I used to think that "who we want to be" is less important than "who we are." But why wouldn't it? Isn't who we want to be an expression of our desires, goals, motivation, and the path we choose to walk?
Maybe we won't ever become that person we want to, but chasing it will make it better. That desire changes "who we are" for the better. It's still a major part of our identity.
So if you're chasing something and think you'll never reach it, I recommend chasing it anyway. It's always worth getting a little closer.
One big effect quarantine has on me is making it harder to write. Inspiration and focus are a lot harder when you're stuck in one apartment all day. So the hobby I rely on for learning and self-expression is also harder. Quarantine is turning me into a rock - stale, gray, and covered with an unknown but disturbingly high amount of bacteria.
So I twisted this struggle into a lesson. Quarantine gives me a harder time expressing myself, but also more awareness and acceptance of who I am in the first place. I'm stuck with myself, but I'm more comfortable with that person.
This all still hurts though, I can't deny that. But this buys me time to figure something else out. You can learn all the lessons in the world, but sometimes you just need some grit.
I'm not too scared of death. No amount of panic will let me avoid death, so I may as well accept it. I'm more scared of having a boring death.
To me, a worthwhile death is either memorable or one that helps others. If my death is both spectacular and considerate, I'll have few regrets. Even if it's painful, the pain is temporary (I hope) while the legacy lasts much longer.
Not to say I want to die anytime soon. But I may as well know how I'd want it to happen.
Recently I tapped into my evil side and recommended Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) to someone. For those unfamiliar, it's a visual novel that starts cute and fluffy before eternally scarring you. So I highly recommend you, the reader, to play it now. Go into it knowing as little as possible for the best effect. I'll wait.
But when I think about it, doesn't DDLC reflect the current pandemic? It started mostly fine with some unsettling elements we couldn't quite pick out. Then there's a jarring shift full of death and insanity, with everyone getting picked off one by one.
I suppose the big difference is the game has tea, poetry, cupcakes, and cute girls. I never thought DDLC would be an improvement over the real world. But things are that crazy.
Now, are they crazier than Yuri? Let's hope the planet doesn't come to that.
The coronavirus has reminded me that sometimes, things will just be horrible. Admittedly, it's been a while since things were this horrible, but we still need to just let the world be horrible. We just need to do what we can to get through each day.
For example, I plan to get through the day by doing the following:
- Making chocolate pancakes for dinner
- Playing loud music for a 2+ mile walk
- Watching "The Office" as I clean the dishes
- Staring at the ceiling and not thinking
The outer world is horrible. I'm willing to make my inner world as pleasant as needed to get to tomorrow.
I'm getting more mileage from my Anime Quote Maker than I ever expected. One reason why is I'm using it to build a stash of inspirational wallpaper porn. For example, this image with a quote from the NewsFlesh book trilogy about fear.
A more recent one, and possibly more relevant these days, is this one.
Both make me feel better when I see them on my computer. But in the long run, I think the second one will help more.
I had two nightmares last night.
The first was when I unleashed a zombie virus through a can of contaminated soda. It turns people into ghosts that hunted and infected the living. I escaped to underground night clubs only for the zombies to pass through walls and infect them too. So I tried to escape through the claustrophobic, chaotic venues. I could only run for so long until the entire population would get infected and trap me.
The second was I stood too close to someone, and they coughed. They said they were probably exposed to the coronavirus but weren't tested. So I started a two-week quarantine to be safe amid the uncertainty.
At this point, I’m unsure which one was scarier. The first one is overwhelming and unpredictable. But so is the second one while being all too real.
The best workouts meet the following criteria:
- You feel great afterward.
- You can't believe you just ran them.
- You never want to run them again.
- Near the end, there are either tears or raindrops in your eyes.
- There are at least three moments you want to scream.
- Something once living, now dead, is under your shoe. Bonus points if it's not an insect.
Sadly, I don't think anyone gets enough workouts like this. So when they happen, they should be treasured.
Throughout this pandemic, I've been working my way through The Office. It's been worth it just to watch the scene where Dwight pepper-sprays Roy.
Part of capitalism is the endless pressure to not do something simply for the joy of it. It has to be turned into a career, a side-hustle, or a brand. Being stuck indoors can increase that pressure, with talk of "with all this extra time, you have no excuse!"
First, we're surviving a freaking global pandemic. Coping with that may take up most of my newfound time and energy. If you're someone who doesn't, know a lot of people lack your privilege.
Second, you can have a hobby just to have a hobby. Not everything has to be about a business or a brand. Some things just make you happy. Isn't that part of being human?
Since the pandemic started, I've been thinking about this tweet.
my therapist was saying her patients who have experienced trauma kind of accepted the new normal almost immediately, while those who haven't are still in anger, denial, and bargaining. i guess this is what that looks like.— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) March 22, 2020
I kept thinking about how trauma helped people accept a new normal faster. Does it not link someone tightly to any sense of "normal" since it was shattered before? Is it a greater sense of gratitude for anything, no matter how it changes? Or simply being used to tougher times?
As someone not well versed in trauma, I can't know. I just wish it didn't take that to give people a more flexible, collective mindset in tough times.
I don't understand why people play video games with any type of grind. Whether it's a grind to gain levels, gather items, or decorate a virtual space you can only enjoy from a couch. Isn't there enough of that in real life?
I want video games for quick, fun, borderline surreal experiences I could never get in reality. Like fast-paced racing with crazy karts and items in Mario Kart Deluxe 8. Or wall-to-wall fighting in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Or spreading ink across a cityscape with a giant paintbrush in Splatoon 2. Or watching anime characters jump between a dystopian authoritarian hellscape and nuclear armageddon via time-traveling text messages in Steins;Gate Elite.
Call me a simple-minded or casual gamer if you want. I call myself someone who wants their escapist entertainment to be a real escape.
We are living through the coronavirus pandemic.
We are living in the moments that could define the country for years. Moments that will have potentially seismic shifts in culture and economics. Moments that future adults will parse apart in infinite ways. Moments that will become history people imagine living through. Moments they wish they could have experienced.
This pandemic makes me feel a lot. Knowing I'm living through moments like these add in some fascination. That spoonful of fascination makes the fear, anxiety, and bitterness go down easier.
One of the hardest changes for me to accept is when my passions change. All things change or end with time, and the activities we love most are no exception.
Maybe it's tough due to how our mind responds to us pouring so much time, energy, and love into an activity. It starts believing its inherently meaningful and important. But when our passions shift, that means admitting we were wrong about its importance. How do we know that's not also the case with the next passion? If we were wrong about one career path giving us meaning, how do we know this one is any different?
It means accepting how little control we have over much of our lives. Even with areas so intimate to our identity. That's never easy.
The silver lining is knowing we can recognize when we find something more meaningful. Life may be chaotic and full of change, but that's okay when we can trust our judgment to bring us somewhere a little better. Somewhere with a bit more passion than before.
We haven't asked for the life we have. We didn't ask for our identity and its advantages and disadvantages. We didn't ask for the systems around us that keep those inequalities going. I don't think we need to blame ourselves for their existence.
But when we learn of them, do we work to change or remove them? Do we strengthen them and worsen their effects? Do we accept them as the norm and enable their existence?
I think it's fairer to judge, and even blame, people for how they answer those questions.