Version 2

Down the rabbit hole

I have been resisting to write. I asked Evelyn last night to write and exchange our experiences by 7pm today and it’s 6:49pm and I’m only just starting to write.

But I feel I don’t want to write about my experience last night. Or I don’t want to write an exhaustive account of events. I feel I want to write what I want to write about last night.

Evelyn and I met to start our research on a particular branch of herbalism.

What stood out for me, is that I was there, on the Southbank, becoming friends with Evelyn, which I thought was an unlikely friendship. And don’t ask me why, I wouldn’t want to attempt to explain why I felt it would be an unlikely friendship. It’s just how I felt.

And it felt amazing to watch us move from being acquaintances to becoming friends.

We compulsively did two full circles of the patch of grass we had been previously lying on. I was well aware we were being compulsive and I was happy to indulge in and explore that. Were we two lunatics walking around in circles or were we challenging the societal expectations of us, to not do circles compulsively around a patch of grass? Kids do that. Kids are allowed to do that. But adults are not. We did it.

I felt surprisingly articulate and that I was still making sense during that state. On the way home, I was able to solve problems better. I felt as if I became smarter. I thought new neural pathways were probably being formed at that time.

I realised what I want to do with my life. I want to write, I want to be a writer but at the same time I don’t want to throw my computer science degree away. I thought I could take inspiration from computer science and right hard science fiction, like Isaac Asimov did. And I also want to write my memoirs. That would really make me feel fulfilled.

I think we have just found the entrance to the rabbit hole and all we have to do now is let us fall down the rabbit hole all the way to wonderland.

– Tom Koukoulis

Evelyn’s account:

My account of last night, like my homework at school, is late.

Having read the first paragraph of Tom’s account, I have decided to pause until I’ve written my own account so the things I’m writing are coming from my own memory.

It’s funny how two people can be from such different backgrounds with such different life experiences and can come together to learn and grow from each other. Spending time with Tom last night, like the wall we circled, is a piece of the journey.

I was fascinated to discover Tom’s pagan/shamanic spirituality, the group of Faeries he is part of, and their desire to spread acceptance and compassion.

We talked about spiritual experiences with the help of certain herbs, and being deliberate in their use for spiritual growth. This was inspiring for me. Although it was something I was interested in, it was inspiring to hear Tom’s experiences and learn how I could take his approach of deciding how I wanted my experience be.

I was completely surprised to discover that Tom is 40. He found looking younger than his age difficult in Greek culture. I hope he is enjoying looking so youthful now.

Tom expressed a worry about whether I had interpreted our time together as something more than friendship, which genuinely surprised me because I had always assume interest on his part, and was aware of my own interest in friendship, not more. There was a moment of awkwardness as I finally realised what he had been trying to say to me, but it passed quickly. And we were talking about something else again.

I was interested to hear how Tom spoke with constant careful consideration for the people he was talking about, the choice of language and awareness of how the listener may feel about what he was saying.

I learned a little about Tom’s family life, the difficulties of being gay/bi in a heteronormative culture and family. It was interesting to learn about Tom’s disability. It was a reminder that not all disabilities are visible. He spoke of the shame attached to it by his parents and how they had let him down with their dishonesty. Tom talked about how books were not considered important in his family, this was before we altered our state of consciousness but in hindsight I can see that there was a lot of breaking out of cultural expectations that Tom has had to do to be honest about who he is.

I was interested in Tom’s dream to do stand up comedy. I loved listening to the way he deconstructed humour and then built the jokes there in front of me. I wasn’t aware there was a science behind the art. I enjoyed listening to Tom’s jokes and was amazed at how he could create them so quickly on the spur of the moment.

I enjoyed spending time with Tom last night and I learned a lot. I am aware of many differences of understanding and philosophical viewpoints but I hope this means I can learn and understand from someone who has such a different life experience and for my life to be enriched by his.

– Evelyn

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