Stressed Out about the Thing


I was getting very stressed out because I had to do the thing. Even thinking this, even remembering as I just had done that I had to do the thing, was enough to bring me out into a cold sweat. I went clammy all over. “I have to do the thing,” I thought to myself and the very moment I thought this I felt the pressure landing on me like a ton weight. I felt the tension getting its customary grip on my shoulders and jaw. My body was all seized up with the tension – I felt like my muscles had gone into some kind of spasm. They had locked solid, and I was a prisoner within them. What a wretched existence this was, I reflected unhappily – what kind of a life was this? This was no life at all.


What’s more, as I then realized, as soon as I finished doing the thing then I had to do the next thing. I had to do the next thing after that. “I’ve got to do the thing, and then I’ve got to do the next thing,” I thought to myself, and then I really did feel the pressure bearing down on me. If it had been like a ton weight before then now it was a ten ton weight. The responsibility was unbearable. It was paralyzing me – and yet I couldn’t just sit there. I didn’t have that luxury. I had to do the thing, after all. And then I had to do the thing after that. I had to do the next thing. And then after I had done the thing, and then done the other thing, then – inevitably – I knew that I had to move on the next thing after that. It was a long line of things. It went on forever. It never stopped. The pressure was unbearable, I thought – not for the first time. It was completely unbearable. How could I cope? I was a complete mess and I hadn’t even got any further than just thinking about doing the thing. I was already exhausted and crippled with stress…


Then I started to feel fed up with it all.  Very fed up. “Damn the thing,” I swore in a fit of anger, “I don’t want to do the rotten stupid thing. Shit on the thing.” And then as soon as I said this, as soon as I let this out, then it all started to come out, “To hell with the thing. I’m not going to do it. I’m not ever going to do that stupid lousy thing! They can just bloody well stick the thing…” I could hardly believe that I was saying this but I was! It was all coming out of me now. I couldn’t put the lid back on it. I was rebelling! Could this really be me, I wondered? Is this the new me? The Rebel?


It felt good to come right out and say that I wasn’t ever going to do the stupid thing. It felt good to tell them that they could stick it. It didn’t just feel good – it felt magnificent. It felt glorious. I realized that I had never really wanted to do the thing – not ever. I had always hated it. I had been made to think that I had to do the thing – more than this, I had been made to believe that not doing the thing (or even thinking about not doing the thing) was the worst thing ever. I had been made to feel that it was shameful, reprehensible, immoral, scandalous in the extreme. Totally unacceptable. Not doing the thing had been frankly unthinkable.


All that pressure, and yet – as I could now clearly see – it was all bullshit! Doing the thing was a heap of shit! I didn’t have to do the thing at all! The thing was a joke. It was a pile of crap. It was all a giant hoax! The dirty bastards had made the thing up. They had just been putting us on – there was no need to do the thing, and then rush to do the other thing, and then the next thing after that! That was all crap! They had been conning us, they had been putting one over on us, and – no doubt – having a great laugh amongst themselves at the same time. The dirty lousy bastards…


The liberation of this moment! The sweet, sweet taste of freedom. There really is nothing like it, I realized. Words can’t describe it. You would have to feel it yourself to know what I am talking about. It was ineffable. Tears came to my eyes, and I was content simply to sit there, marvelling.


But then a while after that the guilt started to creep in. It got quite bad. In fact it got very bad, cripplingly bad, and so – rather shamefacedly – I got up from where I was sitting and started back to doing the thing…












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