Thursday 5 March 2015

FOROOT: The Fear Of Running Out of Time

As I often admit, I'm the worlds biggest hypocrite. 

Because for all I seem to write advice or truths or seem to somehow be wise and have my shit together, I'm genuinely an absolute mess. 

But then again, I'm not a liar. It just seems in some kind of weird irony that the moment I start writing about something which is bothering me under the pretense that it's going to turn into some form of advice post which includes the hearty phrase 'and then I realised' about 3/4 of the way down, only then do I actually start to figure it out. 

So I'm really hoping this is one of those moments, because today has been a prime, screaming example to me that I don't know what the fuck I'm doing, and worse yet, that is making me do nothing.

This morning, I woke up today at half nine. I read in bed for a little while before the words gave me a headache, then woke up, unexpectedly, book in hand, at 1pm. I finally got up, did some laundry, had a shower and felt a little chilly so popped back into bed for a moment, only to wake up again now, at 5pm. 

And that's it. The light is beginning to fade. A whole day, lost. 

And instead of chastising myself briskly and getting up to make something of the day, I have sunk back into the warm security of my sheet-less duvet, and just stared at the faint marks in the weary paintwork of my wall. 

All the while feeling this straining anxiety tugging at my knowledge and my consciousness, only exacerbated when I aimlessly scroll down twitter and facebook to try and take my mind off it, seeing endless strangers and acquaintances alike happily singing about their triumphs and accomplishments, however social-media-embellished it may be, and the sickening fear takes a hold.

For I truly believe it is not FOMO - Fear of Missing Out - that various think-pieces and Thought Catalog articles like to proclaim marrs our generation. 

It's FOROOT - the Fear of Running Out Of Time.

I've always had a weird relationship with the idea of dying, and there's something about social media - the precariously removed 'now-ness' of how we document our lives online as anticipated memories - and the likes of Buzzfeed churning out countless listicles of late ' *insert number* Things You Must *insert activity* Before You Die ', and the notion of being a blogger, someone who has to self-make their success in a critical period, that have added this extraordinary level of pressure in which I can almost feel this giant countdown timer looming above me daily, casting down unavoidable and periodical announcements of: YOU NEED TO BUILD FASTER, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY TIME TO WASTE, YOUR TIME IS RUNNING OUT, YOUR WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS CLOSING, THIS IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY CHANCE AND IT'S FADING.

And social networks are making this all so much worse.

 I've never before really felt myself falling victim to the pain of over-comparison, but suddenly it's hit me, and boy has it hit me hard. Watching other people build their worlds with determination and grit and reaping these extraordinary rewards and having their dreams come true, is undoubtedly wonderful when you know they deserve it, but, (here's the bit where I hate myself), it also fucking sucks. Because suddenly you find yourself in this desperate race you didn't even realise you were a part of and while your lungs are burning and legs screaming out in protest, you're watching others effortlessly dance past you in a trail of sparkling technicolor, all the while knowing that you can't stop. Even if you wanted to and quit, the haunting fear of your own potential would cling to you like a cloak and end up destroying you with disappointment.

We live in a world of overnight fame and a 15 minute spotlight, reality stars and the suffix '--famous' in which you can insert any given social network beforehand and have a category of new star, and this convoluted idea of what modern 'success' actually is, is eating away at me day by day and more or less driving me insane. 

And this fear in turn completely destroys any artistic integrity I was clinging on to.

I decide to use my curiously-discovered skill of painting to make a little money on the side because I have all these plans I have to do NOW and no funds to do them, and the moment I put brush to paper with the intention of making money, the talent is ripped away from me just as quickly as it came, and I can produce nothing. 

I feel the mounting pressure to keep a schedule of posting weekly at a minimum to try and keep people interested and opportunities afoot to keep building, yet the moment I put my fingers to the keys with the intention of keeping my traffic figures afloat, words, purpose, truth and emotion escape me entirely.

So in a panic, I withdraw entirely, never wanting to put out something that isn't important, and time continues to wash over me as this writer doesn't write, this painter doesn't paint and this live-r does not live.

Instead I wrap my arms around my legs and pull my knees to my chest, apologising to the imaginary gods of creativity that I would ever be so ungrateful and sink further into this worrisome pool of patheticness and knowledge that I'm really good at feeling sorry for myself. 

I guess this is the point where I'm meant to have a soloution, but... I guess I'm still working on that one. 

But I suppose I am writing. I'm the writer writing about how she's the writer who doesn't write. 

Ha, I guess that's a little bit of a something at least.

Whatever fearsome wrath that ticking clock above my head will throw down at me, I think it's become obvious that I need to get out of social media. My relationship with it has turned incredibly unhealthy and toxic, and  it is only serving to further exacerbate my paranoias and anxieties, and further derail any innocent and honest intentions behind my beloved creations.

Whatever detriment it will have on my progress toward 'success' I will take it. I will go back to square one, start afresh and sink into obscurity once more if it means I don't have to feel like a Fraudy McFrauderson bumbling around in a panic-striken frenzy trying to frantically shove random puzzle pieces together in a way that kinda somewhat resembles order. 

I don't need to be there.

I can instantly reel of a list of people on social networks who I harbour no ill-will toward and am convinced are wonderful people, yet they strike this seed of bitterness and negativity in my heart because of how inferior I deem myself in comparison to them and all they have achieved at so young. And I never ever wanna feel that way toward anyone who I respect and appreciate and generally enjoy. 

I think this is the kind of ignorance that people who feel the sickening grips of FOROOT need to be actively embracing: separating and distancing yourself from a situation which brings you bad juju.

Because at the end of the day, your perspective on the world IS how the world looks/is, because you're the one who witnesses it that way, so when your perspective becomes damaged it is imperative to sort that shit out and do what is necessary to make it all good again. 

(I definitely just laughed at the idea of walking up to a beautiful friend and saying 'I really like you, but you as a person are fundamentally damaging my perspective, so I'm going to have to willfully unacknowledge your existence for a bit until I work through some shit okay?')

This is why I never proclaim myself an advice-giver and it's probably worrying if you put my ideas into literal practice but YOU SEE WHAT I'M GETTING AT RIGHT? Pls don't be mean to people because they're pretty. 

I think what I'm trying to get at, in a really terrible way, is a solution which has weaved its way out of my complaining, as it thankfully somehow does - 

This pressure is self-administered. 

No-one is telling us we are running out of time but ourselves. 

It might be based on various catalysts that we see online and through other people, but we manifest it by ourselves and ultimately we are the ones telling ourselves that we are not enough. And it's only up to us to undo that, whether it means becoming a healthier happier person by blocking off the world and becoming a hermit and refusing to integrate yourself in certain circles that bring you unhappiness. For me - this means removing myself out of social media for a bit, turning a blind eye the sycophantic maelstrom of twitter and remembering who I am in real life.

And you know what, even I couldn't see how I'd possibly work this one out but... I actually feel a bit better.

It's 6:18pm, I'm still sat in my exact same spot and this post is a bit of a mess, but suddenly I don't feel so rubbish about staying in bed all day.


“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

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