When I was in high school I had a mild eating disorder but I could not maintain it in college. I worried about it though, thought I should get it back, felt that without it I was falling down on my job in some way. In graduate school I became yet more concerned about not enacting the eating disorder. I stopped worrying about it the day that I realized it was neurotic suffering or some form of screen. That is: the feeling I should take back the eating disorder, the plans I made to do so and then failed to come through on, were a way of blocking the view of whatever might lie beyond.
I wonder whether staying up too late is this kind of neurotic suffering. I invented the practice at my first job, where the only time I felt safe was after I got home from work, and I wanted to extend the number of safe hours I had. I resurrected it here because the avoidance of a large part of the disappointing days, and the extension of the night-space in which one could be anywhere, made my indenture to the rural suburb and subjection to a breathtakingly unprofessional workplace less immediately obvious.
I woke up this morning thinking about avoidance, about how I dislike so much academic advice on “saving time” and “cutting corners” the same way I shudder at “tightening your belt” because if one is already organized and efficient and clear thinking, as I am, these exhortations sound like coercion to avoidance and half-heartedness.
Then I got an interesting comment and thought yes, these forms of neurotic suffering are self-protective and self-sabotage all in one.
In Reeducation we constantly had to lower our expectations and not think beyond the horizon of the present day, because we were impaired; before Reeducation I did not consider myself impaired, had high expectations, and made plans such that those expectations would be realized. Reeducation believed in discipline and authority, and had never known meditation or appreciation or strength or love.