You’re asking why the pain is always equal but the joy just never spreads around.

I was thinking about trauma and dangerous situations, like you do, and I also realized that in connection with some of that I’ve been trying to, in a way, reinvent the fucking wheel. A more accurate way to put it would be to say that I’ve been sliding away from a certain set of coping mechanisms and habits. Some of them were obviously not very good.

But that doesn’t mean it should all be junked. I’ve pulled away from writing for pleasure, poetry, art, and pretty much anything that I liked for aesthetic or non-practical purposes. In my eating disorder, creature comforts were often seen as frivolous and meaningless. I actually wrote a paper seriously defending the idea that taking pleasure in something has nothing to do with its being meaningful.

I argued, essentially, that emotional responses were your basic chemical shitshow and nothing more. Certainly they had no value when it came to thinking about what made a life or situation good or meaningful. The paper may have been well written, or not; I don’t remember now. What I remember is that I completely believed it.

I’m realizing, in recovery, that I often have to do the opposite of what would seem to come naturally to me. It turns out that engaging with my past, including the traumas, is a better choice than ignoring them. It turns out that sometimes junk food is fine. It turns out that I have to eat even if I don’t want to, and I have to sleep, and I have to take my meds.

And philosophy, I think, is something I need to intimately reconnect with. I did think that it did more harm than good, because of associations and memories, and that’s not going away any time soon. But now I think it’s worth the trouble.

And the more I write about my issues, the better and more clearly I’m able to see them. It helps me to process, I guess, and I don’t know that I’m a particularly good writer. (If anything, I’m way too verbose.) But that’s really not the point. Maybe I could produce some essays or short stories or something that would be entertaining or beneficial to others in some way, but I’m not really worried about that right now.

I’ve got to stop worrying about whether other people will see what I’m doing as good or appropriate or worthwhile and start worrying about how I feel about what I’m doing and what’s right for me.

(Title of this post is from Dance Apocalyptic, a song by Janelle Monae.)


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