My Life Goes On Without Me

At some point I lost my life but didn’t die. My life walked out on me in the middle of the night.

If there were a term for my condition, it would be a combination of the phrases here and there and neither here nor there. In the end, I’m left without my life, yet “alive” enough to watch my life go on without me.

At some point either my life will fall back to me or I will catch up to my life. At some point I will question my life. Is my life happier without me? Who’s in charge of my life?

This infernal monologue, this self-inflicted doom: this is depression. This is me.

Why The Moon Is A Wild Creature

Below is the inspiration for my latest poem, “The Moon Is a Wild Creature.” It’s a passage by Hayden Carruth from Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays.

Hat tip to Jacqueline Winter Thomas and her Tumblr page, heteroglossia, where I found Carruth, sad in the Universe, proclaiming:

I had always been aware that the Universe is sad; everything in it, animate or inanimate, the wild creatures, the stones, the stars, was enveloped in the great sadness, pervaded by it. Existence had no use. It was without end or reason. The most beautiful things in it, a flower or a song, as well as the most compelling, a desire or a thought, were pointless. So great a sorrow. And I knew that the only rest from my anxiety—for I had been trembling even in infancy—lay in acknowledging and absorbing this sadness.

Sad To The Bone

Soren Kierkegaard: “In my great melancholy, I loved life, for I love my melancholy.”

Albert Camus: “There is no love of life without despair about life.”

Kurt Cobain: “I miss the comfort in being sad.”

Kierkegaard believed in God. Camus believed in Absurdism. Cobain believed in Nirvana.

All three, I believe, are no longer with us.

Master Of Fine Arts

For fun I google E.M. Cioran: “We are all deep in a hell, each moment of which is a miracle.”

A Tumblr page contains the line, along with other solemn notes. It’s the work of a woman—a tender soul/MFA candidate professing interest in:

poetics, critical theory, semiotics, poststructuralist philosophies, anti-essentialism, misanthropy, pessimism, introversion, & solitude.

YOUR PLACE OR MINE?

This gem, under “about”:

“I had always been aware that the Universe is sad; everything in it, animate or inanimate, the wild creatures, the stones, the stars, was enveloped in the great sadness, pervaded by it. Existence had no use. It was without end or reason. The most beautiful things in it, a flower or a song, as well as the most compelling, a desire or a thought, were pointless. So great a sorrow. And I knew that the only rest from my anxiety—for I had been trembling even in infancy—lay in acknowledging and absorbing this sadness.”

— Hayden Carruth, Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays

I’M HARDER THAN LIFE ITSELF—A TREMBLING INFANT.

I pen suggestive lyrics with her in mind:

a hummingbird
with nectar lungs
I catch her tears
upon my tongue

***
my head is crowned
for sweet repose
her highness perched
atop my nose

In a dream I lie beneath her feet, absorbing sadness.
“They won’t come clean,” she says. “See what you can do.”

Solitary Refinement

Where technology is concerned on this blog, there’s a method to my snarky-ness. I value sustained, intimate communication—texting and tweeting and status-posting constitute speech at a distance. Messaging is instant but superficial. Rather than opening up a dialogue, we’re speaking to externalized versions of ourselves whose friendship means liking the same piano-playing cat video.

Being somewhat tech-adverse and wholly introverted, I enjoy plenty of alone time. Some might find retreating to one’s room to ponder the absurdity of existence a sign of depression. They’d be half right: philosophy makes me sad, but as a philosopher of sadness I gain some control over my depression.

Sometimes I need to check connections I’ve made in my mind against the reality outside my head. This requires talking to others. I’ve authored some meaningful albeit abstract pieces, but other people have a way of challenging theories merely by being themselves in a way I am not. The best ideas come from spontaneous encounters with people I’m simultaneously delighted and terrified to be around.

It’s hard to be vulnerable. In protect mode I tell myself over and over that I’m too vulnerable—that my soul’s exposed, a wound too raw to bear. Then I hide from the world. And miss potential connections.

There is freedom in seeing one’s limitations and recognizing we all get caught up in negative self-talk. Maybe this makes me a better philosopher. Maybe it just makes me human.

Everybody Hurts

I can’t hide from it: I’m a sensitive guy. Sometimes I lie awake and picture the people I care about, focusing on my connection with them, recalling what about them makes me feel good. But there’s not one person I love who hasn’t suffered in this world. And this makes me sad. And the sadness I feel for myself rushes through me. I acknowledge, in their pain, my own.

We’ve all screwed up at one point or another. I’ve had my fair share of missteps. God’s forgiveness is easy to get. All you do is believe. Securing the forgiveness of others is difficult, but it’s never out of the question if you humble yourself and make amends.

The hardest part is learning how to forgive myself. If I could find myself walking down the street, emerging from a faceless crowd, what would I say to me? How might I comfort this sensitive guy, move out of his way and let him pass?