Losing Oneself And The Journey Back Home

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Vinh Tran

You’re drowning, you’re falling, you’re going deeper and deeper–but to where? You’re not breathing but you’re not suffocating, you’re plummeting but you’re not reaching a descent. What’s happening? It’s like the environment around you is both nothing and everything at the same time, like television static. It’s a confusing place you’re in and an even more unnerving state your mind is at. 

This was how I felt last week when I found myself in a room with people who have clear goals and aspirations for what their life’s purpose is. Keep in mind, this was moments after I watched that one Pixar movie, Soul, an introspective view on the meaning of life disguised as a children’s movie. Oh also, we were tripping hard on acid. But every realization and thought I had in my mind felt so real. I came to the realization that I didn’t know where my end-goal was, it’s not like I don’t have dreams and aspirations in my life, I just haven’t found an outlet or a purpose for doing so. 

At this point, I felt like one of those stereotypical stoner kids just tripping on acid because we have nothing in life. But to me, I wanted to reach deeper into myself and find out why I feel so confused and empty at times. During moments in my life where I would consider one of my happiest, at the same time I would feel like I’m at my lowest. Why was I making myself so unhappy for no reason all the time? These are things I wonder about myself when I speak to my therapist. She asks me to dive deeper when I feel comfortable, but I have no idea how to navigate through my emotions and life experiences to do that. 

How deep can I go if I don’t even know how to swim?

That’s why I found myself dropping a tab of acid at 12 P.M. on a Friday afternoon. I wanted to go deeper than what my psyche allowed me to go. It’s like I was taking a shortcut to some emotional realization. At first, I was just having a good time listening to Tame Impala and watching the clothes in my closet dance with the music, then I hit my peak. I’m not entirely sure how I ended up there, but I hit an emotional barrier and just sat there. 

I understood that throughout my life I’ve watched my perception of the people I love change. People who I once thought that I knew, could end up like total strangers. Although it sounds like some suburban trauma that would sound good in a midwestern alt-band, I found out why I’m so attached to this idea of going backward. At a time where people my age are looking forward, I’m scrambling around looking for a rewind button. 

But why do I always seem to press pause instead? Why am I watching reruns of my life, what is that going to do for me? There’s nothing changing what has already been done, you can’t undo hurt. You can’t rewind trauma and you can’t turn back time. So then why, are we constantly in a state of reflection, things that hurt you the most–you still think about it? You can’t simply get over things. 

After my mind-crushing acid trip, I came back together and found my reason for going back. Why I wanted to go deeper, what I was looking for. Why I wanted to dive headfirst into something I don’t even understand. Sometimes the only way forwards is to go back. 

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