“You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.”
— § —
Too much. I have reached the saturation point in reading psychological literature. It is time for me to take a break.
I have learned a great deal, but would hesitate to talk much more about it here. And that hesitation is the basic crux of any maladjustment problems that I personally might have. I suppose at some level, I’ve always known it; that’s why this blog has always been such a touchstone for me.
It is the venue in which I work out my relationship to any negative feelings about life that I have, and in which I can observe either how far toward repressing these negative feelings or how far toward reactively overexpressing them (a swinging pendulum with which many are familiar) I am during a given phase of my life.
During repressing, the blog looks too neutral and detached, yet I’m afraid to use it honestly, so it doesn’t communicate everything about me that I wish I could communicate to the world. In other words, during repressing, the blog becomes a paradoxical way of silencing myself, reflective of the way that I silence myself in real life.
During overexpressing, the blog is a wild roller-coaster, yet when people compare it to me, they say that they don’t get why my blog is so out there but I seem well-adjusted and regular. In other words, during overexpressing, the blog becomes an split-off-from-real-life venue into which I toss extremes of positivity and negativity that I suspect aren’t quite right.
In the middle of the two extremes, the blog represents me more or less accurately, is moderately positive or negative at appropriate times, and more or less reflects how I interact with and relate to people in real life on a day-to-day basis in more or less healthy honesty, and with a more or less integrated self.
It’s kind of like a slow-moving health gauge that can’t be rationalized away. “How am I doing?”
Right now, the pendulum has swung toward repressing, and it has been there for some time—probably since around 2008 or 2009.
I can see this (and have for some time) but I can’t overcome it yet. But one of the things the blog also does is give me a venue of possibility in which to work on it, on any given day.
— § —
The happiest and healthiest periods of my life have been just after launching large, self-directed, self-expressive projects in new environmental and social contexts. (Both stints in graduate school and the final “get it done” year as an undergraduate are obvious examples of these phases in my life.) I invariably thrive in these for a while, make many new friends, experience flow and joy and world-openness, and am massively creative, smart, and productive. Then, I tend to get bogged down, narrowing my world to just one or two people and just a few details and from there things tend to go wrong, and my creativity, productivity, and fulfillment also tend to collapse.
“Healthiest” in this case does not just refer to cognitive or emotional life, but to physical life as well. During these high points in my life, I have been the most comfortable in my own skin, and have felt the clearest integration between physiological states and cognitive-emotional states.
— § —
Right now I’d say that I’m mostly okay and things are going pretty pretty well, but I am still struggling to climb toward “my best and happiest me” once again—to find my mojo once again.
Hopefully that will come, but it’ll probably take a year or three.
But I do have to take a break from reading for a little while. It starts to make a person dizzy.