I like to glamorize things. Give them a romantic coat of paint and ignore everything questionable underneath. Example: I like to think that if I just lay here, flat on my back, arms pressed solemnly to my sides – that if I stayed here very very still and didn’t move one inch and barely breathed, the Earth itself would start to break open a little bit and swallow me whole. That parasitic tendrils of ivy would come on over and grow up my wrists, baby squirrels would nestle in my collarbones and ladybugs would devour my eyes. I like imagining aesthetically pleasing deaths like that. Being hollowed out from the inside to become home to small woodland animals, flesh splitting from bone almost gently by the ceaseless knife of age, sinking back into the amniotic bath of base elements and microbial nutrients that spat me out into the ether in the first place.
This is what would happen instead. I would tumble into an uneasy sleep and wake up some while later, the precise number of hours uncertain but undoubtedly several too many, eyes shuttering open just a tiny crack to see the post-sunset light drip-drip-drip through the blinds and pool like syrup at my feet. Time, turned to Jell-O. Motivation, sense of self, base human dignity – all discarded in a heap at the curb outside the apartment along with the rotting couch and that incomplete set of chipped Ikea furniture.
The thing is, that’s not very nice to think about at all. So, I just… don’t. I prefer to chase away the bad thoughts and the creeping sense of overwhelming futility with Netflix and junk food. It’s like, hey brain. I’m providing you with fun things. Now give me the happy chemical, would you? Over and over, again and again, day after day until the days blend into an indistinguishable lump of wake up eat sleep wake up eat sleep wake up. Like in third grade art class when you mixed all the paints together, and the red swirled with the blue swirled with the yellow and in the end, it was just a sad sad brown.
I think, as my life trickles by like rusty water from a leaky faucet, as the muscle of brain atrophies and shrivels from disuse, I’m realizing that not even my quarantine bop playlist or a forty-ninth re-watch of Mean Girls (2004) directed by my lord and savior Tina Fey can help me now.
I like to glamorize things, I really do. But this – being alone, being alive, being claustrophobically surrounded by faceless strangers just dying in heaps and clumps every hour and every minute – it’s stripping away the rose-tinted paint, slowly, inch by inch, until all that’s left is the raw and scabbing truth.
Sometimes, life is just fucking ugly.