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Fuck the List

  by Harper the Fox, author of Wandering Lust

For the last few days, I have been really down. I have a long list of things to be sad about that all seem reasonable… and, fuck that list. 

Let me first address, for curious readers, what a few of those things are. 

I am currently dealing with a very unpleasant, visible, and contagious skin condition on my face. There’s nothing I can do but wait for it to pass, and hope it doesn’t spread further.

My aging father has just been given a diagnosis which scares me. A lot. He is scared too.

I am on my period. This comes with pain, hormonal shifts, and generally a harder time feeling happy. 

Because of the things going on with my body, I cannot have sex, and can only receive very carefully placed kisses. 

It is very grey outside. Seasonal Affective Disorder, blah blah blah.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Each of these things troubling me is legitimate. I know that I have the right to have feelings about all of these things, in their own time.

What I am trying to talk myself out of right now is the sensation of being overwhelmed simply because all of this exists together, in a list that feels very big. 

Scott Adams, a thinker and cartoonist whose work I occasionally enjoy, talks frequently about lists. As he frames it, lists are a sneaky way to try to win an argument. If you are making a case and come ready with a long list of things which, in one way or another, support your case, it is VERY hard for anyone arguing the other side to dismiss all of the line items. You can go item by item, rationalizing each one, but by the time you get to the bottom of the list, you’re right back at the top of the list, starting your argument all over again.

For all of the troubles on my mind, there is ultimately nothing for me to do. I have a game plan and next steps for everything that needs it. Running down the list over and over in my mind, ultimately, is just my brain trying to justify being sad. 

I’m talking to my own brain now. 

Brain, it’s okay to be sad. You don’t have to work so hard to give good reasons for it. But I know you prefer to be happy and joyful. When the time comes to be happy and joyful, I don’t want you to be clinging to all those reasons you’re working so hard on. We know what to do… just put them down.


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