I Am Dead

All the schedules, appointments, routines, dreams, desires, every imperceptible force that surrounds you and drags you through your day is left in stasis for 7 or 8 hours.

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February 28, 2014 | Fog | March 2014

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Last night I laid awake in bed until the echoes of the city decayed and the first grey of dawn played at the shadows on my ceiling. This really isn’t anything unusual, I’m sure many other people have restless nights from time to time. No, it was not unusual in that it happened, but it was unusual in the feeling that provoked it, the vague, unnamable, unevocable dread that spurred and sustained it.

Usually when I can’t sleep there’s a reason. Usually, I’ve had too much coffee, or it’s the stress of impending deadlines, or the guilt of some selfish, lousy thing I’ve done. It’s these racing thoughts that allow my mind no ease, that keep it languorously drifting through that liminal period where you’re unsure of whether it’s today or tomorrow. Sleep is that weird time when not just you, but all the civilization around you rests to catch its breath for tomorrow. All the schedules, appointments, routines, dreams, desires, every imperceptible force that surrounds you and drags you through your day is left in stasis for 7, 8 hours. The darkness of night occludes your vision: details are ambiguous, the sharp clarity of reality is muddied.

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Last night I laid awake in bed haunted by some… thing, some thought or awareness – I’m not sure – that was creeping in at the fringes of my consciousness. If words are signifiers, and thoughts, concepts, feelings are the signified, then this was something that lacked the sign, some abstract dread that all my economy of language could not explain. It held back exhaustion and the will to sleep. I guess I fell asleep, or at least submitted to the weight of my thoughts, because there are a few hours in my memory that are empty, save for a vague collage of distorted images. When I awoke this morning the unidentifiable sensation manifested itself in a nauseating revelation: I am dead. Dead, dead, dead.

My death was not a sudden one, nor was it unexpected. Firstname Lastname, age whatever, healthy student of sound body and mind, did not go to sleep one night and pass peacefully in the night. No, my death was one slowly accumulating for years, my death was one inscribed in the code of my lacklustre genetic material, exacerbated by years of circumstance. Some say that from the moment we’re brought into this world, we’re already dying. Mine wasn’t like that. My death was not a physical one, it was a spiritual death, an emotional, mental death.

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I am dead because the life that I had cultivated had never really existed. My life was a sloppy cut-and-paste of everything I thought I had wanted to be but were really what others wanted me to be, or what they wanted me to think I wanted to be so I would buy their product pursuing some illusory satisfaction. My insatiable Appetite overcame my screaming Reason. I said one thing but believed another, and it was these contradictions that tormented me, that populated my nightmares. It is suggested that dreams are a reflection of our subconscious: the exploration of our fears and desires; accepting this, I understand why my dreams were so tumultuous and unsettling. Each nocturnal passage through my mind was like a cracked stained glass of false images, illuminated with stale glimmers of hope.

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I’ve subjected myself to critical examination: I have been reflected, refracted, magnified, even dispersed into my multitudinous elements. No amount of analysis or comparison, however, has surrendered the answer to me. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for, maybe some small fact or truth with which to ground myself.

I don’t really know what to do. I’ve absolved myself of intention, so I guess I’ll just… be?

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