I swear that if I see that video one more time of that dude talking about airplanes rusting on the ground and Martin Luther King not having a dream but the dream having him I am going to fucking scream.
For those who do not know what I’m talking about – the video is called ‘Everybody dies, but not everybody lives’ and it’s from American rapper Price EA who has a whole series of so-called motivational and inspirational videos and is better than everyone else.
Here is the video in question:
“What’s wrong, Hayley?” you might ask. “That’s pretty inspirational and true and-” shut the fuck up, dear reader. This is not inspirational – it is bossy and presumptive and actually pretty fucking rude.
I want people to stop telling me how to live my life as though they have their shit completely sorted out and together.
Literally. Stop. Preaching. At. Me.
I don’t know about you (and I wouldn’t presume to either) but inspirational quotes and speeches that tell me what to do really wind me up.
‘We only regret the chances we didn’t take’
I’ve watched Disney’s The Lion King several times and there’s a lyric that says “There’s more to see than can ever be seen, More to do than can ever be done …” and it’s true. We are going to die having not done things that we wish we had but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s just the circle of life, and it moves us all, Through despair and hope, Through-
-what I’m trying to say is that life shouldn’t be a list of accomplishments. Things you should do before you’re 30, 40, 50… fuck that. Existence isn’t about being like everyone else – we don’t all have the same dreams and if you don’t do what everyone else is doing that isn’t a failure. If you’re not happy that isn’t a failure. If you’re not a good christian or a moral atheist that isn’t a failure. Do you see the pattern emerging here?
Other people don’t get to hold the threat of feeling like a failure on your deathbed over you to “motivate” you into improving your life.
Nobody has their shit more together than anyone else. This is all a big lie. We’re all worried that we’re not reaching our potential but the fact is that none of us really know what our potential is supposed to be. We just do what we do and hope that it’s enough.
In the age of social media it’s easy to present ourselves as people who have our shit together. Look at my perfect fucking life, look at the smiles, at these wild flowers I carelessly threw into a glass jar because I’m so grounded with my place in the universe. But these personas we present aren’t really us. They’re the best versions of ourselves that we present to other people who then think “oh shit, I need to try harder.”
Our Instagram feeds are our electric sheep. We’re all trying to keep up with the Smiths next door who themselves aren’t even who they appear to be while punishing ourselves by not being the people we present to the world.
I personally think life is about finding what you like and just doing it. Some days I want to travel and experience new things, other days I just want to sit and watch daytime television, or watch DVDs of my favourite movies while drinking whisky. Sometimes I just want to sit down and play Minecraft or read a book.
On occasion I’ve done the things I want to do and have felt this doubt that I should be doing more creeping into the back of my head and it pisses me off that other people have made me feel that way with their pseudo-inspirational lectures when they have no fucking right.
It also really irks me when celebrities tell us “be who you are, do what you want to do” as though they aren’t putting on a front themselves. As though their celebrity status makes them an authority. As though their fame wasn’t brought about by a chance encounter thousands of others failed to have.
And don’t get me started on companies who invade our space with their instructions which we’re supposed to be warmed by: “just do it”. No. No I will not.
I’ve grown up with advertisers telling me that we’re all beautiful and to not worry about beauty standards but there’s an irony in there somewhere because we’re not all beautiful and that’s okay because you don’t have to be beautiful. If a company tells you that you’re pretty while simultaneously trying to sell you something to disguise your naturally occurring appearance they don’t think you’re pretty.
And fuck the people who tell me how to live without being asked for their opinion because this shit is not inspiring, it’s not empowering, it’s not lovely – it’s patronising and false and harmful.
Look – just do what the fuck you want, and if that means doing nothing, then so fucking be it.