Dispensing with scalpels
Spring has sprung, as they say. As it did last year, with a lot of palpable enthusiasm and joie-de-vivre from everyone, myself included.
I’ve been on a bit of a trip for the last couple of weeks, to be honest, and a pretty enjoyable one at that. Microdosing has helped, although dosage management is still a work in progress, as is finding my centre when everything gets too colourful and life starts to spin.
The nicest thing it does is take the edge of the kind of emotional triggers that I would normally have an outsized response to, which is great because it makes me feel like there’s more coherence between what is actually happening to me in the present, and how said things are making me feel. Best of all, it helps me embrace the absurdity of human behaviour -- myself and everyone around me, too.
“I hope what you are doing now sucks. Like you just found out you had overdue taxes, or wound up in a cult. And not a good cult, a crappy, bougie, hemp-smelling one,” was a text message I sent to someone who had ghosted me after approaching me on a night out with all the usual, probably drug-fueled effusions that disappeared as quickly in the light of day (ok, a couple of days) as they had materialised in an evening of hedonism.
I liked my silly takedown because it matched the circumstance: I didn’t wish anything heinous on this person, I just wanted them to feel as irritated and nonplussed as they had made me feel, releasing them from my orbit of frustration as efficiently as they had wormed their way into my consciousness.
Most importantly, I didn’t really internalise it. The thing with being a desirable object under such circumstances is that the attraction is so skin deep, you are so thoroughly fungible that you have to make peace with that fact. And likewise, the person you are engaging with is not really a fully formed person yet, but, if things are going well, probably a mirage of all the things you’d hope them to be that reality will slowly (or extremely quickly) chip away at until you’re left with something far more cringy and real.
Did I mention that I went on a couple of dates with someone who turned out to be almost a decade older than they claimed to be? Just, don’t brazenly lie to an investigative journalist. Just don’t do it. No witty takedown sent to that guy, just lots of thoughts on the topic of the false self. Is this what we’re all doing now? We’re so wrapped up in the veneers of ourselves that we present in such jarring and discombobulating forms, that sort of, help us hurtle from one potemkin-village of dopamine kick to another, that we are completely incapable of seeing ourselves or being seen at all? But anyway, I am trying to psychoanalyse people less, especially recreationally. “Stop trying to dissect people, embrace their mystery,” my therapist advises.
Because this endless scrutiny takes up a lot of needless bandwidth, and I’m starting to accept that there’s just so much I can’t control, and even if I can figure out why someone behaved in a certain way, it doesn’t really give me as much power or protection over the interaction as I’d like. As they say, the only thing I can control is myself, (and how funny my takedowns are). And anyway, it’s all matter.
It’s all stuff for all of us to churn through as we figure out what it is that’s supposed to matter to us, what’s supposed to stick. And as my therapist keeps reminding me, none of this ‘getting out there’ is in pursuit of a 'soul mate', it’s alchemisable exposure therapy, and it’s getting easier and easier. And sometimes, also kind of fun.
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A Berlin-based writer engages in the study of belonging and in-between places after years spent faraway from 'home'.