The mind is always stronger than the body, unless I choose otherwise. Part 1 here.
I may have a few reasons of my own for wanting to be better, one of them being the genetic mishap I sort of carry, and therefore can’t say that I’m free of influence. Ye’see, power over others is easy to get but power over my own body and brain is not. What I really want is control, control over my behavior, control over my fears and control over my feelings. I’ve been pushed around for most of my life and the thing that scares me the most is how fast I revert to the vegetative state I’m so familiar with, the one in which I’m passive and trampled over. It’s also one of the reasons Buddhism and nirvana don’t have much appeal to me. I mean I can understand serenity but I can’t understand the non-reactive freedom, who in their right mind would want to feel nothing? If you want nothing, need nothing, care for nothing, are you then free? I think not. For those of you who want to reach nirvana I say only this: be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
I lived quite a few years of my adult life without thinking of tomorrow, drinking, eating, playing, and to my surprise I realized I have no memories of that. No, that’s not right, I do remember, but there’s nothing standing out, nothing of importance, nothing memorable. I do however have fond memories of my work, which you might imagine is quite a shock. Besides work, I did nothing, I experienced nothing that can be anchored down. No memories to share, no stories to tell. I might have been invisible or dead, same thing right there. Time, a whole lot of time just wasted. Then came one bad thing after another and I have to say nothing and nobody prepared me for that, it was just my luck I got married to a beautiful strong willed girl who, for a time, was the only thing standing between me and …
I came to my senses, eventually, and the thing I just became aware of these last few days is that pain is quite certain. Yea, it’s a bit strong, but it’s true. Now, I’d happily trade a decade of that time wasting crap for just one year of preparing myself to withstand that pain. I’d rather have 1 hour of pain a day for a decade instead of what I’ve gone through these last few years 24/7. You know why? Because whatever pain I choose to inflict upon myself by learning, working, changing, becoming better and stronger is way way less than what pain the world chooses to inflict on me. Believe me, it’s worth it.
There’s much truth in the saying “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, because when it’s all over and done I’m actually stronger, in mind or body. If you’re stranded on an empty island with no food, shelter, clothes and you survive – boy oh boy will you realize how much smaller all those other fears you had until then. Cheating death sure makes you immune to bosses threatening to fire you unless you give them 3-5 hours overtime each day, don’t you think?
Yes, I’m talking about the mind and not the body, though … you could do both. But your mind is the weakest link here. Your behavior reflects who you are, it reflects your identity even if it’s a fake one. What you do is who you are, all that other nonsense about being somebody else inside is pure bollocks. You’re nobody else on the inside, because if you believe you are good and still act bad, you’re an idiot rationalizing your own idiocy. The end doesn’t justify the means unless it’s honest to god survival or fighting for your life and it usually isn’t. If you’re willing to trade your freedom or happiness for safety or pain, you don’t deserve either freedom or happiness.
There’s much to be said of this, because there’s no shame in giving up your happiness – it’s just sad. Quite so. Pain is a powerful motivator if you do it correctly. If you choose to gradually increase it, you control it and it doesn’t control you. It teaches you discipline, it steels your mind and by overcoming it you it gives you great power over yourself. You learn the virtues of patience and your own limits. There’s nothing getting even close to that. You learn who you are.
The greatest joy anyone can experience is when they exceed their own expectations, when they finally step over the chains of what they and others believed was possible and succeed. I was a fat, sad, depressed, shy individual once, very much afraid and overcome by anxiety. It didn’t matter, I was still kicked down and trampled. Hiding didn’t help, giving up didn’t help. Misery is certain, like pain, unless you’re fighting back – success is never certain but then again, at least now I’m going down fighting. Now? Now I’m just a wee bit less fat but working on it. I’m still not that social, because that would require losing that lifetime habit of wasting time and actually meeting new people but I’m also working on it. Nobody understands the pain, they can’t. They judge you like some merchandise and they set the price for your mind, regardless of your own opinion. You can believe them and stop caring, you can believe them and give up – or you can change yourself, it’s your choice. You see, you hear, you believe. Some judge us on how we look. Others judge us on past experience. They’re all wrong, I can see that now. I lost that along the way, somehow. Pain was a good teacher, I only wish I could have chosen it myself and controlled it because it hit so bloody hard. That pain, that feeling of not being worthy, the price-tag stuck to my forehead comparing me to garbage made me want to be stronger, because I wasn’t alone anymore, I had a family. I didn’t have the luxury of giving up anymore, and that’s actually a good thing. Hell, it saved me. Burning the boats so you can’t go back always did seem crazy up until now. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. I choose pain, I choose to give up on giving up, I choose to be better – for myself, for my wife and for my son.
Contrary to the above, I’m not a masochist or into that 50 shades of grey crap. I’m not religious. I’m not an anarchist. I don’t see conspiracies unfolding. I don’t preach the end of the world. The pain I’m talking about is in my mind, it’s created by my own choices. The effort of steeling my will-power, the effort of working my brain-cells in math, physics, psychology, the effort of identifying negative thoughts, beliefs in order to eliminate them, the effort of changing my mind and behavior to what I believe I want to become, all this effort means pushing through a lifetime of learned habits, instincts and reactions and it means pain, discipline and resolve. It means a lifetime challenge.
My thoughts betray me, you know. My identity decides my choices and my choices decide my behavior. I am better than this. So far, I chose the easy way. It was a mistake which I’m now correcting. I am changing, and if that change comes with a pain-tag so be it. I will control the pain, I will learn, I will never give up and I will succeed. I know who I am and this is my choice, for all to see.
I choose to live my life. I choose the freedom to choose. I choose the pain of failure, I choose the pain of change, I choose the pain of learning new skills, I choose to have a life full of happiness, sorrow, hardship and success, whatever it takes, bring it on. I choose to be of value to those around me, I choose to be important to my family and friends and I choose to have memories worth remembering. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I choose to matter and if I’m to be cannon fodder, I’m bloody making a big bang. Fuck off universe, is that the best you can do?