Believe in nothing else but the beauty inside you.
Don’t listen to them when they tell you that you can’t, ignore them. Listen to no one when they tell you that you won’t make it. Don’t listen to your parents, your teachers, your friends, your partners, your children, not even yourself – especially the latter.
When you want to paint, to write, to run, to do something crazy, to fall in love, to fight, to dance, when you want to do something and the very thought of it makes you smile, then listen to nobody who tells you that you can’t.
By the way, don’t try to do it; just do it. How you’ll do it, it is of no importance. Do it, don’t try. It doesn’t matter if you fail because before you know you’ll be six feet under, anyway. So, do it now while there is still time.
I was twenty years old on the island of Naxos and I was laboring away over my first novels. A friend who was a painter – and casual sex partner- said once about me while we were eating and drinking among friends: “I think it’s just a nine days’ wonder”.
We went on drinking and eating, but I didn’t let it ride and I asked her what she meant. She replied that I would stop writing when I would cease to be young. Twenty-five years later in a covid-ridden summer, I finished my eighth book. I still feel young (I do know that I’m not).
Of those who tell us what we can’t do, make no mistake that the worst of all are not the enemies and acquaintances; quite the opposite, it’s those who are closer to us who deal the hardest and most incurable blows.
The worst of them all, by far, are parents; the ones we didn’t choose to bring us in this world. Parental traumas, make no mistake, never heal. We think we have left them behind thanks to music, religion, psychotherapy, drugs, sex and love. But no, no matter what you do, parents will always be there to turn the knife in the wound.
I have written this many times before, but the wound remains open. I had a father who never missed a chance to remind me that I am a good-for-nothing and I am not speaking of becoming a writer, but working as a waiter.
These wonderful parents ruin their children from the cradle!
Since you can’t reverse the damage, at least don’t pass it on your own descendants. Help them make as many mistakes as they can; and stand by their side when they screw up.
Beware of your friends, too. They don’t do it out of malice, at least not always. Sometimes it is pure jealousy, but normally they do it because “no one is a prophet in their own land”.
When someone knows you since the age of five watching you drawing crooked circles, it’s kind of hard to believe that you are the new Rothko.
You are the buddy, the mate, the bro, you just can’t be the prophet of art.
When I made up my mind to ditch everything and go to France to get inspired and write, Nick, a bosom friend of mine, told me that I would be but a tourist. I wouldn’t write, I would merely go and see Pyrenees, that’s what he told me.
He loved me, I know it, but what he said was what he would do. I wish a thousand times that he had gone to France instead of me and be still alive because he died shortly after; accidentally, as people and friends get killed.
Our worst enemy, make no mistake, is our own self. He will do anything to convince us that we can’t, that trying isn’t worthwhile and our effort will be just a waste of time.
This stupid self carries all these hang-ups that originate from parents, society and friends. Don’t listen to him; pay no attention whatsoever. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you that you can’t do what you have in mind.
Don’t even try, just do it. If you fail, that’s OK. It isn’t failure, it’s a close success.
There is only one certain failure: not to dare at all.
So, take a breath, put the chill on those you tell you that you are good-for-nothing, inadequate, too small, out-of-place, weak, poor, a fool.
Never mind the shit they tell you.
Make something beautiful.
This is your vocation, that’s why you are on this earth: to add some beauty, a bit of harmony, a dash of love.
Do it and don’t second-guess yourself if you do it the right way. There is no wrong and right in life. Do anything you want and laugh.
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Translated by Alexandros Mantas:
In the photo is Frida Kahlo.