Gone Trippin’: How Psychedelics Can Help ‘Build Your Own Beauty’

Peace! And welcome back to round 3 of ‘Gone Trippin’’. I hope you all are having a good month. Things are slow, but picking up again. The Summer of COVID-19 is winding down. I feel very blessed to be able bodied and able to travel short distances in my geographic location to see the people who matter most, sit still in nature, and make plans for the upcoming season, years, and decade.

This edition’s guest is someone that is hard to describe. She is a former romantic partner, current platonic friend, and spiritual companion. Though I’m unsure if she would still say the same, I think of it as a soulmate situation. Where I once thought you only had one soulmate, looking at my life and the relationships that I have with others, I know this to be untrue. The soul is capable of a deep, timeless connection with countless people. I think psychedelics have opened me up to that idea and possibility and again, I am thankful for the molecule for giving me this wisdom. 

After meeting as co-workers on our college campus, Anon and I dated on-and-off for several years including one year living together in a trippy place known as The Cosmic Castle. On our second (maybe third) date we took a long walk and tripped on cid together, in which a romantic feeling that I had never experienced before settled in. It was a bond I knew would never break. From long distance, toxicity, make-ups, rushed young adults cohabitating, we eventually fell apart, and struggled for several years to understand where we would fit in each other’s lives without a romantic partnership. A lot of therapy, self-growth, and maturation was necessary to make that a possibility, which I am happy to say is our reality now. 

Sipping on a glass of Rose and finishing a smoked salmon + Thai peanut sauce dinner over FaceTime, Anon and I spent 50 minutes discussing psychedelics, lightly touching on personal memories edited out for the sake of anonymity, and reflected on how psychedelics have made her a better person. Due to the nature of our relationship, the interview became more like a discussion. I did not realize I said so much until I transcribed. I hope you enjoy it. 

J. bb: Who are you and how do you identify?

Anon: I am a bisexual cis-gendered white woman. I live in Philadelphia and I work in tech. 

J. bb:  What psychedelics have you taken? Which do you prefer?

Anon: I’ve taken mushrooms and acid and I prefer acid. 

J. bb: Why do you prefer acid?

Anon: It depends on the circumstances. I prefer acid because on shrooms I just immediately cry. I can just look at my dog’s face and start sobbing. I feel like I’m getting in tune with my emotions but I have almost no control of how deeply I’m feeling all those emotions. With acid it’s more cerebral, I’m thinking more and having a lot of interesting thoughts, but I can still usually hang and chill out. 

J. bb: I’m actually the exact opposite. I haven’t tripped on acid since I saw you in November, and I feel like there’s a mental block to dive into it again because that was a rough trip. Not even a bad trip, because there are no bad trips but it was like a rough trip. But I’m trying to do acid again soon before summer ends. Like take a tab at 9am or 10am type shit. 

Anon: Yeah I need to start taking it way earlier and stop doing it through the night. 

J. bb: Yeah that’s a young person’s game to drop at 9pm. I don’t have it in me. What inspired you to start taking psychedelics?

Anon: My sophomore year of college my best friend from high school who was going to the University of Vermont. I was going up to visit her in October and she asked me if I wanted to do acid. I was hesitant but also really excited so I said yes. We had a beautiful fall weekend in Vermont so I owe my psychedelic journey to her I guess. 

J. bb: Were you tripping everyday or just on day?

Anon: We just did one day. I remember the day very vividly leading up to it because it was all so exciting. I remember going to get it from her friend and going to his dorm room. He’s getting it out and we’re all kind of nervous but so excited. I kept asking him, “is this gonna change our lives?” And he was like “yes, definitely”. And I was like “woah!” *laughs* Then I was more nervous but also more excited. I remember everyone but one person in the group was really positive about it, but there was one person who was just very scared and negative about it. That definitely carried through the trip. 

J. bb: Mindset is so important. 

Anon: Yeah it is. Not that I was trying to suppress what I was feeling, but I was definitely trying to overpower my fear. I was like “this is going to be great,” kind of talking to myself positively and I think that really helped and definitely set the tone for the whole experience. 

J. bb: I have that same thing with DMT where I’m like always scared because it’s such a powerful drug and it could fuck you up and make you see all types of things that you’re not trying to see. Scary things that you don’t want to deal with. But I think dealing with them is kind of important. I don’t regret ever doing DMT. That’s something else I would like to do soon, especially because it only lasts like 15 minutes. If I do it at noon, and then have friends around I’m sure that by 4pm whatever comes out of it won’t be terrible. As compared to acid, if I do it at noon I’ll be dealing with the repercussions until well past midnight. Did it change your life like the guy said?

Anon: Yes, absolutely. 

J. bb: Was it a big group?

Anon: I think it was like four of us. It was a surreal environment. It was peak foliage in Vermont. The leaves were bright red and orange and it was a sunny day. It was so warm and we were just frolicking around Burlington, happy as can be. We found this spot in this park / trail / woods area and sat around in a circle and talked. I think that was my favorite part, us sitting in a circle and sharing our feelings. I think that day alone I learned a lot of important lessons that I think about almost daily. 

J. bb: Like what?

Anon: The main thing I think about is how we were sitting in the circle and had this gorgeous view. There were these trees and the sun was shining through, it was super colorful with a lot of sunshine. I remember thinking “There could not be a more gorgeous view than this. This is beautiful and I am so at peace.” There was this other group that was walking by us and they were going higher up, like continuing on in the trail, and all at once everyone in our group was like “Wait, where are they going? Is it cooler up there? Is it more beautiful up there?” But then we were like “I hope it is, I hope it’s beautiful for them, but also we’re enjoying what we have here and they deserve to have that too. We shouldn’t worry about what they’re going to find, because it’s good for them.” And I think that I definitely carry that with me. A lot of times, when I find myself in the trap of comparing my journey to others or being jealous, I remember that we’re all trying to live our best lives. You can’t compare them, you can only enjoy yours and build your own beauty. 

J. bb: That’s a good lesson, I’ve definitely taken that away from tripping for sure. The grass is always greener is something I definitely worry about less than I used to. The grass is fine where I’m at. 

As Told By Ginger Theme Song

Anon: I think you can control who you are and if you look at that and think it’s beautiful, that’s all you need.

J. bb: When did you first take shrooms?

Anon: Roots Picnic 2017. I had a full breakdown at the show immediately after walking in. 

J. bb: Immediately.

Anon: Immediately. I think we saw half of one set.

J. bb: Damn, you really couldn’t handle the shrooms. But now you can. 

Anon: I think I just feel things too deeply on shrooms to be surrounded by that many people. I still remember to this day the row of white high schools kids in sports jerseys and drawstring backpacks, dancing and singing along to this rap music. 

J. bb: This is every Philadelphia festival, including Made in America. 

Anon: I remember feeling that at the previous Roots Picnic, feeling a little insecure like it wasn’t really a space for me as a white person. I think being on shrooms and seeing that again was a whole other level that I could not handle. 

J. bb: I wonder if it’s the come up for you. If you took the shrooms way before the event and you leveled out. Or maybe the come up is too much to deal with this extra energy all around you. 

Anon: I just remember sobbing and everyone around me being one swirl of colors that was terrifying. I felt like I was on a carousel and I had to get out. Psychedelics bring out your core being, for me I think I struggle with being kind of scared of people and being afraid of rejection and what people think of me. When I’m on acid it’s an interesting thought experiment and I can process the thoughts about it as they come in and address each one to grow from it. When I’m on shrooms it’s just overtaking me emotionally and I can’t handle it. 

J. bb: You said psychedelics bring out your core being, does that mean like a soul or a spirit?

Anon: I think that the lies you tell yourself kind of fall away, and you are who you are in any situation you find yourself. You kind of just have to deal with that in a very blunt way. 

J. bb: So you think psychedelics reveal or make you face your truest self and who you actually are?

Anon: Yeah, and I think that’s why most people feel most comfortable taking them in nature because there’s not a thousand other inputs from a thousand other people about who they are and how they interact with the world. It’s focused on you and a few good friends who you feel comfortable with in nature and it feels much more safe. 

Frank Ocean – Nature Feels

J. bb: So you prefer to trip in nature than a city?

Anon: Yeah. 

J. bb: Do you prefer to trip alone or with friends? Or does it depend on your vibe? 

Anon: It depends, I’ve done acid while drinking and hanging out with friends. I remember just laughing a lot and having a great time but I don’t think I really learned anything important. The times I’ve done shrooms and acid by myself were extremely eye opening and definitely times of growth. I think each has its place. I think I put a lot of energy and focus into interpersonal relationships, so because of that piece I do like tripping with other people. It’s nice to be on a whole other plane with a human. It kind of feels like summer camp. You’re away, you’re doing your own thing, you’re separate from the world. Doing it alone has also forced me to face my own insecurities and fears and I’m grateful for that too. 

J. bb: I need to trip alone more I think. Like I’ve done it, but not enough and it’s usually a small dose which I feel is not getting to the core of these things. 

Anon: It’s kind of scary but I think it’s a chance to show yourself you can get yourself through anything and just be there for yourself. Create a safe space and take care of yourself. I have this journal from when I did shrooms alone, and I wrote “Whatever happens, I got me” which is sweet. 

J. bb: I had a point this year when I was doing shrooms where I couldn’t relax. Everytime I went to relax I thought I would be trapped in the state of relaxation forever. It was a mental block. Now it’s gone, thankfully. It faded away when I was hanging out with you actually. But other close friends I couldn’t do it, and I feel like it’s revealing a lack of trust in people. Even though I’m such a people person, I’ve been asking myself “Do I really trust people? Why am I such a people person if I can’t be relaxed around them?” It’s something I need to work on. 

Drake – Trust Issues

Anon: I think people also need to be responsible for the energy they bring to the group and the experience. I remember one time I was doing acid at a house party and there was this guy I didn’t know very well there. We were all sitting on the couch and he just kept talking. All of his opinions were so cemented and he didn’t leave any room for anyone to contribute. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and I had no control and he was controlling it. And it was kind of terrible. People should be aware of whether they are controlling and maybe you’re feeling like people’s words or energy are trapping you and maybe those aren’t the people to trip around.

J. bb: I always find it weird because I think of tripping as something that makes people less self centered. But there are people who trip a lot but it somehow makes their ego stronger and stronger, I don’t really get it. I don’t know what builds their mindsets differently.

Anon: That is weird. I guess there’s a level of cult-leader complex and feeling like you’re super enlightened and feeling like you’ve reached a new plane that is above everyone else. I guess that is a danger of it. It’s interesting to think of predispositions and which ways they can go depending on the person. 

J. bb: Yeah the government tried to use acid as a mind control tool, which is just wild to me. Why would you take something so beautiful and use it to create harm? But I guess that’s the American way.

Anon: We live in a controlling society where people who rule don’t want the people that they rule to think for themselves or divert from the norm. 

J. bb: That’s what I was talking about in the previous interview. America loves money but they won’t legalize psychedelics because there would just be chaos. People would just question everything too much and realize we live in the most bullsit political system ever, but you know I think everyone should just do an eighth one time.

Anon: Well I think we’re at the point where we have to do the next thing to keep evolving. Humans have figured out the basic issues like how to make tools, how to survive, how to form communities, how to build shelter, how to industrialize. And now we’re all thinking about “What is the meaning of everything and why are we here?” I think psychedelics are a good way to take the next step, otherwise, we’re just gonna be super depressed and anxious because we have all these questions that aren’t getting answered. 

J. bb: Yeah I think right now you can either turn to psychedelics or you can turn to religion to get those answers kind of. Or your own individual path of spirituality which I think leans way more towards the psychedelics route.

Anon: To me personally I see psychedelics in the same tool set as therapy and having my birth chart read and talking to an intuitive healer and getting tarot cards read. They’re all kind of hunting at how to be the truer form of myself. And how else are you gonna be happy?

J. bb: I agree they’re all connected in a way. They’re all very crucial and I don’t think you can rely on any of it too much. You need doses of everything. Have you microdosed in your lifetime?

Anon: I microdosed shrooms and I ended up just crying for three hours listening to the same John Prine song on repeat. So that was cool. I tried to microdose last week or a couple weeks ago. I think it was successful. I thought that microdosing it would be a shorter trip, I took it at like 9pm thinking I’d have a chill funny little night and it ended up being all night until 9am the next day pretty much. Just watching lyric videos from Folklore, Halsey interviews, and other music things and videos on YouTube for 12 straight hours. 

Taylor Swift featuring Bon Iver – exile

J. bb: Is this an acid microdose?

Anon: Yeah that was acid.

J. bb: Does it help you do work you think?

Anon: I didn’t try to do work. That was a quarter of a tab. I think I’d have to do like an eighth of a tab to actually do work. Like I was still kind of too emotional to really be productive. But I was definitely very positive about life. Manifesting good things, kind of at a new level of appreciating myself. I went in with that intention of stuff I wanted to think about and was watching these things on Youtube of all these amazing creatives and emotional women and felt really positive. I was definitely tripping though. I’d be interested in a true microdose where I could function on a more level place. It was kind of trippier because going outside in the morning to walk my dog I couldn’t really tell if I was tripping or not. I could only tell if I was paying attention to the leaves blowing or a certain noise and I would definitely feel it. It was kind of weird being between two planes of tripping and not. 

J. bb: That’s kind of like my favorite world where I’m questioning if I’m tripping or not or am I just vibing so hard in the universe that my molecules are going next level, tapping into the energy around me. But even thinking that is a trippy thought. And if you’re thinking that without tripping, you’re on your way to nirvana I feel like. And that’s kind of the goal for me these days honestly. Either tap into Nirvana or tap into your ancestors / past lives because maybe it’s the same. That’s gonna be a goal for a while until I reach it. It could take the rest of my life maybe, or maybe I hit it at like 50 and I’m like Buddha and there’s a new world. But maybe not though.

Anon: That’d be sweet.

J. bb: Right? I’d really like to ascend past this physical form, even though I do love my physical form. It would just be sick to not need it because there’s so much bias toward it anyway in society. Really I just want to escape society. I feel like psychedelics make me escape society. Even when I’m trapped in it living in an urban, condensed area, if I take something in my living room I’m already leaving society, which is always nice. 

Anon: Do you ever wonder about long term effects on your brain?

J. bb: Kind of, but not really. I do worry about acid because I feel like it burns my brain. I feel like it’s heavy. But with it’s shrooms I’m like yeah I’m emotional, but that’s fine. It’s not as intense. Acid makes me shake and shit and my brain feels like it’s frying versus on shrooms I just feel very, very high. Not to compare it to being on weed, but with shrooms I’m just in touch with my senses. Acid I feel like I have super powers. Like the human mind should not have this much power in it right now. But I never really worry about long term effects, I worry more about memory loss from weed smoking compared to acid burnout effects. I can already tell after a decade of smoking that my memory is not the same. But I remember the important things that direct the chapters in my life. When I do psychedelics I can remember all the trips in great detail. I remember all the trips that we’ve done together in detail. I remember those days more than I remember a regular day when I’m not tripping. Do you worry about that?

Anon: I don’t really worry but I think that’s why we should legalize it and put research into it. I think it would be worth exploring what the long term effects are because it obviously changes us emotionally. I wonder what the positive or negative effects would be.  A couple times I have felt like I was having a flashback in normal life. Just seeing patterns and walls move. Last week I was on the ferry and there was a textured cement floor and I was very hungover which I think is it’s own high. I was looking at the floor and I asked my mom, is the floor moving for you? She’s like “No, you’re hallucinating.” I don’t think she even wanted to address why. She said it in a very “I don’t even wanna know” tone. She just brushed it off. 

Future – Hallucinating

J. bb: It’s cool that you experienced flashbacks, I never have but I have gotten, a day or two later, the visuals, colors and objects vibrating. There’s so many vibrations, the universe is just built on vibrations. Everything is vibrations, music, sound. It’s really cool I wish I knew more about physics just to study it and I do wish there was more money involved in harm reduction for psychedelics, because there’s none! When we went to undergrad we had to take the online alcohol PSA about drinking safely underage. But we don’t have that for any other drug, and we should. Why not have a weed one, weed is so popular. It doesn’t even have to be mandatory, but it should just be available if you want it.

Anon: Psychedelics aren’t really addictive, people aren’t going to be recklessly doing psychedelics all the time and the ones that do need to show personal responsibility and accountability. It’s not like other drugs where you’re just getting wasted not thinking about anything.

J. bb: It’s like the guy said, it changes your life. What has been your favorite psychedelic trip, if you have one?

Anon: Well I think that a lot of people’s favorite is their first one because it just opens up a whole new world to them. But I think probably my actual favorite was in the Botans. 

J. bb: For me I really like when music is involved so the Roots Picnic with Usher stands out. 

Usher & The Roots – Live at Roots Picnic

Anon: I think the times where we were at concerts I definitely have moments from each of the concerts where I was obviously crying because the music was good, but I think the surrounding experience of being in the concert wasn’t my favorite.

J. bb: I look forward to tripping with you as long as possible, or until I reach Nirvana.

Anon: Yeah, I don’t know how long I’ll do it for.

J. bb: I think about this a lot more recently, like am I gonna do this forever? I feel like I don’t even need to trip as much as when I was younger.

Anon: The judgement part of your brain is supposed to be developed about 26.

J. bb: Yeah the prefrontal cortex.

Anon: I feel like I won’t really feel a need or maybe want too much past this age. But maybe I don’t know.

J. bb: When I was 22 years old, I went to a concert and met a man who had travelled from Nebraska or Montana who was 32 or so. He told me that around my age was the last time he enjoyed a trip, even though he kept tripping as he got older it wasn’t the same. And I always thought about that, which is wild to me because I’ve definitely enjoyed it past that age. But I can see as a 32 year old not wanting to partake in that experience, like at all. You have so much lifetime baggage and more traumas, when I trip I think of my friends who pass away. Hopefully not too many more pass in the next ten years but I think the older you get the heavier it gets. You have more life behind you.

Anon: It also might just get less interesting because you’re less in an exploratory state and you feel more settled in what you know. 

J. bb: I’m very grateful that I have this friend, I think I told you about him. He’s a very trippy dude. He has been part of my DMT journey heavily and I rely on him for a lot of guidance, he’s an older man and has been through a lot of the shit that I’ve been through so it’s cool that I see that he’s still into that kind of shit. This summer there was a weekend where he went upstate to a friend’s cabin alone and he took five or six grams of shrooms and really faced his demons. He said at one point he was coming down and he had kind of blacked out and he came to and was chewing on the window blinds.

Anon: *Laughs*

J. bb: To me that seems kind of crazy and weird but at the same time I would love to be just so far out there that I’m chewing on window blinds. Safely, of course. I’m really interested in seeing where the mind goes. Now that I’m older and I’m not as sad and depressed anymore and I have so much more interest in exploring the mind. Versus when I was a kid, taking it didn’t feel like exploring it kind of felt like I was ignoring stuff and I just wanted to feel euphoria. But now I feel like an investigator which is cool.

Anon: That is cool, you’re not as afraid of your mind.

J. bb: Yeah like I’ve had the weird thing lately of not being relaxed around people but it’s just something to figure out. 

Anon: Do you think that you could ever be with someone, romantically or in a partnership, with someone who’s never tripped? 

J. bb: I think that I would just want them to not shit on me for tripping, same thing with smoking. I could definitely date someone who doesn’t smoke but it would be weird if they were like shaming the things that I like. I don’t drink a lot and I wouldn’t tell someone not to drink a lot themselves but if they’re trying to make me drink a lot that’s kind of annoying. But I think I could be with someone who has never tripped or anything. What about you?

Anon: I don’t know, I think I would be a little suspicious of someone who hadn’t tried it or didn’t want to try it. But maybe that’s a me problem.

J. bb: Yeah I would be interested in their reasoning of why they haven’t, because not everyone comes into substances at a young age or at any time depending on how they’re raised. Really it’s their views, like their views on the war on drugs. Are you for criminalizing drugs or legalizing drugs? You’re either right or wrong. As long as you’re right the rest of it would probably just work out. It could be someone who’s been on antidepressants since their teenage years and they never wanted to mix it with psychedelics. But if it’s someone who loves cocaine, then it’s like bad vibes immediately. If you’re strictly against psychedelics, I was hanging out with some old friends a few weeks ago and they were saying, “I would never do that. It’s too much and I’ll freak out.” But they’re doing blow all night. Blow is like the worst drug, take like a little bit of shrooms and you’ll feel way better than if you do cocaine. But it’s just propaganda that’s made them that way. TV, music and film tells you that cocaine is partying and fun and cool and psychedelics are for weirdos and outcasts and shit. It’s really annoying. 

Anon: At a certain point I feel there would be a lack of opportunity to connect on that level. 

J. bb: Yeah I would definitely worry about that. If they’re already super spiritual and zenned out, I think that gap could be closed. Lately I’ve just been running on vibes. Some people have a trippy vibe without tripping. 

In current events, it appears some intentional breath work can mimic the effects of psychedelics without the drugs, Canada is letting 4 terminally ill people use shrooms for their anxiety, and new studies show possible asthmatic relief from LSD. Remember to do your due diligence before ingesting any substance, tell your friends you love them, and don’t forget to thank the molecule.

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