I have been making a lot of trips there lately — to my “dark place” as I call it. I used to only go there occasionally, and always went to contemplate what the end would mean for me, for my ego. My memories of that place always have a visceral component — the urge to literally shit my pants out of fear. A coldness that passes through me and paralyses me. And then a sick sweat that breaks over my body. Fear of death. Fear of nothing. Fear of this grand adventure being over. Pure adrenaline pumping through my body at the mere thought of dying.
However, lately, when the grand adventure of life has started being kind of terrible (in circumstance), that dark place has started looking more and more appealing. A place to rest. My grandmother just went there, out into the universe. Into nothing. My grandmother is nothingness now, and I want to understand it.
There is a feeling I have just before an orgasm. A feeling where the blackness goes over my eyes and I lose all sense of my physicality. Bliss. Bliss is nothingness. Bliss is the absence of my ego when all neurons are firing and the world goes black and I get a peek behind a curtain I am not supposed to be looking behind. My partner disappears. I disappear. The pleasure is in the nothingness of that moment. It’s not the stereotypical “all my cares are gone,” no, I am the thing that is gone, and it feels fantastic.
In the past few weeks I have tried magic mushrooms, LSD, and some other psychedelic stuff. My therapist tells me that when I was on them I experienced something called “ego death.” The Buddhists call it “nirvana” and the Sufis call it “fana.” I melted into the universe…
I think I had close to 10 orgasms while I did mushrooms for the first time.
I have always intellectually been aware of my own insignificance in the grand scale of an ever-unfolding, ever-expanding, limitless cosmos. I know I am a mostly hairless little great ape who has empathy inasmuch as it is essential for my own survival. I never felt or experienced my own insignificance before psychedelics.
I am incredibly vain for no good reason other than it gives me pleasure. I like to be liked, I like to look hot, I like to be perceived as smart, witty, charming, quirky, better than others. Sometimes I wonder if that is really all the human experience is; day after day of vanity.
I love taking pictures of myself. I love looking at myself. Most of the time, I love what I see. The colour of my eyes is fucking fantastic. I went into a Betsey Johnson store today and tried on a hot little dress and some skyscraper boots with a fur coat. I am cashing in a GIC tomorrow so I can own that $350 outfit, because I felt like a glam rock star. Every inch of me was hot and sensual and powerful. I was the absolute definition of vanity at that moment.
I have been wearing these monsters around the house for absolutely no reason other than how fucking sexy I look and feel in them:
I have started doing some “light” sex work — phone sex, webcam stuff.
I don’t even know how many people I have slept with.
Earlier this year I had a bit of a sugar daddy.
These things, the sex work, the sugar daddy, the promiscuity, they appeal to my desire to be the centre of someone else’s world for just an hour or two. They appeal to my ego and my vanity. Being wanted is being powerful — being wanted means you take up space in the world of another human. Being wanted means you matter.
I have gotten really in to BDSM and power play — I have started to really love being choked during sex.
It started with my major depression and my loss of all sense of social propriety; the night about a month ago where I almost killed myself. Really, if I don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things, why would I go down this empty, unsatisfying path of trying to gain social approval with more degrees, scholarships, and accolades? Why am I doing things I hate just so people will respect me? I mean, half of my own family hates me already, so I have nothing left to lose; I’m done with expectations and standard trajectories.
The funny thing about shame is, you only feel it if you believe that others have the right to shame you. I don’t feel shame about selling my body, or much else for that matter; it is almost like I lost the ability to feel such when I fully comprehended what I am. Everything seems absurd and humorous and delightful now. I giggled to myself for about 10 minutes today about the idea that I was ever afraid to be naked in front of anyone — the absurd notion that seeing an unclothed body means something.
I want to experience pleasure on a daily basis. Real, deep, pleasure. The kind you experience in a hygge night with friends in a dimly lit bar, or when your lover bites the back of your neck. The kind that comes with smoking two joints and eating nutella crêpes. The kind that you feel when you get lost in a song or a story. The kind that comes from touch and from play and from sweat. The kind that comes from fucking someone you don’t know on a bathroom floor. These moments are the only ones that make our sad little primate brains light up with electrical impulses (the good kind).
The Danish have a set of cultural rules called the Janteloven that everyone seems to swear by; they assert it is why, out of all of the OECD countries, they are rated “the happiest people in the world.” Not a day passed in Denmark that I wasn’t reminded of these principles.
The Janteloven are:
- Don’t think you’re anything special.
- Don’t think you’re as good as us.
- Don’t think you’re smarter than us.
- Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
- Don’t think you know more than us.
- Don’t think you are more important than us.
- Don’t think you are good at anything.
- Don’t laugh at us.
- Don’t think anyone cares about you.
- Don’t think you can teach us anything.
An eleventh rule recognized in the novel is:
11. Don’t think that there aren’t a few things we know about you.
I have taken up smoking cigarettes occasionally, because I laughed for days when I read what Kurt Vonnegut said about the cancer sticks:
“The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide.“
I am pretty sure that on some level Mr. Vonnegut and I were cut from the same cloth. He understands me better than most of my friends.
I have a friend who recently confessed that he shoplifts pretty often. He said the number one thing that he took away from his experiences with petty theft is that no one is really watching you, and no one really cares; everyone is too wrapped up in their own shit, just like you are. For some reason, although I knew that, I only felt the impact of it at that moment. It took magic mushrooms for me to get over that threshold of believing I was the centre of the universe. For me to understand what I really am when it comes down to it.
I am an absurd bag of flesh and bones and blood, with hormones and impulses. I have one drive: and Freud was right when he named the basic drives of humans as sex and death, but he was wrong in thinking they are different things. They are both elimination; they are both nothingness, and nothingness is bliss. Orgasms are bliss, and death must be bliss too. It is all fana.
I am also more emptiness than matter or energy. Reading about physics will make you and atheist faster than anything in this world. From what I comprehend, there is more space between electrons and nuclei than there is matter or energy; this self is composed mostly out of the absence of anything. Sometimes when I look with my eyes I feel a black curtain falling over my surroundings and really look (with my intellect as opposed to my eyes) — I start to see the world as it actually exists — an expanse of emptiness. Bees see the world in ultraviolet. Humans see the world in matter. But the world is so much more and so much less than we could ever see with our eyes. It is there, but it is mostly made out of nothing.
There is a thought to keep you awake at night.
I am really, truly in love for the first time. I am in love with another human being who makes all of this seem a lot less terrifying. One who will stay awake with me at all hours and contemplate life and the cosmos. A kindred spirit — when I first met him I told him right away that we were “born under the same star” and we would spend the rest of our lives together. I am marrying him after only 7 months, because I just know. He is an endless source of pleasure — of elimination. I lose myself and my ego in how much I love him, and that is truly bliss.
So grandma, I am glad you found your bliss. You deserve it after all the time you put in.
Nothingness doesn’t seem so bad after all.