50 Things I Wish I Wouldn’t Do

  1. I wish I wouldn’t need prescription glasses.
  2. I wish I wouldn’t be unable to pee if there’s someone in the public bathroom with me.
  3. I wish I wouldn’t be 5’7’’.
  4. I wish I wouldn’t get mad at my girlfriend for being bad with directions.
  5. I wish I wouldn’t get shaky around confrontation.
  6. I wish I wouldn’t have standards for physical beauty so strict and unrealistic that even my girlfriend isn’t immune into falling into negative, unwanted categories.
  7. I wish I wouldn’t have a belief in the capacity of logic, reason and personal change so strong that it seems sometimes to limit my emotional intelligence to just above ‘Asperger’s.’
  8. I wish I wouldn’t drink so much.
  9. I wish I wouldn’t have hair that never seems to fall naturally and gracefully that way the hair of attractive people does.
  10. I wish I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to buy a MacBook Pro when my grandfather was buying.
  11. I wish I wouldn’t ‘punish’ my girlfriend for things that don’t matter, like not understanding what amounts to a math problem, or for being confused about what to me seems quite clear.
  12. I wish I wouldn’t blame my girlfriend for feeling ‘off.’
  13. I wish I wouldn’t get depressed.
  14. I wish I wouldn’t be so self-aware that I seem to experience less genuine emotion than I would if I was less self-aware.
  15. “I wish I wouldn’t have to look in the mirror before I left my apartment.”
  16. I wish I wouldn’t find it next to impossible to emotionally connect with my dad.
  17. I wish I wouldn’t be making less than $15,000 a year at age 26.
  18. I wish I wouldn’t have this thing in my head that seems to automatically categorize each thought that runs through my head by what the corresponding movie scene or sentence in a novel would look like while I’m thinking that thought.
  19. I wish I wouldn’t participate in my girlfriend’s indecisiveness.
  20. I wish I wouldn’t genuinely believe that my destiny in hierarchical organizations is “little bitch who gets shit on.”
  21. I wish I wouldn’t brush my teeth only once a day.
  22. I wish I wouldn’t find many social conventions simply incomprehensible and as such appear maladjusted and socially incapable.
  23. I wish I wouldn’t shut down emotionally when I’m around my mom.
  24. I wish I wouldn’t have bad posture.
  25. I wish I wouldn’t want to cheat on my girlfriend.
  26. I wish I wouldn’t be incapable of dancing, laughing uncontrollably, yelling, screaming, fighting, or losing an argument without feeling embarrassment and shame.
  27. I wish I wouldn’t have to look in the mirror before I left my apartment.
  28. I wish I wouldn’t have crashed my former roommate’s car and then never compensated him for his consequent increase in insurance.
  29. I wish I wouldn’t have had a phase where I was addicted to pot.
  30. I wish I wouldn’t be 135 lbs.
  31. I wish I wouldn’t rely on the internet for validation, the meager surface-level fulfillment of sexual fantasies, money, and happiness.
  32. I wish I wouldn’t masturbate to porn.
  33. I wish I wouldn’t monitor my thoughts as much as I do.
  34. I wish I wouldn’t mysteriously ‘shut down’ for weeks in regards to writing, ideas for writing, ability to show emotion, and ability to feel anything other than a vague depression and intense indecisiveness.
  35. I wish I wouldn’t be incapable of writing about feelings of meaning and joy, instead only capable of writing about negative, pessimistic concepts that I know and understand.
  36. “I wish I wouldn’t be so obsessed with ‘authenticity'”
  37. I wish I wouldn’t be seemingly incapable of picking out the ‘right’ eyeglass-frames.
  38. I wish I wouldn’t be so sensitive to my emotional state that if I begin to have some unfettered experience I quickly, uncontrollably adjust and start perceiving it through a number of identity-related ‘lenses’ which in effect make the experience largely filtered and what, paradoxically, one of my ‘filters’ (i.e. lenses) calls “inauthentic.”
  39. I wish I wouldn’t feel embarrassed/ ashamed of my height.
  40. I wish I wouldn’t immediately think about how I would look if I was in a movie every time I begin to cry.
  41. I wish I wouldn’t have made a complete ass of myself the first time I met my girlfriend’s parents.
  42. I wish I wouldn’t be the type of person that lets one (self-perceived) embarrassing or unseemly situation fester and eventually create a large gap between myself and a friend and never again attempt to bridge that gap until it is somewhat forgotten about, then just hope we avoid referring to it the next time we hang out.
  43. I wish I wouldn’t have sold all my clothes before I left for Central America.
  44. I wish I wouldn’t get angry at my girlfriend for worrying incessantly.
  45. I wish I wouldn’t subtly manipulate my girlfriend – by the most subtle tweaks in demeanor and shifts in tone-of-voice – into thinking that she was stupid for things like getting a piece of food on her face, for example, or missing a belt loop.
  46. I wish I wouldn’t feel averse to physical contact with my close friends.
  47. I wish I wouldn’t by my nature be the type of person that is fundamentally and/or inescapably ‘alone’ in a very real, terrifying sense of the word.
  48. I wish I wouldn’t be a person that was sometimes unable to control the giant rush of thoughts running through his head in the middle of the night.
  49. I wish I wouldn’t perceive myself as a person with a highly limited capacity to feel emotion and genuinely believe that the worldviews I’ve consciously chosen and believe are “right” logically lead to me having a highly limited capacity to feel emotion.
  50. I wish I wouldn’t have days where everything seems great for reasons so abstract that I can’t understand them, yet know those days are limited, and know they represent a sort of microphase, and then wake up one morning to find that those days have inexplicably passed and that I am now, confusingly (even though I had recognized I was in a ‘phase’) in the days where everything seems against me and existentially fucked, for reasons so abstract that I can’t understand them, yet know those days are limited and know they represent a sort of microphase, and then wake up one morning to find that those days have inexplicably passed [etc.].
  51. I wish I wouldn’t become despondent toward my girlfriend but at the same time be capable of going out with my friends and talking so much that I feel embarrassed about it the next day.
  52. I wish I wouldn’t be so obsessed with “authenticity.” TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • brendan

    I know how you feel and can relate to more of these points than I'd imagine I was going to, which also means there are many other people who can relate to many of the things you're mentioning here. This is comforting to me. I hope it's at least a little comforting to you too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bee-Goode/100001676566533 Bee Goode

    1.I wish I was little bit taller,

    2. I wish I was a baller

    3.I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her

    4.I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a '64 Impala

    5.I wish I was like six-foot-nine So I could get with Leoshi Cause she don't know me but yo she's really fine You know I see her all the time Everywhere I go, and even in my dreams
    I can scheme of ways to make her mine Cause I know she's livin phat Her boyfriend's tall and he plays ball
    So how am I gonna compete with that 'Cause when it comes to playing basketball I'm always last to be picked And in some cases never picked at all So I just lean upon the wall Or sit up in the bleachers with the rest of the girls Who came to watch their men ball Dag y'all! I never understood Why the jocks get the fly girls And me I get the hood rats I tell 'em scat, skittle, skibobble Got hit with a bottle And put in the hospital, for talkin' that mess I confess it's a shame when you livin' in a city That's the size of a box and nobody knows yo' name Glad I came to my senses Like quick-quick got sick-sick to my stomach Overcome with my thoughts of me and her together Right? So when I asked her out she said I wasn't her type

    6.I wish I had a brand-new car So far, I got this hatchback And everywhere I go, yo I gets laughed at
    And when I'm in my car I'm laid back I got an 8-track and a spare tire in the backseat But that's flat
    And do you really wanna know what's really wack, What See I can't even get a date So, what do you think of that? I heard that prom night is the bomb night With a hood rat you can hold tight But really tho' on figuero When I'm in my car I can't even get a hello Well so many people wanna cruise Crenshaw on Sunday Well then I'm gonna have to get in my car and go You know I take the 110 to the 105
    Get off on Crenshaw tell my homies look alive Cause it's hard to survive Livin' in a concrete jungle and
    These girls just keep passin' me by She looks fly, she looks fly Makes me say my, my, my

    7.I wish I was a little bit taller…

    8. I wish I was a baller…

    9.I wish I was a little bit taller y'all

    10. I wish I was a baller

    11. Hey, I wish I had my way 'Cause everyday would be a Friday You could even speed on the highway
    I would play ghetto games Name my kids ghetto names Little Mookie, big Al, Lorraine Yo you know that's on the real So if you're down on your luck Then you should know just how I feel Cause if you don't want me around See I go simple, I go easy, I go greyhound Hey, you, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down Ahhhh, yes, ain't that fresh? Everybody wants to get down like that

    12. I wish, I wish, I wish…

    • Nanaimobar

      tee ell dee arr

  • dude

    I'm pretty sure “feel(ing) averse” is redundant. Feel is built into the concept of aversion, isn't it?
    … I hope this doesn't make you even more self-conscious.

  • memememememememememe

    I wish you were authentic too.

    • fg


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    this is sweet

  • Mike

    Can you be above the poverty line and write here?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kfelicetti/ Kristen Felicetti

    I like this. I like how it's sort of a weird and passive take on a New Year's resolution list.

  • Jay

    It's like I wrote this, minus the girlfriend (who could be replaced by a number of people in my life I treat that way). It kind of makes me want to cry. Thank you.

    PS I wish I was taller too. Guys 5'10 and over don't understand what an advantage that is.

    • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper

      Just want to dunk.

  • jd

    Sounds like you should be nicer to your girlfriend.

  • Uhnonnymus

    Stopped reading this halfway through. Quit whining and man the fuck up.

  • Laura

    This list made me wish I was more in tune with my emotions. Damn you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505759069 Julian Tully Alexander

    There are some haters. Whatever, haters gunna hate. I like how this is deeply personal but I found myself relating to a lot of issues on the list.

    I do feel sort of bad for your girlfriend. :/ I also do or have done a lot of those things too.

    We are “fucked.”

  • Joy

    Man, I feel bad for your girlfriend.

  • Oprah-Paul Sartre

    “Becoming (existentially) authentic is first of all a matter of lucidly grasping the seriousness of your own existence as an individual – the raw fact of the ‘I exist’ – and facing up to the task of making something of your own life.”
    Charles Guignon, University of South Florida

    brandon, is this the kind of “authenticity” you are referring to? just curious.

    btw, it seems like deep and constant self reflection is the source of a lot your sad feelings, it also seems like deep and constant self reflection is the source of a lot your writing endeavors. facing the absurdity of life and making something of it is the most we can do. keep living and keep creating man. not sure why i'm getting all motivational on your ass but whatever.

  • Jordan

    I'm a pretty big fan of yours, but this is a little intense. Not always in a good way. Be nicer to your girlfriend.

  • Chrissa

    #48 sounds a bit like bipolar disorder…

  • Nanaimobar

    i thought this was pretty cool don't listen to the lame people.

  • http://sixmetamorphoses.blogspot.com/ Jordan

    Wow, a lot of comments about being nice to your girlfriend. If it makes you feel any better, I couldn't care less how you treat your girlfriend.

    • Jonny Ross

      are you the same Jordan that seven hrs ago wrote “Be nicer to your girlfriend.”?

      • http://sixmetamorphoses.blogspot.com/ Jordan

        Nah. That level of cognitive dissonance would make my head explode.

  • http://exitclov.tumblr.com exitclov

    I couldn't even finish this, I'm sorry–and I normally like your work. This has #whiteboyproblems written all over it. I really hope your girlfriend reads this. Like, homegirl needs to know.

    • Brandon Gorrell

      my girlfriend reads these. i think sometimes my articles come out as harsh against her or relationships in general but i think that might be because it is somewhat unusual or unconventional and i think disarming to think about these things and recognizing that they happen (like blaming her for trivial things, or whatever) and then point them out in the effort
      of recognizing and fixing them

      when most people read that i understand that sometimes i'm petty and do whatever shitty thing and then feel pissed at myself for it i think they first ignore that i'm pissed at myself for it and then they interpret it as me being a total fucking asshole and doing whatever 'bad' thing i've recognized myself doing 'all the time,' like every day, without any awareness or what i am doing

      when instead they could by like one extra step in logic come to the conclusion that i am only recognizing these things about myself and about my relationship/relationships in general and at the same time fighting against the notion or cliche of 'the right one' or 'soulmates' or 'happily ever after' and that this is a good thing to recognize because before you fix problems you need to understand them and to accept that a relationship is 'allowed' to be hard is to give yourself room to be honest and work on problems clearly and not develop 'secrets' and not develop not-agreed upon 'rules' or 'conditions'.

      i think actually most relationships are so far gone from the capacity to identify what is clearly happening on both a minute and large-scale basis regarding interaction and behavior
      and how that can have an affect on joint problem solving and etc that instead of talking about them and understanding them nothing happens but two people getting more steadily depressed or unsatisfied because the interaction gets locked up and things become 'shameful' and emotions become 'secrets' (because of the ideal they're holding onto) and people really grow apart

      my writing about relationships almost always comes out of conversations i have with my girlfriend and what we have identified together or what i have identified and then told her about. i think the stuff i talk about is really normal relationship stuff, it's just that many people feel averse to 'admitting' it or want to deny that they have had an unfaithful thought or that they once made their significant other feel stupid because it felt good to them that when they see it written out on the page their ideal about long-term relationships is being questioned (or they have never been in a long-term relationship in which the two parties have the joint goal of being 100% honest with themselves and eachother)

      anyways it's really annoying to me when people are like “i feel bad for your girlfriend” presuming that my life is exactly and solely the things that i write on the internet and instead of viewing me as a complete human being that is not simply a collection 0f worked-on and edited thoughts or paragraphs and presuming that my girlfriend who i speak of is [anything]

      that was in response to all the people that commented about my girlfriend and how they felt bad for her.

      • Manam


      • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

        you are extremely self-aware. a lot of men experience these things and are completely in the dark about it, while others are all too aware. maybe they [completely in the dark humans] experience a nagging somewhere deep within them but are unable to build upon the 'why.'

        i find a lot of your writing extremely illuminating (as a human who identifies with it) and i applaud your ability to expose/leave yourself vulnerable to the world, regardless of negative feedback and being judged.

        unfortunately, by the very nature of the internet/writing and subjecting an audience to your words they are not going to see you as a “complete human being” but 'merely' as you present yourself to them through your writing. i hope that made some sense without elucidating further, i have an incoming gchat requiring attention…

      • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

        ^concentration killer

      • memememememememe

        what's it like to publish the first thing that comes to mind?

  • Madison Moore

    this is so rad, rad because it's real.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Parker-Baldin/516709205 Parker Baldin

    this was heartening. constantly smoking pot can suck. feels inevitable, or something. good article

  • julie

    4848484848484848. 48 – yes. If only it was less erratic.

  • http://www.smokingonanemptystomach.blogspot.com Jordan

    I wish I wouldn’t have a belief in the capacity of logic, reason and personal change so strong that it seems sometimes to limit my emotional intelligence to just above ‘Asperger’s.’


    i liked this piece, good job

  • http://twitter.com/ponchopeligroso Poncho Peligroso

    holy shit

    • http://richardchiem.wordpress.com richardchiem

      this is funny, following those huge analytical comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Fiveoseveniam-Lazaroff/7706828 Steven Fiveoseveniam Lazaroff

    this meant a lot to me. thank you.

    some of the enumerations (as well as, just in general, your other writings remind me of this quote in some eulogy for david foster wallace: “”He talked about how difficult it was to be a novelist in a world seething with advertisements and entertainment and knee-jerk knowingness and facile irony. He wrote about the maddening impossibility of scrutinizing yourself without also scrutinizing yourself scrutinizing yourself and so on, ad infinitum, a vertiginous spiral of narcissism — because not even the most merciless self- examination can ignore the probability that you are simultaneously congratulating yourself for your soul-searching, that you are posing. He tried so hard to be sincere and to attend to the world around him because he was excruciatingly aware of how often we are merely “sincere” and “attentive” and all too willing to leave it at that. He spoke of the discipline and of the abrading, daily labor such efforts require because the one imperative that runs throughout all of his work is the intimate connection between humility and wisdom.”)

    • Manam

      I think that quote is a cop-out. A personal affliction of David Foster Wallace compounded to a contemporary cultural problem, when it's just him and other individuals with similar personalities. To desire authenticity is to have a very particular worldview, not necessarily to spell out how the world is as a whole. There are other ways of seeing the world. For example, you can either choose to focus on reacting against what is contrived, or you can create a unique way to interact with and interpret the physical world. Literature went on effortlessly during and after his time, in America and elsewhere. I don't agree at all with the idea of it being difficult to be a novelist in our times. It was just hard for him because of his personality and how his brain worked. He had an obsessive temperament and too great a fear of being 'caught out' by words. But not every writer is like that and that doesn't necessarily make them less enlightened.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Fiveoseveniam-Lazaroff/7706828 Steven Fiveoseveniam Lazaroff

        that's fair, man. i wasn't really too attached to the scope of the words, i.e. directed to writers. course, i was saying bsg's writing here (and elsewhere) reminded me of dfw. but i dont think every writer striving for authenticity or sincerity necessarily goes through this process. 'was just that the 'eulogy' touched me and i see (saw) something of it in brandon's work.

        but i dont think the quote itself, as such, is a cop out. you seem to be implying a scope from it that i dont see. when the writer says, “He talked about how difficult it was to be a novelist,” i don't read this as dfw or the writer articulating some distinct universal philosophy of writing. if it is anything of the sort, it seems more like sartre's, ” For in effect, of all the actions a man may take in order to create himself as he wills to be, there is not one which is not creative, at the same time, of an image of man such as he believes he ought to be.” i dont think dfw was arrogant enough to be capable of the dogma you're feeling.

      • Manam

        Oh, okay. I see your point.

      • Brandon Gorrell

        i like that quote, reminds me of his story “good old neon” which is really good, what is that quote from?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Fiveoseveniam-Lazaroff/7706828 Steven Fiveoseveniam Lazaroff


        i'll have to check that story out. havent gotten to his short story collections yet. i feel like i remember “good old neon”/the short story collection containing “good old neon” won/was nominated for [insert prestigious american literary award a].

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Fiveoseveniam-Lazaroff/7706828 Steven Fiveoseveniam Lazaroff


        you're going to laugh when you read that salon link.

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