//ROS: We might as well be dead. Do you think death could possibly be a boat?
GUIL: No, no, no … Death is … not. Death isn’t. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can’t not-be on a boat.
ROS: I’ve frequently not been on boats.
GUIL: No, no, no – what you’ve been is not on boats.// – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard
Part 1: Winter Bones
I don’t believe in love outside
my limbs anymore; there are the winter bones
of old skeletons lining the pavement that leads backwards in time
when I was a ghost and stem cells in a petri dish, waiting, waiting
eventually, I grew my flesh around the naked
branches rosebud heart slowly blooming
between them until the dead trees were a garden
Part 2: Family
The point of a family is to teach you how to be – just that the how of it or perhaps the doing of the being and if you know how to be then, it does not matter who else is there
or isn’t there – so if you know how to be, you know how to be with people
and you know how to be alone, and these are not separate things. You stop needing people after a while. You wonder what it means to want someone without needing them. You wonder what the point of that is. There are the little spaces of kindness without a second thought, generosity that does not demand recompense, but outside of these moments, all relationships are transactional. That is what a good and happy family is: a group of people who know they are alone, know what they need from each other, and what they can ask for, and how to give unconditionally in those little moments, and are generally fine with the scheme of things.
Part 3: Life and Death
are about learning to live with yourself.
and learning the world wants so little of you,
needs so little of you.
how infinitely mundane.
To live a good life is to take
the infinite wisdom of people who are depressed beyond hope
who understand the analytic of the futility of the job of it –
and to feel no particular way about it: given
the choice, I would not do this again, and death when it comes will
be a mercy. But in the meantime, there can be some good, save
a polar ice cap or two, help people on their own journey
to themselves. I’m done, I want to say. I don’t hate myself anymore. I love myself
like the self help books say. I did it. Death is the certificate of participation everyone gets after they complete their coursework for Life. I recognise life is just more of this. I recognise the “journey is never complete”. I am happy and successful and functional.
What a farce. Haha who asked for this. Who actually asks to be born. Living life, who is actually sitting there thinking “i want more of this”. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t long for death the way I did when I was depressed.
I just don’t think there’s a difference between life and death anymore, other
than the conscious act of learning to live with yourself. The dead don’t think. What a rest. What an eternal rest. What a peace from yourself. No wonder all religions hope for something better after this. But of course, that’s a farce too. That’s what we want don’t we – we want the consciousness and the fantasy of a heaven – a heaven that is at least accessible. We want to be awake and alive and have access to the happiness our imagination allows us – the completeness of a good children’s novel, the whole and beautiful bounty of picture-perfect farm commercials, we want to experience every bit of joy and radiant love but that’s the thing of it. That’s the thing isn’t it. That’s the farce at the end of it. It’s the farce that tells us life is so different from death. The desire to slip into a perfect painting, a good story that leaves you feeling full after you close the book. It’s the curse of imagination maybe – I mean probably. Think about the happiest people you know. Not the cleverest are they. Not the ones that think too much about the world or about life are they. You have to have a limited scope of imagination if you can be content and satisfied with life and the living of it. Happiness is where the limits of possibility you can imagine aligns with reality – people with smaller dreams are more content. And those with those impossible dreams… bear the curse of ideas that feel possible and life is just a slow come down from that. Well. but not always maybe. The closest we get – the best we get – is our own stories and we can do everything we can do and dream all the dreams we want and go for them – but that’s all there is. Dreams for your own life, you, yours, your body, your work your material things your spiritual growth your own sense of who you are just you only you just your shit and that’s it. You cannot write the story of other people ever. and at the end of the day people are people. and at the end of the day you’re going to meet people. people are in your story but they’re not in your story – you get me? if your story has people in it, they’re not yours to write are they. They’re just … they’re just chapters written by another author that someone well meaning or not inserted into your book. That’s what other people are: other chapters from a different book pulled into yours. That’s generally where shit fucks up.
The fastest route to a conscious, imaginative, full happiness is to know to be alone, because the stories that are possible to write have to feature only you. Everyone else is a wild card. People really are unknowable. If love – deep love is that sense of knowing someone else like you know yourself, love is a farce too. Well love is a farce
But all relationships are a farce – no.
They’re not lies. They’re just… suffocatingly small. chokingly tiny. less hidden gem more fool’s gold.
They’re just… the stuff of smaller imaginations and smaller dreams. They are what people settle for. They are the incomplete stories, the relationships that can never live up to the ideal plot, the perfect painting.
I think about how many people around me are already dead and just don’t know it.