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Woden's Day Thing: 4/26/22
All right already
There have been enough very kind concern flares sent up in random pockets of Substack regarding my extended silence that I didn’t want to cause anyone experiencing genuine worry any more of it.
I am alive, I am healthy, and nothing particularly terrible has happened.
I “fell into a depression” not long after my last post - purely a chronological proximity, one had nothing in particular to do with the other. I want to say it lasted a few weeks?My training makes me way more hesitant than, it seems, almost every English-speaking human alive to use words like “depression” because they have clinical meaning, but have become so mundane that they carry a unit of meaning clearer than “I’ve been sad” today. I feel like this is one of a million problems we’ve chosen not to address and will probably just continue hurrying along ignoring it until we all speak entirely in the jargon of healthcare professionals and have become convinced that every element of our lives and our society is defined through pathology diagnostics. Quite a lot of us are already convinced.
To be succinct, I’m not sure I feel like continuing on Substack. Those who have followed me too closely for your own good have probably noticed that I quit Twitter a month ago and never looked back and have avoided any visible presence here as far as liking or commenting on other stacks; I’ve culled my own subscriptions enormously but continue to read the ones I value.
And I have been immensely more productive and emotionally balanced for it. Less stimulated and more bored at times, yes.
It’s all become too, well, social while not really being “social.” I’ve come to find the comment threads, the part that tended to interest me at least as much as the article itself, irritating and diminishing. Substack seems to have entered a weird growth phase that seems almost metaphysical- large parts of its essence seem to exist solely for the people inside it to chase clout and status and create and dance in drama that all exists entirely in its own box. I find myself wondering how many people subscribe to various stacks solely to market their own or to have yet another comment thread to chase recognition by sharing curated autobiography.
All I really cared about in the first place was the outrageous atrocity of COVID policy and what it represented about a broader global shift towards reducing or eliminating personal freedoms. And I find I have nearly nothing else in common with my fellow travelers in this regard, to the point that I’ve become exhaustingly careful in sharing much beyond that, because the “discourse” feels nearly hazardous - I realize I court melodrama here by saying I am legitimately wary of being tracked down in the physical world.
For all my jabbering, you wouldn’t believe the volume of things I do NOT say.
It is not a brew I want to marinate in endlessly.
We are in a weird place in history whose end simply cannot come quickly enough. I am utterly sick of it. I am utterly sick of talking about it. I am utterly sick of the endless shifting alliances of rage at its elements. I am sick of the increasing lack of nuance to any of it and the aggression and negativity one must wade though to express anything but the most absolute vision of the world they wish to live in, the world that MUST be created.
A plague on both your houses.
Brothermouth recently asked me, “so are you not writing anymore?” with the subtext that this would be a Bad Thing and somehow a betrayal of something big and important that I intrinsically am.
The answer is no, but right now, I don’t exactly know where and how to whom I would like to carry on.
Maybe here, but different.
Maybe somewhere else, to fewer or different people.
Maybe I’ll just shout into a hole in the ground or write on looseleaf and burn it later.
Anyway. Until I figure it out, premium Gutterballs will note that I have suspended paid subs and will continue to do so indefinitely until I decide the fate of the space. If I do start writing again on the regular, I won’t restart paid subs until I’ve been offering content for at least a full month. I don’t - have never - felt right about taking something for nothing. It is a covenant of trust without which nothing works, and abusing it diminishes your conception of self, in the same way as being a person who does not keep their word.
At the risk of contradicting much of what I’ve said, an update of real-world things that I know some people delight in hearing:
I’ve been getting into great shape. I’ve lost 20 pounds since the beginning of February, with another 10 being my goal (to bring me to my weight of about 10 years ago at the end of when I was doing kendo competitively which I considered my best physical condition in my lifetime). My regimen has been intermittent fasting throughout (18/6) and as close to daily calisthenics/basic strength training as I can manage, and a mile of jogging or weighted walking. I have stopped strict keto because the constipation and social inconveniences were getting too much of a hassle but have pretty much kept completely off of all sugar and simple carbs and basically no processed food. I haven’t seen any real weakening of my weight loss and have a bit more energy.
I discontinued physical therapy a little over a month ago because I just couldn’t afford it - it turned out insurance was paying for a laughable fraction of it and as the bills rolled in, with Husbandmouth not yet employed, it just didn’t feel worth it. I’ve done my best to increase my own physical regimen. Several weeks ago, I ran and jogged for the first few times since the surgery, and pleasantly, absolutely nothing bad happened. I have a final follow-up with the surgeon to (presumably) be fully cleared for sports; perhaps just in time for this, “Viking Fight Club,” the cause of the original injury, was disbanded about a month ago for the foreseeable future due to a family crisis.
Husbandmouth continues to love his job. Having structure and purpose and a schedule outside of lurking around the house has been amazing for his mental health and our relationship, and has brought the necessary return of one of my greatest small pleasures in life, creating elaborate box lunches. An 愛妻弁当 is an amazingly rewarding thing for all involved.
We had a calf three weeks ago, which happened to line up with a brief visit from Mothermouth, which made it all rather more special for her. Turns out the bull has been doing his job all along. Based on what I now know to be indications of pregnancy, I suspect the younger heifer is also carrying. The calf, a bullock, is incredibly healthy and handsome and frisks around all day, spending a lot of time playing with his daddy and harassing chickens.
We lost our one male rabbit and the second of the two sows we bought last year as part of the breeding pool I discussed (the ones that were in that horrific highway disaster). Causes of death were unknown but no signs of contagious/infectious disease. I might try again breeding rabbits but it seems an unreliable thing. We will probably slaughter the remaining does at some point as they are quite plump and healthy. Our one remaining sow appears to be pregnant, and her litter from last year will probably be at slaughter weight by the end of this year. Large healthy chickens continue to run rampant all over the place and would probably be some sort of insurrection threat if they weren’t so spectacularly stupid.
Fathermouth had a couple of medical emergencies over the past few months which have all been more or less resolved and is visibly better with mobility and alertness than he has been in some time. With his increased mental vigor, he has become very outgoing again and I’ve needed to reassert some stronger boundaries as he sometimes falls into a pattern of considering me at his immediate beck and call for every random task or concern that enters his mind, which had reached a point of making it impossible to get other work done. He is looking into joining a local church to make friends as he found the social clubs he tried earlier to be “too old” and not active enough. We have had a lot of interesting conversations of late.
I have almost more of my own work than I know what to do with and have commuted to NYC for consulting visits (which was an interesting internal experience after staying away since fleeing lockdowns). I am approaching an equilibrium of “a controllable number of narrow things that pay very well inconsistently.”
I am planning a Midsommar feast if we can rustle up enough real-world friends and acquaintances to make it worth a pig slaughter. I haven’t hosted a party in nearly 4 years, let alone an evening of excess and frolicking pagan idolatry.
As you can see, focusing on real life has been rather more pressing and rewarding.
This will probably be my last long, structured post for a little while until I figure out what, if anything, I want to do with this space. Maybe there’ll be drips and drabs of weird, out-of-format stuff when I give in to a burning need to write. If I’m quiet for a long time, please don’t worry- if such is your inclination- that I’ve met some ignominious end. It’s certainly possible, but it’s very unlikely, and nothing anyone else needs to concern themselves with regardless.
Anyway, it’s spring. Touch some grass or something.