We’re all just trying to crawl out of life’s biggest struggles, like spiders stuck in bathtubs, or like our minimal wage jobs, sacrificing our health for the corporate good, and scant hours weekly of uninterrupted leisure; if we’re not too exhausted to enjoy them. There are really only four routes. Crawl down the drain to certain death. Stay still. Keep crawling and failing to scale the bathtub’s sides. Or hope someone compassionate will rescue us.
Most of my anxieties arise from being in desperate and disparate situations, where something must be done immediately, but there are impeding incongruencies and inconveniences. The problem isn’t always external. You can control the flow of an anxious conversation, reroute it, or otherwise handle it. The insidious anxieties are the ones that wake me up and compel me to write emails that shouldn’t be sent, or force me to relive scenes from twenty years ago.
I put on the new glasses with a new prescription and my left eye was completely blurry. It was like someone smashed the left side of my vision inward and smeared chemical over it. I tried to explain this. No empathy, no sympathy. I was just told over and over again to give it more time. I didn’t even realize how mad I was until halfway home. I hadn’t even been listening to my music.
“I don’t pay sales tax on things I… don’t buy!” It was about ten minutes until the store I wanted to go to was scheduled to open. I’d also been awake for over sixteen hours, needed to get home to write, and go to bed at a decent hour for work. Without even a moment of hesitation, I left, and next thought about the store about fifteen minutes later, without the slightest bit of regret.
Early on into my sobrieties, I would distract myself with any frivolous adventure, just to distract myself. I think that’s good. When you’re knee-deep into any addiction, whether you want to admit it or not, you become so enamored with your uppers that you can’t experience life anymore. It just feels wrong. It’s like going out into a thunderstorm without a rain jacket. Why bother? Well, sometimes, you’ve gotta brave those storms, catching any life-raft.
Despite all the months and thousands of words I’ve written about decluttering, and sobriety, those sensations will probably never fully go away. I fantasize about going to some cool bookstore and buying a stack of books to enjoy just as I fantasize about, well, you know. I take a route of complete abstinence for my sobrieties, knowing that any drop of similar tasting liquid in the wrong mindset could tip me over. How about books?
Could you tell if someone had a headache just by looking at them? There are signs: stroking parts of the forehead, occasional wincing, or a decrease in mental clarity. Otherwise, it’s an invisible disorder where blood vessels misbehave around the brain, sending pain signals, or maybe, something completely different? Can you tell if someone has waged a war against their addictions just by looking at them? Would they show signs of having won daily battles?
Why do we care about so many trivialities? From pretending to be that which we are not – rich, happy, successful – to caring about what everyone thinks, Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F …Grawlix …CK. doesn’t quite answer that question. That’s because these answers are different for each person. I might care about being happy for a different reason than you. In an afternoon or two, you can find your answers.
Our lives are often filled with minor annoyances. Whether it’s a pothole that causes a jostle along our commute, rough interactions, or a glaring sense of ennui that life isn’t as going as well as it could, we’re constantly down on ourselves. It’s like that survival instinct gets turned off sometimes. It’s in those darker moments where you’ve just gotta find some pothole to fill in; something that can ideally help others along with yourself.
We perform versions of ourselves whenever we interact with others. I am performing a version of myself right now, as are you, my dearest reader. This applies more when we dress up nicely for work than talking to a neighbor in our pajamas, but both are performances. These performances of social norms – acceptable levels of interactive decency – are taxing. I give myself 75 minutes before every workday to exorcise nonperforming urges so I feel good performing.