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Thoughts on Death (and the Crap Written about it)

People say dead souls become stars because stars watch over us and are closer to heaven. But dead souls are stars because there are so many of them. To put it into perspective: If you watched all of the dead marched through your window it would probably take you all your life, depending on how many years you have left, not that you would know; and if you stacked fifteen dead people together with a living person, every living person would have for himself a merry company. How curious a company that would be! But death itself is a curious ritual, as much so as birth is and identical to it in several ways: both involve an unconscious being, not quite alive, not quite otherwise; and that one sees it happen to others but never to oneself. In this way, death is just like life, conjoined to it like a less-loved twin who’s bitter about it. 

But I’m not saying this to sound like a smartass. No one who is alive knows death, which makes it ridiculous how much have been said about it. It is ironic that I am myself discussing death in this post, but irony is healthy, so I’m gonna go ahead and say that death has been overly dramatized and romanticized. Through countless theatrical and literary productions, death has embodied literally everything in the world—love, sacrifice, courage, dignity, innocence, loyalty, the meaning of life, the meaninglessness of life, human folly, greed, punishment, redemption, and so on and so forth. Not only are these representations miserably recycled, they are also wildly misleading—death will not be eternal glory for many of us, and is probably not worth dreading nor dreaming about. One of my neighbors died while the dentist pulled out her teeth; another had a heart stroke coming out of a shower; Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies falling off a ladder trying to catch his parrot. These kinds of death are rarely talked about because they are deemed meaningless, but the truth is that death itself is meaningless. Life is what has meaning. Drama, regret, pain, anger—these are the matter of Life, which Death neither solves nor ends. Death just leaves you hanging, because you’re never ready for it. Death is really just an end stop popping out of nowhere, which doesn’t stop life but, ironically, maintains it through its endless cycles of rebirth. 

On a less radical note, I have for you a recycled message which you’re more likely to agree with: Do not fear Death, fear Life. Fear your own fears, which will prevent you from living that good life you know you deserve, even though you saw it in other people’s Instagram. In the end, if your life is well-lived, it might as well go on, and on, and on, beyond death. 


To People Who Tell Me to Love Myself

 

Insecurity is a cycle. Remember that thing you read on Tumblr about how you have to love yourself before anyone else could? That’s bullshit, written by people who were born and raised confident, who know nothing about what self-worth is to someone who doesn’t even trust or even listen to what she herself has to say. How do you tell an insecure person—who speaks quietly, deaf inside to her own voice, whose own breath sounds too loud and whose limbs seem so redundant they might as well be someone else’s, whose own presence bothers her to the point that she is in denial all her life—how do you tell this person to love herself? She would begin to love herself if ever love began with doubt and isolation, of and from her own body, a detachment from a Self lost somewhere along the way. She would begin to love herself if only she could convince herself that love starts from the heart and not the eyes. Every time she tries the cycle repeats itself all over again.