Maybe It’s Depression, Maybe It’s Being Alive

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

There are many things I want to say, and I don’t know how to say them. So I write them instead.

What do I know? I’m just billions of years of evolution, just like everyone else; like every-thing else. What do I know? I’m trying to keep up in this world, and I tell myself it’s a lot. I tell myself it’s hard, and I’ve believed it.

I know I have it mostly good. By mostly good, I mean there are probably some people in some lives who would kill for mine. And I’m not rich. I don’t have a flat stomach. I have cellulite and skin with flaws and my nipples aren’t how I want them, but I have it damn good. So why do I feel so damn bad so often? And then, why must I punish myself for feeling bad — why can’t I just feel bad and be done with it? Who taught me I was wrong? Who taught me I was bad? Who planted the seed — you’re doing it all wrong, and you must do it right?

Who taught us that abusing ourselves for every little thing — the way we look, the way we think, the way we want to fuck, the way we want to be seen and heard and expressed — is so damn bad? I swear, it was the Puritans. And their shame courses through my veins like a car fleeing the police. It pulses inside of me. It radiates outward in how I act and feel and be. Who taught me this shame? And why the fuck did I decide to believe it? To own it? To claim it as mine?

I’ve never known what to do with all the shame, and no one else told me either. So I explored what one does with their shame. I tried to pretend it away. I tried to drink it away. And drug it away. And sex it away. And meditate it away. And be-good it away. Yet it remains. It’s less, but it remains, and I guess that’s what really bothers me. Is because I’ve done what you’re supposed to do. I gave up the things — alcohol/cocaine/needless shopping, and I read the books on how to confront yourself and I confronted myself, and I waited. And not a day goes by I don’t catch myself saying I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. It may be riding the fucking subway. Or arguing with my boyfriend. Or moving into an apartment with him. Or eating the fucking bagel. Or getting the fucking bagel with slobs of cream cheese. Can’t anything just feel good without first feeling bad? Can’t anything be done without harming something or someone else, or yourself? Does everything have a cost?

It does, everything has a cost, or at least a consequence, for better or worse. So I long. I long for a time that doesn’t exist. I long for a lover I’ve never had. I long to be loved by people I’ve never met. And what does all this longing do besides rob me? What is the point to want? What if instead we wanted ourselves, and our humanity, and our bodies, and our lovers, and our friendships? What if we wanted this life? What if we wanted to be alive in our own lives? What if we could go on wanting what we have, knowing we will die despite, and be fine with it?

People come to me and they ask me advice, and I always oblige because I love being perceived as someone who has answers. I crave answers like a drug. I want sense, like we all do. And I believe it was David Foster Wallace who said whatever you worship — and we all worship something —can eat you alive, so worship wisely, in more or less words. I worship looking good and being liked and making sense, and it haunts me like a dead grandmother, mockingly and disturbed. It’s deranged how I just want to be liked and how in that pursuit it makes me a disingenuous fool. How it makes me cringe inside when I agree or nod to something I know is bullshit. Or how I hold back tears when I just want to let them fall. How I want to just say yes to things or no to things without making it a melodrama-tv-series-sitcom in my head, with characters and outcomes that don’t exist in reality.

How I just want to be real. A real woman in a real world. But this world is weary in how it relates. It’s all a reflection, an echo chamber of hopes, fears, and failures. And there is love too of course. There is triumph. It’s not all death and doom, though it’s a lot of death and doom. There’s clouds. And sunsets and sunrises. And there’s orgasms and giving life to other life. And then there is also how life eats other life to live. How we must consume one another to make it one more day, one more year, one more graduation, one more job, one more paycheck, one more funeral. Until we’re old and back in diapers. Riddled with what was and nothing to look forward to but the silence that death will finally bring — if it in fact brings it. Maybe hell is real, and if it is, your debt follows you after the grave.

But hell isn’t real. Only here on Earth. Only how humans treat other humans — and other animals. Only how humans perceive other humans — other life. So perhaps our only freedom is in giving up the perception that anything should be any kind of way. And who is so lucky that they get to achieve that? Jesus? Because it didn’t end well for him. And maybe the ending doesn’t matter so much, but truly the living is what matters. It’s how we exist, not why we exist. It’s dismantling all we’ve known to be true so we can uncover what is true. It’s looking the truth in the eye and saying, you can’t fool me you bully, you’re just a butterfly landing on a child’s finger. Or a star falling from the twinkling night sky. Or a kiss from someone who actually wants to kiss you. You’re no bully. Not deep down. Deep down you’re just life that consumes life. And I hope on other planets it isn’t that way. I hope life just lives and dies on its own terms, even if they’re starving by the end of it.

What I hope, what I really hope, is that life on Earth is just one way to live in this Universe, and that there are other more beautiful ways to live that I just haven’t known yet. But why wait for another lifetime for that, when I have this one, now. Why wait for what’s next when I’m here, now. Why wait another minute for who I think you think I should be when I just am, now.

What if I told everyone how I really felt? That I get jealous of their success because I haven’t defined my own. That I still want to be more thin because I believe it would grant me access to something I don’t already have. And that I don’t know who I am. And that the world doesn’t make sense. And that I must be better.

And at the same time I’m also happy with where I’m at. That I must keep being here because I am here — and that counts for something. It’s a mathematical phenomena we’re here, we almost shouldn’t be here. And yet we are. I must keep being here because I am here. I must stay, I must exist, imperfectly, bad and good and neither, whole and never complete. I must remain with the knife in my wrist, because this is it, as far as the eye can see. And maybe when we die we get new eyes that see things differently, or not at all. And maybe that is perfectly brilliant, and sick. Maybe I wanted this. Maybe I signed up for it in some cosmic waiting room. Maybe I’m fulfilling my goals, and maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m here for a blink of an eye, and maybe I’ve also always been here. Maybe deep down I know something I won’t let myself in on, because I’m too afraid it won’t be true. Maybe that’s how we find the truth.

Between you and I, I think I’ll stay until my time is up. Not to be right, but just to see.

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