black bell during daytime

Permission To Exist, Captain?

I wonder how the world would be if nothing could give permission to be something. What would change if life was not rudely forced out from other life without even a passing attempt at consent. Life goes about its way, paying no mind as to whether the new wants to exist at all. There it goes again, sprouting like mushrooms growing in corners of minds and damp rooms, springing forth with help from bees buzzing round yet another pretty bauble in the search for Queen-food, damply sliding out from between mother’s legs as she lays there shaking, her body on fire, losing her selfhood in the quest for maternal satisfaction. Life is the ultimate rapist. We exist whether we want to or not. Of course, how can permission be asked from nothing. The flower must grow, the mushroom must duplicate itself from drifting spores. Babies come into this world, whether they want to or not, and sometimes whether we want them to or not. Oh yes, the kittens in the bag drown whichever way you cut it.

Life is not what you make it. You are made, and then life does what it will with you. Sometimes it is the million dollar bash, sometimes the rotten cabbage as the game show host smiles toothily declaring that you have been selected for the Big Nothing. The Deep Freeze. Just as life itself is arbitrary, and heaven knows there is no use in searching for meaning within things that do before they think, so is Fate. Who put the stars in the sky? Who made the sun to shine and the moon to hang there accusingly asking me what I did with my day and all the days before it? Who cares? I did not get a choice whether to exist or not. It was a case of whoops, here I am, what are all you mother – fuckers going to do about me now? Why should the universe be any different? Almost all life out there is the product of chaos, not control: chance meetings, even chancier hook ups, this bee, that flower, that flower this bee, that spore this piece of rotten wood, that penis, this vagina. Yes, most everything is done the traditional way. Even with test tubes and turkey basters, our chaotic goose is truly cooked. We do not stand a chance against Fate. We can fight Kings, desperate men are sometimes an issue, but there goes Fate again. This dark alley, that party, this bottle of rum, that roofie, this self hating woman, that desperate man, this tender hearted/blackmailed/living in a place without abortion rights equals… this squalling scrap forced into this world, whether they like it or not, to live, do, reproduce (or not), and eventually die.

Death does not ask for permission to come. Sometimes He is bidden, sometimes he is repelled, sometimes he is victorious in that moment. He always wins in the end. Life and Death are not fathomable. There is no big answer, no final number, no absolute reckoning. All that is exists without meaning. Life is what we make it. Death is how we made it. The bit in between is the only interesting part that any lifeform has any choice about. Lemmings choose cliffs to tumble over, allegedly. I have never seen a lemming kill itself. I wonder if they are pessimists in the French Existential realm, trapped in little ratty furry bodies, or if they are merely supremely stupid. Do they look at their siblings chuck themselves over ledges and wonder what happened to them, and jump off into the great beyond looking for a reason, an answer to a question. I am that Lemming. I throw myself off cliffs all the time. Perhaps not physical ones, but metaphorical ones are just as treacherous. My cliffs come in bottles of various kinds. They are not adverse to bags. Sometimes they are pressed into my hand in fluffy white blotter paper squares, sometimes in evil looking syringes, fat and full, brimming with the possibility of comfort or enlightenment, or death. Roll the dice. Tune into the frequency of what lays beyond this physical realm. Go walking with skeletons down dusty Gold Rush streets, an Indian pony dragging its reins along the dirt, making an impermanent sign that the owner of the two size eight and a half boots, got onto its strong back and rode off towards the light. Go plucking flowers. Go dancing the May dance. Go shuffling along to the matsuri and put on the dangerous mask and knock back sake. Nothing chose to be here, we might as well make it all slide easier along the way.

I am not preoccupied with answers, I have no desire to know any vast secret. I am too old for all that searching. Old is perhaps the wrong word. I am too tired. I look at the young girls holding onto their truths evident, grasping onto their value as vessels for bringing more unconsenting life into this battered pit of existence, heads held high and bellies taut and mocking and try to remember what it felt like to be amongst their ranks. My face holds folds if I smile too long. My eyes don’t focus on the page. I rarely feel any fire these days. My heart beats. Then it beats again. In between beats I worry. I get up only with great effort and pain, and feel as if I should do some exercise. I try and fool myself I am not looking for answers and do not care about any Truths, hidden or self-evident. I pick up this pen and write, splattering ink onto my fingers as I sit in this filthy laundromat trying in vain to make dirty things clean. Everything gets contaminated as soon as I put them into one of the communal machines. Roaches transverse the ceiling and I saw a rat giggling in a corner. I didn’t even have a broom. I never get a broom. I have no weapons except my words and an exceptionally sharp tongue.

I feel the tension rising in my chest. I want to get stoned but it is only 8am. Instead I try to breathe and calm the storm. I did not ask to exist. I did not give my permission to move from a state of never-was to has-been. I want to dance, but I am too ashamed of my age and grey hair and origami face. I want to cut loose and rage against the meaninglessness of it all, but I have an appointment with a woman wearing small round glasses and a shark smile, who tuts and tells me off, and asks me what I am doing to be a productive member of society. I tell her I write and she scoffs. I look at her and scoff back. She is happy to be alive. She has a boyfriend that she talks to me about proudly as if she caught herself a big prize. I do not care. She talks anyway. She has a car she is very proud of, and an apartment without natural light that she does not like. She prefers to sit on my sofa and tell me I am useless. I hide my notebook behind my back and scurry away into my self until she leaves, and then I scrub every trace of her out of my apartment. Everything gets a sheen of bleach. I burn incense and make coffee. I want the scent of her malleability and contentment with the mundane out of my space. Our homes are an extension of our selves. We can expand within them to fill the space. I have 450 square foot of space to expand into. It is my universe. Someone in an office spoke a subsidy into existence and lo there was light. The light in the bedroom has never worked. Nor the one in the bathroom. The heat is permanently turned off. There is a damp patch on the ceiling. But it has an oriel window and stained glass panels. It has character. It has ghosts.

I am glad I don’t know unsullied happiness. I am glad not to be one of those girls who walk through life with flowers springing up, whether they want to or not, before them, as birds twitter and animals lay down and display their furry cuteness so the girls need not see anything other than sweetness all their lives. That would not suit me at all. I would throw myself into the jaws of a fox and beg it to tear my throat out. The fact that I got thrown into a swashbuckling life, an outlawed existence is far more suitable. I am too busy trying not to die in order to chase death down. It is a neat trick. Out of all the things I have ever been, and let me tell you friend, some of them were not ‘good’ by any stretch of the imagination, one thing I have never been is suicidal. I fight too hard to continue to exist, I try too hard not to die while the world does its honest best to kill me, to even contemplate the pros and cons of taking myself out. I live just to spite the fuckers. One of my few pleasures in life is to continue to exist and thereby infuriate my enemies. I smile just thinking about it, to hell with the wrinkles. I like to think about how they rant and rave about my continued existence. I make tea and smile and go on health kicks just to try and eek out another few years. Still, I feel a cold breath on the back of my neck, and I can’t say that it doesn’t worry me. I did not give my permission for my own existence, and I sure as heck don’t give my permission for my non existence. I might not be a happy soul. I might not be all sweetness and light, but I have my uses and enjoyments.

I am fond of schadenfreude. I am keen on protecting others. I love in my own fashion. I like jigsaw puzzles and music and my little apartment with the off-white walls and the built in bookcases where I can expand to fill the space and move out of my own head a little. You would want to move out of my head if you were in there too. It is a dank, dark and dangerous place full of temptations and pitfalls.

The earth does not look like a place of majesty and power today. I can barely imagine it summoning up the energy for a great earthquake or a magnetic shift. It looks foggy and grey and small. Plenty of dark and grey to hide the little but lethal evils within. I suppose I shall just have to be careful. The day feels like an unexploded bomb. I hope I am wrong. I have got the heebie-jeebies. The earth spins on. Not asking if we want it to, but doing it anyway. I want my revenge for being born.

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