Iron & Wine and nicotine gum

I just had this moment where, wanting a cigarette badly but having nicotine gum in my bag, I reached for the nicotine gum. And a voice inside my head said “what, are you trying to quit smoking or something?”

Yesterday I could feel my heart working harder to keep my arm elevated for more than a few seconds.

“Yes I am trying to quit smoking.”

This is staunching the bleeding from the harm I’ve been inflicting on myself. This is choosing life. It is choosing not to do violence to myself so that I might instead do violence in my work.

I don’t know whether this will work. Yesterday I moved out of my house and didn’t finish until 4:30 am. As my exit, I smoked a cigarette on the balcony off of my bedroom, a place that became symbolic of my most recent battle with depression where I spent days on end in my room doing nothing but getting high and drunk and watching television.

When I wasn’t asleep or lying around catatonic I was smoking cigarette after spliff after spliff after ass-end of cigarette I used to roll the spliff. I started using a 22-oz bottle of beer as an ashtray, and as I watched it fill up I realized it was symbolic of the damage I was doing to myself, that as that bottle filled up my lung capacity, ability to taste, physical stamina and blood circulation decreased.

I had a thought that it was like a progress bar. That if it filled up that would indicate “done” and it would be time to put a stop to the foolishness and self-harm.

The depression finally let up last Friday. I did not quit smoking but the stupidity of it now rang in my ears. I no longer had extreme waves of self-loathing and hate and panic as triggers, just the remaining scar of nicotine addiction and the atavistic nihilism of my 18-year-old self still hanging around throwing passive-aggressive temper tantrums for attention.

Last night I stuffed that last cigarette butt into the very top of the neck of the bottle. I pushed it down with my index finger and then smelled it. It was rancid. But probably nothing compared to the reek of the inside of my lungs.

I left my cigarettes on the table. I was triggered into smoking once this morning over a heated argument over dull underslept nerves and lingering anxiety about patriarchy (really). I hated it but felt grateful for the nicotine.

I don’t know that I have smoked my last cigarette. I know I’m back in the fight for my life now.


This is not for anybody

This is an excuse to hit “publish”.

I spend every single day trying not to hate myself, trying to live up to the potential I know I have and usually coming up short. I don’t know if this is because I have high expectations of myself or if I am actually a failure.

I am balls-deep in difficult work for low pay but I console myself by saying to myself that it is important work that is making a difference.

I’m struggling every day to stop the bleeding from the hole in my heart, and to stop myself from trying to accomplish that by hurting myself. I know intellectually that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem to matter what I know intellectually.

Life’s hard. I try.

More pathos dump

If I try to do a complete dump of how and why I feel the way I do I’d be here forever.

The long and the short of it is that I feel trapped, because I’m 23 and I didn’t go to an elite college. People who matter will never take me seriously. I have to set my sights lower now. I spent six years getting a useless degree from a mediocre college and I’m pretty sure I’m now destined for a mediocre life, no matter what I do.

And all of this makes me want to just blow my brains out, because to me, death is better than living with mediocrity.

This feeling has been with me for over a year now. It rarely goes away for long.

I am probably not an exception, and when I die the world will probably be the same stupid place it was when I was born, with at least as much injustice and oppression, no closer to avoiding the annihilation of the human race, or at least human society, that seems to come closer and closer every day.

And I went to community colleges or commuter school, where we didn’t even have a club or something with kids who sat around wondering how to fix the various holes in the world, and if there was any kind of “social justice” orientation on campus, it was braindead and institutionalized to the point of irrelevance.

So what am I living for exactly? It’s a lot of goddamned work for nothing but inevitable ruin, unless you happen to be insulated by privilege. And I’m not.

Living with the weight of this anxiety and the likelihood that I’m not going to change the world is worse, in my opinion, than not living at all. Shouting into a void with no possibility of making an impact is draining, and the morning news, the place where I decided to make my career, only makes things worse.

This isn’t the news’s fault. Terrible things are happening all around the world, and evil, venal people are running the show. The people who write the news can’t help that.

I am glad that you exist!

(Fuck, he’s talking to the blog again)

It’s so much easier to pretend that nothing has meaning, nothing is scary, everything is just another event in a long procession and nothing ever really changes, that assigning great significance to anything is just troublesome.

But I’m about to load up a backpack and not come home for 9 months. I feel like this matters. It feels like a big deal, awaiting the big stupid treatment I go read in a notebook years later and cringe.

I think that’s why I don’t do that anymore. Maybe that’s a bad excuse.

I feel like I’m doing this to run from something, because I don’t feel like I have a home. I don’t really have a circle of friends at all, I think I’m probably about to break up with my girlfriend, I hate everything and everyone and I don’t think anybody is doing anything right, certainly not myself, and I don’t have any qualms about moving anywhere to do anything, not because of curiosity but because of apathy.

Writing though. I’ve gotten good at that for damn sure. That feels nice, for whatever it’s worth, and I’m afraid that’s nothing.

I’ve started tuning out all optimists. In fact I’ve become repulsed by them. Them and anyone who thinks they have an answer, one I’d see if I just spent more time studying, one that boils down to faith in something that always works and is predictable.

Actually in that last bit I’m just talking about libertarians, who seem to be getting louder and more obnoxious, but they’re just a particularly good example of the sort of thing I mean.

That’s not true either. Some of my acquaintances are smart enough to know better but have no sense of urgency about the world past something they just read or heard about in class.

I have some ideas, definitely based on the media I’ve been consuming lately, so I guess I shouldn’t be such a hypocrite.

The arc of history is long and my contribution is probably meaningless.

There is no history, there is only the past.

History doesn’t repeat itself and historical novelty is emerging now.

Consciousness is not an emergent property of existence, and if it is, the human race is doomed.

The human race is doomed.

The world has always been this urgent and on the brink of collapse, I’m just noticing it more now.

The only chance my species has is to leave the planet.

Having kids is probably selfish.

None of us knows why we’re on the treadmill.

When robots start taking all of our jobs we’ll really have to ask ourselves why we ever bothered.

That’s all I got.

party bro

“If they only knew…”

stop it, they already do, and anyway you’re missing the point

“see, this is the smoking gun, and if…”

the smoking gun is they’re not getting fed and going stir crazy, you dumb bastard, and spending your money on plane tickets to get to speaking engagements won’t fix that

“but once people realize, they’ll rise up, and…”

“the people” know a lot more about getting fucked than you do, friend, and they’re probably more ready to rise up than you

see, because for you this is still just academic, and “the people” are the ones you’d recognize in the mirror, not, you know, most of the rest of the planet

and maybe it is for me too

but I gave up on that peak moment that never arrives

and the utopia that isn’t coming

neither the revolution nor the insurrection

or heaven or the resurrection

but we might still manage to end the world on our watch

our world anyway

and if we pulled that off the dogs might finally have a good reason to shake our hands

if they hadn’t gone feral already

I’m still here in the city, symbol of my abandoned pursuit of status

and you’re still ordering food from some shitty chain restaurant, unable to draw the line between the thing you’re railing against and the thing you’re shoving down your gullet

it feels revolutionary because you’re sitting in the back, in the dark, with a bunch of people who agree with you

but so are the kids snorting coke in the next room

you dumbass