Never before in my life have i felt more alone. I have more friends than i’ve ever had, i have a loving family, a successful life. I’m doing better than i have ever before, yet this constant state of sadness and loneliness is eating at me. i feel like i have no physical presence, i don’t occupy any space, as if im not matter. i am a thought, an abstract concept that ought to be forgotten. a ghost that only exists faintly in memories.
I dreamt of crossing a four way intersection road, like the ones you find on M.A. Jinnah. I was in my college clothes, it was dark, well past maghrib and i had my laptop clutched in front of my chest like a shield. my hair was half up, the way i used to make it in July. I was alone and scared and big cars kept driving past from all directions, barely missing me. i remember feeling so lost, so alone in the dream i cried. i was trying my best to get through but i felt so weak, so small. i couldn’t cross. no matter how much i walked i never made it farther than the middle of the road. There was still an acre of it left to cross. The traffic police man didn’t see me, or at least pretended not to, or didn’t care. Blur blinding lights kept speeding past me. I woke up sweaty, with that same ache in my chest.
Theres a part of me that doesnt want to die. like a cancerous growth that wants to dominate. a tiny brain that wants to escape into reality, wants to replace my thoughts and live my life for me. i have wanted to die for the longest time and suddenly i dont anymore. i dont get fantasies of shooting my brains or jumping off buildings or stabbing my stomach with a kitchen knife. i want to let it live through me. im tired and i want to let go.
I want out. An escape. Something, anything that can stop me from feeling the way i feel now. Anything to stop thinking. I want to run away from everything. to disappear and never return. i cant die. dying would be more of a burden on everyone else but me. but i dont want to live like this. i would rather walk through life like a robot, avoiding all feeling all emotion. any kind of thinking that doesnt involve studies is strictly prohibited. no emotions whatsoever sadness is allowed sparingly no more speaking unless absolutely necessary, no more you. its a combined effort from here on, autopilot mode here on. we’re on the same team.
i feel liberated. almost as if i were sysiphus and the boulder has finally stopped on top of the hill, as if i were atlas and the burden of earth is has slid off my shoulders. as if i were Punho and Sassui is lying in my arms safe and sound without a scratch to her being. As if i were Umer and Marvi has successfully crossed the river, alive and well, to be mine forever. As if i were the smoke off a cigarette butt, finally released into air, freed. As if i were the sprout struggling to break away the hard seed, then the hard earth, to finally breathe the sun. Like a thought thats been stuck inside the unconscious, peeking out in reflections, never fully revealing its true self, has finally spread its wings and taken flight out of the confines of the mind, into the realms of consciousness. I feel at peace.
A part of growing up means facing your fears, rushing out of your comfort zone and taking the impact of the consequences full square in the chest. head high, arms wide step up and take the wave of chaos that your ripple created right in the face. Thats when you know youve grown up. And thats what I’m trying to learn and understand. The things you did, your past, your mistakes they ll make a part of you that will stay in the space time continuum forever. There is no going back, no turning the clock. The only way to live with them is to live without regrets. Without the ifs and buts. Fear is not the enemy, neither is shame. They are normal healthy responses and are meant to be felt and lived to the fullest. The real enemy is the need to be joyous at all times. To be in denial of your suffering. To be smiling and happy in times where your body is urging you to experience sadness for it to heal.
I’ve been so sad my entire life and I’ve been in denial of my feelings for so long, it feels like every emotion i feel, other than sadness, is fake and a mirrored response. I feel like an outsider who has adapted to live with people by mirroring them. The only true emotions i can writes essays about are hopelessness, anxiousness, emptiness, inadequacy, longing.
What is home? How would you define it? How is one supposed to define it? Is it a place where you sleep and eat? I am privileged and should not have these questions ringing in my head all day and night. There’s millions in this country alone who call the pavement and side walks their homes. Then why do i keep dreaming of home? Why do i have a new home in every one of them? Why do i have such a hard time accepting that the one we already live in is home enough. The one we lived in before was home enough. The one we’ll move into will also be home. We will carry the ghost of home wherever we go, and it will fill whatever four walls we take it to.
Its becoming exhausting, finding reasons to stay alive for. its not that a calamity has befallen me. neither have I had a loss of a loved one. i wish it were that, if only I had a legitimate reason for this sadness, this emptiness. an explanation. Chronic Discontent, says google. that’s what i have apparently. its also a sin to be chronically dissatisfied with your life, according to biblehub.com. pretty sure the Quran follows suit. not that i care. there are no real emotions that i can call mine. they’re all a reflection, mirrorred actions and expressions. smile and all will be fine. there is nothing that makes my heart move, nothing i can feel in my chest. an emptiness. sometimes i wonder if i have a heart at all, and then i remember how ridiculous that sounds. of course i have a heart, but then why dont i feel it. why dont i feel joy. the only emotion i can call real and mine is sadness. nothingness. no light. just a hollow vessel that beats and will one day stop. the only moment its not hollow is when i see my own flesh and the blood pouring out, its real. i am real. i exist. i am made of muscle and i bleed when cut. its a moment of realization. gone in an instant. and then we’re back to square one.
I dreamt of her again. Maybe its one of those Jung archetypes things. Someone whom i have barely exchanged a few words to in real life, occupies such a significant place in my mind. Maybe i see myself in her, maybe she is who i want to be. Maybe I’m in love with her.
The last time I dreamt of her she was home to a demon who wouldn’t let her die. We kept her locked up in a room upstairs. She would look down at us from the window sill, draped in her white gown, with that emptiness in her eyes. As if she was looking through us. Like a corpse that breathed and moved.
When she did die, it was chaos. Her body floated in mid air till every last breath of soul left her. Animals of all sorts, white tigers, exotic birds, sleek black dogs, came rushing in the house from every direction to mourn her. We had to close all doors.
This time round though, she was my friend. I spoke to her. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. “A psychiatrist,” I told her. She listened and never interrupted. We talked some more. Then she took my hand and led me to her home. It was a small room with four hospital beds. A plastic doll with ragged clothes and an IV line hung on one side, slept in each of them. “I practise on them”, she had said.
We sat on one of the beds. She asked me why I dream of him so much. If I’m in love with him already. I wanted to tell her I’m in love with her, instead I kept silent. Watched her every move, memorized it. I told her its time for me to leave, that the uber fares would rise anytime soon.
When I came out I realized I was in my own living room. I was already home. She was in my home.