I find it hard, and have always found it hard to read people. I know this because I am told that I’m flirting, I try too hard, come on too close or too strong. Or maybe I won’t remember your face and name, again and again.
Sometimes – that thickness, numbness – it works. If I feel like I should tell someone something urgent, like when I have a secret and everyone is drinking and I need to tell you, I can just pull you aside when I want to talk. I don’t feel anxious about the telling, all I know is that I want to talk, that it is you I want to talk to, that I want this right now.
But sometimes it kinda fucks me up. Sometimes I trust someone, first thing in the morning, last thing at night. I trust with my proximity. My feelings, my body. My secrets.
My feelings, most of the time, are strong and singular. If I feel something, I have trouble stepping back. I fight for it even when I shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s stupid. Sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes, I think scenario A is going on, but then I realise it’s been B all along, figure it out when I’m in too deep. I think you are my friend, but maybe you are not and you are trying to fuck – me – up – and I just let you and don’t say anything or do anything to stop it until it gets too close.
I have trouble saying no when something like that happens. I don’t know whether I am comfortable with something. If I have ‘mixed’ feelings, they all tend to be strong. Pulling me in lots of directions. I freeze, I shut up, paralysed.
It’s like shopping for food when anorexic. I stand in front of things and I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know what I want. I look at boxes of the same thing, reading the back although I know what the label will say already. I walk away with nothing, paralysed. When simple, strong feelings clash, I can’t tell them apart anymore.
When anorexic, food to me is animated. It has a kind of force field. You could say it’s a ‘mental’ force field, for lack of a better word. Mental makes it sounds like there’s something not quite real about it, ‘airy-fairy’ as some philosophers like to put it. And yet all the same, it pulls me, it pushes. It has a power over me in the sense that it is manipulating me and I don’t even know it. I just feel the effects. Delayed, when it is too late.
Maybe an eating disorder is just a deeply unequal relation to food, where food controls you & you get more and more rigid, developing rules to protect yourself from its control. I fear food because I don’t know what it will do to me. I struggle to ‘predict’ its actions, I struggle to predict what it will ‘decide’ to do to me so I try to make up for that in other ways, by setting more rules, by learning more facts. I’m not obsessed, just Taking A Special Interest. I know that we – food and I, you and I – are already connecting, connected somehow but I just can’t see it. A radical machinic panpsychism is desire that works fastest at zero ‘theory of mind’.
People can be like food. I want to touch them, but I can’t. I want them so much but I can’t cos I’m scared to be played like a pack of cards so I chew and spit, but still, they cling onto my teeth, my nails, my fingers. They try to play me by biting my ears, by trying to kiss me first thing in the morning, or was it already last thing at night. Or was it instead a secret they told me that I took a bite of and spat out but I can still feel it in me, playing hop-scotch with me, churning me in the stomach, reading me like a book.