I Was Born Dead.
Here’s how it’s impacted my life.
Few people know this about me, but I was born without a pulse. The doctor who delivered me said, “Not today,” and proceeded to inject me with some medical elixir to re-animate me.
As I live, breathe, and fight my way through this existence, the recurrence of cycles of birth and death has become a friend to me in many ways.
The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
Since childhood, there were many days I felt like I didn’t belong; that I didn’t have a place in any social group — not family, not church, and most certainly not school. Because of danger to my life, visited on me by family members and social pariah status rained on me by my peers, I had to learn that being ‘nice’ isn’t always the best way to go about things, and in learning that, I died a little more every time.
I maintain that I have been fortunate in my misfortunes. I have kissed death more than once.
Death of the Mute
The first time I wanted to die, I was five years old. I laid on the floor at my parents’ feet after a beating and just waited for the ground to swallow me up. They couldn’t know how badly I was being bullied in school, because I was never a verbal child. My intensity and social dysfunction came from my psychological inability to speak. However, the crux of the matter is, none of my family knew. Many of them still don’t. They couldn’t protect me, and I couldn’t protect myself. So, I wanted to disappear.
In order to pursue my profession of choice, that has now changed. In order for me to speak, I had to kill off the part of me that only wanted to run and hide. I had to stop living to my detriment, and I had to start speaking up. At seven years old, I finally spoke up to my second grade teacher about my feelings. Because I had stopped doing my homework, and started crying in class, she pulled me outside in the cold of Bahamian Winter and spoke with me.
The unspeakable aftermath of what occurred next made me understand that no one can speak up for me. It was the first time I had experienced betrayal from a non-familial party, namely my teacher, and it scarred me for years to come; but it also forced me to come out of my shell and speak.
Death of the Innocent
Around the same time I moved out of my mother’s home for the first time, I started having sex with my committed boyfriend. I was 21 and he was 26. It was a decision we both made.
A year or two later, I learned that fucking was easy — it was finding someone who gave a fuck about you that proved more arduous. I had been a good Christian girl in at least “saving myself” for the one I loved, and still ended up betrayed, lied to, and tossed to the side like a used rag. The end of that relationship ruined my self-esteem, and I started an unpleasantly distant trip — drug abuse and alcohol.
I recognize now how heavily the bullshit affected my mind and heart. Back then, it wasn’t long before I began to look for love in all the wrong places, without realizing that sex doesn’t mean love.
Death of the Arrogant
Seemingly leading a perfect life, at the beginning of 2017, I crumpled up my Ford Explorer in the space between a marina and the mouth of an electrical transformer.
Thinking on the near fatal accident still leaves me wondering if I truly died and switched places with another multiverse version of me. I’ve probably been watching too much Rick & Morty.
In making my own money and leading a wild, crazy, effortless life filled with people and travels, I became arrogant. The undertones of my life brought up much healing work that needed to be done, and I began to feel as if I was better than my father — the person whose gifts to me were then clouded by his violent need for control.
Behind my arrogance lay a deeper secret. My heart was hurting, and I was incredibly depressed and lonely. My loneliness drove me to drink and smoke — a lot. That fateful night, however, I had decided not to get drunk and to save money, but still ended up staying out too late to keep my friends happy.
That was the night I almost killed a man and myself. If I could do it again, I would drag my ass back to my apartment at the hour I wanted to leave, and never look back. Low-self esteem is a killer.
Facing death and looking my life over from the amount of times it’s flashed before my eyes, has evolved me into a creature of nonchalance. Nothing seems that big of a deal to me unless it’s going to kill you. Notwithstanding, death’s presence around me and avoidance of me has also made me impatient with the ignorance and mistreatment of others.
At some points, I have become an angry proselyte; others, I have become a guiding light to others experiencing life’s downfalls. It frustrates me that we don’t often recognize the chances we have been given to truly appreciate the adventure, the wild ride, the hitchhikers, the passengers, the near misses with Mack trucks, the wind at our backs, the miles-long rain slicks and the slow turns of life’s road — however short.
Whatever your takeaways from this exercise in the Death of the Fearful One, it is my hope that you go on into your daily lives with the remembrance that the grave levels the playing field for us all.
We’re all equal in death.