(one of the best grindcore discs ever created)
When you’ve considered yourself as being a negative person for a large portion of your life, and then are strangely asked by the universe to be something more positive we tend to feel very inauthentic. And when we finally admit to ourselves that sometimes while driving in our cars it is more effective to listen to a Louise Hay audiobook than to crank an old Napalm Death demo. And yes, if you’ve self identified as a crust punk at some point in your life, being noticed on the road cranking Louise Hay by a bunch of crust punks is a little embarrassing. That is until you remember how they look like you did as a young adult, then suddenly you get it why being an adult is better than being a kid. And there is nothing to be ashamed of for being happy.
It feels embarrassing to be optimistic when you are used to the companionship of the let-down. And many of us when we try affirmations for the first time seems fucking lame and full of bullshit. How much of a liar have you become to yourself trying to convince yourself that everything is going to be okay but nothing externally in your life is telling that story at all. We’ve all been there.
My advice always is, to take a step back and realize that sometimes our external lives need time to get caught up with our new intentions, and caught up to our new way in which we are about to start living our lives… whether our old selves like this idea or not.
Change is gooey and full of awkwardness.
So how do we get to a point where we are less embarrassed to be less ‘hard-core’? To be more open to that which at first seemed stupid and untrustworthy, but as we’ve realized that pessimism isn’t working out too well, that we’ve gotta try a new way and level of thinking about life. Or at least feel less at wits-end with it. Maybe even less volatile towards it. .. That is to say other people and new experiences.
it isn’t until long after our growing do we really come to know the truest of all hardcore people on the planet are the ones that standup for peace and level with the public in ways like trailblazers like Louise Hay. But of course we don’t know this as kids. Nor do we relate when our lives are filled with toil and drama.
As a pessimist we tend to see change as hostile. We don’t like it, we don’t trust any part of it. We align in it BS politically motivated progress and thus get annoyed at the pure mention of the word: Change.
As an optimist we tend to see change as exciting. We make associations to it that evolves our spiritual understandings, and our natural reaction to the idea or the word becomes one of trust. But getting there when you are not there is tough. .. or more so, tough the first few tries.
There are many psychological studies that show massive amounts of evidence showing that pessimism and optimism can show similar results, but the effects on our bodies when looking at the two are quite dramatically different.
Optimism promotes health and vitality, while pessimism simply does not. So why are some of us attracted to the need to criticize and hate things even before we confront or meet them? That I don’t have an answer to. And I don’t think anyone will ever find an empirical answer about why negativity is so attractive to some of us. Albeit some authors and scholars have tried. The best they’ve come up with is our EGOs.. This may never be identified, nor does it want to be I’m presuming. …but that isn’t really the issue here. The issue here is on:
What can we do to begin to identify less with the negative and more with the positive.
Well for one thing, change no matter how you slice it up, is like a breakup. In a breakup we are leaving a familiar attachment. We are adjusting former agreements. We are repositioning ourselves for the benefits of something ((hopefully)) of a better fit to whom we’ve recently began to become. What was once familiar has now become a burden. Breakups are rarely easy. But once over free us to a new level of self understanding.
Like a warrior after the war is over, the pessimistic look on life seems to be that of “maddening silence”, instead of calming vastness, .. non-exciting, just plain dull. And since drama was the one thing the pessimist could count on, all of a sudden, all that is left is you being alone and having to deal with… you. ..just plain, you. And for some, that is excruciating.
Pessimists hate that. I outta know because I used to be one. Although while being a pessimist I was under the misconception that I was being a realist. … oh how wrong I was…
If I wasn’t complaining about something or someone, than I felt under-fueled. And I’d start sending out all that I could to seek something to hate-on. Yet ironically, when around anyone that was acting like I was, suddenly I was Mr. Chipperpants. I guess I was so negative that being contrary to even negativity just made sense. Ludicrous no matter how you slice it. Had to change I was going to..
So how did I get out of it?
How did I come around?
Mainly once you lose all your friends to sadness, or watch your friends fall apart over and over again because of either your sadness, or the sadness that they to had become addicted to, I just woke up one morning and had the thought, “life has to be more than this, otherwise what’s the damn point????!”
The first year of “trying to be happy” there was a lot of waxing and waning. Lots of ups and downs. Confusing patterns began to emerge from within me…, identity issues galore, getting annoyed at my interests.. and as to how everything in my life was either crass or scary, often even anger filed sarcasm, I knew that I need to get out from under all this social pressure to be ticked off all the time. Even the comedy I liked was being toted by people who hated and mistrusted life. I was closed in at all sides, so I had to get drastic.
The next thing I did was to begin a purging of all that was dark and spooky, angry and depressed within my circle of influence. That meant people, places, music, movies, books, websites, a lover or two, and even had to limit my interactions with certain members of my family, just to stay afloat for one solid day without giving into being even a little bit annoyed. This luckily worked for me. But it took a few years, not gonna lie.
I think the toughest part was giving up friends that I had known for years. And good ones too. Solid friends that would give you their bullet-belt to wear when a blackmetal band was in town… yet I knew it had to be done otherwise my life was going to continue to suck and I felt i had no other choice.
But like all things, time healed a lot of the anger being throng at me during that time for leaving my group of friends. And ultimately all parties were made better for it. I am even back to being friends with some of them that used to make me anxious earlier on. Yet now they are a lot of fun to be around. And frankly so am I.
My best friend was the hardest to walk away from. Had he and I not parted ways for a number of years, neither of us would have had the space and the time to reflect, realign, and grow into something more fun. All in all I’m glad it was done. Thankfully, so is he.
So what did I do that made for the best remedy for me? Well of course it was the hardest thing for me to do, naturally. That being, since I was a music-head, and being that a lot of my music was evil, spooky, angry, lost, sad, depressing, or viscous… I had to get rid of a bunch of it, and/or hide some of it into a box for a few years to be left in a basement. At least until its hold on me was less like an addict in search for a spoon and a lighter. I needed distance.
I also did this with my DVD collection, and book collection. About a month in it began to amaze me how media can keep people locked into bad relationships with others via it’s negative content. Just like drinking friends, I had begun to realize that I had depression friends! How bloody weird is that? And our relationship stayed intact with the more negative songs, movies, & books we co-experienced together. that was a real eye-opener.
When not being inundated with the cultures that were fueling my criticism of the world around me, my life began to slowly evolve into something very different. I actually was feeling better about my mornings and about going to bed at night.
Did I Miss The Darkness?
So did I miss all those bands, all those books, all those movies. Fuck yes I did! And sometimes like a smoker misses a good cigarette after great sex, life had something missing…
…at first I wasn’t sure what was missing. And I’d go back to listening to negative music from time to time in search for it. I’d even watch a few David Lynch films here and there just in case. But sure enough, it would change my mood in to something I didn’t want to feel, and thus alter my reactions to life, and people, and my work.. And where as before, I thought being sad and lonely made me more creative and productive, holy shit was I wrong about that! I now I had a different lifestyle to compare it to. Depression makes you create sloppy results and it takes forever to finish anything when you are depressed. This was another huge eye-opener.
When I look back at how and who I was back then, I looked really put together and very much seemed powerful, but was I!? Hell no. But now look at me? I don’t look all that different, still fashionable, still listen to Darkthrone from time to time, but I’m not scoured with all that shit at all times. And nor am I addicted to what was missing. Because guess what that missing feeling was? …f’n DRAMA!
I was addicted to DRAMA! … ME? Mr. Level-Headed sound-artist… Ug! Charlie Brown! Once I recognized this, this was the life changer and there was no going back. Once you catch wind of something like this it is like surviving cancer. You just get grateful of everything and life suddenly becomes easy.
You can guess what else started to change in my life?? My body.
I started to feel more relaxed. It's amazing how less anxious about life you are when you aren't digesting 30 movies a week about the apocalypse, zombies, Satanism, Christians being assholes killing in the name of Christ, conspiracies of the bank institutions, and murder mysteries chopped full of be-headings, rape, and body parts. Not that ever really liked that stuff, but everything I gravitated to back then always had such components. And even my habit of porn started to decrease slowly too. Now I am more aware of how it actually makes me feel.. Lonely and guilty. And guilty for what? I still don't have a damn clue – that's the funny part?!!
That's when the really noticeable changes from the perspective of others started to take place. I began to feel like a different person and people saw this. Some got worried about me, my brother and his wife thought I was going crazy. And I guess I was was, but a good crazy. And guess what that new-me finally discovers/uncovers in all this craziness…? That all my negativity was a disguise for childhood embarrassment. Embarrassment for being scared of the dark! .. of all things!
Talk about a shock to the system. and how subtle… to get over my embarrassment of my fear of the dark sent me right into all things dark and spooky. This is where I learned first hand that, “You can say that you don’t want something, but because your mind is so focused on it, that is why you keep having to deal with it.” . Thoughts become things. My life is living proof of it.
All those years of thinking I was all tough and powerful was really more about hiding how embarrassed I was a kid. And for years I was so self-identified with my character armor that I thought the armor was me. Luckily I found that it wasn’t. And lucky for all those around me as well.
I mean there was even a time when I was afraid to wear anything other than black. How twisted is this. As a kid I fear darkness and now as a young adult it is all about black, and black to the point where I feel nervous not being seen in it?? When I put on my first pair of brown shoes as an adult I so self-absorbed with the changes in my life that I thought people were looking at me weird. All because I was wearing brown boots instead of black. …Talk about silly. …And it is amazing how different you feel when you wear color instead of khaki and black! You feel energized!
Now, today, I freakin’ love color and only use black when I’m wearing a formal suit for a function. But my attire isn’t the only noticeable changes to the person I was, it was very much seen in the level of new people who were coming into my life post my changes.
When I wasn’t so intimidating to look at from a distance I began to find that I was really a friendly and personable guy. And that I didn’t need all this armor to protect myself. And in fact, that shield is what was keeping those good experiences away from me back then! The protective shield was actually a barrier! The metal made me actually weak! I mean it is HEAVY metal right? My subconscious was literally bogging me down via my own interests. … ug… And Today… David Lynch films just leave me feeling annoyed instead of being intellectually stimulated! That’s a biggy for me… What the hell had I gotten out of all that stuff I still don’t really fully understand, other than to conquer fear.
… Bet you’ve guessed it by now, yep, that’s right: avoidance. Avoidance of self, or others, or duties, you name it, I was avoiding it. Why? Embarrassment no doubt. It was at the root to everything I was doing. So I had to replant my interests in other things and pull out that damn weed for good.
Don’t get me wrong here….
It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good freaky movie from time to time, or that I will ever stop buying Darkthrone CDs. But the constant bombardment of that stuff is what made my life miserable. Now it is just from time to time do I raise a beer and sing “in the shadow of the horns”. But those nights are fewer and fewer these days.
And definitely, it wasn’t the getting rid of the negative influence that changed me, because it was I that wanted to change from the get-go. And it was I that kept up the trying of new things while being more open to new people, places, food, music, etc that released me from me cage(s). Just that I was now no longer dependent on the low-feelings for self-identification that I thus able to be very well-rounded in my pursuits of a happier way of living life on Earth.
I don’t live an all-or-nothing life.
For me that is lying to myself. A lifestyle which is far worse to me then staying whom I was when I was trying to live behind a barrier of uncomfort and hiding me fear on my shoulders. I don’t do what a lot of other people have done when changing their lives. That being: to move from one trap into the next, ever seeking the better experience via constant avoidance, and the like. Now I am more free-flowing, and the instant the up and down, the dark and light, the love and fear of life ask of me to take part in things, I act out of choice now. But if I had to make a solid choice, as to which I had to choose at any given point in my life, obviously I have been choosing to love life and non longer fear it. Cuz fearing it sucked.
Certainly there have been days when I get sucked into a argument with someone. Sure, there are nights when I allow myself to become frightened by a movie or something I see on Hulu. But I know now that it was my choice, and with choice I was no longer a victim to it unwillingly.
I guess for me I had to run into the wall over and over again in order to finally fall to my ass and recognize that I could go in a different direction. Lucky for me I didn’t contract too many lasting scars from banging my head. But had I jumped from the negativity farm into a fascist way of only looking at the world with a naive outlook that life is always bright shiny and what have you, I’d still be a miserable wreck.
Now I can exist in a freedom to choose.
And that has made all the difference.
This is how I got happy.
Not by pretending, but by being practical.
Without the negative influences I was more clear to start yoga, do meditation, and admit that I am spiritual thru-&-thru. And yes I do affirmations all the time. Affirming that life is great helps a fuck of a lot!
I also don’t hate religions like a lot of people do when they leap from the negative to the positive. Religions are still fun for me to read about and dabble in. I just do it from a new direction now. Instead of debunking them, I learn from them. And sure they are crutches, but ya know, some people break their legs, and life would suck for them without a crutch to get them out of bed in the morning.
Frankly I’ve studied and experienced all sorts of religions, and brotherhoods, and what-not. All of which say the same thing, we are spirit having a human experience, that feeling like shit isn’t optimal, and to know yourself thru-&-thru is where all your treasures lie awaiting. In my opinion we don’t move from Enslavement to Obliteration. For me it was Embarrassment to Optimal-Living.
Life doesn’t have to suck, nor does love, nor does anything. Often times, being fed-up is the motivation we need to do the big 180° turn around, to excuse ourselves away from all the Jerry Springer drama that is calling us to contribute to. For me it was to stop watching shows like that as a starter. To stop watching Fox News was also a smart move on my part. Because really, it isn’t news if all you are seeing is bankruptcy, killings, tornadoes, and sex-scandals.. that’s not news, that’s negativity. And really what is so scandalous about people fucking in politics? I’d rather watch people screwing each other and getting off, than people screwing each other out of each other’s money and livelihood. But that’s just me.
I write this not as advice, or as a prescription to follow word for word. Not that I would ever do that to begin with, but I write this to say that it’s possible to make huge social changes in life. And I know a lot of psychologists challenge the notion that people really don’t change who they are via self-help and all that comes with it. But really it isn’t that changing who we are is via self-help? I mean when someone is waging to kiss me instead of kick me, I’d say that I’ve changed who am. And it was what I learned from self-help that got me there. Fox News and Napalm Death sure wasn’t turning my life around..
Growth is possible if you are kind & patient with yourself.
The process of transformation isn’t easy, and it does call for some drastic alterations that often the closest people in our life get really mad at you about. But if it means that you are opting to have a better outlook on life, and are making your way towards a better lifestyle, then I say, more power to you! And give them time, they will come around, and if they don’t.. that’s nothing you have to worry about.
I did it. And so can you.