Zeitgeist Dysphoria

Dysphoria is a complex mixture of feelings. A mix of the three fundamental bad feelings experienced at the same time: anger, sadness and angst. A dysphoric person is agitated, frustrated, scared, experiencing a state of dread and a feeling of desperation that is hard to describe in simple terms. It is not pure anxiety, as the feeling is not absolutely linked to the future. It is not pure depression (sadness), as the feeling is not exclusively linked to the past. And it is not anger, as the person is not fully in the present. An approximate synonym is the one of uneasiness, simultaneously being in the past, present and the future, while feeling terribly bad no matter where the focus of the mind is.

For quite a lot of time I am sharing photos of beautiful things: skyscapes, nature photos, landscapes of various places in the world, etc. This is a choice. It’s a choice to selectively see what is beautiful in this world, while discarding the ugliness and the banality. This means that what I show to the world is neither complete, nor fully true. It is manipulated, influenced, embellished. It is not accurate. As the motto of my blog goes, I have chosen to focus on “insight & beauty”. This time though, I will show you my world – the way I see it and the way I experience it daily – without choosing the bright side and without make-up. So, here are some photos taken today from a hypermarket in the city I live.

Perhaps you’re asking what has happened. It happened that I accidentally went to the main mall of the city – where the hypermarket serves as the main shopping area – exactly on its last day of existence. I didn’t know that – because I don’t read the news – so I was completely shocked. The mall and the hypermarket are old and big, they were opened before I first came to the city some years ago. I know by heart every corner. The mall itself is the main one in the county, so closing its supermarket feels like closing an entire region. Or perhaps… it ‘is’ actually closing the entire region…

I get attached to things and persons. And it’s hard for me to let them – persons or things – go away. So I walked through the almost empty shelves, completely bewildered, remembering “this” or “that”, those things that used to be there but which are no longer there. They are only alive in my mind and my memory. But they ceased to exist in the “real world”. Imperceptibly, I began to grieve the dying market; it was like an old friend vanishing before my very eyes. Hence the feeling of dysphoria.

I live in a hole. A dark one. It’s called Romania. I was born here and I have a lot of memories here. Although I have travelled extensively during my lifetime, and I lived abroad for some time, I cannot overlook that “I am from here”. I will always be. And it scares me to see how my community is committing suicide by not looking after the things that were built by its predecessors. I am furious and I am also powerless. I am either prescribed by others to “look the opposite side” or “the other way”, or to “pretend that things are actually good” and “not be so pessimistic” or “cheer up”. This prescription is often given using a superior “all-knowing” tone – a “wise” parental tone – even a rebuking tone. “How dare I to disapprove, confront and condemn the collective, firmly-established idea that everything is just fine?!”

A country dies before my eyes and nobody says a word. We are going bankrupt and the society is getting polarized: on one side there are thugs and whores dressed as respectable leaders, experts and influencers, and on the other side there are idiots, opportunists and “certified victims” (read masochists), dressed as audience or public. And in-between it’s me, mystified. It’s not that everyone will die and we’ll get a demographic empty space. No. People will continue to live in this geographical space. But those people – who are already here – have nothing to do with the community I was born into. I’m having identity issues, that is, I cannot recognize myself as part of this and I cannot relate to this new community. And it is not my familiar, notorious sense of not-belonging – I am certain. It is something else. It is history getting in my way and against what I cherish. It is the zeitgeist – the spirit of these times.