“Give Me Rampant Intellectualism As A Coping Mechanism”

Aw, Chuck Palahniuk (title credit). You’re just the right amount of fucked up.

I’ve been having a fuck of a time writing lately. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, either. I’ve jotted down so many notes, thoughts, things I thought/think would make a good post. I’ve started a whole bunch of those posts, only to get stuck sentences in. For the first time in a while I know exactly what I want to say but can’t
get my shit together enough to say it.

It’s frustrating.

I’ve talked myself out of a lot of the things I wanted to write about. For all sorts of bullshit reasons. It wasn’t interesting enough, it was too serious, a downer, whatever. I’ve been caught up in thinking these all had to be about something specific and majestic, instead of just writing what’s been on my mind that day.

Talking myself out of stuff is really nothing new, though. I do it all the time. I’m doing it right now. I talk myself out of almost everything that is even mildly uncomfortable. And if you’re anything like me, everything is mildly uncomfortable.

It’s a habit, and a pretty damn pervasive one. It shows up in everything from major life decisions to what I’m going to order for dinner. “Ugh. Don’t order that. You always order that. Get the special, I mean, it’s special for fuck’s sake. But shit.. what if you don’t like the special? Get what you always get.”

That’s what it usually looks like. Logically going back and forth between two or twenty alternatives until I’m so dizzy I have no idea what I really want.

Sometimes talking myself out of something is a good thing. It’s a reasonable impulse that keeps me from wasting (more) money (than I already do), telling someone off at work (even though they totally deserve it), or having that third (or fourth or fifth or sixth) drink when I have to be up early in the morning. Not every urge is productive, and not every whim need be indulged. I get that.

Sometimes it’s less helpful, though. Sometimes it’s outrightly fucking obstructive. It’s one thing to confuse myself overanalyzing whether I want the scallops (again) or the fancy special monkfish. Because at some point the server shows back up and you have to make up your goddamn mind. Time for a gametime call. The first thing that flies out of your mouth. There’s a limit on how long you can dwell. With major life stuff, there’s no server. No one tapping their foot a la Sonic (“I’m waaaaaaaaaaitiiiiing!”). You can take all the time you want.

I spent months and months debating whether or not I wanted my last relationship to end. Looking at all the options, the mitigating circumstances. Weighing all my possibilities and putting them all through the ringer. I’ve gone back and forth on what I want to go back to school for. I still have no idea. Whenever some poor sap decides to try to help me make up my mind (about anything), the first thing they’ll always ask me is, “What do you think will make you happy?”

The truth is that most of the time, I have no fucking idea.

I like to use a coin flip whenever I can. Not to make the decision for me, but to gauge what my actual feelings are beneath all the thinking. However the coin lands doesn’t matter at all, though. The only thing that matters is my reaction. If it lands heads and I’m excited, then cool. If it lands heads and I’m disappointed, I know that deep down I really secretly wanted whatever tails was supposed to be.

I need tests like that to get back in touch with myself. It’s so easy for me to lose track. And then I just feel insane. I’m supposed to know what I want. I’m supposed to know what would make me happy. I’m supposed to know how I feel.

But it’s hard to know, coming at things so logically all the time. I talk myself into and out of emotions the way I talk myself into and out of ordering scallops again. Anger is the big one. I have a hard time being angry, which usually stems from issues of worth and justification, but that’s another post. In any given situation, I could make a completely ironclad case for why I should be upset/angry/whatever, and an equally ironclad case for why I shouldn’t. I’m like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, on-the-other-hand-ing myself into emotional oblivion.

There are a few problems here. One is my perpetual self-reinforcement that emotions are things that “should” or “shouldn’t” be. They’re emotions. They’re, by nature, just what they are. How those feelings are handled is completely different. That’s on me. But the feelings themselves generally can’t be helped. Repeatedly shaming myself for my un-helpable emotions doesn’t do anything but make me feel shitty and question myself, which leads me to the other issue. I don’t trust my feelings. I don’t trust my gut. I don’t know which way is up.

Like every other little piece of my crazy I’ve written about here, I’ll either figure this one out or I won’t. But hey, at least now you know.

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