly wrote it to and for you (since you are indeed included in the pronoun “whomever”).

Now that the bullshit is cleared up, I suppose I should just begin saying what I have to say. Actually, you should truly pay attention to this part, because here is the moment your entire life has been leading to. Yes, your life has indeed been moving to this point. How do I know that? Because whenever it is that you read these words, that moment is the present moment for you, and your life has always been leading up to the present moment, for whenever now is, that’s when your moment has come. That’s when your number has been called. Whenever it is “now” is when your life is about to change.

That’s because there is no time like the present time to do something different. By different I mean, new. And by new, I mean that you’ve got to change something. I don’t know what it is, only you do. But whatever it is, you simply must change it. Now. Don’t wait until it is way too late.

The thing about life is that it moves way quicker than you do. And that’s saying something since we’ve pretty much become a species of speed-seekers. Nevertheless, no matter how fast we go, life still moves faster. Yes, believe me, someday you really will wake up to find yourself at the end rather than the beginning. Someday you’ll notice that you’re old and that your life is almost over. And, believe me, it will seem as though it all went by in a fucking blur. Life moves faster than you can even comprehend.

Trust me on that.

In view of this, it is absolutely imperative that you force yourself to stop once in a while. No—fuck “once in a while.” You must force yourself to stop frequently. As in, ridiculously frequently. Make it a consistent habit to stop and take stock of yourself and your surroundings. And make it a regular point to frequently excuse yourself from the mad push of life, taking time to breathe and taste things and smell things and think about things. Make plenty of room in your life for the small moments, for observation, for reflection, and for simple rest and relaxation.

Take the time to enjoy yourself. Please. Allow yourself the ability to smile… Or cry, if need be.

Likewise, it’s important never to take things too seriously. I know it’s common advice that we all hear all the time, but it’s so common that its message has been lost. So I shall repeat it in bold type: Do. Not. Take. Things. Too. Seriously. Just don’t. It sounds pedestrian, but believe me when I tell you that this is among the most imperative advice you could ever give yourself.

Also of grave importance is this: learn to like yourself. Not just accept yourself (even though that too is important and, at times, seemingly impossible); no, learn to like yourself. I want to say you should learn to love yourself, but most of us don’t really ever get that far. We should, yes. But sometimes, even just learning to like yourself takes everything you’ve got. But that’s okay, because it’s a pursuit that’s worth the effort. If you don’t like yourself, why should anyone else? And if no one ever bothers to like you, you’ll spend your brief life on this planet quite alone.

Do not listen to those who want to tell you that you don’t deserve to like or accept yourself. These snakes want you to believe you were born sinful, born guilty, or just born wrong. To them, living matter is, by its very nature, wrong. They don’t and cannot see the precious gift that being alive is. They want you to feel like you have to apologize for existing, for just being you. Ignore these lies and learn to like yourself. You’ll be so much happier for it, believe me.

No less important is this piece of advice: allow yourself to be happy. Do not clutter your heart and mind with problems and guilt and regrets over stupid shit you did yesterday. Don’t weigh yourself down with baggage that is completely unnecessary. Don’t let your faults as a human being prohibit you from enjoying your brief stay on this planet. We all have faults. We all do stupid shit. And there isn’t anyone among us who does not wish he or she could take back half their life and do it over. But to use those thoughts to rob ourselves of our joy is by far worse than any of the other bad shit we have done. So be good to yourself. If you won’t, who will?

At some point today, stop what you’re doing and go find a mirror. Stand there for a moment or two… and just look into that mirror. Don’t see only the reflection of the physical body. See that too, yes, but also look past that to see the real “you” on the inside. Try to get a mental image of that “you.”

That “you” that you see is good. You are good. Yes, you are just fine precisely the way you are.

Do you have problems? Sure. We all do. Have you behaved poorly in the past? Probably. In fact, yes, you have. Will you misbehave a bit more in the future? All signs point to yes. But what you do and why you do it are two separate issues from this one basic truth: you were born good, not bad. You were born innocent. You were born beautiful. You weren’t born evil.

Does this mean you weren’t born with bad tendencies? Of course not. A human, after all, may be a civilized animal, but he’s still just an animal. You have certain instincts within you, leftovers from the long, slow trek of your evolution—instincts for survival and for self-preservation, instincts that translate as selfishness in society. But these instincts can be unlearned as you move throughout society. That’s the definition of being civilized: to better ourselves. To rise above instinct.

But regardless of your instincts, you were born good. Why were you born good? Because you were born at all! You are an arrangement of matter that’s occupying space and time for a limited duration. Is matter good or is matter bad? The truth is, matter is most likely neutral, or sterile—being neither “good” nor “bad” on its own. It can only be “good” or “bad” based on someone else observing it and assigning these qualities to it. A steak is considered by (most) of us to be a worthy form of matter, while feces is thought by (most) of us to be a bad form of matter. Ergo, if you are born as a form of matter and matter is neutral, how do I know you’re good? Because I say so! I choose to view us that way! I choose to assign to you worth and goodness because I feel this is what you deserve.

Regrettably, not everyone agrees with me. There are those who choose to say you were born bad, the product of sin, the result of humanity’s disobedience, an abhorrence to God. They say this because they’re following a theology, but what is “theology” if not a human set of understandings regarding some manifestation of God? Thus, these humans who say you were born bad say so because that this is what they choose, just as I have chosen to say you are good. See, we actually do have free will; it’s just a bit different than the theologians want to admit.

So, who is right? Well, that’s for you to decide. Look in the mirror and make your choice. Are you good? Or are you bad? Now, I’m not talking about your tendencies and your unique leanings and all those many things with which you internally struggle. Sadly, being alive on this planet, walking among other broken humans, will always result in a messy existence. But look beyond those things and see the you underneath. Is that you good? Or is it bad? I say it is good. But that’s just my opinion, and my opinion isn’t worth too much. I would, however, based again on merely my own opinions, encourage you not to listen to the infecting lies that other group tells you. Those are just lies disguised as love, but all they really do is cause harm, damage, and destruction.

You be the judge. Decide for yourself what you see in the mirror. I just hope that you make a positive, healthy, liberating decision. After all, the rest of your life is depending on it.

That’s it. That is all I’ve got to say. You may now return to your regularly scheduled whatever.

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