When people ask “How are you feeling?”, I wish they wanted this sort of answer:
I have this…
Deep, rich, weeping.
Eyes tight, throat… Tingling down my back and a dry mouth.
I shiver though I don’t move.
A cold breeze passes through my head.
A cold breath, a dry mouth, a buzz across the back; a tight lower back, furrowed brow.
Wide, blubbery second chin. Dry mouth, fast breath.
Stab right shoulder, under scapula.
I’ll test this sometime: dropping in and describing my felt sensations in real time.
I’ll test it 6 times in different contexts (because I’ll only get comfortable after the first few experiments).
As my sister drives to Reno, I explain to her and my mother that I don’t want to be resuscitated. Nor ventilated. Nor any other life-preserving “–ated” with a low forecasted-quality-of-life.
They reject my request, which Mom communicates by saying, “I didn’t hear you…” as though pretending not to hear it will avoid it happening. I hadn’t expected that response.
Why would I rather have my plug pulled?
- Low quality of life for those in such a state?
- Comfort with the idea of death?
- Existence as a societal detriment?
The first and second seem unlikely: In most cases, humans adjust to our circumstances, and comfort with the idea still doesn’t make it desirable. The third seems reasonable, but assumes a low likelihood on me becoming a high-positive force again.
Perhaps the gruesome images of end-of-life patients that I saw earlier today impacted me. Perhaps in a soberer state, I’d rather live as long as possible in case medical science improves sufficiently to salvage me. If I prioritize my life, this seems the most reasonable conclusion.
In any case, my sister feels uncomfortable talking about these plans, but they’re valuable plans to have.
I was trying to prioritize them. I’ve heard tell of family members being in difficult situations because they didn’t know the patient’s wishes. A large part of this explanation was to spare them that difficulty, but they’d apparently rather have that situation than this conversation. And I don’t actually care enough to press the issue or put a legal solution in place. In case it ever comes up, whatever they choose is fine by me.
We did, however, agree on one thing: after we’re dead, dispose of us in the cheapest way possible. Now, I’d also like to add: dispose of me in a funny way. I’d like to go out doing what I love.
When we dated, I hated the Satan we created,
But being dumped has lumped those bumps into the rough, tough suffering of a motherfucker.
After a month or two or three or four, I’ll finally admit I wanted you more
Than I was willing—how thrilling and chilling,
But I was the villain, or maybe I still am.
The fast past we lasted unmasked a part of my heart; it started smarting.
That caressing mess tested this repressed hesitant lesser
Who now piles miles of style on humble, tumbling mumbles to crumble your wall, crawling his all
To your mind-wracking shack, where a taxing hacks dances without pants, hands landing in bands on yours, the shores of sores that hastened mace to our faces, disgracing us apace,
Then the end, when I bended to mend but you send us friends, me in tender shreds.
I’m sad and mad for a lad’s behavior, but you’re no savior.
It’s unfair, but sharing care would tear at you more, so formerly yours will be sore for the pair.
When you miss kissing me, sissy, I’ll be listening, glistening with desire, no liar—
Just a failed male who paled in your presence, too hesitant.
I’m told more bold would leave me cold but I’m old enough to scoff.
It’s rough to be cuffed to a shelf of hell. Who can tell when I’ll fell
For another lover who recovers my suffering.
Just empty space—dear Lord, what a waste! This place doesn’t taste of your scent so I’m bent with pent up emotion, an ocean of notions.
No lies, just a tired writer’s inspired cries,
Pining in lines to know you’re trying too—
It’s hard for you. You miss me and list me as a risk to stop kissing.
Now shown, I bemoan roaming the loneliest road,
No shores of your pores that tore at my core.
So hey, Lady grey, I’d pay you today: explain pain in a way
That tames this crew, say you I matter too.
I feel the urge to text my exes, “Marry me?”
It’s not a serious question. I’m not a serious person. I’d text them for the same reason I took the side running path this evening to follow a guy wandering down it to pee. I wanted to see his reaction as I approached, catching him with his pants down. ‘Twas a sweet and savory surprise and amazement with impressively little (I saw no) fear. I wanted him to doubt for a moment the reality of the world around him. I didn’t stop beside him or start up a conversation—that would make him feel unduly uncomfortable—but continued running as though our meeting were happenstance.
As long as I can remember, I’ve considered myself the Jester. Not the king or ingénue but the comic relief. The one who enthralls the world by showing people a side of themselves they forget exists. The side that compulsively touches every street sign and picks up a tree branch to smash it in half. The side that caws at women squatting across the creek and still, at 25, enjoys high-pitched “ting” sounds. The side we all share that’s exhilarated by destruction.
I’ve had this notion—text “Marriage?”—more than once. I’ve never done it, because it would hurt a person and ruin a relationship.
My relationships with exes have recently lost their importance. What if I picked a small one—one of my many lesbians, like the woman who wanted my babies at eighteen and has now been married to another woman for the past three years? What if I tried it–just a little, you know, to see how it feels? It’s mean, yes, but also I’m curious. Great art often ruffles the comfortable and comforts the ruffled, and I’m clearly quite ruffled in this here mood. Some people simply want to fluff the world.
I pranked a friend last year, setting him up for a surprise lunch with Mormon missionaries. I thought he’d enjoy it. I never lied to either party, but also didn’t tell each who was coming. My friend was minorly annoyed that I’d wasted his time and majorly peeved I’d been rude to the Mormons—as he put it, “by using them in a prank.” I’m sure the Mormons were fine—we remain friends to this day. They received a free lunch and a warmer lead than their typical method of knocking on random doors. Still, I miscalculated. The friend didn’t appreciate it. I miss my former image of that friendship. I miss the friendship I thought we had. I miss feeling less alone, less one-of, less off.
In college, a friend turned my room into its mirror image. He moved every item to its exact opposite location. Clever prank. Great friend. I had to move each item back. Every prank comes with a cost. I wish I had more friends who played pranks on me.
When life feels like today, I’d even take an engaging negative: the loss of a beloved pet or someone breaking my heart. But those take investment—devoting enough love to something that losing it hurts. I’ve had trouble doing that since my most recent breakup. I’ve claimed it’s because I haven’t found a new someone. It’s really because I haven’t been looking.
“It’s not about death as a good choice, per se: more a rejection of all that exists and a disbelief in underlying capital-V Value that prompts a strong and visceral disgust of all that I find. And, so, without any importance to be found, the act—suicide—becomes as equally rational as it was previously irrational: trading the next terrestrial 60 years for that same time spent in that void I’ll reach eventually is just as fine as not. No value is no value is no value, and what’s 60 years to a rock.”
Yes, I wrote those notes (lightly edited for clarity) as an undergrad dabbling in nihilism. And know what? They’re bad—morally bad. That line of thinking breeds Columbines and Unabombers. They’re also wrong. Meaning is made. Even if Value is a construct, that means it’s constructed. That means you can make it! And just because you make it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
But golly, could I write. And for a nihilist, I sure had passion.
When I sleep poorly, I harm myself,
not with pills or knives
but doughy pizza and poker.
These might sound small—verily they are,
but I’ve avoided loving any people who die
and only been once dumped,
on my quest for #2.
Still a kid, a spoiled millennial,
these problems equate to self-inflicted boredom.
The world will crush me. It crushes us all.
Build your ark. Recession’s a-comin’.