Self-Care, British Wit, and Basketball

douglas adams quote
CC image courtesy porcupiny / Flickr

While spending the day recently reading Douglas Adams books and watching the NBA Playoffs I came up with a completely inconsequential theory:

Douglas Adams’ prose is like a Steph Curry step-back three.

The step-back three is a stupid shot. It involves starting a very long distance from the basket, hurling your body backward in an improbable way, and then chucking up a shot the result of which will almost certainly be an air ball. The likelihood of you making it is as close as makes no difference to zero. No one should take that shot. It is a bad shot. Unless you’re Steph Curry. If you’re Steph Curry it is a very good shot because it goes in irrationally and inexplicably often.

Just like you shouldn’t take a step-back three unless your name is Steph Curry, you should not consider writing like Douglas Adams unless you are, in fact, Douglas Adams. Adams’ sentence structures defy logic and all of the laws of writing, including some that have yet to be invented. Plot is unnecessary, if not unwelcome. Everything is tangential. There is no substance to speak of, only randomly assembled bits of dry British wit. Writing in this manner only works if you are Douglas Adams. And since Douglas Adams is lamentably dead, you are not Douglas Adams.

I recently had a disruption in my treatment that led to about a week of severe anxiety and panic. That time was exhausting. It left me completely drained. And so, in the name of “self-care”, I have done nothing of consequence for nearly a week, save for reading, watching basketball, and coming up with inane and inconsequential theories involving the two.

Given my disposition towards neurotic self-loathing, however, I have cast a critical eye towards this period of self-care. Self-stigma has dictated that I label this self-care as self-indulgence. I need to suck it up and do something constructive, I tell myself.

I wage this battle regularly. It is not one that I can win. If I ask my partner she will say that I am practicing good and necessary self-care. If I ask my therapist he will say that I am doing the same. And yet, in my own mind, I am being self-indulgent. I am being a burden on those around me by not carrying my own weight. I am being weak, lazy, and selfish.

I never feel like I do enough, even when I am being “productive”. This is, as a very dear friend of mine likes to say, “stinkin’ thinkin’”. It is not true, it is not charitable, and it is not helpful. And yet, to paraphrase the Apostle Paul, I do not think the things I want to think about myself, but the things I don’t want to think about myself, those I think just fine.

This is a tug of war, this back and forth. I know that self-care is important. In fact, it is essential. I know this. And yet whenever I attempt to practice it I feel like I am being self-indulgent. I cannot see my self-care for what it is because self-stigma clouds my judgment, making it impossible for me to see anything other than the least charitable interpretation of my actions or lack thereof.

I guess the best course of action, if my own judgment cannot be relied on, is to trust my support system. And if they say to rest, to read, and to watch basketball then I should do so with no reservations and without a second thought.

Afterward I could spend that unused second thought on another inane and inconsequential theory.

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