Why is living so hard? Perhaps because it’s also the process of dying.
From the time the embryo is set, the cells multiply, they are doomed to metamorphose into the unrecognisable. As the groggy curtains of night fall, they steal a piece of your day — in dream the night is spent. You may consider it switching off but is it? If your heart thunders and your breathing fastens as the monsters come to life. If your mouth twitches in a smile.. if a happy thought flits by.
Is it any different than being awake? Other than the fact that there are others around you also decaying, letting go of molecule upon molecule which blaze a short while then turn dim; the energy has faded into nothing in less than the blink of an eye.
We breathe … an exhaustion of air rushing out, leaving behind a heaving carrion held together by flesh and willpower. The energy returns with each new breath, turning the inanimate into the living once more.
Hollow in the chest
And so what is the hollow in the chest? The vacuum that sits like a sinkhole, sucking in emotion — good, bad or ugly — until nothing but a patch of dark remains, unblemished by words, actions, thoughts or mass — just a hole, just empty. Cored — it’s not a physical removal of any sort, or an emotional one either — it’s just a fading away … until there’s nothing there.
Existence is scary; it’s a moment in time — stuck forever in the splices of space, not moving this way or that, not feeling, just being. Wait. Isn’t that the big dream? To be present in a moment, without the wilting of a thought, without the ripple of a feel — to just be. You are. I am. We are.
Until we are not.
The night darkens with dreams; you live. And you topple out of your revere as the sun pries your eyes open with fingers that ache your pupils; that barge in uninvited and decide to stay. It’s time for work, for the living. Busy work, busy you — distract from the matter at hand … are you there? Or are you dreaming of sunlight, of day?
Are you sleeping, still in your head? Are you up and about? Are you in someone else’s head? Another dream, another day, another you; a tool for organisation, for segregation of what has happened already? It would explain all that déjà vu that keeps propping up at unfortunate moments, that odd tingle that insists someone is looking over your shoulder. That crazy hope that there is more to life …
The stumble and fall
Life … the process of dying, which began in the mother’s womb. That continued even as you formed, slow and steady, bit by bit, two ears, a mouth, a tongue, toes and thumbs. It stayed the course as you came through to the world and grew, grew, grew. The stumble and fall. The picking up. The highs and the lows. Every day, every hour, every minute. Until bed that is. When things slow, the darkness brings the light; moments when the despair it dims, at least on the surface. At least on the surface.
So what shall I fear? The shadow that brings relief or the morning that brings life? Where shall I run except into the darkness? The thing is wherever you go, there you are. How does one escape themselves, fade into nothing and come back whole again? Is it even possible?
Cue the song of epiphany that cries no. Or maybe yes — depending on the way you listen, on the mood of the moment. If indeed you can change it is in the second of breath — between the instant of living and death. At the moment of existence. Then we can continue living, or dying — whatever you choose to call it.