Eat Your Vegetables

As some of you know, for the past two years I’ve been waking up each morning in the midst of crippling anxiety attacks. I didn’t know that these attacks are partly due to the Hashimoto’s Disease. And all this time I thought it was because I have a conscience… Since the first week of taking my Levoxyl these attacks have disappeared, until this morning when I awoke as panicked as though it were the tornado sirens that disturbed my sleep. I slept too damned late. But now I wonder, “Late for what?”...

I guess I’ve just spent too many years in the “commute an hour each way and waste my life and talents in a gray cubicle doing meaningless things that buy me a car so that I can commute an hour each way and waste my life and talents away in a gray cubicle doing meaningless things that buy me a car so that I can commute an hour each way and waste my life and talents away in a gray cubicle doing meaningless things that buy me a car so that I can…” etc. workforce. It seeps into your psyche like some insidious little robotic bug from The Wrath of Kahn. I can relate to Peter in Office Space, except that I was the one in the steno pool who picked up his slack (and of every other guy like him) and got paid half as much. I’m glad that he could afford his own apartment, where he could drink beer with his buddies and could take girls out to lunch or have them over to watch Kung-Fu reruns. Whiney baby. While he was sitting on his ass trying to figure out a way to screw the system, I was putting myself through school, working two jobs, and raising a kid by myself. Poor, poor Peter. While his dream was to do nothing, mine was to put food on the table for my special needs child. Well, this is all ridiculous; I love Office Space. But you get my point.

Now that I work from home and bring in as poor an income as I would if I still worked for the corporate monkey in a suit, I still feel guilty from time-to-time. And there are people out there who’d like to propagate that guilt with their snide remarks. They’re just jealous, really. There’s no one in the Commute Group who’s utterly enamored of their life after all. And with good reason. Human beings were not meant to sit in cubicles doing mind-numbing work that won’t mean a rat’s ass in a hundred years. We’re creators, we homo sapiens, and the Ant Farm in all its spirit-slaughtering glory mangles and kills all hope, all dreaming, all purpose. We live in a time of neo-feudalism and as in the old, the work force is made up of nothing more than groups of peons laboring away to keep the lord and master in high style.

So from now on, I’m confronting the anxiety attacks my decades of corporate brainwashing have left me with. I got out, and although Nettl and I don’t have all the “toys” that bespeak this new Dark Ages slavery, I can sit here and write this on my own time, go play my Hanon Scales when I want, and drink coffee at my desk.

Many years ago I watched a Joseph Campbell special on PBS, and I heard, for the very first time, his recommendation to, “Follow your bliss.” During the program he told a story about a certain day he was sitting in a diner next to a family of three. The father was blustery and red-faced and in a great hurry about something while the mother was full of anxiety because their small son wouldn’t eat his vegetables, despite the orders from his angry father. Finally, the mother said, “He doesn’t want to eat them. Don’t try to make him do something he doesn’t want to do!” to which the man replied, “Well, he’d better get used to it. I’ve been doing things I don’t want to do for thirty years!” Campbell said that the incident created a turning point in his life. “Why do people do what they don’t want to do for so long, then demand that others do the same?” he asked himself.

This changed my thinking, but I had no idea how I was supposed to put that into practice. I find myself grappling with it still, but now it’s in the form of subconscious self-attack for indeed following my bliss. This has to stop.