I am just so sad. And I often wonder if the people around me are also sad. And if not, how do they do it?
How the fuck do they do it?
Do they live better lives or, perhaps, more shallow ones? Do they simply have higher, or more balanced levels of serotonin? Dopamine? Whichever molecule is pumping “normalcy” into their brains on any given day. Do they pay absolutely no attention to what is taking place around them? To their friends, their homes, to the world at large?
I am talking to an old friend. It is 3:30 AM at both ends. And yet, we reached out and responded. The planets aligned, and at a moment when we each needed someone to talk to, some respite from reeling and screaming into the abyss, we connected. Nietzsche says, if you stare long enough into the abyss it will look back1.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is not the abyss looking back, but rather two people staring into the looming darkness in tandem.
This friend, we met in college, we were 18. He is a bright ball of love and hope and human kindness. We were naïve. But I have watched as pain and shame and loss and the brutality of existence unfolded and shattered him. He has repeatedly picked the pieces up and put them back together; but he was never the same: an abstract, a collage, a reconstruction.
He is still a beacon of light, but therein lies a shadow.
It lends depth.
But I hate the world that crushed him, that crushed us both.
We weren’t always able to communicate this.
But years later, somehow, some way
We stared into the pit again for a time long since innumerable. And we saw each other.
Starkly, Truly, for who we had become.
I am so happy to have a friend at the other end of that tunnel.
I am feeling ok now. And by OK, I don’t mean pretty good. I mean, OK, in that vague, flat sense that all writers, artists, and generally desperate people mean: ok.
Level. For now.
1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil. Aphorism 146 (if you care)