I was reading one of those “letters to your younger self” pieces today, in this case by the rather wonderful John Cooper Clarke. I like reading the personal touch mixed with the social observation in these kind of things, and the shine that the hammering of age gives to some people’s reflections. In a way everyone is an irreplaceable experiment: the sheer, ignorant information of trying to live, colliding with the resistance that gives experience. If you can make sense of that, that is pretty much the moonshine wisdom gig. Which sounds pretentious of course, but everyone does have their story, and everyone learns things.
It seems like it would be more meaningful if you were talking about a public figure, an artist, a famous scientist, an actor, a politician even. People who have engaged in a consistent, recognized “work” seem like they would have a more coherent meaning, but I don’t think that is necessarily so. Most of us haven’t really engaged in such a “work”, and we couldn’t even say that we are “failed” artists or scientists (though I would still hold to the punk ethic that can trash that), but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t achieve, that we didn’t follow our own fated song. Indeed, in the long view of millions of years, you may be having the longest short laugh for not caring too much for reputation.
So if I was writing a letter to myself what would I say?
Well I’d have said “good job” on a few really bright flashes of spirit, like, “you don’t know how close you got to something there”. I’d have certainly said “trust yourself more”, and trust a whole bunch of activist harpies and ideologues less, like ditch that shit, it means you no good. Feminism, leftist vanguardists, flag waving, identity politicking bull crappers. Yeah, fuck you all, I would have said to them, for sure. Fuck you very much. And I would have explained to my younger self that his bemusement at never fitting in was due to his largely not being usable. You way overestimated the people you didn’t even realize were the opposition.
I would have told him to look after himself better, to have less self-questioning, self-denigrating ideals, and get everything he could for himself. A few people I would have tallied up the list with for him, and suggested not being such a mug. I would have told him to appreciate some people more, and some people a whole lot less.
On “gay culture” I would reassure him that he was right to stay true to himself and not try to conform. On falling in love there would be nothing I could say, because I fell in love at 23 with a man who I ended up letting destroy my self esteem, and leave me incapable of loving in that way ever again. I was a blank film. Some people are like that when they are young, it wasn’t his fault. But things being as they were, that is how I learned so much and grew, albeit through crisis.
But I would, at key times, have got a message through: hold back, don’t do that, don’t give everything away. Yep. I would have told him to not go back that time. I would have told him that kind of love was already over, but that other love would come.
I would have told him to stick to magick and art, and not fall for religion, even as an experiment.
But after the breakdown and the crisis, there’s not a lot I would have to say. Just a few nudges, but he got there quick enough anyway. Funnily enough he was getting the messages I would have given, but he wasn’t always acting on them quite fast enough sometimes. Done ok though. By then it was “me”.
Unlike the reflections of John Cooper Clark or Shaun Ryder, I don’t have many reflections on the times, or my social environment. It’s all very personal (apart maybe from the political harpies), and I think that is something to do with me. I don’t fit, I never do. Astrologically it is part of having Chiron in Aquarius. It’s just down to me, and the individuals I relate to. I should have told myself that too. That it is ok. You can pick up that ball and run with it.
No one says the society has to like it. But then no one is asking.
I’d say to remember that no one is asking.16th October 2015: minor edits without change of meaning