Like, unlike, dislike

Aversion, I am learning more and more, is not the opposite of attachment but is attachment in extremis. One is averse when one becomes attached to that which one is not averse to. The way I am imagining it is like a primary school lesson in magnetism — opposite poles attract, and like poles repel. Aversion appears to repel attachment because it really is the same thing on a deep level. And when one becomes aware of being averse to aversion, it’s time to write a blog post …


Two days ago, I was invited out for drinks by someone I had barely met. Ever open to new experiences, I agreed with no real expectations. Within an hour, I was so bored I was desperate to get away. Only, I was coerced (or felt coerced) into staying for another hour. I returned home and felt a tremendous desire to discharge the negativity from my system — meaning I had to call up and tell someone; or surf the internet until my brain was numb. Did I try to sit on my cushion? I can’t even recall, so great were my feelings of aversion, repulsion, rejection — like something hostile had entered my system and it was trying to eject it.

As far as I can remember I have reacted like that to the particular type of interaction that took place that night, ever since I was in school; which is why I often say I have friends but never any ‘boyfriends’, certainly not the casual sort. I can’t sustain ‘casual’ for longer than a few minutes and I can’t guarantee that my disdain (even contempt?) won’t show on my face or sting from a barb I am bound to utter. Even as I write this, I am taken aback, as at other times, by the violence of my own reaction, because the incident itself — boredom, ennui, diffidence — is fairly inconsequential in itself. The guy’s only crime was that he was uninteresting and unimaginative (to my view anyway). So what did he do? He asked me a series of questions about myself which felt like I was being put into a smaller and smaller box as the evening wore on.

  1. What do you do in your free time? (What’s that?)
  2. Do you go to clubs? (No.)
  3. Why don’t you go to clubs? (I don’t like it.)
  4. What don’t you like? (Everything. The music. The crowd. The atmosphere.)
  5. So would you say you are an introverted person? (Why would you say that?)
  6. Would you say you are a conservative person? (Not politically.)

It felt less like a date than a job interview. The charitable thing to do is to understand that he was only trying to get to know me better; he said so himself. But the thinking part of me is already one step ahead, insisting that twenty questions about mundane likes and dislikes isn’t the best way to know a person; if anything it produces a reductive, even false view.

That is what I am attached to. The ‘true’, ‘authentic’ part of my being that I am loathe to relinquish even as I am only able to articulate what it is not, rather than what it is. Put it down to Uranus retrograde in an angular house (the 10th) in my chart — the beacon for ‘free spirit’, ‘radical independent’, ‘scant regard for society’s conventions’. The last is where the snag is — put that down to the order-loving, structure-securing Moon in Capricorn (in the 2nd, no less), Jupiter in Capricorn (in the 1st) and the Sun-Saturn conjunction in Gemini (basically Mercury with lead wings). So, I don’t care what the guy thinks, but I am careful that he doesn’t get too upset by my not caring — so I force myself to have another beer, to keep up appearances for him. Like poles repel. As a child, I used to have more fun watching magnets repel than attract. The two poles kept trying to meet but the closer they got the further they got pushed apart.

The intensity of the negative emotion, however, was so uncomfortable that it felt like a poison to my system and that I think has less to do with the other person (poor soul) than something within myself I don’t want to accept. An astrologer once told me that my personality type thinks first, decides second and feels last. His advice was to avoid over-thinking my emotions and just name them. So I am naming my aversion for now; perhaps the thinking will then take care of itself later.

I am averse to superficiality. I am averse to feeling false. I am averse to being labelled. I am averse to being manipulated, even if I can see it coming a mile away. Some may call it ‘flirting’, I call it a clumsy set-up:

  1. What do you do on Sundays? (Oh I sleep in, talk to my parents on the phone, I do laundry sometimes, I try and do a bit of reading, I work on projects I don’t have time for during the week, like sorting out my digital photo collection, and so on)
  2. So you don’t do anything then. (Were you listening to what I was saying?)
  3. Since you’re not doing anything, come and hang out at my place on Sunday. (Sorry, I am very busy.)
  4. [Two excruciating hours later] Don’t forget you promised to come on Sunday. (You barefaced liar.)

Thus …

I am attached to seriousness. I am attached to depth of mind and feeling. I am attached to feeling authentic. I am attached to being hard to pin down with labels. I am attached to being who I am without having to explain it to anyone.

[Insert ‘woooooooo’ sound effect here as in a manga comic]

I am attached to my self-image as a complex individual.

That still doesn’t explain the poison and the peach pit in the stomach that just needs to be purged. But I’ve thought, I’ve decided (to blog), and I’ve named the feelings. The rest will have to take care of itself in time. As they say in Malaysian movie trailers, akan datang

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2 Responses to Like, unlike, dislike

  1. Pingback: Taking the bait « A Question of Mindfulness

  2. dc says:

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing. I have the same feeling. Sometimes I have to just take a shower to wash off the repulsion. Its a battle of convoluted desires. You try to take a step forward but by compromising everything else. The opposittions of mind are relentless and elusive. Their snares are blind and without warning. I guess you can just stick to being yourself and wash it from your mind. Hopefully you’ll be able to walk along, and not fall into another trap upon another trap, like some inevetablly end up doing, becoming delusioned and lost somewhere in the folds of unforseen events. Good luck to you!

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