Otherness within

By Tina Resch

I am always with you. Sometimes, I am the strongest part of your self. You don’t know it, because I have no body, and without a body; I have no voice to speak with, either. But I am there. All the time. When you are at your most confused, my presence is strongest. I look through your eyes, hear with your ears, but since I am not you, I don’t feel like you. Sometimes, this might confuse you a bit. Sorry about that, but I can’t do anything about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to harm you in any way. How could I? I am alive as long as you are. Does not every living being have this instinct to remain alive? See? How could I want to harm this outer shell that is you, which contains me? No, we are not one, you and me. We happen to share the same outer shell, that is all. This outer shell is you. Even the mind of this shell, this part that is within, this is you. I am your mind’s closest neighbour, if you want to put it that way. Madness? No, madness is a part of your mind and has nothing to do with me.

But when you act against your own self, you open this inner door for me. Remember that girl at the party recently? The one who got drunk, whom you gave a lift home and kissed on the doorstep. She didn’t mean anything to you And yet, you’d kissed her and told her to call whenever she liked to. And when she didn’t, you felt relieved, right? If she had, the situation would have been a bit awkward, but nothing to worry about – you are aware of that. And yet, you felt relieved. Because you know that what you did was wrong. You don’t even remember why you did it in the first place. You weren’t drunk…..nor were you in any other state of “strong feelings” whatsoever. I make sure of that.

I was also there last year, when your girlfriend left you after five years – when you were sitting in the half-empty apartment that once was yours in the plural and is now yours in the singular, and you’d been wondering why you weren’t as sad as you should have been. When you’d been wondering why there was no sadness, no anger, indeed, nothing inside you. That was me, for one rare occasion in charge of your self. That girl never meant anything to me, so I couldn’t care less whether she was there or not. If it hadn’t been for me, you’d have cried your heart out, gotten drunk with your best friends for several days in a row and taken measures to get over it. You don’t have to get over it, because I am here. If you see it from this angle, I am protecting you. I keep you safe from strong feelings, which, in the end, could hurt you. I keep the pain away. A bit of confusion every now and then is a small price to pay, don’t you think? And who needs exaggerated enthusiasm which only leads to disappointment and sadness in the end?

Don’t bother trying to fight me – it won’t do you any good. You will only bring me more and more into your conscious mind and enlarge these moments of confusion. I am nothing physical you could get rid of via surgery, I am no psychological disorder you could remove with therapy. I am just there. Within you. Mostly hidden, sometimes a bit more present than you would like, but eventually retreating. I am not dangerous, as I’ve said, I mean no harm to you.

Whenever the world gets “too much” for you, whenever you drown in a chaos of feelings or sentiments, I enter the stage. Keep your mind cool and focused. That is what all your friends admire so much: your laid-back attitude, your coolness even in the greatest of messes. I make you reliable. No, you’re getting me wrong again – I don’t keep those feelings away from you in the very sense of the phrase. But when you allow me to reach the surface, it is me in charge, and your business, your dear and close ones, all these mean nothing to me.

Given all those highly emotional people around who cause so much ado about, in the end, nothing, you should feel lucky to have me around, don’t you think?

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