two three days overdue for the weekly log. I should really start remembering that this shit needs to be entered every Monday. This is less an operational log than it is an expression of what’s keeping me going through this process.
In my view, there are only two things any living organism has to accomplish: survival and reproduction. Of course, the latter requirement isn’t strictly necessary, but the species as a whole is going to be biologically engineered to give massive fucks about producing offspring, no pun intended. For almost the entirety of human history, both criteria were of concern and had to be fought for on a daily basis. Now, however, in the midst of modern civilization, there is no pressing concern to not die.
Our environment readily provides food, water, shelter and sanitation. I mean, jesus, morbid obesity is a fucking epidemic in developed countries. Not too long ago, a person had no guarantee that they would survive that day or that week or that month or that season: they could be ripped apart by predators, dying from thirst or starvation or shitting their guts out from some horrible disease, not to mention being raped, killed and tortured by their fellow man in the absence of law and justice. Now, they have the time and energy and fucks to give about the most trivial, absurd shit imaginable. There is no more need to survive and reproduce. Laugh and grow fat, having images of cats on the internet burned into your retinas. Even if you don’t reproduce, you’ll be so numbed out by mindless entertainment that you’ll be hard-pressed to care.
That was me somewhere along the line: having my emotional umbilical cord jammed into a USB port, video games having a vice grip on my attention in-between viewings of pornography. I passed the time in the insulated bubble of my bedroom while my peers were out drinking their first beer and having sex. But then something changed.
I landed a girlfriend. I had sex. I grew up. More and more, I discovered what humans were meant to do, what life was meant to do: reproduce.
Sexual intimacy is so immensely satisfying for a reason: our genes need to be passed on, the species must continue to exist throughout the generations. It seems obvious, really, the fact that continued existence would be selected for, but once I experienced the full spectrum of romantic and sexual experience, I began to fully appreciate this fact. From true love to crippling heartbreak, from overpowering lust to sexual frustration, from massive ego-boosts to humiliating rejections, these feelings felt like overdoses of hard drugs compared with the numbing virtual anesthesia of escapism. I knew what I wanted to fill my life with: the most intense form of happiness, coded for by the genes that were some of the very first to be written in DNA.
To paraphrase Freud, love and work are the most meaningful pursuits we can undertake. Right now, I’m using the latter to make the former a reality.
I’ve written about this before – how I believe that if I were to meet someone I’d be happy with right now, that I’d blow it by being too clingy because I haven’t got my own shit together. And therein lies the rub: undoing years of compulsive video game and internet use is not going to be easy.
To experience those emotions again, of amazing sex and heartfelt affection, with someone I’m actually into, I have to pay the price of building up my confidence and identity until they’re rock-solid.
I’m getting there, but the journey isn’t easy. I’ve started working at the other university, putting in 10-12 hour days to fit everything in. Some days I stumble, screwing around, falling into old habits, other days I get things right, and I feel fucking great. Throughout this period, my mind squeals and squirms. It’s not used to effort, to hardship, to difficulty, to persevere through hard work in order to reap the ultimate reward. It is exceedingly unfamiliar with abstaining from what I want now so I can get what I want most. It absolutely hates being reconstructed, being disciplined, being forced to focus, and it uses very, very potent methods to dissuade me from my pursuits.
The most powerful of these is thoughts of my ex. Though it’s been eight months since things ended, thoughts and reminders of what I once had still haunt me. She represents in my mind everything that made my numb indolence tolerable: the sex, the friendship, the excuse of yeah, I’m a deadbeat, but at least I get laid. Now that I’m balls-deep in the process of fixing myself, it uses every single opportunity to remind me of her. The most obscure connections make me think of her. Even my dreams offer no respite. It’s made worse by the fact that she just finished high school and is off somewhere partying and drinking and hooking up with other guys.
I know full well that this has nothing to do with her. If I were to meet someone like her tomorrow, it’d take me five minutes to realize that this person was wholly incompatible. However, during this time, in this level of consciousness, when I have my nuts in the meatgrinder, even the boring, unfulfilling relationship I once had seems appealing compared to the steep slope I climb before I pierce the clouds of work and hardship and emerge into the first few small victories.
Though it’s slipped to the back of my mind, I’ve begun to found solace in the ‘1029 days’ I set for myself when I start writing about this. I know that once that last day ticks away, when I’ve fixed myself up and replaced fecklessness with strength and purpose, then I’ll be in the perfect position to find that intimacy that I so crave from the core of my being.