Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Survival, happiness, a godfuck life, carry on

My brain is buzzing from coffee I drank too late at night. I may also be coming down a little from my weekend high. Back to the grind but still pleasant enough.

It's easier to be on top of life when I am happy, or maybe not easier so much as more enjoyable. The sun shines brighter and prettier instead of just blinding me. Wind feels like an assuring caress, not an annoyance blowing my hair into my eyes. The air I'm breathing in seems to nourish every fiber in my being rather than being a simple carrier of oxygen to keep my body alive, lungs collapsing, expanding, blood pumping, heart beating.

I can appreciate how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

However, some of my most productive times were made easier during the hardest parts of my life because the reality of getting bills paid, taking care of others, or going to school can be a distraction that is just enough to shove the dying parts I was not willing to truly face to the side. The mundane is the tasteless liquid that makes swallowing life's horse pill fast so the bitterness doesn't touch the tastebuds quite so firmly. Like all traditional Western medicine, swallowing that pill doesn't heal the source of sickness -just numbs the symptoms while waiting for the sickness to pass.

Pass. Hopefully. Cross your fingers, squeeze your eyes shut, and hope.

Sometimes it's just hard to stay happy. It may even go against everything we are hardwired to be. There's a fear of happiness in a lot of us I think. Because it's fleeting and it's easy to get attached. The pain of disappointment or the muteness of low to no expectations is easier to swallow than the pain of having experienced happiness then lost it. I guess that is why it's hard sometimes to declare, "I feel good. I am happy," when I am. The brain does a funny thing instead and turns off the dopamine and oxytocin (the chemical responsible for the highs we have when we love, are taken care of, have orgasms, etc) so the hopes don't stay high for too long. It doesn't last.

But, Chance, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Is that depressing? It really can be if I let it. It depresses me if I think about it too hard. Biographies of all sorts of geniuses seem to point out one shared trait of these artists, philosophers, scientists, any great thinker that left a lasting impact on our worldview today - they underwent deep periods of depression. I don't pretend to be or delude myself into thinking I'm near that amazing. I am awesome but so is everyone I know. I am no genius. Those who know me know I can be quite the 'tard, really.

I do think however there is a pattern in people who do a lot of deep thinking and take thinking to a point where they fall into depression. I fight that sort of falling a lot more than others might suspect, at least those who don't know me beyond "Chance," don't know whoever "me" really is, or do not apply the insight to make the inference (nor really care to, and that is not a self-jab, just fact).

I don't think the depressive tendency is really too uncommon either. Not unique at all. Detaching, disconnecting, withdrawing, substituting a perceived lack with someTHING else is actually common. We make do. We get by. We move on in some way or another. I see it all the time. I have done it, continue to do it, and though I am not proud of it, am not afraid to acknowledge it.

Is there something incorrect or unhealthy about it? Just because it's common doesn't mean it's the most effective. Maybe easier, maybe natural, maybe fastest and gentlest short-term way to get from A to B, maybe the way we are brought up. Monkey see, monkey do. Every good little biology student knows, Darwin framed natural selection in terms of Survival of the Fittest.

It goes against hardwiring for survival to make ourselves vulnerable to happiness and loss.

Yes, we may miss out but at least we are alive and maybe there is something better around the bend. That's where religion gets "heaven" from. Something better around the bend, greener pastures. All that shit. Patience is a virtue because no one can control every aspect all of the time. But when does patience become stagnancy? The line varies. Tricky, tricky.

Then I think to myself, yeah, I'm alive. I'm alive to tell the tale but what KIND of tale? Is it a tale that makes my short, likely finite existence, meaningful? I am responsible for the meaning I attribute to my life. Am I doing the best that I can at that? Will I let the fears take hold, set myself to autopilot and let Darwin's natural selective tendencies take over so I can make it another day?

Life is full of fucking up. Sometimes it's so full of it that life seems like one gigantic godfuck. I am tired of/averse to the hurt that comes from being vulnerable when I open up but I think I'm getting more tired of getting stuck in the fear of fucking up.

Here's irony for funsies after everything my brain just vomited out:

When I DO allow myself to open up, that feels much more natural, more authentic when I am in the middle of doing it than withdrawing and disconnecting feels. 

What a kicker. Go figure, right? Maybe both methods are natural. Maybe every method or combination in between is natural. Maybe some methods are best at different times for different situations. Yay, infinity. It almost sounds like I just discounted the entire entry but I didn't. Don't you love it? I do.

So now I breathe. Just breathe and relax and let it all go and put out there in the universe without a care or worry. Choices matter but ultimately life goes on. Keeps going. It's out of my system and in this virtual box instead. Now I can jump back into the stream and carry on.