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Not every urge to create is a good one

The three kinds of creative impulse I know

The first is the one where you feel like you should be making something, and are bummed that you’ve done nothing with it – with your time, your effort, your knowledge that there is something creative in you. You’re mostly feeling shame at not having made anything, and your main motivation in forcing yourself to make something, anything is just to finally quiet that voice of shame.

You might be feeling this a lot in self-isolation.

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I Made an App to Stop My Compulsive Spending

(With the Power of Feelings)

This year, I pledged to make some dang apps again, but unlike the apps that I did for my startup years ago, these would be things made in no one’s interest but my own. I wanted to know: could technology, deliberately made and applied, allow me to connect with some important part of myself?

This post is the first in a series. Eventually, you can read about the other apps here.

I have a problem with spending. Like most things in my life, it fluctuates wildly as a counterforce to give me emotional stability. Money can do many things: chiefly, it can add novelty and surprise and promise and hope. It promises transformation with no other effort required than the spending of it.

The problem comes when I fail to actually hear what I need, or actively crush and abandon those feelings, and then use money to make up the difference. What hope can you have for feeling whole and happy if you live in constant denial of your needs, always trying harder and with higher stakes to make up for not having listened to yourself in the first place? We’ll get to why I do that in another post, maybe, but it should suffice to say: there are a lot of reasons why it’s hard for me to hear myself.

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Healing is about releasing

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The bloody shins are worth it! Finally, after 2 years of lifting (and a year or so of recovery), I pulled off a bodyweight snatch. Tried 190 and fell on my butt real good. Next time!

A post shared by Andrew Konoff (@konoff) on

I do olympic lifting as my main sport. And even before rupturing my achilles tendon (in a fateful night of rec league soccer), I was stuck. I couldn’t seem to make any progress and lift anything more than what I’d done many months before.

I was very stuck, it turns out. Stuck in my approach and method, stuck with advice from coaches I didn’t really click with, and stuck in a depression that was itself all about stickiness.

Two years later, in a new city that I loved, in a home I cared for, in a gym I liked – I’ve started making personal records again. First, a 105kg clean. Then a bodyweight snatch. Then a 97kg jerk.

The last one – the 97kg jerk – was only a little more than what I could do two years earlier. But it made plain what’d been different for me.

I was trying way too hard. I was using muscles to protect some part of me that had been hurt. And those same muscles did so much work that helped me, but prevented me from moving past the same weight. At a certain point, their activation worked against me, and prevented my progress.

Every day, if you confront the things you can’t do, you have two options: to notice what in you is trying harder than ever to do what you increasingly know it can’t, and to let go of it; or to keep letting it try, and watch what you want elude you.

You Should Go to Therapy

Maybe I’m your friend, and I sent you this link. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t know me at all. Whoever you are, you should probably go to therapy.

Let’s say you are my friend. We were probably having a conversation in which it sounded like you were stuck on the exact same thing you’d been stuck on three times before. Was it that a person you’re dating just happens to bring out in you the exact same pattern of behaviour you find to be really troubling, and you’re just unsure of why you can’t leave the relationship?

Probably.

Again, I’m not sure who you are. But let’s imagine that yes, you’ve got some understanding that you’re doing something you feel helpless to stop. You might describe it as being stuck, or afflicted by weakness of the will, or who knows.

The answer to your dilemma is simple, but also really hard and weird. Here it is:

Go to therapy.

It’s that easy!

But it’s not easy to find a therapist that fits with you, nor to carve out the money to afford it. It’s not easy. But it’s the only thing that could help you break your impasse and understand why you’re stuck.

It’s not easy to go to a therapist, discover that it’s not a fit, and then go find another and start over again. But that’s what you’ve gotta do, because you keep demonstrating you’re not making progress on your own. The roots of your issue remain stuck deeply in the ground, and so you feel stuck, still.

It’s not easy to discover that CBT does nothing for you, and that the alternative that does seem to kinda work takes years. But that’s how it goes. Psychodynamic therapy and analysis works, if it works for you.

It’s also not easy to show up and make progress, when therapists don’t tell you to do much, and when it’s so fun to just get caught up in all your oldest, baddest patterns and dwell on the most superficial results of that work. But therapy’s the only place where you stand a chance at taking responsibility for your actions, your behaviour, your patterns, your life.

I don’t know why. But it’s how it is.

Thank you for reading this. I will never bring this up again to you. It’s on you to do something with it. It always has been.

Cybertruck to the Future

Courtesy of an internet friend, who made this with another friend while bored at work. You may need to click on this link and view it in Youtube if it doesn’t play.

Did you know those things are shipping sometime this year? Did you know I have been very tempted to pay the small deposit, hoping that I would somehow come into an outrageous amount of money that would allow me to justify buying one of these bad boys? I would love nothing more.

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