In the United States a man builds a house in which to spend his old age, and he sells it before the roof is on; he plants a garden and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing; he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days’ vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days to shake off his happiness. Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which forever escapes him.
At first sight there is something surprising in this strange unrest of so many happy men, restless in the midst of abundance. The spectacle itself, however, is as old as the world; the novelty is to see a whole people furnish an exemplification of it.
Tocqueville wrote this in 1831, but here’s a recent NYT article on the same subject: America the Anxious
the promise of democratic happiness is anxiety-inducing.Filed in QOTD, things you can do | Tagged with affluenza, anxiety, happiness, Tocqueville | Comment (0)
III. we were at burning man, but staying “off site”, camping at a place with rivers and trees. but after lounging endlessly i realize it’s saturday, and we’ve practically missed it. i scramble to get a ride out there, to the event, but no one else seems to care and then so many groupwrangling problems and distractions and then i realize i don’t even have my ticket.
II. he just kept getting angry at me for not being able to provide the information.
I. i keep losing people. losing mom. losing jay. everyone disappearing into crowds.Filed in dreams | Tagged with anxiety | Comment (0)
it’s true that even a small headwind affects the pleasure of the ride. you have to push a little harder. it’s not easy breezy.
i have developed a yogic cycling mantra in these times when the weather or terrain are causing friction: feel good, stay grateful.
oh, and “at every intersection, look every direction” – practice conscious biking. some times i look up from the handlebars and i suddenly realize i haven’t been paying attention. for how long? what did i miss?
despite my frequent anxiety, i have been working at cultivating and maintaining an attitude of gratitude. you should see my life. it’s amazing. there are, as with any life, complications and uncertainties. but they are all my choices.
i seem to get caught up in the philosophies of right vs wrong. can something be
right but evil
wrong but good
evil but right
good but wrong?
i think we all grasp the wrong but good, good but wrong. but the right but evil, evil but right? that seems a lot more complicated.
i get overwhelmed.
i love this time of year. late spring/early summer always feels full of so much potential.
speaking of which, for the 7th year in a row on June 3: False Profit presents Spring Training, a free day party @ Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland. honestly it really is one of my favorite days of the year. i sit around on all day on a blanket in the sun in a beautiful park overlooking the bay, listen to my friends play killer music, dance on top of waterfalls, and everyone i know shows up. it’s awesome. you should come.
.::.Filed in autobiographical, me myself and i, philosophical ramblings | Tagged with anxiety, bicycling | Comment (0)
i don’t have to create any intricate similes or metaphors to explain this
the pain in my right arm, this constant, chronic pain from my ear down the right side of my body, into my fingertips and hip socket
is most literally
from a tension held so long, a finger cocked, waiting to pull the trigger.
Filed in me myself and i, not poems | Tagged with anxiety, ennui, pain management, wanderlust | Comment (0)
The unexamined life is not worth living. –Plato
as a slight follow-up to the last post in which i freaked out a little (and that’s the edited version), i also acknowledge that part of my problem right now is that i don’t have anything to focus on. or, maybe, more accurately, i’m not good at focusing on things. i am not focused. this only makes anxiety worse. you run in circles.
anyway, i felt a little blogger-remorse this morning after publishing that last night, as i’m pretty sure some of you think i’m loopy and it’s slightly embarassing. the thing is, i am. and so are you, i’m betting. pretty much everyone i know is. a few people have asked me before, about this blog, “how can you share so much? don’t you feel exposed?” and the answer is yes. i felt really exposed this morning. people don’t like to hear you talk about mortality or morality.
so tonight while hunting around to watch something good while i still recover from back pain (not going to the gym after work really makes time slow down), i started watching Examined Life, a documentary starring some of our best and most passionate modern philosophers/thinkers (Cornel West, Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek, etc). the minutes of Cornel West talking made me feel better about everything.
+ Avital Ronell for the phrase “emergency supplies of meaning”
and ”if we’re not anxious, if we’re ok with things, we’re not trying to explore or figure anything out. so anxiety is the mood par excellence of ethicity, i think.”
while some think this film is too pop-philosophy and shallow and unbecoming to serious thinkers, including apparently some who were in the film, i loved it. modern philosophers talking might not be everyone’s cup of entertainment but it sure is mine. i could honestly quote the whole thing. i paused it like a 100 times to look things up/take notes.
back to the top: hearing philosophers talk about defining “meaning” in life and ideas of morality/moral relativism makes me feel sane inside my personal insanity.
Filed in philosophical ramblings, tv, books and movies | Tagged with anxiety, zizek | Comments (2)
CICERO says “that to study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die.” The reason of which is, because study and contemplation do in some sort withdraw from us our soul, and employ it separately from the body, which is a kind of apprenticeship and a resemblance of death; or else, because all the wisdom and reasoning in the world do in the end conclude in this point, to teach us not to fear to die. –Michel de Montaigne
i have been down lately. and when i say down i mean like, feeling the bottom. do you know what the bottom feels like? i thought everyone did, but recently a friend of mine told me he’d just experienced a “bad day” for the first time that he could remember – like, 15-20 years. and my mind was sort of blown. that’s possible for a sane person?
the other day as we drove through west oakland i thought about this, about what he said, and i thought that it seemed impossible to me, to have that kind of mentality, when 1. all of the atrocities in the world are visible on every street corner and 2. to me it appears that all of us are always standing on the edge of a cliff. every day, living on the edge, the potential for falling into the abyss present with every breath taken, and that the spectrum of awareness goes from paralyzed with fear at one end to completely oblivious and doing cartwheels at the other.
i am not paralyzed but i am always aware of the edge.
later that night, my head buried in my pillow, i bemoaned my disposition and jay said “you just have to let go.” and i said: “how can i let go when i feel like i’m balancing on the edge?” he agreed with me, which is why i love him, but i’m sure there is some platitude about “faith” or something.
to be clear i know that there is nothing either objectively or subjectively “wrong” with my life. in fact it is by most standards BLESSED and i am not ungrateful. i am also aware of this idea of “creating your own reality” and choosing to ignore atrocities. i can’t. i can’t live in this world full of torture and persecution and injustice and just “focus on myself” and my beautiful friends and my beautiful life. yeah, if i blocked all that out – starting from my doorstep in west oakland to the regimes of oppression worldwide – life would be fucking grand!
and if you try to tell me you live the best, most non-consumer non-imperialistic socially-conscious life possible and that is all you can do so why not focus on your own happiness the rest is out of your hands/isn’t being a happy human a greater asset to the world than an angry one? i will 1. point out that your reading this on a computer/gadget made in China negates that defense about you not willingly having anything to do with atrocity and 2. respectfully and sort of jealously disagree while acknowledging that this is an ancient philosophical/POV debate.
the weird thing is, despite all this psychological torment i put myself through, and despite these occasions where i feel weighed down, overall i think i’m actually a happy person. just maybe not an optimist.
the point is that some days i don’t know how to take a step back from the edge, that edge where i can feel the present and future stew of everything and everyone, nothing and no one and feel like i am/we are falling forward.
anyway, stress work existential angst anxiety fear of the unknown self-doubt global unrest blah blah blah i did not have a good weekend and let’s not get any deeper into that other than to say that while yes, it is possible i might benefit from some therapy and/or medication, at the same time i am also always fighting my way back to the top so don’t worry too much (mom). i’m just emotional and dramatic.
as is often the case when i am down, my chronic shoulder/back pain flared up again yesterday to a more than just annoying degree. the fact that it’s been almost a year since i’ve written about it says a lot about how under control i have this still-undefined thing, but it has not been gone, oh no, and i have to be hypervigilant with my PT, and when i am down there, in the bottom my friend doesn’t feel? i am not vigilant. i am the opposite of vigilant. i am destructive. and if you are me and you live in San Francisco in the year 2012 you have access to a lot of tools for self-destruction.
so yesterday i was whiny and in pain and i didn’t sleep well last night and needed to not be typing and all that so today i only went to work for a couple of hours but that was OK because it was sunny and 72 degrees in february and so i left work and biked across town and went and hung out outside at cafe in downtown oakland until time for yoga. I KNOW, RIGHT? see why i’m depressed? #affluenza
this DJ person i live with is playing electronic music of whatever microgenre that is he plays (i’ll keep out of that debate) – i do not listen to electronic music unless said DJ is playing it at home or/ i am out dancing. i was actually quite offended when an old phish friend said “oh right you only listen to electronic music now” when i didn’t know some new band. on evenings when he is doing this, i am often in the bathroom listening the Velvet Underground or somesuch while i do one of any number of beauty treatments on myself (it’s only been 10 days since i last bleached my hair and i am already unhappy with the color gradient. UGH. maybe maryann is right; i should shave my head. ANYWAY.)
so just now i was there in the shower listening to Built to Spill Perfect From Now On (1997) which is still, now, 9 years after i first heard it on KALX, also while in the shower one morning sometime in 2003 when we lived in that brownshingle on Benvenue avenue in berkeley- wow that was a long time ago and wow it’s been since 2006 that we saw them live? holy crap. – it is still one of my favorite end-to-end albums to listen to from the first track to the last (my friend Allie talks about doing elliptical workout jams to rock music and i could def bust a long elliptical jam to Perfect From Now On.)
all that is to say that you should listen to it if you never have.
and also if any of you out there are going to good indie/psych/punk/emo rock shows in SF will you clue me in? i’m looking at you 40goingon28.
my younger sister used to say i was mean. and i was always defensive – no i’m not! i love people. LOVE. but the older i get, i think she was/is right. i can be CRUEL/i don’t know why. i mean, a guy i know who has the word “evil” as part of his nickname told me at the club on friday night that he has always stayed away from me because i seemed like someone he didn’t want to fuck with. am i really that unapproachable? man. but i am so soft on the inside.
and to cap off this completely boring old-skool whatididtoday/iamsoEmo blog post, here is what i ate today: Continue reading »Filed in autobiographical, food, health & vegetarianism, me myself and i, music | Tagged with affluenza, anxiety, optimism/pessimism, pain management | Comments (4)
today is almost t-shirt weather, except that the air off the pacific is cold.
do you ever have those moments where you see yourself, unexpectedly, from 20 feet away, like watching a few split seconds of scene from the movie of your actual life?
do you ever feel unsafe with yourself? do you look up sometimes and realize how vulnerable you are? through either the reality of mortal life, or because you’ve lead yourself into a specific situation that is maybe not ok?
people are on guard here, a strange distrust in the fact that we are all only human. it should be safe to be outside in broad daylight on a sunny afternoon. but it’s not. we’re not safe from each other if we are not safe from ourselves.
as i say this i ride down city streets with no hands, my fingers laced behind my back.Filed in me myself and i, not poems, personal favorites | Tagged with anxiety | Comment (0)
i used to think i was a pretty chill person. but i am not, and i have not ever been. that image of the laid back hippie chick was just a dream.
when i was younger my anxiety manifested itself as social awkardness, nerdiness, etc. but then as i got older i learned how to control that, to “groom” an outward persona closer to cool. and i think what happened is all that anxiety went inward and is now manifesting itself physically. i have an almost constant stomach ache. my ongoing shoulder/muscle pain is now over a year old. i have actual Anxiety Attacks.
i still have my totally socially awkward moments, in the worse of which i am a total Manic, overly flirtatious and rather aggressive, and afterward i am always a bit embarrassed, and wonder if anyone else noticed.
but in general, day to day, i am usually just sort of trembling inside. other times the feeling starts to overwhelm my whole experience. as mentioned, when i got back from burning man, i was so hella relaxed people kept asking me what was wrong because i wasn’t my usual self.
last night we went camping at China Camp in Marin – one last time for the year, before DST adjusts again tomorrow and the short, dark, damp days descent upon us.
for my body and mind, i have found nothing as therapeutic as time spent in the woods.Filed in autobiographical, me myself and i | Tagged with anxiety, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
it has become apparent that i am going through one of those phases again where i am having a series of small breakdowns. mini crises. freak outs. anxiety attacks. little earthquakes. i hereby recognize and am doing what i can to stop the pattern and prevent a big one. please forgive me if i am not my self right now.Filed in me myself and i | Tagged with anxiety | Comment (1)