faking it through life

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art by lora mathis

I wonder what it would be like to be simple. To experience the world without complication or anxiety or over-thinking. To wake up and face the sun and not feel overwhelmed by what it means to be in your body, your mind, your own little world.

But mostly I wonder if that is the case for anyone or are some people just so adept at faking it through the day that it appears as if they are fully functioning and worry free.

White people especially are amazing at appearing unbothered.

I work so fucking hard to appear as if I have it together that honestly I think I am two seconds away from giving myself an aneurysm.

I feel like I am tap dancing and the music is speeding up and I am trying to keep up but honestly I just want to sleep or die or cry. And the cycle just repeats itself moment after moment, day after day, year after year.

What I wouldn’t give to be simple. To sit down on a park bench and for my mind not to be racing. I would love to walk down the street at night and not be sure someone is going to stab me to death and then rape my corpse.

But I don’t get that luxury as a woman. As a minority. As an artist.

I have to try ten times as hard every single day just to have even the tiniest bit of normalcy or be emotionally stable.

And all for what? So that in fifty years I can say I tried? So that I can finally understand Bukowski’s line, “It’s been a good fight, still is.”

Ha!

It’s all so laughable.

Maybe Hemingway was right. Maybe it is all nada y nada y nada y nada.

We’re killing ourselves just to live for a blink of a moment in this sad and broken world.

Maybe not all of us but enough of us that this existence seems virtually senseless. It seems trite. It seems like simplicity is laughable but instead we are crying.

Crying.

Lying.

Dying.

the sadness will last forever

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Aamito Lagum photographed by Matthew Sprout for The Line

I fell in love with my sadness the way you love a broken-winged bird. You stumble across it one day on the street, unable to fly away, fighting for its life. You pick it up gently, coddling it like the child you might never have, and you carry it back home hoping to nurse it back to health.

You find a box and poke some holes so the bird can breathe. You pick some grass and branches in order to create a makeshift nest. And finally you set the bird down in its new home and hope that you are the sole caregiver to this infantile creature.

Every day you feed it, talk to it, hold it as if you might perhaps save its life but deep down you know you are only prolonging the inevitable. How comfortable do you have to make death before it comes in and takes over?

Can this broken-winged bird that was conditioned by nature to fly keep living in this box you’ve haphazardly constructed for it? Eventually won’t this bird try to fly away and realize it can’t? Or perhaps, and maybe this is why you continue in vain, maybe this bird will try to fly and go off into the sunset never to return again.

Perhaps one day you might see the bird again in a park while you’re talking to a friend, and somehow you’ll know it was your beloved bird but you’ll understand it was never truly yours. Or maybe the bird will die in that box and that will be the end of it.