Analytic Introspection

This was inspired by the definition of analytic introspection, which was put into the first paragraph of this story in the same wording my Psychology textbook uses. Rather different style than I normally use...the plot is mine, the characters are mine, the concept of analytic introspection itself is not.

Analytic Introspection
by Rb

You sit there with a notebook and pencil in hand, looking sweetly serious. You told me that I have to tell you what's on my mind, it's for your psychology project. Analytic introspection, you said that was what this is. A research method in which highly trained subjects report the contents of their conscious mental experiences.

When I pointed out that I'm not highly trained, you shook your head and said that wasn't necessary, as you're not a professional, either. It doesn't make sense, but because you're saying it, I suppose it does.

But now that you're waiting for me to talk, I have no idea what to say.

Say what's on your mind, you smile.

Butterflies, I say, for no reason at all.

You're thinking of butterflies? you question.

Not really, it's just that butterflies are pretty cool. They're so small and fragile, yet they're so beautiful. And how they transform is interesting -- they change from an egg to a grubby looking worm to a chrysalis, that's the right word, isn't it?, and then to a butterfly, which is so brightly colored and stuff like that. And then after all that work, they die so quickly.

So you have death on the mind?

No! Well, not anymore than usual...

You think about death a lot?

No, I don't...I mean, sometimes I think about what life's all about and stuff, and contemplate eternity and everything, but I don't really...think about death a lot.

You write something down, and ask if I'm religious, because I mentioned contemplating eternity. I grow embarrassed.

Non-practicing, I laugh feebly. I mean, I was raised religiously, doesn't seem concrete enough for me. How can you be sustained on something that's not really real?

Oh, so you're in love with mathematics now, you tease, because you know as well as I that I hate math with a fiery passion.

No, it's just...can we not get into this?

You promised to help me with my project!

But I have nothing to say.

What's going through your mind right now?

There's a fly on my windowsill, and I want to swat it, but I don't want to bother getting up.

You sigh theatrically.

What did you expect? I'm just an average joe, I'm nothing special. I'm not someone who regularly thinks deep thoughts. I just think random stuff. It doesn't deserve being written down.

Your fingers drum on the notebook. Come on, you promised!

Okay, fine. What am I thinking about now? Hmm. I worked today, and it was boring.

You ask me that when I work, do I think about things?

Yeah, sure. I think about a lot.

Then why can't you tell me what you think about? you explode, frustrated,

Because...what I think about is worthless. It's just the things that come to mind every day. I worry what I got on the last English test, I think about how mean my boss is, I think about what Josh said to me on the bus, I wonder if I can go on a trip later this year. I think about how boring life can be. I think about how I like to eat sliced tomatoes smothered in French dressing. I can't categorize my thoughts for anyone, not even you!

You're still writing, and I can't believe that you're actually bothering to turn in my pathetic, worthless thoughts. You look up, and chew on your pencil eraser. What are you thinking right now?

How embarrassed I'll be if you actually turn this in, I respond truthfully.

It's all anonymous, you know.

That'll help. A lot. Look, I'm obviously not helping you at all, why don't you just classify your experiment as a failure?

But it's not, you say, and smile. Look, don't think about me being here. Just talk out loud as if you were talking to yourself.

Isn't that a sign of insanity? I ask dryly, but I'm rewarded with a blank look. I sigh. Okay, okay, fine. I take in a deep breath, and begin to speak.

Some days I wonder what the meaning of life really is. I mean, we've all been drenched in the same things, the same old same old day in day out, and it's not really doing anything. Is the purpose for us being here to just live the life already carved out for us? To live, to be running around in a labyrinth -- that's what life is, just a huge maze with walls that reach over your head and treacherous pitfalls along the way. To die, to escape that -- but what if death is no escape, what if death is the same damn rat race, all over again? We live in times where everything is scientifically proven, and no one can really believe in anything anymore. There is no true belief, just...just we can't trust anymore, because there's nothing to trust in, there's nothing to believe in. All we have is delusion and madness to look to. And yet...we continue to bang our heads against the metaphorical wall. In the midst of our madness, we try to carve out pockets of sanity, and survive. Why haven't we given up yet? I want to know that. I want to understand that, because everyone seems to have given up before they began, but they...they still continue on. And I admire that, because I don't know, me, singular, how to move on past, how to get on with my life, how not to let the little things or the bigger things control me. I'm so alone, in what I do, in what I think, in what I feel. No one out there is like me...but I can't give up, even believing that. I still want to find my purpose in life, I want to see if people really have a purpose, or all we all just faking it, because we don't know what else there is to do, like you have a purpose or not.

You're silent, staring -- at me? At the wall? I can't tell.

That wasn't very helpful, I say in despair.

More helpful than you know, you answer enigmatically.

How so?

Because now I know that I'm not alone.

I hate leaving notes at the bottom of a fic -- but please, for my own personal records, could you please list your thoughts on what age and gender the narrator and the friend were in your review, along with (if you feel comfortable telling me) your own age and gender.