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Hell is other people.

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation it left me with an activated sense of constrictive devilishness and a bunch of insights.

Let’s go back in time for a moment - about 50 minutes before that conversation begins. I am in anticipation, as the person I will be speaking to oddly resonates with me. This resonation is reinforced by a chain of synchronicities making my projection machine run on full power. To give you a little context, I came across his work not long time ago and almost immediately I felt slight to moderate levels of annoyance in reaction to his writing. The words he used seemed careless sometimes rude and almost offensively egocentric. I didn’t trust his honesty and interpreted it as arrogance. He presented himself being very open, exposing vulnerability but somehow for me it all sounded suspicious. It is unusual for me to have such strong reactions but in those rare moments when this happens, usually it leads me to interesting insights and encounters. As I was ruminating on this feeling, I realised that things that are most annoying to me, point out to my personal traits that I recognise but want to push away from my awareness. His writing became a mirror to point out small, and sometimes big, shadowy sides I prefer to avoid. I like the dramatic dynamic it produced, with irritation and annoyance being the main characters of the play. It made me think of the origins of drama, with its objective to delight and instruct. Primary function of drama was to help people to deal with complex emotions, rationalising them by projecting onto performers and do so in the most plausible way. What if the performer is not an actual performer but a real person? Is there even such a possibility?

And now, back to the present moment. As I am waiting for the conversation to begin, I will use the moment to indulge in the anticipation anxiety and feel how the excitement slowly fills up my body. First there is coldness in my limbs, tingling and discomfort in my belly. I feel like having a bite. I fill my stomach with some nuts but instead of satisfaction I experience heaviness.

I am not hungry, I am nervous.

I notice that I am seeking refuge in a snack to numb my worries even when I become aware that it doesn’t work. Delicious insight along the way. I feel dryness in my mouth and as the time approaches, the feeling of cold contaminates my whole body making the burning sensation in my chest more apparent. The discrepancy between the cold and the hot is so strong that I feel slightly surprised. Don’t recall noticing it before. I catch a few waves of excitement, one from the chest through the throat dissolving in my mouth, two from the chest through the throat dissolving in my mouth, three from the chest through the throat dissolving in my mouth. They always come in three, I count patiently and look at the clock. Another 10 minutes, just enough to wander in my thoughts without it being overpowering. What am I actually afraid of? Meeting a new person? Having an honest encounter? Afraid to disappoint someone I don’t even know? Or maybe it is fear to disappoint myself, as I feel being seen in the mirror I mentioned earlier? A fear to see my own hell reflected in the other. Silly paralysing fear inflicted by self-importance turning a person into a performer.

Few minutes left. I better make sure technology is not failing me, another anxiety booster on top of everything. Another mirror to keep in mind. But that’s another story.

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