I keep touching the living and thinking about its eventual death. I rub my dog's fur and think about how, one day, he will die. I stare at my mother, wanting to memorize her face and remember every word she says. I'm so terrified of loss. I'm so consumed by my fear of death that I find it hard to function at times. My anxiety and depression are depleting me.
I think about this passage from Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights:
Flaubert wrote in a letter to Louise Colet that he could never see a cradle without thinking of a grave.My disintegration is nothing new. I've been coming undone since my father's death. I keep thinking I should be stronger, more capable, but I'm always that 16-year-old girl who lost her father, the girl whose whole world was obliterated in a matter of seconds and she stands there stunned and silent and doesn't know what to do. She is frozen in trauma, walled in by it, and she continues to try and claw her way out of the pain and grief and anguish that buries her.
I recently watched Andrzej Żuławski's Possession and was profoundly moved by a scene in which Isabelle Adjani has a complete breakdown in a subway station. She is going mad right in front of our eyes, contorting her body, throwing her arms around, her eyes go wide, she screams and spasmodically moves and flails about on the ground. The scene culminates with the pouring of blood and a white substance from both her mouth and between her legs. It's this gushing, this release of rage. It's quite glorious and disturbing to watch.
I thought to myself, Yes that's how I feel inside. That's what I want to do. I want to stop and shriek in public and let the entire world know that I'm in pain and I'm a mess and I'm so furious, but I keep my composure, I conform. I keep it together until I get to the sanctuary of my bedroom where I can curl up and cry.
God forbid we lose control as women. God forbid we go insane or get upset or cease to be pleasant. God forbid we have all-consuming emotions that can't be contained, that things like grief and loss unhinge us.
I want to scream my guts out. I want to cry my guts out. I want to write my guts out. I want to bleed it all out of me until I'm empty and clean.
These words have quieted my heart. The tears have stopped. That's why I cling to them. Because when nothing else is there, the words are there. They're in me and of me and also outside of me and I don't know what to do with them except to release them in this condition, raw and oozing and infantile.
This is the only writing I can do, the only writing I want to do and I fear no one will ever read my words or hear me or understand or care. And I am so desperate for people to read what I write, to validate me, to care about and love and understand me. Every day, I feel like an utter failure, a worthless person who has nothing to offer, but I give these words and they make me free and they give me a taste of healing and they are the light that I thought died with my father but I'm keeping the flame alive inside me. I'm burning. I'm burning. I'm burning.