the problem of staying alive

November 29, 2012

The bit that scares me most about being alive is how much work it takes to stay that way. I can’t just be alive without effort, living without troubles in a rain barrel in the middle of the street, able to dwindle to thin air and become incorporeal when I wish, able to never be hungry, to never need sleep or a space to park my body. I have to feed myself, clothe myself, house myself and make enough money to do all that. I have to have a job. I have to have somewhere to live. Continuing to live isn’t just a choice to not die.

I know we’ve all been there. Job-hunting. It makes me a little bit sick with terror because I’m so- entirely unqualified for everything, except for all the things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to work in a kitchen, I don’t want to work with children or be on my feet for four hours at a time. I know all the things I don’t want to do, and I know very well that I want to do something where I can use my brain, sit at a computer and use words. But I am exhausted. I don’t have the energy for this anymore. I simply want to fold into a corner for a while.

Here’s an idea: in January, when my lease ends, I move back into my parents’ house. I quit my job. I climb onto the benefit merry-go-round and bury myself in a dark closet for- as long as it takes. As long as it takes for what? I don’t know. For something to happen.

Could stay there forever.

It is not an enlivening idea. It is not fair to my parents and we will kill each other via enclosed proximity. I already left my parents’ house because of conflict. But it would be perhaps the easiest option. The one involving the most running away without actually running because that means movement.

Am I lazy or just very, very tired? Perhaps a little of both.

Very tired, and very hopeless. I have no future that I can see. That is the problem with losing your sense of sovereignty; you lose any sense that the future is anything but a dismal mass that goes on forever and never stops. Death is a welcome awakening.

I don’t want to be alive in a world where this is true. I don’t want to be alive in a place where I am stuck and I have to grind on with no legs, moving forward because it’s that or be dragged forward by Time and my hair.  I don’t want to be alive when there is nothing to hope for, nothing that I’m made to do, nothing to aim at. I tried hoping for hope and maybe that’s why I’m still not fundamentally as miserable as I could be, and I think at a base level I know this too will pass, but how much longer can I do this for? I can’t keep dragging myself down the pavements by sticking my knives into every available crack and grinding on through the dirt. I can’t keep treading water.

That’s what I’m doing; treading water. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere, with my life, with my sanity, in my relationships or my character or in anything I have done or am doing; I don’t have anywhere to go and so I am going nowhere. I am staying in the exact same place and treading water and I don’t see why I can’t just stop. It would be so much easier, in some ways, because I don’t think there is anywhere to go anymore.

I can only tread water for so long before I really have to start asking why. I feel a little bit like a complete waste of space in this giant swimming pool we’ve called life, and it’s a logical issue, a thinking issue, not just a complete collapse into despair. Because I’m not despairing, not exactly. I still intend to remain alive and I still hope there’s more of a point to it than just moving water about and trying to stay afloat. But while I have reserves in me left, they’re not going to last forever and what’s going to happen then?

The last time it happened, I was in university and I had a structure around me, and a conceivable goal, an aim: to finish university. I had my friends and I had psychologists, counsellors, understanding doctors, even more understanding lecturers, a sovereign God, a consistent belief that my life had purpose and a space in which I was given time and safety to be very unwell indeed. I don’t have that now. I don’t have that structure. It’s just me.

And friends. But ‘support’ is a different thing from ‘rescue’ and I don’t think anyone’s in the business of rescuing anyone anymore. And it would be nice to be rescued but also extremely improbable. It would be much nicer to just not exist.

I am tired and scared and disillusioned and sad and wanting to escape and that’s why I’m like this right now. Sleep will help. Sleep always helps.


I really, really wish my alternate escape routes weren’t all marked death.


One Response to “the problem of staying alive”

  1. qwandor Says:

    Have you considered journalism?

    (I was just thinking about as I read my flatmate’s blog post just after reading this.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: