That was the last thing Johnny Rotten said to the crowd at what was The Sex Pistols’ final show until their 1996 reunion. I’m sure a lot of people in that audience back then would have replied “yes”, and I bet a fuck of a lot more of them would say it now too.
I took a few days off from writing, social media, and pretty much everything related to The Ghost Generation. To say that I’ve been “less than mentally well” would be the understatement of the century, right next to “Donald Trump sucks” or “candy is good”. Candy fucking rules, and Donald Trump most definitely SUCKS OUT LOUD, so in turn-
Yeah, I’ve not been doing so hot.
Here’s the thing- I fucking HATE change. Even more than change, I fucking hate being out of control. I’m not necessarily a “control freak”, but I don’t do well when the world is forcing me into a situation where almost all of my life and decisions are completely out of my hands.
Change? It’s great when it comes to things like racism, diversity, police reform, the list goes on. When it comes to my small little sphere of influence though, it drives me nuts. When you throw a metric ton of change to my daily life into the pot with a raging pandemic, civil unrest, and almost total uncertainty about damn near everything it can be outright fucking crippling.
I’ve never been one to sit here and pretend like I’m perfect, I’m about as far from it as you can get. It’s just that I haven’t been able to get my head around a lot of this shit and I had been forcing myself to keep writing anyway, so I wouldn’t lose any momentum or what little attention I’ve been lucky enough to get on this shit. I essentially had a full-on mental breakdown and I decided to just breathe for a few days. No writing, no social media, nothing.
We need to be a LOT nicer to ourselves, now more than ever.
I’m not though, that’s just the honest-to-God truth. My internal dialogue plays like something akin to an awful, abusive drill sergeant screaming “DROP AND GIVE ME 10,000!” in my head all day. Only, instead of “DROP AND GIVE ME 10,000!” it’s “you’re not good enough for anything”, “you look like shit, be ashamed of yourself”, “you’re a confused failure who has no idea how to fucking do ANYTHING right”, or “nothing you ever do will matter”. It’s all variations on shit like this, self-defeating, torturous, and ever-present.
I’ve learned to live with it over the years but unfortunately my delicate balance has been fucked six ways from Sunday and everything going on in the world around me has just been too heavy to carry. Plenty of people have it much worse then me, I’m well aware of that fact, but that doesn’t make my experience any less true.
I’ve been trying to grapple with why I seem to be having trouble getting people to pay attention to this wonderful little website and it’s been made all the more shitty because I don’t have any fucking answers for it. Maybe people don’t like my super-raw honesty and frequent emotional catharsis? Maybe people have vastly more important shit to think about than making sure they give our shit a look? Maybe The Ghost Generation came along at the most SUPER WRONG time of ALL time and if the world hadn’t slid into chaos it would all look completely different? I don’t fucking know.
If I had all the answers I’d be typing this with my mind from the starboard deck of my hybrid space yacht while sipping on the most perfect and calorie-free margarita ever concocted.
Maybe it’s shit like THAT.
Anywho, I’ve been feeling like a complete and total failure and I know that I probably shouldn’t. It’s just that when I start listing my accomplishments I come to this realization that most of them are external. I have the most amazing wife I could have ever asked for, I have two healthy, disgustingly adorable children who love me, and we live in a house that 5 year-old me would have assumed we’d get evicted from in two months.
I also can’t shake this feeling that I’ve never been able to figure out the things other people have been able to figure out in life, and that maybe I’ll never do it. I’ll just be stuck in this fucking purgatory and end up being useless, unloved, and sitting at a desk eating a ham sandwich somewhere wondering why I never QUITE put it all together. The pandemic? Just means I’ve had more time to sit with this shit in my head and that’s not good for anyone.
Everything feels so shitty right now that dystopian fiction is legit the only thing that makes me feel a little better.
No, YOU’RE disturbed.
Where was I going with this? Ah! Yeah, so here’s another thing- we ARE all being cheated, every single day, and if the pandemic, unrest, and bleak future is all the tip of the iceberg then the big-ass monolithic BOTTOM of the fucking iceberg is this: we are dealing with all of this uncertainty and fear, and we are doing it in the name of a system that doesn’t give a FUCK about us. It doesn’t give a fuck about us, our children, or our grandparents. It doesn’t give a fuck about your dog, your kid’s fish, or your dental hygenist.
The system cares about two things: money, and the ability to keep making it. I’ll spare you guys another deep-dive into my thoughts on capitalism and all that jazz right now, my point is- ife is hard right now, I don’t care WHO you are. We’re all wondering how were going to manage working while schooling our kids at home, we’re all terrified every time we sneeze, and we’re all watching our health and safety being turned into political talking points and mechanisms to divide us even further than we already are. We’ve been working and paying into a system that sees us as “human capital”, fodder for the greater machinations of the stock market, oil prices, and the GDP.
We’re essentially being told every day to risk our lives for a system that we are little more than glorified slaves to, and unless we start doing some DRASTIC fucking shit to change it, this is how it’s gonna be til the sun burns out and we all freeze to death in 4,000,000,000 years. Just money, products, and work.
It would all be a LITTLE bit easier to swallow if the people in charge gave even a passing impression that we mattered to them, but we don’t and we know it. We are giving our lives to an American Dream that can’t even muster up the ability to protect us from job losses, evictions, and homelessness during a pandemic that wasn’t our fault.
So yeah, I’m fucking angry. I’m angry as a million angry motherfuckers and it’s not hollow. This isn’t misplaced teen angst bullshit, this is visceral. When Johnny Rotten asked that crowd in San Francisco “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” back in 1978 the shit going on in 2020 would have seemed like some kind of authoritarian fever dream. The shit’s been getting worse and worse ever since, and maybe it’s because this pandemic and everything swirling around it has laid so fucking bare all the ways in which we’re being fucked and abandoned by our “leaders”, but it feels like we’re living through a time nobody in 1978 or ANY time would have dreamed of.
2020 feels like the undoing of CENTURIES of progress. Considering that most of our progress has been tiny and regressive at best it’s a more crushing blow than it should be.
All the cards are on the fucking table, we can see everyone’s hand, and it ain’t good. So I’ve been trying to get my head around everything and it’s not going as well as I’d like. I guess NOTHING is going as well as I’d like right now, and maybe I just need to live with that for a while. Maybe I’m not going to find my answers right now, maybe I’m not going to figure out how to make this shit a success right now, maybe I just need to keep writing and focus on my little corner of the world right now and be OK with that. I know I’m not the only one, and there IS a little bit of comfort in that.
And whether they’re external or not, my accomplishments ARE pretty fucking amazing. I found a partner who is also my best friend, and who has somehow managed not to replace my cereal milk with antifreeze for seven years now which I’d imagine is NO easy task. My kids? They drive me nuts sometimes but they’re also loving, and kind, and freakishly smart. Also, they love me unconditionally and they look up to me for some outlandish reason and I’m proud of every single breath they take. Our house? I only lived in a nice house once when I was a kid, and my stepdad got us evicted in less than a year cause he was a con artist so yeah- I’m extremely fortunate and grateful to have a roof over my head that I’m proud of.
You know, this is why I write- it has the ability to help people but it ALSO has the ability to help me. As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m realizing that maybe these accomplishments aren’t so external after all. Maybe I need to stop measuring myself with my old, broken yardstick and look at the things right in front of me. Maybe I need to stop judging myself so harshly, and maybe it’s OK to NOT have all the fucking answers at once.
I mean, a FEW would be nice.
I feel like 2020 has been an exercise in letting go, and I know I haven’t been dealing very well with that idea so far. I’m terrified that nobody is gonna care about what I’m trying to do with The Ghost Generation, but maybe that’s not where I need to be focusing my thoughts right now. Maybe I just need to keep writing and worry about the rest when life is a little less crazy. Maybe I need to stop beating myself up for not knowing everything too, and maybe I need to allow myself a few minutes to just BE.
Fuck, I don’t know. I’m calling it a win that I can even get my punk ass out of bed every day right now, so maybe if I can cut myself a little slack I’ll be able to get my brain to the level of clarity I need to see how I want the rest of this shit to shake out.
I need to take that “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” energy and use it to my fucking advantage. Find my path to getting through it, rising above, and forging a path to peace that I can stay on for a while.
As far as THIS goes, I’m still here. I still want to grow this into something VASTLY more than it is right now, and I’m going to allow myself a little hope that maybe a year mostly filled with a pandemic isn’t quite enough to make my mark. I can’t pretend to be anyone else, and I write how I write. I’m trying to bring some honesty, a little righteous rage, and some dark but well-intentioned humor to this shit and I guess it’ll either sink or swim.
I’ll never be fake though, and even if I can be a little heavy at times I’m holding out faith that there’s something in this voice that SOMEONE will identify with and want to hear. it feels like a ghost town right now, but so the fuck does everything else, so at least I’m not flying solo in the uncertainty plane.
I’ll implore you to do the same, give yourself a little room to get through this shit however you need to. Give yourself a pass, and allow yourself the space to understand that NONE of us have lived through a time quite like 2020 and that it’s OK to be a little lost. I’ve always been a little lost, but maybe this is the year I finally learn to forgive myself for it and embrace the process of finding my way again. I think I’ve let frustration hold court center-stage for a little too long now, but that’s OK too. It’s easy to lose sight, and much harder work to find your way back but it can be done.
That’s all for now guys, I figured it was time to get back on the horse so you don’t completely forget about this shit and to anyone who is feeling even REMOTELY the same as me right now- hang in there, and find your own ways to navigate the coming days without losing your shit. Tune out from the darkness here and there if you can, and just sit in a room and breathe. I’ve heard that stillness of the mind is where the answers are found, now if I could just get MINE to shut the fuck up.
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration