Toughen Up Pills

Today after spending my morning writing I was trapped in a room with Sam Smith music for an hour. The perfect storm of catharsis, lack of citalopram – since Christmas which I was proud of -, and sad poetry had me sobbing in the staff bathroom.

I called a friend who suggested that I allow myself to feel but previous experience has taught me that expressing those feelings come back to bite you. For example, a family drama that involved a sociopathic relation caused me to breakdown in front of my mother who then brought it up as a joke a few weeks later. I was in an argument with someone I care about greatly over Christmas who said that my emotional weakness was a symptom of male ego. Just the other week, one of my senior managers handed me “toughen up pills” when I explained why I was limping.

So how can I allow myself to feel in a hostile environment? One of my favorite lines is: “there is no emotion, there is peace” from Star Wars. I’m fully aware of the point and I see peace on the horizon.

Yet, in this moment as I write I am very thankful for the box of citalopram buried at the bottom of my work bag.

Not very stoic, I know. But perhaps a self awareness and reflection is. I feel myself slipping further and further away from my old philosophical neighborhoods, the only certainty is that this too shall pass. It’s a nice thought but entirely unhelpful in the throws of a break down.

I feel pathetic. Should I? Or should I accept my feelings. I know the answer, obviously. Yet it feels like a pyrrhic and bitter victory.

Perhaps the curse of reconnecting with our own humanity is having to feel it. It would be helpful if the world wasn’t so hostile and hypocritical towards feeling. Yet, as the philosopher Jagger once wrote:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.”


Summer Months

The summer seems to be such a ethereal time for me, each day just happens and washes over like a passing breeze with little consequence. Each action seems futile, each step forward is a step back and for all of my musings and ramblings of the past I find myself in a dream-like haze of an existence.

Last month, for my posting was a write-off and this month of August looks like to be too with trips and hazy twilights. It’s almost as if this is the feeling of retirement, like some surrender to the flow of things entirely passive and accepting of some core concepts: aloneness, oneness, tiredness. What am I waiting for? In myself, in my soul I feel a waiting for something, some kind of action or call to action from the universe that perhaps will never come. Is this depression returning with a vengeance or is it simply active passivism? As I sit here in this study and melt away in the heat unbecoming for England, I wonder if this is it. If this is the great peace I’ve been looking for: boredom. I’m not seeking adventure or seeking some great ambition yet it feels that purpose and companionship in purpose seem to be great ambition and adventure.

A tarot reader would perhaps describe this apathia as my cup being empty and the advice they could give me is that the only person who is able to refill this cup is me. Yet with what? The answer: purpose. Where does one find purpose? Within. Where within? When I close my eyes there is vastness yet the observer of this vastness is silent and without answers. I turn to Universe, with my meditations being shallow and cut-off of late yet Universe is silent. Am I being tested? Is this a test of philosophy to see how alone I need to feel, how apathetic I need to feel before I return to my old habits of self-destruction of both body and soul?

To add to my concerns: I can’t sleep.

I’m awake at night persevering with hypnosis videos and reiki and ASMR yet nothing is helping me. Instead I stare into space and think of which nation I will play as tomorrow in my new obsession: Crusader Kings III. The mistakes of my past catch-up to me in those moments. Not from looking back, trapped in regret, but rather from not having anyone there to talk to. It’s funny, when alone with your thoughts it comes back to that. It’s a self-imposed solitary confinement, ending up being surrounded by those that you ultimately can’t connect with or are exclusively online – relationships dictated by internet connection and sheer timing. Even those who are still with me have moved on. Old faithfuls, no longer faithful. New connections futile and unwelcome. Is it time to accept the solace? Take heart in its acceptance? How many other lineages have ended like mine will: only child, childless and forgotten. Too many to count, so in the end, what’s the worry since it seems so natural. Even the grand dynasties have long since been forgotten with the descendants of Genghis Khan referring to their heritage as a fun party fact, one of millions.

So I lay awake, the fan on full blast, staring over at my collection of books. Asking each: what would you do? They would suggest that I do something productive with my time yet I’m in need of someone to tell me what that looks like. What is productive? What is helpful? The only thing that seems to keep me on the Path of rationality is the knowing of the alternative chaos.

The stoics talk about the smoky room and if the room becomes too smoky, to exit it. Is that what I’m waiting for? The smoke to fill my room to give me a reason to leave, waiting around just in case I’m incensed to stay? It’s not even a particularly major worry or concern – death, that is. It has definition and clear answers. What does limbo have to offer? This apathia and purgatory of circumstances? Neither here nor there in body, soul or mind. Yet perhaps this is the depression talking and I should just get on with it like Mark Corrigan from Peep Show and start chain cooking roast dinners to keep myself busy.

Not all glum, parsnips are my favourite.


What We Don’t Have

Often in life, we find that what we don’t have defines us more than what we don’t. I’m not immune to this as someone could gleam from my previous posts. It’s a sense of loss of things that I’ve never had to begin with. I’ll make a list here of things I often get stuck on, things that seem to irrationally consume my thoughts. It’s a cliched list of clichés, demonstrative once again that all things in the human experience are natural to the human experience and have happened and will happen for as long as we can call ourselves human.

  • Lack of a romantic partner. I’ve for the longest time always scoffed at the feeling of wanting romantic companionship, dismissing the picket fence like some Bukowski wannabe in my floral shirt stinking of hard booze. Now, out of the fog of my own arrogance I see and open field and no one to walk with in it. I see on other side of fences not on my own patch of sunnier times, united times and stable futures. I see nothing in my future but the chasing of shadows.

What does this show but a lack of happiness within myself and my own future if I feel that I need someone to wake up next to? Am I incapable of waking up on my own like I have done so many times before for so many years? What’s there to be found in shadows but the absence of light? Each shadow looks so perfect from a distance, like something I could see myself being attached and tethered to by a silk cord. Yet each time there’s nothing but the absence of my own light in this field. It’s delusion isn’t it?

  • Time. I need more time to do everything at it’s proper pace and with the attention each action deserves. Right now, as I type, it’s 21:44 and I can’t tell you what I’ve accomplished outside of work. I sleep, work, eat, wash, go on my phone, fuck about on the computer with online friends. There seems to be little time for anything else, bound by the constructs of my own routine and work schedule.

More bullshit, isn’t it? The reality is that if I really wanted to finish all of my reading, I could. Every thing on this planet exists within the same 24-hour rotation and same 365-day solar orbit. I have exactly what I need yet I seem to need more. A glutton for more life unspent.

  • Financial freedom. Currently, I live with family due to several reasons yet the taste of independence calls to me from the past and demands a return. I can’t, I simply can’t. I don’t have the financial stability nor the comfortable living situation with another human being just to interact with to be a part of some wider experience. I feel trapped in a routine of someone else’s making, stifled living as an extension of someone else’s life.

Shit happens. If I’m unhappy here, the likelihood is that I’ll be unhappy in a Grand Designs model home designed to my exact specifications on some private land somewhere. I’m not being cruel to myself when I say this but it needs to be said. It needs to be blunt and honest. Covid-19 happened, the world happened, fate happened. There will always be something to be stifled by if I let it. There will always be some unwanted encroaching of my own independence and freedoms. Whether than be a set meal time or mortgage repayments.

  • Serotonin and a constant level of self assurance. I’d want not to be reliant on medication to keep my brain chemistry in order. I want my confidence to be enough that I never have to question or look back with critical eyes on my past. I want to be able to speak to a friend without thinking about the interaction and break it down to tiny anxious fragments of semantics and potential miscommunication.

If I didn’t reflect to a degree, would I be considering myself stoic? Would growth happen? Would learning happen? Where are the mistakes to learn from? As far as my own brain chemistry is concerned – there is nothing I can do. It’s an uncontrollable condition, aided by a daily intake of citalopram. What more is there to do? Get on with it, live my life.

Ask yourself now, what thing that you do not have are obsessing over instead of being grateful for what you do have? Take stock of your own abundance.

“Today I escaped from all bothering circumstances – or rather I threw them out. They were nothing external, but inside me, judt me own judgements.” – Meditations 9.13