take a shower
taking a shower is many things. it is, first and foremost, a way to get yourself clean. there are a bunch of scientific reasons as to why being clean is good for you probably, but at least for me it's more about making myself feel less uncomfortable. i smell bad when i don't shower, and i don't like to smell bad smells. i also start to get greasy and sticky, which , when combined with the bad smells that renew themselves every time i move a body part for the first time in 2 hours, makes any sort of motion an unpleasurable experience, to say the least.
i'm a sweaty sleeper, so it's best for me and everyone who has to be around me that i shower in the mornings. the only exception to this is when i don't have time to shower after i wake up, in which case i tell myself i'll do it later, but usually by the time i remember or get a chance to its already starting to reach evening time and then i have to consider whether it's worth it to shower before bed when i know i'm going to be gross in the morning either way and it's a whole thing. so to avoid that extremely complicated situation, i do my best to shower in the morning.
actually it'd probably be more accurate to say that i do my best to live my life in a way that makes sure i have enough time to shower in the morning. unfortunately this is a lot harder than it sounds. today, for example, i took a shower around 6pm.
why did i take a shower at 6pm? there are multiple possible answers.
i was sad and didn't feel like i deserved the luxury of a shower, which would make me feel better. imo this is just a very gross form of self-harm. one thing issues like depression and anxiety are good at doing is convincing you to avoid doing anything that would alleviate their symptoms. they're kind of like a virus in that way. i know this and yet in the moment it's usually very convincing. yes this is almost definitely one of my mental illnesses convincing me to do something self-destructive, i think, but it's not like doing anything would actually fix the problem at this point. i almost always realize in hindisght that this was wrong, and i definitely could have fixed the problem, but a lot of the time i'm upset i even got myself into the problem in the first place. it's hard to tell myself "you can do it!" when the reason im in current situation is because i literally wasn't able to do it
time blindness. this is the official name of what i usually describe as not having any sense of internal time. essentially, i can't tell when i've been spending 20 minutes doing something or 8 hours. it literally feels the exact same to me. that's why i need constant reminders for things, or i start to lose the plot. earlier this semester i dumped my bullet journal that i was using to keep track of things like that because it "wasn't working" (mostly due to anxiety, but a lack of amphetamines may have also played a part - more on that later), and before that my old phone broke so i had to set up a whole new calendar system, and combined with the stress from last semester carrying over to this semester it just made me stop. i tried downloading a thing specifically for homework, but turns out it's hard to know when to do work when you don't know what time you should do it at!
anxiety. this is the one i mentioned in step 1. i have a lot of anxiety around people seeing me shower at an innappropriate time. i feel like they'll judge me for clearly not having my life together enough to shower when i was supposed to. this totally bizarre neurosis was instilled by mother, who took showering twice a day extremely seriously. not taking a shower at night was a dark scar on our family name. even thinking of not taking a shower before leaving the house was utterly forbidden. people who did otherwise were to be whispered about dissapprovingly, and used as cautionary tales about how dirty one's underwear could get. in my mind, how much you showered was as much of a status symbol as owning a lamborghini. actually it was probably even more, because fuck cars.
funny thing is, my mom doesn't give a shit about showering unless she's going somewhere, and even then she'll only do it if she thinks (emphasis on thinks) she has time or if she needs to look nice. she never did. my best guess is that she saw how dirty some kids could get and she wanted to make sure i never, ever turned out that way. unfortunately for her she did too good of a job and i now regularly tut-tut at her when i find out it's 5pm on a saturday and she still hasn't showered.
and each have their own solutions.
stop putting things off. this is the simplest answer, but as my second-nicest therapist once said, "simple isn't easy." and you know she knew what she was talking about because she regularly fucked up our two-weeks-in-advance appointment times. this advice doesn't vibe well with me personally because there's a reason i'm putting things off, you know? just saying "im gonna stop putting things off now" doesn't do anything to address the actual issues i'm dealing with, which means it never works. just because it doesn't work as an action doesn't mean it doesn't work as a goal, though. pretty much everything i do is done to achieve this gold medal, this hallmark of a fully-functioning human being. unfortunately literally nothing has worked yet.
think of future you. when i was in middle school, i came up with this great way to motivate myself to doing things i didn't want to do: i started thinking of future me as a different person. this was around the same time i suddenly became obsessed with the concept of consciousness "dying" while the body remains. it was part of a larger question i had about what makes you you, so a lot of my focus was on teleportation being murder (if its the type that involves deconstruction of an object at the atomic level, it is) or being killed/kidnapped and replaced by a clone (who may or may not know they're a clone!), but by far my biggest interest was the possibility that "you" could die in your sleep every night and a new consciousness with all your memories takes your place, with no one ever knowing. i didn't think Future Me was actually a different person (i eventually came to the conclusion that while i can't prove i'm the same entity who was inhabiting this body yesterday i also cant prove i'm not, and i couldn't what purpose it would have anyways. in this one case i was willing to accept the "you're basically the same person so it doesn't matter" argument), but the idea was definitely inspired by my concern that they could be.
the concept was as simple as it sounds. if i didn't want to do schoolwork, i'd convince myself to do it anyways because future me will have less work to do. when i became future me, i'd thank my past self and make sure to return the favor by doing my best to make future me's life as easy as possible. it was pretty ingenious. i'm very much a people-pleaser to my own detriment, so thinking of future me as a separate person i don't want to dislike me or be upset with me gave me the motivation i otheriwse had a hard time finding. and it worked - i honestly admire myself during that period more than any other part of my life.
i don't remember why it fell off, but since then i've never been able to do it again. nowadays whenever i think of the future i just go into total despair. it always seems like i'm on the precipice of losing the few things that keep me from sleeping literally 24/7 (right now it's more like 15/7). unless i think about a year ahead or something, but that just feels like accepting the next year of my life is going to be shit. to some extent it's just depression/anxiety talking, but i really have fucked up my life in a lot of ways, so it's hard to gauge how "real" my perception is.
reminders, reminders, reminders. this is the one that's been the most succesful long-term. i'm at my best when i have a complex web of notes, alarms, journals, and calendars to act as a back-up brain. unfortunately i still procrastinate, and having to see the effects of my failure(s) often stops me from looking at or updating the information. i considered not putting things i know could build up, but a.) those are the things i need to write down the most and b.) it felt like letting my procrastination win. so in this case i think my best option is to just change my way of thinking. stop seeing a migration in my bullet journal or an overdue task on my habit tracker(s) as proof i'm failing at my mission and start seeing it as an opportunity to learn from my experience and improve - what did i do wrong that day? what can i do tomorrow, or next week, or next month, to make sure i don't do it again? and no, "Promise You'll Do It Even Harder" isn't an answer anymore. it's not a question of desire. i don't know what it's a question of, but it's not that. i want things so much all of the time.
do you. no one gives a shit if you haven't showered, bro. yeah people are judgemental and bitchy but no one's out here inspecting other people's shit that closely. it's why fake it till you mke it is even a thing. unless something brings attention to them people generally won't pick up on any of your small errors, and even if they do they won't really give a shit enough to remember it that much. you know what people do notice? when u stink.
but like, fuck, even if they did notice, are you really going to let some acquaintance's opinions fuck up your whole day like that? they certainly aren't giving your presence in their life that same amount of weight. at worst you're passing gossip between their friends - is it really worth it to orient your entire life around avoiding that? no. you're missing out on awesome, amazing experiences, for the sake of maintaining the good opinion of someone you don't really care about. worse, you're unsure of yourself. which makes you stick out even more. you look uncomfortable or like you hate people or just weird because you're not doing what come natural to you because you're worried it'll make you look uncomfortable or like you hate people or just weird. and it might! but at least the discomfort will be genuine, the hate genuine, the weirdness genuine. and genuine feeling is the only way to really connect with people.
just be you, man.
so how's this gonna go? i like the idea of updating these sections every once in a while. not in a way that overwrites it until it's "perfect", but making new additions to the guide where i basically tackle the same topic again. i can edit the original or rewrite it entirely depending on how i feel about it. and obviously the old one will still be available. if i'm going to make a website called how to be a human being i damn well better show the process that goes into it. plus there's enough guides on how to function written by the functioning already. trial and error, now that's what we need.
so yeah, an update every 2 months sounds good to me. excited to see where this goes! (i added the exclamation point after much deliberation, because i wanted to show i'm ecited because that's genuinely how i feel :) emotional vulnerability, already getting started)