“You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”
As settlement day nears I find myself entering into a Fight Club state of mind.
Like a lot of blokes, particularly, I loved Fight Club. It was ballsy and smart and it appealed to that brute instinct in all of us. Sure it’s a movie you say, but there was an awful lot of blunt truth in it.
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive.”
It’s that kind of blunt truth I find resonating in me as I’m about to re-enter the world. I feel like I’ve been in the ring for longer than my allotted time, have taken a hell of a lot of blows, but find myself unexpectedly still standing.
“First you have to give up, first you have to *know*… not fear… *know*… that someday you’re gonna die.”
There’s a harsh wisdom you learn when you’re getting beat up. You realise that a lot of the things you thought important are actually pretty irrelevant when the shit hits the fan – there’s the whole Ikea riff from the movie. At the same time, when you’ve been rained with blows you’re either cowed by it, or eager to step up and throw a punch or two of your own when the opportunity finally arises. That’s where I stand.
“When the fight was over, nothing was solved, but nothing mattered. We all felt saved.”
In some ways I’m in an enviable position because I’ve got fuck all to lose. In fact there’s a strong argument in my situation to say that this is no time to play it safe – whatever that fucking means. It’s not really my nature regardless to hedge my bets, but the fact is it would be pointless to do that now. I feel a bit like a bloke whose been given $10,000 worth of gaming chips and told to either go hard with it or give it back. It’s not my money, and there’s no bet unless it’s a decent bet. Why wouldn’t you put it all on red? You win, you win big; you lose, and you’ve lost nothing you had before.
“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.”
I may well end up in a quiet job in the corner of the office earning a modest, but respectable wage, but if I do it will only be interim. That might have worked before, but not now. I have nothing. Doing that maintains nothing – I lose no more, but nor do I build anything. I need to build. One day it’ll be time when I don’t work anymore and unless I’ve got something to show for my years of toil I’ll be on a pension and living in housing commission accommodation, meals on wheels making deliveries every second day. Can you imagine H living like that? Fat chance.
“Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything.”
No, if ever there was a time to go hard then now is it. I’ll be smart about it, smarter than before, but no two ways I need to step up. And as much as it is about replacing some of that lost future, it’s also about reclaiming something of me. I can’t be shy now. I can’t even really be modest. The answer is yes I can.
“Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you, never wanted you, and in all probability, he HATES you.”
There’s a sense of fearlessness. For a moment the image of a phoenix rising from the flames was in my head – but that’s much too clichéd. And not really accurate either. Too fairy-tale. Too fatalistic, as if you only have to be consumed by fire to be reborn.
“After fight club, everything else in your life gets the volume turned down. You can deal with anything.”
What is true? Simple things. Things have been stripped away from me, till what I have left is very little and quite basic. The real value lies within me, and I know that now. The path ahead becomes plainer because of that. There’s no-one else who can do it but me. There’s no help, no fairy godmother, nothing but what is inside me and my will that can make it so. It’s liberating, almost cleansing, to know that. This is a win or fail deal, I win then it’s on my terms, and if I fail then it’s on my terms too. I take complete responsibility. That’s how it should be, and I never want to forget it.
“I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.”
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
“Fuck damnation, man! Fuck redemption! We’re God’s unwanted children, SO BE IT!”
“Tell him. Tell him, The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perceptions.”
“Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or…you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn.”
PS. I inserted all the Fight Club quotes after writing the post, rather than writing the post around them. Am surprised at how well aligned my post is to the Fight Club philosophy. In retrospect I think I’ve always had some Tyler Durden in me.