Chew your way into a new world. Munch leaves. Molt. Rest. Molt again. Self-reinvention is everything. Spin many nests. Cultivate stinging bristles. Don’t get sentimental about your discarded skins. Amy Gerstler, an excerpt from the poem ‘Advice from a Caterpillar’
“Being normal is a nervous place, because you can never finish performing your relation to it; on the other hand, being comfortable is also another way of thinking about what normativity provides, because if you pass as normal then you can scoot under the radar. The whole question of how you lubricate the social order never stops being difficult, and it never stops being a matter of shame, because when one confronts one’s own ambivalence and incoherence one feels in a bad faith relation to the model of ethical solidity we expect from ourselves. But what if we just trained ourselves to accept that all of us are incoherent, subject to a variety of aversive and connective impulses that we are always managing? The social then would be a totally different space of intimacy and anxiety.”
— Lauren Berlant, “The Broken Circuit” (interview)
When you experience an emotion without knowing the precise cause, you are more likely to treat that emotion as information about the world, rather than your experience of the world. This is known as affective realism. Affective realism causes us to experience supposed “facts” about the world that are in fact created by our feelings. It can leave us trapped in an emotional world of our own making, without realizing that we are the ones who imprisoned ourselves.