Only a few days ago I was looking around Currys in Galway Retail Park and as I walked up and down looking at all the products I made up a little song in my head. ‘I am buying the product I am the product, I am buying the product I am the product, I am buying the product I am the product…’ I chanted. It was my little mantra for the occasion. I liked it. It had a snappy feel to it. I like repeating things in my head anyway because doing this always makes me feel more real. I’m a bit obsessive that way.
This started me off on a brand new mantra, ‘I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real, I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real, I like repeating things in my head because it makes me feel more real…’
Then I realized that I had inadvertently jinxed myself. I was now feeling less real. Carelessly, stupidly, ridiculously, I had gone and jinxed myself. ‘I have gone and jinxed myself, I have gone and jinxed myself, I have gone and jinxed myself’, I repeated, in a panic, but this didn’t help either. The bug had got into me and nothing was going to change that – you can’t reverse a jinx. Once you know a thing then you can’t un-know it.
Once you’re bugged then there’s no such thing as getting un-bugged! It just doesn’t work that way. I knew that only too well. Everyone knows that – we all know that, we just won’t admit it. Because we’re liars. The bug had gotten into me and now it was slowly but surely hollowing me out from the inside. Making me feel more and more unreal. Slowly and surely doing a job on me. Knowing this made me really start panicking. What was I to do?
I decided to go and see a therapist, even though I don’t really believe in that stuff. I had to do something, however. The therapist looked serious and told me that I had been saying bad words that I never should have said even once, never mind repeating them over and over again in the way that I did. He said that I was devalidating myself and that this was an error that needed correcting. He then gave me some new words to repeat, positive words. Words that affirmed my reality, words that affirmed my validity as a human being. I was to repeat them every day and that would get rid of the bug. I knew all along that it would never work of course but I agreed to try it anyway because I had to try something. I had to place my hope in something. Not that I really had any hope.
‘I am a real and valid human being, I am a real and valid human being, I am a real and valid human being…’ I repeated when I got home, feeling somewhat foolish as it did so. It didn’t work, anyway. I never expected it to – it was painfully clear to me that the only reason someone would be affirming their own reality would be because underneath it all they were convinced of their unreality. We always try to deny what we know – that’s human nature, after all.
I knew only too well that I was unreal and trying to kid myself that this wasn’t true when I knew perfectly well that it was only served to aggravate the problem. It made me feel worse than ever. It was a super-jinx. I knew the only reason anyone would affirm their reality would be to compensate for the deep-down knowledge that they weren’t real and I’m pretty damn sure the therapist knew it too. He was just pretending that he didn’t. He knew it was all bullshit as well I did, he just wasn’t going to admit it…