A great hard day

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(Draft from a while ago, lightly edited.)

There were times when I was younger that I used to fantasize about having a friend at all, let alone a boyfriend. And there were times when I thought that if I could just figure out how to make life consistently bearable, I’d really be onto something. So when I say how great my life is, it means that hard lives can get a lot better, not that mine is likely to be consistently more awesome than yours (I hope).


Today was great. I arrived in the world caught in a bundle of sheets with my boyfriend. Half asleep, I decided to wake him up by incrementally escalated cuddling, which I assume is similar in its benefits to those slowly loudening alarms.

At work I came across a thing that was that most unpleasant combination, of implicitly disrespectful and genuine evidence that I might be bad. Which I dealt with largely with calm, curiosity, and good intent. I thought about it and wrote down considerations. Then I asked a couple of other people about that and about another customarily shameful and distressing question, for good measure. I felt something good in my mind growing in strength, and exercising it made other things blossom: what had been an uncomfortable reserve into a fruitful friendliness.

I had gone to bed last night with a headache, and fallen asleep thinking that on the outside view headaches often disappear by sleeping, but that my intuition said that this one would get worse. By the time I finished making lunch today, it was so bad that I quickly degenerated into an unhappy heap. It was that kind of headache where you feel hot and fragile and your neck aches and you wonder if you have meningitis but you don’t have the strength to get into that kind of inquiry. I lay in my reclining chair and thought that it would be wise to take painkillers, but that would involve doing things.

My boyfriend came and looked after me. He put all the things around me - tea and sugar in a bowl and apple sauce and little packets of MeWe peanut butter and painkillers. He got another table for it all, and rubbed my neck, and looked in my eyes, and talked to me about what I care about in the world. I nibbled at the sugar and sipped the tea. I played Sporcle and learned about historic dates and American presidents, and I didn’t feel like I should be doing something else.

I took some xanax, in case my headache was being worsened by my unease about it. I suppose it knocked out my unease at all levels about anything, because after recovering a bit I just kept wanting to work, until I’d been at work for about 10.5 hours, even having missed two hours to wretchedness in the middle of the day.

I felt communality with the people far away reaching out to me across the internet. My room was full of warm lamps and orange wood, with green leaves here and there. My housemates made me meatballs and pasta and my boyfriend brought them to me with butter and parsley and dill. I was comfortable in my fully-reclined chair. I thought about things and made decisions. Someone sent me a book they were writing, and I liked it.

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2 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 5:25 PM
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Saving this for the next "rationalists don't win" argument.

I think this story is common in the rationalist community, going from life is awful to "life is great" certainly counts as win in my book.