Something happened which I wanted to avoid at all costs: I was told one cannot be so sure whether these thoughts actually occur unfiltered because they are read by others. More specifically, this is what Taira told me. Currently, she is the one with whom I regularly share these passages, and her assumption therefore is that in doing so she unconsciously exerts an influence on me, and I no longer write as freely as before. I think I can understand why she comes to this conclusion. It is a very human thing for us to try to represent ourselves to other people in the most advantageous way possible, as strongly and perhaps even as purposefully as possible. However, I do not believe this mechanism applies here. She has long known how I often lack exactly these qualities and how I run like a frightened, disoriented lamb through the maze of life. The time when I might have thought about conveying to her as positive an image of me as possible is long gone. The reason for this entire train of thought was my reaction to Valerie’s transformation into a right-wing nutjob. I had been thinking for weeks about whether there was still something on an emotional level connecting me with her in a positive way. Whether there might still be a spark of affection I just didn’t want to admit to myself. I think I’ve figured out why it took me so long to realize that. For a certain time, I also considered her a kind of status symbol. Not pretty, I know, but old habits die hard. My mind categorized her as a quite successful, well-educated and attractive woman who, despite all the other options, had chosen me to be allowed to get closer to her. Me, the restless bon vivant who somehow managed to struggle through without having a precise plan. In other words, almost the exact opposite of her. Jackpot. Ego boost. Nice. But of course, as I had to learn quickly, not everything is gold that shines and the fact I distanced myself emotionally from her again very quickly speaks volumes. Despite all status. Nevertheless, I did not completely remove her from my life after the contact broke off a few weeks ago. We were still friends on Facebook. A part of me still wanted to show off with this status. Ego is a bitch sometimes. However, I have had a clear rule for a few years now, which I have always shared with others: Get rid of the toxic people in your life. Because of Taira’s scepticism I became aware of this rule again, so I immediately drew consequences and removed Valerie from Facebook as well. Yet another thing for which I am very grateful to Taira. She sometimes unconsciously reminds me of important matters which I am currently putting off implementing. I can’t really describe the feeling in this regard. It almost never happens to me removing one of my social media contacts, simply because I still believe one should not avoid a discourse. Probably also true, but with her there was no discourse at all anymore and I dare to doubt whether it would have been possible in a way satisfying for me. Self-care is important. After all, after ten months I have finally managed to put my new blog online. This will most likely be the beginning of sharing these thoughts here with a wider audience. Of course, I have to change all the names, but I think this could be a quite exciting experiment. I also noticed earlier that my own development is a quite interesting process. Especially regarding my sense of humour and the limits of what can be said. I remember a time when I defended every joke, no matter how fucked up it was, because I thought I needed to appear more edgy and that all those snowflakes just had to deal with the fact of the world not being a nice place. Well, that may be true, but do I have to actively contribute to keeping it that way? Does my amusement justify the suffering of other people? Do I really lose an enormous amount of quality of life if I am more conscious of how I talk to and about others and try not to make their lives any more difficult than they already are? I still believe everyone should have the freedom to say what they like, according to the principle whereby every idiot must have the right to prove to everyone else to be an idiot. But do I have to be that someone? I have now acquired the ability to consciously think about my actions and, if necessary, adjust them if others suffer as a result. Took me long enough. I feel a bit like I’m in a role-playing game where I finally reached one of the level milestones and unlocked a new skill tree. New skill: perspective taking. Crazy world. Just thinking about the elevator scene from Revolver. Again. You don’t control me. I control you. His biggest con was to convince you that he is you. Not in the elevator anymore, but at the end of the movie. If the episode with Valerie taught me anything, it’s probably that status is irrelevant. What use is the highest status if your character still sucks and you make people feel shitty in your presence? I used to think it was cool when someone told me how impressive they thought I was and how they felt inferior in my presence. In the meantime, I have realized what an infinitely regrettable position this actually is. For me. Because I was not aware of the fact that the other person might have knowledge which is not accessible to me. What seems to be unintelligible doesn’t have to be unintelligent. I was already celebrating Nietzsche then, but that statement must have eluded me. I do not want other people to feel bad in my presence. I want equal interaction at eye level. I never want to end up like Valerie. I am actually grateful to her for this insight. I guess that’s called irony of fate.