Headaches, or; Making Decisions out of Desperation

  1. June 6, 2020:
There is a line in the first season of the 2016 Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, something along the lines of: “You’ve been making decisions out of desperation for too long!”
This is going to be something like one of my werds, but for the phrase, instead of for a single word.
Now that I’m thinking about it, actually- I think a better way to describe ‘werds’ is simply that of a particular concept, unique to my mind – something non-rational, that I am attempting to quantify.
That line, that concept- that of making decisions out of desperation resonated with me, deeply.
But in a strange way, perhaps. I never would have thought to put those words to the concept that I had in my head, until I watched that show.
The kind of desperation I think of when I hold this sort of concept in my mind is not always an intense one.
It doesn’t so much convey the flavor of despair, not always- or at least not always, superficially.
This concept that I have in my head- it has to do more with…..
taking short cuts
and untenable situations
perhaps thinking in the short term is directly relevant here, as well…
We make decisions out of desperation- when we think we are making the only choice we can, even if it is not a preferable one.
Headaches, for example.
When I think of headaches as just one of the things that happens to humans, sometimes- then I tend to not try to fix what could be causing them. I mask the pain – with drugs, OTC or otherwise, or habits like smoking.
Now, I attempt to have as much awareness over my personal variables as possible- and try to change or remove only one or two at a time
I’m not claiming to have any kind of medical knowledge- that’s not what this post is about. I go to doctors when I am sick!! But now, as opposed to how the Old Brooke responded to things like having a headache- I do things like make sure that I remain hydrated. Try to pay attention to the kinds of things I’m eating, or things like the temperature in the house at night, and during the day.
We are making decisions out of desperation, though, I believe-
When we say things like:
“I’d love to quit my job, but…”
“I wish I didn’t have to live in this house, in this city, but….”
“That’s a nice idea, but….”
“I wish….”
Accepting that anything untenable is unalterable is, I believe, dishonest, on some level.
Dishonest with ourselves about the value of the thing, or dishonest with ourselves about our ability to change things.
Usually, in that second case- we could do those things. Could move, could quit our jobs- we just say we can’t, because
we haven’t done enough thinking about word choices, nor about the whys of the whats of our own behavior


Those ‘buts’ are the excuses our TBF feeds to us to try to get out of the work of coming up with of creative solutions, to any and all of our problems

July 7, 2020


This is an excellent example.
I just mentioned in the Not Smoking Project- Day Three, that I’d had an unpleasant interaction with my mother this morning. I live on their property, in the guest house.
They’ve been very supportive and forgiving, but it is time to be an adult, now. Prolly for the first time in my life, despite being 33 years old!
But that’s another story. 
My mom, more so than my dad- tends to want to be a ‘parent,’ in what I would consider the negative sense of that word. 
This might require a whole other post, to begin talking want about what I mean when I use the werd parenting-
But it has to do with control, and a line that I view as very significant- control of self, vs control of other
But that, like I said, is another post. What I want to talk about right now has to do with The Obstacles Problem, and those TBF ‘buts’ I mentioned yesterday on this topic…
To use this example: What my brain used to do, when presented with this sort of situation, was something akin to recognizing this problem (how my mom frequently makes me feel), and then repeatedly running down two dead ends for potential solutions- not unlike a rat, trapped.
These two avenues have to do with, generally- changing the element (person/situation/etc) that causes me to Feel Bad.
And if (/when!) that does not succeed, to remove myself from the environment that this element is a part of.
Two options, only. Both relying on the universe following a particular path –
And the universe will not be commanded by our will
Much as we might wish it to.
There is a third option, however.
One that I didn’t even recognize as a potential avenue until very recently- and one that our TBF tends to resist with the strength of a dying creature.
There is a reason I use that wording.
The third option- the only option, in my mind- is changing myself.
Changing how I think.
I cannot change my mother
I can try to teach her, try to better my ability to communicate why certain things make me feel bad
But that is an uncertain undertaking, at best- and never immediate
I cannot move out, right now. Not without being irresponsible towards my cats- so that’s more like a will not
But what I can do- is try to figure out a Plan.
If I can’t stop myself from feeling bad after talking to my mom (which I’ve also tried, with pretty much zero success!) I can try, at least- to exceed her expectations
They will continue to rise, regardless of how quickly I improve myself in her eyes. But-
When I am working, when I keep the house here clean- I rarely have time to see her. And she tends to be more forgiving of the more human aspects of me when I seem to her eyes to be being productive. She does not yet realize that money alone has no value to me. That I work in order to give myself better opportunity to be more efficient at Building a Better Brooke, to be able to write more often (and take care of my cats!)
My point is, giving in to my urge to crumble under the weight of my mother’s control right now would be making a decision out of desperation.
Can’t change her, can’t leave the situation=untenable.
Survive as best as possible, given those restrictions.
But – I am not endeavoring to survive, anymore. I am endeavoring to thrive.
And sometimes, that means changing myself- not who I am, fundamentally. But my habits. How hard I am willing to work, to get what I want.
How creative I’m willing to be in coming up with alternative solutions.
I said the thing about the dying creature, because that TBF part of our brain, that Fred part of our brain- well, that’s something like ego death, perhaps, for it, though I hate using terms that loaded
It means letting go of being a victim – of fate, of circumstances, of people.
It means taking agency- which can threaten to bury us under the weight of not just the mistakes we make, now-
But the cumulative weight, of every single repetition of that same sort of mistake, reflecting throughout our past, like dominoes, stretching off to disappear into the faded horizon
Fred tries to hide his eyes from such a heavy burden, from that shadow grown so immense as to have become a terrible monster
But this is like when my cat Pico, hides his eyes under my arm, when he is scared
It’s like the gates, in the whys of the whats
He feels safer, on some level
But it is just blindness
The kind of blindness that allows those monsters to take on overwhelming, mythical proportions, in our minds
And allows Fred to take an ever firmer hold on the steering wheel of our inner vehicles, so to speak
But if we can let go of blame
Then that applies to ourselves, as well
And we become, like all others-
Capable of great beauty, and great ugliness, sometimes from one moment to the next.
We all have mistakes, and victories – both, in our history- interacting in complex ways to make us who we are, right now.
But all these- they are context
History. Relevant in illustrating the path taken to now
No more than that, and no less than that.
We are shaped by our history, but not defined by it, permanently. Every moment is a new chance to find our own agency in life. It will never be as early as it is, now. It will only get harder every step we take further down dead end paths in this maze we’ve constructed around ourselves – this maze that we imagined, and in so doing-
Made it real.


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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