Get into that Black Mirror mindset.

One of the greatest episodes of Black Mirror Season 4 is “Hang the DJ”. (Some plot points revealed ahead, but no huge spoilers.) It opens with a woman and man on a first date. They were set up by a dating program—one that offers the greatest chances of finding love. These dates take place in a familiar-seeming world, but one of the circumstances while they’re on their dates is that they don’t remember much about their pasts. They’re simply in the moment. And because they can’t recall any past failures—or the stories of how things are “supposed” to go in their lives—they’re free to be their open, true selves.

This opportunity gives them a chance to start fresh and find what they truly want—by getting out of their own ways. (Sidenote: It ends up that there are a few other reasons why they forget their pasts, but you’ll have to watch to find out.)

Oh man, oh man, oh man.

What if when we were going into decluttering or creative projects, we were able to turn off all stories of the past—of what things meant to us, of all those thing we failed at, or tried but couldn’t, of all the memories of times we were criticized for not getting it right?

And instead: we showed up to each new attempt as our most-awesome true selves, capable of anything and everything.

What would that look like?

A book that you didn’t remember was given to you by [insert-beloved-person-here]. A book you’d never have read either way. A book that you were now free to pass along, without regret.

A sweater that no longer reminded you of that one time your heart was badly broken. A sweater that you never seem to choose from the closet anymore. And could now easily be thrown into the donation pile, freeing you of any emotional daggers it wields.

An ability to sit at the piano and not know the story of not being good enough. And not “remember" that if only you knew more music theory, or had more time to devote to your craft, or better yet—could play guitar (yeah, thatwould fulfill you, you just know it! Screw this piano thing!). Instead, you just sat…and freely attempted…and gleefully played.

A bad habit or lack of ability that you no longer recalled. An “I suck at that” or “I can’t” that you probably made up in the first place—because some experience from the past caused you to write a story of failure. And instead you stood in the present moment—capable of anything and everything. And you finally just…began.

Oh man, oh man, oh man.

It’s not easy. I know. I’m writing these words right now and trying not to compare this newsletter to all my past newsletters. And tonight I’ll be playing around with a new computer program for recording music. It’ll take everything I have in me to not tell myself one of my most popular fake stories—that I’m just not good at recording music. (I haven’t been in the past, so logically I can’t possibly be good at it now, right? Right??) But I’m going to make the attempt…to forget.

So please join me at the foot of whatever seems insurmountable. The pile of papers. Painting the den. Painting in the den. And forget with me, won’t you? 

Then go find what you truly want.

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    Fay Wolf