There are some terrors that move beyond fear into a nameless, indescribable territory, where nothing lives but shadows and madness.
A terror that is a wrenching, tearing agony, a great claw descending to slice you open from neck to navel and tear out your organs, one by one, until you are left an empty flap of bloodied skin.
A terror that makes you want to throw up so hard you’ll turn yourself inside out in the process.
A terror that slams against your skull until your eyeballs and tongue and brains spew out like coins from a winning slot machine.
And when this terror hits you, there is nothing you can do. Curling into a fetus position doesn’t help. Drowning yourself in fantasies doesn’t help. Even killing yourself wouldn’t help. All you can do is exist, and howl, mouth twisted open in a wailing vortex.
Right now, I am terrified of time. Time is slipping by, so quickly, ever so quickly, a stream that bubbles by with a mocking gurgle, and what have I been doing? Procrastinating. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to put every minute of my time to good use. Fat chance. I have done the opposite: whiled away my time on frivolities that do not enrich my life but dwindle it. There is a sense of failure, lodged like a calciferous tumor in my gut. I am sick with my own failure.
I am also terrified of my own inadequacy. This is not a matter of high standards: I know very well that I could be a much better writer than I am right now, if I had put in the extra time, worked a little harder. Countless people my age have been published, while here I sit, procrastinating at home, and I have no-one to blame but myself. The greatest self-loathing rears its ugly head when you realise what you could have been, and what you are not.
If you have read this far, I congratulate you for indulging me in my self-pity. Or perhaps you can derive some comfort from knowing that someone else out there is suffering as you are. The future looks dreary. Every word I write is a little shard of agony. The thought of ever getting published, and achieving the dreams I want to achieve, is almost an impossibility. How laughable it is, to think that someone as small and puny and talentless as I am, could ever rise to the heights of others. I shake my head at the delusion. My world has morphed into a fairy nightmare.
And for the dark, glistening cherry on the cake: I hope you are feeling better than I am right now. I hope you are not frightened out of your wits. I hope you are not steeped in the sludge of your own inadequacy. I hope you do not feel small, insignificant and hopeless. I hope you look towards the future with the ghost of a smile on the edge of your lips.
And if you aren’t, if you are, also, writhing in a tiny Hell of your own, then…
…let us howl and howl and howl as much as we want into the abyss. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mind.
Because it doesn’t care.