Acting, psychosis and love
“We are all actors in life”, my professor said in the first lecture on the topic identity.
With these sentences you definitely get the attention of students bored by gray theory. I would have liked to call it “fake news”.
Not just that: Suddenly, I felt the need to justify myself.
Like a storm cloud, dissatisfaction and resentment spread through me and the seminar hall. Does he want to tell us all now, that we are liars? That we are not genuine?
Yes and somehow no.
I know now what he meant: Life is not that easy. We do not behave the same everywhere. The reaction is depending on the situation, the form of the day, previous experience and systems in which we live our lives.
In the hip-hop scene it is always like a mantra “keep it real”. But is it real when you’re farting on the bus because you just feel like it?
Is it really real when you go to work with sweatpants and a slouchy shirt?
And what does your mother say about being “real” if you spurn her lunch and sit down at the family table with a doner kebab by Ali’s kebab diner next door? Will she not be disappointed and feel rejected? A Turkish proverb says it right: “Hatır için çiğ tavuk yenir.” Translated: “For love and to please the people we love, we are able to eat raw chicken.” Not an option for me as a vegetarian. But for me as a Turkish girl and as someone who likes to be loved, the concept is very attractive.
I also remember relating to “being real” how consciously “German” – for me that means correctly – I behaved when the police controlled me in broad daylight. “Yes. Yes, of course. Of course I have a warning triangle. Safety first.” When I told my friends this story, it sounded different: “Thank God my father had thrown a warning triangle in my trunk, otherwise it would have become expensive!”
Telling the cops that in terms of safety I’m not the brightest candle on the cake and my first aid kit is not as well stocked as it looks from the outside, would have cost me – despite my realness – a warning.
“Real” would be also if you could write in application letters what you think. In my former job as a career counselor, I had an autistic candidate whom I wanted to get a job. I asked him to write an application. He wrote probably the most honest application letter I’ll ever see. There were phrases like “I would like to be able to afford a vacation and a home with my salary.” And: “I’m not interested in out-of-work activities and prefer to work without the social accessories.” This honesty was just refreshing and really REAL. I then had to transform this extremely open and honest writing into a version of the snooty petition as we know it: Dear gizmo. I learned about Blabla that you are looking for THAT… To be honest, I would rather have sent the former version that my Asperger client made before. Because we do not work only for the satisfaction of “something had to be done”, but more for the money.
Does the motto “Keep it real” make us happy? Not really, right? It’s like a call to anarchy when I say: Just do what you want, then you’ll be happy. It’s not that easy. We are not islands. Even if we were islands – islands are defined as sand or rock accumulation in waters. Even they are related to something. Even they are defined and only then have an identity.
Without sea no island. Without environment no human. Sometimes it is also necessary to “play” a role in order to balance your environment. As an example: It makes me happy when I see others happy.
So yes, I act and am – and I reluctantly agree – quite well in it. I like juggling with my facets, because with this I am soliciting my different personalities. My personal mosaic of realities.
Speaking of personalities. What made me think a lot was a thesis of a psychologist with whom I talked about finding a partner. Because obviously I didn’t find one. I asked her the question: What came first – my single or my cat-lady identity? I was hoping for a firework of theses from the category “Guide to happiness”. Just as my friends did: “Do something for yourself!”, “Put down your expectations”, “Don’t be any funnier than him”, “Go out more”. My typical single-woman-cat Toni looked at me reproachfully, because I was hardly at home. Instead of scratching fur, I scratched my hair and complexion with nourishing argan oil. Even with my Drag Queen painting on my face á la “Because I am worth it” I still feel strange, but hey: It’s about reproduction. It’s about the existence of and above all MY species. Miss turkish Single at 33. Huihuihui. You are such a daredevil, Funda.
Back to the psychologist: As I complained to her reveling in my role as a long-suffering lonely lover, something unexpected happened. Not a word of compassion. But: “I anyway see love as a form of socially wanted psychosis.” Boom. Just like that. Was psychosis not an illness? Something that goes hand in hand with the loss of reality? Well, that’s right. Basically I do not really appreciate the love-state. Rather, it paints a lot of pink freckles on the things which are actually black kinks in the optics. And I don’t mean only in the look of someone. I remember friends talking about their partners, and then I remember the moment I met them. “It’s a normal guy”, I thought to myself.
My Turkish education came to my help again. I remembered a story that my father told me about the lovers Leyla and Mecnun. Mecnun saw Leyla and fell in love with her, he spoke in the highest tones of her rosy cheeks, her delicate voice, the true joy of life that he saw in her and her deep eyes. He wanted her to be his wife. The village elders went to the neighboring village to see this beauty – and were disappointed. They went back to Mecnun and said: “Mecnun, this Leyla is as dry as a thorny branch and has a hooked nose. How can you think she is beautiful? We’ll find something better for you.” Mecnun replied: “You should see her through my eyes. When the heart loves, your eyes look full of love. ” As a pragmatist, you can actually speak of a “perceptual disorder”. But it is desired. Wanted. Fall in love and become happy. Some train these perceptual distortions downright. Today it is called a meditation or dream trip. Breathe in, enter a place of rest, of peace.
To anyone who has experienced war and murder, this parallel universe, this “matrix”, appears like a cure. We deliberately move away to survive.
A baby screams in a train, I plug in headphones and listen with maximum volume relaxing music and I wish I would sit between butterflies and fragrant meadow instead of hygienic questionable train seats with unwanted screaming around me. We like to filter the reality and the pink-hearts-violin-filter is just a nice filter for a lot of us. A wanted psychosis, which we warmly welcome. Because to throw a few more triggering theses in the room: “Neurotic is the new Erotic.” And: “Imperfection is the new perfection.” It’s your turn to get upset and do the reality check. On your marks, ready and go.