Here I go again, unfolding in Proustian style in my relentless pursuit of self-knowledge and exploration of psychic patterns and cognitive shifts. With an almost masochistic pleasure to dissect the mind, peel off layers that only I’m allowed to touch, and assimilate phantoms, the self gazes into self in a way that no one else can or even dares to do lest they be met with the manufacturing of all sorts of defences. Ok, there is always symbolism and mist (not to be confused with smoke and mirrors), as this is a public virtual space where I can design and master my surroundings for my comfort. I wonder whether there have been any significant changes since the last time I completed this. I will add a link to my answers from a few years ago at the end of this post.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I can think of endless scenarios, but regardless of the where, the what, and the when, two constant ingredients are inner peace and sanity. Beyond this, imagine shadow integration, ecstasy, bliss, aesthetic pleasures, decadent fancies and desserts, and multi-sensory stimulation. Full immersion in the moment. A less earthly and less hedonistic answer would be merging with my higher self, exploring this vast cosmos and other timelines, transcending space and time, and having an immortal nature- to annihilate my ruminations about ephemerality. Arcadian wilderness inhabited by nymphs, playful spirits, mythological figures, and other supernatural entities coexisting with sci-fi/ futuristic dreamscapes, all drowning in the smell of orange blossom trees, snowdrops, honeysuckle, and all the intoxicating fragrances one can think of. Having occult powers would be pretty entertaining. I could go on, but this answer is already too long!
What is your greatest fear?
Losing my mind and ending up in a private hell. Self-obliteration. Death.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Taking into account women who have had an impact in the history of literature and art, I have to say there are many women in me, even if some personalities exist as representations of thoughts that I’m unlikely to nurture and materialise. Anaïs Nin, Virginia Woolf, Dora Maar, Francesca Woodman. As for mythological characters, Persephone – I like her dual nature, because I, too, thrive in spring and rule over the underworld.
Which living person do you most admire?
Hélène Cixous, Irvin D. Yalom, Tilda Swinton, Chelsea Wolfe, David Lynch, Godard, Werner Herzog,…Oh, and Jung, he haunts our psyches, his presence is too relevant to not transcend death.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Malice, duplicity, gossip, hypocrisy, judging others based on a flawed system of reference, & lack of empathy. I also dislike dark triad traits, but I am somewhat fascinated by such pathologies in theory.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Niche and designer perfumes
What is your favourite journey?
Immersing myself in art is always a beautiful journey. And any other journey that involves a form of transcendence.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
For women, specifically: being nice and calm at all times, which would imply bypassing certain emotions that are deemed “unpleasant” and that have historically been attributed to “hysteria” in a disguised act of gaslighting, including emotions that are typically associated with masculinity, e.g. anger, aggressiveness. Anger emerges within you when you perceive an injustice, when some of your boundaries have been crossed. It is healthy and needs to be witnessed and integrated, rather than silenced.
Other overrated virtues are humility / humbleness, moderation, and submissiveness / obedience. Women are especially conditioned to adopt these traits in order to fit into society and not fall out of line. Be disruptive in this respect. You can draw your own lines, teeter on them in high heels, and erase and redraw them whenever you want. If you’re perceptive and self-aware, you’ll be able to tell the difference between self-love and arrogance.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I don’t want to risk hurting someone I care about, I might omit a part of the truth as long as I believe the omission wouldn’t ultimately create more distress.
Which living person do you most despise?
I don’t think I despise one person in particular. With the risk of stating the obvious and repeating what I’ve mentioned in the previous answer about what I deplore in others, I am repulsed by anyone who lacks empathy and commits acts of (emotional or physical) abuse against others.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
C’est la vie. That’s a lie, it’s probably something even more cliched than that.
What is your greatest regret?
Not exploring more and experimenting and actively pursuing my most ardent dreams earlier.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Film, most other forms of art, and fragrances.
When and where were you happiest?
Probably whenever I experienced “aesthetic chills”! Other than that, it’s been too long since I’ve felt any fluctuations or significant spikes in my emotional state, so – I don’t remember!
Which talent would you most like to have?
Excelling in any field I would like to delve into. Erasing certain thoughts before they reach neurotic levels. An impressive vocal range. And the knowledge needed to find a way to prevent senescence forever.
What is your current state of mind?
Reflective. Concerned with future endeavours. I feel like I’m in a liminal state, holding onto the hope that the world will shift and feel more real and less dystopian again. At the same time, certain events from 2020/1 that generated temporary glitches ultimately made me feel more appreciative of and grateful for moments of peace.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Mastering the art of selective caring. Raising my creative powers to unreal levels and expanding into other fields of creation.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I feel it hasn’t happened yet; I will achieve grandeur and fulfil my vision in the future.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
What is your most treasured possession?
My perfume collection and technological devices, because I’m constantly fragrant and wired.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A descent into sinister madness or suffering.
Where would you like to live?
In a place where pandemics don’t happen. Other applicable answers: in a cyberpunk world on a technologically ultra-advanced planet. The places that currently resonate with my personality type and interests, however, are London and probably NYC. (Tokyo and Venice as well, if there were no linguistic barriers or impediments of another nature)
What is your favourite occupation?
Immersing myself in art. Daydreaming and deriving vicarious pleasure from the adventures of fictional characters. Sublimating thoughts through poetry. Identifying behavioural and mental patterns. Spotting cognitive biases in others. Appreciating nature and cityscapes.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Perceptiveness. Creativity- especially when it comes to creating intricate stories about people I don’t know and being disappointed when their true self doesn’t align with my idealised projection of them. Self-awareness. Intuition. Constantly trying to reconcile the self that wants to connect with the self that wants to detach, conceal, wear disguises, and have privacy. A sense of elusiveness. Having regenerative powers. And an exquisite taste in film and music, if I say so myself.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Intellect, confidence, imagination, empathy, depth, openness, and a willingness to step into my inner world. Inner tranquility & stoicism that are disrupted by moments of fiery passion connected to subjects that genuinely matter to them. Having a superior olfactory sense, but not taking themselves too seriously all the time because of it!
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Same as above.
What do you most value in your friends?
A kind and understanding nature. Trust. Depth. Caring about me. Embodying safety.
Who are your favourite writers?
Angela Carter, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Anaïs Nin, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, Hélène Cixous, Oscar Wilde, Kafka, Nabokov, Mircea Eliade. Freud and Jung. Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman. Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Jean des Esseintes. Morgan Le Fay, Carmilla, Dorian Gray, The Countess from AHS
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Who are your heroes in real life?
Angels, poets, and people who have not only overcome mental illness, they’ve also channelled it into their creative work
What are your favourite names?
Morgana, Dionysus, Osiris, Narcissa, Mnemosyne
What is it that you most dislike?
Same answer I gave to the question “What do you deplore the most in others?”. I also dislike unpredictability, unless I’m responsible for it, and unwarranted advice.
How would you like to die?
Since I’ve never reconciled myself with our ephemeral nature (and will probably never do so), this question is oxymoronic and dreadful! I want to live forever – I would only ever “like” to die if I believed in the afterlife, and in that case I wouldn’t care how as long as it wasn’t painful.
What is your favourite motto?
Your interpretation of me isn’t who I am.
Underestimate me and perish.
Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations ever again.
Other mottos via quotes:
“Abnormal pleasures kill the taste for normal ones.” — Henry & June (1990)
“I am rooted, but I flow.” — Virginia Woolf
“Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.” ― George Saunders
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)” — Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
“We will become our opposite if we do not learn to accommodate the opposition within us.” — C. G. Jung
“I believe in deeply ordered chaos.” — Francis Bacon
“Listen: I always return to myself.” — Vesna Parun, tr. by Vasa D. Mihailovich
“Nostalgia is a seductive liar.”
“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretence and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” — Maya Angelou
“I refuse to live in the ordinary world, to enter ordinary relationships. I am a neurotic—in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.” — Anaïs Nin
Here is the link to my answers from the past.