Logo for Courtney's weekly tea: an illustration of a purple gaiwan with purple tea leaves next to it.
the weekly tea
Bang Dong Zi Cha
from yunnan sourcing
weekly tea: bang dong zi cha
After several weekends of snow, this weekend was beautiful—temperatures in the mid-sixties and blue, sunny skies. Naturally, this meant that it was time to break out the travel tea set and go for a hike.
Mr. Milan and I did some hiking, got some vert (vertical climbing), had a snack and downed it all with tea. This is another purple tea, meaning that it is tea made from a “purple” cultivar. It's also a raw pu-erh.
The day was gorgeous. Lingering snow made the view seem particularly lovely, but the air was clear and we could see for miles. The tea was…okay. It felt a little rough and overly chewy and bitter for my tastes, but it turns out that having tea on a mountainside is the ultimate sweetener.
And me? I was feeling stompy. By which I mean this: I had set myself a task of hiking this particular trail by the end of February, and I didn't want to do it. I spent most of the hike trying to manage this by pointing out things to myself like “hey,  I'm actually enjoying this” and “look at this pretty rock formation!” etc etc and “this is part of the training program, I like the training program, I made the training program!”
None of that helped the ultimate problem: I didn't want to do it because someone told me to do it. Who, you might ask, was the horrific person who gave me this assignment?

Fueled by Spite™
I am demand avoidant, which is a very polite way of saying that if someone tells me what to do, I feel internally like a very tantrumy toddler, complete with stompy feet and a giant wail of “Noooooo!” In other words, I am motivated heavily by spite.
Demand avoidance has its benefits: the reason I dragged my self through the last 3 years of university with straight As, after dropping out twice in ignominious failure, was because the week before I started, I went out to dinner with my (ugh) boyfriend’s (derogatory) friends (ugh) and they asked what I was going to major in and I said “math” and one of them looked at me and said, “math is hard, maybe you should think of a backup plan?”
Backup plan? I don’t need a backup plan! I’m fine, thanks. I am going to kick ass! Fuck that guy! (Also, in retrospect, thanks, I guess?)
It’s really, really annoying because the “oh no someone is telling me what to do” response gets activated even if the “someone” telling me to do things is myself. I have to be really, really careful about…making plans, or coming up with ways to do things, or…like, basically anything, because the act of saying “this is what I’m going to do” makes it 82% less likely that I will do it. And this really sucks because—here is where my brain gets extremely squirrely on me—I love making plans.
I love making charts. I love doing meal plans. I love estimating how long things will take and planning out my entire day so I know how it will go. I make years' long writing plans—sometimes just one, but often two, three, five years. I probably do one every week, because, and this is key, I cannot follow one for a single day.
In fact, I can never follow any of these things. Not the meal plan, not the chart, not the day plan, and obviously not the writing plan. It helps me to think of the act of planning as something like a hobby of writing alternate universe fan fiction about a more competent version of myself.
So, in any event, I have mentioned before that I want to do a thing. That Thing is five months away now. I have been training for it (see aforementioned training plans). I have made So Many Training Plans. I have also followed the normal (for myself) number of these plans: zero. I get stompy about it. I don't wanna! You can't make me! You're not the boss of me! (In this case, “you” is “me” for added hilarity purposes.)
Why bother making plans if I know I’m not going to follow them? Well, the answer is pretty easy. I like training plans, and how am I going to get myself to stop? Telling myself not to do it? That’s not how any of this works! 
Nonetheless, I have done training. A good bit of training. In between all of this, I’m trying to figure out how to manage the part of myself that becomes a stompy child when faced with a plan, and honestly, it’s a good question, and here's the answer: I don't know yet.
I have an extraordinarily competent brain that is riddled with failure modes, and the challenge of my lifetime is to figure out how to do competence while constantly tripping over failure.
Before anyone suggests it, let me offer you an additional factor to my annoyingly contradictory brain: I can, of course, spite-motivate myself into doing things by telling myself I can’t do it, but it’s pretty rough on my mental health to constantly tell myself (or be told by others) I can’t do things. There is nothing any external person can say to me that I haven’t said to myself, except ten times worse. I have spent decades trying to get myself into a mode of mild gentleness. I don’t always succeed in being semi-kind to myself, but I really don’t need encouragement to relapse.
Also, if you haven't figured it out, please don't offer advice on how to manage this. Mostly it makes me want to not do whatever it is you tell me. You could be one hundred percent right and I will never do it, and for that reason, I ask you to never tell me anything so that the solution space I have is not restricted by what other people suggest I should try. 😆

Until next week!
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