I Am The Passenger

 I woke up this morning with a bad case of the blues. I’m not really sure what to write. Depression has her way with me in my sleep and then clings to me like a caul when my eyes open and I have to pretend to be functional. 

Things seem OK, then not OK. The tiny tragedies that make me crumble taper off, then return in a full-force gale. I can’t handle some of the basic pressures of being alive. There seems to be no end-game or goal – no purpose – to any of it. We are born. We become instruments of a machine far larger than our minds can comprehend. We reproduce. We die. 

We die. 

What an impossible burden to place on a species, the consciousness of death. And we, among all of our neighbors on this planet, are alone in our understanding of Death’s inevitability. I’m not sure the natural world would function so well if animals had the capacity to understand life’s inescapable impermanence. The ants would stop building hills. My dog would become listless and stop chewing his bone or wanting to play fetch. My cats would stop running and jumping around like possessed squirrels. That should have been an old Twilight Zone episode. “Death Spills the Beans.” Why us? Why should we have to deal with this shit, and how could we possibly be equipped to? It’s fucking scary. Animals are frightened of thunderstorms. Imagine if they knew the truth. It’s enough to make any sentient being immediately insane. This – staring down Death’s black mouth every day while we pretend everything will be just fine – this and opposable thumbs separate us from animals. And the divide is a chasm.

 It’s hard to understand how anyone even gets out of bed knowing they could cease to exist at any moment. I envy religious people of their ignorance and blind confidence that when they die, they’re going somewhere better and will join all their lost loved ones in some celestial bliss factory. I imagine holding this firm, true belief makes you a much happier person. How could it not? But I can’t get myself there. It’s too symmetrical, too fair. Which spells…false. We aren’t going anywhere. You can try to escape to any nook or cranny of the Earth, or even outer space, and it’ll find you. 

We are just passengers along for this strange ride until we meet Death, that whimsical little asshole of a harbinger who wreaks havoc upon whatever he touches. No matter how many people we cherish and who cherish us back, we are alone on our rides toward reckoning. 

I’m scared. Are you?

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373 thoughts on “I Am The Passenger

  1. This really struck a chord with me. I’ve just started a blog and one of my key themes is going to be how to maintain a sense of ‘self’. I’ve suffered with depression, I’m considering publishing some of the poems I wrote at the time, but they are a little raw. I’m worried about what people will think. How do you cope leave yourself so vulnerable by revealing your vulnerabilities?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just started my blog not long ago, too, and struggled with the same issues. I was unsure if I would even make it public but then my post was selected for Discover and here I am. Very lucky and happy with that but it’s definitely nerve-wracking to put yourself out there for an audience. I’ve just been operating on the principle that only I’m going to read what I write and have managed to churn out a couple of things that feel authentic to me. Good luck with your blog and thanks for reading/your compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trust me, no one was reading mine, either! I am so shocked this happened. Pleasantly and gratefully, of course, but it’s a bit overwhelming so my follow up post I tried not to overthink it too much or I never would get anything out! You’ll get there. Just write what’s true to you. Always produces the best results. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wat a realistic one , a deeper insight life & death . our awareness of an inevitable end … the death, does not
    supersede our cravings to live ! .. many a times though we consciously & subtly know this . Any form living creature must die , it s a truth , but how we have chosen to live till the end , making it worthwhile , is the crux Simply superb .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Juliet, brilliant stuff. I think what scares me more than death is dying without having accomplished anything, fulfilled a purpose. That means my existence has been a complete waste of space and resources…that’s the worst of all. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Okay. Firstly this is just an amazing post. The way you have shared your fear and anxiety and thoughts about Life and Death.
    But I think death is not something to be afraid of. As per my perception , once you are dead you won’t know what you thought while you’re living. So , why be afraid something that we won’t ever feel or face.
    Think! Once you die, you won’t know anything . Oblivion. You won’t know who cried. Don’t live with the fear of death you won’t feel death until you fear it while living. Live in the Present. You are living , reading this comment maybe. And as you said ; death is inevitable , so simply Accept it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a conversation with God a long time ago about this very same subject. Shouting at Him I was, arrogantly incensed at the futility of it all. We live, we love, and then we die. Poof! What’s the point? But He did listen – patient – and He did answer. And I was raised up above the battleground of live-fearing-death and I SAW. It is only the death of the separated self that I mourned – nothing really. The egoic self is but a substanceless shadow made to block the sun. And when it dies (surrenders) nothing of value is lost. When it dies, giving in to Truth in place of illusions it is like a drop in the ocean ceasing to be encased in dropness and becoming once again what it always was and could only have been – the perfect unity of oceanic oneness. Fear not for:
    “Nothing real can be threatened.
    Nothing unreal exists.
    Herein lies the peace of God.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am not afraid. Because, honestly, the fears I have living each day are worse than anything death could be. If it’s blackness, I won’t care, there will be nothing left of me to care. If it’s some sort of fairy tale land where all of my family and friends are waiting, I’ll be happy to be with them again. Life. That’s the scary thing. These thoughts, the daily struggles. BUT. that having been said, I’m not rushing into it with bath and blade just yet. Life is something I endure. I have no choice. I won’t leave early by my own hand. But I have bigger fears for sure.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Wicked fun. I thought of you today, when I bought a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar with an expiration date of 2022. The idea that my vinegar could outlive me brought me this silly kind of joy that took all responsibility from me to prove something, be something, do something.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The one thing we can count on in life is death. We are attached to death, chained like prisoners, captives. Every day we face death and every day we hope for a stay of execution, we prolong it; we stand and defiantly give death the finger.
    With death there is also the emotional fallout, sure, but there is also the practical stuff, like whose going to do your job for you and who’s going to take care of your family. The good thing for you though is that you don’t have to worry about it. I believe that death is harder on the living, it’s tough to actually say goodbye, even impossible sometimes, you never really stop feeling the loss, its what makes things so bitter sweet.
    IF YOU KNEW THAT THIS WAS YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s so dark with a speck of fabulous humor. Your reference to the twilight zone superb! I am watching my elderly parents slide down with dignity and think of death more than I would like to. I hope there is an afterlife.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great work i love the article. Thanks for sharing your feelings and I love the honesty.

    I was experiencing depression not long ago, I lost my dad in 2007 when I was only 12 and my mom in 2009 when I was at highschool so I know exactly how death feels like.

    I dealt with the depression for long always living in the constant fear of dying or losing yet another loved one.

    But with time after believing in God I realized that death was inevitable and that life is precious no matter how difficult people may think it is.

    Death is scary and the truth is that everyone is scared of dying whether religious or not. But you just have to embrace the life that you have because some people never got the chance to live their life to the fullest and some even died from the womb.

    what got me out of my depression was not the numerous counseling that I had but rather the faith and the believe of a possibility that my loved ones were in a better place.

    Again thanks for sharing your feelings I hope you find away of getting out of your depression because life is really beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is the first article I am reading on WordPress. It reminds me of a remark made by Richard Feynman after his cancer diagnosis when the subject came up in a conversation with a friend. He said “Sometimes it bugs me too.” But then he went on to express his hope that his work will outlive him. And it surely has.
    On another previous occasion, Feynman had declared that it did not bother him to not know about our purpose in this universe. To him, its much more interesting to not know. Because thats the way it really is as far as one can tell: drifting across space and time without a clue as to the meaning of it all. His job was to find out as much as possible and to experience the pleasure of it. Zero prejudice regarding nature and all her aspects gave him the freedom to explore the question instead of seeking an answer, if any at all.

    Does there always have to be a goal or purpose to life and the rest of existence?Why do we crave to attach meaning to everything, seek constancy and the perpetuation of what is and seems incomplete or unfulfilled? Is an eternal truth really necessary and if so, why does it have to continuously ever-last? Why not shed the fear of what may come to wreak havoc by understanding the purpose of fear itself? Fear may come in handy against so many dangers but it is also an unwise emotion to feel for the inevitable. Even though we are conscious of the reality of death, we can prudently choose to effectively forget it. All this, of course, one can say about one’s own death. But when it comes to somebody else, somebody close, I have made myself believe that its not possible. Actually, I have mentally made such thoughts inapplicable to loved ones. It is comforting as it is designed. And what happens on that fateful day? Unthinkable.Therefore impossible.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Maybe the reason to get out of bed is BECAUSE you could cease to exist any moment. The reason to LIVE is because we will die. I think if we lived forever, then I would have no reason to get out of bed, because there would always be another day. There would always be another opportunity. But rather, I live with the mentality that NOW is the time. This is my life and life is right now. I choose to live and experience life and love people and be happy. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking piece of writing. Keep it up 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I have never been afraid of dying myself, but knowing that someday it will all end has made me appreciate my friends and life itself so much more. A week ago I had to choose whether my dog should live or die. As a human being I’m in an uniqe position being able to make that choise. He was not particulary old, but he was in pain because of an old injury. I desided to let him go. It was the most devastating moment of my life. Without my understanding of death his life would have ment nothing, and I would have learned nothing. I’m glad the desision was so hard. If human beings, with all our capabilities, could not comprehend death we had not survived even the first generation. We would kill ourselves and everything around us. Thankfully most of us understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. If it’s true it is purposeless, then maybe it’s best not to think of it. And if God does exist, maybe it’s best to just just take a leap of faith. Either way, I hope you find your place. An animal could never write such beautiful (and scary) thoughts. Peace

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Well written Juliet. No,I am not scared and to know the fact that death can take us anytime does not make one’s life less. We have to live as long as our time permits. And yes there are ridiculous religious people who believe in rebirth. We have to enjoy & experience all kinds of emotions .That’s what life is all about 🙂
    We are playing characters on the world stage and everyone’s role ends at some point . 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Death is not the end, death is just another step further, into something new, something mystical and something nobody knows about. I dont think of death as being something cold and dark. I think of death as a whole different life.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Great piece, well done.
    As someone living with a terminal illness (MND) I understand where you are when you wrote the piece. I understand the fears you express.
    You realise that the answers you are looking for are not in the created world. The little chemo-electrical factory that sits between your ears is capable of producing more fear than you are able to cope with. The enemy is within.
    I realised that the answer does not lie in the world that most people are looking in. Instead of treating the cause they treat the manifestation. They try to dull the pain, alcohol, drugs, antidepressants, and therapists who pat them on the back and let them dribble on.
    We are not the first generation to have had problems with depression and the fear of the great eternity that lies in the future beyond the crematorium.
    Take a tour through Psalms… I know you don’t want to get caught up in the God thing, you don’t have to… its great poetry and any well-read person needs the literary experience… look at the journey into darkness in Psa 88 or the depression of Psalms 143 and 142. You will find that there are others who have had the same fears and found the answers to what you are dealing with. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, try what works.
    Take an old man at his word and try what you have not tried before.
    Try asking God to come into your life and change what you are not able to do yourself. It can’t hurt, how can it if he does not exist in the first place? But you will say that’s stupid believing in something that I can’t see or feel or touch I would be mad to put my trust in that.
    But then you have done it before when you submitted to the fear that terrifies you. You have fallen in love you have hoped.
    As an old man who has gone down the road before you; there is hope, there is a future, there is a solution. Take your courage in your hands and step out into the unknown and invite Him in… you will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime a journey into the adventure of an eternal life. Set him up as the captain of your little ship and you can sail through the storms and the battles that you will face along the way knowing that no matter what you do or where you go he is with you.
    Isn’t this what you have been looking for all along? You don’t have to fear the journey; enjoy it, it’s an adventure that does not end when your life does.
    Julia don’t fear the darkness of fear and depression. I have lived a long time and met many, many people and I can tell you that the interesting ones are those who have experienced a bit of pain, pain in the physical, emotional and spiritual. Shallow clap happy people you can find on any street corner, in any evangelical church but deep, complex people are the ones who are worth talking to and that is why I enjoyed your piece. You may just find that He knows what it takes to break through the hard little shell that surrounds you; that He wants to speak to you, that He wants to talk to in a language that only you understand; that He wants to give you an opportunity to speak to the only lover your heart, your depths, your deepest recesses will ever know. Perhaps it is the only way He can grab hold of you and say don’t be scared I am here to go with you where you have never been before, where your fear has limited you.
    You have one life grab hold of it and shake every last thing out of every opportunity that presents itself, like a dog with a feather pillow. Go on that journey girl.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a beautiful reply. Thank you so much. I cherished every word. May God or the universe or whatever binds us all give you strength and comfort as you’re forced to confront these issues head on. I admire you greatly and wish you all the best.

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  18. Life is like a gift ….in this planet and we must live it and enjoy every bit of it ….it doseny really matter whether you believe in life after death or not..we were all given equal chance to….live till our chance is over..i also believe in life after death and paradise through the one nailed on the cross and rose(Jesus).

    Liked by 1 person

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