Brain check

Jun. 9th, 2007 11:42 pm
j4: (hair)
The older I get, the more stupid I feel. At school, I felt as though I knew a lot about my subjects (though not very much about Real Life); at university, I felt as though I knew even more about my subject and quite a lot about Real Life, including some bits of Real Life that I'd've been quite happy not to know about.

Now I don't even know what my subject is any more, and I don't really know anything about Real Life (except the sort that happens while you're waiting for it to happen, but increasingly that feels very detached from any kind of representative reality... but that's a whole nother area of tedious navel-gazing, and one of which I will steer clear for now).

I've forgotten most of the things I knew at university, I've forgotten most of the things I knew at school (and what's left is a bit 1066 and all that), and I feel as though I haven't learned anything properly since leaving university. Yes, I've learned all sorts of things; but I don't feel as though I've learned anything as fully.

Yawn, you say. Terribly boring. Everybody feels like this. Go and read something else, then.

My reliance on the web is partly to blame. There was a time when I had to actually know things in my head because the library shut at 7pm, and we didn't have all the books in the world at home (despite best efforts), and books were where you looked things up. Now it's like an open-text exam with all the books in the world on your desk, and all you have to do to find the answers is leaf through the books, and it doesn't help, even if you're allowed to take annotated copies of all the books in the world, even if they're the teachers' editions with the answers at the back. Which they are, I suppose.

I still have anxiety dreams that are a bit like that, actually. I used to be good at exams, but I have dreams where I don't have a pen and the questions are in a language I don't know and the time seems to be ticking away faster than I can keep track of (and it is, though, it is, isn't it) and everything's all confused and hot. I don't think I'd know where to start now with a real exam. Apart from remembering a pen.

Focus, for god's sake, focus. You've still got all your own teeth. Mostly.

I want to learn everything in the world. I wake up terrified that I'll never be able to learn anything properly again.

There was a time when I'd've thought about something and planned how to write about it and then written it down in proper sentences and edited it and written it out again neatly. This isn't that time any more. It isn't any time. I don't have time. I don't have time.

I am increasingly fed up with having to sleep. Such a waste.

There's more (always), but it's even less coherent (usually).
j4: (hair)
So scratchy today, rough at the edges, full of half-formed ideas and frustration. Everything feels stagnant in here; the air smells of stale coffee and cheap biscuits, and the sky outside looks sullen and flat. It's not warm enough, not cold enough, not bright enough, not dark enough, and I want more than anything to be somewhere else. There's a syrupy-thick slow tidal swell of apathy and stupidity, tired old phrases trotted out over and over again by brittle-faced people with hair like dead leaves. I've made about fifty cups of coffee, and thrown at least a third of half of them away, and if it takes a man and a half a day and a half to do this, why does it only take me ten minutes and leave me with hours of dead time? I feel like I'm always at the front of the exam room asking for more paper, not because I'm cleverer or have more ideas but because I hate wasting time. And it is wasted; it's not constructive idleness, it's not mindful meditative spaces, it's just hours of picking and shuffling and pushing food around a plate; it's gritty, grainy seconds piling up like the residue of rice and flour and dusty lentils at the back of the cupboard where all those sealed packets have leaked out just a little.

At lunchtime I walked around the building, just to stop myself going crazy. A couple of minutes' walk takes you from identikit office buildings to woodlands and fields, bluebells and celandines, trees full of sun and shadow. In a lunch-hour you can almost get out of sight of the bars of the cage. It started to rain just as I started walking, and for a moment I was going to go back inside, and then my feet carried on walking and the rain stopped. Everything felt low-ceilinged, though, even outside, even the point where suddenly there was a view across a field where all the daffodils in the world were growing, and at the other side of the field was some kind of incredible space-age building. I felt like I'd pushed through the fence somewhere and was watching something I shouldn't be watching; something from a film, something wide-angled. I took photos, not to record anything for posterity (You are not here to verify, instruct yourself, or inform curiosity or carry report) but just to make sure I didn't walk by without seeing anything. I took stupid photos with no focus, close-ups of nothing, wide views of everything.

Everything I see is either too big to comprehend or too small to make a difference. I'm suffering from a chronic error of scale, a lack of perspective that bends the edges of the room so that nothing's the same size. I don't fit through the doors that I have the keys for, and I don't have the keys for the doors at my level; and now I'm late again, late for everything and nothing.

I'm so tired.
j4: (southpark)
There's so little to do at work at the moment, so little actual work that isn't just makework, just desk-tidying. I mean, in a sense my whole job is just desk-tidying; but usually it's more like helping to tidy other people's desks, or designing desks that are easier to keep tidy, or giving people shinier in-trays.

desk-tidying )

It's all just so much nonsense. I'd be better off tidying the house, or baking a cake. I could go home and make flapjacks, and bring them into work tomorrow, and it'd be a more productive use of the time. I mean, honestly.
j4: (southpark)
There probably weren't any good ways to start work this morning given that I was feeling tired and hungover and wobbly-stomached (at least part of this was my own fault for last night's delightful Valentine's Day indulgence in the shape of a huge meal at Bruno's Brasserie) but I can certainly think of better ways than getting two angry, rude phone calls in the space of 15 minutes about something I know nothing about and have no power to fix. whinge )

No subject

Feb. 1st, 2005 09:05 am
j4: (hair)
So tired. I think of so many things I want to do, and I never do any of them. Being surrounded by people who cheerfully teach themselves six ancient languages before breakfast doesn't help, but even the things that might be within my intellectual grasp -- things like doing the laundry, or making myself a sandwich -- just hit a wall of inertia when I think about trying to do them. I drag myself into work, I manage to do the things that are necessary, but there's so much more I could make of this job... no, that's not true. There's so much more anybody else could make of this job. All I can do with it is hope they don't fire me.

More and more I feel as though I just want to throw everything away and start again, to somehow get back to where I started and do better next time. Of course I know that's not possible. But the thought that I'll die with my life still this much of a mess -- still thinking of all the things I could have done with my life, still unable to do anything, still with everything from debts to desktop in hopeless disorder -- makes me nauseated, makes me despair. But I can't catch up.

And yes, I know everybody else in the world worked this out years ago.

Just so tired.

When I'm walking from one place to another I feel full of energy; I can envisage myself doing things, imagine what it would be like to be competent at this business of getting along from day to day. They're not wild daydreams of a 'me' who is creative or interesting; but I can visualise a 'me' who might, one day, before she dies, be able to iron clothes when they need ironed, or tidy the house efficiently. I can just about -- or maybe this is just a wild daydream -- visualise being a functioning adult human being.

Then I stop walking, and all my energy evaporates, and I'm sitting in front of a computer vacantly hitting 'reload' on a page I've seen a thousand times before, unable to do anything more than stare and try not to cry.

Perhaps the solution is just to walk away and keep on walking.
j4: (kanji)
I had a lovely dream about curling up quietly and affectionately with an old friend whom I always loved dearly (and carried the flame of my love for him long after I realised he would never be interested in women). In the dream we were close, and I felt secure and loved. Then I woke up and everything was grey and cold and miserable. It was already late enough that no matter how fast I cycled I would be late for work and arrive breathless and aching and tired; the sky was low and flat, the paths were all still wet and muddy, even sounds were dampened, and it seemed that there was nothing bright in the world.

I hate being a slave to the seasons, but the weather wears me down. People wear me down more, though. And they go in cycles, too; you love someone a little, then a little more, then a little less, and somehow the little things are the last to go. Years after you've forgotten the shape of their caresses, or the words you think they said they thought they meant, you find that can still remember how they take their coffee; you remember how they fold shirts the wrong way, not your mother's way, a different way that makes a hairline crack in the shell of who you have been, and behind that crack gapes the endless void of possible ways to live, so that a part of you can never be the same again; something as tiny and deadly as the shape of a sleeve can make all the memories of them explode in your chest again and leave you shattered, crawling in the dust trying to piece together a crutch for your heart to keep on stumbling on.

And all this happens in the blink of an eye so that all the disinterested observer sees is a bird or a leaf dropping dead from a bough, a tiny senseless death which touches them like a drop of rain from a greying sky brushed away by an unthinking hand.

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