I Digress

I woke up sad today. The memories and musings this blog are supposed to capture are of the video game variety, but I wanted to write something a little more personal and revealing today. For purely selfish reasons. I keep a journal but something about sharing this, regardless of how few people see it, makes it feel more useful. I’m not trying to get pity or attention. I’m not hoping someone will see this and reach out or notice me. I just have an urge to write.

I used to write poetry. That was my outlet for these kinds of emotions. To be clear, I’m not depressed. I’m well acquainted with that asshole at this point, and this is not he. No, I suspect this is some kind of hormonal thing because my emotions are all over the place. Poetry used to help, in part in the same way that I’m hoping writing this will help. I rarely shared my poetry but there was something about writing it with the thought that someone could read it and might understand me made the turmoil feel less pointless. It’s easy to spiral when sadness seems meaningless. To get caught in a cycle of repeated questions. Why am I feeling like this? Is this normal? How long will this last? What do I do if this doesn’t go away? Rinse and repeat.

The problem with this spiral is that it widens. The more I go over the same questions again and again, the more I start to add questions, interrogating things that were not even on my radar. “Am I lonelier than I think?” A simple enough question. I have lived by myself for three years and have always thought of myself as independent. I have serious trust issues, so over the years I’ve convinced myself that I don’t need anyone. Or, I don’t want to, anyway. Over the last year I’ve come to terms with the fact that I do need people, though. So when I get sad I can’t help but wonder if it’s loneliness. Loneliness is okay, though, right? It’s normal. It passes.

It’s the related questions that begin to pop up that compound the issue. “Am I lonely” becomes “Do I want to be in a relationship” becomes “Would someone like that one girl ever be interested in me,” “why not,” “am I too old,” “am I not funny or talented or smart or handsome enough,” and on and on and on. These questions don’t really matter, of course, but when you spiral they seem to be the only things that matter. Worse, there are answers. Not my own. Echoes of voices I’ve created, representative of various types of people I’ve met or seen online. Am I too old to date? No, you can date at any age. So-and-so found someone new when they were some-age-higher-than-yours. But you are too old to date someone in their 20s. Don’t be gross and weird. Are you funny enough? When’s the last time you made someone laugh? Your sense of humor is too weird. Are you handsome enough? Hah.

The most frustrating thing about this whole process – the questions and the answers and the cycle and the scattershot of multidirectional emotions – is that I am aware of it and that awareness doesn’t mean shit. I used to think it would. If I knew I was sad, I could figure out what was wrong and avoid it or find something to distract myself, right? No. Because it’s not some mental exercise. It is, most likely, brain chemicals. A lack of dopamine or serotonin. I see a lot of jokes on social media about serotonin and I like that people are so aware of its impact. I saw a video on TikTok recently of this girl doing a dance to Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride,” and the caption was “instant serotonin.” It wasn’t one of those highly choreographed TikTok dances. It was just her messing around. And she looked really happy. It really was instant serotonin… for me. I couldn’t help but smile while watching it. I watched it a bunch of times. Saved it to my favorites. Went and bought the damn song and listened to that on repeat. I even thought about sending her a message and being like “thanks for the serotonin!” But that’s dumb, right? And the questions start again. Why would she care what you think? She doesn’t need your validation. Are you just another one of those guys? And I can’t really argue with them. She doesn’t. I might be. But I was grateful for whatever elements of the video produced the happy chemical cocktail in my brain. I could use that today. I watched it this morning but the chemicals aren’t coming.

Now I’m watching Jurassic Park and writing this. I am almost done getting the platinum trophy for Jurassic World Evolution so I was in the mood. I had a pint of frozen custard. Took my cat on a two hour outdoor adventure. I’m sure things will even out. I think this has helped. The insecure part of me wants to apologize for seeming whiny or egocentric. To just delete this and let it do its thing privately. But that’s one voice I think I will ignore.

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