꩜ earthcoil ꩜





Potential Energy

On the energy that is liberated when we change our material conditions

• Composed on

My boyfriend and I just signed the lease for a new apartment. We moved in together into my place in December, but it was really too small for two people. Our new place is 1200 square feet, which is pretty big for the city we live in - it's hard to find something that big for an acceptable price. I have started moving my stuff over, starting with my books. I always do my books first when I move.

I feel really good about all the energy that will shift with this move. Moving always upends all the stagnant energy in your life and your physical environment and forces you to pare down the things you don't need, and even upgrade to better stuff. For example, I want to get rid of my old scratched up pots and pans and invest in some nicer ones that will last for a long time and not contaminate my food with toxic materials.

It will also be the first place we moved into together at the same time, and the first place where we are both on the lease. I feel really happy about that and excited to create a nice home together. I hope that all the energy unlocked and potentiated with this change will help me gain the momentum I need to figure out what to do in other areas of my life, especially relating to my work and my income. I can't keep living the way I am for much longer, working six days a week and never having any time to rest or work on my personal projects.

I hope that by shedding all of the excess possessions and habits I don't need and doing a good job of curating my environment and activities, I can gain more energy and more clarity and make good decisions that will benefit my life. I want my life to be slower, easier, less stressful, more enjoyable. I want to have the time to enjoy things instead of feeling like my time is always running out.

I wish I could find a remote job that pays well so I could actually spend time in my home; I spend the majority of my waking hours sitting at my desk in the office, looking at this computer screen.

There's a community garden not too far away from the new apartment. I had connected with some people there when I lived at my previous apartment, but they said I didn't live close enough and probably wouldn't get priority for a plot. The new place still isn't the closest, but it's closer than before. There are also some little patches of dirt along the sidewalk and building that I can probably use. It's nice because there are only three units (a triplex), so I don't think anyone would complain that I am creating gardens in the grassy areas. Also, no one lives in the two other units yet, so I can get a head start.

I think making it more of a priority to spend my days off in nature will help me stay energized and healthy. I haven't been able to go hiking much or swim in the rivers or lakes or ocean. It is so good for you, holistically, to spend time in nature and to go barefoot, to feel your entire body surrounded by the water of the earth, to see all the different shades of green. Having only one day off per week makes it hard, and I'm constantly forced to choose between different things I want/need to do equally. Obviously, I'm also now going to be really busy with the move, which will force me to defer these plans for a while, but I think once we are all settled and moved in, I will try to spend every Saturday being in nature for half of the day and then spending the other half of the day studying for LSAT/reading for pleasure/taking care of the apartment/gardening/riding my bike.

Trying to figure out how to structure and order my life and time is like playing Tetris - I am constantly trying to eliminate systems that drain energy or time and suture everything to be as seamless as possible. Changing things often helps clear energy and make new energy available that was not available before. You might have felt this if you have ever deep-cleaned a room in your house and felt how it changed everything and allowed you to focus, allowed new possibilities to pour in. I am constantly seeking new possibilities in my life and in the world around me.

Working to Live and Living to Work

On exhaustion

• Composed on

I was feeling quite exhausted last night. I feel like the past couple of years, but especially the last six months maybe, I have been the most exhausted I have ever been. I'm not sure if it's because of the exhaustion of working two jobs finally catching up to me, some sort of long covid, the effects of running on caffeine, simply the exhaustion of getting older, or multiple of the above.

I work six days a week, and the one day off I have per week is never enough to rejuvenate myself from the depths of my exhaustion. Even if I laid in bed all day and rested and never got anything done or saw anyone or went anywhere, it's simply not enough time to rest.

Last night my boyfriend and I celebrated Valentine's Day and we got food and just hung out and parallel played like we usually do. I felt total exhaustion in every limb lying in bed and trying to read a book. I hardly had the energy to get up from bed to shower. I had a terrifying dream about trying to hide something really damning from my boss, always skirting around the edge of being discovered and revealed completely. I woke up very exhausted.

My boyfriend and I are looking for a new place, and we're going to view some apartments this weekend. We got a notice on the door that the landlord is raising the rent once the lease is up, and we were already planning on moving anyway, but it means I really would like to move out by the end of the lease. Rent is so expensive in the city where we live - it is like you spend all your time working just in order to afford rent so you have somewhere to sleep and then you get up and spend everyday away from your home, never really getting to enjoy it after all that. I spend the majority of my waking hours sitting at my desk at work looking at a computer screen; I can think of nothing more depressing or soul-crushing than that fact.

I have a meeting today to speak with some people who are trying to form a community land trust in a nearby neighborhood. A community land trust basically helps tenants buy land from landlords and then keeps rent perpetually affordable instead of constantly jacking up prices. I am really interested in trying to work with a CLT to buy an apartment building with my friends, like have a bunch of my friends try to move into the same building and then buy it from the landlord through the CLT.

For those of you who are still teenagers or in college, I hope the world will be different when you come of age, but most likely, it will be just as bad as it was and is for me. I hope more people will learn about CLTs and low equity housing cooperatives and start taking back stewardship of the land. Landlords are horrible. They do things like create a rule that says you can't apply for the apartment unless you are earning 3x the amount of rent, and the rent itself is already approaching $3,000, even for a one bedroom! So imagine: they are saying you need to be earning almost $9,000 per month in order to even be allowed to apply! The barrier to entry for being able to apply for an apartment here is earning six figures! What in the insanity!

Anyway, the levels of exhaustion I am experiencing are totally unsustainable. I am trying to see how I can change my life to make it make more sense, but there isn't all too much I can do. You have to change material conditions in order to start experiencing new things. I hope moving will cleanse and shift a lot of energy in our lives and will represent a positive new beginning for our life together in a domestic partnership. Maybe changing my diet a bit and eating more superfoods, minerals, etc. could help give me more energy as well.

I really miss being outside more. I want to do all these things, but it's so hard when I only have one day off. I also am trying to study for the LSAT, but the constant exhaustion I'm experiencing has been a major barrier to making any significant progress with that.

You Are Everything You See Around You

On the illusion of separation

• Composed on

I think so much of the suffering we experience can be traced to the illusion of separation perpetuated ad nauseum by this society and the way of life we have. Once you intimately realize and process the fact that you are everything you see around you, that you are not separate from anything, you can never un-see it.

You are unimaginably expansive, extending outward in every direction, extending inward to the innermost depths. You can never untangle yourself from the ecology of being.

The world we live in does its best to convince us that we are alone, separate, and disconnected from all else. It tries to convince us we are small. This technique is used to keep us miserable, stuck in a cycle of consumption that never leads to fulfillment. We create endless possibilities when we lean into the reality of our deep, abiding connectedness with all things. Leaning into our mutual interdependence strengths community and everyone's sense of wellbeing. We live through doing and being rather than having and possessing. We realize that the value of things can only be experienced through using it and sharing it rather than possessing it.

My highest wish for everyone is that their eyes open to this reality and they get to taste its sweetness.

Needs vs. Satisfiers

On Max-Neef’s theory of universal human needs

• Composed on

In the virtual class I am taking, we read about Max-Neef's theory on human needs, in which he delineates the difference between needs and satisfiers. Basically, he says that all human needs across history and across cultural lines are the same, but the ways in which people satisfy those needs differ. He says that there can be satisfiers that are synergistically capable of satisfying multiple needs at once, and these are the best sorts of satisfiers.

The universal human needs he lists are: Subsistence, Protection, Affection, Understanding, Participation, Creation, Identity, and Freedom. For example, "food" is not a human need, but rather it is a satisfier that satisfies our need to subsist. When you analyze the dominant society through this lens of needs and satisfiers, you come to realize how wastefully our society is constructed and how poorly it satisfies our needs.

The two categories that require the most money to satisfy are subsistence and protection. We would satisfy these with things like food, housing, clothing, running water, electricity, etc. The remaining six categories are things we can primarily satisfy in non-monetary ways, and six out of eight is three fourths of all of our needs. Yet when we consider how society is structured, we spend most of our waking hours (40+ hours for most people) working at a job that most likely isn't really necessary in order to earn enough to satisfy that other one fourth of our needs. A system in which we have to spend most of our time doing something that doesn't really contribute to the collective wellbeing in order to satisfy just a quarter of our human needs while being forced to let the other three fourths languish is not a system that makes any sense.

If we guaranteed universal free access to housing, food, and other things that satisfy our subsistence and protection needs, imagine how different the world would be. We could spend almost all of our time fulfilling the other three quarters of our needs as well as the needs of others. It costs almost nothing for the government to provide universal basic goods and services to all people. The choice not to do so is a policy choice, and it is only done in order for a handful of people to control the vast majority of monetary wealth, resources, and means of production. Why do we accept such a world when an almost inconceivably better world is not only possible but costs less?


On temporal patterns

• Composed on

It is interesting having younger Gen Z/early Gen Alpha kids in my life who are close to me and allow me a window into current youth culture. The kids were born in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2019, respectively.

Everything seems to undulate in waves, cultural ephemera cycling through coolness or uncoolness, often in ironic ways. For example, when I was in middle school, everyone wore Uggs, and maybe a little before that, when I was 9 or 10, people still wore flare jeans. Then Uggs went out of fashion for years and everyone started wearing skinny jeans. But now the girls I mentor are really into Uggs and want multiple pairs of them. They wear flare jeans and baggy jeans, Crocs, tracksuits, and other Y2K fashion that is currently dominating other trends.

I feel like I am literally re-living my late elementary and middle school years when I'm with the kids. It's sort of healing since I have so much more life experience now. I am in a position where I can offer them advice and guide their thinking and development ever so slightly. There was no one like me in my own life when I was their age, and my parents were so much older than me that their experiences didn't feel particularly relevant, not to mention I didn't trust them enough to ever tell them much about my life.

These kids tell me a lot about their lives and they trust me a lot. I let them get away with a lot and give them as much freedom as I possibly can. Kids are oppressed enough by pretty much all other adults in their lives. It is very special to get to be the adult who gives them greater access to the world and treats them with trust and gains access to their inner worlds.

Karmic Debt

On romantic love with Saturn in the 7th house

• Composed on

I think I had to pay off a lot of karmic debt surrounding romantic relationships. I went through various types of hell with the people I was involved with throughout my life until now.

I was so in love with this guy who was one of my best friends in middle school, but everything happened two years too late. He liked me back in 8th grade, but nothing ever came of it at the time, and then in high school he stopped hanging out with our friend group, sending me spiraling into depression. I remember crying in the shower so hard, the feeling like my heart had been carved out of my chest, like there was just a gaping void there. I spent the first two years of high school so depressed, everything unanswered, left open, no closure as to why he left. We ended up dating for like six months in 10th and 11th grade. We lost our virginity to each other. Then he broke up with me because he was bored, I guess, didn't really feel it, probably wanted to sleep with other girls. It didn't really destroy me much at the time because he had already destroyed me, it had already happened, he couldn't do it for a second time. We should have dated two years before we actually did. Everything happened at the wrong time.

Then in university, I was completely obsessed with this guy. When I first met him, I observed his behavior and I felt that he acted on the outside exactly the way I felt on the inside: he was so shy, so reserved, so polite, so painfully aware of his every movement. I sought out opportunities to spend time with him. I experienced limerence. I created an idol out of him in my head and I worshipped it. He had the best taste in everything, especially music and films. A lot of times he wouldn't answer my texts, and he left university after our first year, but somehow after that, I made the connection with him and we started going to shows together. He would take the train back down to the city where I still lived and he would spend the night. We would lay next to each other, no part of our bodies touching, acutely aware of each other's presence, nobody making a move. I would be dying, wishing he would reach over and touch me. My heart would break a little every time his train came, not knowing when I would see him again. It went on like this for about a year. Finally, one day when he came, it was raining heavily. We saw a film in the afternoon and went to a show in the evening. I drank a cherry beer. I grabbed his arm outside the venue and held it. When we went back to my place, we were sitting on my bed with our backs against the wall. Finally, finally, he put his hand on my thigh. I turned to him and asked him if I could kiss him, and he said yes. It finally happened. Actually, we didn't even have sex, but it was perfect. Then I ruined everything a few months later when I was really high at a rave and I texted him a million times saying really crazy things. I never saw him after that. We messaged a few times but I ruined everything. To be honest, he definitely never wanted me as badly as I wanted him. I would literally think about him all the time. He was the most perfect thing, all built up in my head, my imagination filling in so many details based on what I knew.

After all that, I started partying a lot - even more than before - to distract myself from what I had done. I ended up meeting this guy in a basement club. It turned out we were going to the same festival that summer. I saw him from across the room before he ended up speaking to me. His hair fell tapering over the sides of his face. I will always remember the way he looked, like his hair was slicing across the entire room, his eyes glittering in the scant light of the club. We started kind of dating and I liked him so much. He was older than me and could be kind of critical. He broke up with me on the train on our way to the airport going to the festival - I was camping there with him and a bunch of his friends and didn't know anyone else going. I tried to act like I wasn't upset. I kind of knew it was coming, though, because of a few other incidents at raves leading up to that, things his friends told me. After the festival, he flew back to the city we were living in and I said goodbye to him as he caught his train. I think he missed his flight going home maybe. I was staying in the city near where the festival had been with a friend. I remember dragging my luggage to my friend's place, struggling trying to figure out how to get into the building, hauling my stuff (including stuff the guy had given me that he couldn't take back on the plane) up several flights of stairs. My friend wasn't home. I collapsed at the top of the stairs next to my heavy luggage and started sobbing. I was exhausted from partying the hardest I ever had for days, finally feeling some of my feelings about him breaking up with me and everything else that had happened at the festival. Then a bunch of other really heady stuff happened - it was like I was entering a portal - I don't have time to get into all that within the scope of this post. But something entirely life changing was about to happen to me within the space of a few days. I had just turned 21 less than a month prior.

About seven months later, I had moved back to the city I grew up in. I was extremely depressed, wanted to die. I didn't know anyone in this city anymore. I stayed at home all day but started going to some raves. The rave scene was different in my hometown, more DIY, more underground. I ended up meeting this guy. We were standing next to each other in the crowd at a techno party. We just turned to each other at one point and smiled, enjoying the set. We exchanged info. I sent him the good parties I had been able to discover since moving back. We started going to a ton of parties together, started taking a lot of drugs together. He was the first person I met in the party scene in this city who felt like an actual friend. He was interested in me and eventually one night I capitulated to his interest, accepting it as inevitable, almost. We become very, very close, constantly together. He was extremely emotionally volatile, but I was just starting to see that crop up. In the beginning months, he would hold a lot of it back, but he eventually started exploding on me in paranoid tantrums, full of anger, irrational. I spent six years in a terrible, abusive relationship with him, so unable to get away from him, unwilling to give up on him, trauma bonded, unwilling to stop supporting him when I was the only thing standing between him and the worst parts of poverty. I can't get into all the details of that relationship here, either - there is just too much. But I would say this was the first person I was ever truly, meaningfully in love with in a serious way and in a way that was at least somewhat reciprocated. He wasn't all bad, and that was what made it so hard. He changed me in a lot of ways, made me better, made me want to try. He also put me through every variation of hell imaginable. The end was so loveless and bitter. I accepted and began to really digest how horribly he treated me. He didn't even try to pretend he loved me. He didn't even want to be with me intimately anymore. At some point, I finally had the ability, the strength, the acceptance, the will, the energy to cut him off completely.

I thought I never wanted to be with another person again for as long as I lived after what I had experienced with my ex. But it's really funny how the moment you're really willing to give up what is not for you, you open yourself to what is actually meant for you. Not too long after leaving my ex, I ended up in a new relationship without any effort on my part that has been so healing, so sweet, so tender, so deep. It is the love I always dreamed of and desired but could never figure out how to get for all those years.

I wanted to share this for those of you who may have experienced what I would describe as cataclysmic escapades in romantic love. When someone genuinely loves you, you know without the shadow of a doubt that it is so. There is no question left lingering in your mind. You can feel their love pervading you, you feel safe, you feel a soft swelling in your chest, feel their love in every distant corner of yourself.

If you are heartbroken, throw yourself into another area of your life, surround yourself with true friends, do things you love. Don't seek so relentlessly that it just comes at the cost of finding what will only hurt you. Nourish yourself and deepen into the truth of what you want and what makes you happy.

Infinite Regress Pyramid Schemes

On how there can never be ethical work under capitalism

• Composed on

Certain realities regarding capitalism and the current paradigm dawned on me in an even deeper way today. I recently started a short class series that is essentially about how to create a right, ethical livelihood for yourself that aligns with your values, especially regarding our relationships to each other and to the earth. Some of the people in the course mentioned wanting to do life coaching, one of the facilitators of the course does a sort of life coaching as one of her types of work, and also one of my close friends does coaching work.

As I was walking on one of my breaks today, I realized that even something as well-intentioned as life coaching (especially through the radical lenses that these people are practicing it) is itself just part of the pyramid scheme of capitalism, the slavery that is needing to earn money in order to survive. Doing life coaching work would be unnecessary if people were free from capitalism. People wouldn't need help to find a more sustainable, acceptable way to earn income if people didn't need to earn income at all. Being a life coach and getting to help people through your work is rewarding, but it's also the sort of thing where like not everyone can become a life coach, because then there would be no people left who need coaching.

The same logic can be applied to many areas, such as the legal field. For example, you might be using the law to make wrongdoers pay for their negligence and the harm it has caused, but this slap on the wrist clearly does nothing to actually address the systemic roots of the harmful behavior in the first place. Almost all of the time, the root of that harmful behavior is the way that capitalism incentivizes people to pursue profit at the cost of other people's wellbeing.

Until we are able to totally free ourselves collectively from the need to sell our labor in order to survive, virtually anything and everything we do to earn money will contribute to the workings of capitalism in a way that is inherently unethical. Once we understand this deeply and digest to what extent our lives are controlled by and enslaved to capital, we can see that the only things we are potentially doing to usher in a new paradigm are necessarily things we are not being paid to do. Thus, the more we can free our time and energy from the sadistic clutches of capitalism, the more we can liberate ourselves collectively.

When we free a significant portion of our time and energy, we can use this time and energy to organize, build radical communities, practice mutual aid, cultivate food, research and educate ourselves, and contribute in other ways to increasing our collective freedom.

Capitalism and its adherents are highly interested in keeping us exhausted, distracted, and isolated, because this means we can never gather the time, energy, and resources to build a new world that doesn't rely on capital.

What are some things you can do to free your time and energy and take back your life?

Catch 22

On the impossibility of ethical existence under capitalism

• Composed on

The more I learn and the more I come to understand about the way the world works, the more stuck I feel. I spent my entire K-12 education as a very high achiever. I always did what was asked of me. I got some of the best test scores, I constantly put forth my full effort in a way that was highly stressful for me, especially in high school. I got into a really good university. My university was so good that, for the first time in my education, I found that I was no longer one of the highest performers, but fell somewhere in the middle.

After graduating and moving back to the city where I grew up, I found it next to impossible to find work. I have spent my entire working life struggling in an unbelievable fashion. Since I started working, I have always worked multiple jobs, and even working multiple jobs, I have never been fully financially independent. I took a certificate program to enter the legal field while still working full time and working multiple jobs, up to four at a time. After two years of having almost no free time due to working and taking very time consuming classes, I finally got my first "real" job about a year ago.

I started making a bit more money, but still being paid an hourly wage as opposed to a salary. Recently, I have been having some alarm bells going off in my head. The first time, it was when I saw my case manager send in her hours and realized that after working here for almost 10 years, she still seemed to be getting paid an hourly wage instead of a salary. The second one was today when I opened my W2 and realized how little money I made this year - hardly much more than what I made at my previous job, especially factoring in how much the cost of living has gone up.

My experience coming of age and entering the workforce is pretty universal for millennials and Gen Z. It feels like we are constantly treading water, like no matter what gains we appear to make, we will never be financially stable, will never be able to buy a home, and will never be able to afford to retire. The federal minimum wage in the US hasn't been raised since 2009, but the cost of living, and especially rent in large cities, has skyrocketed. Corporations are charging more for lower quality products and services that we don't need and are pocketing the profits while refusing to pay their employees more, preferring to engage in union busting tactics whenever employees attempt to organize.

Make no mistake: we live in hell. The opportunities available to my parents and even to Gen X simply don't exist for people of the younger generations. The only way to make money is to climb the corporate ladder and give up everything you believe in and everything you think is right and good. You have to submit to the constant violence of hierarchy, sucking up to some insufferable, egotistic narcissist who controls almost every aspect of your life. There's no reason we have to live like this. There is a much better way to live by cooperating, practicing constant mutual aid, and maintaining a sustainable relationship with the land and the Earth.

I feel so much frustration spending the majority of my waking hours losing my time and energy to make someone else rich. When I get home after each grueling day, I hardly have the energy to do anything but lie in bed and look at my phone. I never have the energy to do something at the same time that I have the free time to do it. I don't know how I would find the time and the energy to start preparing to take the steps to apply for law school, which is sometimes what I feel my only option is if I ever want to make enough money to have or do anything in my life.

At the same time, I really despise the legal system and don't believe in the legitimacy of the United States or its government or its laws, given that this country was built on slavery and genocide and its laws were formulated by slaveowners.

I don't just want to personally free myself from the impossible situation I'm in, because that isn't enough; I want everyone to be free from the unimaginable oppression we live under. We are watching our lives disappear so that a handful of people can own the majority of the world's wealth. When you actually look into the numbers on wealth inequality, it is staggering and totally mind-boggling that we allow our society to function like this.

I keep coming back to these ideas: 1) I need to do whatever I can to free up as much of my time and energy as I possibly can; 2) With my free time and energy, I need to do whatever I can to help other people free themselves from underneath the heel of capitalist hell; and 3) None of us will be free until we all are free.

Delayed Emotions

On being too exhausted to feel your feelings

• Composed on

At 10pm on Sunday, my boss texted the team letting us know our office would be closed Monday. I spent the entire day in Echo Park because I was going to a class that night and didn't want to get caught in traffic. I spent most of the day reading. I read in three cafes and two parks. I felt extremely lonely. I used to do stuff like that all the time - go to a neighborhood and read alone in cafes and walk around all day. But it didn't feel satisfying yesterday for whatever reason. I didn't feel like I was discovering anything or having any sort of meaningful experience.

I felt overwhelmed being in public all day, subject to constant perception. I missed my boyfriend, who had to go to work. By the time the class started, I was tired. The class was really fun, though, and in such a nice community space.

I couldn't figure out why I felt that way. Then when I got home, I felt like my boyfriend was mad at me for the fact that I allowed a guest to stay at our place this week, and I felt very sad and drained. I drank this CBD hemp drink and it made me feel really weird and out of it, almost high. I got really tired.

Today, I still don't feel very good. I'm not sure what's wrong with me, because normally my mood is very consistently happy and good. Things don't usually get to me. I can't even remember the last time I felt like this. I think in a way, I don't feel things the way I am supposed to; I just keep pushing through hour after hour and day after day, never having pause to really integrate how things make me feel. Maybe yesterday, having the day off and spending it alone, I finally had a chance to integrate some of the feelings I haven't had time to feel for the past weeks or months.

Oftentimes, I don't realize how disenfranchised I am from my own emotional life. Constantly working under capitalism and needing to expend my energy focusing on things that remove me from my own emotional context seems to cause a delay in even having the remotest idea of how I feel, other than tired.

Inaugural Post

On nostalgia for the old internet

• Composed on

On Friday, I went down a rabbit hole at work looking at old or old-feeling website builders and online hubs. I felt this strange feeling - I felt that if I could just immerse myself in these worlds again, maybe I could feel the way I used to feel when I was 11, 12, 13, 14 years old. Certainly, today's internet of algorithms, centralization, and commodification can be very soulless and depressing compared to the joy and creativity that permeated earlier online social forums.

I found this one account on one website I happened upon, and this user seemed to feel similarly about nostalgic web experiences. I found so many platforms through this user that piqued my interest, and I decided to create some accounts. I'm not sure what I'll use each one for, if I will find a particular purpose for each one, i.e., a personal journal, a blog for more academic writing, creative writing, etc.

I don't know what I hope to find through this. It won't be the way it was before, and I guess that's not the point. But if that's not the point, I'm not sure I can articulate what, exactly, the point is. Anyway, let's see.