For as long as I can remember, friends have often came to me for advice. I’ve always found this odd because one glance at my shambling semi-existence should be enough to convince them I’m no position to offer anything but a comforting hug, and even that’s lukewarm.
I’m not in a situation to offer guidance to anyone right now, on anything. I wouldn’t trust myself to tell someone which end of a mug to drink from. If you approach me with a worry or question I’ll likely snort as if you just asked whether horses have gills. Sure, I have basic human empathy and I’m able to comprehend your situation, on some instinctive primal level at least, and I will gladly listen to you for the next half-hour bleat on about whatever, whoever and wherever – just don’t take anything I say as gospel. I am useless, do not come to me for anything, I will only sink your ship faster. But what I’ve learned lately is that we don’t listen to the advice we’re given, this generation in particular. We run from reality like animals from an explosion. We hate reality. This isn’t learned behaviour, this is hardwired into our brains in a way that previous generations couldn’t fathom.
This biscuit-eating pilgrimage through adulthood isn’t a fun for all of us, is it? It’s easy to hate yourself regardless of where you are in the world. You hate yourself because you’re constantly stuck behind slow-walkers and never seem to get anywhere. You hate yourself because the things you’re supposed to care deeply about take a back seat to your favourite TV shows and social media. You hate yourself because no matter how many times you say, ‘right this week I will properly dedicate time to getting into shape’ you still wobble yourself over to the sofa and scoff down biscuits.
You hate yourself because everyone else around you is so beautiful. And beautiful people hate themselves because they know they won’t stay beautiful forever, one day they’ll be old. Everyone wants to young, so if you’re not young, you hate yourself. If you don’t have a great career, then you’ll hate yourself. But having a great career takes a lot of time, and if you’re young you’re probably not successful yet, unless you’re like Arianna Grande or some shit, and even someone as talented as Arianna can probably come up with a reason to hate herself too.
We love to hate.
Each day we scroll through feeds that show us highlights of other peoples lives. We see the radiant glamour of their newest selfie; the popularity of their latest tweet. We read about their new job, their latest heartbreaks, we consume their unasked opinions until we’re bloated, but still we want more.
We bury our noses deep into this fabricated reality that’s stitched together by 0s and 1s that’re cunningly disguised as pretty flourishes on colourful, changing screens. We lose ourselves in the ideals of other peoples’ lives, chasing them like children do butterflies without a net. We are craving what they have; their looks, money, fame and popularity. We are longing to slip into their shoes for one day, just so we can feel something other than self-loathing. A chance to be someone else would help stave off that gnawing sense of failure. But we never look up from our screens and think, ‘what have I actually got?’ We never stop to ask ourselves what happened to catapult us into such a perpetual spiral of self-hate. Why do you hate yourself?
Because we love to hate.
The world is a raggedy, breathless place. It’s brimming with different types of people who are constantly struggling, loving, fucking, fighting. If this planet had a real voice it would scream for a millennium and its cries would be lost in a vast cloud of narcissistic blah that’s clogging up our lives. Every day is a mismatch of choices that either get you to where you’re going, or see you lying awake at night reliving something embarrassing yet equally inconsequential that happened four years ago.
We love the idea, we just hate the work.
Visually, this world is an unending collage of greying landscapes that we claim to be civilisation’s most significant creations. The finest cities in the world, London, New York, Paris; cities with new prospects and opportunities; that serve us a platter of new jobs, fresh-starts and finer friends to gorge on. We seek these things and places as they’re the best chance at splashing colour onto the empty, fading billboard of our lives.
We love the idea of having a life that we won’t hate.
We spend our mornings mourning and our evenings cold, cramped and with a dream ringing in our ears. Meanwhile the world is imploding. The environment is crashing. Fundamentalists and morons are at each other’s throats whilst the great leaders of our glimmering society debate ways to thrust us into another war. We pray and pray to a disinterested God who is so disappointed with how things have turned out that he’s wished himself out of existence.
Things were so much simpler when; I loved being that age. I wish they were still here. I hate that you aren’t still here.
You miss lost loved ones; every God-damn day you miss them. The kiss of your ex, the touch of the person you last left your heart open for. The death of parents, grandparents, of sibling and sons. They aren’t here anymore and it’s an ache strung right across the bleeding centre of your chest. Nobody gets it, you tell yourself that every fucking day. To hell with other people’s problems and heartbreak. You’re hurting, and no matter what you try it never stops stinging, and the sting only serves as a reminder of what’s gone. Opportunities, dead pets, lost lovers and never-forgotten loved ones.
How can something you love have left you with so much hate?
Assuming the world doesn’t come to an end while you’re standing on it, you get on with your day. You work, you struggle, you work some more and you somehow, against all odds, make it through the week. You make ends meet. The hardest thing in the world is to live in it, but live in it you do. Because no matter how much hate you have towards this world, it still has love in it. It might only be a ounce, it might be dimly lit light right now, but it is there, just bright enough to lead the way. It’s there, pulsing and constant. Just hold on to it, maybe the hurt will stop; maybe the hate will go away. Maybe this world won’t be so ugly after all.
After all, we love to hope but hate being disappointed.