Today I feel like shit. I don’t know whether I thought sharing this would offer any consolation. But there you have it: I feel like shit. I’ve been having one of those days when you don’t feel like a physical entity of your own anymore because that would seem like too much of a responsibility. Does that give you a fuller picture?
(Trust me, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my glorious career as a blogger and part-time Voice of a Generation, it’s that I’m really good at pretentious whining. So stick with me.)
I love that the English language allows you to “feel inadequate”. Most people probably take this lexical quirk for granted, but the reason I can savour it is that I lack the words to express the way I’m feeling in my native language. People aren’t “inadequate” in German; it just doesn’t collocate.
When I was a kid, my mother used to call unanticipated surges of anxiety and sadness “Weltschmerz” (literally “world pain”). I’ve since come across the term on MentalFloss, where it is said to mean something like a disaffection with the state of the world. But I know that’s not what my anxiety is about. I’ve been way too caught up in thinking about my world to let it sink in what despicable things the world is up to.
Why does it bother me that everyone seems to be ahead of me? Even if they’re just as bad as me at getting a grip on themselves, why is it that they still manage, that they persevere somehow, without turning bitter or envious?
As I’m writing this, I’m playing with a lump of blue eraser in my right hand, turning and moulding it to my heart’s content. It’s one of those artsy squishy erasers that you can use for blending out graphite drawings. I bought it for a drawing class I got kicked out of yesterday because I didn’t pay the course fee in time to get registered (even though I had already attended two sessions by then). That eraser, along with the other supplies I can’t return because the packaging isn’t sealed anymore, has taken on an uncomfortable amount of symbolic weight ever since I knew I wasn’t going to take part in the course.
Whatever I set my mind to ultimately exhausts me or stresses me out. I never follow through. Just as I’m going to let go of that eraser play dough, I’m going to get tired of refining and sculpting my ambitions. Simply because I’ve convinced myself that it’ll only be fun when I’m there. Never mind the rewarding (though arduous) path that would lead me there if I stopped to give an actual fuck about where I end up.
One day, I’m going to have to end up somewhere. I’ve been trying to convince myself otherwise, but deep down I know I should be thinking about settling down one day and what it takes to end up someplace pleasant. Geographically, professionally, socially, creatively, intellectually, mentally. No matter how much I zoom in and out to scrutinize every aspect of the status quo, it all comes down to that one word: inadequate. And the pain that lingers in my chest is nothing deep or metaphysical. It’s just the weight of knowing who’s at fault.