You didn’t want me
And I don’t understand
How you turned your back
On the little pairs of eyes
That loved to hold your hand
The high pitched voices
And tear stained cheeks
Of lives left behind
Of lives like mine
I don’t need you anymore
I’ve made peace in knowing
You chose to walk out the door
You didn’t want me
But I don’t understand
I still feel empty
Today I held a dove as it died in my arms. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed the moment when life suddenly isn’t there anymore, and it horrified me. For fifteen minutes, I cradled the stunned dove that had been attacked by magpies, its wide eyes staring at nothing, its little body trembling in my hands. After trying to fly, he fell to the floor and died seconds later. It was a seizure, from shock my mother told me. It wasn’t peaceful like everyone claims death to be. It was violent and awful; the sight of a little heart giving its final few beats, a feathered body convulsing with the end of life. I was devastated. He was supposed to fly into the sunset a few hours later, but instead was lying limp on my living room floor. I’ve always hated death; the knowledge that eventually, everything must die. When I was a child, I remember saving insects from spiders webs, untangling them from their silk prisons and setting them free. To my dismay, I was informed that in doing so, I was potentially endangering the life of the spider instead. This is when I realised that life is cruel. But still, I tried my hardest to make sure every creature had a chance. I’d save the insects, rush to the windowsill, gather the dead flies that lay there and rush back to spider, carefully placing them in the delicate web. All the spiders in my house probably hated me. If I was served month-old roadkill instead of a steak, I’d probably hate me too. As the years passed, I learned to accept that I can’t save everything, but today – holding the dove that I’d bonded with for a few short moments – and watching it move on from this world… well, I guess it was just a harsh reminder that life can be swept out from underneath us at any moment. How depressing.
“One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”
There is no quote that terrifies me more than this one. What’s worse than waking up one day and realising that your entire life has passed you by, seemingly in the blink of an eye? Quickly and quietly, perception catches you off guard and pulls the rug out from underneath you, leaving you scrambling to make something of yourself. To find purpose and fulfillment in this otherwise stale existence. Growing old is inevitable, and it’s one of, if not my biggest fear. I don’t want to age, not because I’m afraid of wrinkles and grey hair, but because these changes remind me that I have an expiry date. Perhaps, because I’m still young and have barely scratched the surface of what will become my life, I don’t understand the natural progression and ultimately, surrendering one must feel when they’ve reached the end of their tether. I’ve seen it in the eyes of the elderly who used to reside in the nursing home my sister once worked at. A look of acceptance, of exhaustion, and of peace. A life filled with joy, love, pain and grief, of moments that make us feel like we’re flying, and others when we struggle to catch our breaths. After decades of experiences, of milestones, hardships and accomplishments, there must come a time when someone decides they’ve had enough. For some, this moment comes much earlier in the timeline of their existence, either through the hands of the universe, or their very own. Others try to fight time and cling onto the appearance of someone they once were, continuously altering their bodies in the pursuit of eternal youth. We’re all walking the same path, and inevitably, we will all reach the end. We won’t all stumble across the same rocks or divots in the earth, and where some of us see as a path lined with flowers, others see only weeds. The lives we live are fleeting, and whilst we should accept the fact that we live within the constraints of time, we shouldn’t let that define the choices we make or the emotions we let consume us. Sometimes I feel like little more than a fearful child shoved into the body of someone who’s supposed to have everything figured out, but I don’t think anyone actually does. Contemplate the future and accept the past, but live in the present and take comfort in knowing that no one really knows what to do with this gift we call life.
10 Things that Irrationally Terrify Me
- When I close my eyes to wash shampoo out of my hair. You never know what kind of psychopathic murders could enter the bathroom and attack me whilst I’m soapy and vulnerable.
- Leaving a store without having purchased anything. ‘Will the employees think I’ve shoplifted? I didn’t steal anything I swear. Oh my god, what if the alarms go off? I look so suspicious right now. BE COOL, you’re innocent!’
- “We’ll start by getting to know each other. Everyone tell me your name and bit about yourself.” Does this even need explaining?
- Have you ever had an animal stare at you intently for no reason whatsoever? They know things. I don’t know what things… but things.
- *the power cuts out* ‘OHMYGOD I AM GOING TO DIE!’
- When someone knocks on the door and I not-so-smoothly dive out of view, even though the postman totally sees me and thinks I’m a few raisins short of a fruitcake.
- Small holes. If you don’t already know about trypophobia – google it. Or don’t. Consider yourself warned.
- Knowing that sewer rats can swim through the pipes and potentially end up in my toilet. Just imagine if you heard splashing and squeaking underneath your butt as you peed! I’m pretty sure the whole neighbourhood would hear my screams of terror.
- Eating any kind of meat from a can. I don’t even know if it can be called meat, but it’s terrifying stuff… whatever it is.
- The thought that I have the ability to kill someone if I so desired. It’s pretty terrifying to know that the only things stopping everyone from going on a murder spree is rational thought and basic human decency.
What a way to end this list! Don’t pretend like you haven’t had those kinds of thoughts, the intrusive ones that your brain conjures up when you’re holding a sharp knife or standing on the edge of a cliff. I’m glad they’re only fleeting, but it’s still quite jarring to know what our minds are capable of. Anywho, I hope this list made you feel a bit better about any irrational fears you may have, and I hope you’re having a terror-free day, wherever you may be! :3
Imagine this. You’re about to go for a shower. The water is running; you’re eager to feel its warmth cascade from the shower head and caress your bare skin. When you step inside, your breath lodges in your throat. The water is freezing cold, liquid icicles trickling down your body and holding you in place. Each breath becomes more frantic than the last as you struggle to maintain control. You’re frozen, helpless to the icy droplets piercing your skin, like daggers. All it takes is one simple motion, one step. Amidst your panic, you somehow manage to grip the tap and turn it off, leaving you gasping for air. You stand there, naked and vulnerable, tears mixing with droplets as they fall down the drain. Every thought you had before you stepped foot into the shower is gone. All you can think about is the lingering feeling of fear and the suffocating layer of water clinging to your skin.
I’m an anxious person, and have been since birth. My parents like to remind me of the crippling fear I once had as a toddler, when I was deathly afraid of my green turtle potty. Apparently, I’d look down in horror at what I had produced and would run away in hysterics. My anxiety lessened when I progressed to the ‘big toilet’, which had been fitted with a toilet training seat just for me. One afternoon, my mother asked my father if he could watch me for ten minutes whilst she showered; a task that he’d been given multiple times before. On this particular occasion however, something went awry and my parents were alerted to my blood curdling screams coming from our second bathroom. To their dismay, they found me red-faced and hysterical with a toilet seat stuck firmly around my neck. No amount of pulling, lifting or greasing would remove it, which left them wondering how on earth I’d gotten it over my head to begin with. With only one thing left that they could think to do, I was buckled into my car seat as we drove down the road where a bewildered family friend promptly removed the plastic seat with a tool resembling garden shears. My memory of this is vague, although I’m pleased to report that I have not been permanently scarred by this incident. Apart from some minor anxiety surrounding public bathrooms and people hearing me pee, I’m handling things pretty well these days. :3
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that anxiety ebbs and flows. The things that make us anxious today are unlikely to make us feel the same way a year from now. Anxiety isn’t something that will ever disappear completely. We learn to manage it and push through the irrational thoughts and negative voices in our heads, because that is the only thing we can do. We will not be ruled by anxiety, and although there will be bad days, we won’t let them stop us from achieving greatness… even if that means peeing loudly for the world to hear!