Your most romantic moments come from what some describe as hookup culture.
You cherish the juvenile excitement, isolated in time and ripe with ephemeral emotion.
An expiry date makes any relationship more meaningful.
You had a long-term partner once.
You had sex on LSD and the two poles of the universe came together, like a god and a goddess making magic, like the marriage of primordial energies.
You eventually ended up betraying each other, reciprocal acts of youthful folly.
Now is the age of Babylon.
You go to a woman’s place. There is something very dark in you, as you feel the imbalance in your attractions to one another.
A sense of power that both disgusts and excites you.
The tension between her insecurity and her desire is appealing.
Yours too, probably. A mutual desecration.
Now you’re a porn editor. This is your real job.
You already feet desensitized after one day,
Aligning penis strokes to achieve good continuity between shots.
Sex follows you everywhere you go. It is obsessed with you.
You’re indifferent towards it. So you think.
Now you’re an erotic model. It pays well for the amount of effort involved.
It may or may not be taking a psychological toll on you.
It starts with naked pictures, then videos.
You later find yourself on numerous porn websites.
You develop an online following of gay men.
You’re not into men.
You let a random guy at a park suck you off anyway, for the story, out of curiosity,
Or maybe just to keep accumulating experiences.
You manage to come, by closing your eyes and imagining him as a girl.
You meet a seriously gorgeous yet unassuming woman.
She acts and speaks like a female version of you,
But she seems to handle her darkness more gracefully.
She has real problems that make yours seem like the incoherent gasps of a spoiled child. You inhale her morning breath after a night of drinking and it smells good. It makes you high. Your pheromones are ridiculously compatible. Do not fuck this up.
You’re already fucking it up. You’re forever going to be a slut.
And writing those words feels good because you’re a boy.
A glorification overpowers the shame.
It’s worth being miserable to prove to your younger self over and over that you’re an object of desire.
You can manipulate your body into the shape evolution decided was worthy of reproduction.
You can make a person feel good physically, because you know how their body works, and you want them to associate pleasure in their minds with an image of you.
You can make a person feel good mentally, because you don’t care at all, and your nonchalance comes off as a warm and comforting acceptance.
You can make someone love you but only if you don’t love them back, that is the rule, that is how you learned it, it is ingrained in your being.
There is a part of your being that just wants to give, and another that just wants to take.
Now usurping the throne of the little helper – the one that made your mother stop crying – is a hungry and insensitive other.
A young prince who just learned that he is in power.
A jaded narcissus that sucks the blood out of the heart you keep trying to expand.
You pump your veins with gold that turns to lead in a perverse alchemy.
Your love is the most impure thing on this earth.
You may have something alive inside you, like an entity
That is trying to make itself known by whatever means possible
But there is a language barrier
It speaks in symbols and sensations
It shouts through the microorganisms in your gut
Slides into the grooves of traumatic patterns
What it wants may have to do with your ancestors, your DNA
With a cosmic question that yearns to be answered
A particular life that has to play itself out
Just to bring forth an understanding of that exact experience
That unique instance of human manifestation
That fragment of suffering punctuated by joy
As you look down at the green and terracotta toilet bowl, it does appear that you created a world with your innards, little trickster. There seems to be love and meaning in the outpour from your mouth, as you pray for it to be the last time. There is a soft and giving quality to it, like eating out a woman you care about. You contract your abdominal muscles with skill, just like a thousand other times, to expel and banish the things you don’t want.
Flashes behind your eyelids, your mother, the gentle therapist you pretended to be well with, the Amazon, the meaninglessness of it all.
To break the cycle you have to complete the loop. Or perhaps it is the opposite, you need to put a stick in the wheel. It’s hard to tell. These compulsions come from your childhood, when you were a little goof with boots and tights and facepaint and Tourette’s syndrome. The latter forced you to make sounds or contract your body when you didn’t want to. If you didn’t obey it the feeling was unendurable.
It’s the same now, only the demand has changed. You’re now required to absorb and discharge as much as you possibly can for no reason whatsoever.
You still haven’t found any other ritual to replace it. Nothing is as comforting, not even being cuddled in the entrails of the earth by ayahuasca, having your hair stroked by a post-coital lover, or basking in the glowing presence of friends and family on a perfect day. All of those would be enough if they weren’t tainted by the knowledge that you are, deep down, an absolute depraved piece of shit dressed up in plastic angel wings.
You want to see what lays at the end of the road of self-destruction. You are possessed by a force that wishes to see you take excess to its logical conclusion, to see if there is any paradoxical peace behind the folly of overindulgence. Slowing down has never quite worked, so maybe speeding up will bring about some kind of breakthrough.
(Spoiler alert: it doesn’t)
In fact, no yoga in a Himalayan ashram, no Amazonian jungle potion, no talk therapy and medication, no brush with death in the Andes, no long walk in the desert, no psychedelic toad venom, no witnessing of burning bodies on the Ganges, has ever been able to stop you from slowly killing yourself.
These things open up pathways, but in the end they show you that you always have a choice. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him… stop drinking.
Seeing edges on your body reminds you that your appearance is still somehow within the realm of societal norms.
You’re sitting on the floor drawing on a piece of wood, trying to delay the moment it sucks you back in.
Guzzling cheap beer because you’re trying to save up for a time in life where your shit will be together.
You picked one addiction to try and wean yourself away from another, and now you’re stuck with both.
You spend days in the sun working on yourself, and throw it away every night destroying yourself again.
You accumulated a toolbox of ways to naturally feel good, cold showers and workouts and breathwork and yoga.
But there’s this perverse attraction to derailing things.
Pretending – or acknowledging – that ‘you’ are not a thing, a project to work on, to preserve.
So you facefuck yourself with the false god you’ve forced yourself to worship.
You repaint the toilet bowl and wash the blood down your throat, with the central nervous system depressant called ethanol (packaged in easy-to-drink cans).
An indulgent ritual which hits a taboo note that the other things, the healthy things, don’t.
You can’t believe this is what life has in reserve for you, but it’s easy to detach when it feels like there’s very little choice about it.
A powerlessness, a relief.
Remember that it’s almost always easier to wait than to recover.
Reckoning with discomfort, with lack, with nothingness, is the only way.
As excruciating as it may feel.
To feel everything
That seems like a work worthy of this life
To experience every bit of this strange universe we are offered
As terrible as it gets
And love it, masochistically
It hurts when it’s good because it won’t last
And it hurts when it’s bad for obvious reasons
But the nature of the pain stays somehow sacred
And so you couldn’t not love it.
Ecstasy (from the Ancient Greek ἔκστασις “to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere” from ek- “out,” and stasis “a stand, or a standoff of forces”).
You yearn to be outside yourself, removed from the duality of forces taking place within your being. These attempts at ecstatic practices, though they may be shots in the dark, are rooted in a fundemental desire to be reuinited. Your body will be home again.
Patience, breath, and awareness of death. You repeat the refrain mentally, it seems important somehow. Staring at the ceiling – which in the darkness looks like an infinite sky punctuated by multicolor static – you are trying to remember the riddle you were asked before you were born.
Alone in a room in a stranger’s house, sober as a bird, you feel the wave of unconscious knowledge peer its elusive face around the curtain of the night. The presence feels alien and familiar at once. How much of a fool you have been to think that this voice was only to be heard through jungle substances.
You can listen anytime if you are willing, open, and courageous. Sit and witness the mystery of everything there is, so alive in its functioning, so intimate in its unfolding.