I stared into my laptop, my eyes perceiving the screen as translucent waves. I dived in head first expecting to crack the screen. But I saw white noise in 4 dimensions and rooms where the code spoke to me in logical parameters.
But while I was there, I got angry. But anger sometimes comes with anxiety, I shake like a leaf and vent my emotions like an insular keyboard warrior, pushing the giant buttons across the four walls. But most of the time it ends when I press delete.
Then the episode is wiped from my memory and the stain doesn’t blemish my irregular contact with the outside world. I’m reluctant to jump into a debate when being certain means being assertive, or aggressive, and often vindictive against anyone who questions that certainty. My feelings swap sides when popular movements leave chunks in their arguments the size of an ozone layer and are insidiously smoke bombed by carbon enthusiasts.
But I pressed send for a change, I even felt a hit of dopamine when I did. Now I sit and imagine that a man, or a woman, is asking why I wrote those things. Why I refused to obey the polite format of office decorum. Why I felt the need to refuse to answer a question posed by its recipient? Why I felt the need to respond at all?
The anger doesn’t come from this isolated incident, it feeds on any nudge of encouragement and grows each time I suppress it. When my body resists, I grit my teeth and atoms vibrate, inaudible frustrations call general meetings inside my head. The voices shout across a large wooden table engraved with my face.
I’m sat in the dock with no defence counsel, and at first, they don’t notice me. But one by one they shake their heads, each leaving an insult with no hint of constructive wit, just the plain old economics of biological self-interest. I’m reluctant to seek help at the best of times, I’m stubborn and I hold grudges. I use them as fuel to create things that keep my bunker safely armoured, from above or underneath, to keep those callous words from vibrating indefinitely.
But when the vibrations become sharp punches landing between the weak points of the cage, my bunker becomes a shrinking safe space with speakers insidiously installed to yell uncomfortable truths about mortality. Leaflets rain down my deficiencies through the gaps in my one-roofed republic. Does propaganda stop being propaganda if I believe it?
Sometimes, the feeling is overwhelming. I want to apologise, be forgiving, in case I hurt someone else’s feelings. I can never be certain of a words repercussions. Sure, I can be flippant or brush off things that may affect others, but I can also obsess over the tiniest detail, making starship fleets out of molecular biology. Imprisoning myself in a sealed envelope just to know whether I’m being read by the recipient.
But other times, when backed into a corner, fighting feels like the only option. Swinging accusations and hoping for a quick knock out blow. But I’m afraid of the reply, so inside I have crisis discussions and plan for the worst. A conversation with an imagined idea of a person, a conversation that cannot ever become real.