This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads (Live from Stop Making Sense)
Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
Wow. That was a lot. That was… a lot. I finally taped out my big design at work. This goddamn SDR has been a long time coming, but now it’s finally out of our hands. We’ll see what happens in a few weeks, but that’s a problem for then. For now, it’s all about celebration1. This thing has utterly eaten me alive. Its dropped me at the bottom of a massive hole and told me to find my own way out. Every time I thought I had a steady footing, it would just give out and I could feel myself going back down. It happened so often that my brain was used to living in panic mode.
I’ve said it a million and ten times, but I’ll say it again and again. Sorry to all the friends I’ve abandoned in this time. Every time someone would reach out to me, it felt like this insane conundrum. Do I be honest and tell them “no, sorry, I am willingly choosing to break my mind, body, and spirit instead of hanging out with you”? Do I lie about it, respond late, maybe say I had other plans? Do I give someone a hint of the truth with faint whispers of when it’ll actually be over? It varied and it doesn’t matter, it’s all in the past. Even though it felt like I just continued to dig my hole deeper, every one of these messages was like a small ray of light reminding me that people still not just existed, but cared.
I dropped everything for this. My gym log last entry was March 24. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I cooked food in my apartment. I stopped shaving and grew a beard2. I skipped concerts and stopped playing music. I spent all my days pissed off and tired, or maybe tired and pissed off. It hurts reading my recent posts and seeing how I thought. Deep down, despite all my claims of blunt honesty on this corner of the Internet, I didn’t even feel comfortable talking about how bad it really was. I was waking up punching at my bed and passing out with dreams of another life in my head. I seriously thought about calling it quits. New job? New city? Anywhere but here and now.
Why? whywhywhywhywhy? Why oh why oh why and why again?
Because emotions are differential signals, where the highest highs are impossible without the lowest lows. When your CEO shows up with a six pack at 1PM saying it is, at long last, finally over.
You have this planned moment in your head: cartwheels, high five lines, hugging and screaming and celebration. Except when it finally happens, you can really only give half-hearted yell before it collapses in your throat. Look around and see all the happy faces and try not to cry. Falling again, but upwards this time. The past was full of long hard months, months where simply standing upright required Herculean amounts of exertion. But now? Now, with those weights crumbling to dust, it feels like I’m falling again. Except this time, it’s upwards, and we’re finally flying high.
I can’t tell you I won’t do this again. No one wants to remember the pain, and the rewards are intoxicating. I have been doing this high school and honestly, if I stopped doing this, I probably wouldn’t be me. Most of the people reading this weren’t here last time, but I hope you’ll stick around to next time.
Celebrations should be joyous, but joy doesn’t require celebration. Sometimes it’s just having a few drinks, hugging your friends, and falling asleep. Not passing out, but falling asleep for the first time this year. Waking up the next day and going to the gym. Getting on a super crowded bus, because you’re going to work at the regular rush hour. Realizing that, as you begin to pull yourself back together, you get to exist as part of the world, not just alongside it.