Being a P*%@y

Sensitive. Weak-minded. Submissive. Defenseless. Zero pain tolerance. Helpless. Needy. Dependent. I’ve become everything I never wanted to be, which can be summed up in one word: (a) pussy.

Oh, the dreaded pussy. It is the macho man’s worst fear (well, and his sweetest delight, perhaps). It is the one thing in this life which he must never become. Because gosh darn it- if he does, then what will become of that life? Squishiness?

Yeah, it’s bothersome when the daily tasks of the last few years become difficult- even insurmountable. These tasks may include intense exercise- presumably with some lifting of weights-, doing work of some sort that you may or may not value, and suppressing your feelings, because darn, those would get in the way of everything. So we must have none of those.

But that doesn’t really sound so unreasonable. I mean, how would people get anything done if they were overcome by crazy feelings all the time? Being scared doesn’t justify copping out on the day’s [second] workout! And it sure as hell doesn’t pay to talk about feelings even once the daily tasks are said and done. That would be too risky: it might throw off the next day, or even the rest of your monotonous life.

 

Stressed Society of Solitude

It’s easy to feel like the society we live in is a lonely one. I suspect that for many of us it is the norm to not speak too often. When we do, it is in mechanical ways. Talking to that person who or even doing that activity that has long caught your eye might mark a break in your routine- and a massive one, at that. It seems hard not to trend towards solitude- even when it becomes loneliness- because doing otherwise might overthrow the comfy-womfy way you have lived for the whole of this lifetime.

Being in a group is messy, you know. Other people are apt to hold you back- especially if they are pussies. That is the last kind of person you need in your busy, achievement-focused life. People have a way of getting in the way. It seems impossible to act as you want to around them: you have to constantly sweep the minor details of your life under the rug and explain every little goddamn thing and hope that they stay off your back just enough so that you can do what you need to do. That is what living with people in this society is like.

I’m not going to tell you to create your own society or allow everyone in your neighborhood to start raising your children, because I haven’t done either of those things and I don’t know anything about them, except that they happen in some places and in some form.

So aren’t I going to counter the picture I’ve just painted and give you the lighter side- and what hopefully may be some truth- about being a pussy? Sort of. Maybe. I guess we’ll see (!).

Generally, the more you do something, the more you are able to do it. You last longer and go at it stronger. The more weight you lift, the more weight you can lift. Simple.

However, if certain stressors go on long and unchecked by some sort of recovery, those stressors may destroy you-- and do so quickly. Your weight-lifting ability, though you have kept up work on it, may start to give out on you one day-- and not because of age. Maybe you can still lift the same amount of weight, but you don’t improve, and the task feels much harder. You start to tire out much sooner. Then you start to get injured. You continue trying to work at your craft, but you just get more of the same. Lather, rinse, repeat.

After putting yourself through the cycle of minor-with-some-major injuries for a while, something snaps on you (and it’s not a jazz musician). Almost out of nowhere you become very averse to pain. The premise of making any sort of effort is a weight on your chest (quite literally). The sensation of hurt paralyzes you. The dreadful way to describe it: you’re so damn sensitive to any amount of adversity.

Uh-oh… Looks like someone’s turning into a vagina. I sure hope that’s okay to say on the Internet. Boy oh boy.

 

Suffering-- Unnecessarily, Perhaps

There’s a lot that could be going on here. Maybe one muscle got a little torn and that caused another muscle to tear and that caused a bone to break and that caused a ligament to twist into the shape of DNA… Yeah, there very likely is something physiologically wrong. I mean, of course there is. Isn’t that the meaning of feeling like shit?

The solution, then, would seem to be to correct the physiological issue. It might also include going after the mental demons, which constantly tell you to stop. Those lazy bums.

But what if, in some cases, this would mean to further and further entrench yourself into the dirty, hopeless cycle that catapulted you into breakdown in the first place? You know-- the one that likely enforces some form of loneliness and/or anhedonia?

Well, the pussy-paradigm makes the combination of physiological-fix and mentally pushing through your only option. Bailing on something is only acceptable if you are truly physically incapable, such that you can’t go running because your leg is broken (but even that excuse might not get you off the hook, you pussy). This is roughly where the motivation for faking injuries is derived from: injury is the only good reason not to play today.

I don’t totally disagree with that way of thinking. Sometimes when you’re tired or scared or you don’t want to work, you just have to get started knowing that you’ll probably be fine, and may even enjoy it after a few minutes. The steeplechasing-ultramarathoner isn’t going to condone sitting on your ass, because I don’t enjoy that even when I’m scared to take my butt out of a chair.

But somehow, at various points in the last year and half- the last month in particular- I’ve just let myself give into the fear. I walk away from the fieldhouse or the gym or the woods with the knowledge that, today, I am weak-minded. I am in pain and I have insufficient tolerance to work through this pain. Today, I am just too damn sensitive.

This has coincided with quite a bit of sadness for me. But at the same time, I have this roughly-nonrational trust that I am somehow being led in the right direction. Maybe this explosion of sensitivity and loneliness has come from unnecessarily pushing the emotional-and-social-suppression bullet for so long.

Note that “unnecessarily” is the key word there. It’s one thing, for instance, to desensitize yourself to your own suffering when you’re Victor Frankl trying to survive a Nazi death camp during the Holocaust. But when you’re a well-off, basically-safe person in a friendly-enough society, would it really kill you to go tell Susie (who’s named that anyway?) that you like her, or to go try out that one crazy thing you’ve always wanted to do? It’s doubtful. In fact, it might kill you not to do these things.

Don’t take this as a pass to get too comfy and peaceful, however. Your desires beyond the mundane (e.g. eat, sleep, be slept with) are apt to lead you to a wild rollercoaster if you give them a chance. If you want straight-up easy, then existential angst and dullness are bound to come with it. If you want excitement, then do what you feel inclined to do. And if you want unnecessary hardship, continue doing what you have been.

 

Searching for Solutions

So what is a pussy, then? Is it someone who is beaten into the ground by life, and is now without the strength to resist? Is it someone who is merely weak-willed? Is it someone who has, for too long, hid from their emotions and desires?

And isn’t hiding sort of a pussy thing to do? What-- don’t tell me you can’t even face yourself, man. Maybe going out there and working your hardest every day shows that you can fight the demons. But might it not take more courage- and perhaps yield better results- to listen to them, and try to understand what they’re really telling you? Or even to refuse to fight them at all?

When it comes to emotions, the manly way out hardly seems to be the most effective. Maybe you can puff your chest out at anxiety attacks for a little while and force yourself to stop thinking “bad” thoughts, but does this do anything to really resolve the anxiety? How about taking an even more mechanical solution, such as popping a pill?

Rarely do feelings materialize out of thin air. It seems people like to imagine that their feelings are separate forces from themselves. We say, “I’ve been battling depression for the last two years,” and, “He was overcome by violent impulses.” What, do you think Satan’s henchmen have clawed their way up from the fiery pit of Hell to plant themselves in your soul and make you feel like a freak? Is that where negative emotions come from?

I suppose that’s not a totally inaccurate way to put it-- especially if you’re Emily Rose. But if you look a ways through your so-called negative feelings, might you find something that we call “good” underneath? What if under your depression you find loneliness, and under your loneliness you find a desire to touch the hand of another human being and love her? Would you consider that “bad”?

Before I go on, I don’t want any misconceptions here. I am not at all suggesting that love is a cause of pain, because honestly, that’s bullshit. It is only the fear of love that creates pain. Where there is pure love, there is no room for pain.

When you hop into a float tank, for example, not even 1000 pounds of salt stinging your dry and cut-up skin can cause you to feel pain. In there, pain is just a sensation. It isn’t associated with fear-- at least, not for long. In the tank, there is no fear. There are thoughts, there are memories, and there are sensations, but they are little more than that. There is nothing to be afraid of. There is no need for suffering.

Still, the condition of a pussy is tough to size up. Perhaps he has too disgustingly indulged himself, and has put himself up to too little challenge. He has become "soft." Or maybe he has become an automaton, programmed by the powers at be to live in thoughtless fear.

Perhaps the pussy is necessary to society, as a means of counterbalancing the empathy-absent psychopaths and cold-hearted crooks of our world. If we are to have the latter- and they will likely remain among us for some time to come- then I see no reason to oppose the former. Pussy it up, my friends.

The macho man is relatively insensitive to circumstance, whereas the pussy is excessively so.  This is where the blind persistence that we sometimes call “toughness” can take us over. Approaching life with brute force (i.e. massive, relentless action) can be effective depending on what the action is, relative to the circumstances in which it takes place. By that same rule, brute force can be hilariously useless or even detrimental as well.

Action of some sort typically is more favorably perceived than no action. But, to be more than marginally effective, action must be at least semi-intelligent. Intelligent action is- as neither the pussy nor the Man of Men have it accurately- attuned to present circumstance.

Just as with emotions, do not think that “circumstance” and “environment” lie outside of yourself. Your body, mind, and emotions pose their own set of circumstances: they make up the environment that is you. Few circumstances are static across time, and the environment of You is no exception.

The conditions within your body must oscillate so as to retain an overall balance. Your thoughts are likewise not all the same from day to day, though many of them are. The way you perceive the world (i.e. your general understanding of things) changes-- even, at times, undeliberately. That means you are unlikely to act the same as you would have years and perhaps even months ago.

Your desires and emotional needs change over time as well. Surely you do not want all the flashy, noisy toys you wanted as a child, although you probably still want a monster truck to run over other, punier cars (particularly when traffic is slow).

I know, these may sound like obvious things I am saying. But the environment that is the person- even if not too different from the environment surrounding that person- seems to get ignored at times, particularly in the emotional realm. It logically does not make sense that you could perform well for years with an amassing pile of skeletons looming over you. Those things get heavy, you know.

This may work for a while, but with time the circumstances will have changed so much (as marked by the increased number of bones) that this strategy (fighting off and/or ignoring the bones) does not work any longer. You have become stuck in a world that you have refused to see. You have shunned the present so many times that you are now haunted by a broken past.

 

A Possible Perspective

Of course, you aren’t stuck like this, and you don’t have to see a psychoanalyst to start the past-reflection from day 1 (or even day -270, for uber-introspectives). Probably the most important thing you can do is to start making yourself more aware and understanding of present circumstances.

“Aware” means that you are actually paying attention, rather than dozing off into 65 million years ago for the 12th time this afternoon. I know this isn’t always easy to do: establishing some incentive for doing so, such as a deadline or a bet (or being in a life-or-death situation) may help.

“Understanding” means that the circumstances, as you see them, bear some fairly-accurate meaning to you. “Accurate” is a difficult term to use due to the subjective nature of reality. It may do, then, to make a habit of considering various interpretations of the situation. You probably don’t need to squirrel yourself into piecing together a concise explanation for all the events of your life. However, it would help to have a deeper grasp on what is happening.

“Aware” means you recognize that your leg hurts. “Understanding” means you have considered possible reasons for this occurrence. Strenuous physical activity (e.g. massive squats), incorrect technique during physical activity (e.g. running like an elephant), and a sudden accident (falling) are fairly obvious, mechanical explanations.

At a somewhat more abstract level, it’s possible that your leg hurts because you’re raging mad and that makes you susceptible to injury, or even because you’re scared of hurting the leg. Maybe your body hurts when you allow the thought-mill to process sheer uselessness (that is, you think silly, useless thoughts- likely irrelevant to the present). Maybe you have TMS.

And, perhaps most abstract of all, your leg may hurt because you’re holding in the pain of the memory of yelling at your mom when you were 6 for buying a bag of M&M’s that had too many brown pieces of candy in it, and you have to apologize to her so that your body may heal. That, or maybe God just hates ya. Through this process remember that the world is not rational, and you may find no sole and clear-cut reason for anything.

The way I like to view emotional and “spiritual” (purpose/goal-related) needs is that they are guided, to an extent, by life. Life will not let you go off in the wrong direction for long without sanctions. If you choose to be complacent and ignore your desires and internal cues, you choose to be degraded.

There is no free lunch on this planet: you either stand up to the challenges that contain your desires, or you face torture. Life may not tell you what to do verbatim, but it will beat you into the ground until you understand what it wants of you; and, for all we know, that understanding may be impossible to come by.

It’s tough to talk about Life in this way without implying that Karma and/or a deity (God) are pulling the strings. I don’t subscribe to either of those perspectives per se but there is likely some morsel of truth in them, no matter how small. They are thus impossible to avoid. I don’t think Life wants me looking at it through one perspective anyway, because that would not be life: it would be to merely subscribe to one mode of physical existence, and there is no guarantee that that is truly a life.

 

Ending: Embrace the Puss?

The main message of this article: When things get rough and stay rough for a while, it’s possible that it’s due to a shortcoming or weakness of yours. However, it may also indicate that you need to start doing things differently. This premise may scare you- especially if it entails trusting your own snap-judgments and feelings more often- but going the way of the unknown may pan out better than digging a deeper hole of daily sameness. Though some of your desires may seem scary, they might just lead you to what you wanted to become in the first place: stronger and more versatile.

I won’t encourage you here to try and fix other pussies, though if that is your job it may help, I suspect, to speak their language (emotions) some of the time but enforce your rough-n’-tough paradigm for the majority of it. It’s not cool to shove your beliefs down other people’s throats, but taking them into the world of how you see things- or at least, how you want them to see things- can do wonders. Focus on giving them the experience of your worldview, rather than intellectual information about it alone. No theory is heavier than experience (well, except maybe in physics).

As for taking care of yourself, remember that it may not be your aversion to pain in itself that makes you a pussy, but rather your aversion to Truth. Just get nice and cozy and honest with yourself. Maybe allow yourself a minute or two of “What do I really think and want right now?” Your initial answer may be cheesy fries, though if you hang around a little longer you’ll probably (if you really are a sufferin’ pussycat) find someone else lurking beneath the surface as well.

There’s a decent chance that the true truth will not make you feel snuggly warm at first, but surely it will serve you in time. Perhaps it is biased of me as a human being to assume that truth generally serves a person’s ultimate self-interest, but I have yet to see this defied outright.

Of course, it can be difficult to determine what comprises “ultimate” self-interest. That you may have to determine for yourself (as you must do with all things).

I perceive my “highest” self-interest to be what will, in the end, allow me to learn, enjoy life, and help others to enjoy life the most. However, because of the subjectivity and time-sensitivity of this definition, what I perceive to serve my ultimate self-interest is a judgment largely based on faith (but aren’t all judgments?) “Time-sensitivity” means that ultimate self-interest becomes clearer as Life unfolds. Still, I’m not sure that it would be just or accurate to apply the learn-and-enjoy definition to everyone (perhaps in subjective reality it might be? Almost?).

Whatever the case, I can tell you one thing: unless you truly are a Starvin’ Marvin’, cheesy fries are just about never in your ultimate self-interest.  So man up and stop eating junk, you pussy! :)

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