It doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s nothing you can do about it, so don’t waste your energy thinking about it. What matters is where you’re going. And that, mate, is something you can control.
But this is what I know about people getting ready to walk off the edges of their own lives: they want someone to know how they got there. Maybe they want to know that when they dissolve into earth and water, that last fragment will be saved, held in some corner of someone’s mind; or maybe all they want is a chance to dump it pulsing and bloody into someone else’s hands, so it won’t weigh them down on the journey. They want to leave their stories behind. No one in all the world knows that better than I do.
The smell of the sea swept over the wall and in through the empty window-hole, wide and wild with a million intoxicating secrets. I don’t trust that smell. It hooks us somewhere deeper than reason or civilization, in the fragments of our cells that rocked in oceans before we had minds, and it pulls till we follow mindlessly as rutting animals. When I was a teenager, that smell used to set me boiling, spark my muscles like electricity, bounce me off the walls of the caravan till my parents sprang me free to obey the call, bounding after whatever tantalizing once-in-a-lifetimes it promised. Now I know better. That smell is bad medicine. It lures us to leap off high cliffs, fling ourselves on towering waves, leave behind everyone we love and face into thousands of miles of open water for the sake of what might be on the far shore.
Rule Number Three, and Four and Five and about a dozen more: you do not go with the flow in this job. You make the flow go with you.
People you knew when you were teenagers, the ones who saw your stupidest haircut and the most embarrassing things you’ve done in your life, and they still cared about you after all that: they’re not replaceable, you know?
Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant; once they’ve cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin. The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got the chance to happen.
Only teenagers think boring is bad. Adults, grown men and women who’ve been around the block a few times, know that boring is a gift straight from God. Life has more than enough excitement up its sleeve, ready to hit you with as soon as you’re not looking, without you adding to the drama.
If you think you’re a success, you will be a success; if you think you deserve nothing but crap, you’ll get nothing but crap. Your inner reality shapes your outer one, every day of your life.
If you put your energy into thinking about how much the fall would hurt, you’re already halfway down.
Don’t fool yourself: we all have a cruel streak. We keep it under lock and key either because we’re afraid of getting punished or because we believe this will somehow make a difference, make the world a better place.