Whenever I’ve felt at my worst, psychologically rather than physically, I’ve found that talking to others has usually helped out, even if what we talk about doesn’t directly imply any of those hidden hurdles I’m jumping through. We could be having a polite chat about 10,000 ninja fighting a backhoe, and the subtleties of the interaction could distract, inform, or guide whatever subconscious malaise is causing me to not feel well enough to be my best.
Ennui is the easiest to sort through.
Being annoyed, bored, and listless just means that your current situation doesn’t match your expectations. When I used to work night shift helpdesk, I’d often feel bored when there wasn’t work to do, and when I moved over to days or moved into various roles, I’d still feel that ennui settle in as I wanted more and more. The more I talked to others and the more I listened to myself, the more I realized that what I wanted out of life was to feel that rush of excitement on my own terms. If that means writing while subconsciously feeling like I’m stealing time from The Man, then isn’t that excitement? I could be writing some essays, like this one, off-the-clock, but why would I?
It’s not like there’s anything else for me to do.
In these moments, I could and have gone over to talk to my colleagues that also work my shift, or when I worked solo I’d go socialize with my customers, and I’ll get some nice conversation or ideas from these conversations. I was inspired to write my first novel when I talked with one colleague about writing groups and NaNoWriMo. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve played poker, and watched Die Hard.
I’ve ridden a golf cart ridden by security while on the clock.
I’ve had the weirdest conversation with the strangest people, both on and off the clock, and those are great. I have a repository of rapport to refer to when writing fiction, which really, when I’m knee-deep in the writing process, the world and the dialogue just tells itself. So when I return back to reality feeling gnarled by internal sensations like headaches or feelings of wanting to break sobriety, or external sensations like anger or sadness caused by situation, talking to others either directly or indirectly usually helps me out.
I’m always reminded of one conversation I had in AA.
I had just told the group about how much I felt uncomfortable working around all the alcohol that was present at one workplace. After sharing this, I was approached by someone that had a similar experience. She was a cashier and when the state legalized sales of alcohol inside of grocery stores, they had a sudden influx of alcohol advertising. [As an aside: If you think about it, these advertisements are really disturbing, even for casual drinkers, because of how oversaturating they are to the market.]
It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling that feeling.
She was able to tell her manager about the situation and figure out a compromise that worked out well for her. My compromise happened about a month later when they ended my contract. But still, sharing these sorts of deeply human experiences with others have helped me feel less alone, and can help you feel less alone, in this lonely universe we live in.
There are 7.6 billion people living on this planet as of this writing, and rising by the second. I always try to remember that sort of statistic when it comes to feeling these deeply personal feelings that make me feel like an alien or a freak. There’s bound to be at least one other person out there that feels the same way. Whether that’s feeling overwhelmed from all the tempting alcohol advertisements at work or the boredom of not having a distracting workload, we often feel like we’re alone until we express ourselves, then find that we’re not actually alone.
It’s like when we open up to our colleagues about shitty managers.
Usually, everyone’s on the same page when it comes to a micro-manager that doesn’t actually know how to manage. I remember in one contract, all the full-timers felt the same way, so when I was given the chance to switch over to full-time, I knew that I’d be walking into the same kind of oppressive mindset where as long as that manager was around, I’d have to be prepared to answer any inane question, which knowing that did help me feel more secure in both working there short-term and deciding not to work there long-term.
That’s what I enjoy most about writing, too.
Through the writing process, I uncover parts of myself that I didn’t know were there, as I converse with my innermost thoughts, and translate them into words on the page that maybe you’ll read. The writers I appreciate the most are all attuned to their deeply-human experiences. Through a subtle combination of words, they might communicate complex, intricate, and dynamic thoughts I’ve known forever but haven’t been able to communicate.
I like the writers that seem to communicate directly into my being.
Whether they’re writing about negative or positive or banal or substantial human experiences, these writers seem to tap into something far greater than ourselves and those are the works I value the most. They may be writing about their lives from their subjective experiences, but they write in such a way that their communication can help us all out. In some way, that’s what I hope to accomplish through my writings.
I want to help others as others have helped me.
When you have received enough to get back on your feet, it’s time to give to those who might still be struggling. For me, I am standing on my feet, both at this desk, and in life, overall.
I still stumble but I’m more on my feet than not…
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I came up with the title at the same time as “Focus on Externals,” so it’s cool that this is both literally a part-two since it’s published directly after that one, and a kind of an evolution of that. When I talk to others, I tend to feel better. When I talk to others and don’t feel better, that’s when I consider whether that person might be dragging me down. When they do, it’s time to focus less energy on talking with them.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Picture: At this point, I don’t even really care about having a unique visual element. I’m trying this as an experiment. Does the picture lure people in?|
|Written On: December 22, 2019 [24 minutes, from 2:07am to 2:31am, Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: December 27, 2019 [Some edits to adapt from Gdocs to WordPress… so… second draft?]|