Once again, it is night, very late at night, night, you know, when I should be sleeping, and yet I cannot. I cannot because the monster has come back: the nameless despair, fear and dread, that treads its shadow-feet over my heart and turns my day dark and dreary.
You see, much of this darkness stems, at least in this recent occurrence, from the fact that so many organisms start off their lives as similarly-structured embryos, only starting to blossom into entirely different creatures as the gestation period progresses. This is, on one level, highly fascinating, suggesting we are all interlinked, all “sprung from the same spring”. At the same time, it disturbs me a great deal, though I am not sure exactly why. It just makes the mystery of life all the more mysteries, and being human all the more less ethereal, strange, otherworldly, and more biological, cell-like, blood and guts, no more than the monkeys and fish and birds who live and die, live and die.
The experience of being human, though obviously untestable, is, I believe, markedly unique in the animal kingdom, in that we seem to be able to glimpse a world beyond our present reality. We are like bees: more intelligent than the fly, yet unable to escape from the bottle like the fly, because we are constantly battering ourselves against the glass, convinced, due to our intelligence, that because it is transparent, one should be able to travel through it. We are intelligent enough to see glimpses of the strange glorious Something underlying everything, yet not unintelligent enough to see the entire picture, leaving us lost, confused. Frustrated.
Living in the moment, and “not thinking”, is, for me, frankly, an impossibility; every second, I am aware of the organism that I am, my eyes transforming light into pictures using photoreceptors, my guts squelching and bubbling, blood zinging through my veins, my brain soaking in its own fluids, my heart, my bones, the fat on my body and the skin and the hair – all of it a carefully orchestrated biological dance, and I am both horrified and fascinated by my own physical body, entranced by its complexity, disgusted by its animal-like structure, fearful of its fragility.
As humans, we really do know very little, and it is this lack of knowledge that sometimes makes existence horrific. In the end, everything is a big, fat Unknown, and we are blind men and women, groping with her fingers in the dark, able to feel certain objects, their curves and sharp edges, guess as to what they are, but unable to turn on the light, and truly see. Reconciling myself to the “grand mystery of it all” is not a possibility either; I think I would have to lose my mind entirely to stop thinking, stop wondering, stop pining.
And thus, I have landed myself squarely in a puddle of despair again, at nearly 3.a.m in the morning no less. Well, it is good to write a few posts while my Internet is still in operation, I suppose. It’s just that if I were to voice any of these thoughts to anyone, they can’t seem to fathom why I am thinking them in the first place. They can’t fathom why it all bothers me so much, and then I feel stupid, for being so bothered by it, for no-one else is, so perhaps I’m like the girl who sees ghosts that aren’t there.
To live is to be perpetually dissatisfied, I think. Take writing, for instance. When a story is brewing in your head, it is sweet, delicious, marvelous, pure imaginative ecstasy – yet the moment, the very moment, you start putting it down on paper, it dies! It becomes mundane, boring, and quite awful, but as a writer, you have to write, so you keep going even though rubbish is filling up the page and you know it and you hate it. It’s almost as if words are not a suitably vivid, powerful and delectable enough medium to transmit stories, or perhaps that is simply a reflection of my lack of skill as a writer, a need for improvement. A good writer, perhaps, is one who, using a few choice words, as a painter does with a few strokes, make a scene spring to life, full of colour and detail, so powerful you could almost touch it, smell it. Much easier would it be if I could just open my skull, take out my brain, and plop it into someone else’s empty skull, so they can see exactly how the story is supposed to look, played out in their mind like a film.
One of the greatest sources of sadness in my life is that I can’t draw to save my life. Visually, I can imagine scenes in great detail (though I do have trouble with character’s faces sometimes; I tend to “sense” their psychology, and write their dialogue based on that rather than purely how they look, their facial expressions) but I could not paint or draw anything, any part, not if you locked me in a room for the rest of my life, and told me I could not leave until I was an accomplished artist. It would be so wonderful, to be both able to draw and write excellently as some people do – but talent is a limited resource, and more is doled out to some than others. Thankfully, hard work is limited only by the number of hours one has in a day, which tends to even out the playing field. Grit, my friend, rather than natural talent, is often what takes you over the finishing line.
I feel awfully lonely, all the time. In fact, since the moment I was born, I don’t think, for a second, that the loneliness has ever left me. It is as if I were born with a sense of “apartness” from other people –even the ones closest to me. On the rare occasions that I look into the eyes of strangers, such as when I must leave to visit the doctors (a periodically excruciating experience; to think of it makes me cringe) so he can check that I have not died (after one depressive episode, the man seems quietly convinced that I am suicidal, despite my telling him that I am in not the slightest danger of doing so, being too much of a coward, and having not properly lived my life yet), I sense no kinship. Even when I stare into the eyes of my family, who do love me – I think, I hope, deep down, at least, even if they seem to be irritable most of the time, and my sister is growing more and more aloof by the day – I sense no union, no understanding; there is no “handshake” in the glance, no sense of “I see you, I understand you, I know, I know.” And I feel left out in the wasteland, in the cold, while others seem to so easily find a sense of camaraderie and belonging.
I’m only ever happy in my imagination – it’s funny, in that writing is the only thing that makes me happy, and yet, because of self-criticism and perfectionism, it makes me deeply, deeply miserable as well. It makes no sense. It’s a contradiction. It’s awful, it’s wonderful. Why can’t anything just be neat and proper for once, all linear and set-out, instead of insisting to be complex and multifaceted? It’s really very selfish of everything.
Goodnight. I must leave. Perhaps this bout of depression is but a consequence of menstruation (never understood why people find menstruation disgusting or embarrassing; it’s perfectly natural, and I do like the blood, somehow, it seems such a neat mechanism of my body, it reminds me that I am alive) and the mood and hormonal changes that accompany it. Everyone gets depressed sometimes, I suppose, it’s just a hazard of living. Oh, but it’s all so dissatisfying, which is why I propose to dream away my life until I die, lost in fantasy, in the imagination, in stories. I want to dream my way to death, whereupon the true dream, life, ends. It’s all just dreams. I do love dreams. I love them, so very much.