Jan 19, 2017

Freewrite rescued from my email drafts: 3

Part 1 here. Part 2 here.

I get up for a moment, urinate, wash my hands, moisturize. Refill my water glass. Return to my desk and find myself blocked again.

But I have so much I want to write about. So much I want to do.

I was not interested in very many things as a teenager. I liked jazz, girls, video games. Succeeding in school. Dangerous adventures. I found the world hard, and when its hardness was oppressive, the logic of suicide made a lot of sense to me. I don't consider my teenage self suicidal; I never made plans or an attempt, but it seemed very straightforward: life is hard and painful; if it gets to be too bad, stop living.

This logic no longer makes sense to me. I still think life is hard, and I still suffer. But killing myself? There's so much to do! Suicide doesn't even seem tragic, just absurd. Why would I every do that? I have too much to read, too many skills to acquire, too many places to see. I feel hugely time-constrained; cutting my fuse short seems ridiculous. I'm willing to put up with a lot of pain and difficulty in order to do the things I want to do. I encountered the world, I sipped from its goblet, and now I want to slake my thirst.

Before I was watching goings-on through a television screen. My lived experience was very limited (indeed I shied away from lived experience, as I was a social coward), and though my mediated experience was deep and wide, it was not sufficient to accurately inform my model of the world. I thought the world shallow and simplistic – I had seen it all, and having seen, was unimpressed. Exercise was animalistic, social norms absurd, academic pursuits an ivy-covered tail-chase, financial pursuits a garish masturbation. Family life and romance were reifications of Darwinian drives headed nowhere, the outdoors were a curated facsimile of a romanticization of our brutish primitive state. Visual art was a nihilistic social game, music a pedantic repetition of old mysterious forms. Religion was so obviously wrong as to not merit satirical characterization, mathematics too abstracted to connect to anything real. Sports: proxy warfare to sate latent bloodlust and tribalism. Literature: a tenuously carved-out space for the unathletic. Meditation: the whole-hearted embrace of a terrifying truth. Pets: kept because they lack the intelligence to be unhappy. I saw all these things through my screens, and none passed muster.

So, unimpressed and in pain, opting out made a lot of sense back then. But now, I have done some things, and there is so much more to do. The important difference between seeing and doing is that doing things takes time. You can't gloss over a three-mile run. You can't skim through a introduction to programming and come out a coder. You can't build a solid friendship while tuning out.

Doing things takes time, and I like doing things. It makes me feel alive, full of spark, raring to go. Because I want to do a lot of things, and each thing takes time, I am now hugely time-constrained. Suicide is absurd when you are hugely time-constrained. Death is coming soon enough. No need to speed it along.

[rereads: 2, edits: written in June 2016, a couple stylistic things but largely untouched]