thoughtwisps One commit at a time

prodding a painful tooth

Humans avoid pain, I’m told. This is, apparently, why we tend to avoid exercise and why I can’t sprint uphill for more than a few seconds. Stop, my muscles scream in the burn of the lactic acid, and I, obediently, listen.

Yet, this tendency of physical self-preservation seemingly does not apply to emotional pain.

A metaphor comes to mind. That of a painful, loose tooth that one cannot stop prodding with one’s tongue even though every touch results in a jab of pain.

That metaphor is how it sometimes feels to be on Instagram or Twitter where everyone, but you, is constantly succeeding, busy winning at life publishing books, running ultramarathons, getting promoted, starting new jobs or companies or YouTube channels, while I, still in my pajama pants at an hour past midday and with my hair neither washed nor brushed am struggling through a boring list of very basic chores.

This infinitely scrolling highlight reel of everyone else’s life quickly slips one into an endless cycle of jealousy (during which one frantically scrolls through a person’s Insta or Twitter or whathaveyou, trying to find a rational explanation for why they have a better handle on this thing called life), self-hatred (during which one ragelogsoff the platform that is tormenting one) and then, finally, apathy (during which one logs back on, because what the hell, this pajama-hair situation is not going to get any better, so might as well go back to scrolling). The rat goes back to pressing the lever, that, seemingly at random, dispenses either little morcels of dopamine pleasure or little eletric shocks of self-loathing.

Somewhere an algorithmic god is having a cruel laugh as she meticulously adjusts the timeline to find the exact dosage of weightloss pics, marathon wins, promotions and happy engagements.