Mt. Epiphany (II)

I’m not prepared to answer questions about my life, our lives, or life in general. I’ve stopped trying to fit anything into any predictive model, gilded frame, convenient pattern, or conventional explanation. I have always been opposed to self-delusion of any kind, even if comes under the guise of rationality, even if it’s only the embrace of delusion that makes life bearable. I’m at the point now where that trait is enduring its most severe test.

Every day I wake to more bad news. Imagine rising on a battlefield, half-screaming, the jeweled hilt of a Templar’s sword sliding out of your sweaty grip, to find the fight has already ended, and the ground is a fetid, marshy carpet of the dead. The contorted bodies radiating a shy, silvery light in the red haze of the morning sun. Imagine a sleeping child on a raised, protected marble altar while, just below, blood makes thin channels through the packed dirt, trickling patiently toward the center of the Earth. Dreaming in complete, perfect serenity, thumb in mouth, while the the world decomposes in record time.

I don’t try to understand pain anymore. I don’t try to process my reaction to it. I let it drip from me like pus from a wound. I don’t sanctify it. I don’t rationalize it. I don’t try to understand beauty, either. Beauty, which some call reason enough to live, now feels like weak, flabbergastingly trivial artifice. Looking up at the night sky, the constellations seem comically ill-made to me, a scraggly spread of stars arranged like a hobbyist gardener’s first vegetable patch. Looking out at the mountains, the trees are like individual threads in a cheaply made dun-brown carpet, dull, cloudy light squeaking through their stripped branches and blurring the view beyond. Looking at myself, captured on video, my posture sloped like a melting ice cream cone, my face and eyes are distant, murky, and unrecognizable.

My cynicism has reached dizzying heights, but as I peer into the scrying mirror that is self-reflection, looking into that hinterland for the signs and symbols of sadness that were the totems of my childhood, I find that I am denied even the bittersweet comfort of pathologizing the cynicism that has warped all chance of continued, permanent happiness. I’m not depressed. I am a vain and incompetent fighter, a girl who both grew up too fast and never grew up, a consumer of processed goods, an American citizen, a screaming child. I’m at peace with myself, as long as I can be honest about what I am, though I am profoundly unhopeful about the state of the world and the possibilities of my life within it. An upbeat song with bleak lyrics. To sleep, but not to dream. A sunset in a grove once teeming with fireflies, the vista fractured by telephone poles. Hitting play on a reversed timelapse and watching as the rose retracts into itself and the orange, blue, gold, pink stars blink out of life. Paying for healthcare during the leisurely death of the future.

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