Gazing into the abyss of one’s navel

Some observations about the experience of swearing at a mirror for two hours.

My living room, although small, has the look of a ritual place to it: dark curtains towards the balcony, tottering bookshelves on both sides with books of lore, two sofas facing each other across a low table with a large candle upon it, and a fucking stag’s head mounted in the center of the wall above one of those sofas. So I decided to use it for a ritual, the long-delayed “talking to myself” thing that G. suggested (and the delaying of which she has adopted as a casus belli for sanctions).

Came back from my walk, lowered the shutters on the windows, took off my clothes (because, sweaty after walk and because, ritual), turned off all the lights, lit the candle, put my self portrait to my left and a mirror to my right, and spent two hours talking to myself. After two minutes I decided to put on some music, so I could speak louder than a whisper (the walls are paper thin here).

Despite all the LARPing, I think it turned out to be a bit of dismayingly pedestrian self-analysis. I’ve been seeing a psychologist for a couple of years now (for a while it was the only non-work social interaction of my week, besides game and family dinner), and I’ve gone over my self-loathing numerous times until it is hard for me not to dissect it using cut-rate cliches. Any observations I made about myself seemed very obvious in light of the last three days. Although I did notice that “uncle” is a stronger self-excoriation than “schmuck”.

There are benefits to speaking aloud, as opposed to writing (speed of thought and expression change the way you come across – thinking is different from speaking which is different from writing. I guess this is true even if I’m talking aloud in my head or composing an imaginary blog post in my mind). There are also benefits to talking to myself – I am more free to blabber nonsense and don’t lapse into silence as I would with someone else as my audience, because the critical circuitry is disabled. And finally, there’s also a point in setting aside time to do this, as opposed to fitting it in during a walk or drive or whatever, because it’s harder to avoid the introspection.

Not sure about the mirror, though. I started out berating myself and calling myself names and staring at the unflattered parts of my anatomy, but as I kept looking at my reflection I liked myself more and more. I’m sorta fond of that guy in the mirror, even if he is a pompous ass. But that isn’t the person behind my eyes; that’s not how I look like in my mind, and that’s not the dude I dislike. Maybe next time I should just stare into the candle flame or something.

Or maybe this really calls for mescaline.

2 replies on “Gazing into the abyss of one’s navel”

Can’t even talkback properly yet, got to let this settle in a bit, but just so you will know: admiration there is, seriously, and tons of love. And not just for the guy you see in the mirror.

Oh, also MDMA instead of mescaline.

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