At the culmination of a convoluted train of impulses, I searched my own name in Google images. One photo of me shows up, but what really made my day was that next to that photo is a Polestar 2, a Toyota C-HR and Edward Cullen standing next to a C30.
Unintended consequences. I wonder where Noel Edmunds wandered off to.
I am often falling prey to unintended consequences.
Once Upon A Time, I was deep in the thrall of my numinous experiences, catalysed by He Who Does Not Want To Know Me. I fucking love giving people organically occurring pseudonyms, but that might be a bit much. After hitting the floor over it, a day or two away from declaring myself psychotic, I had accidentally come across some ‘information’ about ‘twin flames’ – essentially a kind of soulmates-on-steroids situation. The experience described by so called twin flame experts was bizarrely, disturbingly, exactly what I was experiencing. Stunned by the resonance, I bought in. But I kept butting up against the fact that it very much appeared my experience was not reciprocated by He. The twin flame experts had explanations for why this appeared true, but was in fact not at all true. As much as I wanted to believe that, it was too easy, and too fantastical.
He Who Does Not Want To Know Me was distinctly silent, and so, like a pesky mosquito, I landed on his shoulder time and time again saying I’m still here, are you going to swat me? Because silence wasn’t enough – I needed rejection. Eventually, cordial, beautiful, transcendent rejection came. Thank you.
Two years passed. A lot happened; I met someone, got pregnant, we moved in together and had a baby. I reached a sort of distant equilibrium with He Who Does Not Want To Know Me, and we shared a few messages over that time. I had stayed on the periphery of the twin flame community, fascinated by this collective, deluded, delicate, beautifully human phenomenon that I was undeniably part of. I was convinced there were deep things to gain from the experience that I and all these other people were having, and that there was profound meaning being forsaken in favour of a focus on The Other Person. And I, myself, was still rather more focused on The Other Person than I cared to admit.
I decided to start a YouTube channel about it. The grand mission? To change the rhetoric around ‘twin flames’ to something more useful than soulmates-on-steroids. To challenge the idea that just because this intense thing happened, it had to mean something romantic. And also to challenge the idea that if it didn’t turn out to be romantic, that must mean the experience wasn’t real or meaningful. To take the focus away from The Other Person and place it where I thought it belonged: On The Self.
At this point, I’d pretty much gone full woo and was also a practising Tarot reader and Reiki practitioner. I was completing a business course in the hope that I could make a living from it, and it was recommended that I brand everything in my own name, so as not to limit myself to any one arena in the future. So I changed my YouTube channel to my name too. It felt a bit weird, but was actually a good business move as I started attracting clients who were going through similar mystical journeys, and I found a niche.
What it also meant, though, was that, should anyone – anyone at all – Google me, these videos would show up on the first page.
Now, I don’t know if these two things are related, but the next time I sent He a message, he didn’t reply. Someone in his vague location, however, did view a bunch of my videos all at once. And, I can’t speak for everyone, but if, out of context (or maybe even in context), I saw someone I’d never met talking about me and twin flames in the same breath, I might not be inclined to reply to their message.
Unintended consequences? Did I accidentally terrify an innocent man? I have long hoped it was just coincidental that I never heard from him again, and the fact he didn’t outright block me or report me or tell me to stay the fuck away from him in a panicked font was a sign that he was oblivious. I told myself he wasn’t interested enough to Google me anyway. Still, I wonder – was this the moment he changed from being He Who Does Not Have A Strong Opinion About Knowing Me, to He Who Does Not Want To Know Me?
Either way, that moment really brought my attention to all the unintended consequences I had failed to forsee in my life. What seemed an obvious risk in hindsight had not even occurred to me. What else was not occurring to me? I began becoming more aware of my digital footprint, and how other people may perceive the slivers of me that I revealed to them. How little my intention actually corresponded to the results of my actions in some situations. How impossible it was to judge the consequences of a choice. How impossible it was to ever know every far reaching, obscure, bizarre consequence of a choice.
I’m not very good at forseeing all possible outcomes; even when I expend inordinate energy on trying to do so. I’m often caught out by the side-effect.
How do you go about anticipating a side-effect? Is it even a healthy endeavour to try? Maybe I should consult a pharmacologist.