I think I might be the Phineas Gage of gender, sexuality, empathy and maybe some other stuff too
I’m male (at least physically), and I’m in my mid thirties. Since my early adolescence I’ve been a bit of an odd looking person, tech neck with a bubble butt, with no specific diagnosis, but until today, I didn’t realise I had a locked posture combined with, I guess, some kind of hyper mobility condition.
I’ve also had a betwixt and between personality. Both ends of the gender and sexuality spectra had something that seemed kindof right and something that always seemed to be missing, but I didn’t feel like a real bisexual, and even privately shared the widespread doubt that true innate bisexuality exists. I’m a utilitarian philosophically, and in some ways a typical computer guy, but I went to art school, and I still make art, and obsess over new music. I’ve always been pretty flat emotionally, emotions are there but never compelling. I’ve never been diagnosed with Aspergers but I notice a lot of traits I share in common with a family member who has been diagnosed autistic.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a massive self improvement kick. A few days ago I decided to work on my posture obsessively, doing all the range of motion stretches I could find and stretching at my desk. I expected minor improvements but over the course of the day it just started popping all over, but instead of a normal looking man it was this floppy, extremely long body that emerged.
The part that’s really worthy of note though, is the personality changes I’ve experienced today.
As my spine uncurled, the videos I was watching with physical trainers helping each other stretch took on this sexual charge that I’d never experienced before. I tried picturing a few different scenarios in my mind, and suddenly I realised that I was experiencing full sexualities that I’d only experienced bits of before — and it wasn’t just straight/gay, the axis was more like top/bottom. At times I could switch by visualising my tailbone curling out towards the top end and in towards the bottom end. The insight was that these are the same but pointing in different directions depending on the angle of the
I want to say proprioception here but I’d be lying if I said I really knew what that is, but what I felt was a literal change in orientation of myself to space. Visualise a wasp stinging someone else or stinging itself.
It didn’t stop there though, in every video I was suddenly finding that their actions were my own, but who I was empathising with changed. I’d previously shared Stephen Pinker’s view that empathy is massively over rated because it’s selective and probably causes as much or more violence than it solves. Images I brought to mind of political topics that I would previously have said should be considered dispassionately, looking at the data, suddenly became visceral, threatening to personal safety — both in ways that could be described as right or left wing. The only way to avoid it was to visualise turning away or looking down — this time with the part of the spine near the shoulders I think.
I still think Pinker is right about empathy, but now I’m wondering if posture is a factor in that reduction of violence thing.
I know this sounds crazy, but, the more I think about it, the more things fit. There are too many to type up now — but here’s one: Afterwards, when I was googling hyper mobility I saw that there are more hyper mobile women than men.
I hope what I’m headed for is hyper mobile bi-gender switch bisexual, with the ability to turn empathy on or off. But there are scary aspects — I felt brief glimpses of pedophilia, a small twisted sexuality off to the left, trying to pull me to my knees. I know, I know, it shouldn’t be that on-the-nose but there it was. And the empathy axis scares me. Thinking about making eye contact with someone has this huge charge now, will I want to fight or fuck everyone? Emotions seem uncontrollable if I orient towards them. Conversely, if this is something like the autism spectrum then is the opposite end non-verbal non-functional?
I’m writing this in bed, where I’m rapidly losing the ability to move as my body flops out. If I can still write in the morning I’ll add some updates.