The Big Sexy
I start this post with no real idea of what I'm trying to say or where I'm going with it. All I got is a vague notion to talk with somebody (imaginary virtual audience) about self image. I was reading some articles over on Medium after I posted there yesterday (you didn't miss anything, it was a repost of How To Drown The Sound Of Crying) and I came across a great post by some guy I had never heard of called Rich Roll. The article itself is worth a read, as is this second one from him - but first you must click here and see his site. Two seconds is all it will take you to figure out what he's all about.
If you can't be bothered looking, it's basically about some guy who got tired of himself lying on the sofa and being a perpetual loser who turned himself into one of the X-Men using plants and can now run insane distances while looking sexy and podcasting about it. It's easy to be dismissive when I don't want to be those things. Actually - I say I don't want to be those things, but I'm not entirely sure of that. Would I like to be an amazing runner-type-dude with podcast episodes that people paid to listen to? Sure - why not. Sounds great. Except, that's not what I want my legacy to be. It might be sexy to some people whose own mirror tells them it's a sexy image but my idea of sexy has nothing to do with sex nor does it have anything to do with fitness.
I thought in those actual words - "that's not what I want my legacy to be". I don't want to be remembered for being able to run for miles but there is a little part of me that wishes what I saw naked in the mirror matched the mental image of what used to be some time ago.
Which begs the question - of me, and perhaps you if you want to go down that road - "how do I really see myself and does it matter if that doesn't match what other people see."
I think it might. What if you see yourself as a successful 'take no prisoners' entrepreneur but the rest of the world sees nothing but a selfish dick whose parents didn't pay them enough attention, did you really win that war? It's one thing to not care what other people think about you but - in this example - when the weight of opinion goes against the grain, it gets out of the realm of funny and starts to have too many similarities with great dictators of the world.
So what do I want my legacy to be? What do I think is sexy? They sound very different but they're very much the same really. I guess if I pursue what I think to be sexy, then those things will be pure, from the heart and become the legacy by default. Given that you can't dictate what the world will think about you when you're gone (hell, maybe you don't give flying one about what people will think about you when you're dead but roll with it - if you've got kids, it's at least semi-important) you might as well focus on what you find sexy.
So, I ask myself again - what do I find sexy these days? I used to find self-confidence sexy but that's over-rated now that everybody is faking their aura and backing it up with proactively and continually trying to sell you something. I blame social media for that one. It's one thing to be self-confident but let's face it, a far too large percentage of the people who are out there tooting their own trumpet are, in all reality, shit at what they do.
There have been a couple of times that I found the idea of being in great physical shape quite sexy. Maybe once after I had seen Rocky, definitely another time when I found myself outgunned at a ju-jitsu competition at Crystal Palace and maybe one other time when some guy called Scottie decided I would be a good punching bag sometime in the mid-eighties. That last one actually has a happy ending because I slept with his girlfriend some ten years later.
I think I'm leading up to announcing here that I find writers sexy but that's not exactly true either because there are too many of them to make that declaration in such a sweeping statement. The truth is, there's a certain type of author/writer that I find sexy. That goes for songwriters and other types of artist too.
That type is the honest artist. It was incredibly simple all along but it still took me forty-five years to figure it out. Charles Bukowski is sexy because he is bare-knuckle honest. The new album from Lissie (Back To Forever) is unbelievably sexy because it's a bucketful of her heart tipped out across the kitchen floor.
Game of Thrones is sexy because it's not pretending to be something it's not. On paper, it should be an awful show that makes me cringe but it's so hand-on-heart honest about its intentions, it's impossible not to fall for it.
The more people that I find sexy in this way, the more it feels right to be a part of that tribe. The world is not a nice place but it's not so awful either. The world is pretty funny really if you carry some salt around in your pocket.
For honesty (and therefore, sexy) to work properly - to be honest with yourself and others - you need to be able to not stand in judgement of either. To take something and love it in the state you found it in, is very empowering. I didn't realise before that many of the things I find sexy have been with me for a long time now. That famous quote that goes "Have nothing in your house that's not useful or beautiful" reads much better as "Have nothing in your life that you don't find sexy" - we shall let it be somebody else's problem if they wish to interpret 'sexy' as the size of your chest, lips, hair colour or ability to run across the Grand Canyon fuelled only by the leaves of a Yukka tree.
Being sexy is the new black. As Lissie would have it:
"I don't know what this game is
because I'm not even playing it"
And the only game that's worth playing is the one you set the pieces up for inside your head.