body of death (a snapshot of the wasting disease)

October 1, 2014

I am afraid. I don’t know what it is I am afraid of, only that I am afraid, and that fear is in every breath I take. I have ten tabs open on my browser bar and I have been skimming idly through news articles and feminist blogs and discussions about gender and sexuality and tv shows and I am sick with fear. I have been wearing this all day. I am sick with fear.


I wake at seven, climbing in and out of dreams where I am chased through a shopping mall into a changing room for mothers with babies. When my alarm goes off at eight thirty, Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans, I reset it. Reset it again at nine, and then lie in bed suspended between sleep and wakefulness, weighing up the pros and cons of going in to school.

Pros: free lunch. Routine. Daylight. I might get some work done. Cons: the thought of having to deal with other people saps me of energy; the thought of trying to find somewhere to study grates at my nerves; the thought of being outside tires and scares me. I’m tired from the inside out from small group yesterday, an overexposure of people late at night; much as I enjoyed it, the thought of being near more people scrapes me raw. Small group isn’t something I should go to, really, as it continually wipes out my Wednesdays- but, but, but. This is the closest I get to being connected to a church, something regular, something unthreatening, and it’s a sop to convention, to my flatmate who frowns on my absence of churching, and an easy socialising fix. I swear I never used to be like this, overtired by people. I am exhausted with thinking through all this.

The cons win. I text my ride and thank her for offering, but I’m not feeling well and won’t head in; I tell myself I’ll do work in the daytime and roll over. Bed is deeply comforting; sleep even more so. I drift back into dreaming. Daylight slips in and out of dreams of staged plays and swimming pools. When I wake it is nearly seven in the evening. I’ve slept for eighteen hours, on and off.


This is happening more often. I have little desire to be awake, and sleep is comforting and comfortable. If I stay conscious long enough, my mind traces the tangled knots of itself into the future, and I know myself as fundamentally unable, and fundamentally broken, and the world as a terrifying morass of possibilities that lead nowhere, that end in every kind of death possible that doesn’t involve actual dying. I wear fear as a fundamental tenet of my personality, as ubiquitous as atoms; every step I trace leads to nothing, every thought I have tangles itself into an overwhelming fear of a world of present and future existence in which I cannot cope or succeed or proceed, in which everything is simply much too much for me, and I have no reason to fight against it all.

I can see no benefit to being awake, and there is no kindness in it. Even the small good things- hot tea, cake, sunlight, birdsong, friends- mean nothing in the long run, up against the face of this massive onslaught of complex, diluted nothingness, this too-complicated insanity of corruption and mindlessness and dying as omnipresent as the air. Small things are not enough to build a life on, and I am sick with this fear of this everywhere-presence of everything, too massive and too much. I am tired of thinking of it, of tracing each twist with a finger, and it makes no difference. It eats at me, a physical sensation in my ribcage, and exhausts me. I read to forget it, until I grow overtired and nocturnal, and sleep to drown myself in comfort. I do not know what I am doing or where this will end, but while I am asleep, I do not care.


I thought this afternoon, this evening, of just- being someone different for a while, for the summer. Packing up my things and finding some adventure somewhere, in some other part of New Zealand; leaving this flat and this life and these books and this chained-to-my-bed existence and being someone wholly different for three or four months until study comes back again. Picking kiwifruit, or waitressing on some tiny island down south, or disappearing into some small rural town somewhere, with nobody I know and nothing from my present to mark me as me. The freedom to be an entirely different person, where nobody knows me at all; the freedom to reinvent myself entirely, to be someone different, something completely new, mysterious, an unproven quantity. To shake off this old me and become someone new. To be different, with a range of unknown possibilities ahead.

I know some of this urge. I run away from things. I run away from stages of myself, trying to shed myself like skins. I don’t think it works; I always catch up in the end. The corruption is me. The damage is me. I am the horror I keep in my basement. I can’t run away from the death I am. I carry my life around like a corpse, and the rot of it invades the furniture.


O wretched creature that I am. Who can save me from this body of death?


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: