There is no glamour in this post. Only a lot of shame.
Because I am a social leper and I am diseased.
There is no way for me to cloak this in literary verbosity, and present it to you like a MasterChef dish. Because what is the use of making it look pretty when you can’t even smell it, leave alone taste it?
I am a frightened little baby. I am scared. I am petrified of the inevitable, even though I can feel it coming. I can feel it approaching me.
I am a deer, caught in the blinding headlights of a moving truck, racing towards me with every bit of knowledge that I am standing right here, but with no intention or want to stop, to brake or to let me get out of this alive.
Death is inevitable.
But you knew that.
DEATH IS INEVITABLE.
Did you really know that?
Because you don’t really act the part of a mortal, aware of the finity of this journey called ‘life’. You take it all for granted. You go about your life with nothing to fear, with no remorse, with no guilt, with no conscious understanding of consequences, with no will to question, with no want to understand and with no desire to achieve anything worthwhile.
The good thing about cycling downhill is you don’t need to pedal so often.
In fact, if you completely forget there are pedals on the cycle, you can still get to your destination.
But then. Then there was Sisyphus.
Perpetually rolling the cursed rock up the mountain, only to watch it fall back down again. And yet, his Zeus-ordained punishment could never be complete until he succeeded in rolling the rock to the top of the mountain – a task that could never possibly be accomplished.
A task designed for Sisyphus to fail.
He kept trudging.
What a silly man Sisyphus was, you might now be thinking to yourself.
Except, what are you doing? You, with your glorified suits and your voyeuristic minimalism, treading through life as if you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain and everything that you do has some form of higher purpose. That it is so essential for you to earn more money to add to the pinnacle of the pile of gold you already have stashed in your basement, because no amount of ‘enough’ ever truly is enough for you. And so you keep on going through life, without questioning, without asking, without wondering – you just do.
But it’s the robots you’re afraid of – robots who you are so scared will take over your means of livelihood. Robots that will replace you, because no one else can perform the mundane, repetitive tasks quite like you can.
And robots don’t have morals. How will they ever find a way to circumvent any form of ‘guilt’ if they 1) don’t recognize what ‘guilt’ is, and 2) if they have no moral compass to guide them to imaginative lies that will help them sleep better at night for having exploited another human being because, let’s face it, robots don’t need sleep.
So. Have you tried turning it off and on again?
I wish I could.
Perhaps there is a bug in the system. Perhaps there is an error message hidden down within somewhere that just doesn’t get picked up and dealt with.
But I know as well as the next person – if you turn us off, we don’t get rebooted. With us, it only goes one way.
Perhaps I’ll let Albert Camus explain this from his famous work, The Myth of Sisyphus (Congratulations, you already now know who Sisyphus was).
But why am I writing all of this out?
Why am I telling you, a random person with no regard for his/her mortality and, therefore, no anxiety of the very notion of life, all of this?
Because that is where I am. And I need you to understand.
Because I am not the only one who goes through this. I am NOT THE ONLY ONE.
Have I wanted to end my life? Yes.
Have I wanted to do away with ‘me’? Yes! This narcissistic sense of ‘ME’ and this perpetually resonating ‘I’, the sheer noise of which makes
living surviving an impossible task.
People think that suicide is an act of weakness. That suicide is an act of stupidity and cowardice.
Perhaps, it is. It is weak, because the people who go through with it lack the strength to continue on with life. Except. Have you ever wondered how strong they have been and for how long? I dare you to hold up the smallest cushion in your house on the palm of your hand at shoulder level for two hours. Tell me if you are able to do it. No cheating, and no pausing in between. And now if you, with your gym-going routine and your physically buff biceps can’t lift that feather-weight for two hours, who are you to judge anyone else?
Perhaps it is stupid and cowardly. Perhaps people don’t understand the beauty of life and can’t see all that life has to offer or just how many people (claim to) love them and just how appreciated they are. Don’t you understand? They’ve reached the point of numbness where none of this matters. Even if it is true, it has hidden itself behind an ugly black Veil. And I don’t mean any veil. I mean the Veil in Harry Potter. The Veil that takes away Sirius and so many others. The dividing line between the here and now, and the complete unknown – the world shrouded in mystery and the world unbeknownst to any of those still alive. The truth hides behind that Veil. So how do you expect them to reach out to it?
Except. What if that is the truth?
What if they really don’t feel loved? Don’t you understand? Loving someone isn’t just about what you do – it’s about how it feels to them. And if they don’t feel loved, despite you uprooting the Tour Eiffel and placing it at their feet, then that just means the Eiffel Tower is not what they want and you need to reevaluate what loving them entails.
I have let people down. Left, right, and centre. I have let them down. I have been a terrible human being. I have hurt those closest to me. I have hurt them with no intention of hurting them, and, in my mind, loving them beyond my capacity. I have tried to be there for those I care about and I have failed. And now, all I am, is someone who doesn’t deserve love or companionship or friendship. I don’t deserve any of that. Not now. Not ever. For if this depression and this anxiety can turn me into a monster and render me emotionally abusive, then I don’t want to be with anyone, because it will only mean hurting the singular person I would never want to hurt.
Even the Hulk has more self control. Do you understand? Even the Hulk does not blindly smash anyone and everyone.
But I do.
And I annihilate the very people who mean the most to me – the very people that I would like to support in their growth.
It’s not just about being unloved. It’s about realizing that you don’t deserve any of that. You don’t deserve that emotion.
Restaurants have big shiny plaques that yell “Rights of Admission Reserved” in your face as soon as you walk in. And you just go there for a meal. An hour. Two hours. Three hours. Five hours if it’s a buffet and you’ve handled your plates with great proficiency. Except. This is a relation(ship). From your parents and siblings to your friends to that ‘special someone’.
So if you won’t go into a Michelin-Star winning restaurant in tattered shorts and a mud stained T-shirt, then you sure as hell would never entertain a relation with the sort of demons you have on your back.
And I see that now.
And once you see it, you can never un-see it. You can wish that if you gorge your eyes out, everything will be fine. Except, by now, it is a memory. And memories are tricky, tricky creatures (they might as well be creatures who are treated as separate entities because they crawl about your brain and make you sick inside). Instead of you having any power over them, they end up controlling you.
And so begins your Hell on this earth.
And so you lie back into the nearest piece of furniture – the bed, the couch, the chair, the floor – whatever you have around. And your insides are going ballistic. It’s a civil war inside you. The forces are clashing at Heart Central, and the mutiny is rising up into Thoracic Town and moving south on Abdominal Boulevard. You can feel the footsteps of these Lilliputian soldiers. And you feel the stampede. And you feel the canons bursting and the guns being brought out, and the occasional sword slicing through your insides or the stray arrow lodging itself under your skin.
You can feel every single movement. And you just want it to stop.
You try to drown them inside. You try to flush them out. You try to calm yourself inside so that winter descends and they freeze in their positions. But nothing works. The horses charge through the flood, and the lit torches melt away the ice.
But it’s this noisy, suffocating, omnidirectional tugging that is slowly making you go insane.
You can’t survive this mutiny.
The only casualty of this battle, it seems, will be your sanity. And the only casualty of this war, it seems, will be you.
The slime of dread crawls up your back, with goosebumps on your arms and the hair on the back of your neck standing upright at Attention to salute the sludge of dread as it crawls on by, activating your adrenal system at every step of the way, causing your body to misfire adrenaline all around like the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Just as loud. Just as disruptive. Just as attention-grabbing. But not remotely as beautiful.
There is nothing beautiful about any of this.
You will do anything to curb this tsunami inside you. And when you say ‘anything’ you mean Anything. Because you just can’t take it anymore.
And you see no more options.
So you start creating your own: a blade to the wrist, a bottle of cough syrup down the throat, a noose from the ceiling fan, and whatever else you can Google and discover.
You take out an entire strip of anti-anxiety medication. You don’t even feel it. It’s just a swig of water. You know what this means, but you feel oddly calm. And the anti-anxiety medication hasn’t even kicked in yet.
But it doesn’t kill you.
It doesn’t kill you and it sure as Hell doesn’t make you stronger, because you spend the following day, after waking up in the morning (surprise!) in the worst hangover of your life – your head is heavy, your lethargic body is no longer your own, your words are slurring, and your eyes are probably giving you away.
Sometimes, it isn’t as chaotic. Sometimes, it’s just this this descent of a void into your chest – a black hole, with its unbearable weight, pulling everything inside you into its own self, while anchoring you down as if trying to pull you into the ground like quicksand. The more you fight it, the quicker you sink.
And so you stop fighting it.
And so you sink nonetheless into that void inside of you.
And while I have been there, I am scared. I am scared of this being just one more thing I have failed at, to be added to the never-ending list of relationships, friendships, family, academics, job, social life, pursuit of passion, and countless other facets of life, where I have already proven to be inadequate and a disappointment.
I am more scared because of my belief in the after-life. Because of my belief in God.
And since the hangover, every time my brain lights up like Diwali, the struggle is merely to convince myself to not go through with it. Except, the struggle soon becomes the disappointment with myself at not being able to go through with it. At giving in to the last-second wishful notion that perhaps ‘this time’ things will get better. That maybe this time it will not be so bad.
Except, it is – every single time, without fail.
Loneliness. Isolation. Desolation. Anger. Frustration. Guilt. Reclusiveness. Failures. Disappointments. Let-downs. False promises. Slipped-and-shattered hopes. Half-forgotten dreams. Crumbling ideals. Tainted notions. Lost motivation. Ephemeral inspiration.
Nothing seems just a little worth the fight against life. Nothing seems just a bit worth it to keep doing this every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day of every single week, of every single month, of every single year.
With no drive, how do you find a purpose?
And with no purpose, how do you keep fighting a battle you no longer believe in?
When you’re just so tired, and exhausted, and you just want to go sleep and never wake up again.
When you’re beaten, and bruised, and down, and you just can’t get up again.
What do you do?
What can you do?
How long do you suffer the insufferable?
How long do you pretend there is hope?
How long do you hide behind a mask of synthetic laughter that now plays on cue, and repeatedly practised jokes on self-deprecation, and this awkward giggle every single time life (or even a conversation on a singular, miniscule aspect of life) gets too much for you to process?
How long do you pretend you’re okay?
It turns out that the magical answer to all these problems is acceptance and the ability to love one’s own self.
Except, how do you love something you hate?
And how do you hate when you’re slowly becoming indifferent?
And how do you carry on with that indifference, when you become so numb to not even recognize your own reflection in a mirror – the looking glass on the wall, the eyes of someone very close, or even the stare of a stranger – any mirror?
And how long do you go on living for all those around you, when all you can feel yourself to be is a hollow shell of your own self – a remnant of the time gone by, decaying with each passing moment.
Give me something.
I will try everything.
I will try anything.
I will try.
As I often have before.
Until the perception of life shatters.
And even the reflection looks back as abstract pieces on the floor.
So until then, I think I’m just going to revert to my good old friend Kurt, and revel in his ability to turn my body inside out, so that my frail soul forms the exterior, open to being scratched and weathered, clawed at by life, and shred to tiny strips of inconsequential nothingness, until the moment when Mother can “throw down [her] umbilical noose so I can crawl right back.“
I will move away from here
You won’t be afraid of fear
No thought was put into this
Always knew it’d come to this
Things have never been so swell
I have never failed to feel
I’m so warm and calm inside
I no longer have to hide
Let’s talk about someone else
Steaming soup against her mouth
Nothing ever bothers her
She just wants to love herself.