What began 20 years ago as a psychological matchmaking study has made its way into the beauty blogging world today. And what’s in it for you? A major soul health takeaway.
I was tagged by darling Sonja of lifeinblush.com to play this round of soul strip poker with you, my readers – where nobody loses (or so I hope) and everybody wins (or so I reckon).
Originally the tag started over at the dream&scheme blog and was inspired by this NYT article which in turn was inspired by a fascinating psychological experiment which we’ll discuss in a second.
Now, if you’ve been here for a couple of months you’ll know that I mistrust tags that don’t explore ideas or matters and explore the blogger instead – for example, I’ll never do a 2o facts about me type of tag, I’ve also had way too many of those back then, when blogs have just emerged.
However, this tag is
exploitabuuuul! a bit different, so let’s have a look at the…
The original experiment by Dr. Arthur Aron as well as the complete set of 36 highly fascinating questions can be found here. A great read, really, I recommend that you take time to browse through, in particular if you’re interested in issues of connecting, cognition, human interactions explained from the psychological point of view.
One of my fave questions gotta be Q #36:
Were you ever in a school play? What was your role? What was the plot of the play? Did anything funny happen?”
– I’d have so many funny stories to share about this… For example, we once had two plays based on Charles Perrault fairy tales during the same show with “directors” being our rivalling French teachers seeking to outsmart each other, so if that’s not hilarious drama material by design, then I don’t know. The consequence for me personally, the distinctively tallest girl in the class, was to play Cinderella’s mean stepmother in play #1 and Snowwhite in play #2.
Or what about Q #29 “Describe your mother’s best friend?”
This, my dear Adventurers, is blockbuster material!
The power of those Qs is in simulating an intimate situation, emulating the “stranger on the train” feeling, sharing ideas and memories that make you drop your armour and be the naked you, authentic and vulnerable.
So this is not a good idea on the Internet.
But in terms of my Quest for the Detox of the soul, the original questionnaire as well as the Qs picked by Megan of dream&scheme, can help each of us understand ourselves better. So I want you to read the questions, to answer them to yourself (out loud if you’re on your own) and then tell me – have you realised that you’re a lovable, likeable human being?
Here are the tag Qs along with my answers.
Please keep in mind that these, while authentic, are not my “stranger on the train”-answers but my Internet interview answers, and that in the seclusion of Your safe harbour Your answers will be long, funny, painful, hilarious, scary and hopefully true stories.
Just like mine were.
Now let’s rock it 🙂
Please notice that [text in square brackets] is my commentary on the Q, not my answer.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I’ll be completely honest here: my father. He was wise, literate, funny and kind to the core.
My father passed away three weeks after my 17th birthday, so he never saw me grow up, he never met the love of my life. Dad was an incredibly gifted painter and photographer, and he loved technology, so it makes me sad that he only ever caught a tiny glimpse of the progress. I think he’d have enjoyed all things Apple and probably he’d have run a photo blog on his own as well.
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I have been judgemental about fame in my early years – intellectual upbringing, reading one too many biography of somebody ruined by fame – and had to learn to see it in an unbiased way. I understand and accept that with a certain degree of success for something valued a certain degree of fame is inevitable.
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
No, but I always make notes: data, links, ideas, scribbles, open questions etc.
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Almost each and every day of my life is perfect for me. I have put a lot of work into that.
[Tip: when you muse about this Q, take advantage of your best memories – home, travel – and memorize places and situations and feelings that made you vibrate with aliveness. Treasure them to create, in your mind, a fantasy place to go back to when you learn to meditate.]
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I sing all the time. I used to sing in a gospel choir.
My personal advice to all stress-plagued teeth grinders out there: if you quietly sing, whistle or hum during moments of concentration or stress, this will really help you feel and relax your distressed jaws.
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
I don’t like to speculate and to guess. My lifestyle is helping me maintain my bodily, mental and soul health, and my genes are hopefully quite in tune with this conscious choice.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
In my opinion, a person has to merit the right to ask something like this. It’s also nothing I’d discuss with a stranger or a date. Discussing scary and crazy literary or game deaths on the other hand…
8. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
With my family history in the back of my mind: for my life.
[Gratitude is a muscle we all should flex more often. Here an exercise for you: list 5 things you dislike – Monday mornings, Two and a half men, whatever. Now look at them from the viewpoint of gratitude, and with a bit of humour, not bitterness. Feeling lost? Here is a literary idea of how to do just that.]
9. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
If, if, if, if, if…
Nothing is more toxic and past-oriented than the “if only” loop. There is a very sharp Russian proverb that goes: “You don’t swing your fists when the brawl is over.”
10. In four sentences, tell your life story in as much detail as possible.
I’d rather not 🙂
[This one is a fantastic game to play with friends, maybe with some more rules like: don’t use the letter “i”.]
11. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
It’s an if-question, right? But since I’ve sneaked my way out of Q#10, here’s my answer: I’d like to have Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner please. Or the ability to snap my fingers and to reverse the hours. No one would ever see me, so no butterfly effects – I would just use it to read more.
12. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
Maybe a few pressing questions about the really big mysteries like: Do aliens live among us? How many and which conspiracy theories are actually true? What would Firefly look like today had Fox not killed it off? Will Bethesda update Skyrim for Playstation 4? Can we have an Uncharted movie with Nathan Fillion starring as Nathan Drake?
13. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Yes, there is in fact.
You know, I write for a living: branding concepts, digital strategy, copy for web and print, content marketing, social media strategy as well as content – and I love it. Also a countless amount of my articles were published during my time as a beauty, jewellery & lifestyle editor, not only stories but also interviews with amazing individuals like Cartier’s in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, Louis Vuitton’s Patrick Vuitton, even Mikhail Gorbatchow. Today I choose who to talk to and what to share with you here, on BEAUTYCALYPSE – and I love it.
However, all of the above, as great as it has been and is today, has been distracting me from my original wish: to become a writer.
Ironically I am a writer today, I’m just not writing novels.
But I believe that the novels are yet to come.
I haven’t pursued this dream simply because I have enjoyed the ride so far, and tremendously so. But I’m working on it! I have written a few short stories, some got published, and my oldest friends, God bless them, keep
kicking my ass encouraging me to “write books” because they think it might be well worth reading.
14. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
To look at my life and feel absolutely at peace with it.
[You should try it too 🙂 If you want this topic to be discussed broad and wide in the Soul Detox series, lemme hear in the comments below or shoot your Qs here.]
15. What do you value most in a friendship?
I think I possibly don’t understand this Q. I value friendship, all of it.
16. What is your most treasured memory?
17. What is your most terrible memory?
There is none. Also: see Q#14!
Mistakes and obstacles and pains and disappointments and failures and awkward situations they all are like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Learn from the dark and weak moments and you’ll see the emotional burden vanish as you grow. Time and effort needed may vary but the results are guaranteed.
18. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
19. What does friendship mean to you?
It’s a relationship based on whatever went wrong in our childhood 🙂
I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I can’t be quite serious because otherwise it’s going to be an essay…
Friendship is a treasure that needs a lot of care and work, and thrives on affection, loyalty, compassion, honesty, openness and the mutual sense of trust and respect. There is little place for the egos.
Also I highly value intelligence in my friends because, as an Indian proverb goes: It’s better to have a clever enemy than a foolish friend.
20. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
They are a huge part of who I am; a gigantic force in my closest relationships – and they sort of fade into a benevolently neutral state towards everybody else. I decide very quickly on whom I like or not, and show it without much ado, and my gut feeling never ever betrays me: if I like somebody right away, they prove to be amazing people.
21. Share an embarrassing moment in your life.
Can’t remember any. *thinks harder* No. *thinks harder*
See Q#14 I reckon…
22. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Communications, my favourite!
Well, it depends on the setting, the matter and who you’re with.
Some people are best left with 0% jokes at any given time, while with others the most panful topics transform into a healing burst of laughter. Of course there are matters so sensitive, painful or otherwise serious within a certain group during a certain time that they should not be joked about – the ability to understand the complex criteria and to communicate with tact is called emotional intelligence.
On a more general note, people who lack humour are usually not very intelligent intellectually or emotionally, and probably have no or little reflective faculty. Given that our own self is the most fascinating matter to deal with ever, how plain boring must a person be that does not indulge in self-reflection?
23. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones, pets, and neccesities, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
So, everyone I love and everything I need is safe, right?
Okay, I’ll probably try to save the house to still have a roof over my head but none of the bits and pieces 🙂
So, Adventurer, and now I *tag* You to think about those questions as a way of meeting yourself, maybe anew, maybe with a new understanding. Think of it as a spring cleaning for the soul.
You must have noticed my answers were true but have never touched the holy ground of utterly intimate insights – and I don’t think they should have.
When not done publicly, allow yourself to answer the questions in a loving atmosphere. And if you’ll be honest, I bet you will fall in love with the amazing human being that you are.