[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]
In my younger years, I struggled with mental illness. My extreme energy would manifest in bizarre physical rituals, such as jogging backwards while reading, or doing robot dances in the street at all hours of the night. Now I’m much better and have a stable existence working for myself and keeping an even keel. While I got my life together, I developed a great workout routine, but because of too much exercise or too many robot dances, I had to have back surgery and now I can’t even run across the street. My passion for being alive has always been about jumping around, playing the drums, and doing silly dances. Now that I can’t do that anymore, I find it hard to find inspiration in the more cerebral world I’ve been forced into. What would YOU do if you had an injury and couldn’t party as hard as you wanted to?
I would party even harder.
If I were you, I would do absolutely everything I could to heal and recover as much of my strength as I can. Nothing is impossible, and even if you never regain the exact same level of mobility you had before, you can certainly make constant improvements and dedicate yourself to your recovery and finding new and equally powerful ways to use your energy. I’ve seen many people who were told they’d “never recover,” who decided to work their asses off on building up new levels of strength, against the odds and against their doctors “written in stone” pronouncements.
There are many ways to go about healing — from extreme stretching, to advanced meditation and tons of experimental techniques — but the point is, whatever way you decided to rebuild yourself, there are countless cases of people being told, “it’s hopeless,” only for them to use the power of their will to overcome their situation and prove everyone wrong.
Remember, you are in charge of your body and your existence, and no matter what someone else says, even if they’re in a position of authority, they don’t know everything and they don’t know you. I believe you’ve got even more energy now than you did before — it’s just a different kind of energy, and it’s building up inside you. You can direct that energy and craving for movement into a relentless dedication to building your strength and exploring this new era of your life. You were a unique individual before this event, and you’re still as unique as ever — maybe even more so.
Your undiminished passion for life will see you through these tough times into more spectacular adventures. It might not be what it was, but why repeat yourself anyway? Move on and use this experience to reach new levels of living and find new realms of joy and excitement. Stop thinking about how you used to be, and start living all out right now. Never give up, and never stop advancing through the struggles. It’s all part of the party anyway.
I’ve started messing around with a guy, but I’m not sleeping with him. He’s the type of guy who likes being single because he enjoys picking up girls. He says it’s a confidence booster. But when we’re together, he calls me gorgeous and keeps grabbing for my hand to hold it. His friends tell me he’s had a crush on me for years. Can I make him change his ways and possibly get a relationship out of this guy? What can I do to help him see that a relationship with me is worth giving up being single?
— Head Over Heels For the Unattainable
Dear Head Over Heels,
Please don’t try and “make him change his ways.” It’s not right and it usually only succeeds at pushing others away. People have to change because they want to change for their own reasons, not for yours. They have to arrive at those big decisions themselves and not through manipulation or pressure.
I’d also suggest examining why you’re specifically interested in someone who seems to have made it clear that he doesn’t want a relationship and likes being with other women. Why would you go after someone that doesn’t fit what you’re looking for? Is it because it’s fun to have a challenge? Someone to try and change? Is it a project to occupy yourself with so you don’t have to think about other issues in your own life?
People are not projects–they’re human beings. Leave him alone and go party with some other guy. Or just yourself.
More:Ask Andrew W.K.