Avigail Friedman

© Copyright 2023 by  Avigail Friedman

Image by 1388843 from Pixabay
Image by 1388843 from Pixabay

I recently figured out the root of all my problems. It is that I allow my emotions to consume me. The consumption can often grow so extreme that it becomes debilitating. I can no longer move, think, or even properly breathe. All that goes through my mind is infinite collisions of thoughts, emotions, and events that crash into each other like waves on the windiest day of the year or like asteroids caught in a gravitational pull.

I was awoken this morning to the sound of three bells that chimed as they have for as long as I have been on Earth. They always sound the same no matter the weather. So they say. I donít actually pay enough attention to note if there are any differences between the chimes on different occurrences. Even if I did, it would be impossible to compare the exact sound from one day to the next because of the twenty-five-hour gap in between and all of the sounds that go through my mind in between, so any attempt of close listening to the bells and committing the sound to memory would be inconsequential.

I am working on making sure everything I do is with purpose. Trying to be more generally mindful. Yesterday, as I was walking to the corner shop to pick up some milk, I made sure to pay extra attention to each building as I passed by. The five-story red brick on my left as I exited my complex. Followed by the four-story red brick by its side. I wondered what happened to the extra story. I then proceeded to tell myself that I would do the research and find out if there was any reason behind it or if it was just how it was. I knew I would never really follow through, though. That even if I remembered that I wanted to do that research at a later moment, it would no longer seem relevant, or I would simply decide not to, or I might even push it back to a later date, adding another asteroid to the map of my mind. My attempt to be more mindful was jolted back to reality when I suddenly felt the gravel no longer underneath my feet and felt the wind rushing toward my face. My fatuous thoughts about the red bricks again sent me into the mess of the mind, and I forgot to be mindful of what was actually right in front of me. The pothole on my street, which I am sure that I had noticed before but had not committed to memory as a potential threat to my journey. Luckily, as my face rushed towards the orange ground beneath my feet, my arms moved quickly enough to catch me in my fall. Itís amazing how much could happen in what was probably under 57.6 seconds (the modern minute.) I include that clarification not because I feel as though I must, I made the active choice to include the parentheticals in this piece just in case someone finds this journal to use as an artifact of history. The inclusion of ď(the modern minute)Ē will show readers that I am living my life after the shift. But as I write this, I guess that is all pointless because this description will do just that and in a much easier form. Either way, I am going to leave it. I can write what I want.

I find myself trying to prove my personal autonomy. I find it a bit embarrassing.

One of my roommates just offered me the end of her milk. How thoughtful of her. She knew I didnít have my coffee yet today. I wondered how she knew I didnít have any milk. I wondered how she knew that I went off to get it yesterday but never made it to the corner shop and, therefore, never made it back to our complex with any milk. I then realized that she didnít know any of that. All that she knew was that I did not have any milk yesterday morning because thatís what I told her. She didnít know that I never made it to the corner store yesterday for the milk because she didnít know I even set off to get milk in the first place. I decided it was better that way. I told her thank you, and that I was going to pick up milk later today.

There used to be a library inside our complex. It is still there, I guess, so used to might not be the right choice of words. I use ďused to,Ē though, in the sense that it is no longer in operation, and there are no longer more than remnants of books left untouched behind closed doors, piling up with dust. I went there often when I first moved here. It was right after I moved away from my parents when I turned 20. I am 23 now. So, I guess the library was shut down around two years ago. It is hard to keep track of time. When I read books from the library while it was open, I tried to find books about the past. I got to four in the year I lived here before the library closed. I only finished two, though. I wish I had read more, but at the moment it did not seem as important as it does right now. What mostly stuck with me from what I read are the differences between now and then. For example, what most everyone did to take up the minutes in their days. The assigned tasks everyone acquired upon reaching adulthood. Many, if not most, were all-consuming, ruling each personís identity and lifestyle. Sometimes I wish I had that. To give my life more of a purpose. Even an artificial purpose seems better than doing what I do. Trying not to individualize myself, excuse me. Better than what we do. But obviously, I think that because I am not there, I will never really know what it feels like to be working for the majority of my time here on Earth. Humans lived longer then, too. Now that I think about it, it sounds a little miserable, so maybe itís better this way.

I am going to go and buy the milk now. I never drink milk plain, only in coffee. I donít understand how people ever liked drinking it plain. Maybe when humans used to take it from cows, it tasted better. To me, it tastes like water with a bit of cream and a white tint. Sort of like how I would imagine the taste of clouds.

Itís time for me to figure out how to make my emotions overpower me less. I think many people with this problem make the mistake of removing these emotions completely because they donít know the proper tactics to control them. There was a problem with illegal drugs once. It is said to be one of the main contributors to the shift, but I am not sure how much I believe that. I think there is a common misconception it happened all at once. That many of Earthís main social structures came crashing down all-together, similar to the waves in my head. And that they created the twenty-five hour day and, therefore the 57.6 second minute to help relieve the problems. Itís all a bit confusing. And it doesnít even matter. Me thinking it all the way through and coming up with a proposal of what might have happened wonít change anything besides the course of my thoughts for a few minutes. And somebody has surely thought it through for longer than me and better than me, so there really is not much of a point or no point at all. One could argue, though, that everything has a point. No thought could possibly be worthless because everything affects something that affects something else. But some things are just worthless. Not having much to do all day certainly gives me a lot of time to think. That certainly plays a part in my consumption problem. That is my emotional consumption problem, allowing my emotions to consume me, not my drug consumption problem, as many had before.

It needs to become a mindset I think, rather than something I actively have to try to do. But I guess that's how all good habits are formed, and I guess the emotional consumption problem I am dealing with has become something of a habit. I have not always had this problem. So I must not always have to have this problem. I need to put in the work now so that regulating my emotions becomes a habit that I no longer have to work for.

I am about to get up now to finally pick up my milk. I know I will feel accomplished once I do, what a silly thing to feel accomplished about, but I havenít done it yet. It is not exactly that there is something, tangible or not, that is holding me back, but my feet remain firmly pressed on the tiles below my feet. My back is resting on the chair with just enough support that I am comfortable, yet not relaxed completely. I need to become less tense, I think. I need to stop thinking and start to do more. Iím going to get my milk now. 


Although born and raised in New York City, Avigail is currently a student at McGill University.  She loves reading, writing, and her foster kitten, Baby.

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