My brother is gay. I spent time with him this weekend, and he said something amazing.
“I know it’s not a choice, but I would choose to be gay if I could. It makes me spicy.”
He explained that the very thing that makes people hate you is the exact thing that makes you cool. So don’t wish away your coolness. My brother is extremely cool. He has beautiful, dark tattoos and drives a black Cadillac. It’s a whole thing.
Another example: RuPaul is cool (and worth $65 million) because drag queens make “normal” people clutch their pearls. If they stop clutching pearls, RuPaul is no longer cool.
Drag Queens invent every new slang term you end up using 2 years later (Okur?). They are counter-culture. We need them. They need their haters.
Most writers and artists are subconsciously afraid to get successful. We are afraid to lose our spice. But, at the same time, we write apologetic, bland prose for everybody/nobody. We only allow ourselves the worst of both worlds. No money — no spice.
Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.
Use Your Spice Wisely
For the most part, your spice has been chosen for you. Being gay, for example. Or being weird. Or cutting your own hair. Or talking too loudly. The only thing to be done is to lean into your flavor and away from fear.
For most of us, this is a slow and subtle process. That’s why people tell you to write every day. You don’t actually get better at writing (well, that’s not why you do it, anyway)— you get used to being you.
Most writing is so boring you want to die. Why? Because it’s a reflection of a reflection. It’s done how the writer thinks it ought to be done based on what some other writer said. It reeks of fear and begging. At the same time, it tastes like saltine crackers. What could be worse?
You are a terrifying creature. Your weirdness knows no bounds. You have learned to hide it your entire life. Your mission is to unlearn hiding. Yes, some people will hate you.
Those who love you will give you what you need and more.
Stop Demanding Everyone Like You
Politics ain’t my bag. But I have one thing to say: stop being outraged that people don’t like you, or find you attractive, or want to be near you. They don’t like you. Why would you want them to pretend? Let them hate. It gives you power.
People not liking you is a superpower. I know how hard this is. But it’s not part of your job — it’s your only job. First, you are tasked with becoming OK with who you are. Everything is easy after that.
If you want to move people to love you, learn to not give a shit about the people who hate you.
You aren’t doing it for them — so don’t intentionally cause their outrage (maybe a little). Instead, do it for those you love. They need you.
Give much-needed courage to the people out there who are just like you and afraid to admit it.
Take a Leap
The money is going to come in ways you can’t imagine right now. But you have to have faith that it will.
Stop trying to “secure” your income by working for pennies on Fivver. Instead, take the leap into who you are. Give us everything you have. Show the world that it’s OK to be you. That’s worth a mountain of gold. It’s the only way to make lots of money without guilt. Be courageous. The world needs it.
It Takes Time
Not the money part — that could come tomorrow if you truly had the faith. No, the part that takes time is building your courage. You are afraid. I’m afraid. We need time to get into the water. That’s OK.
We’re all taking steps toward courage (hopefully). But, sometimes, you take a step backward. The journey is never over.
BUT you can move so much quicker if you know what the actual aim is. You aren’t trying to “become a better writer” or “make more money.” You’re trying to become who you could be. The money falls from the sky when you get there.
You don’t need to work harder. You need to feel 100% OK with the skin suit you’re wearing.
How great is this RuPaul quote? It’s a perfect balance to what I’ve been saying. Yes, lean into your weirdness, but don’t take it too seriously. It’s just a costume.
You aren’t gay, or autistic, or a writer. You are the thing watching you act out those parts. When people make fun of you, they’re just making fun of your costume. Laugh. It’s a good joke we’re all participating in.
Taking yourself seriously is the death of your growth. Instead, learn to see yourself as consciousness — not as an identity. That way, your identity can grow over time.
Think about all the hateful people in the world — how terrified they must be. They are convinced that the costume is who they are. They are like an Elvis impersonator in Vegas who is convinced he must die on the toilet.
Love them. They are lost. Love yourself. You are sometimes lost.
We’re naked. Everything else is a costume. So let's all laugh, write, play, and make each other better.
That’s all there is to do.
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