Respawn

I’m trying to figure out when the best time to quit therapy is. I was dragged into counseling through bizarre circumstances (see “Disclosure”–a post that is responsible for something like one-third of the traffic I get–if you haven’t already), and now I’m starting wonder how much longer I need to go. There is no doubt at all in my mind that my therapist has been helpful, but I don’t want to get caught in the trap of going to a therapist just because I need somebody to make me feel better about myself. It’s not just about what you want, but what you need, as the Rolling Stones sort of said in that one song I really like. I’m worried that as soon as I stop seeing him, I’ll find myself confronted with issues that will have me fighting the urge to go crawling back, but that’s the risk you take when you stop doing pretty much anything. I don’t believe that being a man means not having feelings. That’s fucking stupid. But the whole point of therapy is to eventually reach a point where you don’t need it anymore, isn’t it? Somebody has to offer tough love rather than just comfort and reassurance. The problem is that most of the people I encounter who think they’re offering tough love are just presumptuous douchebags. So I guess I should keep going for the time being. He is nothing if not perceptive.

Part of the problem is that it is difficult to devote too much time to any one thing. When you have a million things to do, your first instinct is to devote a small amount of time to each of them, but that has a distinct tendency to stall your momentum. At the same time, it’s kind of necessary as a short-term solution. So I think that I shall at least bother to finish this paragraph before getting to work on all the homework I have. I’m working on a massive group project, and what’s bugging me is that even though I feel immense pressure to get my part done, I’m not always sure if what I do is properly appreciated. I suppose everyone feels that way sometimes. All I know is that I do a lot of work, but have no idea how much of it will make it into the final project. To me, it is at least higher-quality than anything I did in previous semesters. So I guess that’s something.

I watched The Hunger Games this weekend and I have some thoughts on it. (No, I don’t have a better segue.) The premise was great and Jennifer Lawrence really nailed it, but the need to keep everything young adult-friendly really held the movie back. I can think of quite a few books that I read as a teenager that managed to tackle grim subject matter head-on and stay accessible to their target audience. (Lowry’s The Giver is a classic, but her Number the Stars is a pretty powerful tale that covers the Holocaust, of all topics.) The Hunger Games has an idea of how fucked up it is to force teenagers to kill each other for the entertainment of the masses, but doesn’t fully understand its implications. (Spoilers ahead.) What if Katniss had been forced to kill the black dude who saved her ass in return for helping Rue? The sadistic blond guy from District 1 gets him, which is awfully convenient. And the love story was simply boring. Maybe author Suzanne Collins figured that young people wouldn’t be interested unless there was a romance to follow, but that’s just not true.

I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling a strange urge to read more children’s literature these days. I never read Charlotte’s Web, which is kind of remarkable, because I was a voracious reader even before I was ten. Roald Dahl was one of my favorites in those days, mainly because he was unafraid to embrace the nasty side of things. Maybe I just don’t like the way that many people see children’s entertainment as something that is intended solely for children rather than something that’s just pitched at their level. Kids are both smarter and more resilient than we give them credit for, and if you don’t believe that, seriously, reread some of those fairy tales you liked as a kid. Little Red Riding Hood has some very perverse undertones.

In case anyone is wondering, no, I don’t know where I’m going with all of this. I’m sensing the return of an old feeling: the vague notion that something is wrong. Like I can’t stop worrying about how long all of the good things in my life (and I have one or two, loath as I am to admit it) will last, no matter how much I try to focus on other shit. The problem is that I probably am in for a couple of deeply unpleasant surprises in the near future. It’s just that they aren’t any of the things that I spend all of my time fretting over. Awful events have a way of hiding in plain sight and springing when I’m having trouble sleeping just because everything feels too damn convenient. At the same time, I still don’t have the social, love or sex life that I want and really no idea how to make it so. Everything feels either too static or too ephemeral.

I’m trying not to give too much of a fuck about stuff. But not giving a fuck shouldn’t have to mean starting again with a completely different life, and some of the little voices in my head seem to think I should do exactly that. I can’t save my game and I don’t know how many lives I’ve got, to apply the video game metaphor introduced in the title. Oh, well. Carry on, I guess. And enjoy the internet.

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