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guilt mania and magical thinking

i finished the augusten burroughs book, finally, the last one on my current list. it was an easy read really, took 2 days in between watching cable shows. the book is a collection of personal essay about his life – the how, why and the now of his New Yorker gay existence. it has been said before that writers could be too self-involved most of the time, and they write to demand attention. i’m pretty sure augusten will agree with such notions, and will be damn proud of it. this is the reason why i like him. in “catcher in the rye”, Holden shared his criteria of a good book – it’s when  after finishing one, he wants to grab a phone and get the author in the other line. well i’m not really the confident type of gal who would simply call a a NY bestseller author to talk about his gayness – but my alter ego would do it in a heartbeat.

one of the few stories that interested me was when he discussed the psychological concept of “magical thinking” – the strong belief that you could drastically change the course of the universe at will. example in the book: whenever his friend rides a plane, she refrains from slouching and remains in her straight vertical position for fear that if she moves a muscle, the weight shift will cause the plane to crash. or one will walk fast in an intersection because she believes if she will be able to get to the other side before the red stop sign flashes – then she will have a great day ahead of her. well i do not share the same apprehension – as i’ve mentioned before – i am not the most confident of girls – such a belief is just too egotistic for me. mine is more like “me, magnified in scrutiny, 100x”.

it’s a different neurotic dysfunction. i call it “guilt mania”.

example1: i haven’t been going to church lately during sundays, i just couldn’t drag myself to go. my mind would always create these lousy excuses not to do so, but the truth to the matter is, i’m really just not the mass-going type (no i’m not agnostic, i love God, it’s just the masses that i have an issue with), never was and may never be. but despite this fact (that i am fully aware of) i am full of guilt every sunday, i watch the clock tick every so often to see how much of the day is left.  i get scared of the possible consequences of not going to church (expect catholics to be the best guilt-trippers of all religious orders) and picture all possible morbid, hazardous and depressing consequences in my head. but still i don’t go. and this has been a sunday ritual for me.

example2: we have this acquiantance (i just don’t have the heart to call her a friend) whom we have been with for quite some time here in richmond. she’s nice most of the time but whenever she dresses up in her cunning personality, she could be wickedness personified. but it is difficult to simply hate her because she is too clueless! (mumay would be the term my friend Issa would use) i don’t know, it seems that most of the time, she doesn’t know that she’s being wicked. or maybe she moves so gracefully in between her schizo personalities i’m simply bewildered. and this fact – that i am not sure if her meanness is premeditated act of consciousness or not – prevents me from being mad at her. i just can’t bring myself to casually imagine her hit her bare toe to a wooden, bulky furniture then cry to tears in pain, and be forced to wear slippers, now that winter is a few weeks away- such a simple pleasure really for my degenerate soul … but i can’t,  i’ll feel too guilty. now that i have written this and would probably refrain myself from erasing it – i’m now scared of the potential negative karma coming my way since i have published such ill-thoughts about what could be a true, unblemished person.

it’s probable that this recurrent dysfunction could be traced back to childhood (what couldn’t be?) but when or what part of my childhood, i wouldn’t know. i have vague memories of those early years, maybe if a psycho analyst conducts some form of clinical jedi-mind trick on me, i’ll be able to isolate the thought-process in my head and they’ll be able to remove it, like the doctors in “eternal sunshine of a spotless mind”.

i’m babbling. and finally, feeling sleepy.

hope though, is but a remote idea.

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