My face, their shit.

I have a habit of giving my power away in the very moments when I should claim it.

No, it’s not a habit.

It’s a deeply embedded instinct for survival that, presumably, at some point, served me, but no longer makes any sense in my life.

I’m very clear with myself that I’m responsible for how I feel, not the external environment. When something is troubling me, my primary focus is on my own perception of it. That’s how I consistently endeavour to live my life, and it works well for me. I am good at being happy.

But I have a raging inflamed pain spot that blinds me to this reasoning in certain moments: When a certain someone close to me brings me all the bullshit they’ve accumulated in relation to me and slams it down on the table to win an argument, it seems I am compelled to just shove my face in it.

I try hard not to serve up my own bullshit in these kinds of interactions. The result of that is often incomplete, though the effort is always earnest. But why, oh why, oh why, oh why do I keep eating theirs? We both know it’s not food. What the fuck am I doing? This is not the correct response to the situation. They must be wondering as much as I am what on earth has possessed me to take this course of action.

If, instead, I could just lean back and say to myself “hmm, that’s an awful lot of bullshit for just one meal”, well, there are a lot of conversations that wouldn’t have been quite the ordeal I turned them into. If I could just keep my distance from the bullshit, I wouldn’t need them to stop serving it up. Obviously I’d be quite entitled to the preference. But their bullshit isn’t the problem. My face is.

Oh, wait, I see what I’m doing. I think if I eat it it’ll be gone. That’s part of the reason it’s so soul destroying. Because there’s always more where that came from. No matter how much clean-up I do, I can’t turn off their bullshit machine. In fact, all I’m doing is clearing space for more, and making myself sick in the process.

Gosh, this is so quintessential vintage Yve. What a perfectly preserved relic.

Well, here’s hoping that this absurd and offputting visual has triggered some kind of behavioural amelioration in me.

Textual constipation

Lying in bed one night the other week, an idea for a blog post hit me in a most inconvenient way. The kind of way that made it difficult not to get up and write it right then. But it was already about midnight and I didn’t want to fuck up my sleeping pattern even more, so I just stayed in bed, trying to keep my eyes closed. Every so often they’d spring open rebelliously, when another reason it was such a necessary post for me to write exploded through my synapses.

I didn’t write it then, and I haven’t written it since. It’s going to be a long one, it’s going to take some time, and it’s going to demand I pay attention to it and give myself to it fully. I have a couple of asignments already taking up that allotment of time and energy, so I’ve just been holding it ever since.

Is it a coincidence that my blog has become non-daily since that night?

Yes, I’ve been busy. And more than I’ve been busy I’ve been anxious about how much more busy I should be, which is a poor quality headspace to be in. But I think my decision to hold onto that idea until such a time as I can ‘do it justice‘ has made anything I write in between seem optional.

This is the first major blog hurdle of this iteration. I’m interested to see if I recover.

The price of bad tools

A couple of weeks ago, after years of thinking about it, I finally got a good microphone. I’d ordered it weeks before, when I realised I have both the surplus money and enough uses for it to call it an investment, and was waiting for it to come into stock.

By the time it arrived, I was busy with other things. It sat in its unopened package, and each time I passed it, I felt guilty for buying it and wondered if I should just send it back.

At long last, this weekend, I tested it out a little, and was deeply, viscerally satisfied by the fidelity. I’ve been using shit mics for a long time. I welcomed it into the family.

With some trepidation, I recorded myself singing a song. I was expecting to listen back with a mild cringe as it picked up all the flaws in my unconditioned voice, but instead I listened with a look of consternation.

I sounded good. And it was dawning on me that, if I’d bought this mic years ago, when I’d started thinking about it, I would have spent a lot more of that time singing. Because, if that’s what my neighbours hear, I don’t feel bad about it. Because that voice could do justice to the songs I’ve written. Because the recording sounded like what I hear when I sing, so I’m not delusional.

I have suffered from a supreme lack of confidence in my singing ability, which has hampered me in a multitude of ways since childhood. I finally thought I had reconciled myself by coming to the understanding that I’m an okay singer, and that’s good enough. Turns out, though, I could have had a better story.

I should have called that microphone an investment from the start. But I didn’t know better.

Chocolate chip entropy

I do best with a diet which excludes dairy, soya and oats. If I provide myself with that, other things pretty much fall into place. If I do not provide myself with that, all things tend toward entropy.

I think it was Brian Cox I once heard talking about how living organisms are essentially agents of entropy, catalysing the Universe’s descent, paradoxically, due to the necessity of staving off entropy within themselves. Maybe I should think about how I’m killing the Universe in my own minute way the next time I want to waste a week of my life on some chocolate chip cookies or something.

Because the annoying thing about me is that, even though I know very well by this point that there is a clear and meaningful difference between who I am when I’m eating the right things and who I am when I’m eating the wrong things, I still keep feeling the need to just…test it. Or, if something really fucks me off, it still seems like a good idea to bury my sorrows in some junk food that I conveniently didn’t check the label of.

That’s why I’ve been splashing around in the mud much more than I should have been these past few weeks. Things got emotional and I decided, despite all the well-worn tools and techniques available to me, that I would eat my feelings about once a week, and then spend the rest of the week regretting it not quite enough to stop me doing it all over again.

I’ve spent most of my life feeling pretty shitty, so it’s easy for me to forget what feeling good is like. But every time I get back on track I think why the fuck would I do that to myself? …and then I do.

In my defense, I think there’s a bit of a pendulum effect going on, and the swing is gradually decreasing. Getting better is a strange thing. Maybe this is just how I have to do it.

What to do?

I have been lost in nebulous theory lately.

The theory of what is happening right now. The theory of what needs to be done. The theory of what I need to do.

I work best with concrete to-do lists. And to formulate those, I need space and time set aside to gather myself, sort out the tangle, and organise it into neat actionable words. So overwhelming have these past few weeks been, that I have instead defaulted to whirlwind scrawl on every scrap of paper that passes me by. I’m saving countless Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Instagram screenshots, websites, books and podcasts for later with little to no thought for indexing. I’ve been hoping that I’ll settle down soon, without any kind of plan for how that will happen.

I’ve been lost because my goals cannot yet be fully defined. And so, like everything else, my metrics remain theoretical. I have been taking action; grabbing at things when the moment arises, and sometimes even spending time seeking out the action. But without the distilled knowledge of theory, action is weak.

I need to keep visiting the Theory Nebula. My work is most certainly not done there. But the part I have been missing recently – the disconnect – has been organising what I’ve learned into something I can use.

To-do lists are basically self-care for me. I need to get on that.