Vicious Cycles / Downward Spirals

“In the end
You dig yourself the hole you’re in
When you don’t know what you want
You just repeat yourself again
In the end
You just repeat yourself again
When you don’t know who you are
You dig yourself the hole you’re in”

– Gotye, Dig Your Own Hole

I feel like I’ve been lying to you.  This novel has been a convenient way for me to avoid addressing the truth, one I’ve been all-too happy to indulge.  The truth is I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’ve stagnated.  Or technically I’m still stagnant, because this is nothing new.  I have no plans whatsoever for my future, yet I write and share this novel under the happy little assumption that one day I’ll have it completed.  Only the thing is I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to kill myself.

We can make claims to understanding or claims to acceptance all we want, but those claims don’t mean shit all when you find yourself back in that hole.  All the understanding you thought you had, all the things you tried to accept, it all comes rushing back in and before you know it you’re buried in the ghosts of issues you thought you’d resolved, a victim of cruel irony.

I don’t see a future for myself.  I have no plans, no goals, no motivations or aspirations.  Sure, there are things I would like to see and do and accomplish, but wanting something and wanting something to the point where you’re actually willing to work towards it are two very different things.  I don’t feel like I have anything worth living for.  It’s easy to overlook that fact when you’re doing shit all, spending your days watching television and reading books and writing, but the second you’re forced to confront the idea of any kind of future you begin to realise that you have nothing worth fighting for.

I don’t know why I am the way I am, why I can’t think about the future, about anything as simple as getting a job without feeling like throwing up.  Was I born this way?  Was it something I experienced while growing up?  Is it that I don’t want to feign normality when normal is the furthest thing from my mind?  Is it that I don’t want to commit myself, to act like I might be invested in this life when most days I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if it all just ended? Or is it as simple as I’m a lazy little shit, hiding behind melodramatic and cynical excuses in denial of my true nature?

I don’t know that I’ll ever find the answer, and to tell you the truth I’m sick of looking.  The why of it may forever elude me; the only question I should be concerning myself with now is: “what am I going to do with my life?”

As much as it pains me to even think about it, as much as I want to hide from all responsibility and conflict, I need to make a decision.  And yet…

And yet this is nothing new, and this isn’t the first time I’ve chastised myself for not doing anything about it.  What’s worse is it probably won’t be the last, either.  I’m stuck in a rut I don’t know how to get out of, caught in a cycle I can’t seem to break.  If my problem is summing up the willpower to do anything then how can I solve that problem if I can’t sum up the willpower to do it?  The solution is the problem, what I need is what I lack.

Or are these just more excuses, reasons I’ve come up with so that I don’t have to try?  Am I self-aware or in denial?  Am I trying to find the source of my flaws or simply justifying them?   Do I even want to change?

I don’t know.

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20 thoughts on “Vicious Cycles / Downward Spirals

  1. If I may say so, I don’t believe you are hiding from the truth by working on your novel. Quite the opposite: the self-doubt and panic you describe here is stopping you from getting to your novel which you are clearly passionate about. A lack of future plans is not nearly so important as how you choose to live right now. You don’t have to know what you are doing, you don’t have to know where you are going in life. All any of us can do is follow our passions, because everything else is someone else’s opinion on what you should be doing. You are a talented writer, and you can complete this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I only ever feel lost when I’m trying to figure out where I am.
      There’s a lot of truth to what you’re saying, and I really appreciate it. It’s just hard to block out other people’s expectations, especially when your decisions affect them too. My family is pushing me to move forward in life, but I don’t feel ready. But then I suppose few of us ever really do.
      Thank you. I have a lot to think about, but this definitely helped.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is hard to block out other people’s expectations, I agree, but it can be a big mistake to put them before your own. Obviously I don’t know your personal situation, so my comments are only based on the experiences I’ve had in my own life. I trust you will find the best way forward for you. Just don’t be too hard on yourself ok? ☺

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Future plans are a fool’s game. Lately, though it may not seem it, I’ve been posting sentiments that are no different than what you just said, the only difference being a more positive tone due to viewing it all as a game — including the miserable parts. The miserable parts result from our illusion of duality within ourselves — this whole “better nature” vs. “worse nature” nonsense. It’s all the same nature. I hear you struggling with yourself and that’s the only problem: a singularity can only fight itself in fantasy because the seemingly good aspects of it and the seemingly bad aspects of it are simply poles of the same thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not going to lie: most of that went right over my head, but it made me smile nonetheless. Right now I’m not so much struggling with my own opinion of myself so much as other people’s opinions of me. I don’t really care one way or another what happens, but the people in my life are pressuring me to live a certain way and I can’t very well explain all this to them, now can I?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, you probably can’t, but you don’t have to. Your life is yours to live however you damn well please and no one’s opinion of it should factor into what you do. Those who concern themselves with the life choices of others do so to distract themselves from the fact that they are disappointed with their own lives.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Their expectations come from a place of genuine concern for my well-being, but they’re going off of what they know and what they’ve experienced. I know they mean well but they have no idea how I feel. Something’s got to give though. I can’t bum off of my family forever.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If it’s a job that’s holding you back from a sense of self worth, here’s the advice I gave my son, who is a struggling artist/musician in his own right: Go for the romantic job. Become a dishwasher. Get your dues paid up in life. Work hard for yourself, not for the prestige, but for the satisfaction hard work brings. If you start at the bottom, you can only go up. You’ll be satisfying the human need to work and the responsibility that comes with growing up. As for what your parents or anyone else thinks, to hell with them. This is your life, live it your way. You have an undeniable talent, please don’t throw it away. Imagine yourself the starving artist struggling to survive and add this experience to you repertoire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. God I can so relate to this post…I hope you managed to dig yourself out..and yes, you very well might fall back in..’the rabbit hole’ as I call it. But this is why we write, right? We feel, and then we don’t, and we bleed it out until there is nothing left…and then we start all over again.
    This was beautiful and raw and honest. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Wow, I’m really happy you found your way to this post, and that you relate to it. As upsetting as it is to hear that someone else is going through the same struggles as you, there’s a certain comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know how you feel. I too have lived my life according to pressures of others…not so much with career path or anything like that, but more so with parenting. I’ll try to quickly summarize what I mean.

    I have 4 kids: twin daughters, and two sons. They don’t live with me, nor do they live together because they have different moms. My daughters have really grown up to be their mother’s daughters: they are disrespectful toward me, deceitful, selfish, etc.

    Well, last weekend they decided they didn’t want to come over. Why? Because I told them I could not afford to take them bowling, and they said they could sit around at home and do nothing, so why would they want to come to my house and do the same thing? I said, “I don’t know…maybe to see your father?”

    Their response?

    “We aren’t coming. End of discussion.”

    So I said to myself, “You know what? Until they learn how to respect me and my rules, I don’t want them coming over anyway.”

    Now, next weekend is their brother’s birthday party, and guess what? I’m sticking to my guns, and I am NOT getting them. So how does this relate to what YOU are talking about? Quite simple: as little as six months ago, I would have chided myself for even considering the thought of not getting them. I would have beat myself up, saying, “How can you be so cruel as to not get them to see their brother?”

    But then it dawned on me: that wasn’t how *I* felt about the situation. What I was doing was thinking about what OTHER people would say about me if I didn’t get them. That’s when it dawned on me: I cannot let myself give a FUCK what others think. They want to say I’m a bad parent? Fine. They can say that from here to eternity. I’m at the end of my rope with this treatment.

    So my long-winded point is: let people say what they want. Nothing you can do will stop them from saying it. This might sound clichéd, but the only person you can control is yourself. You can control how you react to that pressure.

    They can make all the suggestions they want. You can ask them to shut up and keep their advice to themselves all you want. Nothing has to come of it. Is it annoying to have people keep telling you what you should do with your life? Of course, but you can’t stop them.

    I hope this makes some kind of sense to you, and you can find a way to apply it to the situation.

    ~~~~~Steve

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, then you need to recognize that at this moment. When you lock on what you really want, you will know it through and through. Like in my example, I have not felt the slightest bit of doubt since I decided to not get them until we go to family counseling and work on some issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, am I ever glad I began getting caught up on your posts today. I am sorry that I haven’t been here as often as I was before, but life has been a bit insane. Please know that you matter. There is really nothing more I can add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said above, but goddammit you matter. You only have this moment. The next one is not a guarantee. And your writing is incredible. You are already a writer. Perhaps you need to stop focussing on becoming something else and focus on who you are. You are talented, honest and so genuine, and you have the opportunity to change people with the words you write. I could not agree with Caroline more. Please embrace your gift and who you are, because that person is pretty great. I don’t know if I am making any sense. But I want you to be a fan of yourself, like I am of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You really are too kind. I’ve been putting this off for a long time now because I know how it sounds, but I feel I owe you an explanation as to why I’m not a regular reader of your blog.
      I don’t do well around happy people. People who are naturally inclined towards being cheery or optimistic, people whose kindness comes so naturally to them, make me feel uncomfortable. It’s like shining a light onto my own faults and shortcomings, and the result is resentment. I envy people whose happiness seems to come so easily to them, people who can always manage to look on the bright side.
      Obviously this is a ridiculously shallow and petty thing to feel, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not a good person, and seeing good people only reminds me of that fact. The reason I don’t follow your blog isn’t because I don’t like your writing, or I’m not interested in your thoughts. Reading what you write puts me at odds with myself.
      Obviously this is a problem with me, and no fault whatsoever lies with you or anyone like you. I’d hate for you to take anything I say personally or to heart, so let me clarify: there is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your writing. The only person at fault here is me for indulging in evny and shallow resentment, and I’m paying for that ten times over in denying myself the beauty of what you have to share. Promise me you’ll never change and I’ll promise you to try.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not able to adequately articulate in words the amount of respect I have for you right now. But I will say this. Never have I read anything so honest and courageous, and I admire you more than you can imagine. So thank you. Thank you for saying these things to me. Though it pains me to know that you felt you owed me an explanation for not reading my blog, I very much appreciate the strength it took to write the words down. If I may though, I wish to disagree with your assessment of yourself; you are not a terrible person, at least I don’t think you are, and the kindness you have shown me here is a prime example of why you are not. And also, I want you to know something. I once wondered if I was going to be one of those people, who in a million years, nobody would have ever suspected of killing themselves because I had finally done it. That is where I was at in my life, and those were the thoughts that continually swirled inside my mind. That was the aftereffect of a childhood riddled in chaos, and an adult life spent battling a monster named Anxiety, who had come for me with a vengeance – my reward for a childhood of hurt. Behind the mask was someone who cried in the dark and longed to be free of the scars and constant pain. Then four years ago, it all came to a head when my 13-year relationship ended, and over the course of the next 18 months, everything around me began to unravel. I had hit rock bottom. And I was left with no identity. My choice was to either lose myself forever in the darkness or to rebuild. I chose to rebuild. Only I rebuilt myself without the opinion of others, and as someone, I was proud of for the first time in my life – which has led me to where I am now. I wanted to tell you this because though it appears easy, it has been anything but that. I want you to know that I also have struggled, and at times still do. My wish for you is that one day you too find yourself the person you long to be, and perhaps even someone you love. You deserve that. We all do. Again, thank you for all of this. You truly have all of my respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I admire and respect you as well! What you’ve accomplished, the fact that you not only survive but LIVE, that is inspirational. I still feel that pang of jealousy when I think about how how much better you seem to cope with your darkness, but there’s a lot of admiration in there too; maybe even enough to outweigh it.

        Liked by 1 person

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