Imagine the darkest feeling you’ve ever felt.
It’s a good place to begin.
Now imagine that feeling floating in front of you. What color is it? What shape is it? What’s its texture? Its temperature? Its gravity? Imagine it floating out before you, like a bubble blown into the wind, and as it bobs about in the air, you wait for it to pop, for it to pass, but instead it just lingers there.
Imagine that feeling–visualize it well, feel the details, believe them–imagine that feeling landing a few feet in front of you. It touches the ground lightly, and the moment the circuit is forged, the ground opens beneath it. The earth, the floor, whatever–it falls inward like water over the edge of a waterfall. It falls far longer than you can discern, no echoes to measure its depth, no light reflecting back to give you any sign it’s not infinite.
When you were here before
Couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
And it doesn’t stop there. The longer this feeling sits before you, the wider its sphere of influence becomes. The event horizon stretches out towards you and you can feel it pulling upon you. Even when you shut your eyes. Even when you walk away. Even when you go about your life ignoring it, change cities, change states, fly halfway across the galaxy to escape it, this feeling–it keeps pulling you back.
Sometimes you’ve forgotten all about it. You’ve grown so accustomed to its tug you hardly notice it any more. It feeds you, fuels you. It’s a part of you. Your darkest thoughts are still your thoughts. The darkest doors of your soul lead you to shadows deeper still. This feeling–you still see it, don’t you, that hole in the ground, that entity waiting at its end for you, calling out your name, ever so quietly still–this feeling defines you.
If you’ve given it a name, forget it. Its only name is yours.
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
And I wish I was special
You’re so very special
Then suddenly something pulls a thread loose in this tapestry of identity and suddenly you’re standing at the edge of this deep dense darkness. The clouds of light and matter drawn into its depths skirt across your feet and try to bring you to your knees, but you’re paralyzed here–your fear is your only savior. It would be so easy to look inside, to bend forward, to fall. But you know if you let go, you’ll never come back.
Imagine how it would feel to fall. Imagine standing atop a tall building and peeking at the earth far below. Now imagine a taller building and a taller building still. And you’re at its top, above it’s top, and then it’s no longer beneath you. All you see is the ground, and it’s racing toward you–but as impact draws nigh, your fall begins to slow, to stretch out as the fabric of time comes undone, as strings of primordial dimensions hold you higher while you continue to fall. Your heart races ever faster, your breath is jagged and harsh. Lightness fills your head. You’re still falling. You’re practically dead.
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here
You’re breathing normally again. Your headache has finally subsided, and your heart? It hasn’t skipped a beat. You’re standing on the edge of this feeling, seeing it slip away, seeing it pull everything down with it. And suddenly there’s a shovel nearby and you began hedging away the ground, scooping out your soul and pouring it inside. The barren leaves of the winter are all raked inside and still the hole falls forever. You turn up your yard and throw it in, shovel by shovel, and still it’s as deep as before. You keep working, labouring, your hands begin to blister and your eyes, already dry, turn tears into rivers of blood that drip down to your lips. You keep working, trying to fill this hole, just fill this hole already, god damnit, just fill it.
Now you’ve drained the oceans, every last drop of the sea, and still it’s empty. Still you’re empty.
I don’t care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
Now all the world is gone and all that lingers is this feeling, this feeling you’re still standing up against, falling to your knees finally, feeling eternally defeated.
The irony is this hole hasn’t been deep at all. You could have jumped inside and landed two or three feet down. You could have emptied the salt shaker and filled it full if you’d only realized the hole hasn’t been the feeling, only your fear of it. In fact this feeling, it’s not even there either. It’s just a manifestation of something deeper. Something darker. Something even more terrifying still.
So you made a mistake. You went against yourself, broke your bones and broke you body and scarred your soul. So this darkness, it came when you turned off the light. So this hole, it came when you reached into yourself and pulled out your heart, told yourself it doesn’t matter, you don’t matter, you no longer deserve to be, to breathe, to live. Everything has been in your hands every moment along the way. You could put your heart back in, sew your soul together, pull on your skin. You could be whole again. No hole again.
It’s a paradox, isn’t it?
Human interactions are binary operations. One gives pain, another receives it. One gives life, another receives it. One gives love, another receives it. An input with no output leaves an empty equation, a system with no solution. For every victim, a criminal; every knife in the back, an assailant; every plea for forgiveness, the one to forgive.
But you’re a closed circuit. The end and the beginning. You swung this sword upon yourself. You held the gun to your head. You pulled the trigger even after you were already dead.
To receive forgiveness, you must first forgive.
But how do you forgive yourself?
Forgiveness is a binary operation. You’re a solitary unit.
(Lyrics by Radiohead from the song “Creep.”)