The Doom-legume

I ate something with soy in at the weekend. Soy is my own personal doomfruit. I know it’s not a fruit, but I feel like if a foodstuff is going to be prefixed with ‘doom’, it’s going to have to be a fruit. Although, okay, I will grant you, there’s something quite charming about a doom-legume.

Between six and forty-eight hours post-doomfruit-consumption, I begin to notice the onset of a pervasive dread descending. The physical telltales normally show up sooner, but I prefer to write them off under other explanations if possible. The doom-dread, though, is definitive.

I have built an arsenal of many coping strategies by this point, so the doom-dread comes in waves, and sometimes I fool myself into thinking I’m managing it fine and maybe soy doesn’t have the same effect on me as it used to, or maybe I was wrong all along and, despite the very substantial body of evidence to the contrary, eating soy is actually something I can start doing more regularly.

And then I realise I’m lowkey panicking that I’m never gonna have any money and my life will continue to be nothing but a long-drawn-out trudge across a field of desolation and lack. And I think, hold on, that’s a bit extreme, things aren’t that hopeless. And then I remember that I have two grand in my current account right now, and all of my bills have been paid, and all of my needs are met, and I’m totally comfortable, and my savings and investments are growing, and there’s no reason whatsoever not to be sitting here with a shit eating grin on my face. And then I think, fucking doomfruit!

Living like this

Sometimes I look around my room at night, after I’ve put my son to bed, and partially ticked off my to-do list, and I assess the things I haven’t bothered to put away because they’ll just be out again tomorrow and I’d rather do something else. And I wonder: does anybody else live like this?

And, well, yes, surely, they do. And they live countless other ways too.

I have an ancient script running that tells me I’m the only imperfect one, and I have to keep correcting it. It’s taking a surprising amount of time to overwrite.

If I don’t leave the house for multiple days: does anybody else live like this?

If I only eat vegetables when I’m cooking them for my son: does anybody else live like this?

If I just kept piling up the laundry and now I’ve run out of trousers: does anybody else live like this?

If I forget to put the bin out for five weeks in a row: does anybody else live like this?

Yes, thank you, they do. And they live countless other ways too.

It’s not that it’s wrong to question whether what I’m doing is healthy, or optimal, or something to be improved upon. It’s the comparison that’s bullshit. It’s funny though, the script used to ask the question rhetorically, and shame me into a corner. Now I’ve started answering it, it’s actually kind of refreshing.

People live like this. And countless other ways.

Accidental wisdom

I didn’t spend today doing the thing I had intended to do. The thing that was really set in stone as necessary to do today, I did very little of. I didn’t achieve my goal of completing it.

Instead, I got sidetracked catching up on the things I had been neglecting in the week. Mostly the intellectual self-care I require to maintain a sense of sanity. I got myself informed on the pressing topics that have been smashing up against my face but I haven’t had time to address. I expanded my understanding and made connections my brain had been clamouring to find. I gave myself space to think. Before I knew it, it was 8pm.

I don’t know how I should feel about the fact I veered off course today. Because I veered into something I needed, but I did it without a sense of control over it.

Because of my poor self-control, I nourished myself in a way I was theoretically willing to forgo, for the sake of my goal, but practically speaking would have probably hindered me in multiple ways.

Falling short of my schedule also forced me to re-evaluate my position, and realise that today’s deadline wasn’t as necessary as I thought, if I allowed my standards to drop a little. That may condemn me to the slope of a downward spiral, if not for the fact that my re-evaluation also flagged up the fact that I’d set my standards unnecessarily high. I’d been willing to sacrifice myself, frankly, without good enough reason.

I was not the master of myself today. But I’m still in conflict with myself over how much I should be. Sometimes I have bad ideas.

The Twins

I’m a Gemini. To use astrology in its most reductive form.

I don’t know how much weight I put in that, but obviously I put some.

All mutable signs have a reputation for being indecisive, but Gemini is The Twins – and right now I feel like I have two opposing advocates living in my head, so, I don’t know, that feels highly relatable.

Often I notice parallels between what plays out in people’s personal lives, and what plays out in society.

I’ve spent some time lately thinking about how the effects of various systemic problems in our world can be understood quite well in terms of certain categories of human mental illness. And how, perhaps, by thinking about them in such terms we may be better able to deal with them appropriately. You don’t treat a person with PTSD the same as a healthy person and expect the same results, for instance.

Some people seem to have noticed a similar thing to me, although I’m sure they understand it in countless different ways. But they are responding to the situation with these ‘illnesses’ in mind, however they conceptualise them. Many people have not. They have probably noticed other things instead, that I don’t see.

But, much like the devils on my shoulder, by and large we don’t disagree on what the problems are – where we’re going round in circles is the implementation of a solution.

Me and my dichotomous twins are pretty clear on what we want, but they have very different arguments about how we should get there, and I can’t find a way to reconcile them. So we’re going backwards and forwards and, I fear, all the while just getting degraded. Is this the folly of a two-party system? Do I need a new starsign?

Mudskipper

I’m going to have to start doing that thing where I carry a tiny notebook with me everywhere, to write down random thoughts I have. Throughout the course of my day I think of many things I might like to write about, but, recently, whenever I sit down to write, I’m blank. And then this thing I’m doing feels like a slog.

I used to be good at slogs. My life was just one long slog.

Then I got sick of it, and I got much better at whims. For a while, my life became a fantastical, disjointed string of whims.

Once I’d taken the time to recover from pissing away all my energy on grinding ineffectively for an ego-driven life, it began to emerge that, probably, living on whims wasn’t going to get me much further.

I wanted to believe, on some level, that I could bypass future slogs by successfully harnessing motivation. I began trying to learn the secret of inspired action.

I still haven’t learned it, really, because I’m still facing a slog. Several slogs, in fact. I still have too many ideas tugging at my focus and, in between brief bouts of clarity, the result is overwhelmingly a sort of white noise.

Holding onto any single strand of inspiration long enough to mean anything is tricky for me. I’m starting to accept that resurrecting my ability to slog may be the right way forward. To relearn how to wade through the silty mud when the tide’s gone out, instead of sitting down to wait.

I have conflicting ideas about this, still. I think I still believe it’s possible to avoid the slog – not the hard work, but the work that feels unnecessarily hard. And so my reaction when I see the mud up to my ankles is where did I go wrong here? Well, maybe I did go wrong, maybe I didn’t, but the fact of the matter is there is mud up to my ankles, and I’ve got too much shit to get on with to just languish in it.