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Ginger Says – Being tough is being gentle when everyone around you is getting off on acting like a movie character

By Ginger | January 10, 2000

Ginger, Japan '98 by Rieko OhnishiHappiness exists… it’s official.

2000 started on the roof of a skyscraper, watching scenes of firework mayhem and millennial excitement. Together with some great mates and a wonderful girl, I took a quiet moment alone to think… which normally, inevitably, leads to over-thinking and worry. And I could not for the life of me figure out where things were going to go wrong. And then it hit me… I’m in love.

I’m in love with life and the amazing chaos of chance and mystery. I’m in love with the sheer power of music and its many positive effects. I’m in love with being alive. I’m in love with me.

Happiness starts from within, and that’s often a pretty ugly place to begin panning for gold. The human has a strange need to know everything it can. And if it doesn’t know, it will improvise. Of course, improvisation is by its very nature chaotic, and from chaos comes both good and bad, right and wrong. It’s knowing the difference that really hurts. Being happy means debasing yourself; becoming a child again; holding your hands up and saying to yourself, “y’know, you think you’re pretty smart doncha? Well, you don’t know shit.”

Learning is a painful and humbling process in which one must graciously accept failure, never the most natural of states for a human. People don’t like to be wrong, and therefore stay locked in an eternal bubble of denial. Alcohol will give you good reason to complain instead of repair. Drugs will give you good reason to need instead of belong. The greatest gift, and the sole purpose of our existence, is others. Our effect on them, their effect on us. Everything else is denial, and denial is a drug – present only for the safety in ignorance and the assurance that because the weatherman says it’s raining we figure we don’t like the rain.

The news is it’s all good.

At the start of December I fell in love with Henry Rollins’ nihilistic and educated views on why life sucks. Late December I fell in love with Kris Needs’ desire to push the body towards Hell just to see if burning really hurts that much. Early January I fell in love with Boy George’s vaudeville-sized self-obsession. And now I’m in love with my way. I’m not Henry, Kris or George, and for some reason that never really connected before. We can get so wrapped up in other people’s ideas that we mistake recognition for agreement.

And there begins the downward spiral of self-destruction: the eradication of oneself and the repairs made using the hang-ups of others. I’ve got my own hang-ups, thank you very much. We are all important and we all have a story to tell, and usually that story isn’t too pretty. But the most important story is the one that is reluctant to be told.

In this world, belonging is everything. So much so, in fact, that people sometimes mistake the reality of the weak- and bitter-minded as a real existence. It is, of course, avoiding real existence. The true reality is staring you in the face, and it doesn’t matter how long one denies the truth, it can never be truly ignored. One day it’s going to have to be dealt with.

We know who we are, we just don’t always want anyone else to. Or rather everyone else to. But fuck it. Fuck fear. Fuck fucking around. And fucking fuck.

Tell the world! Tell the world that you aren’t really so tough. That takes guts. Tell the world that life scares the shit out of you. They’re too scared to. Tell them all that you love the fact that you are kind and gentle and forgiving and generous, and before you know it you will be. And they’ll want to be too.

It takes broad shoulders to carry a burden for life, but lifting it off takes a whole upper body workout. Who is the strongest person you know? If the answer is not you, then you just answered wrong. Be great. Be kind. Spread the word and do something nice for someone every day of your life.

If someone tries to fuck with you, answer it with good. The need to react violently and aggressively is natural. It is not tough. Anyone can do it, and it will always come back to you badly. Being tough is being gentle when everyone around you is getting off on acting like a movie character or, worse still, the supposed personality of a hardened musician that probably goes to bed early with a cold drink and a warm lover.

Don’t be fooled, everyone wants to be good. They just ain’t got the guts. Hey, try it out. Give it six weeks of biting your tongue when you want to shout. Try resisting the urge to break someone’s neck, and accept that that is just the way that they are. Let’s try it together, because this shit’s new to me too. And if we come through and can influence a bunch of people along the way then it looks like it’s gonna be a great year. Let me know how you get on, I’ll keep you informed too.

Being good… it’s the new punk!


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