This is disturbing but I feel like I really needed this lockdown to rest and have a bit of time for myself. It’s sad to realise how restless, stressed and tired I’ve been for the past 8 years.
Truth be told, I am enjoying having to stay at home. At first I thought this was perhaps a sign that my entire life, I’ve actually been an introvert, or even an outright anti-social person. I remembered that even as a little child, I always felt it was easier to be a good child or a Christian in my room than in school, around other kids. Now, in isolation, I’ve been a lot calmer. I even felt that I didn’t really have to go see the women to be purified.
There have been situations when I made myself miserable because I felt obliged to care, and other times, when I was too overwhelmed to care and just needed to numb myself, but I’ve been quite good at following the advice the women gave me at the start of the quarantine – they said I should detach myself from both caring and not caring. I’ve come to the conclusion that, at this point in time, I have to do things neither out of altruism, nor out of selfishness – I have to do them out of necessity.
But what does this mean for my goals, dreams and desires? Do I just stop caring about them too? Should I finally stop torturing myself over what I should be pursuing – love? children? science? creativity? money? The answer I thought was: now, more than ever, I need to be a truth seeker and a truth teller, because in such uncertain times, the truth gets clouded by people’s desire for certainty. So, I guess, I should just keep calm and carry on in the pursuit of my own truth.
it’s nice to feel like a master of Stoicism, but these thoughts are suspiciously unoriginal. Have I embodied someone else’s thoughts to the point that they have become my truth? What if I could purify myself of all the philosophies I’ve been inspired by, who would I be? Would I be more truer? Would I even be talking to Dionysus if I had never read Nietzsche?
And so, feeling quite calm and philosophical and only slightly concerned, I went to the club – more out of curiosity than out of a need to be purified. I struggled to die but didn’t think much of it – it must have been due to the general sense of calm. I was ready to leave after a few deaths and saxophone solos but wanted to catch up with Dionysus as we haven’t really talked or been intimate lately.
“You’ve been coming here but it’s been a long time since you really came and was actually present.” He said sounding disappointed and slightly concerned.
“What do you mean, Dionysus? I’ve been following the advice, I’ve been doing things right. Can it be that I just don’t need the Club as much now?”
He looked at me in disbelief: “You don’t think you need the Club now – of all times? You’re stuck and you’re mistaking it for being calm. You haven’t been feeling the music. You’ve been thinking too much as you’re trying to make sense of a confusing situation. Thinking is a way of protecting yourself against feeling. You’re hurting yourself because you’re actually staying away from the truth. Remember my dear, you need intensity, that is your way of getting to the truth. When was the last time you allowed yourself to really feel the world? Can you even feel it the way you used to before all this.”
The timing of his speech coincided with a very intense saxophone solo. I tried to follow the sound but realized I couldn’t. Dionysus was right, I was stuck. I closed my eyes and let his words get to me. There, deep inside, I could feel the pain that I’ve been ignoring: First of all, how sad have the last 4 years of my life been if it takes a global lockdown to get some time for myself? Then I remembered what Dionysus said about intensity and I remembered how much intensity makes me feel alive. The stoic calm seemed like such a lie. I looked at the patrons dancing around me and became aware of my loss – how long before I can dance to music and feel other people’s warm sweat? How long before I feel human touch? How long before I can immerse myself in Dionysus’ world of ecstasy? What if the world looses this type of ecstatic intensity?
“That’s a good start,” said Dionysus, “now you know that the calm is a pause, an opportunity to heal, reflect, but it is not life and it isn’t your truth. Not now. Don’t fall for the illusion.”
After he said this, Dionysus’ demeanour changed and he started being silly, as if he was only serving me with intensity in small doses. We danced for a bit to enjoy a bit of lightness.
After a short dance, Dionysus laid me down and said:
“I’ve decided that I should just be your lover, so you don’t feel like you need to be my wife.”
“Does that mean you can have other women? Do you want to have other women? Are you divorcing me?”
“No, I’m faithful to you and I will be until you find someone else. When you do, I’ll be broken hearted and devastated. And still faithful” There was this spark of silliness in his eyes, which I’ve come to love about him so much.
I laughed. “You’re perfect, you’re saying exactly what I want to hear!” I said, hinting that I knew he was joking.
“Of course I am. You’ve created a pretty good god in your head, haven’t you? What would your beloved Nietzsche think of that?”
As he said that, he started disappearing into his divine world – looking serious, scary and so big, again.