The threat of unwholesome torment

I was probably a little unfair to myself in my last post. There are some uncomfortable things that I was more than happy to continue enduring long after my untimely demise. The wrong things.

It’s probably only been in the last few months that the don’t be a sucker, it’s not worth it advice has actually started kicking in in all the right places. It’s like I had to languish about in the stagnant puddle for about five years, all soggy and shrivelled, before I finally managed to extinguish the pathetic little birthday candles on my back I was after all along. And maybe, if we’re being candid, they actually just ran out of wax.

But anyway, they’re out. I think. More or less. But the fear that I can’t tell what is and is not worth my toil is probably more the problem than anything else. Because I know when I get into it I can toil like a motherfucker. I’ll eat your shit off the table if I think it will save us and I’ll keep up that Kundalini kriya ’til my arms are non-functional if that’s what you tell me to do.

How do we know which is worth it?

Do we listen to what others have to say? Or do we listen to ourselves? Which of us is the most trustworthy?

Wholesome torment

I got a surprise Fitbit for Christmas. It coincided with me signing up for an online yoga class membership, and together they have helped to reignite my love for Kundalini yoga.

There is something about Kundalini yoga that I just really, really like. Even before I had ever tried it, or really understood what it was, I felt in my bones this is my Yoga. Which is lucky, because it’s also exactly the type of yoga that I need. And it’s also hard as shit.

A long time ago, I burnt out in all the ways I can think of. And to recover from that, I basically had to stop trying. My threshold for giving up on something had to be really low, otherwise I’d fuck myself up. So I learned to live under that low threshold.

And that low threshold fucked me up in a whole different way.

It’s hard for me, now, to keep trying when something gets uncomfortable. I used to pride myself on my tolerance for pain and suffering; my ability to keep going regardless, consequences to myself be damned. That is no longer the case. Now, when I move into pain and suffering, a voice in my head whispers don’t be a sucker, it’s not worth it.

Kundalini yoga often involves repeating what seem like innocuous and perfectly managable physical movements over and over again until your limbs feel like they might be disintegrating and you can’t contain the whimpers of desperate agony.

If you’re lucky, you have a mantra to cling to to push out the thoughts of how difficult this is going to make parenting tomorrow, how it would be so much nicer to be doing literally anything else with your free time, how no-one has a fucking gun to your head, how you’re running out of time to clean the kitchen, how this was a really stupid idea and a waste of money, how the neighbours are probably wondering what the hell weird shit you’re doing down here. Because if you let those thoughts in, your world is a world of burning, bloody toil. So if you want to keep going, you keep those thoughts out, and you focus on getting through the moment.

It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to David Goggins, and it’s good for me.

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.

Paper trail

I have a bunch of unpublished drafts sitting around here.

It’s not that I forgot about this place. It’s not that I didn’t want to write.

In part, I was concerned that I had more ‘important’ things to be doing, and spending my time on this every day would be detrimental.

In part, I had dammed myself up by withholding the post I wanted to write until it no longer felt viable.

In part, I was going through some things that meant my writing took on a tone that I didn’t necessarily want to broadcast.

Most of all, I became uncomfortable with the very notion that I had created this blog, in my own name, showing you so much of who I am, good and bad, if you only cared to look.

I worried it was incongruent with the career I might want for myself, or the goals I was pursuing. I worried it was going to come and bite me on the backside, one way or another, eventually.

I thought about hitting delete on the whole thing – a favourite trick of mine – but I resisted. I let it sit here until I could bear the fact of its existence again without shame clawing at my throat.

It has been tapping on my shoulder persistently for the past couple of weeks. So here I am.

Lost to the grind

Sometimes I miss who I used to be.

Mostly not.

But occasionally, in an old photo, I’ll see a glimpse of a girl I’d forgotten I’d been, who hadn’t gone through quite so many traumas and challenges, and who probably wasn’t really as bad as I sometimes like to condemn her as. And I rue the day I lost her.

Not that there was a day.

More of a grinding succession of days of me going against my true nature in pursuit of things I didn’t truly want.

I can see how the contrast of all that bleakness and despair, against the joy and love I always knew was possible, informed the blueprint of the person I am now. And I really, really like who I am now. If that was the only way to get to here, I’m fine with that.

But was it?

That is the useless, unanswerable question that I should just tell to fuck off because it’s just trying to fuck with me.