Dessert for breakfast

amateur antagonist
4 min readFeb 19, 2024

Writing with a plan feels like putting a corset on Jell-O. Forced, unnecessary, and wholly unpleasant.

I’m sure that’s not a universally shared opinion, but, for me, getting the words on paper is already such an ordeal, that gathering the strength to do it thoughtfully too seems insurmountable.

I’m still shaking off the dust, so I’ll keep my Jell-O in the cup for now.

Sometimes, allowing yourself freedom in these little ways can make you feel guilty. I should be writing more meaningfully. My writing should be research-driven and useful. Instead, I’m letting myself have dessert for breakfast. (Dessert being, of course, allowing my untethered drivel onto the page. Yum.)

The shoulds are suffocating. I can drown in shoulds. They are coming out my fucking ears.

There is always a better way to do something. Said otherwise: you’re always doing something the sub-optimal, wrong way.

Reading? You better be reading useful, meaningful, thought-provoking, POC-written, non-GMO, anti-capitalist books.

Working? You better be using the Pomodoro method, following a carefully tracked 5-year plan, networking on the weekends, with at least 3 side hustles running in parallel.

Thinking? I just know you’re doing it wrong. I don’t even need to check. All wrong. Throw the whole fucking brain away.

It’s exhausting. I am tired.

I’m sure you’re thinking: why does it matter? Why can’t you drown out the noise and just exist?

Because the pressure of this ethereal, unachievable “better way to do things” is always hanging over your head. Whenever you do anything. Especially when you’re doing something new and you feel out of your depth already.

I’ve been so deeply fixated on writing the “right way”. The most profitable, lucrative, useful, cutting-edge, thought-provoking way. (I’m done with long adjective lists now ok let me live).

The “right way” has been cockblocking my brain for years. Not even starting because you know, whatever way you approach it, it won’t be right. Knowing that you don’t have the knowledge, discipline, structure, or tenacity to do it the right way.

Part of the reason is that, for me, writing is already something elusive. I really do have to catch the voice in your head and pin it down. I can’t be encumbered with all these rules and prep work. I need to be nimble and light. I cannot carry the weight of being deliberate.

Maybe those are excuses, and I’m just lazy. Totally possible. Absolutely on the table.

But, I’m going to let myself have dessert for dinner, because at least I’m eating something. Something is better than nothing at all.

That being said, there’s always this building tension when you know you could be doing something better. I know I could approach this better, and the guilt of doing it so sloppily can be overwhelming.

The guilt of knowing that you could and should do something better can be crippling. I have this sinking feeling sometimes when I write, because the overwhelming sensation of “why” continues to grow with every word. Every time I write, I’m filled with this acute sense of self-awareness that keeps tripping me up. I can’t write without analyzing every moment of it, appraising every word for its relative value, every thought for its potential.

Growing up is tough.

When you’re younger, you do everything aimlessly. Pointlessly. You’re not saddled with expectations, self-criticism, and this deep-rooted need to be purposeful. You’ll sit on the ground and play with a sock for three hours, cry a little bit, eat some Play-Doh, and call it a day. A great day too.

Now, the only good days are the days when I have been productive. My happiness is directly correlated to my utility. There are, in my mind, very few other sources of contentment.

Maybe part of that shift is because, when you’re younger, you don’t see yourself as part of anything. You’re not a part of a society, job, relationship, or anything. Your only directives are to serve yourself and do whatever makes you happy.

Once you start layering on more structures, the expectations of you increase, and the bar to be happy increases along with it. I have a job? Okay, so now, not only do I have to take care of myself, but I also have to meet my requirements at work to have a good day. I have parents? Okay, add being a good offspring to the list of requirements. Repeat ad infinitum.

At some point, being happy becomes a checklist of every responsibility you have outside yourself. Then, you layer on the intangible pressure of consciousness. You want your life to matter. You want to have an impact on the world. In that case, add a million more things to the checklist. By the way, actually being happy is kind of at the bottom of that list.

So sometimes, you have to say: fuck the checklist. And do whatever you want. And for me, that means rambling on the internet, despite all the pressures to be better. Today, I had dessert for dinner.

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