The Pleasure Fix

Pleasure Fix: Instantaneous gratification for the purposes of alleviating discomfort, avoiding stress, or atoning for something that, for one reason or another, induces feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression. You’ve been there: You had a long day, you want to feel good, and you don’t have the time or energy or, let’s be honest, motivation, to spend on reassessing your life choices and focusing on longer-term, bigger-picture self-improvement.

So, you pour a glass of wine, open your boxed burrito, turn on some Housewives, and go online to impulse-shop for something that will make you feel sexy. You get your fix. Your Pleasure Fix. And it feels so good…for a hot second.

Or, you know, maybe not really at all.

In fact, as usual, you end up feeling worse than you did before--because now you also feel guilty for pouring yourself that third glass the night after you fully enjoyed the weekly Thursday happy hour. Two nights in a row of mindlessly reaching for alcohol and comfort food to help you numb and “destress”...Whoops.

Then again, does Thursday’s free-for-all really count? It was your cheat day after all. And boy did you savor every bite of those gravy fries from your favorite food truck dude, those (*cough) three (?) cosmos, and even that cheap-frostinged kind-of-gross-but-it-was-there chocolate cake thing someone haphazardly slung on the table during your afternoon work meeting.

No, Thursday doesn’t really count for you, a devoted member of the “Fix of the Month Club”. October’s Fix is some 21-day no-white-foods something-or-other + P90x every damn day. Yeah, those workouts the morning after nights like last night are dicey, but you chug through, body crying and brain mindlessly screaming to move your ass because you maybe took your cheat day a little too far, you lazy slob. Or so you tell yourself.

So, yes, you deserve some pleasure in the form of your favorite “guilty” pleasures. Screw the Fix! You’re taking a break from health. You’re getting your fix. Your Pleasure Fix. And it feels so good...for a hot second.

Or, you know, maybe not really at all.

Shit. Here you are, Sisyphus again, pushing that stupid rock up that stupid gargantuan hill, reaching for that impossible goal that requires way too much effort.

For you, the idea of pleasure that truly makes you feel good in both body and mind sounds like a mythical beast, or a utopian wonderland. Countless self-help resources engage you with positive affirmations and questions like: “Are you ready to live up to your full potential? Are you ready to be the person you were meant to be? Are you ready to really change?”

Yeah, you’ve been there. For one week at a time, you are “on”: You eat, sleep, breathe, and live those inspiring words. But then you end up right back where you started, because you have too much other shit to do to spend so much time on being your best self. Who are these people who have lives that allow for such luxury?!

You’re not asking for Cloud 9 Ecstatic Pleasure here, but, for the sake of honesty--at least with yourself--you admit that yes, you do just want to feel better overall. You’re tired of the hamster wheel approach, run-run-running to nowhere. You’re tired of chasing that feel-awesome fantasy.

It’s rough out there, and sometimes it’s all you can do to get through the day. You’re not a lazy slob, you just have to play the game of Life with all of its curveballs, fouls, and strikeouts. It’s every woman for herself.

But good grief, get your act together! You can do this. Keep your eye on the prize. You can do whatever you set your mind to! You just need a Fix now and then, a filler for when times get tough. Which, come to think of it, seem more prevalent these days...

Hey, everyone needs some security blankets to help them cope now and then, right? Everyone wants to feel really good, right now.

Then again, those Pleasure Fixes never feel really good in the long run, do they? Huh…

Are those Pleasure Fixes they really pleasing you? Do they really feel good? Are they improving your quality of life? Are they helping you feel less stuck in this endless cycle of, well, avoiding just being with yourself and moving closer to what really matters to you?

Or are the Fixes kind of like that annoying college friend who dragged you to raging parties in order to “relax”, which, while fun for a moment, ended up with you on-the-edge-of-death hungover and missing classes the next day? In the end, are you devoting precious energy to cleaning up the “aftermath” of Pleasure Fixes?

Wait a minute!

  • What if you could step off the hamster wheel?
  • What if you chose to just...walk?
  • What if you chose to take a piece here, take a piece there, let this go, let that go, took two steps forward, took one step back?
  • What if you kept the terrain just a little more even-keeled?
  • What if you just allowed yourself to enjoy things that bring you pleasure in smaller doses, without needing to mainline?
  • What if you reached a point where you could appreciate Pleasure in bite-sized pieces that actually made your body and brain feel good, without feeling guilty or ashamed or without pushing yourself too far for your own good?
  • What if you could experience pleasure in ways that help you actually feel better over time?

Maybe it’s time to take just one step off the hamster wheel.

Maybe it’s time to feel pleasure for its own sake--and for the sake of your health.

Maybe it’s time to recognize that you deserve more than just a Fix.

Because you do.