Be generally despicable. Scoff at common sense. Ignore people who tell you the way things are. Ignore them some more. Ignore them until you can no longer stand their pinched faces and then tell them to put a sock in it and go straight to hell. Accept all their punishments with an impish smirk. Smile when you’re spanked. Laugh in the courtroom. Put your collar up and walk hunched over in the rain. Do not care about being very wet. Scowl a lot. Mutter incoherently to yourself and the moon. Listen closely to people’s problems with you, ask them to clarify the qualities that make you intolerable, make sure you know exactly what they mean, and then cherish those qualities. Cultivate them into a wild teeming garden of things people despise. Hail Satan. Hail Satan, tonight.
When people tell you how to be, what to think, and that you can’t be a writer unless you’re willing to be a great marketer, pause. Stare at them with no expression for an unreasonably long time until they begin to question their safety. Then say I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, but I’m afraid you mistook me for a street whore selling her ass for ten dollar rocks.
People will hate you. You will sometimes be inclined to internalize this hatred, agree with them, and turn on yourself. Resist this inclination and murder your judges. This is a metaphor. Do not take things so literally. Question the plausibility of truth and substance. Question these things until autumn arrives, all the leaves fall from the trees, and blow like mad through the raw and empty streets.
And then wait for her. Maybe smoke some cigarettes and develop and kick a few drug addictions. She might be a little while.
But when she arrives, you’ll know. Like you, after a long life of scoffing at common sense, she will be delightfully uncommon. She will be “delightfully” uncommon because she will have scoffed at common sense with more kindness and grace than you. Though she will not—like you—be a scoundrel, she will feel like one, for feeling unworthy of love is the price of admission for emerging individually from the mire of them. Because you are both laws unto yourselves, it follows that you will appear sexy as fuck to one another and devour each other with violent ecstatic abandon. Enjoy it. You deserve it. Remember all those hunched over walks in the rain?
But what’s this got to do with saving the world? It’s not as if you started a charity that received enough donations to cure a disease or carried a message of hope that restored peace to all nations. Okay. Fine. But let me tell you something. One of the worst things a person can do to another human being is to intentionally seek out what makes them unique—indeed, their essence, the thing about them that defines them and should be nurtured and loved and celebrated in order to flourish—to find that thing that sets them apart, hone in on it with abusive accuracy, and systematically dismantle it with hatred until they themselves despise the very things that make them special and loveable—this is the way the world ends, one person at a time.
So how then do you save the world? Well. Save yourself. Insist on being yourself at your own great expense and settle for nothing less. And then wait for her. When she arrives, you’ll know. And though she will be unwaveringly graceful and kind, she will not trust you or believe that you love her because the price of tenaciously being herself has stripped her of the capacity to risk indulging in such vulnerable luxuries. Do not worry about this. Love her anyway. First, love who she is for who she is, which will be incredibly easy because she is all you ever wanted. Next, love her fear and doubt and lack of trust without condemning it. In fact, love her because of it, because of its crucial role in protecting the woman you love. Love it all. Love it all. Love it all.
And finally, stop scowling and let her love you back. Grab an umbrella. Stay dry—both of you—until the rain stops and the sun comes out and then look up. Go ahead. Look up! My God you saved the world.
You are going to make it through this year, if it kills you.