Veg Days

Veg Days are a crucial survival tool for me. A Veg Day is my way of coping with the inordinate stress of life, specifically the stress that no one else seems to experience; running out of energy (or mana as I call it). I use up a lot of mana in my daily life, and it is difficult to replace. A Veg Day is a process that has taken me years to develop and refine.

It all started sometime in college. I was supremely busy in college. I know everyone says that, but I really was. I went to school full time, supported myself by working 2 (sometimes 3) jobs, and ran a non-profit corporation for almost 2 years. I also had a very severe coffee addiction (I still do). I loved being able to do so many things at once, so I had a great time even though I was busy for about 16 hours every.

After a few months, it started to catch up with me. I couldn’t sleep, even when I had the free time to do so. I stopped having fun, I stopped caring about things. I started getting so angry with everyone and I lost many friends in a few weeks. I finally cracked one day, and got really sick. I couldn’t do anything, so I had to lay around the house. I felt the entire time like death was hovering over me, waiting to take me away. But, I had to sleep and take a few days off.

I went back to life after that and noticed that I felt so much better. I had so much more energy, and I was so happy. It lasted for a few weeks, and then I started to feel the same miserable way I had before. I got sick again, and then spent a few days hiding away from the world. I emerged from my darkened room feeling like a beautiful butterfly again.

It took me about a year of this pattern before I finally noticed the connection. Somehow, it eluded me, but eventually I noticed the connection between taking some time off and feeling better. I did the same thing I always do, I made it into an experiment. I tried to take a ‘mental health day’, and spent a day pretending I was sick. I told everyone that I was sick and spent the day hiding away. It worked so well. Apparently, you can get more rest if you are not actually sick.

I then decided to experiment with doing this ‘day off’ on a regular basis to see if it helped me feel better. It changed my life around. I started planning these ‘days off’, and coming up with some ways to make them better. I felt so much better about life when I started incorporating these into my schedule. I slept better, I felt better, I rarely got sick, I was happier, I could think more clearly. It really seemed to fix a lot of the issues I had dealt with up to that point.

 

So, here is my system for Veg Days:

A Veg Day is a day that I set aside for ‘me time’. It is a day where I destress myself as much as I can. It is a day that I spend as far away from responsibilities as I can get.

A Veg Day consists of some important rules that are to be followed as much as possible.

  1. No work! This one is crucial, and so hard to follow. Even if I have one hour of work, then it will ruin the veg day. The way my brain works, I can’t relax if there is anything that I ‘have’ to do that day, like work. Work, in this sense, means anything that I have to force myself to do. So this means chores, laundry, actual work, anything like that.
  2. No phone calls or texting. This one is also pretty hard to follow, but I do my best. Talking to people or even sending texts is still stressful, so I keep it out of the Veg Day sanctuary.
  3. Nothing is off limits. Well, somethings are off limits I guess. But, I mean that I let myself do whatever random thing I think of without judging. I allow myself to follow anything that I feel like doing, which is a great liberty that I think we often don’t allow ourselves to experience. When I first started this step, it was difficult. I wound up laying on the grass and staring at the sky for a while, which was pretty good in itself. But then, I decided that I needed to make a hammock, which required me to make rope first, which required me to find a bunch of grass, which led me to go walk in the fields near my house and collect grass. It’s not important at all what activity I do, but it is important that I don’t ever try to control that activity.
  4. No pants! This rule is not too literal, but I used to have a rule of not putting pants on because putting pants on signifies that you are somehow more serious.

There are other rules that come and go as I see fit. Sometimes I will stay inside the house all day if I am feeling low. Sometimes, I will just sit in front of the TV all day. Sometimes I will just play video games for 14 hours. Most of the time, I work on random projects and play games in small bursts.

Some words of caution: Don’t take too many veg days in a row. I have taken up to 3 veg days before, and it gets real weird. After the 2nd day, you start to forget how to interact with people, you forget what things are acceptable to say around them, and you forget how to walk in public. These skills can be recovered pretty quickly, but just beware that you will look weird for the first few hours after returning to regular life. Plan your schedule accordingly.

Advice Column

One of my intentions with this blog was to offer advice to others out there who have had some similar life experiences. I feel that I have not been living up to that goal very well, I have mostly been using this space to vent some of my frustrations and other such things that some could consider ‘complaining’. So I will be working more on having advice as part of every post. And to make up for it, here are some general life tips that I would like to share.

These are mainly directed at trapeziums or trapezium-like shapes, however I think this advice is all solid and applies to any shape.

 

You are not a computer, no matter how much you wish you were.

Life would be much easier as a computer, I will admit that. I have spent a lot of time trying to pretend that I was a computer. Not having to worry about feelings or eating, being able to turn off and on at will, and being unaffected by a lack of human contact would be great things to live with. But that is not reality. All of us are still human, we still have emotions. I have spent many years hiding and ignoring my emotions, and still do that to a large extent. Only the last few years have I been working with my emotions and trying to gain an understanding of them, and it is the hardest thing I have ever done. But I can truthfully say that the last few years, when I stopped trying to be a computer and have worked towards becoming more of a human, have been the best years of my life. I have felt pure joy (not just happiness) and that is something I pray that everyone gets to feel in their lives. I have cried from sadness, from sorrow, from pride, and from joy. I have never felt more alive and have never been happier to be alive. I want everyone to experience life that way.

 

Play video games, play them often.

I would not last long without video games to play. I have a very strict routine in the morning where I start my day with video games. If I don’t get to do that for any reason, then my day will almost universally be bad. Most days, I intentionally wake up hours before I need to so that I have time to play as many video games as I want to.

Video games also provide a fantastic escape from the terrors of the ‘real world’. I remember being like 10 or 11 and getting a Play Station 1 and Spyro the Dragon. I played that game non-stop for probably 2 years. I remember at one point explaining to my mom that I loved it so much because it was an escape from my real life. No matter how crappy my school day was I knew that I could go home and play Spyro. Nothing ever changed in that game, I knew all of the rules, I knew what to expect, what was coming, and I knew that I could complete the game. Real life is nothing like that for us trapeziums, real life is so complicated and scary and far out of reach. Video games offer a simpler and controlled world that is dictated by easily understood rules, video games offer rewards for doing things in the correct way, and punishments for doing them the wrong way. In a lot of ways, video games are like a simpler version of the way real life should be. Also, video games are just really cool and a lot of fun.

 

Logic and reason will help you in most situations, but not all. Sometimes emotion has to win over logic.

We tend to be very logical, which can be a great asset. For me, I have to have a logical reason for doing anything that I do, especially things involving other people. This is great because it means that I have always been very trustworthy and reliable, I never do anything crazy. But it is also terrible, because I have a hard time doing fun things, or doing spontaneous things. I also have a very hard time with things like dating and love and that. Logic says that dating someone will end badly, because it will. You will either break up or you will marry that person and live a happy life. But the odds are very low of that happening, so it’s safer and more logical to not date. However, that is a really awful way to live and incredulously lonely. I wish so much that I could stop being logical and date someone like all of my friends and peers seem to be able to do so easily. I am sick of being alone, but the logic is too strong.

A life of logic alone will leave you lonely. You have to have emotion to fully enjoy life. I’ll let you know if I figure out a good fix for that though. Knowing is half the battle, right?

 

There is no such thing as ‘normal’ or ‘weird’, and we will all be better off if people stop using those words.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time watching other people and their behaviors and conversations and can assure that none of them have been what you might call ‘normal’. Everyone has strange ticks, strange phrases, quirks about them and all that. The one thing we have in common is that we are all weird. As long as I can remember, I was called the ‘weird kid’ and many worse things, and after a while it felt like it was true. I was pretty weird, even I could tell. I spent almost my entire life believing that I was the weird one, and wanting so badly to be ‘normal’. Again, my brain was lying to me. I knew the evidence showed me that others had many weird things about them too, but that didn’t matter. They were not picked on for being weird, therefore I was the problem. I hated myself so much for being weird, and did so many bad things trying to ‘fit in’ to whatever I thought would make me look more ‘normal’. I would never wish that upon anyone else. There is no such thing as normal, there is no such thing as ‘being cool’, and the sooner you stop trying and start being yourself, the better everything in your life and the lives of those around you will be.

 

Learn to notice and respect your body.

I know for me at least, my body has always felt kind of weird. I am constantly either completely unaware of the things my body does, or I am hyperaware of the things it does. There seems to be no middle ground in which I exist and my body exists on its own. But learning to listen to it and to follow the advice it gives will go a long way towards making your life better. By that I mean it will make you physically feel better, and if you physically feel better, then that makes everything else better too.

Exercise is one of the greatest things I can recommend for anyone. Exercise is fantastic to relieve stress, help you lose/maintain weight, sleep better, make you feel smarter, and so much more. It’s important to find some kind of exercise that you can enjoy enough to do it regularly. If you hate running, then don’t pick that one. You will not be able to force yourself to do it regularly enough to get any benefit.

For me, I enjoy running and weight lifting. Running is great because I can do it by myself or with friends. There is not any competition; I am only trying to beat myself. It requires no special equipment or money to do, and can be done almost anywhere. Weight lifting is great because it helps you develop a sense of what your body is doing. I look at it as training my body how to do things, learning certain muscle patterns and movements. I also enjoy seeing the numbers go up as I lift higher and higher weights. Weight lifting has some big drawbacks though, because you usually have to do it at a gym. I hate gyms so much. I am lucky enough to be able to go during the off hours, when there are fewer people. But I would say that about half the time, I cut my workout short because I can’t handle all the people there and I feel like they are all looking at me.

Listening to your body also means things like recognizing your sensitivities. Most of us have some things that we are more sensitive to, like sound, light, temperature, touch, that sort of thing. It can be really hard to identify these because they probably won’t be noticed right away. There is no label that comes with life that says “Warning: Fluorescent lights will make you angry and upset.” If only there had been, I would have had a much better time in school. It took me till I was 16 before I realized that I was so angry at school because of the lighting. I could hear (and still do) the humming of the fluorescent lights, it’s a very high pitched squealing that will drive me crazy.

I am also very sensitive to light. I love sunlight because it feels like a warm blanket wrapping around me. I hate any kind of non-natural light because it feels cold and empty and makes the colors of everything look different. I keep my house very dark at night for this reason, but also because it’s night time and I think it should be dark at night. My friends have complained that my house is like a cave at night, and I usually point out that their house glows like the white-washed fires of hell.

Pay attention to the times when you feel upset or angry, and try to notice any common themes around them. Do they always happen at a specific place? Do they happen after you hear a certain sound? Try to solve the mystery and figure out what physical things might be affecting your mood. It is exhausting and a very depressing process to go through every day, but eventually you will find some common things that you can avoid and then have better days.