Hey guys, stop offing yourselves OK? I was reminded this week learning of the suicide of Keith Flint just how many grown men have chosen this as an answer in recent years. Look in the worlds of comedy, music, food culture… and those are just the famous ones. Guys, come on. I know we’re handed blueprints we’ll never live up to. I know there are chapters of change situationally and physically that are hard for us. I know we stumble. I know the difficulties of manhood… and yeah, “The Suffering of Men”, that’s not exactly going to rocket up the bestseller list right now. I get it. Whoever you are, you mean something to someone - go find them and say something.
*** (By the way, one of my clients pointed out it’s Women’s Day, and that’s just a timing we have to respectfully deal with - this happened last weekend and I do these updates on Fridays, so let’s not read any more into it. This needs to be said, and it’s an issue for all. Absolutely no slight intended.) ***
Listen, a man at his best is like an acoustic guitar – balanced between the tension of the strings and his internal bracing from implosion. This makes the best sounding guitars and the most providing and productive men. But the juice is strong and the balance precarious. We can’t all be all of that and of those who can it only happens in bursts and chapters. And I know it’s a personal decision, and one there’s a good argument that any free reasonably independent individual should have the right to make – to stay or to go. But please, open up to other men and find some better solution to wherever you feel the foundation cracking away. Go sit in a sweat lodge; take a solo road trip; go park your ass in a tent somewhere beautiful with no distractions for a few days and empty out to replenish.
We need you, whether you’re a troubled food & travel writer or the crazy looking singer of a techno band. Or just somebody who helps other people laugh. Or the guy in the office or behind the counter. The one who needs some help. We’re all a little dark and a bit damaged inside, every single one of us. There are ways through whatever the issues are, just as there was coming out of the teen years, just as there was in that late 20s recalculation so many go through. I get it, believe me. But cut it out. And yeah, 49 is a wall. But you know, I just made 50 and you can too.
I was already thinking of writing this week on how whatever you see here, whatever this looks like to you, this all formed as I kept on going. This is on the other side of a lot of seeking and searching, and sweating, and the scars. It’s no huge thing I’m some superman at the helm of as Captain Omnipotent, but it’s all big and engaging enough for you to be sitting there taking time out of your life to read it. So given that, WHATEVER AND WHEREVER my reach with this podium I’ve been given is, Ol’ Scottie Shortbass here is telling you - be good to yourself. Be cool. That damaged kid in you? Don’t hand him the keys. Those troubles? Don’t hand them your hope. Those toxic people? Don’t hand them your validity.
If you’re not happy, change – there are many options. I know we’re supposed to be the rocks of stability. Yeah it’s scary, and we’re not supposed to be scared right? Yeah it’s messy – hey, we’re supposed to be the fix-it guys right? But you’re more than you think when you’re not thinking right, and that’s life, and if you’re alive you keep going and keep growing and, ideally, evolve on up or over into the next version of who you are in this life. That’s your choice! That’s what you do when it isn’t working anymore… and you can’t do any of that if you’re dead.
It’s not an easy climb, this life. We all fall down and F up. We have our times on top of the world, and our moments underneath it. And it’s very confusing, being an age of chatter, where one ignorant opinion types out onto a screen as the equal to another reporting actual experience; the wheat out there is buried in chaff, and I hold no answers for anyone but myself… but at any point in your life, whoever you are, whatever your next hill looks like, there are answers, there is help, there are those who have navigated this part of the maze before. Find them. Talk openly to them. And most of all… listen to THOSE voices. We need you, brother. We need you.
OK, back to guitars and basses and springtime next week!
Listening to: John Coltrane A Love Supreme, Crescent, Both Directions at Once. A fantastic podcast interview with Matthew Sweet (http://www.digmeoutpodcast.com/episode/224-matthew-sweet-interview). Good insight into the world of an artist who “makes it”. And a fantastic new Joe Rogan 2 hour interview with David Lee Roth. Too many bail because they can’t follow him – but he’s a wise man, and it’s like the jester bringing you a ton of what those who’ve sought and climbed and done and seen KNOW… and presenting it to you in analogy wrapped in parable and sprinkled with anecdote. Stellar.