Once I reinvent myself I’m going to be better than all of y’all.
Is that possible?
There are always things I want to do, like read more books, write a novel, learn Spanish, eat better, exercise, lose weight. I actually would like to be skinny, not just a healthy weight but skinny. I’ve never cared enough about it to do it, but I think I’d feel better, and I think that’s the reason, but how do I know I’m not also a little vain?
Still, that’s not the kind of reinvention I’m talking about. I’m not talking about defining who I am by some measurement of goal completion. I’m talking more about whether I become the kind of person who doesn’t care what people think, about courage, whether I have it, and confidence. Can a person reinvent his or herself and suddenly change what they believe?
I’ve always maintained that if I needed to accept Jesus in order to avoid Hell, then I would go to Hell, because I couldn’t choose to believe something that just didn’t make sense to me. And therefore if it were true, then it was certainly unfair. And then God would be unfair. And that makes it even harder to believe. Even if I wanted to.
But what about other things we believe about ourselves, for instance? If I really wanted to, could I choose to believe something about myself?
Can you be young again when you are old? Can you effectively travel through time and reinvent, not just who you are, but who you were?
The idea intrigues me. What if you can turn yourself from a person who failed a lot to someone who succeeded, from one who regrets to someone who is grateful for his or her miraculous good fortune, merely (I say merely as if it’s easy) by remembering more of your successes than your (supposed) failures. We all have both. Does the narrative you tell about yourself redefine you? It is a compelling idea. Even if it were all fiction, even if I made up the fact that I had a wonderful life and it wasn’t even true, does that matter? Does it matter if it helps to reinvent who I am today?
I had a friend in 1984 named Larry Wachowski. He was a fanatic Cubs fan. He won a bet I made with him at the beginning of the season that the Mets, who had the year before finished poorly, I don’t remember where the Cubs had finished in 1983, would finish better than the Cubs. The Cubs ended up in first, and the Mets in second. When the Cubs clinched the division, even though it was at that point, already, a foregone conclusion, he came to my dorm room with a bottle of Jack Daniels, our drink – in that he had introduced it to me – to celebrate. I said, “oh, fuck you,” and then we drank it.
I liked who I was then, in that moment, even though my team had lost.
That’s a moment I can be proud of. Just being who I was then was a success and if I remember it, I feel like it influences who I am today. I pulled for the Cubs once the Mets were out of it. Then they lost the playoffs to the Dodgers and he put his hand through a window pane.
I lost touch with him, but he reinvented himself. I only know this because he’s kind of famous now. He makes movies. And he’s a girl. I thought about him just this week because the Cubs have finally won a World Series. And I wonder if he, if she, is happy about it. Is she the same kind of Cubs fan he was? Would she have put her hand through a window pane if they had lost, again? I hope so, honestly. Because you gotta like a girl like that. Some things you just don’t want to change.