The job you deserve

I was thinking about my level of job satisfaction. Which is currently low.

And I thought well this is the best job you deserve. The natural response would be nobody deserves a job but really if you do a lethal dose of heroin you deserve to die of an overdose, if you do four years of an accounting degree you deserve an accounting job. If you shoot the heroin and don’t die, you got lucky. Did the college and got no job? You’re unlucky. Either way you did your part, what’s more deserving than that?

Those who think their job is beneath them and that they deserve better are probably wrong, and are probably brats, sure. They are probably exactly where they deserve to be. Even if the reason they deserve to be a dishwasher with a degree is they didn’t consider they might be middle of the pack in a field of thousands.

Anyway this is about reframing from thinking about the job I want. We spend a lot of our day describing our dream kitchen but no one’s thinking of leaving, this is the best of the jobs we deserve.

Unless we jump industries completely. Everyone has a back pocket idea of what else they’d go into. An interest they’d like to use to feed a career, a purpose. For me it would be something in health and fitness. Everything I’ve learned about healthy eating is totally vestigial where cutting up chicken fingers on everything is the peak of culinary adventure.

We all want to be valued for what we’ve learned, what we are learning, because that feeds our identity. Even being highly capable at something that in no way comes from your identity feels like being an automaton.

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Posted in Pragmatism

The wine and cheese this year

It’s Nov 24.

I spread the word about last year’s W&C using the blog to write a history so I won’t repeat that but I need some kind of marketing campaign since Jay mocked me so mercilessly for how I presented the FB event page. Which is to say I didn’t.

Going through the invites list there were people I already knew were coming so why invite them, people I’d love to come who I know won’t so why invite them, and people who I’d like to come who are friends with people I’d like not to come so I’d hate to invite one and not the other in such a definitive fashion.

So like all good things in life I threw up my hands and walked away because I was sad.

But really the most efficient way to think about it is anybody who wants to be there should come.

Anyway preparations are going swimmingly. I’m getting ready to make an infusion, we’re cleaning, putting up new clocks, listening to jazz playlists from the 30’s, the usual.

What’s unusual this year we have young kittens so we’ll see how they cope and how much damage they end up doing. No lingering with doors open, don’t leave drinks where they can be knocked over (which happens every year anyway but will happen more so with rambunctious kitties around). Most of our friends are cat people as well so we all know how to behave I guess.

The only thing I dislike about the W&C is the day of. That time between four and six when everything’s ready, I’m dressed, and no one’s here. It’s always the longest hours of my life. Last year Jay called me at 4:30 to ask what the plan was and I was already pacing around bored so I said just come over and he said yeah, I’ll see you at like 8:30. Thank fuck for Red & Chris, for lots of reasons over the years but also because it’s never too early to start drinking with them. Last year we sat around rapping while waiting for the others. Yeah, rapping. And spilling.

This year I’m going to do a huge workout and go for a float that day and I’m thinking of planning some events for the start of the party like a reciting of what I’ve memorized so far of The Great Gatsby or some quick party game like Joking Hazard, ooh I just remembered I bought Jack Box on the PS3.

I think I’ll end up changing outfits again this year. I always start in The Admiral and get more comfortable as the night goes on. I have a new outfit called The Drug Robe plus all the final jacket I bought for hosting trivia and never got to debut.

So there you have it, a blog post disguised as a press release disguised as a blog post about The Wine and Cheese. This year doesn’t seem to have a name like previous years where it was called things like The Wine and Cheese and Scotch, The Wine and Cheese and Scotch and Absinthe, the 3rd annual Wine And Cheese, The 3rd Annual Wine and Cheese Returns, and The Return of the 3rd Annual Wine and Cheese Returns.

But by any other name it’s always The Wine and Cheese.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

“Overweight is overlooked, and that’s how I need to be.”

I’m reading Lost Connections (subtitle: Uncovering the real causes of depression and the unexpected solutions) and above is a quote from an obese woman who, like most in the experimental group she was in, lost a lot of weight quickly and easily then instead of feeling better got depressed and anxious and deliberately gained it back.

What the doctor found out was that an overwhelming number of them were sexual abuse survivors. Being overweight makes you sexually invisible and that made them feel safe. Even if the weight was killing them.

It struck me because I know the dual comfort and pain of being invisible. I was thinking the other day about how I react to pressure – which I took for granted that I did really well because in situations where other people would feel it (performing on stage, running 21k in a timed race, working in a hot, busy, noisy, kitchen with bills piling up) I usually didn’t.

But dealing with pressure and not feeling pressure aren’t the same thing.

I actually crack under pressure almost instantly. When I do something well and people want me to do it again I get the dopamine hit of reward but also a lot of fear and then resentment. How dare they have expectations of me?

I’ve been convinced by the cruelty of my upbringing that I’m a loser, that I will fuck everything up and let everyone down. So while I want to be seen, to be loved, admired, acknowledged to fill that void it also starts the clock of now that you have it how long til it’s taken away?

And rather than wait I’ve trained myself to make the inevitable happen just so I have a sense of control. Desperate to be the center of blame so the universe isn’t random. There’s more comfort in thinking I could have, should have been different because it means maybe I could be different next time, in telling yourself you deserved it last time because maybe you can make yourself not deserve it next time.

Wanting something you fear/ fearing something you want is a hallmark of addiction, whether to drugs or food or attention. It becomes easier – while not easy – to be nobody, to stay invisible. To build a private world you can see out of but no one else can see into, or actually that they can see right passed because there’s nothing there.

And then it snowballs. Once you’ve done a negative thing to cope you now have to cope with the fact that you’ve done a negative thing. This is why shaming addiction or weight or self-harm kills people. And it’s also why sometimes what you think is encouragement can hurt.

The above mentioned rape survivor panicked and gained the weight back when men starting flirting with her. What you might think is a compliment could be heard as you’re going to get raped again just like we’re counting on you can sound like here’s a chance to disappoint everyone.

And for me, then it snowballs. I just want to be alone. The pressure to be nice, do well, earn the pride of others, never slip, mustn’t ever slip or it will all be taken away, breaks me. I want to be good, I want to be perfect and I can see a perfect version of myself, but I’m too tired and I think that if I’m mediocre – if I’m imperfect at all – then I’ll get nothing and deserve nothing.

I’m Natalie Portman at the end of Black Swan, killing one identity to kill all identities. Except instead of dying for my art like I aspire to it’s more like Fight Club where I (implausibly) survive and have to go unto a world of chaos that I created with no identity to protect me. Then there’s a cock.

There’s this thing inside me that says you can be perfect, you can be in control, but only if you’re alone. I want to emerge as perfect and then I’ll get to bask in it, then I’ll be worthy of love, but I feel like if anyone sees my flaws once they’ll never look again, I’ll never get a second chance, never get a real chance.

I know the scorn I perceive from others is scorn I’m heaping on myself and I know it comes from early home life but then… what? It’s like saying we know the fire is destroying the forest and the wind is fueling the fire but then… what? How do we stop the wind?

Anytime I fuck up, anytime I’m imperfect – just less than the greatest version of myself – and someone doesn’t leave me I feel like I’m abusing them. That I’m just this broken, infantilized black hole. Then I really want to be alone just so I’m not dragging anyone down. Followed by the feeling that everyone’s better off without me.

Which is odd because in the wake of Carla’s death I felt like I’d let her down because she’d have been better off with me. I’m having a positive effect on the people around me as I get physically healthy and she could have been one of those people.

Because right now I’m getting healthy for health’s sake, it’s an intrinsic value to me, and when one engages in intrinsic values it tends to radiate outward and provide value to others.

Like how I was writing songs because I simply felt like they were in me and they had to exist rather than later when I felt I had to write them because other people would hear them and I had to make a public statement of my extrinsic value.

This is it; I pressurize things from being intrinsic to extrinsic. Whenever I find something I like by myself for myself I offer it up to others in the hope of being loved and I therefore take it away from myself. That’s why I so often feel like I’m giving all of myself out of an emptying account to others and I need to hide just to recharge.

It’s why having a lot of hobbies and no passions made me more consistently happy than a single burning purpose but also why I feel like I’m nothing underneath. I went from being one person, all or nothing, to being a hundred little pieces that add up to looking like a person, like a life.

It’s the difference between eating a bunch of food and having a meal.

Posted in books, Depression & Suicide, fitness, Gender, Pop Culture, Pragmatism

Fitness Friday: Just An Update

So this week I got my 19 in 90 bench mark. 19 kilometers in 90 minutes. Made it by 3 seconds and felt like I was going to puke.

Got my Tuesday swim.

Fasted Wednesday, the first work day that I’ve fasted, and went to the gym so let’s break that down. Fasting at work is actually easy and great if you let it push you. I never lingered for a second between tasks because that’s when it habitual to eat something. I cruised through the day in high spirits. The gym however was a rollercoaster. Actually, is it a roller coaster if it only has one peak? I toughed drearily through a reduced work out (not by design at first but I found that when fasted your meter runs down quicker than normal. Feeling like you have 5 reps in the tank means you have three, feeling like you have 3 means you have one, feeling like you have one means you’re going to be unable to get the bar off your chest and have to dump the weights off one side), only felt that good hard working rush feeling once. Then came home, tried to race through my evening routine to get to bed just to sleep like crap.

I wake up a lot throughout the night if I don’t have what we’ve come to call my Potion. It’s honey, apple cider vinegar, and hot water. Like a non-herbal tea. I got it from Tim Ferris. Without it I wake up so many times throughout the night that I start feeling like the night’s never going to end and I’m in a dark purgatory. But the potion has honey so it would break the fast.

Just one more reason I don’t think it’s a good idea to commit to 4 and 3 or even 5 and 2 fasting. If that’s jargon to you remember that there’s 7 days in a week. Now you get it.

I worry about getting sufficient vitamins and protein for the amount of work that do. Like run 19k. I don’t like being in low mood, I don’t like slogging through reduced work outs, I like having energy.

But I also like doing things. Which I know is odd because technically fasting is not doing something but it gives your day a focus. It’s an endurance sport all it’s own. I like to notice the minutiae of it just like a long run. Or psychedelic drug. It’s not about fun, it’s about exploring not-fun.

So all in all I need to do some more research and schedule work outs and fasting in the best way possible and see what I’m capable of.

Posted in fitness

Getting from list to life

Things get from list to life – from idea to reality – when there’s nothing more important to do.

When you wound up binging Netflix instead of working on whatever it’s because you thought relaxing was more important. Maybe you thought that because you told yourself you’d have time to do the important thing tomorrow. It’s only when you look back you realize you’re thinking the same thing the next day feel like you sabotaged yourself. Again.

I was trying to remember what inspired me to do infusions (like the apple rhubarb crisp vodka) and I have no idea. Same with when I started memorizing The Great Gatsby, it’s just that I had nothing more important to do. I actually remember when the idea came up I said I’d do it if I was in prison or some kind of monastery and when the summer came and I had no purpose in life that’s how I felt so that’s what I started doing.

Admitting nothing matters lets you do a lot of stuff.

What got me from wanting to try float tanks to floating twice a month was reading a Tim Ferris interview about it. Most people think to try it once and see what happens but Tim’s guest said you should do it 3 times in a month then make it a weekly or bi-weekly habit to gain any benefit. Adding things to my routine is easier for me than doing something as a one-off. I hate one-off things. It’s too easy to put them off just til tomorrow, just til the weekend whereas a routine thing just rolls around when it’s time comes, even if that time is tomorrow or the weekend.

Another thing that works for me in terms of getting things done is putting things in a firm order. I have a bad habit of trying to work on everything at once. Like I should be editing the absinthe infusion video and I should be editing the Gatsby video but whenever I thinking about doing one it means I’m clearly not doing the other so I freeze up. So I’ll do them in alphabetical order and whenever I have an urge to get the Gatsby video done I’m motivated to finish the absinthe video.

I do the same with books. When I said I wasn’t reading anything else until I was done Pollen’s How To Change Your Mind I miraculously found 5 hours of sunny afternoon in which to read. Every time I wanted to stop I thought about the other books waiting to be read and my desire to get to them lead me through.

Arbitrary priorities are better than no priorities, arbitrary schedules and routines are better than thinking you’ll get something done because you have all the time to do it. And again, admitting nothing is important means that everything is equally worth doing.

And everything is equally worth not doing. Ben Greenfield voiced something I’ve been feeling for a while now on his podcast about purpose in life. He heard that Westworld was a great show, right up his alley,  so he watched a few minutes of it and it seemed like he’d really like it  – and he turned it off. Watching that show, even really enjoying it, wasn’t actually enriching his life or enabling him to enrich anybody else’s life. It’s just a blinking screen, just because it’s more distracting doesn’t mean it’s a net positive in your life.

I get told all the time that some new show or movie is super great and people think they’re doing me a favour, like they found a mine of that dwindling resource Entertainment, but I honestly don’t watch anything anymore. I write, I edit videos, I read non-fiction, I enrich my life and hope to enrich the lives of others not just be entertained between now and when I die. If I don’t finish a video then that video never enters the world and has a life of it’s own, if I don’t finish Rick & Morty it’s not gonna come up in my eulogy.

A lot of people are okay simply wanting to do something. Having a bucket list keeps hope as emotional background noise in your day-to-day but doesn’t risk frustration.

One final thing; you might right now be falling into the trap of consuming this blog about productivity, feeling a little bit of dopamine at the thought of enacting some productivity, and still not doing anything. Hell, I might be doing that by writing it.

We can all consume tons of stuff and feel like we’re changing our identity but without definables that just makes us losers. You can feel like a chef because you watch food network all day, a real estate king because you watch the home network, a bad ass fighter because you follow tons of UFC brawlers on instagram but you can’t cook, you got no money, and couldn’t fight a kitten. Immersion is good if it leads to results.

Artists are especially guilty, or self identified creative people who always seem to be an artist without an art, can spend all their time feeling inspired but never get to work. They watch movies, they pintrest, they maybe even read, and they fill themselves up with the well of feeling like they think an artist feels. Not knowing that how an artist feels is usually like shit staring at a blank canvas in a quiet room away not photographing themselves.

So make lists and don’t inspiration chase. done. starting now.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, floating, Pragmatism

Fasting

I fasted yesterday (Sunday, for readers in the distant future), no problem. It’s easy to do but the challenges are still surprising.

I noticed the expected irritability in the afternoon but in the evening I felt frail. My heart sped up and/or palpitated, my limbs felt weak. It was something close to being nervous but numb, anxious but not jittery.

The easiest part was temptation. There wasn’t anyway. Early in the day I felt like it might not be a good idea to fast and thought about eating but then I read for a few hours and knew I’d make it the whole day so I never thought about eating again. Food smelled amazing but like I’ve said in the past there’s lots of things that smell good that I don’t instinctively want to put in my mouth.

Already being low carb certainly makes fasting easier. What most people think is hunger is actually just a sugar craving or boredom. And actually boredom was one of the tougher parts. Feeling low energy and brain-fogged and zoning out and knowing that a bite to eat would make me feel motivated.

My concentration was bad, writing suffered I feel, but I was expecting it to be a long, slow day anyway. Fasting on a work day I assume will be a much greater challenge.

And that’s kind of that, not much to say about not eating.

Posted in fitness

November Goals

November was actually the first month I had goals, back in 2016.

I’ve written before (a lot) about being suicidal that October and how I finally committed to either killing myself or not killing myself because the waffling was the absolute worst part.

It’s like how you want to be on a diet when you wake up, then there’s Halloween candy at work and you don’t want to be on a diet, then you feel like you fucked up another day and want even harder to be on a diet.

And yes in this metaphor suicide is my candy. Also happy Halloween.

Anyway I survived and my first monthly goal was no killing myself. Needing something more concrete and trackable I also gave up booze for 40 days and I’ve written about that a million times too.

So October became my year-in-review month last year and it was great. Big gains in 2017 but that’s not hard when your comparison is a homeless suicidal drunk.

Finally talking about the present now: I was sliding into a possible depression before Carla’s death and that event tipped me into some nihilism but the primary reason I was drifting a bit was all my goals were long term and I was just doing maintenance. I started wishing I had another race coming up just for something to focus on.

So I decided to switch up my running habits to be more trackable. Since I want my half marathon time down to 90 minutes I’m setting the timer for 90 and just covering as much ground as I can in that time then that number goes up on the chart. I got 18k so far.

I’ve also got some fasting challenges this month. I’d like to get to the point of eating every other day but right now I’m starting with one weekend day and one week day and if I’m too moody at work I won’t stick with it. There’s an oppressive regime of niceness at work and I can’t risk being martyred.

My financial goals are a fucking disaster. I started paying off an old outstanding debt at the start of the work year and my spending money is about 200 dollars a month all of which I spent last night for the privilege of barely remembering singing Summer Of ’69. A goddamn blast to be sure but my credit card is (let me literally go check… yep) over limit again. It was not-maxed-out for 36 hours. What a champ.

I guess just tracking the number isn’t working so I need to get more specific. And more sober, let’s be honest.

Memorizing The Great Gatsby is rolling along and I hit the first milestone – I’m into chapter two.

So the monthly goals are:

  • Credit card to zero
  • run 19k in 90 minutes
  • get up to page 17 of Gatsby memorized
  • Post at least a song a week on Soundcloud

And I think that about does it. I’ve also got to host the Wine And Cheese, hang out with Rob (and possibly Towelie), check on my parent’s cat, and… I dunno… live.

I don’t really know if I’m better off now than this time last year. I don’t know if I’m better off than dead, really. I’ll probably never feel that I am and I don’t really aspire to. That’s why I have to keep goals short term and measurable, keep putting the tracks immediately in front of the train because if I zoom out too much it’s all pointless.

Sorry this is turning bummer but I do kind of envy people who can just live.

Posted in Pragmatism