There’s a common kind of joke response to the question of “how are you doing?” which is “better than I deserve!” Usually, this is said with a light sort of tone, as if the speaker is bringing the person who they are addressing in on some sort of inside joke. “Better than I deserve!” they say, as if they’ve gotten away with some kind of small, personal heist.
The phrase itself, however, admits some sorts of ambiguity. One might say, for example, whether actually justified or out of jealousy, will say that some person is doing ‘better than they deserve’ to be doing. This is kind of how I feel today. I am doing better than I deserve to be doing, and I feel really strangely weird and terrible. It’s a combination of a whole lot of other feelings I’ve been having, including work paralysis and worry for people around me and CPW stress and so on and so forth, but this feeling seems to pervade my being at the moment. I feel like I have reverted to an older form of me, one that is fake, one that isn’t who I thought I had become, and I’m just sort of scraping by when I could be doing better in some way.
In 592A, about three weeks ago, when I changed the name of this blog, I said the following:
Where’s the boy who in December would’ve dropped everything for a lost friend? Who dropped by rooms and made sure things were okay and gave advice? So much of that feels like it’s gone. Maybe this semester hasn’t overwhelmed me with work, but maybe it’s robbed something else from me.
In retrospect, I think I’ve slowly lost a core ability to emphasize as strongly as I did. I feel incapable of taking care of other people, even though somehow I managed to do it for six weeks last summer. Maybe part of me feels like it’s lost the vibrant humanity that I had at MIT. I really don’t know. I just know that, for the moment, the emotional knot inside of me has kind of finally closed in on itself, and it’s going to be a real slog to get through this week.
Given that I’ve written so much about how bad I feel, it may not surprise you to find out that today was really not great, and I really didn’t get much done today. I got up this morning just in time to make it to Spanish, got through that class, spent some time working on online PE, and then wasted all of the rest of my time from there until my next class—writing a Python script to collect coronavirus data from the New York Times GitHub, attempting to sightread a violin concerto as a violin player and not the piano accompaniment, eating lunch, etc. This doesn’t imply that attending my next class wasn’t also vaguely wasted—I was also exceptionally unfocused during this time, and felt exceptionally broken throughout it all.
Eventually, this class finished, after which I spent some time making some code changes for the CPW Midway website, which I actually quite enjoyed, although the changes I made were marginal. This was probably the highlight of my day, and it lasted probably 30 minutes. Afterwards, I unfocusedly bumbled through some 8.03x material while getting set up on the CPW Discord which quickly took over my life from there.
At five, Concert Choir began its “lecture” for the day, which today was watching 1776. This movie turned out to be much longer than I expected, and I ended up having to eat dinner while Think mentorship was going on, after which I continued to burn more time on the Discord and on not feeling put together. I banged out some notes on the piano, and tried my best to move on, but I just couldn’t. In retrospect, sleep would’ve been a good choice, but I continued to talk to friends, which was probably helpful for my mental state, and listening to music through the CPW Discord playlist bot. *sigh.*
Tomorrow, a day I will survive. I’m not going to think about what it will contain, because I don’t know if I could stomach thinking about it. I will make it through this. That is the promise.