Afternoon astronaut wisdom

You have to really kind of think about our own existence here in the universe. You realize that people often say, ‘I hope to go to heaven when I die.’ In reality, if you think about it, you go to heaven when you’re born. You arrive on a planet that has the proper mass, has the gravity to contain water and an atmosphere, which are the very essentials for life. And you arrive on this planet that’s orbiting a star just at the right distance — not too far to be too cold, or too close to be too hot — and just at the right distance to absorb that star’s energy and then, with that energy, cause life to evolve here in the first place. In reality, you know, God has really given us a stage, just looking at where we were around the moon, a stage on which we perform. And how that play turns out is up to us, I guess.

Jim Lovell, Business Insider, March 2017

“We, no less than other, non-rational animals, are destined to die at the end of our lives. And death strikes indiscriminately – it cares not at all for the status or position of the ones it chooses; everyone must die, whether rich or poor, famous or unknown. Even good deeds will not exclude their doers from the sentence of death; the good die as often as the bad. It is perhaps this inevitable and unpredictable quality that makes death so frightening to many people. Especially those who put a high value on being in control of their own existence are offended by the thought that they too are subject to the forces of death.”

I never thought of myself as the controlling type—a control freak, we call them, those people who need everything to be just as they want, each detail imagined and designed to suit their individual needs, those people who lash out in anger when even the smallest thing deviates from expectation. Nor had I thought of the control freak as someone in pain, afraid; they always seem only mean, self-absorbed, and cruel.  Continue reading

How to get moving

Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.

— Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Of the many cruelties of depression, none is more insidious than its ability to take away all of your weapons against it. Almost by definition, depression is a self-feeding beast. It saps you of the energy, will, and desire to do the basic tasks to make you feel human: eating good food, getting good sleep, seeing good people, moving your body. Being out in the world.

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For 201(8), smaller messes

This essay was originally published at the close of 2013 on a website that no longer exists. Posting here for posterity. 

To do something large and to do it well demands such observances, personal and peculiar, laughable as they often are, because they stave off that dinginess of soul that says that everything is small and grubby and nothing is really worth the effort.

— Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

I first heard of silverfish I guess it was 2010, it was November. I was 23, my apartment was a mess, and my ex-boyfriend who had shared this apartment with me was over helping me clean up so I could move out. I had tried to maintain the one-bedroom in Baltimore, in Charles Village, after he had left in April, but I had failed miserably, I had not even really tried, I had just existed there with all the things we had hung up together,  letting the mess build up around me, watching the movies and reading the books and listening to the music he had left behind. Continue reading