King Lear, you may remember, was having a shocker of a day. And so he just thought, “Fuck it” and went and stood in the rain. In the middle of a bloody great storm. Because he was feeling contrary. Self-antagonistic. Nihilistic. So he decided to make things worse. Because sometimes, if things are a bit shit, our instinct is not to try to make them better. But to self-sabotage a bit just to see what happens. Because we are idiots.
Imagine that it’s a stressful day and you forgot to have breakfast and you are frantic and cross and, just to be an arsehole (not for crazy diet reasons, let’s be clear), you decide not to have lunch. Ha. That’ll show ‘em. Show ‘em what exactly? Shut up. And, just to add shimmer and spice so that your skin really thrums and your brain really fizzes, you pour coffee on the wound. And then wait to see what happens.
Or it’s an Autumn morning and the house is hot and you get a bit sweaty and angry trying to get yourself together and you look at your coat and you think ‘No’ because the very thought of putting it on makes you feel deranged and scratchy. Ostensibly. But, because you are a grown-up, deep down you know that by 11am you will be freezing and shivering like a rat down a drain. But you leave the coat behind anyway. Because you’re wild.
Or you pick a spot when you know that nothing good can come of it. Or you put on the bra with the underwire that stabs you under the arms after 45 seconds and might actually draw blood after a full day in the office. Or you have that extra glass (bottle) on a Monday night before a really big annoying meeting/appraisal/workout/family summit. Because when things are trying, why not behave like a bit of a toddler and make them worse. The fact that we never learn is one of the things that makes us… us. Right? Of course right.