I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t get any exercise, either. Today, I woke up with a general sense of hopelessness. I suppose there are worse things in life.
I’ve been known to have a few drinks in my day. I’ve also had a few too many pieces of pizza in one sitting. The result—besides hangovers and bloat—is, of course, self-loathing. Last night while watching a football game at Pete’s place, I didn’t have a drink; however, four pieces of pizza got me to thinking about the words restraint, self-denial, and moderation. These are words I would never associate with myself. Not for any amount of life-altering time, at least.
And that despondency that greeted me this morning almost kept me from getting out of bed and getting down to the gym; it could just as easily have kept me from writing today. But then my thoughts would have defeated me. If there is yet another addiction I have, it is waiting until I feel low and then pulling myself up by my bootstraps. Just to say I did it. Or maybe just so I can find something to write about, something to bitch about.
Self-loathing is perhaps the big monster that spawns all these other addictions: internet, drinking, watching TV, eating. It is because of these things that I find myself talking—to myself or my unfortunate wife who has to hear it all— about what I want to do rather than actually doing it (in many cases). When the talking starts, the monster Self-Loathing emerges.
I take inspiration from my friend Pete DeMarco, whose photography, focused writing on expats and their issues in Korea (http://www.koreahow.com/), and drive to truly make something happen in this age where anybody can publish. The irony of my own project/experiment here on this website is that I will likely need the sort of drive that Pete has and will need to spend hours learning how to better self-promote. I would much rather just write and let someone else take care of promoting my work, but with the competition out there, to be self-made is to be successful in the age of information.
Addiction or habit—however you want to euphemize it—think about this: What would life be like if you removed a major part of your day? Would you find the root of so many other problems? Would you find some sort of fulfillment in an aspect of your life that you never even knew was empty?
When I remove myself to a beach in Ko Phagnan, Thailand, a junk in Halong Bay,Vietnam, a massive temple in Ankor Wat, Cambodia, the Annapurna Circuit in Himalayan Nepal, I intend to remove my addictions. Starting with internet, of course, other modifications will follow. It sounds like I am trying to change too much at once. But the thing is this: I am looking at my life and the world going on around me and people doing unique and extraordinary things to make a difference, if only in their personal lives. I don’t want jealousy or envy to reveal itself later as offspring of Self-Loathing.
Fact of the matter is that I have a pretty great story to tell. Also, I have a unique opportunity to experience the world of removal. Just as self-denial and restraint provide gains in ways that were once before thought unimaginable, it is by completely altering the lens through which we observe the world that everything that is new will have that added depth and richness.