I’m reading The Magicians at the moment – a novel that is one part awesome, two parts infuriating – but there was a moment that stuck with me. At a crucial juncture, a girl pushes our protagonist into a completely different parallel existence with the words “you have always been such a pussy.”
Full disclosure: I don’t know the actual words, because the book is being read to me via audiobook. However, the sentiment struck an augmented chord in me, a thought so utterly pedestrian, yet completely profound… why the fuck have I been such a motherfucking pussy my whole life?
No offense to women, cats, anyone’s sexual organs or other pussies, but MAN I’m sick of being such a precious little goddamn flower. Ever since I was 4 or 5, I’ve been flinching from one thing or another, positively incapable of the thought “grin and bear it”. It’s just not in my lexicon. Instead, I have a laundry list that looks like this:
• constant need to conserve energy lest I run out
• pacing myself, resting, pacing myself, ad nauseum
• too hot, too cold, sometimes both
• inability to ignore even the tiniest discomforts
• depression, or at the very least, acute phobia of getting depressed again
• phalanx of shit brought on trips to salve pussy bullshit
• fear of boredom, then bored of fear of boredom, then fear of being bored of fearing boredom
While it is true that I accomplish a lot, it is generally to distract myself from being “at unrest”, whatever that happens to mean. My being a pussy, at best, means those massive Daddo projects that leave Lucy with a life-size pterosaur, but at worst, it means I’m a niggling, nampy-pamby Nancy enervating my wife with my negativity.
priming/painting tin ceiling tiles by myself = not pussy; jumpsuit and double respirator = pussy
There are plenty of explanations – maybe, like the studies say, I’m a redhead with the inherent sensory integration problems shared by most of us gingers. Or I have a phantom bullshit virus, or a mitochondrial slaggardliness, or circadian rhythms that sway to vastly different beats. Or maybe I’m just a fucking PUSSY.
Either way, I AM TRYING. I slip all the time, I’m a habitual user, but it’s not like I don’t know it, and it’s not like I don’t fight swimming in syrup every day. My writing a blog almost every weekday is both symptomatic of my pussiness (need for affirmation, needing to be heard) and a way out of it (occasional heartfelt treatises on changin’ my ways, soldiering on despite all other distraction).
I’d go to Africa and dig wells if I wasn’t sure I’d be in a thatched hut made of shit, writhing with dysentery. I’d take a martial art if I wasn’t fairly certain I’d get my nose broken and have to spend six months recovering from deviated septum surgery. I’d get up at 7am with the sun if I knew I wouldn’t walk into walls all day from stupefying fatigue.
But I can start small. I am a pussy, but I’m trying to scythe my way out of it.