Last Thursday I turned 26.
26 years old, something that I honestly thought I would never live to see.
Holy shit, I’m approaching 30!
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that my overall outlook on life was a bit bleak to say the least. At 21 I already felt burned out with no sense of direction. I occasionally went to community college, never thinking that it would actually get me anywhere, and drifted from shitty job to shitty job in the meantime. To really summarize things, all I had really thought was pretty much the equivalent of “fuck the future”.
“Fuck the future”.
That was my mentality, and that phrase in itself pretty much sums up my lack of drive at the time.
Then something happened…
I was introduced to the work of Charles Bukowski, and for the first time in my life, I actually related to something in the literary realm. Here was this down-on-his-luck-type of guy, who struggled with all things related to booze and women alike, yet somehow had this degree of humanity shining through in his work that one wouldn’t be able to see just by coming into actual contact with the man. I admired him so much, his poetry and prose alike. Thanks to Bukowski, I began having a love for literature that I never had before.
After exposing myself to as much of Bukowski’s work as I could get my hands on, I found a new appreciation for all the books I was “forced” to read in high school. "Of Mice and Men", "Moby Dick", "1984", "To Kill a Mockingbird"…all the works that were force-fed to me I read over again with this newfound consciousness that I was never aware I possessed…and I was made all the better for it. That wasn’t all however, as I would be exposed to a whole new world of authors who, as cliché as it may sound, actually spoke to me like none ever had before: D.H. Lawrence, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, and more besides.
Yes, Bukowski practically helped me put my shit together and get my life in order…because I didn’t want to become that middle-aged guy with nothing to call his own staring down the inside of a whiskey bottle. That in itself may sound like a bit of a conundrum to anyone familiar with Bukowski’s work, considering the fact that the man himself didn’t achieve fame or notoriety until he was much older, and here I am at 26 as a struggling writer and perhaps would-be author.
Regardless of whether or not I actually achieve any sort of notoriety, there is one simple fact that remains: I’m not giving up. Tenacity is a powerful thing for one to possess, and knowing that I’ve come this far now after being written-off in my teens as a drug-raddled loser, the only direction that I can possibly go is forward.
That’s the lesson here folks. No matter if you’re looked down upon by others for whatever reasons, no matter how you may be labeled, no matter what anyone tells you that you can’t do…don’t give in, and don’t give up. It may sound like a cliché-type of thing to hear, but one thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that those who believe themselves to be on a higher social status and automatically look down on someone for whatever reasons never truly stop being tools…and yes, we should all know how to properly identify tools at this point and time :)
Seriously though however, those who get looked down upon more often than not somehow manage to rise up and be better than they themselves could have ever imagined. They strive and move forward, and provide many a shock to others in the process of doing so.
And that kids is the moral of the story here. No matter how down and out you may find yourself being, know that you aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to feel that way. Just know that you can rise up, grow, evolve, and be better than anyone could have ever thought or hoped for you to be…and in the process you can teach some of those fuckers who labeled you a loser a thing or two about a thing or two.
Don’t give up, don’t give in.
…and now we resume the dick & fart jokes!