[715] Rev Run

I’m still fascinated by traffic.

Traffic is a man made wave carrying, not just H20 molecules, but entire
individual stories and intentions all over the world. There’s traffic
everywhere I go. Driving to drug studies I’d be lost in the sea of cars
clogged in the bleak and concrete of Chicago suburbs. Driving through
Fort Wayne, I feel as though I’m right back in The Region with fatter
people and more to eat. Evansville rings the same. It’s probably an
Indiana thing.

I know the math that plucks “stars” from the sea. I know calling someone
a star to regard them as something special and different is an irony we
ignore pretty heavily. Without the media coverage, we find stars at
every level. People rocket to the tops of their industries. People have a
way of navigating social waters or difficult situations like no one
else around. A family man can be the star of his castle. A child can
always burn brightest in the eyes of their parent.

Driving from the hotel to the training facility, you learn very quickly
that Fort Wayne likes to speed. What doesn’t occur to them is there are
about 90 stoplights between them and wherever they’re going 5 miles up
the road. Speeding to slow down. Speed to cut off and then immediately
hit the breaks and halt. Speed to knock the shit out of one of a myriad
of potholes. Speed while they smoke, and put on makeup. This is a place
where people are trying to get somewhere, and the reality in between
doesn’t register.

This area also has an abundance of liquor stores and churches. I didn’t
make a count, but when a thought like that occurs to you, it suggests
it’s at least more liquor stores and churches than you’re generally used
to seeing.

Traffic grabs me because that’s what I’m becoming. I get up early, put
on uncomfortable clothes that flaunt sweat, grab my coffee and hotel
breakfast, and make my way to presentation after presentation about how
to treat LGBT kids like they’re people and not let it slide when a
parent who’s just had their kids taken away tries to talk me out of not
reporting something that could put me in jail. The “standard” of
interaction I’ll have to meet is 22 hours of facetime with clients, with
apparently a gigantic backlog that’s increasing if I want to be a
go-getter and shoot for 35-40.

The leadership, once I begin doing that, will start to tell me I’m
“changing lives.” They’ll say they had a feeling about me and were
waiting to see how it played out. I’ll get offered a company car. I’ll
interrupt hanging out or free time with phone calls or paperwork. I’ll
ask questions, in the way that I do, like
when I asked a VP of the parent corporation if there was a finder’s fee
for finding them a rich disturbed kid, who they cater to, to haul off to
The Dominican Republic for 10 months at $5,000 a month. It will make
people chuckle and uncomfortable, but they won’t be able to do anything,
because it will speak to a truth they like to polish and my numbers
will be undeniable.

If I get paid like I anticipate, it won’t be a daily struggle to squeeze
the tips out of frat boys, but a weekly reliable paid in full to the
professionals story of things that get done on my house. $300 here or
there? Yes, please do. I could pick up some small pricey-enough
indulgences like collecting cologne or springing for a nice watch. I’ll
be able to put a plan in place for my week that I politely berate (hold
accountable) my fledglings to where we work on goals and fill out
paperwork together. I’ll endear myself to some, alienate others, get
paid either way. I’ll think about getting on a healthy meal plan
delivered to my door and expanding my gym membership to include a

I’ll even potentially have the time to have my weekends, or long
weekends, to travel and visit. Instead of all day wasting away in a
parking lot for a week, I’ll have hard and fast start and stop times to
my “free time.” I’ll have stories for days about people suffering a
circumstance I’m in no way approaching holistically or with the naivety
of my employers. It’ll be routine. I’ll have my snippets about how
Florida was rainier than I hoped, but at least there wasn’t snow!

 I will meet very many pleasant people. They will have their families
form right before my very eyes. They’ll have their woes and story about
what brought them here. They’ll tell me what they believe and use that
tone for signaling discomfort for the topic or type of joke. “You see,
what it’s really about.” I’ll be asked a
dozen times if I have any questions, and I’ll watch them die a little
inside when their 5th dad joke in a row fails to land

By any normal measure, I’d be fine. I fit. My cultural conditioning
worked. I can sit still. I can play a semantic game as earnestly as any
convoluted Christian. I’ll have money. I’ll garner praise. I’ll be able
to merely mention my job and wear the gear to be regarded as a “good
person.” My hairline, gut, and humor will grow to match the rest of the
ensemble. All us jaded old-types will be in on the joke. I’ll disregard
the implication of the 40 I guzzle down every night.

How long have you been enthralled reading my familiar story? Are you
jealous? Do you wish you had that measure of security
to look forward to? Do you wish you had a job that burns out the
sincere do-gooder, but makes you laugh at the idea that there’s a single
stressful thing involved at all? Is someone going to scream my hearing
away? Am I going to be unable to leverage, “Um, hey, I’m the road to
getting your kid back, duh.” Will I have to drive even half as long? Is a
sick kid puking in the back of my car or filthy apartment my worst
nightmare? Will I have to work as many days? Don’t forget, I organized
my life where a McJob would pay my yearly bills in 1-3 months, and they
want to pay me to be a professional adult.

I appreciate what I have. I find the value in the things that piss me
off. I know there’s always work to be done, and when I want to improve,
upgrade, or change something, it’s not because I’m living in some
unbearable hell. I know that my skill or malleability is particular. I
know my perspective has been beaten out of hundreds of thousands of
words. I know that I’m the speeding Fort Wayner who dares potholes to
break my axle. While most of us might find change uncomfortable, I find
the idea of forgetting what really matters to me unbearable.

I didn’t/don’t read so much about the world so that I could put it on
the backburner and become personally snug and “mature.” I didn’t get my
ability to cut to the heart with a single question or tone by playing
along. What Christian organization charges $60,000 a year to send some
teenager looking at porn to another country because their rich parents
are equally deluded and naive? That’s the question they feel when I ask
if there’s a finder’s fee for luring another one into their trap. These
righteous lambs spent half this “training” literally trapping us into a
church sermon, pitch from Wells Fargo, and insistence we treat gay kids
like they’re normal, but also “respect” the “different views” of their
parents who act like you assume southern Indiana parents will. I chose
to withhold telling them like 90% of my friends are at least bi, and I’m
not trying to get fired for calling some old cunt a bigot.

I think my next tattoo, or set of them, are going to symbolize
resistance. No matter how good I get at this world, or have already
been, no matter how many rewards, no matter how relieved you feel that,
“He’s finally figured it out, shut up, grow up, and get paid,” it’s
wrong. I want self-sustaining creativity and new culture building. I
want the old guardians of my ideals. I want to create the constraints to
wiggle around in. And I want my focus to be primarily on the big
evidence and trends. I want to shape the world, not pretend to save my
region from opioids and several generations of child abuse. To be fair, I
don’t want to deliver food, didn’t want to sell alcohol, didn’t want my
spine tapped, didn’t want to finish college, or drive a cab, or do yard
work, or probably the vast majority of things that constitute my life,
so saying what I don’t want to do amounts to less than piss in the wind.

I’m still always going to be looking. I’m looking for the way out. The
funds will, at the very least, fuel my business speculation. I am
actually going to be “in the world,” so I’ll scrape together bits of
information that may prove useful. I’ve learned I can still 9-5 and
still get my TV shows in, likely the thing that will accompany my
paperwork, which I’m sure I’ll streamline. I won’t get lost in this
world. I won’t get comfortable. This cushy bed in the hotel they’ve
comped? It’s not mine, and it’s over tonight. The food allowance for
dinner? $15 and doesn’t include alcohol, the fuel of any proper social
worker, or human in general. I want the gig that hires those who know
how to responsibly drink while doing it and to sleep when I want for as
long as I want.

The main reason this path has concerned me is that I’m aware I’m not an
island. I can be shaped and persuaded like anyone. No one ever tries
because they don’t really care or are too stupid, but it’s possible. My
mind normalizes things pretty quickly as a what I take as a
self-protective adaptation. It’s one thing to write pissy blogs, another
to start creating new holes in my arm to pick at, or clenching my jaw
until teeth wear down. I spent a year a CT. I swear I started there
yesterday. Every happy memory of my past was yesterday too. Tomorrow
I’ll be 60, bitching about the nuclear fallout not-that-long ago that
these goddamn kids are already forgetting! I’ll regret I didn’t do more
or prepare or speak explicitly because I was a little too busy, a little
too selfish, and too old to fight about things I know I can’t change.
Then I’ll wheel my lonely wretched body out under the sun and burn to
death like that Furyan in The Chronicles of Riddick.

It hurts just enough. Like pants too tight in the waste. Like a neck
propped staring at the wall projection. Like the cut in the eyes and the
tongues of the pretenders lecturing you on their nobility and morality.
Like the indignity of turning your head and coughing. Like the
disrupted quiet as you crumple the remnants of your calorie mistakes. Or
the hum of traffic, beckoning.

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[708] Omission Creep

I can’t seem to breakthrough. While I’m
concerned with sounding like I’m on an infinite loop, I’m more
bothered that I can’t walk away happy from the last several things
I’ve written. There’s a nagging deeper point I haven’t been able to
dig out.
I had the thought, I think provoked by
some TV show, that by the character’s explanation, I’m a perfectly
terrible friend. I think I’m pretty clear an example of how “nothing
changes,” in that I won’t treat you differently or it shouldn’t
feel “weird” if we haven’t talked at length. At the same time,
I’m not the kind of “default supportive” that turns me into a
like machine or cringingly enthusiastic commenter. Increasingly, I’ve
been finding it harder to even entertain the idea of visiting or
coming through on boasts about having too much time and money. I’ve
gotten geared up to go see a show or think to myself I should create
a group to try and do something, and then I fall asleep at a random
hour or go back to watching some show.
In a big way, I’ve gotten burned out on
the prospect of most of my relationships. It’s not that I don’t want
friends as much as, the basis for which formed my ideas of what
friends were is gone. Friends are now what my mom turned them into; a
handful you ever barely speak to until you manage to alienate them
one by one. I don’t want to check-in and share stories of getting by.
I don’t want my “social” scene to be comfortably uncomfortable
I was sifting through the paperwork for
this new job. If I approach it even half as earnestly as I have
everything else I’ve hated doing in life, I’m going to start making a
lot of money. I’m going to start making a lot of money after already
erasing the things that tend to cost people a lot of money. I don’t
know how long it’s going to take, or how much I’m going to feel my
work has consumed my time, but given, “I have nowhere to be,” even
in a month or 2, I could start feeling the impact. And then what?
Sometimes you see online rich awkward
Indian or entitled white kids advertise that they’ll fly out whatever
remotely cute girl is willing to talk to them. Their concept of
“value” or “power” or “social” is so beyond more broken
than mine will ever manage. At the same time, what if you find
yourself wanting to be busy and rich more than mucking about social
pleasantries? Do I blame them for wanting to get laid and having no
or shitty male role models? Compared to being some parody of a past
that never was, maybe they’re on to something.
I was also going through some old blogs
where there were some comments from old friends. One in particular
called “What It Means To Be An Adult” had a former friend chime
in with how I had such an awesome way of framing things and related a
story of basically having to raise her parents. I was railing about
how “adult” it is to be stressed out, too busy, massively in
debt, and then so deluded as to lecture a child you raised for
following your irresponsible example. The friend who commented? One
who invented reasons to be angry at me and through our living
arrangement into disarray.
What kind of example am I setting in my
lifestyle and relationships? I feel like that Poison Ivy friend. If
we’re close enough, I can keep you intoxicated and carrying on, but
introduce something that obstructs the scent, you start to wake up
and get angry that you’d lost control. If you don’t have my
influence, then your spouse, or work, or picture of a healthy normal
person story takes over. The point is that I can feel the pull. I can
feel “better” excuses for not seeing people than the ongoing
costs of home building or surprise fuckery of my precarious “gig”
jobs. I used to have all the time in the world, you see, but now I’m
salary and the meeting Monday is mandatory.
I don’t want to sit here and pretend
the erosion of my social scene hasn’t been an ongoing and comment
worthy process for years. I also don’t want to pretend I haven’t
always reminded myself of my capacity to flip and start in some new
way of being in an instant. It just feels like I’m going to make it
even harder on myself now. If I’m already emotionally distant or
dead, I’m sort of tightening the screws with a whole new obligation.
The conflict is between living through
examples of when “it” was “good” and certain things made
sense intellectually and emotionally, and then putting either years
or distractions in between them to end up in these isolated realms of
existence. I really do think it’s isolated too. You may be better
about phone calling or intermittent visits, but the difference
between having yourself surrounded daily by people you care about or
used to care about, and seeing the facebook version, are worlds
apart. More to the point, having people with a shared goal or vision
for your interactions together is indispensable if we’re to imagine
there’s a “societal” reason to perpetuate the species that
doesn’t solely come from Pixar or religion.
Part of my reticence from half-assing
visits I think speaks to my “do it well or not at all” sense.
It’s open to debate the degree in which this is more destructive than
helpful at this point. If I’m going to crisscross the country
visiting, I want to do it all at once or all the time or at whatever
interval I so desire. If it feels like a desperate stab to meekly
“keep in touch” before receding back home for another year or so,
we’re already dead. If it feels that way before I leave, it’s going
to feel that way during the flight, through every shot, and on the
ride home. I don’t want to bring you “work drama” because that’s
all I’ve learned to talk about.
That’s the baggage I bring into every
interaction though, isn’t it? I drop my entire world into your lap
whether you’re prepared to deal with it or not. Here you go, chugging
along with your life, and I’m like, “Everything we’re talking about
is dumb!” What? Calm down, you think. If we’re not discussing work
or plans to travel next year, why, what else is there? If we don’t
don resolved mock pensive matter-of-fact smiles about our slices of
life, how will we recognize ourselves?
I know there’s merit to the status quo.
I know a measure of stability and predictability are preferred
against so many other potentially horrendous fates. I think there’s
just a world of atrophied potential between “adulting” and cliff
diving. There’s ways of interacting with each other, our pasts, and
in service to the future, that isn’t dictated by our paycheck,
incidental interactions, or region we were born into. I hand myself
over to things that become veritable all-consuming metrics under
which to conduct my life, and then claim TV or book reading as
passable excuses to keep playing along. I can leave my “gig” job
at any time? It absolutely doesn’t feel that way, and that’s not how
it affectively plays out in my life. How many excuses for shitty
conditioned behavior can we come up with?
I guess I’m writing this because I
don’t know when I’ll see you. I’m still lamenting hardly being able
to see me, and I should stop pretending a night out or weekend
reminiscing is what I’m after. I’m still having to double-down on
mere money making until I get my shooting range, or
greenhouse, or camping destination, or mapping program, or dozen
other things I’d rather be doing as often as I’ve spent in school,
drug studied, delivered food, or will pretend to be helping poor
The best I can do, for now, is my
half-assed trying in service to the handful of people I don’t think
are going to surprise me with some bullshit. When they do anyway,
well, you know, of course. It’s okay to be acquaintances. It’s okay
to be nothing to each other. I know I’ve become way more committed to
myself after I learned that’s what people are. It’s not what I like
or want, but it’s what I’m doing. I won’t even claim it’s who I am,
but it’s who I’ll be. And as long as I forgo deleting my facebook,
you’ll get a front row seat to the destruction in real time.

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[707] Funny Mantis

Forgiveness. Letting go. Acceptance.
Living to help and give.

If you want a Family Feud style list
of “components of a worthwhile life” these would make the board.
They’re sentiments related at the end of this documentary The Zen
Diaries of Garry Shandling.

Taken together, you get any number of self-help books or religious
cliches. I don’t know that the process of arriving at any is that
well understood, and if you’re someone like myself, you might be
openly hostile towards them.

Let’s take forgiveness. To be
honest, I don’t really know what it means. It’s one of those words
that I think I know what it’s supposed to mean, but I don’t have a
strong concept of it affecting me personally. I “forgive” things
to the extent I feel I understand them. It’s a depersonalized sense.
I “forgive” the things you might say or do while drunk, for
example. I “forgive” the consequences of mental illness or youth
and inexperience mimicking mental illness.

The purpose of
forgiveness is supposed to be…acceptance? God forgives you, so you
get accepted into heaven. You forgive someone who wronged you, so
you…I’m truly drawing a blank. You get peace? You don’t necessarily
understand them or their motives. You accept that potentially flat
out evil intent? I really need help with this. Acceptance isn’t like
taking a package someone hands you. It’s a shift in your perspective.
In order to do so, you have to make a kind of mental allowance for
its reality. Perhaps it’s you seizing the day because you’ve accepted
death more readily than anyone around you is comfortable

Frankly, I don’t really forgive. It’s very particular to
when as objectively and sincerely as anything can exist get’s
maliciously destroyed. I don’t forgive parents for terrorizing their
kids. I don’t forgive watching someone sacrifice and care, and you
taking advantage. I don’t forgive shunning opportunities to learn or
try at better understanding. In a word, I don’t understand what I’ve
come to define as “evil.” Deliberate maliciousness. I don’t
expect people to forgive it of me, and I won’t forgive myself when I
think a line has been crossed. It’s a physical revulsion point that
prevents me from persisting too long on thoughts that would trap me
in an evil place. It stays my hand and tongue.

I try
incredibly hard to cope with an over-active mind and agenda while
tempering myself with the stories of those who seemed to let it
overwhelm them. I don’t want to feel like deep in my bones my essence
is tied to some fight with my mother or anxiety about not being rich
or famous enough. I don’t want to think I squandered chances to be
madly in love but only managed to fall for myself. I don’t want to
operate under the illusion that I’m “helping” or “giving,”
when the capacity and responsibility to do so might not even be
mine. That’s something to let go of. That’s a hard truth to try and

I don’t actually know that I can or do help people.
That’s the truth of it. People can chime in or chuckle, but my impact
is theirs to discern. I can try to do things that comport with my
understanding of living a worthwhile life. In so doing, the theory is
that that will help. It helps me to live cheap, so try to provide
people a means of living cheap. I need to write, so give people the
opportunity to watch that process and hopefully write for themselves.
I want to create and learn at my leisure, well independent of the
societal structure I’ve been conditioned to fetishize and promote, so
meticulously accounting for that structure and how I might arrange my
own needs to constantly take place.

I think if you “forgive”
the things that drive you to want to do better, you run the risk of
quitting and growing complacent. I accept that there’s little reason
to believe “love” or “truth” or some starry-eyed ideal about
how to conduct life will win out. That doesn’t mean I forgive those
who seem to go out of their way to make it harder to try and be
better. I don’t fundamentally trust you, but it’s always going to be
me setting myself up to pay the price in trying. I don’t try to say
or advocate for the word “love,” but learning the pain of having
what become limbs ripped off will always be raw.

Let’s move on
to acceptance. That’s kind of the end goal in all of this right? The
idea that you accept what’s happened or is coming. In accepting, you
can move with instead of against. Maybe you alleviate a measure of
stress you’ve burdened yourself with about all you’ve yet to achieve.
It just seems like a fancy way to scapegoat. “Accept me as I am!”
some self-righteous tumblr page might declare. “God grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change
the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Tellingly, I think to call it a scapegoat, and the phrase most
associated with it is a request for God.

If we press on it,
what can’t you change? At some level, somewhere, what is
fundamentally beyond your capacity to change? Surely it’s giant
astronomical events right? Unless we get weird and entangle some of
your particles with particles residing in the center of stars. You
are change. You’re a mechanism by which everything changes in and
around you. If anything, it’s a kind of prayer and sentiment that
should provoke you into the wisdom that you’ll never achieve serenity
until you bother with changing as much as possible! Courage is a
choice, not a gift.

I think the world belongs to the people
who take responsibility for it, and it happens to the ones that
don’t. While I’m accepting of the idea that there are many many
people working in service to what I consider evil ends, I don’t
accept it as a matter of course or forgive them their unwillingness
to try harder. When you go about life having no definition of what
constitutes behaving in helpful or forgiving and accepting ways, it’s
easy to consider yourself as having mastered or understood them. How
about this? I accept that there are things I won’t forgive. I accept
that I’m always as dead as I feel, and am running out of time to be
meaningful in my own eyes. I accept that most of my friendships were superficial. I accept that the help isn’t coming. And I accept that
over and over again what I say and try to do will get thrown in my
face, disrespected, and misconstrued, because I “forgive” animals
who masquerade as human.

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[706] Funny Man

I’m in the middle
of part one of The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. Recurring themes
in a lot of people I admire who become successful show up in Garry.
Fundamentally, do the work. If you want to be a joke writer, keep
writing jokes. If you don’t quite know how to perform, keep
performing. Do the small gigs and the even smaller. Take notes on
what works and what doesn’t. Let the joke evolve with substituted
words or phrasing. Ask questions and keep seeking the answers.
What’s immediately
apparent is that Shandling had very familiar patterns of doubt and
anxiety about how to discover who he was. Plenty of people who
attempt comedy can have a number of issues and questions they’re
trying to work through. The therapeutic release of laughter or sense
of solidarity with other comics is a broad tent under which to find
yourself. Maybe you’d rather write for a show than perform. Maybe
you’re a comic’s comic. Comedy is a vehicle, and you decide how to
drive it.
Whether you want to
call it a tireless work ethic or the result of crippling anxiety, the
desire to always be doing “something” or working in some
direction that speaks to my goals and ideals is very real. It’s a big
reason I’ve never bothered to try anything in comedy beyond joking in
my personal life despite the huge admiration I have for so many funny
voices. I like to take things I respect seriously, and it’s very easy
to pretend that merely engaging signifies meaningful interaction. I
think this is different too from those who claim to be
“perfectionists” as a crutch for procrastinating. “If you can’t
do it right, don’t do it at all,” is no excuse not to practice, or
chip away at a book, or bother trying because you’re scared.
That’s something I
realized was never really my problem. I’m not scared of things. At
least, whatever fears I experience don’t seem to mean the same things
for me as they do other people. I get anxious, you get an impossibly
annoying blog to read. I fear my potential more than anything I’ve
necessarily done. It’s Spider-Man. With great power comes great
responsibility. While I seem to exercise my power in ways I suspect
many find disappointing, the consequences of it are no less real.
Shandling’s notes
and mentoring had me thinking about my #yearofeveryday that I
suspended after 15 days. Finding a pocket that both allows you to
feel happy or making progress on something isn’t easy. I certainly
enjoy things like watching TV and movies or learning new things on my
instruments. I like reading. And yes, to an extent, they are an end
in and of themselves. They provide the narrative backdrop and
structure for how I relate to the world. It’s a Shandling documentary
that inspired this. It’s random interviews or lines from a book that
inspire many more. When I’m paying attention or finding meaning in my
“hobbies,” they retain a chance of becoming a sort of timeless
expression of who I am or would like to be.
This makes me want
to say what I like about who I want to be. At one level, I like
saying I’ve probably seen more media that Roger Ebert did before he
died. I think it’s cool that something so mundane seems to have a
kind of snark-significance. Does it matter? Well, to me, yeah a
little. It signifies that I do things “a lot” or maybe “too
much” and “exhaustively.” It’s an indicator that if we’re going
to start comparing notes or you’re gonna set me on a track for
conversation, don’t fake it. Do I ever truly feel that satisfied with
what I’ve seen so far? Of course not, there’s still, theoretically,
many more years of my life with many more things to watch. It’s not
about the number, it’s about the potential meaning of any one piece
at any time.
I think this kind
of perspective applies to everything. I don’t have a favorite
comedian or favorite joke. I never find myself comparing the pain in
my gut or chest from times that I’ve laughed incredibly hard. It’s
great every time. Every time I get full, it’s the best time. Every
time you have sex, you should be able to enjoy yourself. It speaks to
my compulsion to fight feelings of jealousy and continued advocacy
for open relationships. My perspective on any one person doesn’t
really compare. I can claim a favorite movie or food, but the
responsibility lies with me to understand and respect where they do
or don’t relate to my life at any given moment. If I had a stomach
condition that said I couldn’t eat cheeseburgers anymore, or never
saw Waking Life again, the concept of “favorite” exists outside
of access.
Maybe that point
right there is key. My favorite self I seem unable to access. Or at
least, I don’t allow myself to see my current circumstances as an
expression of my favorite self. There’s an aspect or several missing
from the daily pattern and work I think would speak best towards me.
I’m coasting. I’m comfortable-ish. That’s when you lose your edge and
really any sense of self, let alone your favorite one. Shandling got
hit by a car and had an out of body experience. Something asked him,
“Didn’t you remember we just lent you this body? Do you want to
continue living the life of Garry Shandling?” I don’t recall the
paperwork for renting my body, but if I want to bother to continue
living, it’s extremely easy to see the future I think I can inhabit
that creates the basis for wanting to do so.
What I like about
me, I don’t sense from the world at large. Of course, most people
working at comedy or their day job don’t generate hundreds or
thousands of notes and pages about how to do it better. Most don’t
fall asleep being chased by everything they’re not doing well-enough.
Surely, we know many people are prescribed pills for their anxiety or
depression, brought on by financial woes or generalized terrible
interpersonal relationships, but the burden is externalized. Even if
I can’t seem to figure out what I should be doing every day, you’re
not to blame because I can’t enjoy the pace of progression or
relative stability.
My sense of self is
difficult insofar as that it is illusive. It’s as here and gone as
the next funniest joke you’ve ever heard. It’s nailing The Tonight
Show, and the panic attack about what comes after. It’s making the
money to “fix” something, and then trembling and exclaiming, “One
more!” like Schindler with a pin in hand. It’s the peaks and
valleys of blogs. It’s a measure of obscenity or darkness provoked on
hangover days. It’s a longing that will never be satiated by someone
who cares to “get it” as long as I’m giving. My sense of self has
fun in the changing and pushing and fighting. If you can’t change
yourself, the anxiety kicks in. If you can’t fight someone, you beat
yourself up. If you run out of buttons to push, you edge your
boundaries right up to and maybe over the line of what you’d want to
say or have said about you.
That I’m still
alive means I’m willing to keep looking. There are bits of me in this
documentary. There’s bits of me in different people and projects and
justifications for starting some new initiative. I’m all over the
place, figuratively and literally. While my body is alone, screaming
into the darkness of Craiglist and via blogs, my “self” is
germinating in protesters and investigative reporters and
well-intentioned megalomaniacs who still find a measure of guilt in
their personality disorder. As long as I can continue to change, it
can be for better or worse. The work of deciding what constitutes
either one is never done. I don’t think you have to love it, but I
don’t understand being alive if you’re unwilling to do the work that
comes with being who you are.

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[702] The Catch

I am a creature who has been molded. I
think this is such an amazingly important insight and admission that
we collectively forgo in our understanding of the world and
ourselves. “You” hardly exist. You can throw together all of the
physical ingredients you want. You can appeal to metaphysical
nonsense to describe your spirit. You can point to the story of your
individual past that you believe looks nothing like anyone else’s.
And yet you are still controlled and described by things so beyond
your control and outside your awareness, it makes me wonder how an
“ego” ever managed to evolve in the first place.
As a molded creature, it gives you
varying degrees of leeway in taking responsibility for your actions.
I think it’s significantly easier to be an adolescent or just
transitioning into an “adult” for you to recall moment after
moment where you didn’t feel you had control. Parents or school
dictated something. Your hormones drove you crazy. It was your first
experience with an illicit substance or you’d never seen enough of
some show or interpersonal scenario to be bored to tears. While no
one wants to admit it, if you took a functioning alcoholic who knows
how to drive home drunk everyday, and hasn’t been in an accident for
15 years, he’s arguably more responsible than the teenagers who might
try to do the same.
What makes that above example difficult
is what I refer to as an “either/or fundamentalism” that haunts
all discourse and infects those who don’t critically think or
comprehend slivers of important differences. An either/or
fundamentalist, never simply says, but screams, “Drinking and
driving is bad! It will get you killed! It’s irresponsible!”
They’re born into a time where .08 is the rule, and never knew any
different. They got the school PSA and targeted commercials. They
might have a deeply touching tale of how alcohol affected their life
personally or in their family. And ultimately they’ll be making a
conservative appeal to the cultural lawful norm.
The person who watched their uncle not
only climb the ranks at work, but manage to have a loving family, and
never get a ticket, let alone in an accident, is going to know that
there’s at least one person who can do this whole drunk driving and
life thing better than the average duck. I’m not saying we should
create rules in service to the one person who can do it differently,
or better. I’m saying every attempt to codify life and delineate
acceptable modes of behaviors has lines and exceptions. We routinely
pretend they don’t, but nature is probabilistic, not fatalistic.
The way to describe this is to just
call it, “the catch.” Gun violence is hot right now, kids
marching in the streets, change coming around the bend. The catch to
rah rah motivated ignorance on the reading of the 2nd amendment? Dead
kids and extremely weak and hateful professions from rich white
pundits. I’m proud of these kids, and I hope they get what everyone
wants. Will it come with a catch? Of course. They’re getting attacked
personally. They’re kids, so if you listen to the wrong ones speak
for too long they start to sound like dumb kids. This isn’t something
I’d belabor them for because everything said on FOX is worse than the
C and D-est of students might blurt out. But having a voice, creating
a change, and taking responsibility at any level always has loose
threads that will catch.
Age has forced me to confront the
catches that came with my idealism. The world, for most people, seems
to “get by.” People are engaged in what they don’t understand,
for indeterminate amounts of time, around people they generally
dislike, and occasionally drinking or a safe space is created for
them to pretend to work through the cramps of their existences and
neuroses. In general though? They’re meeting “professional” and
“polite” versions of what I like to say out loud. They’re bumping
between self-involved and precariously placed balls of fear and
insecurity who’ve hollowed out a place within to keep bothering at
These husks. These nodes. These
“masses,” were conditioned. Someone took their imagination and
future in defunding their school. Someone polluted the air so they’d
get sick and sad. Someone voted against measures to take care of
them, and give them options, and ensure the future of the species was
in the right hands. Their parents might’ve mistreated them. Their
brain might genuinely have something wrong with it that ensures
they’ll never breach a level of understanding or reach a “baseline”
example humanity might consider healthy. From the socks they wear,
to the songs on repeat in their head, more went into crafting them
than a million allegedly intentional decisions over years is going to
I say all of this as someone who tries
to be intentional. I try to account for and describe the background
that is so consistently, so reliably so despotic and angry to how
I’ve been molded to respond to the world. This whole exercise, the
vast majority of people HATE it. They hate the idea that you might
speak at length. They hate that you might believe or arrive at
something through the annoying process of sitting down to think it
through. They hate that you have more reasons and evidence and
direction, and they hate you even more when they can’t see it or
understand it. They hate your tone, your examples, your metaphors,
and your word choice. They hate that you tried. They hate that they
think they’ve thought all this before! And where do you get off
telling them anything, asshole? And they don’t accept that their
hatred is as conditioned as much or moreso than the environment
they’d maybe like to escape where they didn’t need to hate so much or
so often.
I’m a deliberately challenging person.
I know the language of politics and body language. I know how to look
and sound the part. I know how to point my language to mirror what I
think is your intelligence or interest. I know, to the letter, to the
word, the difference between “rambling” and “ranting” and a
diligent exploration of an incomplete or ongoing idea. I’ve written
research papers, and while extremely drunk. I’ve endeared myself to
hundreds, and provoked “get help you idiot” in a thousand
different ways. The point being, in our interaction, I’ve already
taken responsibility for what I said or how I said it. Why do I know
how you’re going to respond? I don’t know you personally, I just know
there isn’t someone there. I know the environment you’re responding
to, because I’ve been incredibly molded too.
The catch of being deliberate is that
nobody can tell. People use the exact same words in the exact same
scenarios, irrationally, in a panic, when they’re projecting, when
they’re feeling insecure, and when they’re lazy as are afforded to
you. And just because you’re trying to be deliberate, it doesn’t mean
you can always stay that way all of the time. You’ll get tired.
You’ll slip up. You’ll fuck something up in a magnificent way that
calls upon the God of Comeuppance to embolden the smirks of your
critics. Think you’re smart? There’s a list of every stupid thing
you’ve ever said or done in someone’s back pocket. Think you’ve
figured something out? Who better to come into your life than the guy
who always knows just enough more than you to try and make you feel
bad about it.
We have a “competitive”
capitalistic culture. The roots of our competition are literally
inherited tools to mete out life and death in a violent and confusing
environment. In a blink of an eye we’re expected to get educated,
keep up with the world of creative endeavors, and emotionally
regulate? The comment sections online didn’t happen in a vacuum,
because the people writing them didn’t develop under anything less
than masked violence and death of one measure or another. Death of
their ideals. Death of the concept of a healthy family or dreams.
Death of an ability to appreciate their own place in the world or
ability to be of any consequence in it. They don’t believe the
negative consequences anymore than the prospect of positive ones.
They don’t see a catch, because they don’t know they’re the living
embodiment of one.
So what do you do with the catch? Do
you want to turn to a self-help book that lectures you on “grit?”
Do you want to give up and rot in your meaningless existence as you
fire up the video games again? Do you want to rest on your laurels,
also conditioned, for enough kids to die or disaster to strike before
someone gives you an excuse to make a sign? It’s not clear what any
one person will do in response to the inevitable catch.
I build it into my personality. I can
play politician, but I’m not one. I can speak what you consider to be
wildly inappropriately, but it’s serving my purposes. I can let
anyone willing to honestly inquire or share in my motivations. In
these times, to individuate, is to breath. It’s to pause and listen
and ask questions because you’re recognizing that the neurons aren’t
firing and connecting like you might really want them to. It’s to
swallow the hard truths of what our environment is doing to us, and,
if forever modestly and practically hopelessly, try to do better.
When the “haters” and “crazies” talk ad nauseum, or even take
over your government, you step back. The fix isn’t to be like them
with an illiberal drumbeat of incoherence. It’s to understand and
modulate them. It’s to take control of your base tribalism and
instincts, and move the ball around the field before you take a shot
on goal.
I’m literally trying to develop
different fields. There’s a field to build and play with things on.
There’s a field of people I’d like to be able to talk to and rely on.
There’s fields of interest where I want to be in the loop. There’s a
mental field I want to romp about that allows me to persist in my
goals and interests without too much fuss and distraction. The
unifying point and understanding that belays them all is that it’s
deliberate. I talked it out. I wrote about it. I ran experiments
trying to do it differently. I continue to question the degree in
which I should engage at all or in one area over another. It’s work.
It’s time. It’s necessary, and it’s worth it.
Ru Paul recently on The Daily Show said
he realized a long time ago he couldn’t change nobody’s mind and if
he gave a shit what people thought about over all these years, he
wouldn’t be sitting there right now. His sentiment is one I’ve
struggled with for a while, because I conflated it with what I
considered the “bad” kind of selfish. I think humanity has big
looming threats that need more attention paid to them that we’d
rather offer to a TV show about cross-dressing. Can you revel in the
light of your “best self” that cares to indulge like that,
watching or participating, while the ice melts or insane people hint
at nuclear war? I have a hard time not adopting my piece of the
collective stress we should have about that. We should be able to do
both, not give a fuck about “haters” and advocate from our
platforms or indulgences on how to do it better, but that’s not
really what I see.
I see people in their “attitude
realms.” Once you’re the “other” or “wrong” or “stupid”
there is no redemption. Catch the wrong first comment on a reddit
post? Here’s a hundred upvotes to their damming sentiment about you.
Provoke someone’s resentment over your subject matter or tone? A
self-righteous environment who didn’t come here to be challenged or
read revolts. Forums are this visible micro-chasm of the sea of
influence we operate offline, and you can watch it play out in real
time, and you can still not be persuaded that your mood and attention
are hardly every your own.
You should just know that you’re never
woke. You’re never right. You should never be comfortable. You
haven’t figured anything out. You can’t fix things. And when you try,
you’re automatically fucking something else up, even when you aren’t
aware of it. You can be like me, and be bored with the response you
decided to actually read from the world, or you can react. You can be
“surprised” shit begets shit, or you can build the shit into your
disposition and prospects. Feel all day. Feel and react and be a
normal human, but don’t think anyone has a clue to how you respond to
yourself besides you. Don’t let yourself off the hook if you
absolutely know you’ve no right to indignant condescension by
starting the “conversation” with “fuck you, idiot.” Maybe you
meant it. Maybe you’re just at another peak of the endless hateful
wave from your survival system being co-opted by forces we don’t much
I may not care what people think, but I
care why they think it. Empty insecurity won’t persuade me to change
my approach. I can distinguish between projection and valid
criticism. I have the patience to dissect line by line or word by
word if the truth springs forth from the bottom. “People” or “the
masses” or you when you’re too tired or lazy or hungry or hurt, do
not retain that capacity. So try silence. Try again later. Try to
figure out the catch before you hand yourself over as the catch to
someone who’s bothering to try harder than you. You’re not going to,
because that’s the catch of advocacy, to betray your naivete and
provoke the opposite response, but you can’t rob me of my deliberate
understanding and decision to appeal to those better than you. And in
never allowing yourself to acknowledge why there are those better
than you, you’ll ensure the environment that molds us all is mostly
dictated by the mediocre sea.
My voice and accomplishments are
destined to fail, but at least they’ll be mine as far as I was
willing to look for them. Catch.

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[696] Everyday Noise

This is an accompaniment to Everyday
Whisper as I reflect on the first 2 days of attempting to meet the
conditions I set out for myself.

I believe I misspoke when I
said my life lacked structure. A particularly disorganized person
doesn’t show up to work as often as I do or build the things I’ve
built. The impetus for trying to put an array of things to accomplish
throughout my day is more of an attempt to induce anxiety for the
right things. “Right” being things I enjoy and help take my mind
off things verses things I “wish” I could be doing, but don’t yet
have the money or help.

I also included a few terms that are
beyond my control. It’s spring break. I’m not going to make anywhere
near $100 a day, and even allowing the leeway for an average, it’s
going to take a considerable amount of time to even out. Something
I’m okay with allowing room with is watching TV shows. That’s always
been a filler activity, not a guilt-inducing thing I never get around
to or need to be in too particular a mood to do. If there’s no
business at work, I’d rather hang with a friend or run an errand than
force myself to sit through 2-7 hours to “complete a season” so
to speak. Also, the difference between a 9 track album of a genre I’m
keen to verses a 24 track album of music I could take but mostly
leave is a bigger time eater than it should be.

What my list
doesn’t include is arguably a key component to what’s generally
missing from my life as a social animal. A sense of community. A
common goal and shared purpose. I don’t make time every day to talk
to anyone. I’m not devoting an hour of my day to playing a game or
other group activity. If you don’t want to pay to hang out in an
adult sports team, or if you’re not willing to play up your constant
desire to get high and drill down on your insecurities, I’ve found
this town to be a bit lacking in that regard. I can meet people, of
course, I met 2 new ones tonight. One who nearly drank herself to
death a few days ago, the other very high recalling woes from a
recent ex-boyfriend. I don’t begrudge people their problems, but I
complain enough about life all on my own, and in my experience chain
smokers don’t revel at the idea of yard work.

A kind of
run-off of putting different things I enjoy in new juxtaposing ways
is that they become a little easier to remember. If I read 100
comics, I might recall a handful of details with a little prompting.
If I have 5 in my head as I’m humming a song or recalling a figure
from some article, it makes for a more unique experience. I also
didn’t expect to feel so good afterward, and in the morning, from
doing yoga. I’m doing it very poorly, but my body is reacting to it
immediately. I prepared so much food, and I’m feeling generally less

Create all the structure in the world and it won’t
give your life meaning. I get energy from doing things for people.
More specifically, being of actual meaningful consequence towards
people I give a shit about. A large portion of me wants to excuse my
way out of this stupid and pointless set of obligations because I
don’t feel I have anything to prove to myself by adhering to
“regimented indulgence.” If that was the only perceived potential
benefit I wouldn’t have started in the first place. I think it’s
important to state as well that I’m not sure I’ll make it the year.
Here and now is as much free time as I could ask for without study
money in the bank and I’m still getting hung up on long albums and
surprise invitations pushing my ability to complete the tasks to the
late hours.

A general way I’ve been going about things is to
wake up, grab my food, and head to the parking lot at least an hour
and a half early. I read my book chapter. I read my comics. I start a
movie. I play the album, perhaps drumming during it. Here, a giant
chunk of time would go towards catching up on shows, but like today,
there was no reason just to sit and watch TV with a friend around. I
then came home to do yoga after seeing a show.

It’s never that
all together the tasks are that difficult or even take that much
time. It’s getting interrupted. It’s getting bored. I actually want
some memory of what I’m engaging with. I want to corral my focus. But
I really want to be able to relate the things I’m doing to other
people and their experiences of the world. I’m already on a different
plain with the sheer amount of information I’ve taken in already. Now
I’m going to add things from left field and create more mental
connections no one’s ever heard of?

I noticed as well that
even if I can complete things early, this still presents the “wish”
problem. Now my list is knocked out, and I’m wondering why there
isn’t more I could be doing to promote, sell, grow, build, or
practice. I really do feel like a machine stuck in the on position. I
learned how to jam up the gears during studies, but when you do
things like yoga and complete lists and schedules, as a ravenous
machine, it’s like being a crackhead arguing for “just the tip”
of the needle.

I’ve dealt with this is the past and I don’t
think it turned out like I wanted it to. I don’t want to feel like a
bright and healthy motivated person with nowhere to go. It won’t be
bad for me to reach Bannon-level yoga skills and I won’t hate the
surprise cool song I come across from the artist I’d never otherwise
listen to, but I need less references than I do referrals. Part of me
feels I’ll stop caring about the in-between time energy once I
actually have a house to do everything in, get organized, double
down, and take it into the world in a manner that attracts the kind
of community I’m after.

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[695] Everday Whisper

I feel if I don’t write this correctly,
I’m never going to be able to approach the task I’ve set out for
myself with even the prayer of remotely completing it. The longer I
linger on a fundamental question about myself, the more it sinks in
the reality of the implications and hindrances.

I have what I
think is a healthy fear of myself. I know my potential. I’ve proven
things to myself time and time again. I know how I can arrive to just
about any justification. I know how to change moods and mindsets. I
know how to extract money
whether I need to lean on illegal or immoral ways. I know how to
earnestly practice. I know how to read all day. I know how to binge
watch. I know how to meal prep. It feels like just yesterday I
decided to “work all the time” in service to completing my house,
and while I know I’ve watched a shit ton of media and made progress,
from July until now March, it might as well be one condensed blur I
regard as a kind of “sacrifice” of my 29
year. The problem is that I’ve stated a number of times that I’m no

A good portion of my life looks the way it does
because I’ve always been embedded in a structure. Every inch of your
formative years requires waking up and going to school. Every
assignment needs to be completed, if only poorly. If I wasn’t forced
to march in band, I wouldn’t have any good or bad memories of it or
an imposed perspective that’s permeated my decisions and associations
indefinitely. In a flash, your structure gets erased if you aren’t
keen to search and sacrifice to get plugged into another one. I keep
thinking I’ll get to “start my life” after a dollar amount or
perfectly balanced budget. I look back on old messages about visiting
friends or making plans that fell by the wayside because something
“more vital” felt pressing.

Ultimately, my efforts are
futile. Chris Rock’s words come to mind in a piece of advice he tries
to beat into his childrens’ minds. Once you step outside the front
door, not one single person gives a shit about you, and really,
sometimes that’s true about the people inside the house too. I find
this one of those ideas I accept intellectually, but my body rejects
in a fit of anxiety. My school structure reinforced ideas of what
constituted good behavior and achievement worthy of reward. I got
paid to read. I got the A so I could continue to keep partying. It
“mattered.” People did give a shit about me, at least enough to
punish me if I didn’t do well enough.

But what is the
punishment if you’re “smart enough” to pay the bills and stay
alive? What’s the self-imposed selection pressure to become every
inch of who you are? I try to be conscious of when I’m doing things
out of desperation verses actively picking to engage with them. I do
this so I don’t end up picking up bad habits like lazily practicing
an instrument and working against myself. I do this because I think
we’re sort of defaulted to a position of always trying to dig
ourselves out of holes and are perfectly unaware of what making a
choice really constitutes. I read through blogs dozens of times to
figure out what kind of illusion I’ve weaved for myself to keep me
away from my vaguely imagined “ideal.”

In my life, there
are exceedingly weak standing repercussions if I don’t do things.
I’ve now gone so far as to orient my life in a way white trash or a
junkie could support. If you can pay
your bills via plasma donation, what’s stopping you? It takes hiccups
of effort to pay $100 here or there, resolve yourself to sleeping in
your car, or work part time at a mind-numbing job to keep just barely
above water. No one cares if I can play an instrument or 10. No one
cares if I lose 30 pounds. I’m not headed to prison if I can’t
remember the brunt of a philosopher’s argument or name of a character
I’ve seen in 100 episodes. Reading 9 books one week and 200 comics
isn’t getting me an award from a librarian. Every single thing I do
with my day is beyond meaningless to everyone but me, and I hate that
idea so much I allow myself leeway to forgo all the meaning I could
grant myself.

I think I’ve arrived here for a number of
reasons that I don’t feel right describing as “faults” on
anyone’s behalf. Whatever I am, I’m still an ape, and apes work best
with a social component. Byron’s sister came to town and we went out
like the old days. It felt like putting on a perfect fitting jacket
making jokes and pouring drinks and shivering for each trek between
bars. Mild past grievances go up in joyous tipsy smoke. It simply
feels great to be on the same page, regardless of what you’re reading
together. Now look at the other 364 days of my year, and I’m back to
wondering what whim will swing me where.

I, of course, still
have much to prove. I’ve concocted a gigantic narrative about myself
and what I’m capable of. I reference my track record often. I still
get indignant at the hint of condescension and lazy retorts. No
matter how many “lazy” or “depressed” days I have to put
away, I still haven’t come close to abandoning a conception of myself
at a fundamental level. But it remains hard to dream. It sucks to be
humbled daily about all of the shit you can’t control. It’s sad and
tired to report to yourself “progress” that always comes with a
catch. I’m not motivated to buy more things,
I don’t want
more time to myself,
and I reject out of hand undue praise or persistent self-destructive
indulgence. I’m terrified of the idea of “peaking too early” as
if there’s any reason to believe you can’t always be progressing
along some metric.

I think, without meaning to, I started to
rely too heavily on “hope” despite my persistent condemnation of
it. I should present an offering to the underlying ironic pulse of
existence. I hope someone
joins me on the land or wants to create something together. I hope I
get a chance to give back and take care of in equal or greater
measure to what I’ve been given before I die of a coronary from
sitting too long or catch a catastrophic accident. I want to be
desperately, so
I make appeals in the dark to the faceless and voiceless amalgam of
ghosts from my past who’ve helped shape me thus far. I started taking
cues from likes and upvotes and nit-picking the vitriol at the heart
of earnest imbecile commentators. I let one of my hands fill up with
the shit of stress from over-working, under-organizing, and letting
things I care about slowly die via mismanaged sacrifice.

want to always be the guy who can start a coffee business in 3-6
months. I want to be the one who can reconcile everything with the
right amount of alcohol, jokes, and mixed potentially difficult
company. I want to watch way too much TV. I want to boast about
things about myself that age thinks it won’t have to rip from my cold
dead hands. I want to know more details about shit you don’t care
about and things you’re only pretending to care about. I want to
create things you’d never imagine. And I want to do that because
that’s who I am, not because it means anything to you. I’m a complete
and unrelenting asshole, and the nicest guy who’s earnestly suffered
in service to the people he’s cared about. I’m fat and lazy as shit,
and work more than people in countries who are killing themselves
over the same amount of hours. I can set and meet any goal for
myself, and write up a ten page compelling argument describing the
relief and craving for death.

I’ve been living in one long
hangover. I’ve poisoned myself with a grandiose dream, while
perfectly achievable, by no means so in the short term barring an
extremely improbable turn. The day after dosing I’m clamoring to
quell the anxiety and guilt of my temporary embarrassment for my
circumstances. But I’m not embarrassed. I’m disorganized. I’m alone.
I’m incredibly angry. It feels like I already had what I wanted, and
life construed itself to tear it apart. I had an amazing friend group
that one by one gave up on either me or each other. I had the energy
and time to bring people together. I had the resources to bring my
ideas to fruition practically this instant. I had a place. I had
help. I had a sense that I actually meant something worthwhile and

That’s where the energy comes from. That’s where
the “reason” works its way into a positive feeling feedback loop.
I don’t mean for this to sound like I don’t appreciate or recognize
the people who have been nothing but supportive either. I never care
to pit my despair against someone else’s. But as the structure around
me degraded, so did I. I retreated to a kind of street hustle. I
looked for things to blame as I was tired of it always being my
fault. I’m still tired of that. As long as it remains true, I need to
reconfigure what I’m to blame myself for. I’m sorry I flirted with
accepting your standards. I’m sorry I asked you for a reason, for you
to want me to come around. I’m sorry that no matter what example I
set I’m never going to think it’s good enough. I’m sorry I throw my
life at you like you give a shit. I’m sorry I don’t care how you
feel. I’m sorry I hang on to every fucking ridiculous thing I feel
you’ve done to me. I’m sorry I’ll never trust you. I’m sorry to be
alive and bother trying too hard. I’m sorry for apologizing because I
don’t have better words for “I’m not fucking sorry and I don’t give
a fuck.”

I clench my jaw. I am wired tight.
I get food handed to me 30 times a day, and I still jump when they
come up to the window. I suspect that only way I’m ever going to
“normalize” is by getting back into studies, and I still have
only managed to think a severe acid trip paired with an anxiety
inducing incident I’m forced to overcome might rewire my brain enough
to bother trying again. I need to stop pretending like I even have a
concept of “vacation” or want to spend money hanging out before a
higher level of comfort has been achieved. I need to plug myself into
a machine of my own making, reintroduce the butterflies that kept me
going to pointless class, pointless jobs, and pointless social
interactions. I’ve extracted all the value I could handle from that
system and need to believe the dividends from what I borrow and
improve on will pay out in even higher measure.

What does it
look like if every single day I do a little bit in service to every
part of me? I know what I’m capable of, but what’s the catastrophic
upper limit? What if I make a blood-thirsty show of my sacrifices of
“hope” and “luck?” I can work, and manipulate, and learn, and
play, and create all at once every day. I can do it “alone.” I
can try and fail studies and go back to work the same day. I can have
depressed indulgent days and still make my 30K a year and budget like
I’m making 100K. I can keep in mind every person I’ve met who’s done
it or is doing it as well or better than me who I want to be just
like, and I can watch myself transform just as I have into whatever
you want to call me right now. I know where I want to go, and I know
the very small number of things I can control in order to get there.
I need to retain that control. I need to crave my future and not make
desperate swipes at it while know-nothing hollow dogs bark in my
ears. I need it to be the kind of difficult I know I’m the only one
suited to overcome.

So let’s kick it off. All at once, all the
time, every day.

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