In Favor of a Personal Anarchy

I forgot to hit publish yesterday.

And that’s the way the day played out. The minutes and hours slipped by unattended to. I try to tell myself a day lost is not really a problem. That there was some meaning in it – a justification of some sort. But no. I wallowed in a kind of neutral existence. Distractions. And though I know there’s no point in feeling guilty about it, and that regret is an absolute waste of time and energy. I regret. I lost something that never was.

A chat message from a student popped up in the afternoon. And I made the mistake of reading it. Sometimes giving in to what you don’t want to do is easier than breaking the inertia to do what you want to. To do what is actually, personally meaningful.

Instead, there is this thing forced upon you that allows you to be passive and still feel useful. But it’s just the illusion of something meaningful. A conscionable time-suck.

And what popped up was one of those messages that brings with it frustration and inconvenience, and the desire to shake someone by the shoulders. Metaphorically. And as always with teaching, it brings with it a mirror revealing one’s own bad habits, excuses, and cowardly aversions. And it takes conscious effort to sort out who and what I am honestly frustrated with. Who needs the metaphorical shaking.

Is it possible to stop overthinking time? Is it necessary? Is there a way to channel this aspect of who I am into something worthwhile? Because, at this point, I am done trying to change who I am. Or find excuses for why I am not perfect. Rationalizations, and diagnoses.

Besides. On a very basic level: if I change who I am to be happy, I won’t be the one being happy, now will I? A diagnosis doesn’t point out what is wrong with me. It points out what society doesn’t want to be bothered to deal with. At least without getting brownie points for going the extra mile.

Who is perfect? And why does anyone need to offer up explanations for their “imperfections”? Enough self-development. Enough growth mindset with Dweck’s schadenfreude for celebrities and the arbitrary, questionably “chosen” goals we are all supposed to aspire to.

I honestly believe that one of the most important differences between pain and trauma is that the latter is entirely the result of an ongoing social response to a past event. The culture’s clinging to expectations, and models and categories that demand a rationale for why you don’t fit into the damn box. Exceptions are allowed. Under prescribed circumstances, and according to prescribed forms of variation. Cultural tropes. The bureaucracy of it is like some kind of virus: the more we break out of a norm, the more codified variations of the norm will develop. And under our expert, discerning eyes: a blossoming of diagnoses like bacteria in a petri dish.

Control. Sovereignty. Govern(ance). Govern(ment). Command.

It is what it is. And I’ve no words that can accurately describe it on its own terms. It being why my dog won’t eat today. Why the kale is still alive in the garden after two years. Why I am frightened.

Beginners mind. That’s all we need. Look. Listen. Touch. Taste. Breathe. Move on.

3 Replies to “In Favor of a Personal Anarchy”

  1. It seriously scares me that we write about the same things without even having seen each other’s posts before we write ours. And it’s oddly uplifting that when I come to your post in the moments after I’ve published mine, you’ve actually answered the questions I’ve asked. And I always leave my own questions unanswered because I never know the answer. The truth probably is that there is no single one correct answer to any of the existential questions we ask.

  2. It’s truly a gift to read your ‘daily’ meditations.
    You are a real treasure.

    So many of my thoughts are
    so fleeting, like air being exhaled. I pay them only a mere second of attention.
    Yet here you are straight down dissecting what I (and I’m sure most)
    feel many times, but didn’t know it, til I read…. your words.

    So Virgina Woolf’ish of you but yet….different in many ways.
    Mark of an Author. Again.


%d bloggers like this: