How Fight Club Saved My Life

I used to own hundreds and hundreds of books.

Growing up I became an avid collector of cobweb ridden pages. I would buy books that I would never read. I would buy books for multiple cover alternates. Somehow, I created such a vast collection that I would never manage to read in my lifetime.

The four walls of my tiny childhood box room were head to toe – ceiling to floor – of books. Multicoloured patterns of names I never even knew.

But it wasn’t just books.

It was DVDs, video games, collectible toys. Shirts. Boots. Magazines. Cameras. Computer parts. Gadgets. TVs. Even vintage suitcases.

Everything was ‘What if?’

‘I can’t get rid of that, what if I need it?’

‘What if I want to read this one day?’

‘Knowing my luck, I’ll sell this game and then want to play it the day after.’

Fight Club was my favourite film from around the age of thirteen. It was edgy and exciting. I loved its anarchist attitude, and anti-capitalist-consumerism approach to life I admired. On the other hand, I also believed it to be unrealistic fiction. I had three DVD copies.

Just in case.

Towards the end of school I started to feel unhappy. Then going to college I felt even worse. And I couldn’t figure out that the answer was right in front of me. The answer wasn’t these things, but underneath those things.

I originally began the process of purging all of my items because I was short on cash. I needed some paper. My one shift a week job, and the removal of government college funding, didn’t allow me to party as much as I wanted. Which was almost every night of the week.

From this, I saw the pattern. The money I wasn’t spending on possessions, I got to spend on myself. Albeit, I spent it entirely on alcohol, but the realisation was there. It was almost a sense of freedom.

I began to understand what Tyler Durden had being saying.

 

A copy of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.

You still reading?

It was a long process. But it became addictive. Soon I wasn’t even doing it for the money. I started giving away my things. For free. Have them. Gone.

Eventually I got to the point my old childhoodbookinfestedbedroom became what it was supposed to be. A bedroom. It was a small square space with a clothes rail hanging only a few black t-shirts and a couple black jeans. A TV (I will not give up TV). And my bed. It was so zen-like. A strange feeling, however a feeling I liked.

This Tyler state of mind gave me the balls to drop out of University. My mind boggled as to why I was putting all this mentally draining effort into getting a career in something I didn’t want to do. I wanted to write. That was it. Only write.

I work in a bar. It’s the only job I’ve known. It’s an easy job to shame, and I used to be embarrassed to tell people it’s how I make my living. Yet, it allows me to work when I want. If I need the money, I pick up shifts. I graft. I work hard for the month. If I’m feeling pretty stable, that’s fine too, it means I get four days off to do whatever the hell I want to do.

The anti-materialist ideal allows me freedom. Right now, no, I don’t have complete freedom. But I can promise you this, I have more freedom than most. Goodbye fifty hour workweeks.

This way of living and control has still afforded me a car and a house. People find it hard to believe I bought my own house at twenty-three being a bartender. Although, boiling it down, it’s a lot easier than you think if your money isn’t being blown on video games and alcohol.

It may not be the life for everyone, but it’s the life for me.

And here I am, finally getting to do what I love again. I am writing. Telling a story. Telling my story. All this because I became obsessed with the Fight Club ideologies. And for that, I am entirely grateful.

Present day, I no longer own Fight Club on DVD.

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