Tough love

I think I’m sliding into a new awareness of myself in relation to others. It’s too subtle to call a levelling up, but I’m hoping I’ve at least passed a checkpoint, because I don’t want to have to do these past few weeks over.

I’m in an awkward phase right now where I’m feeling the need to chase down the disharmony in my life. I’ve spent the last year or so cultivating peace, so this new strategy doesn’t appeal, but it’s either that or let myself stagnate. The growth is where the challenge is. And for me, right now, that is in my most difficult personal relationships. Personal relationships that I may prefer the luxury of writing off. Personal relationships it would be perfectly reasonable to encourage writing off.

It’s important to detach the idea of having them go the way I want them to, and having them teach me what I need them to. I regularly get stuck in the former because I resist the latter, which causes pain and makes me want to reconsider. But the only way out is through, and they are teaching me. And I’m starting to feel the effects.

Maybe I’m learning the hard way, but then that wouldn’t be anything new.

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?

Precarious positions

I have too many tabs open tonight and their very presence is disturbing my soul.

Open tabs feel like unfinished business. And that’s exactly what they are – they’re research papers I’ve identified as important but have yet to thoroughly read. I don’t have time to read them now, so leaving the tabs open is the most effective way to ensure I read them soon. But it is very disconcerting to me.

The most disconcerting part is the risk that I will accidentally close them, or use them to visit another website without realising, or close the browser, or turn off my laptop without thinking. It’s the same sort of feeling as I get when leaving my laptop open in the middle of the floor, or stretching a wire taut across the room to reach the socket. Or, I don’t know, putting an egg in my pocket. Thought process: I’ll have to remember about that…agh, I’m definitely going to forget…maybe I shouldn’t do it…no, it’s the best option, I’ll just have to remember………fuck, I knew it, I fucking forgot.

I know, by now, that there is a very high probability that I will do the very thing I am trying to remember not to do. Just ask my laptop’s screen. Or my previous laptop’s screen. Or my phone’s screen. Or the multiple pairs of broken glasses, or all that spilt coffee, or the countless things I’ve left behind in hotels after placing them in convenient but inconspicuous areas of the room.

That’s what makes the open tabs thing effective – I’m leveraging the tension. The longer they stay open the more chance I have to fuck up, so I’d better get to them quick. It has a fairly short lifespan. If I don’t clear them tomorrow I’ll probably enter the stress exhaustion phase, at which point I’ll either learn to live with them forever or just close the browser without any attempt to save their links.

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.

Get off my lawn

I have a bad habit of seeking validation for my point of view.

I used to be offputtingly defensive, which I have come to understand was a necessary way of protecting myself from harmful and erosive influences. It allowed me to uphold boundaries, albeit it in an overly rigid, dysfunctional way. I used to keep a clear space around me at all times and if someone intruded on the lawn I’d shoot them down without thinking twice. Stay. The fuck. Away.

One day, I guess out of exhaustion or loneliness, I decided to lock up the weapons. When people turned up on the lawn, I just let them stay there. If they asked to come in, I’d reply “if you want”. And so people started indiscriminately trampling all over my space, according to their own desires rather than mine. They stole stuff, they flytipped, they made a fucking terrible mess in the bathroom. And the whole time I was thinking just don’t shoot them, just don’t shoot them, at least I haven’t shot them. Although I’ll admit I pulled out the sawed-off shotgun on a few occasions.

Eventually, when it seemed I had nothing left to lose, I shooed everyone out and started the clean-up. And then I went through the whole cycle a few more times because I still hadn’t learned what boundaries are meant to be.

I have built a lot of skills, and fences, and gates, over the past decade. But I still have much more to do.

Right now, I am noticing a problem when people come onto my lawn, or even just within earshot, and start shouting that I’m wrong, or that something similar to something I have said is wrong. My initial response, without any further qualification, is “oh shit, am I? “and I worry about it until I have the time to go away and reearch the same things that I already researched to come up with my original opinion. Because, yes, I did research it already.

The process of recovery has begun, with a few good stern talkings to when I’ve caught myself doing this inappropriately over the past few weeks, but, damn, do I look forward to a day when living isn’t quite such unnecessary emotional labour for me.