Thoughts on Existing, Not Having Lived, and Wanting to Die
I can’t go back.
Maybe I’m exaggerating, and I’m certainly wrong in the big picture, because I can go back, and I always do go back. But when everything crashes at a moment’s notice, I am unable to pay attention to anything but what is in my head, and my head says I can’t.
For the common understanding, I call it depression, and it shares many symptoms, but I’m not sure that’s it anymore.
It’s funny that you might think it’s my fault and I’m making this up. Because even I think this at times. And I would agree with you on any other day. No matter how much I feel like shouting at you that you’re wrong, there’s some square inch of bone on the inside of my skull into which years of this have carved my self-loathing with unbelievable precision. In the end, I agree with you. Always.
Except you’re still wrong, and I have to remind this to myself every single time. You’re still wrong, because the same useless stew of synapses and memories that floats inside my head at night defiantly flashing thoughts of spilling blood and death, of “May I please be dead before this happens, before sunrise, before I have to sink back within my bones and exist” is the same one that sometimes remembers I’m on top of the world. It’s the same one that remembers that life is not just a singular experience, bound to end with me being stashed away in a dark room for the rest of eternity, which makes death pretty uninteresting. It’s the same mind that knows that, in any version of the universe, ever, I am not just some insignificant little ant casting a meaningless shadow. I am made of literally everything that has ever been, because there is nothing else there for me to have been made of.
This same brain has a vague memory of a state of existence above the physical one, where I would spread across hundreds of light years. Communication was on an entirely different level. Simple, but deep. Enough room for interpretation, but none for actual doubt. In a different set of circumstances, I could have chosen to come here as a flower, and instead of keeping information about how to continue growing bones, I could have remembered how to make chlorophyll, which in all fairness, might have been a greater accomplishment, as science is still struggling with the synthetic version of that.
When I know all of this, it becomes hard to just be stuck here, to be roughly 5’5”, to have two arms and two legs and a load of social expectations on your head you can’t live up to. It hurts, even though sometimes I find a person, and everything else is suddenly drowned out by the deafeningly loud moment of sonder (which is indeed a word, referring to the realization that everyone else’s life is as vivid as yours). It makes one feel like all the times you were told you’re oversensitive, or were laughed at, or your existential crises were ignored, all that was just people being wrong. Maybe you’re right.
But of course, you know how that feels, so why should I insist?
If you hold on for long enough to those moments, several things occur.
For starters, you’re unafraid. “Nothing can happen to you” is a dreadful phrase. What in the world am I supposed to live for if nothing happens? I want everything to happen to me!
And it does. It all happens. You simply have to register it and not fear. Which you don’t. Because there’s no time running out. No impending doom upon the wrong choice. This is just an experience, and when this is over, you’ll have another. There is, of course, a nagging thought that you should make the most of it anyway, because the possibility of meeting the same souls twice is really tiny, and you won’t end up in the same circumstances ever again.
So of course you should make the most of it. But that is not about being successful in the conventional way. That is not about doing anything that you’d wake up in your forties to, realizing that you’ve been looking forward to this for ages, yet now, for whatever reason, it feels no different.
Naturally, you can’t blame yourself for being reduced to working your ass off in your twenties in order to pay off bills and college loans. You’re being forced into it by the current structure of society. I’m just saying we shouldn’t fool ourselves that that’s all there is.
Or, you can just call me silly, because I’m seventeen and my biggest concern is school. You can call me a spoiled little brat and move along, because it’s comfortable. Don’t worry, I’d understand. It’s just that I’ve been out there, and I remember it. And it sickens me that I’m not strong enough. It sickens me that something as irrelevant to the soul as the limitations forced upon me by several people who have been taught they’re right in what they do because they’re older is enough to make me forget. I am in physical pain at the thought that I can so easily be reduced to some obedient, defeated little creature that will either be ironed flat by the system, or will go along with it but keep the illusion of independence. I’m afraid that I’ll waste a lifetime of literally infinite possibilities on nothing relevant. I look around, and where I used to see bright lights instead of people, white flames that could burn anything or go out with my faintest breath, I see nothing but a suffocating absence.
I’m only seventeen, you will say. I have time to turn it all around. Of course I do, and I never, for one second, meant to tell myself otherwise, although I tell myself otherwise all the time. I’m not even sure that’s me anymore. The question is, what do I do about the second that passed between the moment I opened my eyes this morning and the moment I asked the air in my room if I could lie down on the carpet and magically transcend to a different realm, or die?
My time is not running out. I have time. Forever. But this life, this particular set of circumstances — it’s going to end. And I lost seconds upon seconds involuntarily thinking that I want it to end. I lost minutes in a row feeling insignificant and being afraid. I spent hours in a state of forgetfulness, knowing nothing of what I’ve written above, and months of my life just existing, changing nothing, learning nothing, being nothing. Because I forgot how.
What about all this time? Why doesn’t it seem to matter to anyone? Why am I constantly being told that I have to sacrifice it for the sake of accumulating knowledge that I could use later in life?
I’ve been in school for ten years, which is an awfully long time for someone coming from somewhere where time literally did not exist, because it all happened at once. I never learned a single thing. Of course, I don’t really study, because nobody ever found a way to inspire me to do it. Of what we’re learning at school, not a single piece of information sparked up that determination, that hopeful thought of “Yes, this means something. I want to do something with it, and this is what.”
Adults will tell me that no kid in high school knows what they’re doing with their life, and I should shut up and handle it. That’s not my problem, people. That’s yours. Because I want to figure it out, but it’s not gonna be some revelation one night in my thirties. It’s a process. And I’d rather be working on it right now, in a way that I know works for me, since I have no intention of just doing something, whatever it may be. Sadly, I’m not being allowed to.
Several of you may think that I’m just stupid and lazy. Or I could be a drop out. I don’t see how that would make my point any less valid. The thing is, I do learn. I have a fantastic memory and I can stock up on knowledge regarding literally everything. But not like that. It has to interest me, to intrigue me. It has to make me question something, want something. Right now, all I want is to be unconscious roughly 30 hours of my life every week.
Don’t tell me I need to do this on my own time. There is no such thing, because we’ve never been taught how to claim it. What we were taught is that we owe everyone something of a limited supply, an hour, a day, whether or not we deem them worthy of our time, because they gave us something in turn. That was their choice. And this should be mine.
I am what I am, and I need to be, if not helped, then at least let to function. I will not refuse to learn what I need to. I simply don’t need to learn what I’m being told to now. This is a world that will forever bring me down, and then blame me for falling. I might forever hate myself for having forgotten what the point of me is once I remember, and until I remember, I will want to rip my throat out for “fooling” myself into believing it all means something.
I can’t deal with thinking I’m crazy fifty percent of the time, and realizing I’m not crazy, but I am nevertheless stuck with those who are, for the other fifty percent of it.
I can’t do it.
I can’t go back.