wow, everything fucking hurts!
i've been away for a couple months and broke my once-a-month ideal for blog posts. the past few months have been simultaniously rather boring and very stressful. here's the TL;DR:
- i crashed and burned on trying to follow cal newport's digital minimalism challenge after a little over a month, though it was nice while it lasted
- work was fine until it wasn't and we ended up going on strike because my employer straight-up did not want to bargain with my union and i am full of piss and vinegar about it
- i sweet bro and hella jeff'd down a flight of stairs and fucked up my SI joint - again!
digital minimalism dropout
ok, maybe "dropout" is a strong word since i do intend to return to it again at some point, probably after i review newport's book again. i kept a physical journal concurrent with my attempts to stop scrolling (which i named "anti-scrolling aktion") and the regular entries stopped around october 24th, and became more like weekly entries up until november 26th, the entry of which begins "what even is the point anymore?" and truly, i have a hard time convicing myself of the point.
i'm back to around my pre-newport days of scrolling, but the pressure is mostly off since i'm done 99% of my schoolwork for the semester and i don't have any work resposnsibilities right now because of the strike, which i'm not scabbing in per-se but i did stop going to picket lines, at first because being in pain after them every single day made me want to die and then because i injured myself. which is to say, the immediate need to Get Offline so i can Finish A Pressing Task is not really there anymore and the scrolling isn't as acutely anxiety-inducing as it is more a leech-like time-waster.
so, why did i drop out of newport's program? well, he wasn't kidding when he said you need to fill that "new" time with something else. i did have other things to do for a while, namely schoolwork and work-work, but it looks like at some point it became too much, because i didn't have anything to decompress with that felt good. looking at my journal, which is the main non-internet source of my thought processes at the time, my entries from about mid-october to early november are characterized by an overlying mood of agitation, paranoia, and anxiety, and the few entries following that by depression, hopelessness, and despair. the "declutter" at that point couldn't hold its own weight anymore; i had removed important structural beams from my brain-building and assumed it would hold up just fine without replacing them.
i had tried a little bit - mostly with books. i picked up and read a copy of jenny odell's how to do nothing since i had cited part of it in my thesis, but to be honest reading it just made me feel worse. don't get me wrong, it's a good book, but the mindset i read it in, everything in it felt profoundly disappointing and clearly highlighted how i felt more miserable, not less, trying to disconnect from the internet and reconnect with people irl. i wrote the following in my journal when trying to wrap my head around why odell conflated retreating into communes or the mountains with suicide when talking about diogenes on page 68:
"the issue isn't not wanting to interface w/ society, it is that being alive in any capacity ties you to society, whether its thru your consumption (food, new coats, syrup farming) or mindset (grindset, lack of structure, etc.) You don't have any ties to anything as a dead ordinary person."
then i recreated these two panels from page 101 of drop-out underneath.
perhaps, dear reader, this is the point where you might be yelling at me that i might, just maybe, have a seasonally-affected mental illness that could possibly be alleviated somewhat with prescription medication and/or a licensed psychotherapist. to which i say: maybe, but does that make me wrong? i think something that bothered me about both newport and odell's books is that while they both stress the importance of reconnecting with the people around you, i just did not feel fulfilled by talking to people and doing things in my community like they anticipated their readers would. it wasn't regenerating, it was annoying and tiring and i spent a lot of time just wanting to be left alone to do my own thing, even if it was (usually) through no fault of the people i was talking to. it's like those weird freaks who think that "feeling the burn" of working out is a good thing that means it's working - most human beings don't like being in pain or not having any energy to do the things they want to do. embracing the misery of interacting with people is a coping mechanism that i don't feel like partaking in.
going on strike
in previous blog posts, i'd mentioned that i was hired as a teacher's assistant at my university at my first unionized job. my union had been trying to get my employer to the bargaining table since the summer, since our collective agreement had expired and needed to be re-negotiated. my employer, because they are stupid fucking idiots who love to huff farts, decided to stonewall the union and throw them fractions of what they had been asking for, merely offering grad students an extra $40'000 in funding - to share between ALL the grad students. so, my union called a strike vote, where 90% of the people who voted, voted "yes". i've been on strike since november 21st, and for all of my labour studying, i have mixed feelings about it - mostly in terms of "it doesn't go far enough".
to be clear, i am in no way siding with my employer here; they are dirty little scumbags with an unearned air of self-importance who are clearly trying to drag this out as long as possible and stir up as much anti-union sentiment in the student base as they can while doing everything in their power to indimidate faculty members who stand in solidarity and convince people to scab. meanwhile, their lawyer doesn't even have https on his website likes some kind of loser and i would bet that he is possibly trying to make sure this gets dragged out longer so he gets paid more. it is because of all this, however, that i feel a little underwhelmed by the strike action itself. or maybe that's me picking up on my employer's dirty little tricks working on more individualistic coworkers and students?
regardless, it's my personal opinion that more could be done by the union to send a message. we're currently blocking three out of the four main entrances to campus, but only for a few minutes at a time. the tricky part of this strike is that we have already-overburdened medical facilities on campus, so we're legally not supposed to do a full shutdown of the campus and need to leave at least one entrance open for emergency vehicles to get through. we've gotten numerous aggressive drivers trying to push through line or hopping curbs to drive past people, many more angry students claiming the union is "punishing" them for what admin is doing, and a premier who, like, just fucking HATES my parent union so much he introduced legislation that went againt canada's human rights code just to shut down a potential strike. actually, he's been trying to make a lot of people hate my union, and in some respects i have seen an uptick in anti-union sentiment, which doesn't bode well.
that being said, workers' movements are often disliked because they force people to face contradictions in their own lives and beliefs. do you know how many people have told me "well i don't like it, but workers should just accept that they'll be underpaid and have to work multiple jobs and have shitty working conditions because that's a fact of life", incapable of comprehending the fact that, hey, we're trying to make it so people don't have to do that? maybe i'm just an out-of-touch academic but it's been frustrating trying to talk to people and get them to, i dunno, care about other people. i can understand their frustration after having to sit in traffic for an hour or run late for class, and i don't want to dismiss them out of hand, but all i want to do is sit them down and say "hey, we as the union aren't allowed on campus per our previous collective agreement's stipulations on how we're allowed to strike, but here's the directions to the offices of people in admin responsible for this mess, go do what we're legally not allowed to and take out all of your well-earned anger on them".
probably the funniest thing to come out of this strike is that, since i'm a labour studies minor, my parents keep joking that i'm getting job experience with this strike (which is where the title of this post comes from)
and to the security people at my university reading this, because i know you're reading this because i jokingly said i was going to bite the ankles of scabs like a dog, neither that tweet or anything in this blog post is a call to actual violence - just because you people are violent doesn't mean i am. :)
ass hurt again
i might be overstating my involvement in the strike currently; i haven't actually physically been on the picket line since last monday. i was supposed to be there wednesday and friday, but wednesday morning i committed the grave sin of attempting to walk down my stairs while wearing socks, so the universe decided to make me pay for it by making me slip, grab the railing, accidentally tear it out of the wall because it wasn't properly installed, fall directly on my ass, and slide down the whole flight of stairs. on top of that injuring me in the way you'd expect, it's also fucked up my SI joint again and caused me to be unable to walk around for long stretches of time or bend over forwards.
not much else to report on that front except it hurts and i'm sad i can't picket for the forseeable future.
that's it i guess??
i can't guarantee the next blog post will be particularly interesting or not-depressing, since as of next week i'll officially be done all the classes i need to do for my bachelors of fine arts and i don't intend to take any winter semester classes before i graduate in the spring. i don't have any career plans, or really any plans at all - to be frank, like most depressed queer people i know, i sort of expected to not be alive at this point so i didn't plan this far ahead. i'm not gonna count my chickens before they hatch, though!
once i can get a credit card of my own (and therefore a way to earn and spend money online without having to go through my parents) i might try and actually do patreon for real? like, i might try and do art for money? which sounds wild to me but is literally what i did my entire education for so who knows why that's surprising to me. in case that actually ends up happening here's a preemptive link to my patreon, which has nothing on it and only exists so i am grandfathered into the old fees.
oh, one last thing, in the next few months i'm likely going to restructure my website's backend so it's a little more intuitive for me to work on and has more subdirectories. because neocities does not allow you to move folders/files once they're uploaded, or upload whole folders at once, this will likely be an undertaking that takes a whole day or more, and my site will be very broken or completely down in the meantime. i'll make a post on social media/my neocities account page when this happens, and will let you know when it's back up.