Oct. 14th, 2015

serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

Addiction
Have you ever been addicted to anything? If so, what was it? If that addiction was a negative addiction for you, how did you break it (or how are you working on doing so)?


I don't know that I've ever truly been addicted to anything. I joke that I get a little obsessed with things sometimes, and that may be true in the short term, but there's never really been anything that I was unable to stop myself from consuming.

Except maybe reading. Now I come to think of it, that may be the only thing I could ever say that I have continued, even when it would have a negative impact. I will read to the detriment of all else. I will happily consume and voraciously text in a way that I would find unhealthy if I did it with anything else. I will find justifications/reasons/excuses to sit and read even when I really should be doing something else.

I would regularly miss meals at lunchtime when I was younger, because I didn't notice the time or my hunger in my fascination for a good book.

The night before I left for university, when I should have been completing my packing, I stayed up till 4am reading.

I read every day, including standing in front of the mirror with an ebook whilst brushing my teeth. I read whilst travelling, whilst walking, whilst eating, whilst making tea. I read when I should be sleeping.

I would stay up reading till 6am at least once a week, dragging myself into school the next morning just on the fragments of my determination. I would spend all my mental efforts to avoid falling asleep in class that afternoon (hence why I remember none of my French classes).

Who am I kidding, I've not improved in my sleep discipline. I will still occasionally (erm, often) stay up until 6am, 7am, or even later in order to finish a book. I recently stayed awake reading for 36 hours straight because I wanted to finish a book.

If addiction is "is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences" (thank you Wikipedia!) then I guess this would fit. If I calculate the amount of sleep I've lost over the years, and the things I could have been doing instead of reading, the number of nights out meeting potentially interesting people I bailed on because I was head down in an enthralling book (and not always for the betterment of my mind, either! I do love a good piece of sci-fi or fantasy fiction.) I'm aware that I could probably have made a bit better use of the time.

But for all that, I don't regret any of it. Me without a book is...inconceivable. It is such an intrinsic part of my psyche that I wouldn't know who I am without that connection to reading. I've certainly had wonderful experiences because of my reading, and I've chatted to some fantastic people.

Overall, does it count as an addiction if I don't really think it's doing me any harm? Or does it make it even more of an addiction?

Regardless, this isn't something that people are going to tell me I should stop doing - bibliophiles like to band together and egg each other on (usually in various geeky tomfoolery)! What other kind of 'addiction' would bring this much joy, and such wonderful people?
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

They Really Like Me!
How important are the opinions of other people to you? Do you actively try to find out what others think of you? Whose opinion do you value the most?


John Donne once said:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

This rings for me, true down to the heart. It doesn't mean that the opinions of every person is important, but treating others with compassion and kindness and generosity is.

The people whom I love the most are those whose opinions I tend to trust totally and utterly. They've proven, time and time again, that they want me to be happy and healthy. I want to be my best self, my most ethical, genuine, compassionate, thoughtful, curious self. They help me to make that possible, they encourage me to keep improving and changing and seeking, whilst also making it clear that they support me and love me. These are my Tribe, my people, my family. They make me want to gift them with the best self I can be, because they deserve that for all the love and joy they bring to my life. So for me, their good opinions are paramount.

For the rest of the world, however...

I am sufficiently non-mainstream that if I cared too deeply about what the world thought of me, it would merely make me desperately unhappy in the long run. So I don't. I treat people compassionately because that is a good thing to do, but if they have negative opinions of me, that doesn't matter. I'm not delusional enough about myself to believe that people thinking bad of me is not hurtful, but it's a shallow, temporary hurt. We are after all, as Donne says, connected to one another. It's so fleeting a hurt, and often from a place of ignorance or fear or confusion or misunderstanding, however, that it doesn't touch me inside. It doesn't impact the heart of me the way that a negative opinion from someone I loved would, so I don't seek to redress or clarify it the way that I would if I cared more.

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