(Epistemic Status: 2018 was honestly a pretty great year and I fully endorse it. It had its ups and downs, but I feel that reflection is very important.)
CW: Blood, D/s, allusions to illegal activity, hypnosis, general irresponsibility.
It’s the end of the year again, which means it’s time for the lexical-doll year in review. This is kind of a meta post, a chance to kind of put together my thoughts on the year and maybe tell a few stories I wasn’t able to extract any sort of metacognitive value out of.
So first off, my 5 best posts this year – it was honestly a really hard choice, but I managed to narrow it down kind of by the intersection of how much discussion was sparked and by how fluid the flow felt when I wrote them.
- On Playfulness – I’ll be honest, this actually got tough to right because I ironically wasn’t able to be playful about it when push came to shove. It’s such an important concept I wanted to make sure I got it right. Still, the final product captured EXACTLY the resonance I was looking for, so I’m happy I got there in the end.
- On Hypnosis and Narrative – I mean, I made a few posts on hypnosis this year, but I think this is more or less the bridge you have to cross to go from being a mediocre hypnotist to a great hypnotist. I’m still working on being more fluid with narrative suggestion but I think I’ve really increased the resonance of my technique since introducing it.
- On Social Graphs and Party Planes – Probably the most technical thing I’ve written. Kind of went down the social analysis rabbit hole and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it besides social media being horrifying.
- On the College Application Process – Oh god I’m still glad that’s over – this was a really atypical post but it was pretty widely resonant. It turns out among the kind of people who read this sort of thing, college applications are apparently just archetypally bad.
- On Hypnosis and Programming – So, it turns out that programming is really easy for me, I just need to be in a frame where it seems really similar to hypnosis. I feel like this exploration of how close the topics are perhaps has made hypnosis a more accessible subject for the more programmer types in my life, at least the ones that aren’t catgirls.
I imagine there will be some debate on whether these were my best posts – I mean, I do tend to get high on my own supply (you have no idea how proud I was of On Dangerous Technology back in ’17.) Still, this is what I would want to show anyone new to my blog who wanted to see my better work.
So, next up, story time! Here are a few anecdotes from the year in review that largely don’t have life lessons but were hella fun to experience.
-It kind of goes without saying that MIT is weird, but you really can’t like capture it properly without actually attending. The first month was kind of wild, I still was in a state of disbelief about actually being there; once the shiny kind of wore off though…well. The classes weren’t as hard as expected but it is still freshman year. Granted, time management was always going to be easier on me than most given how I had previously been grinding school, work, and my own social life. Now it’s mostly just balancing the fact that I’m already being dragged pretty deep into campus life and the fact that I do still want to keep my friends outside of MIT. Still, I digress – MIT is weird. I knew in advance I was going to properly join the Mahjong club, probably see what I could do for parkour, find some theater and improv groups, you know, the usual for a colorful weird person. What I did not expect was to end up in the Ghost Hunting Club…by accident, because I happened to be wandering around the Stata Building around 0222. So apparently, club activities were taking place (which is weird because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be there but you know how it goes, gotta authorize yourself sometimes) and I walked right into one of their friggen ghost traps, which was, like, this net made out of glowstick necklaces. In my defense, I was taking a turn on a corner like structure and it kind of came at me unexpectedly, despite the fact it was pretty bright. A few people come out, brandishing the least aesthetic Ghostbuster-like props at me that appeared to have some sort of modified vacuum on the end before realizing I was, in fact, not a ghost. After some…discussion, I decided to join because I mean I’m already the kind of person who likes lurking places at night looking for something interesting to do. So I guess there’s probably a life lesson there about be in places you don’t belong if you want to live a storified life, but I’m generally just still mortified about the glowstick necklace net.
-Another time, kind of late Spring, I was doing the parkour thing. I’ve gotten better at it after a lot of more intensive practice in the Back Bay area of Boston. I’d been waiting awhile for the weather to warm up because something you might not know about the Back Bay area is the buildings are fairly low and really densely packed. By which I mean, if you want to do urban exploration involving building hopping, this is the beginner mode place to do it. I finally worked up the courage (and admittedly was finally comfortable in the weather in lighter, less restrictive clothes) to get up on top of one of these buildings and do a real free run. I set my route, and just went – and it felt AMAZING. You have not lived until you have jumped a (reasonably small) gap between two buildings, 2 stories up in the air. So I’m running, when I notice something interesting – someone kind of sketchy is climbing a fire escape. I slow down and duck behind something to watch what they do – they’re trying to break in and look almost frustrated at their inability to deal with the emergency exit door. Well, I’m feeling fairly amazing and I’m also reasonably sure they can’t get to me up here, so I stand up and shout at them. You know, something like “HEY, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING” or whatever – I’m probably remembering it way cooler than it actually was. And wouldn’t you know it, the criminal looks almost sheepish. They call back “Um…I locked myself out of my house and was really hoping this back door would be open.” Like, this is clearly a lie, but I humor them. “Oh, that makes sense – don’t you have any roommates or family though?” Well, they’re getting a little flustered and are like “No…not really, I live alone!” At this point, I just laugh “You know, you aren’t really good at lying. How about, you get away from this nice person’s house and I won’t call 911.” They pause for a moment before giving me a look of outrage “What the fuck, this is my house. In fact, what the fuck are you doing on my roof?” It is at this point I realize that I am also in a legally precarious position and should perhaps take my leave. I notice them pulling out their phone as I dash off and try to find an exit strategy. In retrospect, they might have been being honest but hey, sometimes you don’t find out how things end (especially when you would prefer not being arrested.)
-They say that the best thing to do in Providence is to go to Boston. This is mostly, but not quite true. Having been at Brown a few months, Providence does have one advantage over Boston – the D/s scene is, while smaller, a little less constrained by local laws. So, I was at a local dungeon (as in, there actually is one there and no I’m not giving any more detail than that) for a play party on, appropriately, Halloween. The theme of the night was torture, and I had established myself as domme-leaning switchy, to great effect. My contribution, as it were, was going to be hypnosis to play with sensations that may not be able to be achieved safely otherwise. Cutting pain, electrocution, sensations of blood running, etc. This was going to be combined with full body paralysis and actual tools suggestive of the sensations being hypnotically implanted. Well, it turns out that you actually have to be careful with hypnosis, which I’m sure is a shock to everyone because I think I came very close to lightly traumatizing one of the subs at this part (I think we sorted it out with good aftercare, quick responsiveness to safe words, and generally people being on top of their game at this event, for which I thank them.) So the set up is, we have this sub on a rack, kinda stretched but not too dangerously so, and we’re doing a knifeplay scene. I have them hypnotically immobilized, and basically suggested to believe that they would be bleeding practically rivers of blood everywhere the (very dull) knife touched. Well, I did a little too good at my job, because the sub is screaming and sobbing, and it seems like a good time, but I notice something weird with their eye dilation and the breaths they’re taking. The screams are getting a bit weaker and the breathing is really shallow. Their pupils were almost pinpricks. They’re sweating a lot. It looks a lot like shock from blood loss, but, like, we hadn’t even broken the skin. I use an awakener and tell someone to get the sub unstrapped from the rack, but they’re still breathing pretty shallowly. They’re shaky, and kind of incoherently talking about the blood, look of horror on their face. It is at this point I realize how utterly stupid an idea this entire thing was and am in damage control mode. I cancel the trigger, I use another awakener, and I start using my hypno voice to suggest to them a very safe, very comforting place. Meanwhile, some of the other partiers are helping to stabilize the sub, give them water, etc. Their condition slowly improves as they start to relax again and get more hydrated and are able to lay more comfortably. I reassure them that there is no blood, and that they are perfectly fine. They start to settle, though they’re still at the point of tears and need a lot of reassurance. Their regular dom comes over and he does an amazing job reassuring this sub, likely preventing any deep psychological effects from the intensity of the scene. So, the life lesson there is maybe don’t simulate experiences that would be really traumatic through hypnosis – this experience also reaffirmed my commitment to not do memory modification with hypnosis.
Overall, this has been one wild year – I knew it was going to be a good one, the year where I thrive and really manage to hit my power curve, and I was right. I’m looking forward to what weird parts of mindspace, social space, and the corners of reality I’ll be able to explore in 2019!
Discussion: How was your 2018? Was it inspiring, depressing, kind of neutral – did it feel like two steps back, or a sprint forward? How do you relate to reviewing your year like this? Do you prefer to make resolutions, or take a step back to reflect?
Metanotes: This post is likely to be edited throughout the year to become truer. I will have a link to the original after the first edit, and a changelog. Keep your eyes peeled, you never know what future might unfold!
- Added link to On the College Application Process