Hate reads as scab picking

Friday afternoons and the circadian rhythms of self-sabotage

Ariel Meadow Stallings
8 min readAug 8, 2023

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It happens every Friday: Sometime in the late afternoon, I start to pick at the scabs.

Restless and worn down from the week, I start to feel aimless and unhappy, tired, but somehow also antsy. I’m uncomfortable and feel in need of diversion.

I know that this is the same feeling, at this same time, that motivates people worldwide: happy hours, siestas, high teas, and 4:20 stoner sessions are all a product of this same feeling, at this same time.

It’s that late afternoon feeling that gets a little extra existential on Fridays, for some reason.

As someone who works both a day job and a side hustle, there’s no reason Friday should mark the “end” of my workweek. Many weeks, I work on Saturdays, so there’s no reason that Friday afternoons should do it to me, other than the fact that I’m a nondualistic human in a soup of universal flow and so everyone else’s Friday afternoon becomes my Friday afternoon.

Just as my body is a tide pulled by the gravity of the moon, my mind is a thoughtform wave that’s pulled by the cultural gravity of my broader environment.

Whatever the reason, come Friday afternoon I’m uncomfortable, and I turn to my favorite mental ruts and forms of compulsive self-sabotage.

My vestigial addiction: hate-reads

On an uncomfortable Friday afternoon, I want distractions, and I want them now. I’m not a drinker these days, and while I occasionally smoke weed, it’s a gentle high I prefer more for recreational/motivational purposes than palliative pain relief purposes.

The habitual vices I turn to on a Friday afternoon are less chemical, more mental. I might not pour myself a stiff drink, but my unbridled unhappy racehorse of a mind would like to get wasted, thanks. But my self-sabotage isn’t a chemical — it’s compulsive negative thought.

Ah! Negative mental loops: like a dive bar that never closes — and with free drinks!

My Friday mental loops often lead me online, to hate-reading.

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Ariel Meadow Stallings

I'm a Medium product manager, but also a whole-ass person: author, publisher, devotional dancer, Seattleite, mom, and just a human humanning.