Tree in the Woods

Sep 16, 2019

If you do a good deed and nobody knows, does it count?

I hate litter, and as a kid I even hated people who littered. The streets of India have a lot of trash on them, and I would go out of my way to pick up large pieces of trash and deposit them in trash cans. I wonder, is all the trash I picked up tallied in a ledger somewhere?

If you love someone and they don’t love you back, where does that energy go?

Until my late twenties, I spent a lot of time and energy loving people who didn’t love me back. Unlike the stereotypical emo protagonist, I didn’t harden my heart against the world. Instead, I now find out early if my feelings are reciprocated, and if not then I consciously bail out. I wonder though - all that hurt, all that disappointment, all that angst.. where did it go? Did it contribute to the entropy of the universe in some way?

When someone assumes ill intent on your part, do you teach them about Hanlon’s razor?

Recently I had the rather unpleasant experience of having a (former) friend call me names and accuse me of being high-and-mighty, all because he didn’t make concrete plans with me and was offended that I couldn’t fit his nebulous plans into my schedule. In the past, I might have tried to show him the error of his ways or protested my innocence. Instead, I opted to wish him a good life and went on my way. I did spend a couple of hours agonizing over it, but I know that he probably had some other built-up resentment that only bubbled up due to that one incident.

When a relationship ends, why does it leave a gaping wound?

My very first relationship ended amicably towards the end of May this year. It was a good experience overall, but what took me by surprise was the feeling of emptiness that stuck around for several weeks after. I’ve read about that feeling in books, seen it in media, but none of that prepared me for the reality of feeling something by its sheer absence. It’s like you go looking inside yourself for a part of you and discover - to your sheer horror - that where there was something but a moment ago, there is now nothing. Until that moment I had only known feelings - good and bad - characterized by their presence. This is the only feeling - and I don’t know what to name it - that is characterized simply by its absence.

If you think an ill thought and never act on it, are you still bad?

If I think someone’s stupid but do my utmost to treat them fairly and patiently despite that, do they feel my impression of them on some level? Surely some of what I thought or felt must escape the confines of my mind and manifest in the physical world.

When you wear your heart on your sleeve and nobody cares, what can you do?

I wish I had an answer for this. My therapist assured me that someday, someone will come along and think “Hey, this right here is exactly what I want!” but I’ve decided “Fuck that!”. Only a crazy person does the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, right? It’s time to do something different.

When you stare deep into the abyss, does it stare back at you?

Yes, yes it does. Which is why it’s important to not stare. Maybe just take a peek out of the corner of your eyes once in a while?

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around, does it make a sound?

I read this question somewhere as a kid, and of course as a kid I only thought about it in the literal way and went “Duh! Next question!”

Now, it feels deep. I met a girl recently who has this tattooed on her forearm: “Fully seen. Fully loved.” And I love that. That’s how I wanted to live my life when I was younger. I lost track of that somewhere along the way, but I’ve recaptured that feeling over the past year. But now I realize that I cannot be that way all the time. There are patterns of expected behavior coded into our genes and the deepest recesses of our brains that most of us are completely unaware of. And like the birds of paradise I must learn how to dance so that the rest can follow.