Ask Andrew W.K.: Any Tips For Coping With Post-Traumatic Stress?
Photo by Frank Longhitano
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
My name is Charlie. I'm a car salesman. Back in November I was involved in a car wreck during a test drive with a customer. No fatalities, thank goodness, but I did break some vertebrae in my neck. I had to take a leave of absence to recover. Good news is, I still have mobility and will make a full recovery. My problem is, the thought of going back to work scares me. I'm worried I won't be a good car salesman anymore, and that I won't keep my composure during test drives. What should I do?
It's entirely OK to feel exactly as you're feeling. Of course you're going to feel nervous about getting into a car again. That's more than understandable. Don't be too hard on yourself. All your emotions and reactions to this intense experience are OK.
Say that to yourself: "It's OK." Never feel bad about having feelings of fear, nervousness, or worry. Feelings and sensations make life come alive. Without them, we're just numb and not really living. You're allowed to feel any way you want. Embrace those feelings and fully feel them--that's how to get in touch with your inner self and instincts.
I think allowing yourself to feel how you feel will take a lot of the extra unnecessary pressure off your shoulders. It's going to take time to fully understand and absorb what happened to you. So give yourself a break. Even if other people you work with don't understand, screw 'em. Allow yourself to go back into work and the test drives and let the feelings come as they will. Putting it off for too long will only build more fear and painful anticipation.It's going to be intense, but it's going to be OK.
The ideal situation is to harness the best that your feelings have to offer, and use those feelings directly to better yourself. Transform the feeling of fear into a physical energy that moves you ahead. Intense events will happen in life. But you're strong enough to keep going and absorb whatever good they have to offer. Stay strong and allow yourself to feel how you feel. You're going to make it through this and be stronger and braver as a result.
Your friend, Andrew W.K.
I've always dreamed of living in New York City. I'm currently living in Auckland, New Zealand, and have never left the southern hemisphere. A lot of my friends are moving to London this year, and I've been saving up to move somewhere too. I feel like I should go with them to London because it would be helpful to have friends in a foreign city. I'm worried if I don't go with them, I'll never leave New Zealand at all. (I have a habit of making plans and not following through with them.) I entered the United States green card lottery and won. So, do I move to London where it's easier and I'll have friends, or do I move to New York and live out my dream?
You have to follow your dream. Come to New York City. The other options basically add up to taking the easy way out and playing it safe. You could go to London, and I'm sure you'd have a great time, but you would forever be aware that you weren't true to yourself or your dream. If you've had this strong dream about moving to New York City for so long, it's for a reason--it's because it's what you're meant to do.
A lot of times, dreams can seem like fun ideas or just something cool to think about from time to time. But when a dream is very strong and persistent, it's not just a dream anymore--it's your destiny. As a human being, you're obligated to follow your destiny. New York City is pulling you towards your destiny, and you might try and avoid it or put it off or go somewhere else, but your destiny won't stop calling to you.
In fact, its voice will only get louder and stronger. The pain of not following your dream will be much more than any pain you experience in going for it--it'll ultimately be more challenging to not move to New York. You have this chance and you must take it. You owe it to everyone out there who wishes they had a chance you have now. Following your dream isn't always easy--but it's always worth it.
Your friend, Andrew W.K.
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