I started a new job about a month ago. It’s really not much, just something I needed to get me out and into a routine. A lot of people ask me, “but, Ant, WHAT DO YOU DO?” Contrary to popular opinion, the success of Nonna Maria doesn’t have me basking in the sun on my 80 foot yacht while eating truffle bruschetta or drinking coffee that’s been pre-digested by a ferret like animal. Instead, I’ve probably plunged myself deeper in the maniacal workings of my brain… or so I thought. In fact, in doing the things I loved, I’ve actually been brought face to face with my fears, fears that have sometimes gotten the best of me. Lately, they might have but the thing is, I always bounce back. I’m always ready to attack in some form or another and every time I do, I make it further. Why? Cause I don’t give up. But that’s not the point of this blog post, the point is: I started a new job.
It’s a pretty mindless piece of work that has me away from a computer at least 9 hours a day and for more than 40 hours a week (you probably could’ve noticed from my absence from the internets). While it’s mindless, it’s allowed me to reassess the things that matter and, most importantly, it’s allowed me to reiterate my own true value. A value that I had set too low for myself. I think some of us are guilty of that one too, thinking we’re not worth much when really, everything conspires on our behalf. Have a sense I’m delaying telling you what my job is? Well, yeah, cause it’s not really important. If you need to know, I work at a Prop House right now that rents out props for films, photo shoots, events, etc. I’m lugging around furniture, delivering packages, counting countless plastic flamingos, and once I also built an over sized pearl necklace. Again, mindless, but it keeps me busy and I’m gaining some hands-on experience and become a lot more handy. What gets me through the day, mostly, is my iPhone (or my iPhone’s iPod (INCOMING APPLE JOKE: How do you know when someone uses Apple products? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.)). I put on my earphones and listen, not to music, but rather to informative videos mostly consisting of TEDtalks and School of Life. Through videos such as these, I’ve gained a lot of insight and have began to see how I function. See, I was (and still am) quite an anxious person. However, lately, I’ve begun to see the very things that lead me to be anxious in situations that don’t require anxiety. I’ve begun to see how my brain works, to see what triggers what, what anchors what feeling and where, and when, and why. What does this insight do? Well, at first it fucking sucks. You become a walking self-analytical zombie. Every action became a conscious effort which caused a lot of hardship. I felt unable to perform because every thought, word, action, routine, had to be thought out beforehand. Everyone knows that performance is born from no-thought. A great hockey player doesn’t have time to think of who to pass to, he goes with his instinct, his gut, his sense of the ice and where his teammates might be. That’s where I realized: holy fuck, I think too much! That was a major epiphany for me. The fact that my cure didn’t come from sitting down and thinking out ALL my problems, but rather NOT thinking, just, well, DOING. I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and just the fact I’m even mentioning on my blog that I’m an anxious person is leaps and bounds from the person I used to be. The truth is, I guess we’re all trying to look like the thing we really want to be but in order to get there you really got to get to the core of what’s stopping you. What do you find when you get there? Well, you find that it’s not education or lack-thereof that stops you, it’s not your parents who stop you, it’s not your friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or co-workers who stop you, it’s not your job, your government, or even that douchebag that might’ve cut you off this morning. It’s YOU. You are stopping yourself. You’ve made up some story for yourself that you’ve grasped and hold on to for dear life, why? cause you think it gives you meaning. It doesn’t. It gives you the opposite. It always makes you a victim of the circumstance. And one thing I know for sure is that if you play the victim, you’ll always BE the victim.
But first, back to the DOING part. While listening to my educational videos at work I came upon this notion of Obliquity which sounded very interesting. Obliquity is defined as “deviation from moral rectitude or sound thinking.” Basically, it means when you do stuff differently, stuff happens differently. I heard this and thought back to recent events such as Nonna Maria and thought of how Obliquity played a big part in Nonna Maria’s success. Obliquity states that “the success of complex goals will usually come from an indirect source.” Which means that even though you might have the most thought out plan in the world, achieving your goal will most likely happen in a way you wouldn’t have imagined. Before Nonna Maria, I had simply just wanted to start making videos constantly and at the same time explore the possibilities of YouTube. My plan was simple, just make videos. Basically, I had decided what my goal was and I acted immediately. I made video after video until I made the first Nonna Maria video with my friends and, well, it clicked. It became viral and the rest was history. Later, the notion of having things properly planned creeped up on me and I felt like I needed a process when, in fact, not having one was what made my success a reality in the first place. I just needed to know what I wanted and go for it, act on the tasks, and get stuff done. Reflecting on this, I see that in the process of doing what I wanted to do (make videos) I became and was a lot less anxious. In fact, doing anything productive lead to an ease in my anxiety. Even writing this blog post makes me feel at ease cause god knows I could be playing Portal 2 right now. I’ve also learned how to enjoy my leisure time, like video games, which I first saw as an escape from the mounds and mounds of overwhelming work I had to get done and now see as my release, relaxation, and reward when I’ve done something productive (there’s a masturbation joke in there somewhere).
I think it’s important that I record the course of my thinking, actions, and discoveries about myself. In my journey of self-analysis and self-discovery, I’ve learned that a lot of people hold the same anxiety, fears, and weaknesses as other people and it’s by other people SHARING their experiences that I’ve been able to improve mine. That’s why I offer my own findings so as to reach out to those in my circle and community that might think they’re not worth as much as they’re really worth. In the end, I’m comforted by the fact that this motivates me to write and take charge of my online presence over solving puzzles in a video game (even if that game is as awesome as Portal 2). So, let’s get shit done together! Well, that’s the end of this blog post, time to play some Portal 2.
TL;DR: Cure for anxiety = Getting shit done!