I’m feeling much better in a general sense. I’ve gotten good at turning off the pressure and expectations, the near constant feeling of shame I was going through. But like a great songwriter once said “Anyone can be sane on a soft summer day but can you fight through the wind and the rain”. What’s the point of getting better, stronger, if I can’t use the strength when I need it? There’s never going to be a place for me in normal life, it takes all my will power to do the stuff that’s suppose to be natural – have a disappointing job, disappointing apartment, disappointing friends and family, and then every few years I burn out, melt down, make life slightly worse for everyone, and start again from a worse position than before.
And I hate the idea of maintenance. I want homeostasis. Let’s look at my bookshelf – I had a lot of books, I bought a bookshelf, I assembled it, and there it could stand for a hundred uninterrupted years. I don’t have to change out boards every once in a while, I don’t have to give it a vacation, it just is. I want that for the things that matter.
That’s why I hate cleaning and buying groceries, it’s Sisyphean. No matter how much time, effort, planning, etc, you put into those things you’ll have to do them again from scratch.
So I planned on killing myself and didn’t, let the maintenance of life fall apart, and now I’m emotional much better but in terms of life points I’m less than zero again. I’m on the base rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy again. Like I said though I’m pretty much happy right now and if this lifestyle were in anyway sustainable I wouldn’t have a problem. But I’ve got to start climbing the ladder again. I’ve got to start pushing that boulder up the hill again and I know as soon as I activate my Give-A-Shit-About-Life switch I’ll start being drained and unhappy again.
I desperately want to learn the secrets of motivation and discipline but all anyone tells you is “Just Do It” which is infuriating because I’m trying to tell you that the car is out of gas and you’re telling me the secret is to take my foot of the brake, push the gas pedal really hard.
I guess that’s part of the problem too. I, and most people, still believe there’s a secret answer to life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the misguided belief in Turning Points too. Stories that resonate with us, any heroes journey, always has very simple turning points where things go from Getting Worse to Getting Better in one decisive moment. But a lot of recovered addicts and people who’ve been through therapy will tell you there’s no such thing as rock bottom and a constant sense of false revelation is just insidious denial.
Really any type of recovery, and life in general, is a matter of constant, unrewarding maintenance that adds up to nothing. Sisyphus never gets to rest at the top of the mountain.
Is it strength to go through that?
A long time ago in a conversation about work Jay told me he needs to, likes to, feel hopeless. That it was easier to get through the day not thinking about what else you want to do, not think about leaving early, not think about anything outside the walls of work. It bothered me at the time but it’s a philosophy that I’ve used often since. 1410 was probably the worst job I’ve had. I got through it for longer than the other shitty jobs I had this summer because I stopped doing anything else and just let myself get brainwashed. I knew that as soon as I went out with the guys, or had a show with the band, and remembered what my life is actually supposed to be like the brainwashing would unravel. And that’s exactly what happened. I tried every mental state I could to keep going to that job because the money was good. And I stopped going as soon as I let something remind me how little I care about money.
I know I can be motivated by pride and community. I gleefully spent 3 days working for the beer core for a t-shirt, booze, and daily hugs. At Distortion I wanted to do well so people would tell me I was doing well, at 1410 I wanted to do well enough to not be told I suck. Because if you tell me I did good it feels good, if you tell me I did bad it feels true.
I remember a lesson from a camp counselor a long time ago. He set up 5 empty pop cans asked who wants to come up here and crush these? I did, we all did. So a kid got up and stomped’em good. Really with gusto the kid crushed these cans. The counselor said “How did that feel? Good. How long did that take? 5 seconds.” Then he said “Now how long will take and how will it feel to fix them?”