How to Give Up (What Isn’t Meant For You)
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
There is nowhere to be
There is nothing to do
Between here and there
Between me and you
This is all there is
After your born
But before you die
All that matters
Is if you truly felt alive
I wrote this poem a few months ago. It doesn’t seem like much, but this collection of words pushed me through some uncomfortable times. Living in NY, dabbling in comedy, wanting to be a relevant writer, wanting to be relevant in general, wanting recognition and to be heard and understood as I explore the fullest expression of myself is not easy. I’d even go as far to say it’s been a battle. Admitting that I want to push my voice into the world both through writing and on a stage is a big pill to swallow. It gets stuck in my throat, the very place I’m trying to come from.
I often talk myself out of my dreams before I can even bat an eye at them. But after some serious introspection (hours of meditating), 6 months of sobriety (from alcohol), 15 years of addiction (you name it, I did it), and a recent mushroom trip (more of a portal than a drug), all these words I keep writing and expressing on stage revealed to me what’s been there all along:
My writing and my comedy are just a way for me to understand myself. I thought maybe it was a shot at fame or money, maybe adoration, but I see now it's just a way for me to understand myself. The same way the Universe created us to speak to "itself", we must create things to understand ourselves. It’s how we take what's within and place it outside; only then may we know ourselves. And maybe that’s enough. Maybe that is just enough. And no fame or recognition truly matters, just the act of expression is worth the act for no other purpose than just that.
There is nowhere to be
I stood in place for so long it nearly drove me mad. For me, so much of my anxiety comes from not making a decision. Not taking a step in any direction. Because sometimes even the wrong direction lands you back on the path. Or perhaps, you are never off the path, there are just many ways to reach your death, and some will be more fulfilling and more exciting than others. But maybe none are wrong. Of course there is a time to be still as well. That’s always the tricky part though isn’t it? Going and staying are both necessary forces depending on the situation, it’s just knowing when to do which. And that is true of everything. Nothing is just good or bad, or right or wrong, It’s just knowing which is necessary.
Timing - it's everything. You’ll get it right sometimes, but you’ll get it wrong a lot of the time, too. You can't always be right. Sometimes it takes being wrong to even begin to comprehend what could or should be right for you*. And when things don't go as planned, it just means it was time to learn. No need to punish or shame yourself repeatedly, one lashing will do. Remaining open to the things that don't work for us helps us more easily find the things that will. Life becomes more of a fun game when you stop destroying yourself over your mistakes.
There is nothing to do
Life is merely a series of levels, and like a video game it seems we must repeat the ones we don't "beat" aka learn from. I also tend to think we must love complexity to some extent. We seek comfort constantly, there’s no doubt there, yet we seek comfort in the most destructive ways. I am definitely speaking from my own experience here. How did I manage to believe that binge drinking and snorting cocaine everyday were somehow casual, peaceful ways to ease my anxious mind? It’s silly really. And since I am a recovering drug addict I can say whole heartedly - my addictions are silly now that I’m past them. They were quite ugly while I was in them, but now I look back and laugh. Maybe that’s just my nature. I don’t ask that you look back on your past with a good chuckle, but who knows, you could try it. It's amazing how time and space allow for so much laughter.
I can’t say life is rewarding me now that I’ve chosen to play back and beat the levels with some charisma. Now that I'm not drowning in my cocktail of sadness and drug use, I've got some pep in my step to confront what comes at me. Just waltzing (with some light twerking) across the karmic dance floor. Karma is one of those things people misinterpret all the time. Karma is not some cosmic score board that rewards you for your good deeds and punishes you for your bad ones. It’s just simply the life you’ve cultivated due to the choices you’ve made. Period. There’s nothing woo woo about it. Now that I’ve chosen to honor my life and live in accordance with it, it’s revealing and opening up more to me, purely because I'm aware and open enough to receive. It’s not always fun, or pretty, or joy inducing. But it’s real. It’s raw. And it's my own.
Between here and there
Sometimes I step outside and take a breath of air and notice how many systems and functions had to come together to allow for it. Not just in my body, but in the whole Universe. And if everything just kind of came together, all crazy like, maybe for no god damed reason at all, and allowed me this life, what shouldn't I do with it? I still pretend I'm a nihilist from time to time, it's good fun, but I'm definitely nihilist light now. Or perhaps nihilist optimist. It's so much more enjoyable looking to the bright side, even if all of it is empty and meaningless. It makes so much more sense to me to fill the void with creation than to despair. To say "why not?" rather than "why me?" 'Cause life is happening not just to all of us, but for all of us as well. This could be a once in a lifetime, cosmic rarity and we're fucking here for it. Suspended in space, being held by the cosmos. We are so very held.
I've surrendered. I've just fully surrendered to so many important things. Things like, I don't know exactly how or why I am here. And I may never know. But that doesn't change the present moment that is my life. I don’t know how or when I will die, but until then, I am in this life as Sam (The Slam) Hancock - and she changes constantly. It is her birthright to change. I surrender to the truth that I deserve to be here because I am here, and even if I’m just a glitch in a chaotic void of madness, well then I will be the fullest expression this glitch will allow, god dammit.
Between me and you
Now, don’t take advice from me if you don’t want to. I’m just a human, wandering around like the rest of us kind of clueless like. But if you do want my advice, here’s what I’ll say. Look at your life. I mean really look at your life. See where you can shift things or give things up to achieve more peace. Then shift those things and give those things up. You must believe you can do this, even if you don’t believe you can do this. And then watch. Watch what happens when you take responsibility for your glitch of a life. It isn’t magic so much as pure, sweet surrender, and it’s beautiful.
Surrender meant I had to give up. I had to throw in the towel, call a quits, wave the white flag. I had to admit what wasn't for me so I could flirt with the idea of what could be for me. And beyond admitting what I had to let go of, I had to actually let go of those things. The things that kept me stuck, feeling and acting like shit. Giving up feels hard at first, like you're losing or missing out. But really, you’re only opening space for the thing(s) that will work. Surrender is synonymous with giving up, but it is also synonymous for gaining what truly belongs to you. The people, the places, the creative endeavors galore. What is meant for you can only find you if you quit fucking with what isn’t yours.
The only pressure you’ve placed on your life is the pressure you’ve placed on your life. It is up to you to release it. And sure, there’s society, and the patriarchy, and your mom and dad, and whoever harmed you. But you’re still the one who keeps the pressure to be anything but yourself, on yourself. None of these people/institutions actually have the final say unless you let them. We harness a great deal of power when we just admit it. But we have to admit it right now. Not one day, or that we had it and lost it, but that we always carry with us the power of being. I promise it is okay to admit this. It’s okay to dream big and it’s okay to have no dreams at all. It's okay to go and it's okay to stay. It's okay to fall and it's okay to get back up. After all, there is no where to be, there is nothing to do, between here and there, between me and you. This is all there is after your born, but before you die, all that matters is if you truly felt alive.
If you noticed this *
* You know what's best for you. You know what's best for you more than anyone else does in about 90% of situations. Don't forget that. Let yourself be wrong sometimes so you can learn how to be less wrong with time.
(I say 90% because if you were in the woods, lost and starving, someone like Bear Grylls may know what's best for you then. Get my drift?)