Another way to deal with the stress of quarantine has manifested itself: I’m dyeing my hair. Well, trying to at least, for the third time in four days. Why? I’m a stubborn ass and once I set my mind to something it’s hard for me to give up on it. I’m lately trying to view my stubbornness as a positive and not a negative. The original plan was for me to dye my hair blue. Why? Because, YOLO (You Only Live Once, in case you have no idea what that means). As much as I hate the term “YOLO” I’ve started using it for times where I’m feeling risky and don’t really care to think about the consequences. Do I really want blue hair? What is the reason for wanting blue hair? Am I really coping with COVID as well as I’m thinking? Am I really stressed or something? Is this my midlife crisis? Is this my way to distract myself from the perils of life for a few futile hours? I don’t know. YOLO: I’m dyeing my hair blue.
One issue here: my hair is stubbornly black. I call myself “the Black Haired Guy” mostly because a kid I went to high school with, Kieth, started calling me that and the name stuck. I’m an average white person but have strikingly black hair apparently, and people at school knew me as “The Black Haired Guy” despite not knowing my actual name. “Jeremy? Who’s that? Oh! The Black Haired Guy? I never knew his real name.” That’s who I was. Some white people might have brown or dark brown hair, but apparently my hair is blacker than most white people’s black hair. Like it’d be fitting for an asian or a hispanic person, but my whiteness makes my hair uniquely black. Or so I’ve come to understand.
So from black to blue. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? I bought some shitty Splat hair dye because it looked tacky enough, and if I’m going for blue I want it to be a noticeable blue and not some shitty midnight black with hints of blue or whatever. I gooped that shit into my hair on Thursday and left it in for nearly an hour. The result: my hair looked about the same. Black, but if you saw my hair in the sunlight it had a slight hint of blue to it. Blah. This would not stand. When I bought the blue dye I set upon a course to have blue hair; I was committed and nothing would deter me from my latest insane and misguided project.
Saturday I bought some blonde hair dye. Or bleach. Or whatever it’s called. As usual I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I gooped that into my hair and waited an hour — well past the prescribed 25 minutes the instructions suggested — and washed the dye out. And what happened? Basically nothing. My hair was a dark reddish brown, but looked mostly the same as before.
I was pissed. Tossing chemicals on my hair didn’t seem to do shit to it. I want blue fucking hair dammit! Thanks genetics. You predispose me to heart disease/alcoholism/diabetes/cancer along with a really stubborn hair color? What a fun trait to have going for me: stubborn fucking dark hair that is almost immune to any abuse I can throw at it. But there’s no way I’m giving up now. If I have to burn all my hair away in the chase for blue hair, so be it. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back.
Which is why I’m typing this with hydrogen peroxide smeared all over my hair and burning my scalp. One more attempt, this time with the whitest blonde I could find. It’s a Revlon color called “Ultra Light Sun Blonde” and the box looks like this. Jesus, if my hair looked liked this it’d be fantastic and would easily dye blue. Currently, my hair seems to be a ruddy brownish red color. It reminds me of the surface of Mars actually. Well, if I dye it blue it might look purple and that’s pretty cool too I guess.
And now I’ve started this post I cannot finish it until the “project” is over. Fuck. I was hoping to post it and be done with it. Why did I write about this of all things? Let me wash this shit out and dye it blue…
It’s an hour and a half later and my hair looks like a mess. I should probably post a picture huh?I still have conditioner in it so it isn’t very clear how it turned out but I think we all get the idea as to how terrible this idea was. My “blonde” color (Mars red) seems exists in blotches on my head along with shades of blue and maybe even purple elsewhere. I’m sure it’ll be even more of a total disaster once I rinse out the conditioner.
Do I have any regrets to note here? No, not at all. We’re all going fucking insane from the quarantines which may or may not go on for another few months. As stated here, no one knows how anything is going to play out. No one has been here before. And with people actually protesting being in quarantine? Geez, it’s surprising that everyone isn’t coloring their hair just to have something to do. I hope you guys take this as a warning that if you do YOLO your hair I hope you have some idea as to what you’re doing because I didn’t and look how that turned out. But really, use this time locked away to focus on yourself and truly do whatever the hell you want to do to cope, even if it does mean recklessly dyeing your hair. Whelp, that’s it, The Artist Formerly Known as The Black Haired Guy — now known as The Shitty Mars Red/Blue/Purple Haired Guy — signing off.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
Note: This post is an objective mess. It’s mostly me rambling about whatever. I don’t know what my main topic is, although I think it’s something to do with anxiety. Since the post is so chaotic maybe it’s a prefect example of anxiety at work. At least that’s how I’m going to justify posting this utter piece of rambling garbage. Also, 1,000 monthly views! I’ll write a post about that sometime soon.
I think I’d be prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Or even a nuclear one, the world ending event where you and everyone else is blatantly aware that shit is, in fact, going down in a real way. Where you can and must drop your daily routine and go into survival mode. Or helpful mode. Or war mode. Kill to defend your family. Kill and forage to eat. Money doesn’t matter. Form into tribes, get weapons, tap into the dormant instinct to survive that is tucked deep down within us, but also hiding dangerously close to the surface looking for a reason to escape when needed. The fracturing of society and the collapse of all the bullshit things that we keep ourselves busy with, replaced by one thing: survival.
I wasn’t ready for this, whatever the hell it is. Is it a future collapse of society, the precursor to a world war, or the first rumbling of the next great depression? Or is this our Spanish Flu and in a few months we’ll be back to normal saying “Phew. It’s over,” where we can finally reflect on what actually happened? Nobody knows. It’s undefinable. I don’t know whether to dump money into stocks or stock up on camping equipment and canned food (Record unemployment, tanking oil prices, yet stonks only go up for some reason; it makes zero sense). Do I save up a store of cash or buy random shit for my hobbies on Amazon? None of us know anything and I think that’s the real anxiety inducing thing about COVID-19.
And sorry for another post about COVID, but this is the hot topic of our time, probably rivaling the attacks of September 11th. Already more people have died due to COVID than the attacks themselves: over 50,000 60,000 70,000 compared to 3,000 and the only real difference is no actual person is to blame. I don’t think there’ll be any geopolitical fallout over COVID so maybe it’s impact will be less than the September 11th attacks despite the massive loss of life. But without anyone to blame it’s even scarier in a way; it’s just the universe doing what it does best, which is moving forward without giving a damn about us lowly humans. Were small and insignificant and this entire thing makes it stark. I saw a post on Facebook asking…well…let me find it and screencap it:
I’ve never been more comfortable with my “soft-atheism” than I am now. Sure, I’ll give credence to the idea of a “greater power” or whatever, but a kind, loving God? Nah. Hard pass on that, especially now. And if it is all “just a test of our faith” or some other bullshit rationalization, I’ll pass on the faith entirely. If this is the God we have that requires blind faith and worship, killing tens of thousands of people for reasons, surely there is a greater one truly worth of worship out there somewhere.
(Note: Nothing against religious people here, to stress that. If you get fulfillment and enlightenment and your life is improved by believing in something, I’m all for it. You do your thing and I don’t really care.)
Rant aside, we’re a species on this fine planet of ours competing with everyone other species to do exactly what were doing: survive. Sometimes the especially nimbly evolving ones get a new random upgrade thanks to genetics, the flu flukes it’s way into COVID-19 and hundreds of thousands of people die. There is no one to blame — this is simply how shit works.
And I think it’d be easier to blame someone. China, the president, and sure while things can always be made worse through total ineptitude of our leadership and mixed messages, there is nobody to place direct blame on for COVID. As always, if you think this is a Chinese weapon, or a Democratic hoax to tank the stonk market, go feck right off.
I thought I had a point I was trying to make here. Oh yeah, I’m still mildly freaking out. Maybe more than mildly. I don’t know. I’m having a difficult time explaining how I actually feel currently. The world is not the same that it was and I have mild terror over it. It’s such a slow and creeping change compared to the sudden DEAL WITH IT OR DIE change that zombies or nukes would do. Is this the final month of the outbreak or are we just getting started? Is the curve flattening or are cases underreported? Are we going to have a round two of this thing? Will it become the new and upgraded seasonal flu? Even more than usual the future is foggier than it typically is, which is pretty fucking foggy by default.
I’ve realized I’m a terribly insecure and anxious person, although I think I hide it well sometimes. I love my routines and being able to expect a certain normalcy from life. I have anxiety over the weekend wondering what my job assignment will be during the upcoming week. If I know before Saturday, I’m fine, but not knowing lets my mind wander around and play mental chess trying to analyze every single possibility that will face me at work. Not that this has anything to do with COVID — I’m just proving my anxiety here — and COVID only makes it worse.
I hate change. I hate insecurity. I hate not knowing. I’m really curious if this is a human thing to have or if it’s just me. Does anyone really like change, like really? Or is it just varying degrees of opposition to change? I don’t know. Help me out here guys. I want to do a massive post on change and how I hate it despite knowing it’s good in some vague “personal growth” way (I read a book called Who Moved My Cheese which was all about accepting change and how it’s good), but the post just isn’t coming together. There’s too much to write about regarding change.
So COVID has taken my already anxious and insecure personality traits and cranked them up in a subtle but noticeable way. My work routine is fucked. My shopping routine is fucked. Tiny changes everywhere I look that aren’t a big deal but when they all pile up and are viewed together, they seem like massive changes. The way I naturally keep six feet away from people now, or try not to breathe too heavily, or the lines outside Walmart, or the constant ads for facemasks, things like that. I’m donating blood today and have anxiety about all the tiny policy changes that they may or may not have enacted. Will they make me wear a mask? Will I be sent away if I don’t bring my own mask? Will there be COVID questions to answer? Will they have to stay six feet away from me as they jam a massive needle into my arm? I don’t know anything and I hate not knowing.
I’d say the worst is work though. It’s where I spend nearly all of my time when I’m not at home (because there’s nowhere else to go) but the fact that work hasn’t changed much has it straddling the fine line between being comforting having a routine like a job but terrifying due to all the little changes taking place there. My safe spaces, the routines I take comfort in are now changed, altered, or not present anymore. Work is still work, but it’s also not quite the same as it used to be.
We have 11-person vans we ride around in. Some people take tugs to grab equipment and stuff while the others ride around in the van, myself included. I’m a big fan of the van because it’s where I get nearly all of my social interactions in my life. It’s where I listen to music with others and where I talk to my friends. Thanks to COVID, the van — such a tiny aspect of work but somehow my comfortable zone to exist in — now has a limit of four people. Some of us ‘van people’ must get tugs and sit in isolation for most of the day. It’s oppressing in a way when you’re used to a certain amount of socializing and you’re removed from it. Even the possibility of not being in a van puts me on edge. I’m a total introvert but this doesn’t mean I don’t need social interaction. Sometimes I think I require more. Even if I haven’t been cast to the tugs decisively and am still ‘defending my van seat,’ I have a great deal of insecurity about it. Every day before work I stress out about if I’ll be able to sit in the van or if I should just give up and grab a tug. Take one for the team. Sacrifice myself to the tugs so others can enjoy the van.
The tugs are also shit because while having two seats only one person is allowed in a tug. If I did end up in a tug I can’t even have a buddy ride around with me. I can’t ride with someone else. I can’t give rides to people who are walking. I’ve realized I enjoy helping people and doing these little favors for people like offering them a ride makes me feel useful and appreciated, like I’m doing something small and good to help the world, and this has been taken away.
Or even in the plane pushing cans! We all have to wear a mask/bandana when we’re in the airplane which doesn’t sound terrible, but you’ve probably never realized how often you use facial cues when talking to someone until you have a conversation where you can only see the other person’s eyes. It’s almost like talking over a phone — something seems lacking like it isn’t real interaction — and it just doesn’t feel like talking to a person should feel. It’s like you’re detached from them while standing and talking to them. You say something and smile and no one can really notice it as much. Are they aware you were being sarcastic and joking or does your lack of a visible smile make you seem like an asshole? Usually you can tell and it’s not that hard, but not seeing someone’s mouth or cheeks when their talking does throw you off a bit. I almost think everyone feels this way because nearly everyone in conversation pulls their mask down to talk, probably unconsciously, so their mouths are seen. Once again, another small change thanks to COVID that makes me slightly uncomfortable and insecure.
There’s too many small examples to explain.
And I feel like I can’t properly complain about it or say how I feel because it’s so fucking stupid. I sound like a whining crybaby talking about my fucked up routines and how the things I use to anchor myself to life have been fucked up. Who cares? People are literally dying and I’m worried about not being able to give people rides in a tug. People are out of a job and I’m complaining about where I’ll sit in a van at work. At work at a job that has had zero impact from COVID. I’m lucky. Somehow I stumbled into the perfect job for a pandemic. “Essential Employee”: that’s me. But I can’t help how I feel, and figured I’d whine about it a bit. I think the entire “social isolation” thing didn’t get me worried much, and now that I’ve been living with it for the past two months, I’m surprised that I’m actually breaking down really fucking slowly.
It’s not all bad though. I’ve finally realized that everything “bad” doesn’t need to be seen as bad at all. Whatever you view as bad says something about yourself and how you view the world. Through this COVID bullshit I’ve realized that, yes, I love my friends and coworkers. I love talking to them. I love being around them. Even sitting in the van with a group of friends and listening to music is wonderful. I never realized it before until it was taken away. The “bad” isn’t what happened; it’s how I view the situation. And apparently I love helping people, doing tiny little insignificant things to make their lives easier. Pick up my coworkers from the guard shack on friday, bring my bluetooth stereo into work for the music, offer rides in tugs, buying gum from Amazon for people, and so on. So maybe when all of this is over I can take these few gems I learned about myself and apply them. This is who I am, and I probably shouldn’t deny it.
So its currently 8 a.m. and I’m writing this post on my phone (recall I hate writing on my phone). As I lay in bed. Totally unable to sleep. I typically don’t write posts this way. Usually I get an idea, sit down with a cup three cups of coffee at the table, and type up a semi-pre-planned idea on my ‘puter. This usually happens around 1 or 2 p.m. as I typically don’t wake up until noon. (..and so what?!) Being awake and typing on a phone screen at 8 a.m. is unique and not a good sign at all.
So what’s going on here? As the title says: anxiety. Anxiety is why I’m unable to sleep and anxiety is why I’m writing currently. I’m hesitant to get too far into this post because surely I’ve written about anxiety before, right? It seems like such a general and overarching topic that I’ve had to made a post about it already. But maybe since it’s so large of a topic I haven’t even attempted to write anything about it. It’s just too imposing to even attempt tackling.
Part of this is because I don’t think I actually have anxiety. Being an individual leaves you constantly confused as to what’s “normal” in life, i.e. how similar am I to my fellow humans? I have nothing to compare my internal anxiety to because I’m hopelessly stuck inside my own head and body as myself. All I can know of other people is what they tell me through actions, words, music, or whatever else. Basically, are people like me or am I unique with [insert trait here]? In this case, anxiety. Does everyone feel this way or is it me, and hence, an actual problem?
My anxiety doesn’t seem to be life-crippling (like I can leave the house or go to a store) but it also seems to keep me chained up in a way. I hate going shopping alone even though I will if I must. I hate trying out new restaurants. I have no idea how people actually “network” or “ask around” to find jobs, opportunities, or whatever. A good example is finding a possible editor for my two ebooks: how the hell do you find people to read and give feedback on your book? It all seems so difficult to talk to people and most of the time I just do things on my own as much as I can. This totally limits what I can accomplish while not completely crippling me. In regards to my books, yes they’re finally published, but they’re probably not as professional as they could’ve been. Is this normal?
Or is it totally normal to be laying in bed at 8 a.m. after falling asleep at 3 a.m. writing a blog post on anxiety? I love my sleep, am currently very tired, but my mind will not shut the fuck up. I keep thinking of stuff I need to do, and how I’ve been needing to do this stuff for the past two weeks. I need to make a blog post here. I need to work on/post some stories on my other site which is a whole new level of anxiety with people reading fiction you’ve written. I keep thinking of possible chapters and ideas and mentally “writing” them in my head (and forgetting them in the morning). I think of work and sort of visualize how the day will go. (I start at 5 p.m. so have 8 hours before I even need to be getting ready for work. It’s not a pressing matter at all.) I reflect on the past day and continually think about “what people said/did” and if words and actions have deeper meaning than on the surface (“We’re they joking with me or do they fucking hate me?!”). I think of topics to discuss with people in the upcoming day. I think of social media and how I’m trying to create a presence for myself and how utterly stressful that is. I think of the Amazon on fire, the hurricane about to bitch-slap Florida, and the amount of CO ₂ in the atmosphere. I think of how useless I am. I think “Hey, wait. How do wind tunnels work?” and go down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole. My mind won’t shut the fuck up about anything.
One thing about anxiety that sucks is how pervasive it is with the rest of your life; it’s not that you are anxious and, oh well, you deal with it; it seems to subtly or not-so-subtly fuck everything else up. Currently, insomnia seems to be a good example of an anxiety-induced side effect. And naturally, lack of sleep also affects your mood, physical health, eating, and appearance among other things. When I get stressed I usually eat a ton of food. I’m not a stress-eater by far, but I notice it’s difficult to eat healthy if I’m anxious. Anxiety also makes you susceptible to shitty behavior like drinking or drugs which only makes the general problem of anxiety worse.
My anxiety usually comes from worrying about life, and struggling to make progress in life facing this anxiety. So in a way anxiety also makes itself worse by paralyzing my ability to move forward. Consider those fiction stories I want to write/post; the more I think of what to write and how I should be writing the more pressure I put on myself until I’m too scared or terrified to actually move forward. Anxiety is paralyzing and leads to endless procrastination. Earlier I was wondering why I don’t just give up this blogging/writing/self-working/self-publishing “hobby” if it stresses me out so much. It would be easier and comfortable for me to just give it all up, decide it isn’t for me, and to find another pursuit. At least that way I could, ya know, be peaceful and sleeping instead of furiously smashing letters into words on my phone as I lie in bed.
Since I know I have anxiety about being open, writing, and creativity in general that I feel that this is the way forward. Like the anxiety is pushing me out of my comfort zone, being a compass leading me to what I need to focus on. I realize I can’t sit in my comfort zone all day and do nothing and that anxiety is somewhat a part of life. Like if I want to move forward I need to sometimes just deal with the anxiety and press forward in spite of it. It just doesn’t feel good in the moment.
But, once again, is this unique to me or is this a problem? I’ve really thought about seeing a psychologist or a therapist about this possibly crippling anxiety, but guess what? It makes me anxious even thinking of finding someone to go to! Will insurance pay for it? Will I be put on meds? What if, what if, what if…? It’s always easier to suffer in silence. And am I really suffering or…?
I’m really curious for other people’s opinions on this topic. Do you guys feel exactly like this daily and just force yourself forward? Is this perfectly normal? Is the stress I’m under now what’s actually forcing me forward? Did you use to be this way and finally discovered it was a problem? How did you find someone to help you with the problem? Did they help with the problem? Are you glad that you’ve gotten help with anxiety? Does anyone have any tips on managing anxiety without seeing a professional? I’d love to hear any/everything involving personal experiences with anxiety!
As for me I’m going to pop a Benadryl and see if that helps me sleep.
I have already written a post about why I cannot for the life of me enjoy vacations, but I thought it would be a fun experiment to write another post about it. It seems I cannot figure out why I am so miserable on vacations even though this misery has occurred year after year for more than a decade: I still have no clue why I hate vacations so much. So I thought it would be fun to write a new post without reading the previous post. It might be fun and enlightening comparing and contrasting these two posts, so let’s see what happens.
As a quick introduction if you haven’t read the first post: I hate vacations. For some reason while I can’t wait to take vacation actually being away from works leaves me on-edge. I feel like I should be doing something and my general mood is one of being lost, undirected, and antsy. It’s like a perpetual feeling of having something you need to do without there being anything to actually do. I find that I cannot relax as something is always prodding around in my head telling me that “You should probably be doing something right now, shouldn’t you?” It’s even worse because the feelings are so contradictory: how can you be both bored and feeling like you have something to do?
I’ve always been this way and the problem only gets worse year after year. You see, I work a union job and when I started I was given two weeks of vacation: one week was a mandatory vacation week and the other was an optional week. This wasn’t too big of a problem because I only had to be gone one or two weeks out of 52. The problem is worse now that I have three weeks of mandatory vacation and one optional week: I’m forced on vacation for 3 out of the 52 weeks in a year (5% of the year if that helps). Considering this it’s no wonder that my vacation anxiety has increased as my vacation weeks have increased. I now have almost an entire month every year where I have unavoidable anxiety, antsiness, and uselessness that I dread every time a vacation week comes up. It is a shitty feeling.
I want to also note how stupid it is to actually complain about taking vacation! Most people don’t get jack shit for vacation and are nearly forced to work every week of the year. Complaining that you’re not happy on vacation sounds like a rich person complaining about their house being too big. Like, wow bro, that sucks but it sure is hard to feel sorry for you when you own three Ferraris.
So I have this predicament every year where I’m forced to take off work and am mostly miserable while off. This had lead me to try various techniques to make myself feel better and none has really worked over the years. My first technique was to spread the weeks out evenly through the year; this allowed me to “enjoy” my vacations throughout the year while breaking up the flow of constant work. This just allowed for multiple shitty weeks to appear throughout the year. I’ve tried making “to-do” lists while I’m on vacation but this only seems to pressure me into doing chores all the time; I end up feeling busy and pressured even if I am off work. My usual go-to technique has been to simply drink: by drinking you keep yourself entertained, busy, and preserve your sense of self-worth (mostly because you’re fucking drunk and life is fun and confusing and you can do random shit). I used to think my vacation drinking hinted at something deeper psychologically; I now think I drink just to not be fucking bored.
Making matters worse is having anxiety about going back to work! You’d think that being miserable on vacation would make work seem appealing, but it doesn’t. It seems that after I actually go on vacation I do enjoy something about being away from work. So that going back to work also gives me anxiety. What the fuck is wrong with me? Am I just never happy?
My new theory is that I hate adjusting to new things. It isn’t so much going to work or staying home from work that I hate, but that I hate changes to my daily/weekly routine. This could explain why I have a mild hatred of the weekends to. It isn’t that I’m bored or used to being busy or needing projects to do but with just flip-flopping from “work mode” to “vacation mode” and back to “work mode” over and over throughout the year. Obviously placing vacations separate from each other would only serve to worsen my mood as I’d have more “adjusting” to do. This seems to be the case with past experiences. I simply hate adjusting to new things that break my daily flow.
The obvious solution to this problem is to take all of my vacation weeks at the same time: instead of having a week here and there off I’d take an entire month off! This initially sounds like it would be bad as you probably don’t want to go back to work, but according to my theory, this should minimize the number of “adjusting” phases. When you go on vacation you hate life but — as people do — you adjust to your new norm. After you adjust you can enjoy your time away from work! The same is true for when you go back to work; yes, it’ll suck at first but after a few days you adjust to the new normal and you’re more or less happy able to deal with life.
A small problem appears here though: I don’t have enough seniority to pull off a block of vacations! While I tried it this year I simply couldn’t. My vacations this year are all a week or two apart. I take a week off work, I work a week, then I take another week off, and back to work…and so on. Luckily my weeks off are still close enough together that I can sort of “remember” the vacation mindset and each week of vacation is slightly more enjoyable than the weeks before it. While I haven’t solved the problem I seemed to have minimized it this year.
Another thing that I’ve found that helps is to have a “suggested to-do list”. I bitched before about having a “strict to-do list” because this makes you feel obligated to do things on vacation. It just feels like a chore list. My “suggested to-do list” is merely that: a list of thing that I can and should work on, but they’re more like large projects than simple “to-do” menial shit. For example I had things like “finish a painting,” “finish and ebook,” and “write blog posts” for my list. If I’m bored, antsy, or depressed I just look at the list and begrudgingly sit down to work on a project even if I don’t want to.
This “keep busy at all expenses” has lead to a unique few weeks off of work. A few of these are large projects, but most of them are just random shit that I decided to do while not having anything better to do. Boredom leads to creativity, even if it is a stupid sort of creativity. Here’s what I actually did do during my past three weeks off of work:
That was kinda a rambly post, so to wrap things up a little bit: I hate vacations and have always hated vacations. I’m always bored/unmotivated and feel anxious/on-edge with a persistent feeling that there’s really something I should be doing. Over the years I’ve tried various techniques — like making lists and breaking up my vacation — in a futile attempt to enjoy my vacations. This year I’ve realized that, maybe, my vacations suck because I need to adjust to being away from work. My anxiety is mostly from having an extra five hours of free time a day that I don’t know how to utilize. Going back to work also has one of these “adjustment phases” so my grand idea was to take all my vacation at once to minimize these “adjusting phases”. I also wasn’t able to do this this year. And to keep myself busy on vacation I’ve resorted to various random things that sound really stupid when you write them out. So that’s it: vacation sucks because you have to adjust to being on vacation in the first place to enjoy it.
Looking back on my last vacation post wasn’t as interesting as I expected. I didn’t get into the nitty-gritty psychological details as to why I can’t enjoy vacation. I mostly complained about the fact that I never do anything on vacation and how I squander the entire week off. Something about having too much free time causes you to procrastinate endlessly. I also hinted at some deep interplay between anxiety and productivity that I touch on in an upcoming post. To hint at: apparently I’m more productive and motivated the more stressed out I am, which is counterintuitive.
An Update of Sorts: I recently decided to make an ebook about Facebook Sucking. My reasoning was that I had a handful of blog posts about it and have always wanted to make an ebook but never knew where to begin. This seems like a good opportunity to 1. bitch about Facebook in order to save the fabric of society 2. put my bitchings into a collection and 3. actually publish that on Amazon or something for no one to actually read. So stay tuned for that.
As I mentioned here I have a cyclical nature with Facebook. I go through periods where I get on the site, actually enjoy myself (somewhat), but eventually I get depressive and go into hiding. This usually involves me deleting my page and losing everything such as pictures, friends, posts, etc. When the cycle restarts I need to make a new page, find my buddies (while inevitably losing some in the process), and attempt to be social again. Luckily this last iteration I wised up and only deactivated my page so I still have my friends, pictures, posts, etc. I’m learning that this is a futile exercise and that Facebook has a firm grip over me. That and I have my blog pages on there.
What happened this time was, well, time. As time passes you naturally meet and befriend new people; in my case I became better acquainted with my coworkers. I work a seasonal sort of job (shipping packages) and Christmas season, being our peak season, allows for plenty of overtime. While that time of the year is hell due to the weather and the amount of work we have to contend with, the terrible workplace conditions really help to build a sort of camaraderie between yourself and your coworkers. You really get to know them and appreciate them as you all suffer through the shittiest months of the year. I mostly reactivated my Facebook page to find these people and become “Facebook friends” with them as pointless as that really is. They’re cool people and I enjoy working with them and it’s nice to “know” them outside of work, even if Facebook isn’t exactly doing that.
Going without Facebook has actually benefited my mood significantly. This shouldn’t be a surprise because I bitched about the negative aspects of Facebook already, but it’s always nice to see you’re correct when you are. I swear getting off Facebook and not drinking has done my mood wonders and I’m almost not a total depressive, anxiety-ridden creature of fear that I thought I naturally was. Anyways, getting back on Facebook has given me quite a bit of anxiety because you need to learn how to use the damn thing properly. By properly I mean not getting sucked into the bullshit and keeping your mood in tact.
Facebook holds some danger for the same reasons I bitched about: if you get carried away and let it dominate your life your mood can and will go to shit. Browsing Facebook bored at 2 a.m. just because you have nothing else to do and seeing Happy People, political posts, fake news shit, and the many ways the world is collapsing around you makes you feel awful. Awful for yourself, what your life consists of, your inability to change or help the world, and, well fuck, now you also won’t be able to sleep because of it.
Making this even more dangerous is the fact that this Facebook disease slowly creeps up on you. It really does remind me of alcohol in a way. You drink here and there to relax but over a few years you’re now drinking 4 or 5 days a week and feel like shit for the remaining days. You’re not exactly sure how and why things ended up this way, but here you are. You might start using Facebook here and there but after a few months you’re scrolling at 2 a.m. drenched in self-loathing and unable to sleep. That’s when you got a problem.
So in an effort to keep my mood from being as shitty as a sewage treatment plant I’ve determined that I need to use Facebook properly this time. This being the Everything Sucks blog how is that shitty? Because why the fuck would you ever expect to have to learn to use a website in an appropriate way? It’s not a fucking drug. It’s stupid when you think Facebook works that way somehow. Just as I’m learning to drink properly and not use it as a crutch to get through life I need to use Facebook as a tool and not as a way to fulfill my social needs.
About six months into Facebook Iteration Number 4 or 5 I’m still happy and going strong. Here’s some things I’ve learned so far:
Limit Your Time There
The easy thing to do is to find yourself bored and then mindlessly open the Facebook app to piss away time. The only problem with this is that you never actually do anything useful while you piss the time away. It’s also a repeatable problem: you’ll just finish spending 15 minutes on Facebook and find yourself opening the app again. This is a problem with social media and the internet in general but Facebook is, as always, a prime offender.
So set a mental timer for yourself — 10 or 15 minutes is sufficient. Scroll around for that long, realize that nothing is actually enjoyable to look at, and get off the app. Don’t immediately get back on either. If you didn’t see shit the first time, why would you see anything worthwhile a half-hour later?
Log Yourself Out
As a related tactic with “limiting your time” as described above you can also log yourself out when you’re done browsing. You might not think that’s going to help a whole lot but people are lazy as fuck. It only takes a few seconds to type your email and password but this is plenty of time where you might just say “fuck it” and find something else to do on your phone. Also by logging yourself out you will stop yourself from being spammed with notifications that are meant to hook you back towards the app/website. It’s an easy thing to do — logging yourself out — but it is probably the most useful thing you can do to limit your exposure to Facebook.
Stop Scrolling When You Get Upset
Sometimes you’ll hop on for a quick five minute stroll through Facebook and instantly see some pressing and dramatic shitpost about politics or religion or whatever that upsets you. A side rule is to never read the fucking comments because it’s just trash there. People are stupid. But I will get off Facebook if I see something that upsets me. If there’s a news story about how much CO2 we have in the atmosphere where scientists are saying that climate change will be catastrophic in the next few decades I naturally feel upset, crummy, and useless over it. When I see posts like that I’ll just get off because there isn’t any reason to get worked up about something that you, as a single person, can’t change. There are things you can do to combat climate change but reading a story on Facebook and arguing with morons isn’t one of them. In fact your heavy, angry breathing will probably put more CO2 and further contribute to the problem.
This is how it is with a ton of topics too. Trump? Yeah, he’s a fuckwad just slowly destorying the US, but there isn’t any point in getting hopped-up angry about it on Facebook. As much as I despise Trump I don’t want to hear about him or anything else going wrong in the world. You might think I’m hiding in my safe space but fuck it: my mental health is the most important thing to me.
I ranted a bit but if you come across some stuff that makes you feel shitty, get the fuck off ASAP.
Don’t Try to “Fix” Anything
The fact is that people like to correct others. This isn’t a bad thing because if someone has some bullshit idea of truth in their head it’s doing them (and everyone else) a favor to convince them otherwise. This naturally extends to social media but this is where the problem lies: you can’t actually convince anyone of anything on Facebook. Don’t even try. You might have noble intentions but your hot opinion on Facebook will not convince anyone of anything. Debbie has been spewing anti-vaxx bullshit for the past three years, expert opinions aren’t convincing her, so why do you think you’re brutal Facebook comment on her shared post will do anything? It won’t and will only upset both of you so there’s no point in even trying really.
Don’t Farm For Likes
I used to post cool shit (stuff that I thought was cool that others might like) and would get pissed when no one would actually like it. I like everyone else’s shit and no one likes mine!? I post some really cool stuff and no one cares!! That sound really immature to think that way. I used to also share those “pressing stories” from above in an attempt to get people to care but that also seemed futile. The fact of the matter is people probably don’t care what you post and you shouldn’t be trying to get approval from others. Currently I post stuff that I find interesting and leave it at that. If no one likes it who gives a fuck. I’m just trying to not fall into that mindset where the amount of likes my stuff gets determines my mood for the day. It’s just fake internet points anyways.
Don’t Use Facebook For Social Interactions
I think I’m a normal human being in that I need to periodically interact with other human beings to be happy. I’m pretty shy and reserved but I still have some need to interact with others. It’s kinda a pain in the ass really because social interaction is hard and scary. During high school and college this interaction is automatically provided for you and you almost forget that it’s somewhat required. You get used to having people around as a kid/young adult and when you don’t you start to feel isolated and alone. This is where Facebook comes in.
Facebook gives you an easy and convenient form of social interaction but there’s only one problem with that: it’s not real social interaction. It’s easy to assume that interacting on Facebook is the same as interacting IRL because no one has any reason to believe otherwise. That is until you try it that is. Facebook is a poor substitute for real interaction because, well, I don’t actually know why. I just know, for me at least, that Facebook isn’t the same as talking to real people at work or at the store or whatever. Like saying “hello” to a stranger in their yard is immensely more fulfilling than liking a friend’s photo on Facebook.
Especially as an introvert, you can slowly get sucked into replacing real social interaction with Facebook’s faux interactions. It’s just easy to do in the comfort of your home. Instead of trying to talk to coworkers or strangers that you don’t really know well you just hop on Facebook and “talk” to people on there. “Talking” meaning liking and commenting on random shit that no one actually cares about. Sure, you commented on a friend’s photo but that isn’t really “interacting” with them. Real social interaction is hard and scary whereas Facebook is easy and convenient. But it isn’t satisfying social interaction even though it seems like it.
Facebook is like an addictive drug that you have to fortify yourself against. It reminds me of trying to drink just a few beers when I’ve been a drunkard for the past two years. It’s like trying to balance one-footed on a ball where any wrong move will knock your ass down. Facebook itself isn’t really harmful, but the ways that you use it can degrade the quality of your life and you need to make sure you don’t get “sucked in” to all the bullshit that Facebook promotes. Personally, I’ve found it helps to limit your time on the site, log out when you’re not using it, abandon ship when something makes you upset, and to not hunt around for approval from others in the form of likes. The biggest issue though is not allowing Facebook to become a substitute for genuine social interaction because it isn’t: it’s just some shitty thing that looks like social interaction. Facebook is a tool you can use to interact with people but you still need to do the actual work of interacting with people IRL. Facebook still fucking sucks by the way.