Or whatever Descartes said.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I have found myself drawn more to the throwaway simplicity of Substack; my creative (?) thoughts are sporadic and I have a very short attention span, even when it’s for myself. When I lay down at night, I jump from memory, to thought, to scene two in that same thought, to scene three, back to scene one to find out how else it could have played out, to a different thought altogether, to a horrible scenario that I hope will never happen but I’m now prepared for in case it does. Long blog posts don’t really do it for me, and I know they don’t really do it for anyone else, either. I talk about things succinctly (but often), I think about things forever and then write about them succinctly (I hope) (but often). Other times, there is waffle.
This is one of those times.
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been writing anything over the past couple of weeks because I’ve had fake nails on. I don’t know how you were expecting that sentence to end, but I know it wasn’t like that – maybe you expected simple writer’s block, being bogged down with work, a crisis in the family. And all of those things are true, but, for a writer, not nearly as debilitating as having long nails that prevent you from typing efficiently on the horrible flat butterfly keys of a 2015 Macbook that just won’t die. Let’s not tempt fate now, though, because, being older and closer to real adult life, I can’t afford my Macbook to die on me the same way I could when I was 19 and didn’t want to think about the future. I used to look into the future and see a black screen because, as far as I was concerned, I should have been dead already and anything that was to happen after that is a miracle in itself. Maybe miracle is the wrong word. Now, I look into the future and I panic because I wasted so much time being dead inside that I now have so much catching up to do; now, I look into the future and it’s not just about me – now, I see the white picket fence. Not really a white picket fence because, living in London, I know a small Tesco lorry will probably back into it and ruin everything. Maybe a big, strong, robust wall. And some barbed wire. And lots of CCTV and gates and deadlocks. Maybe a rottweiler.
I digress. But it’s also a nice illustration of how my thought process works. I get antsy, I can’t sit still. I get anxious, I get frustrated, I don’t know how to be calm. I am, quite simply, all over the place, all the time.
But sometimes, all the chaos must come to a stop and I am nowhere.
Dissociation, for me, is a scary thing – mostly because it detaches me from my body and throws me back in with a million more questions and anxieties that I didn’t have before.
I don’t like to use the words ‘hyper-aware’ because it’s another buzzphrase that the Twitter-woke likes to use to try and convince themselves they’re different, that they’re more perceptive than everyone else. You’re not special and you’re not different; you can’t read minds, and you don’t ‘think like a man’. Your mind doesn’t work so differently to everyone else’s (not in the way you think, anyway), and you’re not as fucked up as you wish you were. People don’t fear being crazy anymore. Au contraire; they fear being normal – actually, they fear being perceived as normal. Being boring, being generic and vanilla, blending into the background is unthinkable to a narcissistic generation that depends on validation and attention to survive. Everyone wants to be different to everyone else. Everyone wants to be the poor soul that can turn around to people and say ‘I’m weird. I’m a weirdo’. Or whatever that wannabe-weirdo said. You just won’t get it, I’m different. I can think a certain way and I’ve been through a lot. Everybody wants to be misunderstood until they’re staring down into murky waters waiting for the teenaged boy to walk away so they can jump. Spoiler alert: the teenaged boy doesn’t walk away until you leave because he knows why you’re staring into the water. You look like a weirdo.
I think dissociation is normal to a degree, and I refuse to believe that anybody who is even slightly curious about the condition of life has never dissociated for a second. I dissociate often, and I don’t just mean staring at a blank wall wondering if life ever stops being meaningless. Life is no longer meaningless for me, but I’ve come too far to suddenly melt back into this flesh prison I call my body. I mean staring into a mirror and saying ‘who the fuck is that’. Quite literally. Who the fuck is that. Is that me? I do not recognise this person in the mirror. It gets scary, but I let it happen until the fear really sets in. It’s humbling to watch yourself from the outside; it’s humbling to remember that you are nothing. You are your heart and your soul and all the memories and thoughts, you are all the things you can’t put into words and materialise, housed in a vessel that can be easily destroyed.
It’s at that point you can either let that knowledge throw you into madness and kill you, or – as cringey as it is – make you stronger. I believe there’s a short window in which to pull yourself out of dissociation; when you cross the line, you’re venturing into psychosis.
And then there’s no easy way out.
Now Playing: Change – Deftones