Surfing on Gentle Optimism
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Dose taken while riding the subway. I ride it along the outdoor elevated portion towards its northern terminus. It’s a nice day out so I decide I will walk along the length of the elevated portion back to my house.
The first notes of the experience start to bubble up- a bit of anxiety and light visuals. Interestingly enough there is no bodyload, which is usually the first note of any psychedelic experience for me. The opening salvo is always a pang of nausea and a visceral shock to my nerves, but that is noticeably absent.
I’ve been walking for some time now. The whole street has a festive atmosphere with people blaring music out of amplifiers on the sidewalks and hanging out in the street in throngs, though this is a festival stricken by a severe opioid crisis and many of the people were seeking, dispensing, or administering their various highs. Police in mobile guard stands stood watch over the open market only to interfere if violence broke out. People twisted and faded in and out around me, circling into my sphere of existence as their voices flung and danced around me, shouts and mutters, some of them smoky and scraped and scarred, others booming and melodious. The sun is shining and beating down and people appear to be in good spirits, the energy coalescing into discrete blocks that drift around me as I walk. No one pays me any attention which is good because I do not know how well I would be able to interact with anyone right now. I feel strange and anxious and sweaty, but I don’t feel the anxiety in my gut. There is still no nausea or bodyload to note, the trip is well contained within my central nervous system. I feel giddy and jubilant like I am sailing with a strong headwind. Energy wells up inside of me, it’s a nice loose stimulation though and doesn’t bear the wound up tension that many other drugs can bring. Auditory effects are negligible beyond a more acute awareness of the space and direction of sounds, and an amplified sort of doppler effect as I move path stationary noises.
The visuals have set in more and more, they are mostly transparent overlays on everything else and are reminiscent of Mesoamerican glyphs, with intricate and well defined tangled forms, sinuous like serpents, with fronds and feathers blossoming at their apices. They carry a greenish tint but fade fairly easily into the environment.
Bathed in smooth sparkling sunlight, the trip is drenched with euphoria and optimism. I feel like I can only think about happy things, that even the grim things I can think about are still touched with happiness and pleasantry. It feels like it’s a façade, it feels like happiness misplaced, naïve and wrong, though not as intensely or artificially as with empathogens. It is still the deep, profound euphoria that comes from psychedelics, but it feels odd and out of place. I don’t get that sense of wanting to proclaim my newfound pleasure or revel in it, rather is sits there matter of fact, like a bird watching me from a tree. Also odd and out of place is the continuing lack of nausea or any kind of bodyload. The streets become less crowded the further I walk and find myself becoming more absorbed in gazing at things, textured surfaces, the sky, tree branches, etc.
The visuals dance around as bas-reliefs on mottled surfaces, still reminiscent of flowers and serpents. My thoughts are racing, tearing their way through my baseline of apprehension and turning themselves towards the sun so they can bask in its light. It’s such a beautiful day and it feels as though there will be a beautiful tomorrow too.
I have ended up walking around the older part of the city. I walked by the base of the great suspension bridge that spans the major river into another state. The piers are titans of stone blocks each as large as my bedroom, seeing this monument cast stark against the blue sky feels surreal, it feels like a vision or a shot of a movie. There is a subtle derealization carried with the sublime sense of aesthetics. Patterns weave their way out of the stone and drizzle from the sky, still writhing and entangling, still immaculately textured. I still feel elated, not overclocked with a stimulating euphoria, rather it is a peaceful sense of being exactly where I belong, of basking in the beauty of so much around me.
The sun is setting now and its dyeing the sky with streaks of brilliant magenta. Ripples creep and crawl through the sky and dissolve into forms that twist into the lids of a thousand eyes, though it is barely perceptible. I am stopping to take a breather next to a park, I’m pleasantly sweaty and my body feels excellent from the light exercise. There is still miraculously little to no physical discomfort to report. Thoughts are stimulated but gentle. I set out for home. All of the buildings look particularly stark and powerful against the backdrop of the sky.
I am back at my house now. I am alone in my room, smoking more weed. It causes the experience to bubble up a bit, though at this point I am mostly just riding on the afterglow. What remains of the trip is slight like dust bunnies in the corner. It is bereft of color and dancing light. I still feel chipper and energetic.
Mostly back to baseline by this point.
Definitely back to baseline.
Conclusion / Aftermath
4-HO-MALT is one of the few psychedelics where my body does not react like I have been poisoned with something. None of the pangs of nausea or tension of visceral anxiety, none of that twisting discomfort that always rocks the comeups of my trips. I didn’t think it was possible. Otherwise this trip is pleasant, bubbly, and optimistic in the way a child is on a sunny day. Mostly in the realm of the cognitive, with the visuals being slight and lacking in vibrant colors, with a fairly generic tryptamine overlay of the flowing blossoming organic crossed with the sharp lines of the synthetic. It is a short sweet and light experience that might be a candidate for a good easy starter psychedelic for the curious but uninitiated. Not necessarily shallow, but also not with enough depth to cause panic or resounding problems. I would definitely be interested in exploring higher doses of this substance to see whether the manageable pleasantry of this substance eventually caps off and disintegrates.