Hierarchy of needs

My lovely man posted recently about why he hasn’t been posting as much recently — a thing which I refuse to allow myself to do, because once I get in the habit then half my posts began with “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while…” The blog will be updated when the blog is updated. (I also stop myself from making any but the vaguest promises about upcoming content. I learned on my earlier blogs — of which there have been an embarrassingly large amount, but that’s another issue — that any time I obligated my future self to write on a particular topic, my future self would go on strike and whole weeks would pass without a new post.)

But this isn’t about my bad blogging habits, this is about Shaun’s lack of posting, and my similar issues with reading. (My posting frequency hasn’t suffered, mostly because I wasn’t very regular to begin with, and also because getting a plug from the wonderful Figleaf was very motivating.) But my reading, let me tell you. While I keep up with all the wonderfully thinky blogs in my feed, I have had zero motivation to actually seek out new writings in the vein of philosophy, politics, religion, and sexuality. Whenever I discover a new blog that I like I go through a full archive trawl, basking in the rich wisdom, gaining new perspectives, learning about new issues.

But now? Now I struggle to even keep up with my subscription feed, and I find I have to skim over discussions of current events that upset or anger me (which seems to be a lot of them right now.) I find myself getting way, way too agitated and cranky and despondent. And the idea of reading some clever philosophy or commentary is just exhausting to me. What have I been doing instead? I’ve been archive-trawling some of my favorite daily-life blogs, people who write about knitting and home life. I open up my computer, I do the requisite subscription-reading, and then I go to whichever blog I’m currently trawling and read it for hours. These are archives I’ve read before. There’s nothing new here. It’s like re-reading a book (which, in fairness, I do a lot) except it’s re-reading a blog.

And when I think about writing, I want to write about the pretty lace scarf I’m creating, about my cats, about the interesting people I passed on the street. I don’t want to write anything that requires wrangling with tough issues, that invites argument and criticism (although normally I’m very open to both things.) I want to read, write, and watch things that are fun, light, and pleasant, and eschew the difficult, complex, and controversial.

I would beat myself up for this, but it’s happened enough before that I think I know what’s going on. It’s a hierarcy of needs thing. I’m living in a new city where exactly one person knows and loves me, between us my boyfriend and I have half a job, and we probably have to move again in two months. Right now I’m hanging around levels 2 and 3 of Maslow’s hierarchy, struggling to get my physical and basic emotional needs met, and I don’t have a lot of space for the “morality, creativity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts” level.

It helps to recognize that this is temporary, it’s a stage-of-life thing, and that endlessly reading cozy knitting blogs does not mean that I’ve permanently lost my ability to tackle tough issues. (Not that knitting blogs are dumb and mindless: please don’t think that. Knitters are smart, creative, often politically engaged, and waaay cuter and hipper than you might think. Reading knitting blogs isn’t like eating potato chips, it’s like eating mashed potatoes: substantial and comforting.)

Anyway. Goodness knows what you’ll see on this blog in the weeks to come, while we get our lives sorted out. I’ll try to keep it thinky, at least from time to time, but there may be more day-in-the-life stuff, and possibly even (sorry!) a knitting post or two.

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