I had a bit of a self-inflicted wallow last night.
Let me preface with an excuse: I have been feeling a little physically under the weather between menstruation and a cold (although nothing like the terrible and constant pains I’d been experiencing in Spring /Summer). But what really pushed things into black hole territory was watching through the new season of Bojack Horseman in a swift three nights of viewing.
If you remember, back earlier in Summer when I’d been listening to too much Lambchop, I was talking about how certain media can tie me up in emotions and drag me deep down. Well, the stories and the characters drawn in Bojack Horseman (yes, a show about a cartoon Horse/Man) trigger a little too much on the empathy front for me.
But I was also kind of looking for it, I think. I think I wanted to wallow in all that feeling. I wanted to give a voice to the hollow and worthless feelings inside me. Maybe this is their way of getting heard? Maybe they know that I’m inclined to deny them, to ignore them and pretend that “It’s all fine” and I’m not really feeling that way, and I’m doing all the right things and life is just dandy thank you very much.
Life is neither dandy nor tragic.
Life just is.
In its ever-changing glorious technicolour complexity. In the simple and mundane actions of breathing and sleeping and eating.
I spend so much time living in my mind and ignoring the body. The thing about living in the mind is that you can pretty much shape your reality – Inception style. Sure, whatever fucked up shit you’ve got going on in your own personal brain chemistry is going to play a part in what things feel like. But you can certainly make things worse at any point by ignoring flashing indicators of problems. Lalalalalala! It’s all fine.
If you spend more time in your body it gets harder to ignore messages about problems. But you can always hide in the mind and ignore the body.
I feel like I’ve spent approximately 39 years of my life programming myself to ignore messages from my body, and to ignore truthful (probably instigated in the physical component of it) messages from my mind, in order to live nearly entirely in constructs. And when I get too tired to construct stuff for myself, I’ll pop into the handy off-the-shelf constructs of other people’s art and the ever present mental-junk-food of media from the Internet’s all-you-can-eat buffet.
I also learned to seal in the illusion by plastering any cracks with alcohol (then) and food (then and now). But whatever the technique, the habit has been to construct a world rather than live in the world.
Only in the last year or two have I even started to consider living differently.
When I supposedly live in the present moment – taking trips out or spending time with my family – how much of it has just been active and determined “memory making”, weaving my own constructs with the threads of what real life has provided, rather than noticing the actual experiences in the moment.
It’s hard to step away from the constructs.
I’m ever more reminded of Soma from Brave New World. Is internet my soma? Half an hour for a half-holiday. Ten hours for the weekend. And I’m gone, but I’ll claim I need it, for my sanity.
By 8pm every evening I’m done with my life and I want out. And if late-bedding children or next-day obligations infringe on the time between 8 and 10 I get increasingly irritated and snappish.
Because I haven’t really fixed the expectation that I have, deeply constructed within me, that life should be easy, life should be entertaining, life should have a beautiful and resonating purpose, and it should all fit within a witty and cohesive narrative.
But life isn’t anything other than changing moments, and this small collection of chemicals and stardust moving through an infinitesimally small 4 dimensional subset of the Universe. The multiverse.
If nothing we do matters, then the only thing that matters is what we do.
This is becoming my Nicene Creed. My touchstone when it all feels a bit too abstract and hard. And I don’t remember it half enough, so I just default back to my daily SOMA habit.
Well, I’m going to try a little bit more today. I am half-way through drawing a feeling I had going through me for the past three weeks or so; a feeling that I needed to take a break from trying so hard, because things are kind of okay.
I think I’m starting to feel ready to try again. Time to gather up the tools I’ve managed to create so far and start to push through again. I’ve got more work to do.