It’s Better to Feel Pleasure Than Nothing at All

I have been in such a frustrating place the last few months that I have taken for granted the good that can come from pain. I can be somewhat masochistic (non-sexual) in my pursuits: I tend to gravitate toward whatever will hurt me. Because of this mental abuse I inflict upon myself, I am able to juxtapose the brief but stunning moments of lucidity that arise as a result. I have not been able to feel pleasure for years, so I think I need to feel the poignancy of feeling that pain has to offer. It’s a common song lyric: “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all,” or something along those lines. I’m obviously not alone in this regard, yet I am starting to realize it’s not the sensation of pain I want, and it’s not just my antibody to the virus of boredom I keep catching. No, it is rising up from the depths of nothingness to a new high, breaking through to creative realms of self-fulfillment, that I am looking for. Because I know what sadness and depression and isolation feel like, I allow myself to experience new things more openly. I am able to reflect and articulate with insight and clarity regardless of how confused I might be on the whole.

I have been busy with school. One of my classes is boring and of little use, and the professor has commendable industry experience but can’t teach. The other class, however, is extremely fun, and for the first time in a long time, I enjoy doing something school-related (investment portfolio management). My recent focus on this has led to fewer sleepless nights and less rock bottoms. This state has me confused, though; I can’t seem to find even a simple job, but I am busy being a nearly full-time student. I am closer to graduating, closer to being more marketable, and I am starting to see a possible career path from classes like this. Having an income and a daily job is more of a reality in my mind. My apprehension has lessened. Is that a good thing? It’s almost annoying. If I am going to have some anxiety, I want to experience it full force instead of feeling its slight tickle in the nerves of my mind.

I am anxious because I am not anxious enough. It is good I am focusing on something productive, but I presuppose it is limiting my ability to make mental progress. I’m not in an extremely low place anymore; now I’m just slightly below the threshold of normalcy. Without a powerful opposing force, how is my inner fight for self-actualization going to play out? I’m not used to this. I’m not used to dealing with less adversity.

Curtis, are you complaining about not having enough problems? Yes, I am.

Maybe I am spoiled because I have been so frustrated, so bored, and so hurt that it is easy to go headfirst into any and every positive thing I can. Maybe I am lazy and know that it is easier to do things I don’t want to be doing (and get hurt) than to actually find what I want to be doing. And I know with that hurt comes change, so it is a shock therapy that will somehow turn me around while also providing an excuse if things don’t change.

During periods of deep despair, my senses are strengthened, my awareness is heightened, and my hope is spirited. But now, I am in limbo instead of in a good or bad place. I am closer to becoming a bourgeois denizen of society, yet I don’t feel ready to accept settling on mediocrity as a solution. I don’t know if I am ready to ignore some of my perceptions and step into the real world while fooling myself with the predominant notions of prosperity and success. The basic tenets, beliefs, and norms the common person accepts are hard for me to justify quite yet. Throughout this entire process, I have had the idea in my head that this reality is underwhelming. I can’t help but believe there is more to people, to life, to the universe, than this. No matter how many existential books I read or philosophical ideas I contemplate, I still feel like there is a definite point to this thing I find myself in.

Suspended in the air around us like a faint ocean mist are hope, love, courage, goodness, faith, dreams, wisdom, and progress. No one is immune from the occasional extraordinary encounter with these superhuman aspects of humanity. Life isn’t always fooling oneself – it does have moments that make the daily grind well worth it. I sometimes think, if I already know how the road ends, why would I want to take the same path as everyone else? The key for me is to understand that I must follow the same road map as every other person in the history of the world. With this in mind, there are endless combinations of side streets I can take. There are many people in this world who have taken / are taking creative routes and turns. I might be a unique individual, but the problems I am facing are not that unusual. I need to finally map this thing out. There is no reason to be underwhelmed with so many positive directions to choose from and so many astounding moments to stumble upon.

Part of me believes it is necessary to have moments of clarity and brilliance in order to triumph over the insipid existence I am destined for. Although these moments are enjoyable and productive, they don’t last because I choose to get hurt shortly thereafter. If only I could see that my life could be filled with more radiance and illumination all the time, while doing something with my actual life instead of just in theory, I would quit the foolishness. I need to embrace the path I am on right now and not presume every single thing is contradictory to what I should be doing. I need to stop trying to feel pain just because it is easy; I have not really put the work in that is required to feel happy. The same old nonsensical routine is wearing off, so I hope to finally move in a different direction. It is compulsory to surround myself with people, activities, and ideas that will lead to personal growth. If only I can focus on the satisfaction that can come from fighting for the good rather than fighting against the bad, and stop assuming the world I will be stepping into is not for me, I will be prepared for the next quarter of my life.


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