[Tripping On…] Upsides To Downsides

While reading up to page “37” of The Picture of Dorian Gray, I found myself halfway disinterested but halfway fascinated by some lines, starting with “but the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself.[1]” When we dip our toes into the waters of media for as long as it takes for our minds to calm down, there are myriad benefits, except when we allow the addictive qualities of media to consume us. Where’s the moderation?

“Am I enjoying this media meandry?”

That is the question I’ve been trying to ask myself more often as I find myself reading novels, playing videogames, watching livestreams, or whatever media – the term I use for any sort of entertainment – I’m meandering through. Just a simple check is enough to remember why I’m meandering in the first place. If it’s to escape from physical or mental pain, it’s a good way to check to see if my back or head is still hurting or whether the ennui of life is still as soul-crushing as it was before…

I’ve been awake for probably 24 hours and I’ll be awake for another few, at least.

This physical pain I’m in has prevented me from doing much besides wading out the time until things can get sorted out. Two hours after I write this sentence, I’ll be approaching the doctor’s office that will be my next step in this journey. For the past six hours, I’ve been unable to sleep, so I’ve been reading Dorian Gray and prepping my Novel 02 stuff, among other things. It’s been as productive of a six-plus hour meander as I could muster, considering that I haven’t felt tired for the past week, because all I’ve felt is tired. I wake up feeling exhausted and hurt, so it’s just constant pain.

At least my head isn’t hurting so I can focus out the pain.

It never really goes away, though, so even right now, I’m sitting in a posture that is comfortable for me, but my lower back can flare up in pain if I focus too much on it, so I’ve been trying to do my best to externalize my focus onto other things. An active mind, then, might not be as much in pain as an idle mind trying to sleep. Even the coffee I brewed and drank after passing the point-of-no-return for getting any quality sleep at all was more a security measure than a necessity.

I did have fun, but I would like to return to normalcy.

It might be nice to not be in constant mild or even major pain. I’m starting to forget how that all feels. Maybe I’ll actually start to feel well for the first time in two months? Now I’m setting myself up for disappointment. The most I can do now is finish writing this essay, prepare to leave, then hope bad things don’t happen. It’s currently Thursday morning and I feel a little tired for the first time since Monday morning, where, after getting home from physical therapy, I slept for maybe two hours? Then I think I slept some other time in between there. I can’t keep track.

I think I’m more hungry than tired, actually.

If I were to eat a meager sandwich, I’d probably have the energy to proceed, so I shouldn’t think too deeply about this specifically. When I’m in these situations, as long as the physicality isn’t too overwhelming, I can try to make the best of it. That’s what I’ve done through all this past day I’ve been awake. That’s what I did during physical therapy, when the pain was almost too much… instead of going to a “happy place” like they say, I brainstormed character ideas. Turns out imagining a random idyllic field, or whatever, and brainstorming characters fulfills the same need to escape from our reality.

Mentally, for once, I’m actually in a good headspace, it seems.

I still find it funny that I was prescribed Prozac for the physical pain of my lower back. When all else fails, throw some anti-depressants into the mix, right? I’d rather take my anti-depressants in the form of some media I can step away from at any time, even if I’m in the middle of an adrenaline rush evoked by hyper-participation within, because at least that’s a ride I can stop. As soon as I take a pill, man, dude, uhh, yeah, that’s going to be a few hours before things settle down.

There’s still more to go, but at least we’re making progress.

To my left, I have a bill from my PCP for getting me to where I will be in two hours, and a bill for services rendered… five months ago? Six. Those events are so abstracted now that I’ll do a final check to see if there are any debating options before paying them off. My emotions aren’t invested in the money anymore. It’s been an expensive trip. Thanks to the American Healthcare System, I’ve burned through any sort of leisurely money I would have otherwise indulged in quiet nothings, and if that six-month bill is proof of anything, it’s that America’s answer to healthcare is still the notion of not getting sick.

When I feel like this, it’s good meandering through some media to pick up my spirits.

I’ve been reading Dorian Gray as part of a book club and, honestly, I’m skipping over many of the details during that half of the book that’s tedious. While I did enjoy some sections, and I’ll probably paste them below to save the quotes – even though I suppose six quotes might be a bit excessive for fair use, this meander is purely for social reasons. If I can participate in the book club call, I will, otherwise, I’ll read this to clear it off the list, and to develop the discipline to read other PDFs, so I can read stuff that is much more interesting for me.

Will I get a good amount of sleep by then?


Quotes[1] The novel is in the public domain, but it’s excessive because these quotes aren’t my writing. Still, those quotes are: “The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification.” “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” “We practical men like to see things, not to read about them.” “Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I had been at a loss over what to write here until I wrote the essay that will publish tomorrow, and jammed on this idea. The title wasn’t really inspired by Soundgarden.
Related: Other Media Meandry and Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 June 11 [6:17am to 6:57am]
Last Edited: 2020 June 11 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.