A reductive list for the sake of keeping up the illusion of order.
10. If you are too sad to function, do something nice for someone else. It may not cure your malaise, but at least, by definition, you will not be the piece of shit you think you are.
9. Love is physical, and can’t be helped. The feeling we identify as “love” is a collection of hormones, neurons, and chemicals. Humans initiate a behavioral routine when they perceive a similar physical reality in another person wherein they strive to identify the nuanced differences in perception between them and that person, and then attempt to eliminate those differences. Basically, a person in love wants to meld their body into the other’s body through osmosis. They want to see their own body through the other’s eyes, touch it with their fingers and genitals, and then return to their own body in time for dinner. Romantic love is an automated act of curiosity and narcissism. It will make you feel terrible and amazing. Unfortunately, there is no way to make yourself romantically love someone, or to make someone romantically love you. It is all hormones and neurons and chemicals, all of which you have no control over, like a dream. Trying to get someone to love you is like trying to give them influenza. In either situation, your chances are better if you just fucking kiss them.
8. No one cares. No one cares what you do or what you look like. They are way too busy dealing with their own shit. If they do care, you are probably being arrested.
7. You’ll end up how you think you will. When we ask ourselves, “What’s next?” we usually answer that we don’t know, we’ll never know, we have no control. The truth is we do know. You know exactly how you’ll end up. You know which visions of the next fifty years are inaccurate, and which ones will come true. Sometimes we can access the difference, but most of the time we don’t want to. You know when you are sitting on a bench somewhere, or walking, or doing the dishes, and you get a brief, unidentifiable wave of happiness or sadness? That’s your future breaking through. It is always there for you but very difficult to look at, like the sun.
6. Your student loans have made you into a non-entity. If you take into account all the money you owe the government, you have negative thousands of dollars. If identity in the developed world is what consumer culture tells us it is (i.e. spending power=personhood), you are technically not a person. If you are unable to buy property or products without descending into further debt, you might not ever have an amount of money that surpasses the mathematical zero. Will you or your money ever exist? Perhaps not. However, if this is true, money is just as much of a non-issue for you as it is for a ridiculously wealthy person. Or, more accurately, you’ve become a wealthy ghost—you don’t exist, yet you can still spend. You are wearing an invisibility cloak of no money. You are a black hole in which currency gets sucked and out if which it is flung. This can either be very disturbing and empty life of meaning, or it can be very freeing. What do black holes do with their money? You get to decide, because no one can see you.
5. The earth will win. The earth is completely indifferent to you, and your children, and your grandchildren. Everything you do “for it” is actually something you are doing for you. How do you feel about that? What do you think should be done about climate change? Unfortunately, what you think doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to the earth, or the climate, or to any force of nature. I’m not trying to be mean, it just doesn’t.
4. If someone wants to have sex with you, they will tell you. They will tell you by letter, they will tell you by phone. They will tell you by mouth, they will tell you by bone. If they want to have sex with you and don’t tell you, that means they don’t want to have sex with you bad enough to tell you. On a related note, you can make a lot of money by telling people that everyone secretly wants to have sex with them—everyone just hasn’t gotten around to telling them quite yet.
3. The Internet is a big room where we all are. You can leave it occasionally, but you rarely do anymore. It was built around us. It expands its walls with our movement. People are born and die here. When you post something, you are saying it aloud. When you look at pornography, you enter a dark corner and cum. When you display photographs of your night out with your friends or the marathon you just ran, you hold up a frame and point to it and yell, “OUT WITH FRIENDS! RAN A MARATHON!” You are actually doing all of these things, because they take minutes of your life. We’re all in this room, doing these things. We rarely leave it anymore.
2. It hurts, doesn’t it? Rejection, loneliness, needles, snapping your ankle, envy, a small electric shock, a burn, cutting your finger with a knife, getting hit by a car, muscles, wheezing, a mean thing you said to someone, a mean thing someone said to you, your body turning into something you didn’t ask it to, someone you love dying, your dick being bit, alienation, your nipples being bit, watching someone you love love someone else and not you, your back, your shoulders, an unexpected disappointment, tight chest, a disappointment you knew would come and finally did, jamming your finger, cutting yourself shaving, your head, too hot water in the shower, tripping and falling, an insult you know is true, your clit being rubbed too hard, being told to go away, your dick being ground on too hard, everything being closed, the light turned on too early, colliding with a tree, getting old, noise when you didn’t ask for it, quiet when you didn’t ask for it, stepping on something sharp and you don’t know what it is, licking something that tastes bad, missing, your stomach, having no money, having nowhere to go, a bad picture, music you don’t like, music you do like and no one else cares, hair you didn’t ask for, looking away from someone in pain, cavities, people not listening to a band, an email that tells you you’re doing something wrong, biting your cheek, being stuck in a small space, someone pressing on your bruise, hitting something so hard you get a bruise, having to stop laughing suddenly, having to stop anything suddenly, your eyeballs, stretching too hard, a commercial when you didn’t ask for it, forgetting, being told you remembered it wrong, telling someone you lied, being lied to, getting your neck bit, getting any part of you bit, getting the wind knocked out of you.
1. It feels good, doesn’t it? See above.
What’s your non-advice? Submit it to Revolver.
Front page image by Killy Ridols.